The Goose of Truth- A Historical Look at John Hus

April 19, 2009

The other day when I was looking on Southeastern’s podcast to find the recording for Dr. Akin’s “Axioms” message I stumbled upon another message whose title caught my eye.  It was called “John Hus: The Defender of Truth.”  I was intrigued by this title because not too long ago I myself first came into contact with the person of John Hus and spent some time reading through biographical information about him and just why he was considered by the first president of Czechoslovakia to be the greatest Czech man to ever live.

As it turns out, John Hus was a reformer who preceded the well-known Reformation (led by Calvin and Luther) by 100 years.  Living and teaching in Prague, Hus was a Bohemian at the height of Bohemia, when Prague served as the capital of the Holy Roman Empire.  Yet Hus was influenced not so much by the Catholic clergy in his homeland, but instead by the work of British Bible translator John Wycliffe.  During his ministry, Hus saw to the translation of the text of Scripture into Czech, to the preaching of Scripture to all kinds of people in the Czech language, and to the open rebuke of the sins of Catholic clergy among the Czech people.  For awhile Hus enjoyed protection through the loyalty of the Czechoslovakian ruler, but as time wore on, the power, money and influence of the Catholic church won out and Hus was excommunicated, exiled, and eventually burnt as a heretic.  His legacy however lived far longer than he did in things such as the Moravian church (who started the modern missions movement) and his prophetic statement about Martin Luther.

In the faculty lecture from Southeastern that was delivered by Professor Solc, the life of Hus is expounded on in greater detail than I have done above, with the importance of looking back to Hus being exemplified for us in the postmodern context of today.  This lecture may be a little dry for some of you, but for serious students of Christian history or those who are interested in learning about the lesser-known players in God’s work in the church, this is certainly a message well worth catching.  You can check it out here.

(By the way, the ‘goose’ refernence in the title has to do with Professor Solc’s observation during his message that the name ‘Hus’ actually means ‘goose’ in  Bohemian and that this led to a specific, somewhat comical remark in Hus’s prophetic statement looking forward to Luther.)