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Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Meditating on the 2003 Lambeth Lecture ‘Why do the chattering classes hate Christians?’ I fell to wondering how William Tyndale would have answered.

Being first and foremost a man of the Bible, he would have challenged us as to what it tells us of Our Lord, of some of His experiences and of the early Church’s reaction. Perhaps he would have started by reminding us that the prophet Isaiah (ch 53) said ‘He (Messiah) would be despised and rejected………’ so that the pattern was set some hundreds of years before Our Lord’s Incarnation.

Then I think he would have reminded us of:

Our Lord’s upper room discourse when He said ‘Yf the worlde hate you, ye knowe that he hated me before he hated you’ (John 15v18) and ‘verely verely I saye ynto you, the servaunt is not greater than his master, neither the messenger greater then he that sent him.’ (John 13v16)

The fracas in the synagogue at Nazareth when the furious people, ‘roose vp, and thrust him oute of the cite, and ledde him even vnto the edge of the hill, wher on their cite was bilte, to cast him doune hedlynge’ after He had told them the truth. (Luke 4v24-30)

When His family heard about this, …they thought ‘He had bene beside him selfe’. (Mark 3.21)

The event when the ‘lawears and the Pharises began to wexe busye about him, and to stop his mouth with many questions, layinge wayte for him and sekinge to catche some thing of his mought, whereby they might accuse him.’ On His return to Nazareth…..’And they were offended by him.’ (Matt 13v57)

When the people stood watching His crucifixion and the ‘rulers mocked him with them saying; he holpe other men, let him helpe him selfe. (Luke 23v35)

Then I think Brother Tyndale would remind us that if our Lord was hated in His day, His followers must expect the same treatment. And they were hated – apostles imprisoned, Stephen martyred (and thousands likewise), Saul’s victims ill-treated, believers imprisoned in Philippi.

But William would further remind us that the first century believers, despised as they were, were not letting that rejection hinder their taking the Gospel wherever they went (or even around Jerusalem). To Asia Minor, to mainland Europe, to Rome itself, round the Mediterranean, to India and Ethiopia, they went with the same message of the love of God, His forgiveness and salvation.

Finally, I think Tyndale would have reminded us that it was the despised, humble, derided Christians who, hated though they may have been, ‘these that trouble the worlde, are come hydder also’. (Acts 17v6), including Britain. And the Palace where we heard the lecture is testimony to the spread of Christian truth in our own country.

So despised, hated though we Christians may be, we have to realise that it is exactly what Our Lord told us to expect and is no reason why we should do anything other than obey Our Lord’s instructions and follow the early Christians’ example and take the Gospel wherever we can and answer our challengers with Christian truth.

Yours sincerely, Derek Beckwith, 21 November 2003.

PS. Quotations from William Tyndale’s New Testament of 1534.

TSJ 25 - thanks from WR Cooper

Dear Valerie,

This is just to say a great big thank you for the typically excellent issue of TSJ. I’ve been laid up with a fit of the vapours, but was instantly cheered when it arrived. A merry heart (especially when accompanied by a copy of the TSJ) doeth good like a medicine - Proverbs 17:22! God bless - and thanks again!

Bill. 29 September 2003.

Dear Mrs. Offord,

I was interested in the little piece by Vic Perry on the ‘thats’ in John 1.1 of the 1526 Tyndale Bible. His explanation via Greek and Latin is ingenious, but is there not a simpler, homegrown one?

My knowledge of Old English is sketchy, but I do know that the neuter definite article was ‘thaet’. ‘That word’ would once have been the correct rendering of o logos (cf. das Wort in modern German). Is it not possible that in 1526 Tyndale was using a form which, in the fluidity of sixteenth century English, seemed to him obsolescent or parochial by 1534, and hence was recast as the standard gender-neutral ‘the’, which we now expect?

Yours, Margaret Clark, Shropshire,

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