By Ian Wilson (Rated G)
John Jewel was one of the most important theologians of the English Reformation and was instrumental in establishing the Anglican church as a lasting institution. Indeed, in many ways Anglicans owe their continued existence to John Jewel.
Born in Devon in 1522, Jewel became influenced by the Italian Protestant thinker Peter Martyr Vermigli during the reign of King Edward VI. When Queen Mary I repealed all the laws establishing the Church of England, Jewel, like many others, fled to mainland Europe, where he traveled to many of the Protestant nations studying theology and meeting some of the reformers, including Vermigli, in the flesh.
Upon ascending to the throne, Elizabeth I reestablished the legal protections of the English Church, allowing many of the exiled Protestants to return to Britain. Jewel was then made Bishop of Salisbury.
Upon his return, Jewel debated many Roman Catholics, challenging them to produce evidence for their theology and practice from Scripture and church tradition. He eventually published these apologetics in three books: Defense of the Anglican Church, Reply to Thomas Harding and Defense of the Apology.
John Jewel died on September 23, 1571, a defender of the Anglican faith. May we all be willing to defend our beliefs as he did.