The University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the second oldest university that is in continuous operation. It boasts of well-acclaimed alumni, including 28 Nobel laurates, 27 Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, and various heads of states and governments in the world.

However, of greater significance to our study are the various godly men which God has raised from Oxford University to magnify Christ and His Word. These men include:

John Wycliffe (1320-1384)
John Wycliffe is known as the Morningstar of the Reformation. He was educated in Merton College in the University of Oxford and later became the Master of Balliol College. After he was driven out of Oxford for his teachings, he became the Rector of St. Mary’s Church in Lutterworth where he was heavily involved in the translation of the Latin Vulgate into English. He is also known to send the Order of Poor Preachers or Lollards to preach God’s Word to the common man.

William Tyndale (1494-1536)
William Tyndale was educated in the Hertford College (Magdalen Hall) in the University of Oxford. Convinced that the evils in the Church were a result of the people’s ignorance of God’s Word, he set about translating the Bible from the original Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic Scriptures. He was later burnt at the stake for his translation work.

John Wesley (1703-1791), Charles Wesley (1707-1788) and George Whitefield (1714-1770)
John and Charles Wesley both studied at Christ Church College in Ox-ford. John later became a classical tutor in Oxford and a Fellow of Lincoln College. God used them mightily after their conversion on board a ship with Moravian Christians. Charles Wesley became a well-known hymn writer of around 6,000 hymns that were full of theology and doctrine. John Wesley, on the other hand, was a fine preacher and contributor of many literary works.

George Whitefield was also a graduate of Oxford University. He was enrolled in Pembroke College. Following his conversion, he became renowned for his open-air preaching and stance for Calvinism in contrast to the Arminianism of the Wesleys.

John Wesley, Charles Wesley and George Whitefield thus became founders of the Methodist movement which continues until today.

John William Burgon (1813-1888)
John William Burgon (otherwise known as Dean Burgon) was educated in Worcester College of the University of Oxford. He later became the Dean of Chichester and Vicar of the University Church of St. Mary the Virgin. He is noted for his fervent defence of the Traditional Text against the insidious textual criticism of Wescott and Hort that was sweeping Christendom. Today, the Dean Burgon’s oath remains one of the finest statements on the Bible. “The Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the Throne! Every Book of it, every chapter of it, every verse of it, every word of it, every syllable of it, every letter of it, is the direct utterance of the Most High! The Bible is none other than the Word of God: not some part of it more, some part of it less; but all alike, the utterance of Him who sitteth upon the Throne; faultless, unerring, supreme! So help me God, Amen.”

(To be continued)