Many nations of the world owe a great debt to England for the spiritual heritage which this great nation has spread all over the world. To England, America owes its government, its liberty and its Christian heritage.
The following list, by no means complete, is an overview of some of the great events which chart the progress of the Gospel in England:
During the latter half of the 14th century, great forces were at work in England. The medieval world was coming to a close but the new world was not yet ready to be born. The black death had killed one-third of the people and though the crusades were over, the Hundred Years War with France was still in progress.
The peasants of England were impatient for a better life. The Church, which had brought civilization and order to medieval England, had grown in wealth and power, but there was also corruption. There were no Bibles in the English language and the Gospel became diluted with superstition and half truths.
- John Wycliffe: Called the “Morning Star” of the Reformation. Through his preaching and writing, John Wycliffe laid the foundation for the successive moves of God in England throughout history. From within the Church, voices akin to Wycliffe began to call for reform.
- William Tyndale: Known as “God’s outlaw,” William Tyndale, under the anointing and power of the Holy Spirit translated the New Testament Greek manuscripts for the very first time into English. He began in 1523, and under a self-imposed exile, William Tyndale, a man hunted for 12 years, running from the Church of England and the King’s secret service, was the first man to print the Bible in English.
- The King James Bible: Was printed 75 years after Tyndale was burned at the stake. Although 50 learned scholars working in ideal conditions over a seven year period would translate the Bible from newfound Hebrew and Greek manuscripts, they still would only make changes in Tyndale’s work amounting to nine percent. All modern scholars agree that the only explanation for this is that Tyndale was yielded to the power of God. Equally notable is the fact that in the process of translating, William Tyndale invented modern English as we know it.
- The Puritans: A movement which sandwiched the English Renaissance, the Puritans came in two waves bringing men like John Bunyan to enrich the spiritual life of England. The second wave of the Puritan revival brought Englishmen to America, first the Pilgrims and then the Massachusetts Bay Company, to plant the first permanent democratic colony in the New World. The Puritans gave America the basis for our politics and ethics as well as our rich Christian heritage.
- William Carey: Father of the world missions movement, launched out across the world to India. In the next 50 years England sent the Gospel to Africa (C.T. Studd and Andrew Murray), to China (Hudson Taylor), to Burma, to Australia, to the Arab world, and to the Caribbean.
- George Mueller: A great man of faith who fed, clothed and educated 2500 orphaned children every day for over 20 years.
- William and Catherine Booth: Founders of the Salvation Army, ultimately sent their missionaries all over the world and, together with Lord Shaftsbury, took on the task of reforming child labor laws in England.
- Charles Spurgeon: Known as one of the greatest theologians of all time. Also from London, Spurgeon was one of the last of the Puritans and is credited with further restoring biblical doctrine to the Church worldwide.
- Evan Roberts: His consecration to prayer for 13 years brought the great Welsh Revival at the turn of this century which brought great social reform to Wales and influenced the Pentecostal revival in the United States.