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Oxford Movement

A discussion of movements to restore primitive Christianity would hardly be complete without mentioning the Oxford Movement of the early 1800s—even though it was actually a reforming movement rather than a restitutionist movement.

This movement began as a crusade by ministers and professors at Oxford University, calling for Christians of their day to return to the faith and practices of the ancient church. Through their labors, the leaders of this movement ignited considerable interest in the early church. In fact, they published quite a few of the early Christian writings in leaflet form, making them available to the Christian public for two pence per pamphlet. For the first time in history, the common people of England could read for themselves the account of Polycarp's martyrdom in English at a price they could afford.

Edward Pusey, one of the main leaders of this movement, personally launched a fifty volume set of translations of the early Christian writers, calling it the Library of the Fathers. In fact, it's largely through the influence of the Oxford Movement that affordable translations of the early Christian writers are now available in English. Because of the groundwork laid by the Oxford men, ordinary Christians today can discover for themselves what early Christianity was really like.


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