Wycliffe cared deeply for the poor and common folk and railed against the abuses of the Church. The Church owned over one-third of the land in England. Clergy were often illiterate and immoral. High offices in the church were bought or given out as political plums. But the problems went even deeper. Wycliffe, a devoted student of the Bible, saw that some of the doctrines of the church had departed from biblical moorings. Based on his study of the Scripture, John wrote and preached against the teachings about purgatory, the sale of indulgences, and the doctrine of transubstantiation.
Even John's highly placed political friends deserted him. Church authorities had him banished from his university teaching post at Oxford. But his exile turned into a kind of liberation. Some of his students joined him at the parish church in Lutterworth. There they undertook the monumental task of translating all the Scriptures into English, working from a handwritten Latin translation that was over 1000 years old. And they continued John Wycliffe's practice of training "poor preachers," known as Lollards, who took the Word out to the common people across the land.
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