Subscribe now

Bitesize Biography – John Hooper

By Pete Sullivan
September 2014 | Review by Ben Wilkerson
  • Publisher: EP Books
  • ISBN: 978-1-78397-009-4
  • Pages: 158
  • Price: 6.99
Buy this book »

Book Review

John Hooper
Pete Sullivan
EP Books (Bitesize Biography)
158 pages, £6.99
ISBN: 9781783970094
Star rating : 4

Pete Sullivan’s biography of John Hooper is a brief but excellent account of the last few years of Hooper’s life. This period, during which he received the bishoprics of Worcester and Gloucester and died a martyr’s death, demonstrated his character and theology at its best.

The first four chapters describe the events leading up to Hooper’s eventual appointment as Bishop of Gloucester. From 154950, Hooper faced many trials and hardships. In many fierce debates on the Lord’s Supper, Hooper was opposed by Catholic priests Stephen Gardiner and Edmund Bonner.

Also, Hooper, bound by his firm conviction regarding oaths and vestments, tenaciously resisted his appointment by Edward VI to a bishopric, until, after a short time in prison, he submitted to vestments and the appointment.

The next three chapters in Sullivan’s book deal with Hooper’s tenure as Bishop of Gloucester and Worcester. Hooper’s tenure as bishop and pastor in these parishes was marked by reformation in all levels of society. Sullivan’s treatment of Hooper in this section is fair as he expounds Hooper’s methods of reforming the church and disciplining any who transgressed the law.

The final chapters give an account of Hooper’s years of imprisonment and eventual martyrdom. The persecution under Mary I was perhaps one of the most brutal periods of English history and Hooper received the brunt of it. He was confined to the worst of prisons and treated brutally by his jailer and those opposed to him.

Yet, in the midst of such trials, Hooper’s devotion to prayer, his reliance on Christ and his belief to the bitter end in the Scriptures, leave a wonderful example.

He died on 9 February 1555 by being slowly burnt alive at the stake in Gloucester. A monument was built on the exact spot where he died, with an inscription showing his devotion to the ‘witness of Jesus and for the Word of God’ (p.143).

This book is notable for its singular clarity and fair exposition of a man devoted to God. Sullivan does not venerate his subject, but expounds Hooper’s life as a sinner saved by God’s grace, and as a man who stood for what he believed in. Sullivan adopts a readable style and leaves the reader hungry for the next chapter. It is well worth reading.

Ben Wilkerson








Book Reviews

Read our latest book reviews

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Never Enough: Confronting Lies about Appearance and Achievement with Gospel Hope
Sarah Ivill

Never Enough is a well-written, thoughtfully structured series of ‘teachable moments’ based on the author’s own testimony of suffering from eating disorders and a battle between fitness and obsession. Ivill talks of how her need to be romantically loved made…

See all book reviews
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
God’s design for women in an age of gender confusion
Sharon James

Is our belief in male headship culturally outdated, and should we see alternative ideas of marriage as ‘progress’? Is it possible to be born into the wrong body, and is sexual freedom good for women? Does Scripture show us a…

Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
Sexuality and Identity (trilogy)
Owen Strachan and Gavin Peacock

These three punchy books address pressing issues: what the Bible teaches about lust (on desire), about homosexuality (on Biblical sexuality) and about transgenderism (on identity). The trilogy approach keeps each book short and focused while dovetailing effectively. Each book has…

Star RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar RatingStar Rating
A Beginner’s Guide To Church History
Philip Parsons

This book is a must-read for every Christian, which covers a wide period from the apostolic age to the church under Communism. There are numerous excellent works on church history, like Philip Schaff’s eight volumes, or Andrew Miller’s three volumes,…