Rogers matriculated at the University of Wittenberg on 25 November 1540, where he remained for three years, becoming a close friend of Philipp Melanchthon and other leading figures of the early Protestant Reformation. On leaving Wittenberg he spent four and a half years as a superintendent of a Lutheran church in Meldorf, Dithmarschen, near the mouth of the River Elbe in the north of Germany.
Rogers returned to England in 1548, where he published a translation of Philipp Melanchthon's Considerations of the Augsburg Interim.
In 1550 he was presented to the crown livings of St Margaret Moses and St Sepulchre in London, and in 1551 was made a prebendary of St. Paul's, where the dean and chapter soon appointed him divinity lecturer. He courageously denounced the greed shown by certain courtiers with reference to the property of the suppressed monasteries, and defended himself before the privy council. He also declined to wear the prescribed vestments, donning instead a simple round cap. On the accession of Mary [a Catholic] he preached at Paul's Cross commending the "true doctrine taught in King Edward's days," and warning his hearers against "pestilent Popery, idolatry and superstition."
On 16 August 1553 [Rogers] was summoned before the council and bidden to keep within his own house. In January 1554, Bonner, the new Bishop of London, sent him to Newgate Prison, where he lay with John Hooper, Laurence Saunders, John Bradford and others for a year.
In December 1554, Parliament re-enacted the penal statutes against Lollards, and on 22 January 1555, two days after they took effect, Rogers (with ten other people) came before the council at Gardiner's house in Southwark, and defended himself in the examination that took place.
On 28 and 29 January he came before the commission appointed by Cardinal Pole, and was sentenced to death by Gardiner for heretically denying the Christian character of the Church of Rome and the real presence in the sacrament.
He awaited and met death cheerfully, though he was even denied a meeting with his wife. He was burned at the stake on 4 February 1555 at Smithfield.A bust in his memory was erected at St Johns in Deritend in 1853, by public subscrtipion.
Background on the English Reformation...Rev. Rogers was in Germany many years after Martin Luther had started the Reformation of the Christian church there, forming Luteranism. The Bible had been translated into English by John Wycliffe in 1382, and the followers were known as Lollards, a term utilized against Rogers.
King Henry VIII had started protestantism in his pursuit of a male heir, and wanting marriages (some of which he asked the Pope to annul) that would produce one, as well as following his predecesors desire to take back much of the property in England that was owned by the Catholic church in Rome.
Henry's 9 year old son, Edward VI, by Jane Seymour, became king in 1547 upon Henry's death; but Edward VI died in July 1553. There had been many church related factions during his brief reign, including imprisonment and burning at the stake of various church leaders by the various politicians, including closing many monastaries and killing of monks.
Mary came to the throne when a resurgence of Catholicism was supported because of all the factions that had developed during Edward VI reign. Mary was Henry's child by his first (supposedly annulled) marriage to Catherine of Aragon. However the Church of Rome wanted more than just a friendly queen, and she wasn't able to provide all the reparations that the Pope demanded, and there was a shift in power with a new Pope, and so the political turmoil between monarch and Church of Rome kept shifting.
After 1555, the initial reconciling tone of the regime began to harden. The medieval heresy laws were restored. The Marian Persecutions of Protestants ensued and 283 Protestants were burnt at the stake for heresy. This resulted in the Queen becoming known as Bloody Mary, due to the influence of John Foxe.
John Foxe (1516/17– 18 April 1587) was an English historian and martyrologist, the author of Actes and Monuments (popularly known as Foxe's Book of Martyrs), an account of Christian martyrs throughout Western history but emphasizing the sufferings of English Protestants and proto-Protestants from the fourteenth century through the reign of Mary I. Widely owned and read by English Puritans, the book helped mould British popular opinion about the Catholic Church for several centuries.
Full restoration of the Catholic faith in England to its pre-Reformation state would take time [for Queen Mary.] Consequently, Protestants secretly ministering to underground congregations, were planning for a long haul, a ministry of survival. Mary's death in November 1558, childless and without having made provision for a Catholic to succeed her, would undo her [attempt at] consolidation.That was only 5 years that Mary reigned as queen.
Elizabeth I then came to the throne and lived until 1603. Protestantism eventually settled in with the Church of England, (while Rome did not recognize Elizabeth) and various other churches still exemplified divergent ideas.
- Chester, Joseph Lemuel (1861). John Rogers: the Compiler of the First Authorised English Bible. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts. OCLC 257597540. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
- Daniell, David (2003). The Bible in English. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-09930-4.
- Daniell, David (2004). "Rogers, John (c.1500–1555)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2009-02-14.
- Hill, Joseph (1907). The book makers of old Birmingham; authors, printers, and book sellers. Birmingham: Printed at the Shakespeare Press for Cornish Bros. OCLC 3773421.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.