CHURCH HISTORYPART 2 The Church During The Dark Ages Clogher Valley Bible Class
The Struggle For Power • The Dark Ages were dominated by the lust of the Papacy for control over the Kings of Europe. • This created a corrupt church which had little desire for spirituality. • Pope John 23rd (955-963 AD) for example was described by his contemporaries as a monster of iniquity.
Hildebrand • Otherwise known as Gregory 7th he determined to make the Papacy dominant. • He decided that the practice of temporal kings appointing Bishops would be stopped once and for all. • He also knew that as half of the wealth of France and Germany belonged to the Church his proposal would make the Papacy all powerful.
The Emperor in the Snow • Holy Roman Emperor Henry 4th refused the Papal decrees. • He was placed under an interdict. • His subjects forced him to go to the Pope for penance. • Gregory made him stand outside barefoot in the snow before he would accept him.
The Murder of Thomas Beckett1150 AD • Henry 2nd of England was in a conflict with the Archbishop of Canterbury. • 4 Knights out of loyalty to their King murdered Thomas in his Cathedral. • The Pope summoned Henry to do penance and the Church was strengthened.
The Humiliation of King John • John attempted to enable the monks of Canterbury to elect their own archbishop. • The Pope placed England under an interdict. • The Pope gave France the authority to seize England. • John submitted to the Pope on condition that he gave England to the Pope who then demanded a rent of 1,000 marks per annum.
The Crusades • Between the 11th and 14th Century there were 7 crusades under the Church to take Jerusalem from the Moslems. • Many thousands died and their efforts failed. • The most infamous was the children’s crusade which involved thousands of children of an average age of 12. Those who did not die were taken as slaves.
Against Such A Depraved Background Could The Truth Prevail? Witnesses For Christ in the Dark Ages Clogher Valley Bible Class
Bernard of Clairvoux • He was a misguided individual who led the 2nd crusade. • Nevertheless he is described as a 12th century Elijah. • He refused high honour preferring the hermit’s life. • He gave the scriptures a prominent place. • Before he died he said, “there are three things on which I base my hopes for eternity: the love of God for his children, the certainty of his promises, and the power by which he makes these promises come true”. • Luther said of him, “I have never heard or read his equal”.
THE DIOCESE OF MILAN This diocese which covered part of Northern Italy and Southern France was the last to submit to the Pope’s rule.
THE BISHOPS OF MILAN • Archbishop Ambrose who died in 397 AD believed in Justification By Faith alone, the authority of the Scriptures alone and in their being two sacraments. • Rufinus in the 5th Century wrote a treatise on the Creed that could have been Protestant. • In the 6th Century , Bishop Laurentius, said a man could be forgiven without confessing to the priest.
THE BISHOPS OF MILAN • In 590 AD nine bishops rejected communion with Rome and regarded the Pope as an heretic. • Bishop Mansuetus believed the whole faith was in the Apostle’s Creed, in the 7th Century. • In the 8th Century Bishop Paulinus rejected the doctrine of the Mass.
Claudius, Archbishop of Turin, Light in an Age of Darkness • He publicly opposed the writings of Paschasius Radbertus who promoted the Mass. • That Christ alone is the Head of the Church. • That the Popes are not in Apostolic succession. • That the relics are of no value and should be returned to the grave. • He condemned the use of images in worship breaking the 2nd Commandment. • He had such authority that only two dared to publicly oppose him during his 20 years of ministry.
Milan Finally Defeated • This Diocese lost her independence just before the arrival of Hildebrand. • The clergy protested. • The Papal envoy was threatened with death. • The bells were rang to show the opposition of the people. • The cry was, “…the Ambrosian Church was not subject to the laws of Rome; that it had been always free, and could not, with honour, surrender its liberties.”
The Legacy of Milan and Claudius • The Waldensians. • A Church sited in 7 beautiful valleys. • In The Italian Alps. • Their geography enabled them to be separate.
The Waldensian Church • She protested against the submission of the Diocese of Milan to the Bishop of Rome. • In the central valley they held an annual synod of ministers. • There was a college here from which missionaries were sent to the outside world.
The Theology of the Waldensians • The “Nobla Leycon” is one of their ancient statements of faith. • They believed in the Trinity. • As a result of man’s fall only the grace of God can save a soul. • Professing believers must live holy lives. • That the body will be resurrected to enjoy eternal heaven. • They rejected the doctrines and claims of the Papacy speaking of him “as the harlot of the Apocalypse”. • Their New Testament was the earliest translation from the Greek language.
The Legacy of the Paulicans • Constantine of Armenia receives a Bible and leaves the Church forming a movement based upon the teachings of Paul. • After his martyrdom the officer, called Simeon, who superintended his execution is converted and becomes a new leader, he too is martyred. • Their greatest leader was Sergius who for 34 years travelled throughout Asia and Europe winning many converts. • They suffered cruelly but their teachings became disseminated throughout Europe thus preserving the gospel stream.
The Suffering of the Albigenses • These were a people who lived in Southern France. • They turned away from the Roman Church through the Word of God. • In the 13th Century tens of thousands were butchered as the Papacy brought this territory back to the Church.
PROTESTANTS BEFORE PROTESTANTISM Preparing the Way for the Reformers Clogher Valley Bible Class
JOHN WYCLIFFE • Often called “The Morning Star of the Reformation”. • The first to translate the Scriptures into English.
A Scholar With a Heart • Attended Oxford at 16 years of age. • The Black Death of 1349 made a profound impact upon him when about 1/3 of the population died. • In 1361 he became a master of Balliol College and later became Doctor of Theology. • He developed great skill as a writer.
A True Patriot • King John refused to pay the money that the Pope demanded. • Wycliffe supported the King in a pamphlet. • He represented his country at a meeting with Papal Officers in 1374. • The King rewarded him with an Appointment to the Crown Living in Lutterworth, Leicestershire.
Wycliffe Clashes With The Church • He denounced the monks for their laziness and begging. • He spoke against the use of images, pilgrimages, indulgences and masses for the dead. • He denounced the Pope as Antichrist. • In 1377 he was summoned to a Convocation of the Church. • He was protected by John of Gaunt, the King’s Son. • The Pope issued 5 Bulls against him and condemned him on 19 charges.
The Crisis of 1381 • Wycliffe condemns transubstantiation. • He loses the support of Oxford and the King and has the weight of the Church against him. • He is blamed for the Peasant’s Revolt. • No-one would dare touch him because of his popularity among the common people. • John of Gaunt advises him to abandon his work of reform.
The Poor Preachers • From Lutterworth Wycliffe send his preachers through England. • They were nicknamed Lollards or Poor Preachers. • They were persecuted yet Wycliffe was untouched before his death in 1384.
Digging For His Bones • In 1415 the Council of Constance ordered that his bones be dug up and refused reburial. • The Bishop of Lincoln burned his bones in 1428 and scattered his ashes into the River Swift. • “And though his bones from the grave were torn, Long after his life was ended, The sound of his words, to times unborn, Like trumpet-call descended.”
John Huss • Born in Bohemia, 1369. • At 34 he was appointed rector of Prague University. • He became troubled partly as a result of reading Wycliffe’s writings. • Huss left his lucrative position to become the preacher in a church built for the poor people known as Bethlehem Chapel.
Bohemia • In 1382 Anne of Bohemia married Richard 2nd of England. • She had a remarkable love for God’s Word. • Her influence enabled the writings of Wycliffe to become widely available in Bohemia.
Excommunication • He was excommunicated and Prague placed under an interdict for his criticisms of the church. • In 1414 he was summonsed before the Council of Constance. • Despite assurances of safe passage by the Emperor he was burned for his alleged heresies.
The Aftermath of Huss • His followers called Hussites fought a 15 year war for the independence of Bohemia. • In Prague 13 members of the council were thrown out of the windows for refusing to release prisoners whose only crime was their faith. • The Hussites lost the political struggle but the faith of their great leader remained in Bohemia.
The Light is About To Shine Next week we shall think about the Reformation which men like Huss and Wycliffe longed to see.