[b]Tyndale Willing to Suffer and Die For The Truth[/b]
[i]by John Piper[/i]
They took away all of William Tyndale's belongings and he was imprisoned for 18 months until he was put to death. "The charge was heresy, with not agreeing with the holy Roman Emperor - in a nutshell, being Lutheran". A four-man Catholic commission was authorized to prove that Tyndale was a heretic. One of them named Latomus filled three books with his interactions with Tyndale and said that Tyndale himself wrote a 'book' in prison to defend his chief doctrinal standard: Faith Alone Justifies Before God. This was the key issue in the end. The evil of translating the Bible came down to this: are we justified by faith alone? These months in prison were not easy. They were a long dying leading to death. We get one glimpse into the prison to see Tyndale's condition and his passion.
He wrote a letter in September, 1535, when there seems to have been a lull in the examinations. It was addressed to an unnamed officer of the castle. Here is a condensed version of Mozley's translation of the Latin:
I beg your lordship, and that of the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here through the winter, you will request the commissary to have the kindness to send me, from the goods of mine which he has, a warmer cap; for I suffer greatly from cold in the head, and am afflicted by a perpetual [illness], which is much increased in this cell; a warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin; a piece of cloth too to patch my leggings. My overcoat is worn out; my shirts are also worn out. He has a woolen shirt, if he will be good enough to send it. I have also with him leggings of thicker cloth to put on above; he has also warmer night-caps. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening; it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark. But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be urgent with the commissary, that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study. In return may you obtain what you most desire, so only that it be for the salvation of your soul. But if any other decision has been taken concerning me, to be carried out before winter, I will be patient, abiding the will of God, to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ: whose spirit (I pray) may ever direct your heart. Amen.
We don't know if his requests were granted. He did stay in that prison through the winter. His verdict was sealed in August, 1536. He was formally condemned as a heretic and degraded from the priesthood. Then in early October, he was tied to the stake and then strangled by the executioner, then afterward consumed in the fire. John Foxe reports that his last words were, "Lord! Open the King of England's eyes!" He was forty-two years old, never married and never buried.
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon