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The Impact of Jan Hus

One of the significant influences on Martin Luther (1483-1546), the great German Reformer, was Jan Hus (1373-1415), the bold and intrepid Reformer of Bohemia. Hus paved the way for Luther’s work, and Luther himself when he was accused of being a “Hussite” declared that he was happy to be identified with a man like Jan Hus. Merle D’Aubigne summarizes the impact of Jan Hus’ ministry in this way,

Jan Hus (1373-1415)

Jan Hus (1373-1415)

“John Huss preached in Bohemia a century before Luther preached in Saxony. He seems to have penetrated deeper than his predecessors into the essence of Christian truth. He prayed to Christ for grace to glory only in his cross and in the inestimable humiliation of his sufferings. But his attacks were directed less against the errors of the Romish church than the scandalous lives of the clergy. Yet he was, if we may be allowed he expression, the John-Baptist of the Reformation. The flames of his pile kindled a fire in the Church that would cast a brilliant light into the surrounding darkness, and whose glimmerings were not to be so readily extinguished.” (D’Aubigne, History of the Reformation, vol. 1, 92)

Thus, Jan Hus became the preeminent catalyst of reform in central Europe during the 15th century. What John Wycliffe initiated in England, Jan Hus carried on in Bohemia, and Luther, Zwingli, Bucer, Melanchthon, Calvin, Bullinger, Knox, and many others would (in time) spread throughout the entire world.

— Dr. Marcus J. Serven