Wycliffe's Wicket

Wycliffe's Wicket



Est. Date. Pre 1400

Orig. Language. English

Orig. Writer. John Wycliffe

Translated by.

Over a century before the reformation, John Wycliffe, a lecturer at Oxford University, had already begun

to question many of the theological doctrines of the Catholic Church and its moral corruption. He

believed that every person needed to be educated in the Biblical teachings of the Bible and therefore it

should be translated into local languages for the people.

The Wicket is one of the tracts that Wycliffe created to challenge and teach the people about one of the

controversial topics in the Church, specifically, the teaching about communion, that the bread and wine

do not transmute into Jesus blood and body. It was tracts like these that spread to change the way

people though about theology that eventually created the reformation, away from the Catholic Church.


They say it is heresy to express the holy scripture in English, but in saying so they would condemn the

Holy Ghost who gave tongues to Christ’s apostles so they could speak the word of God in all languages

that were ordained of God under heaven; as it is written, “And the Holy Ghost descended upon the

heathen, as he did upon the apostles in Jerusalem” (Acts 11); or as it is written, “And Christ was so

merciful as to send the Holy Ghost to the heathen men” (Joel 2); and he made them partakers of the

blessed word (Acts 8, 10). Why then should it be taken away from us in this land considering that we are

Christians? Consider whether it is not the same thing to deny Christ’s words as heresy, as it is to make

Christ an heretic; for if my word is a lie then I am a liar if I speak that word. Therefore if my words are

heresy, then I am a heretic if I speak the words; therefore it is the same thing to condemn the word of

God in any language as heresy, and God as an heretic, who spoke the word. For he and his word are one,

and cannot be separated; and if his word is the life of the world, as it is written “Man does not live by

bread alone but by every word that comes out the mouth of God” (Matt 4); and if every word of God is

the life of the soul of man, as St John says, “you have the anointing of the Holy Ghost, and have no need

of any man to teach you in all things which are his blessed word, in which is all wisdom and knowledge,

and yet you are always to learn as well as we;” if these things are true, how may any Antichrist, despite

the fear of God, take it away from us who are Christians, and thus allow the people to die of hunger in

heresy and in the blasphemy of obeying a law made by men, that corrupts and slays the body, as David

bears witness, when he speaks of the chair of pestilence.

And worst of all they make us believe a false law that they have made up regarding the sacred host, for

the most false belief is taught about it. For where do you ever find that Christ, or any of his disciples or

apostles, taught any man to worship it? Even in the Credo section of the mass [we find the opposite], for

it says: I believe in one god only, our Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God, only begotten and born of the

Father before all the world; he is God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten and not

made, and of the same substance as the father, by whom are all things made. And Psalm ninety five


Wycliffe's Wicket streetwitnessing.org

implies that: The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Ghost is God. The Father is unmade

[uncreated], the Son is unmade, the Holy Ghost is unmade. You, then, who are an earthly man, by what

reasoning can you say that you create your Creator? How can the thing that is made say to the maker,

“Why have you made me like this?” [If the scripture teaches that a person cannot even do that much]

how can it turn again and make him that made it? Surely not.

Now answer me, you who say that every day you make out of bread the body and blood of the Lord, and

the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, God and man: in truth you make statements greatly against reason,

as is shown by those words that Christ spoke on the eve of his death (Matt 26): That Christ took bread

and blessed it and brake it, and gave it to his disciples and apostles, and said “this is my body which shall

be given to you.” Now understand the words of our Savior Christ, as he spoke them one after another —

as Christ spoke them. For he took the bread and blessed, and yet what did he bless? The scripture does

not say that Christ took the bread and blessed it, or that he blessed the bread which he had taken.

Therefore it seem more that he blessed his disciples and apostles, whom he had ordained witnesses of

his passion; and in them he left his blessed word which is the bread of life, as it is written: “Man does

not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matt 4); also Christ

says, “I am the bread of life that came down from heaven (John 6); and christ says also in John, “The

words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.” Therefore it seems rather that he blessed his

disciples, and also his apostles, in whom the bread of life was left more than in material bread...

Furthermore, if they say that Christ made his body of bread, I ask, “With what words did he make it?” It

was not with these words, "Hoc est corpus meum," (that is to say in English “This is my body"), for they

are words of giving, and not of making, and he said them after he broke the bread; which he then

divided among his disciples and apostles. Therefore if Christ had made his body out of that bread, [he]

must have made it in his blessing, or else in giving of thanks, and not in the words of giving. For if Christ

had spoken of the material bread that he had on his hands when he said, "Hoc est corpus meum," (this

is my body,) it was already made, or else the word would have been a lie...

And if you make the body of the Lord in those words “This is my body,” you yourself must be the person

of Christ, or else there is a false god; for if it be is your body as your [words literally] say, then it is the

body of a false knave, or of a drunken man, or of a thief, or of a lecher or [an individual] full of other

sins, and then [you have produced] an unclean body for any man to worship as God! For even if Christ

had made his body of material bread at the Last Supper in the said words, (which I know are not words

of making), what earthly man has power to do as he did? For in all holy scripture, from the beginning of

Genesis to the end of the Apocalypse, there are no words written about the making of Christ’s body; but

this is written: that Christ was the Son of the Father, and that he was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and

that he took flesh and blood from the virgin Mary, and that he was dead, and that he rose again from

death on the third day, and that he ascended to heaven truly God and man, and that we should believe

in all scriptures that are written about him, and that he is to come to judge the living and the dead, and

that the same Christ Jesus, King and Savior, was at the beginning with the Father and the Holy Ghost,

making all things out of nothing, both heaven and earth, and all things that are in them; working by

word of his virtue, for he said “Be it done,” and it was done (Gen 1), whose works no earthly man can

fully comprehend or reproduce. And yet the words by which these things were made are written in the

beginning of Genesis, just as God spoke them; and if you cannot make the material world that he made,

although you have the word by which he made it, how can you make him that made the works? You

have no words of authority or power imparted to you on earth by which you can do this, but you have

pretended to have this ability according to your false errors...


Wycliffe's Wicket streetwitnessing.org

First you take the host of bread, or a piece of bread, and make it [into Christ] as you say, and the

innocent people worship it. And then you take to yourself the chalice, and likewise mar — make, I

meant to say — the blood in it, and then they worship it also. But if is, as I am sure, that the flesh and

blood of Christ ascended, then you are false harlots to God and to us. Where do you find that Christ or

any of his disciples ever taught any man to worship this bread or wine? If they did not mention it, what

shall we say of the apostles who were with Christ so much, and who were called by the Holy Ghost; but

forgot to put it in the creed when they made it——the creed which Christians believe? Or we can admit

they knew no such God [as the bread in the mass], for they believe in no more gods but in him that was

at the beginning, and who made out of nothing all things visible and invisible (Heb 1, Ps 102) which Lord

took on himself flesh and blood, being in the virgin——that God. But you have many false ways, to

mislead the innocent people with tricks of the fiend...

Now therefore we pray earnestly to God, that this evil time may be shortened for the elect, as he has

promised in his blessed gospel (Matt 24) and that the large and broad way that leads to perdition may

be closed up, and the straight and narrow way that leads to bliss may be thrown open by the holy

scriptures, that we may know what is the will of God, to serve him in truth and holiness in the fear of

God, that we may find through him a way of bliss everlasting. So be it.