Rogers, John

Rogers, John

▪ English Monarchist leader
born 1627, Messing, Essex, Eng.
died 1665, or after

      Fifth Monarchist leader in Cromwellian England.

      The second son of an Anglican vicar, Rogers studied at King's College, Cambridge. From 1643 to 1647 he taught and preached in Huntingdonshire and then, following his Presbyterian ordination, was appointed rector of Purleigh, Essex. Increasingly dissatisfied with Presbyterian theology and discipline, he renounced his ordination in 1648. As lecturer at St. Thomas Apostle's Church, London, he espoused Independency and spoke in favour of the Long Parliament. At the request of the Parliament he ministered at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (1651–52).

      When he returned to England, Rogers joined the extreme Puritans known as the Fifth Monarchists and, by 1653, was one of the leaders of this millennial sect seeking government by the church according to Biblical prophecy. After Oliver Cromwell established the Protectorate, Rogers condemned him as an apostate and demanded freedom of religion and, as a consequence, was imprisoned at Lambeth Palace in July 1654. Because from his cell he continued to provide leadership for the movement, Rogers was transferred to Windsor Castle in March 1655 and then to Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight, where he was confined until January 1657. For seeking to establish an ecumenical alliance of Puritans and sectaries to pursue sweeping reform, he was imprisoned for part of 1658.

      After Cromwell's death, Rogers called for a republican government. In 1659 he was sent to Ireland as a preacher, was appointed a military chaplain and, later that year was briefly imprisoned once more by the army leaders before being freed by Parliament. Weary of the political chaos in England, he went into exile in the Netherlands, where he studied medicine, graduating M.D. at Utrecht (1662). He returned to England in December 1662 to practice medicine.

▪ English religious reformer
born c. 1500, , Aston, Staffordshire, Eng.
died Feb. 4, 1555, Smithfield, London

      religious Reformer and the first Protestant martyr of the English queen Mary I's reign. He was the editor of the English Bible published (1537) under the pseudonym Thomas Matthew.

      A graduate of the University of Cambridge (1526), he was made rector of Holy Trinity, Queenhithe, London, about 1532 and two years later became a chaplain to English merchants at Antwerp. There the English scholar William Tyndale (Tyndale, William) influenced him to forsake Roman Catholicism for Protestantism. After Tyndale was betrayed and executed in 1536, Rogers combined Tyndale's translation of the Old Testament, which was complete through 2 Chronicles, with the remaining books from the translation by another English scholar, Miles Coverdale, and added Tyndale's New Testament (1526). This version of the complete Bible, which also included Coverdale's translation of the Apocrypha, was first printed in Antwerp in 1537 by one Thomas Matthew; this pseudonym probably was intended to protect Rogers from meeting Tyndale's fate, and the Rogers edition was shortly afterward sold in England. Although Rogers had little to do with the actual translation, he supplied notes and valuable prefaces that constitute the first English commentary on the Bible. His work formed the basis of the Great Bible (1539), from which the Bishops' Bible (1568) and the Authorized, or King James, Version (1611) came.

      Rogers returned to England in 1548 from Germany, where he had served a Protestant congregation in Wittenberg, and published a translation of the German Reformer Philipp Melanchthon's Considerations of the Augsburg Interim. Appointed a prebendary of St. Paul's Cathedral in London in 1551, Rogers was soon made a divinity lecturer. On the accession in 1553 of the Roman Catholic queen, Mary I, he preached an anti-Catholic sermon warning against “pestilent Popery, idolatry, and superstition” and was immediately placed under house arrest. In January 1554 the bishop of London sent him to Newgate, where he was imprisoned for a year. With 10 other prisoners he was brought before a council in Southwark in January 1555 for examination, and within a week he was sentenced to death by burning for heresy.

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Universalium. 2010.

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