I really enjoyed learning about Wycliffe & Huff and other individuals who fought for what they believed in and died in the process. I think that Martin Luther generally gets most of the spotlight and is a big name associated with the reformation, but it is important to know that many people before him died fighting for the same cause attempting to alter the traditions and behaviors of the church.
A quote that stood out to me in Chapter 5 was that “Faith is not a ‘work’, not something we can ‘do’, but is rather a gift from God that one accepts in surrendered trust.” (p 90). Faith in the eyes of Luther wasn’t something that someone could achieve by doing as they were told by the church. Faith to him wasn’t something that people could merely gain from attending services. Faith was something people had to recognize for themselves. Faith was something that one was supposed to experience on their own instead of being told what faith is supposed to mean. And during this period of time, this was an entirely new vision of what faith meant.
I think that it was great that the people during the Renaissance used their expanding knowledge and ability to read in order to question people of higher authority such as the pope (or popes, since there always seemed to be a problem with there being more than just one in the past). Even today it is vastly important that people question their leaders instead of just taking their word as the truth and following and doing as they say.
The way I see it is that religion/reading the Bible back then before the Renaissance was like signing an important contract. In each case, whether literally or figuratively, people want you to sign your name and agree to the terms and conditions. The main problem is that back then, the Bible wasn’t in a language that the common church goers could read for themselves and the majority of them were illiterate. Instead of experiencing the book and interpreting it for themselves, someone was doing it for them. They were getting a one-sided glance into these Bible stories, but didn’t get to understand them on their own. My point is, in contracts and religion you have to comprehend the fine print and realize what you can and cannot do. You need to know the situations that are okay and which are not, and you can’t fully grasp the consequences unless you personally read the text for yourself. Having the Bible translated and having the general population become more educated and stand up for themselves is a very important part of history. Imagine what lack of religious diversity we would have today if nobody ever stood up and defended their right to worship God on their own terms.