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#1 darrel

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 06:12 PM

Are there any references to or threads discussing the chronalogy and family tree of christian religions. We know they all started from the Constantine church that was decided by the Nicean council. Do we have the succession and branching from there.

#2 Faded

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:44 PM

Here's a very rough sketch of Christianity.

http://upload.wikime...ityBranches.svg

No, it is not quite true that everything starts with Constantine. The Assyrian and Armenian branches of Christianity were well established during the life of Constantine, but they were not within the borders of the Roman Empire. Much of the Orthodoxy of the Christians at the time of Constantine came by way of the Roman Emperor enforcing it. But the Armenians and Assyrians were not under the Emperor's command, so they were not necessarily as affected. It it however true that the Armenians (and I think the Assyrians too) deferred to the Bishop of Antioch, and Antioch certainly was within the borders of the Empire.
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#3 Faded

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:47 PM

Here is a better map of Protestantism. There's a lot of crossing influences and partial moves from one group into anther that the first chart doesn't quite do justice to.
http://upload.wikime...antbranches.svg
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#4 Faded

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 09:50 PM

While we're at it:

Posted Image

Edited by Faded, 26 August 2010 - 09:53 PM.

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#5 darrel

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:46 PM

Thank you Faded. I did not realize that the Armanian and Assyrian were "Christian" I understand that the constantine church was the "Church of state" for the Roman Empire. Were not the doctrine, organization and religious cerimonies established by the Nicean Council. Is this also where the many "scriptural" documents were dedided on to be included in the bible to be used to support the Nicean doctrine set forth?

#6 darrel

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Posted 26 August 2010 - 10:51 PM

Oops the first two maps did not open but the third one did.

#7 Faded

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 01:39 PM

Thank you Faded. I did not realize that the Armanian and Assyrian were "Christian" I understand that the constantine church was the "Church of state" for the Roman Empire. Were not the doctrine, organization and religious cerimonies established by the Nicean Council.

One interesting detail you probably also didn't know: Roughly HALF of Arab Americans are either Assyrian Christians or Armenian Christians.

They've fled their homelands in the middle east because the Muslim majority has done some terrible things to them. Early on when Muslim conquests swept over their homeland in modern Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran, etc, Islam was much more tolerant than it is today. They've lived for about 1300 years as an isolated Christian minority. As Islam started to decline and the West started to overshadow the Islamic world, things got worse and worse for the Armenians and Assyrians. It all came to a head when last great Muslim empire, the Ottoman Empire perpetuated the first great Holocaust in modern times: The Armenian Holocaust. And estimated 1,500,000 Armenian Christians were rounded up and massacred by the Empire from 1912 to 1918 -- so throughout World War 1.

Hitler would later use the Armenian Hollocaust as an excuse for his own genocide: "Our strength is our quickness and our brutality. Genghis Khan had millions of women and children hunted down and killed, deliberately and with a gay heart. History sees in him only as the great founder of States. What the weak Western European civilization alleges about me, does not matter. I have given the order—and will have everyone shot who utters but one word of criticism—that the aim of this war does not consist in reaching certain geographical lines, but in the enemies' physical elimination. Thus, for the time being only in the east, I put ready my Death's Head units, with the order to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language. Only thus will we gain the living space that we need. After all, who still remembers of the extermination of the Armenians?"

The sad fact is that Hitler is largely right. Very few people remember the Armenian Holocaust.
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#8 Faded

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 04:36 PM

Christian religious historians consider the Church to have been whole and united from Christ's death in 33 AD till the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, but it this hardly the case. There were great doctrinal divisions, and when certain Eccumenical Councils convened, they tread right on the toes of those divergent sets of doctrine.

The Assyrian Christians broke away in 431 First Council of Ephesus by refused to accept the condemnation of Archbishop Nestorius of Constantinope. To make a long story short, it was nitpicking over the Nature of God. The Church in the Selucid Empire (Mesopotamia and Persia) cut itself off from the rest of the Church, in what is now called the Nestorian Schism. The reason they were able to break away was because they were not in the borders of the Roman Empire, so the Emperor could not force the issue. In 498 their leader "the Catholicos" assumed the title of "Patriarch of the East." Kindof like "The Pope of the Eastern Church". For many centuries this was one of the most successful missionary Christian churches. They continued to spread throughout Persia, Tartary (modern Kazakstan area), Mongolia, China, and India, developing on lines of its own. It saw very little influence from the rest of Christendom. During the time of Ghengis Khan's Empire (1206–1250) there was an emissary sent by the Pope to try to convert the Mongols in hopes of diminishing their brutal conquests. He discovered that there was already a large Christian minority among the Mongols -- probably 10-20%. These were converts to the Assyrian (sometimes called Nestorian) Christian Church.

Armenia was the first country to adopt Christianity as its official religion in 301 AD -- and that's before the reign of Constantine (306 AD to 337 AD) and the Council of Nicea in 325 AD. The Armenian Apostolic Church traces its origins to the missions of Apostles Bartholomew and Thaddeus in the 1st century. The nation of Armenia today sits just north of Iran in the Caucassus region. The Armenian Church also split with the rest of the Church. Once again it was a dispute over the nature of God and Christ. The Armenian Church rejected the decisions of the Council of Chalcedon in 451 AD. In 554 AD they officially severed all ties with Rome and Constantinople.

Georgia (north of Armenia) and Ethiopia are two other Christian nations their doctrines developed somewhat independantly from the Catholic Church because they were cut off and isolated from it.

Is this also where the many "scriptural" documents were dedided on to be included in the bible to be used to support the Nicean doctrine set forth?

The cannonization of the Bible was a gradual process, but was more or less finished by 419 AD via the Synod of Hippo, and the First and Second Council of Carthage. There was some dispute about the validity of Hebrews, James, 2nd Peter, 2nd and 3rd John, and the Revelation of John. The rest of the New Testament was generally accepted -- though certainly not compiled into one book -- by 200 AD, so well before the Council of Nicaea.
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#9 darrel

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 05:22 PM

This is very interesting Faded. Thank you. My limited understanding of the major split with the Catholic of Rome and Orthodox Greek occured after about 1000 AD. Is that right?

#10 Faded

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 07:57 PM

Correct. It's generally known as the Great Schism.

To better understand it, you have to understand how leadership sorted itself out in the early Christian Church. All of the Apostles were killed off, leaving a vacuum of power. In process of time, the general consensus was that a Pentarchy of the five most important bishops was the highest authority in the Church. These bishops were of the cities Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria and Rome. It may be of interest that all but Rome took the title "Patriarch" while Rome's bishop added "Pope" to his title. They mean (or came to mean) pretty much the same thing: "Presiding Father." The Eastern Church still sometimes refers to the Pope as "Patriarch of Rome."

For a good comparison, lets imagine a hypothetical future where the USA meets with huge disaster that erradicates the entire Federal Government and all of the State governments as well. The leaderless nation flounders for awhile. The mayors of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Philidelphia -- as leaders of the most important cities -- jump in and start leading. Bereft of any other leadership, it's only natural that Americans recovering from cateclism would be happy to follow their lead. Why would they care whether the mayors had any legitimate right to lead the nation, you follow any leader when there isn't any other leadership.

It should be noted that the Emperors of the Eastern and Western Empire were often viewed as the highest authority in Christendom. This traditional recognition of Imperial authority over the Church continued in the Byzantine Empire, where the Emperors remained powerful nearly a thousand years after emperors in Rome had ceased to exist. In many ways, the Pope filled the power vacuum left by the demise of Western emperors.

From the First Council of Nicaea till the mid 600 AD, the Emperors and this Pentarchy of the Five Patriarchs presided over the Christian Church.

Just after 600 AD, Jerusalem, Antioch and Alexandria all fell to the Persian Empire briefly, and were subsequently reconquered by the Byzantine Roman Empire. Then came the Islamic conquests of the Arabs. Antioch fell to the Arabs in 637 AD. Then Jerusalem fell to Arab Muslim conquest in 638 AD. Alexandria was conquered by the Arab Muslims in 641 AD. Some were reconquered, either by the Byzantines, or the Armenians or the Crusaders, but all such attempts to recover those cities were short lived. You can imagine the effect. Three of Christendom's great cities rapidly declined in their presumed authority.

This left just Constantinople and Rome. Both had their own delusions of supremacy over the whole Church. Rome had always been the more isolated of the 5 ruling Patriarchs. Constantinople repeatedly tried to assert dominance over the other Greek-speaking Patriachs: Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria. Seen as the non-Greek outsider, Rome often played mediator in the ensuing fights. This reinforced for both Constantinople and Rome the notion that they were supreme leader of Christendom.

It started to come to a head when Pope Nicholas attempted to remove Patriarch Photius and reappoint Ignatius as the Patriarch of Constantinople by his own authority and decree. This did not sit well with the Byzantine Roman Emperor, who was considered superior to both Pope and Patriarch of Constantinople by the Byzantines. The Pope was trying to undo something he had no right to meddle in, in the Emperor's view.

Three Councils were convened at Constantinople to sort the matter out, but it probably just made things worse. First they removed Photios as Patriarch and reinstated Ignatius. Then they re-removed Ignatius and reinstated Photios. Then the Council excommunicated Pope Nicholas and rejected his claims of supremacy. Then a new Emperor, Basil the Macedonian, came to power. He favored Ignatius. Photios was condemned as a heretic and Ignatius was reinstated as Patriarch of Constantinople. I suppose this left everyone claiming victory. The Pope and the Emperor both got their way.

It all finally came to a head in 1054 AD. Patriarch Michael I of Constantinople started things off by condemning the Western Church's "Judaistic" practice of using unleavened bread in communion (among other things). Pope Leo IX responded to the accusations by asserting his own supremacy as Pope, and sent and emissaries to deliver the Pope's letter responding to the accusations. Naturally, the Patriarch refused to accept the Pope's supreme authority. The emissaries then completed their second mission -- delivering a letter of excommunication from Pope Leo IX to Patriarch Michael I.

It should be noted that by the time these emissaries delived the letter excommunicating Michael I, Pope Leo IX had already died. Leo's emmissaries authority ceased with Leo's life, so the excommunication was technically invalid.

The official reason for excommunication was the deletion of the some words from the Nicene Creed-- which was a completely backwards accusation. The Church in Rome had added those words, known as "Filioque" to the Nicene Creed and the Eastern Churches had never recognized the addition.

From that day forward, the Patriachs of Alexandria, Jerusalem and Constantinople have remained separated from the Patriarch of Rome (the Pope). There have been numerous failed attempts to reunite East with West.

Oddly, the real ecclesiastical power in the Eastern Empire, the Emperor himself, was never excommunicated. Of course the Emperor ceased to be a factor in 1453 when the Ottoman Empire finally overtook Constantinople, slaughtering most of it's inhabitants and selling the remainder into slavery. There would never again be an Eastern Roman Emperor after that.

The succession of four Eastern Patriarchs within the Muslim ruled lands has continued unbroken till today, though obviously their authority is greatly diminished.

In a very real sense, you might consider the Pope a beneficiary of the demise of his fellow Patriarchs as well as the Emperors. The Pope effectively becomes the last man standing.
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#11 darrel

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 08:11 PM

I wondered where the word Pope came from. We cannot find it in biblical references that I know of.

We understand that the authority to pass on the Melchizdek Priesthood was lost with the death of the Apostles. How can the claims for authority by the "churches" after that be considered valad.

Also is it true that much of the ritual of the churches was introduced as a carryover from pagan ritual.

#12 Faded

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Posted 27 August 2010 - 10:12 PM

There is a tremendous influx of paganism into the practices of Christendom, that is true. It also does the early Christian Church no favors when, by virtue of declaring Christianity a state religion, Emperor Constantine and his successors ultimately usurped real leadership of The Church. Catholic Apologists will tell you differently, but history tells a different tale. The Emperor was the head of the Church for all intents and purposes. Constantine took that role upon himself before he was even baptized as a Christian!

Their claim to leadership really isn't that complicated. The Apostles were all dead, and the Church came to believe that was the way God intended it to happen. So if God meant for the Apostles to die out, then God must have meant for someone to lead the Church thereafter, right?

This is where it starts getting a bit ridiculous. The bishops of both Rome and Antioch claim that Peter was once the Bishop of their city. Of the two, Rome's claim is the more ludicrous. Peter did lead the Church from both Jerusalem and Antioch. The only time he even set foot in Rome was as a Roman prisoner, and tradition holds that it was at Rome that Peter was put to death. But ridiculous or not, Roman Catholics adamantly declare that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, and therefore his successors as Bishop of Rome were also successors to his preeminence in the Church. This is the foundation on which the Pope's entire authority stands.

As already stated, Antioch claims apostolic successorship through Peter. Alexandria likewise claims authoritative successorship from Saint Mark. Jerusalem claims successorship from James. Constantinople, interestingly enough, does not (as far as I'm aware) lay claim on any of the Apostles, but her bishop became the recognized "greatest among equals" because Constantine rules from Constantinople.

It should be noted that the Eastern Church developed very differently from the Roman Catholic Church. The Patriarch of Constantinople is only viewed as the "greatest among equals" and his preeminence is nothing like that of the Pope in the West. In the West, there was indeed an ecclesiastical and political power vacuum left by the demise of the line of emperors. The same cannot be said for the Eastern Orthodox Church, who went from having an Emperor and Supreme Church Leader directly to being under the thumb of the Muslim Ottoman Empire. So there was no logical single leader for the Orthodox Church.

The Russians claim successorship to the Emperor's mantle in their Tsars (which is a Russian spelling for Cesars), but this is only accepted in the Russian Orthodox Church. The rest of the Eastern Church did not recognize the Tsar's authority. The remainder were left organizationally pretty much as they were when Constantinople fell.

If there is a leader over the Eastern Orthodox Church, it's the Patriarch of Constantinople.
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#13 darrel

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 02:15 AM

I find it very interesting that the various claims to the "Authority" to carry on Christ's Church do not follow the example of Christ. If we so strongly believe in the unchanging nature of God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son as taught in the scriptures, it appears that the changes that were made were not even close to the organization or pattern established by Christ himself.

After the time of the "Great Scism", how long before there began to be protesters to the church?

#14 Faded

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 03:41 PM

There were always various sects that sought to break with the official Church dogma. Those that survived became separate denominations. Those that were successfully erradicated by the Church were dubbed heresies.

There is a very long list of them: Catholic Heresies

Pre-Reformation

Before the more successful Protestant Reformation, there were a number of events and groups that set the stage to make a break with Rome not only possible, but practically inevitable.

The first divergence from Roman Catholicism to survive were the Waldensians, founded about 1177 by Peter Waldo. Waldensians believed in poverty and austerity, public preaching, personal study of the scriptures and and freedom of conscience. They challenged the authority of the Roman Catholic Church on the basis of their belief that it was not based on the Scriptures. The Catholic Church tried to erradicate them and almost succeeded, but not quite. The sect survives to this day, albeit in small numbers. The failure of the Church to eliminate them did not have a very significant impact historically, but many major Protestant were influenced by the Waldensians to varying degrees.

One of the major events that hurt the credibility of the Roman Catholic Church was the Avignon Papacy from 1305 to 1377 AD. The Roman Catholic Church refers to this period as the Babylonian Captivity. The French had played a significant role in establishing the Pope's preeminent authority over all of Western Europe, and attained equal clout with Italy within the Church. They came to resent the exclusive control Italy had over the Papacy, and this was reflected in the fact that there was an equal number of French and Italian Cardinals -- and if you know anything about Cardinals, you know that they elect the new Pope when the reigning Pope dies of them dies. Things heated up when a newly elected French Pope, Clement V (elected 1305), refused to go to Rome. The Pope had always been the Bishop of Rome, yet Clement V refused to go to Rome after his election. Instead he was crowned in Lyons, France and then set up papal rule in Avignon, France. And he had good cause. Wars between the private armies of Roman aristocrats had turned the city into a nightmarish war-zone. The Basilica of St. John Lateran (the official cathedral of the Pope) had been torched and was unusable. Rome was not a very safe place to be.

The unintended consequences were firstly that Clement V acted very much like a puppet of the King of France. Secondly, Clement V became the first of a series of seven Popes who reigned in Avignon. The Bishop of Rome was not longer residing in Rome. The city itself had always granted a certain aura of authority, hearkening back to the glory days of Roman power. Now the Papacy looked more like a puppet to of the Kingdom of France than the highest religious authority in the world, (as the Pope claims to be.) Things got much worse before they got better. The seventh of the line of Avignon popes, Gregory XI, returned to Rome on January 17, 1377. Gregory XI died a year later, which likely wasn't enough to solidly reestablish Rome as the seat of the Pope. After Gregory's death, the cardinals elected an Italian Pope, Urban VI. That same year, the French cardinals in Avignon elected a French Pope, Clement VII. So now, Western Europe who had well the supremacy of the Pope well established in their minds was confronted with two Popes at the same time. Clement VII and Urban VI excommunicated each other of course, each man insisting that he was the true Pope. Each Pope demanded the loyalty of Western Europe, and the nations' loyalties were split almost evenly. Here's a map of what that looked like (sorry it's in French. Blue supported Rome. Red supported Avignon. Orange didn't take a side.):
Posted Image

From 1378 AD to 1409 AD, the Western Church lived under the rule of two feuding Popes. It went on for so long that both the Pope in Avignon and the Pope in Rome had died, and successors had been elected. In fact, Rome was on it's fourth succeeding rival Pope before anything was done about the split. Finally, the French and Italian cardinals reconciled their differences and decided to abandon both current Popes, Gregory XII in Rome and Benedict XIII in Avignon. They met in Pisa, Italy and elected a new Pope, Alexander V -- who died within the year unfortunately, (and Catholic canon regards him as an anti-pope or false pope). After Alexander's death, the combined French and Italian cardinals elected Pope John XXIII, who began to reign in Pisa, Italy. Unfortunately, both Gregory XII and Benedict XIII refused to step aside. So now you had THREE POPES at the same time!!

Finally, at the Council of Constance in 1414, things started to sort themselves out a bit. The Council was able to secure the resignation of John XXIII (Pisa) and Gregory XII (Rome). Benedict XIII (Avignon) refused to step aside and was excommunicated by the Council, but since excommunication is usually the exclusive right of the Pope and it is questionable whether a pope can be excommunicated. Ultimately, Benedict refused to acknowledge it, and continued to reign in France. The Council of Constance, feeling they had removed all of the three rival Popes proceeded to elect a new Pope, a Roman noble who took the name Martin V. Martin V was broadly accepted, and by the time Benedict XIII died two years later, there was little widespread support for a continuation of the line of Popes in Avignon.

Benedict XIII had three successors who had virutally no support, even from within France itself. The three of them are regarded as anti-popes. Finally, the Great Western Schism was over. Below is a picture of what it all looked like:

Posted Image

With the authority of the Church in worse straights than anyone could have dreamed, the Council of Constance undertook two other very important actions. The condemnations of Jon Huss and John Wycliffe (who was dead 31 years), two very significant early Reformers. Jon Huss was invited to the Council, with explicit guarantees that he would not be harmed, and that his complaints against Church dogma would be discussed. Upon arival, Jon Huss was arrested, condemned by the Council and burned at the stake. No discussion was ever attempted.

More on that later.

Edited by Faded, 30 August 2010 - 11:33 PM.

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#15 Faded

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 05:26 PM

Pre-Reformation Continued

During this same time period, two extremely significant calamities further ripened Western Europe for the Protestant Reformation.

The Hundred Years War occurred in an overlapping time period 1337–1453 AD as the Avignon Papacy and the Great Western Schism. The Capetian line of French kings had died out and there were two leading claimants to the French throne were House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, (also known as the House of Anjou). The Plantagenets/Anjou just happened to be the reigning royal line of England at the time. For 116 years the English and French battled off and on, with the French securing their claim to the throne. The Hundred Years War took a terrible toll on Western Christendom, etablishing an enduring hatred between France and England that lasted several centuries. Any illusions that the kingdoms of Western Europe were some great brotherhood under Christ, all under the watchful eye of Rome -- the idea would have seemed ridiculous in the face of such a bitter war.

So where was the Pope and why couldn't he prevent (or at least negotiate the peace) this long and bloody feud? The answer is simple enough. At the beginning of the Hundred Years War, the Papacy was ruling from Avignon, France and largely a puppet of the French monarchs and nobles. Their French bias would have made them ill suited to mediate. Later on in the Hundred Years War, the Papacy was in the middle of the Great Western Schism, and Papal authority looked very weak indeed.

Right in the middle of the Avignon Papacy and the Hundred Years War, the greatest blow landed. The Black Plague struck Europe like a hammer blow, sweeping over Europe from 1346 to 1351. The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe's population, and killed approximately 75 million people world-wide in the 14th century alone (and that in a time when there were far fewer people living on this planet.) The fact that the Roman Catholic Church was utterly powerless to stop the Black Plague shook the faith of the peoples of Western Europe. "Why is God punishing us?" The divergent answers to that very question lead Europe in many different unexpected directions. Many of those answers blamed the Roman Catholic Church in some way or another.

The massive death toll also introduced some unexpected things. There was no longer a large surplus of peasants in Europe. Now there was a significant shortage. Up to that point, peasants were slaves for all intents and purposes. But with a demand for their services, Europe would see attempt after attempt by via peasant revolts to turn the feudal system on it's head and end their servitude. The lowest of the low in European society were no longer content to sit quiet and accept what life had given them. In the long run, the aristocracy would lose their iron grip of control, as the common people rose up and demanded a better life. More than anything, the Black Death got a lot of Western Europeans doubting things they'd never had any reason to doubt before, and much of that leads more immediately to the Renaissance and Reformation.
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#16 Faded

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 08:24 PM

One of the first significant Reformers was John Wycliffe. Wycliffe was a man who appeared at the right place at the right time to introduce radical ideas that were ahead of their time. John Wycliffe came to prominence as a theologian at Oxford University in England in 1360. At the time, the Hundred Years War was ongoing and the Avignon Papacy was still in power. The Avignon Popes, being French, frequently showed substantial bias in favor of France, and against England. Wycliffe rose to prominence as a defender of English interests agaist the Avignon Pope Urban V. In light of the English position, Wycliffe's suggestion that the Roman Catholic Church was not what Christ's Church was supposed to be, was not met with the outrage and hostility that it would have at any other time in history.

He advocated the Kingdom of England seizing much of the Church's property on English soil. He believed that the Church should be poor as it was in the days of the Apostles and that it should not exercise earthly governmental rule, saying that it contradicted the Scriptures. The acting ruler of England, John Gaunt (steward for the King, his 10 year old nephew) defended Wycliffe from any threat of Roman Catholic retribution. John liked what Wycliffe was teaching and liked the prospect of seizing Church properties. When the Bishop of London attempted to call Wycliffe to account for his heretical statements, John Gaunt and several like minded English lords came with him. With the defacto King defending him, the Bishop of London had not choice but to let the matter go. John declared to the Bishop that he would humble the pride of the English clergy.

Pope Gregory XI denounced Wycliffe and his teachings, but with John Gaunt and the entire English nation stood to protect him from any punishment. At the request of the English governemnt, Wycliffe denounced Rome's financial demands upon England as an overt attempt to suck the life out of them. When called to trial before the English clergy, the most the bishops dared was to forbid Wycliffe from speaking anymore about these controversies. When the Oxford Vice-Chancellor followed the Pope's directions and confined Wycliffe in the Black Hall and proceeded to physically mistreat him, Wycliffe's supporters got him out, imprisoned the Vice-Chancellor in the very same prison and subjected him to the same treatment Wycliffe had received at his hands. At this point in 1382, Gregory XI died and the Great Western Schism began. No further action was attempted by the Papacy against Wycliffe.

In 1382, Wycliffe completed the first ever translation of the Bible into English. At the time, this was seen as heresy and treason in the extreme, but for the man who had already dared to challenge Rome so much, this was nothing. Wycliffe's teachings included returning the Church to a simpler and non-earthly government, using the Scriptures as the ultimate authority, and strong advocation that the Bible should be studied by all. John Wycliffe was the first to begin to claim belief in two concepts that would shape the Protestant Reformation. The first was a belief in justification by faith, which was the center-piece teaching of Martin Luther. He also taught a less developed version of the doctrine of Predestination, which was on of the most distinguishing teachings of reformer John Calvin.

John Wycliffe died in 1384 AD at 64 years old. Wycliffe is widely regarded as "The Morning Star of the Reformation." His followers, the Lollards included a Bohemian man by the name of John Huss, another one of the great Early Reformers.

In 1401 the Catholic Church reasserted control over religious affairs in England. A new law ordered that heretics be burned at the stake and followers of Wycliffe were heretics. Archbishop Arundel declared that it was illegal even to read the English Bible Wycliffe had translated. He decreed that no one should translate any part of the Bible into the English language nor read any of Wycliffe’s writings, either publicly or privately. Anyone who defied these orders would be burned at the stake as a supporter of heresy.

One interesting development occurred 31 years after John Wycliffe was dead and buried. In 1415 the Council of Constance ordered that John Wycliffe's body be disinterred and burned. Pope Martin V approved the order, and the deed was finally carried out in 1428, approximately 44 years after Wycliffe’s death. His bones were burned in a field of execution and the ashes scattered in the River Swift near Lutterworth. The general thinking that goes into this is that by destroying a person's remains, they will not be able to rise in the resurrection of the just.

John Wycliffe's success emboldened reformers who came after him. Wycliffe can rightly be seen as the earliest beginning of the Protestant Reformation.

Edited by Faded, 29 August 2010 - 10:22 PM.
Missed a couple important details

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#17 darrel

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 11:06 PM

This is amazing to me. Thank you Faded. It seems as though the church ruled more as a political and dominating influence with the main goal of obtaining wealth. A far cry from the teachings of the Savior.

I can see the Hand of the Lord these events and in starting to inspire early reformers to move away from the ultimate rule and dominance of the Catholic Church.

I heard or read somewhere that early reformers, (I'm not sure which) said that the changes they were making were not the true doctrine and gospel as taught in the bible but only wanted to move the away from the rule of the church.

#18 Faded

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 09:58 AM

This is amazing to me. Thank you Faded. It seems as though the church ruled more as a political and dominating influence with the main goal of obtaining wealth. A far cry from the teachings of the Savior.

I can see the Hand of the Lord these events and in starting to inspire early reformers to move away from the ultimate rule and dominance of the Catholic Church.

I heard or read somewhere that early reformers, (I'm not sure which) said that the changes they were making were not the true doctrine and gospel as taught in the bible but only wanted to move the away from the rule of the church.

I wouldn't be too quick to judge. Yes the Church did have its own hidden agenda in their dealings with Wycliffe, but then again, so did those who supported and protected Wycliffe.

The Roman Catholic Church sincerely did and does believe itself to be the Church and Kingdom of God on Earth. With this in mind, the Roman Catholic Church sought to make Western Europe one big Christian Empire. And by 1200 AD, they had pretty much succeeded. The Pope was a virtual Emperor over the West. The kings dared not defy the Pope, for fear of being excommunicated (which would turn all their subjects against them, and would almost certainly lead to their overthrow.) The Pope used his power for both good and bad purposes. He was able to end bloody wars between kingdoms and keep Christendom and its kings from doing things that really would have been contrary to the will of God. He was able to keep Western Europe united under his guidance. But unfortunately, the Pope also abused his power quite often.

The Roman Catholic Church would view 1100 AD to 1200 AD as the golden age of Christianity. Why? Because, at least in the West, Christendom was united. There was only one faith, one Lord and one baptism. There were not 30,000+ denominations, just one. If we put ourselves in their shoes, we would certainly view it as a very good thing if an entire continent contained nothing but members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. And we would view it as a great disaster about half of the members of the LDS Church on that hypothetical continent rebelled, defected from the Church and rebelled against the will of God.

What Catholicism is blind to is that the Protestant Reformation was not a bad thing. We know this because of Joseph Smith's experience. When God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him and he asked them directly which church to join, they did not say "Go join the Roman Catholic Church." He was commanded to "Join none of them." This experience puts our religious experience apart from any other Christian movement or denomination.

The rest of them are left to assume that the Church and Kingdom of God on Earth survived and that there was no Great Apostasy. Catholics stake the claim that they are that very Kingdom and that priesthood authority passed directly from the Apostles to the Roman Catholic Church, making it the ultimate religious authority on Earth.

Protestantism counter-claims that there is no priesthood authority, but that all believers in Christ become a "priesthood of all believers." Protestant Reformers point out that the Roman Catholic Church is contradictory to the teachings in the Bible, especially the New Testament. And since the Church of Jesus Christ strayed from the teachings of the Apostles, the only solution is to use the Bible as the ultimate authority in sorting truth from error. To them, the Bible becomes the ultimate authority in the Church on Earth.

In the centuries old debate between Option A and Option B, none of them really considered the possibility that the correct answer was "C - None of the Above."

Edited by Faded, 29 August 2010 - 10:16 AM.

  • For every rule there is an exception <-- and there's exceptions to that rule too.
  • If you will not be God's children, you will be his tools.
  • Be pretty if you are, be witty if you can, but be cheerful if it kills you!

#19 darrel

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 05:41 PM

30,000 christian denominations today, wow.

It seems to me that the many churches today have their roots in another church which they branched off from. I have an old magazine article which shows a pedigree of many major religions with the branches tracing to the Great Scism.

Do you think that number includes every corner and shopping center church started by someone whose family and friends are his congregation.

Edited by darrel, 29 August 2010 - 06:20 PM.
typos


#20 Faded

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Posted 29 August 2010 - 10:24 PM

Please note, I made a couple of important additions to the post on John Wycliffe. I think it's worth mentioning that the Council of Constance and the Pope ordered his remains to be dug up and that he be posthumously burned at the stake, which actually did happen -- 44 years after Wycliffe was dead and buried.
  • For every rule there is an exception <-- and there's exceptions to that rule too.
  • If you will not be God's children, you will be his tools.
  • Be pretty if you are, be witty if you can, but be cheerful if it kills you!




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