A few weeks ago, we watched a video on the life of John Wycliffe as part of this year’s Reformation Programme. We saw how Wycliffe was committed to bringing God’s Word to the people in a language they could understand. He spent much of his life translating the Bible from Latin into English. He also instituted the order of poor preachers (Lollards) to preach God’s Word to the people. For his work, Wycliffe is known as “The Morning Star of the Reformation”.

One major event that occurred during the time of Wycliffe was the Peas-ants’ Revolt in 1381. The Black Death of 1349 caused living conditions in England to deteriorate. Nevertheless, the government and the church continued to impose high taxes and other exorbitant demands on the peasants. This led to a disaffected people in the country.

As seen in the video, some of the peasants misapplied Wycliffe’s teachings as a permission to rebel against the government. Despite Wycliffe’s protestations, the peasants went ahead with the revolt. Some of his disciples even went ahead to kill Simon Sudbury, Archbishop of Canterbury. Alas, the revolt failed when the rebels’ leader Wat Tyler was killed by the Lord Mayor of London. The government officials later scoured the land and hung numerous rebels as a warning to the people.

Why did Wycliffe oppose the revolt? Because he understood that the battle of the Lord is a spiritual battle, and thus not to be fought with swords and spears. The battle concerns the kingdom of heaven and not the kingdoms on this earth. Moreover, the powers that rule over a country are ordained by God. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Rom. 13:1-2)

On the other hand, Wycliffe was unyielding concerning the doctrines of God’s Word. He continued to preach and teach God’s truth. He spoke and wrote forcefully against the evils that are found in the church, and against the injustices which he saw in the land. Nothing can bend him away from the fight of the faith. 

A point to ponder: How does Wycliffe example relate to our situation as Christians in our country?

We also saw in the film that many sought to lay the blame on John Wycliffe and his teachings after the Peasants’ Revolt. This was despite Wycliffe’s vehement opposition against the revolt. Although he was a man of truth, Wycliffe was misunderstood, maligned and slandered. Similarly, those who want to be faithful in the Lord must be prepared for such persecutions and injustices, yet remain patient in the Lord. Are you prepared?

Lastly, Wycliffe concluded from the Peasant’s Revolt that Reformation cannot happen overnight, but over a period of time. He was also more convicted that the solution was for people to know God’s Word so that they may conduct themselves righteously instead of being involved in foolish and violent acts or being discouraged, Wycliffe redoubled in his efforts to preach and teach God’s Word.

Similarly, the Reformation Battle today is not to be fought with swords and spears, but with the faithful preaching, teaching and living of God’s Word. Let us continue to hold forth the Word of Everlasting life in the ongoing fight for the Lord!



Singapore is moving on an increasingly fast-paced towards a cashless society. While this provides many benefits, it also poses numerous temptations and pitfalls to the Christian. As money becomes increasingly digitised, it is increasingly easy to regard our finances as merely some digits on a screen. Moreover, mobile financial and shopping apps have made it deceptively easy to purchase goods. Thus, we may become careless with our finances. To put it colloquially, it appears as if money is “easy come, easy go”!

This scourge of careless spending has struck some young millennials in China, as reported in the South China Morning Post on 28 May 2017 (“How China’s Young People Became Addicted to Debt”). As it is now easy to borrow money through apps and spend them via the mobile phone, some young Chinese began spending excessively beyond their means. As a result, they end up heavily in debt or in bankruptcy. For a more technical article, see Bloomberg Technology’s “Millennials are Helping Jack Ma’s Financing Firm Become a Debt Giant” published on 17 October 2017.

As believers, we must understand that we are stewards of the resources which God gave to us. We must not foolishly spend it to be feed our lusts, but to further the cause of Christ and His Kingdom. Moreover, the Bible warns us that power is always in the hand of the lender and not the debtor. “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Prov. 22:7)

The guard against frivolous and foolish spending in life is found in Colossians 3:1-2 – “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Let us be prudent with our finances!

Lovingly in Christ,
Preacher Clement Chew