Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue, published in 1529, was the first attack in the polemic war that developed between More and William Tyndale. Published about a year after the Church gave More permission to read the works of “heretics” so that he could refute them, the dialogue was a “true believer’s” defense of the Roman Catholic Church.

Tyndale’s Answer to Sir Thomas More’s Dialogue was published in 1531, printed probably at Antwerp, and was a point-by-point response to More’s onslaughts. In this selection, Tyndale focuses on justification being by faith, rather than by the works endorsed by the Church.

Our love and good works make not God first love us, nor change him from hate to love, as the Turks, the Jews, and the vain popish mean. No, His love and deeds make us love, and change us from hate to love. For He loved us when we were evil, and His enemies, as testifieth Paul in divers places; and chose us to make us good and to show us love, and to draw us to Him, that we should love again.

The father loveth his child, when it hath no power to do good, and when it must be suffered to run after its own lusts without law; and never loveth it better than then, to make it better, and to show it love, to love again. If ye could see what is written in the first epistle of John, though all the other Scripture were laid apart, ye should see all this.

And ye must understand, that we sometime dispute forward, from the cause to the effect; and sometime backward, from the effect to the cause, and must beware that we be not therewith beguiled. Sometime we say, “Summer is come, and therefore all is green”; we dispute forward, for summer is the cause of greenness. Other time we say, “The trees be green, and therefore summer is come”; we dispute ...

Subscriber Access OnlyYou have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Already a CT subscriber? for full digital access.