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 Issues | Church History | John Jewell


Great Churchmen  (No 16)

John Jewel

by G.W. Bromiley

Published by Church Book Room Press


One of the less satisfactory features of modern Anglicanism is its tardiness to study and to honour the illustrious Reformers who purified the doctrine and practice of the Church in the sixteenth century. Cranmer and his fellow-martyrs, Ridley and Latimer, cannot altogether be ignored. The work which they carried through, the great inheritance which they have bequeathed in the Book of Common Prayer, and the dramatic nature of their testimony by death have given them a permanent place in history which even their detractors cannot deny to them. The same cannot be said of those who did the work of reform with them, whether as contemporaries under Edward or as successors under Elizabeth. For good or for evil the Church of England has without doubt moved far from the position then taken up. In the course of this shifting or development the life and work of these Anglican Reformers has quite naturally but quite undeservedly been pushed into a background of comparative obscurity.

Amongst the greatest of the Edwardian and Elizabethan Reformers was John Jewell, bishop and scholar, described in his own days as one of the brightest gems in the crown of University learning. Whether we study Jewell from the point of view of moral and pastoral life, as the devoted scholar and bishop, or whether we study him from the theological and intellectual standpoint, as the erudite champion of Reformed Anglicanism, we shall be astonished to discover how great a man this neglected Reformer was. In most of the historical textbooks he receives scant notice. For the most part mention is made only of his famous Apology and perhaps of his patronage of the young Hooker. His works have been collected and admirably edited by the Parker Society, but they lie on library shelves unopened except by the specialist or the rare enthusiast. Yet Jewell is an example of the Anglicanism of the sixteenth century at its very best: conscientious, an indefatigable worker, learned in Scripture and in the Fathers, firm but not prejudiced in his judgments, soundly Reformed in doctrine, an able and diligent pastor.

The loyal churchman who accepts the Reformation Settlement and seeks to understand its value and to enter into its spirit ought constantly to refresh himself by a consideration of the lives of the great men of God of that period. He will find nothing but good from the reading of their works and from reflection upon their activities. These men were not perfect. They did not claim to be. At this point or that they made mistakes and fell short. They had blind spots in their thinking. So have we all. He is a bold man who casts the first stone. The work which under God they accomplished, however, far outweighs the faults which they committed. A recovered interest in the work and in the men of the Reformation period might well be the means of stimulating in our own time a revival in intellectual and spiritual life along Protestant lines. In that hope this present sketch of the life and character and writings of Jewell is written.

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Related Links
John Jewell

BulletOn the English Reformation
BulletFaith of English Churchmen

BulletBromiley - Introduction to Jewell
BulletLife of Jewell
BulletCharacter of Jewell
BulletWorks of Jewell
BulletImportance of Jewell


History Pages
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BulletSynod of Hertford
BulletArchbishop Thomas Cranmer
BulletJohn Calvin
BulletEdmund Grindal
BulletWilliam Whitaker
BulletRyle: Reformers
BulletJohn Davenant
BulletJohn Pearson
BulletJohn Tillotson
BulletGeorge Whitefield
BulletAugustus Toplady
BulletRichard Blakeney
BulletHenry Wace
BulletWilliam Joynson-Hicks

History - Other Sub Issues
BulletChristians in England
BulletRichard Hooker
BulletMartin Luther
BulletNicholas Ridley
BulletRichard Baxter
BulletJames Ussher
BulletJohn Newton
BulletJohn Wesley
BulletCharles Wesley
BulletW H Griffith Thomas
BulletJames Hannington
BulletHenry Martyn
BulletLord Shaftesbury
BulletCharles Simeon
BulletWilliam Wilberforce
BulletThomas Barnardo
BulletF. J. Chavasse
BulletJ. Taylor Smith

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BulletNational Church
BulletGeneral Synod
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BulletOther Faiths

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