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This week in Christian History

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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby burnt » Sun Feb 01, 2015 9:30 pm

February 1, 1516: "Erasmus dedicated his New Testament to Pope Leo X...." (Christianity.com)

http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 29916.html

Erasmus was deeply distressed by the unbiblical practices and teaching that he saw in the church. He very strongly wanted to bring reform to those corrupted practices from within the Catholic Church. Like many other before and after him, he found that the establishment, or institutional religion, would not be changed.

Why not? Because those who were benefiting from the existing structure and programs did not want to lose the benefits that they were personally reaping. Not much has changed since then, with regard to the religious machinery that has developed ever since his day...so Erasmus was seen as an enemy of the Church.

Of all the changes that Erasmus attempted, the one that had the greatest impact on the Christian religion may have been his translation of the Latin Vulgate into the Greek language. From it, Luther, Zwingli and others developed their translations into the common languages.

The leadership of the Church of Rome did not want the Scriptures available in the common vernacular since it would introduce the danger of "every man becoming a heretic".

Erasmus countered with the statement, "The strength of the church should not lie in the ignorance of its people."

Yet, Erasmus did not support the entire action of Luther because of Luther's often-rash approach, preferring to protect the Church against luther and the reformers.

Thus, Erasmus languished between two parties who were as good as at war with each other - the Roman Catholic establishment and the "Protestant" groups who sought to enact necessary reform in a fading church that was to be a light to the world.
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.

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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby Martin Jr. » Sun Feb 01, 2015 10:15 pm


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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby burnt » Sun Feb 08, 2015 7:48 pm

February 8, 356 a troop of soldiers burst into a worship service to capture the preacher - Athanasius. This venerable pastor had refused to compromise his belief about the full divinity of Christ and thus incurred the anger of the emperor who held to Arianism, a view which disputed Christ's divinity.

Not easily intimidated, Athanasius one day stood in the road and refused to let the Emperor by on his horse until the ruler had heard his defense in a case brought against him by his enemies. Clearly, he was a man who courage matched his convictions!

A brief outline of his story and contributions can be read here - http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 29667.html

February 9, 1948: "U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall prayed: 'We are tempted to despair of our world. Remind us, O Lord, that Thou hast been facing the same thing in all the world since time began.' " (StudyLight.org)A welcome reminder that God sees us and will never abandon his children through the worst and best of times!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=83w-4vBvYqk

February 11,1948: "U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall prayed: 'We ask Thee not for tasks more suited to our strength, but for strength more suited to our tasks.' " (SLO)

February 12,1797: "Franz Haydn's AUSTRIAN HYMN was first performed for the Emperor Francis II's fifth birthday. Today, AUSTRIAN HYMN is the most common melody to which we sing the popular hymn, "Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken." " (SLO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrHI3ATW9Co


February 14, 1914: "Birth of Ira F. Stanphill, Assemblies of God clergyman and song evangelist. He is best known today for the hymn, "Room at the Cross," which he penned in 1946." (SLO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhoW12Dgl20
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.

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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby burnt » Sun Feb 15, 2015 5:59 pm

February 16,1865: "English clergyman Sabine Baring-Gould, 31, first published the hymn, "Now the Day is Over." It was based on the text of Prov 3:24: 'When thou liest down, thou shalt not be afraid...and thy sleep shall be sweet.' " (StudyLight.org)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRVix0mfiBw

February 17, 289: "Supposed date of the birth of Constantine, who saw a vision of a cross in 312 which said "In this sign conquer." As a result he adopted the Christian faith. Persecution against true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ was lessened--but Christianity moved toward becoming the state religion, and pagan ideas invaded the professing church. After his conversion Constantine stood against the Arians at the Council of Nicea, but dedicated Constantinople to the sun god. He was baptized just before his death. (Some sources date this as February 27; the year 280 is conjectural (Christainity.com)

February 18, 1781: "Birth of Henry Martyn, Anglican missionary to Persia. Martyn first sailed for the East in 1805. His great linguistic gifts led him to translate the New Testament both into Hindustani and Arabic, before his premature death at 31." (SLO) No small accomplishment for one so young! After leaving behind a girlfriend who would no go into such a mission with him, he is reported to have said "Now let me burn out for God."

February 19, 842: "The Medieval Iconoclastic Controversy ended, when a Council in Constantinople formally reinstated the veneration of images (icons) in the churches. (This debate over icons is often considered the last event which led to the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches.)" (SLO)

February 20,1743: "Colonial missionary to the American Indians David Brainerd wrote in his journal: 'Selfish religion loves Christ for his benefits, but not for himself.' " (SLO) How does one determine why s/he "loves" Christ?

February 21,1109: "Death of Anselm of Canterbury, 76, priest and theologian. Best remembered for his 1099 classic, "Cur Deus Homo" ("Why God Became Man"), Anselm is regarded as the most original thinker in the Catholic Church since Augustine. His most often quoted saying was: 'I believe, in order that I may understand.'" (SLO)
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.

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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby burnt » Sun Feb 22, 2015 8:44 am

February 22, 1954, on his way across the Atlantic, Billy Graham receives word that his planned evangelistic crusade in London, England, is losing support and facing outright opposition. Does he take this as a message to turn back to America? Find out here -

http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 30805.html

When someone engages in a significant work for the Kingdom of Heaven, that person can expect to encounter lots of opposition from the forces which are threatened by that work.

Guess who always wins? Prayer and persistence are the keys to building God's Kingdom - "...He (Billy Graham) spent the day on his knees..."

Where have we seen this modeled before? Luke 6:12 says - "It was at this time that He (Jesus) went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God." And there are many other examples of how prayer was the avenue through which people were enabled to carry out the work that God put before them.

In fact, using the life of Jesus as an example, it is arguably the single most important activity in the life of a disciple of the Kingdom. Why, then, is it so common to forget all about praying until we it a wall, at which time we cry out and say "Oh God, please rescue me!" Guilty here!

I find it so easy to use prayer like a coin that one would place in the slot of a vending machine, thinking that God should hear me when I ask Him for something. And while I believe that God hears our prayers, I wonder if He would not rather that we come to Him not only in times of great need or distress, but with requests for guidance in every area of our lives. That is where the challenge of persistence in prayer comes in, while remembering that rather than using prayer to change God, it should be means of God changing us...

February 23, 155: "Martyrdom of Polycarp, an early Church Father who was a disciple of the Apostle John. Arrested at age 86, Polycarp was burned at the stake for refusing to deny the Christian faith." (StudyLight.org)

I would hold Polycarp as one of my favorite heroes of the faith - his simple but sincere holding to truth, his persistence in faith through suffering right to the end of his life... You can read more about Polycarp in this letter from the church his shepherded at Symrna, which is in present-day Turkey. This letter brings an astounding look into the life, conduct and martyrdom of an early hero of the Cross, a man who would not trade all the treasures of earth for the promise of eternal life -

https://carm.org/letter-smyrnaeans-or-m ... m-polycarp

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8FNft_LMy0

Further on the matter of prayer -

February 23, 1834: "Scottish clergyman Robert Murray McCheyne wrote in his journal: 'Rose early to seek God and found Him whom my soul loveth. Who would not rise early to meet such company?'" (SLO)

February 24, 1782: "Pioneer American Methodist bishop Francis Asbury wrote in his journal: 'It is my constitutional weakness to be gloomy and dejected; the work of God puts life into me.' " (SLO)

February 24, 1527, the Swiss Brethern, also known derogatorily as "Anabaptists" signed a Confession of Faith. They were hunted down and killed by both Roman Catholics and Protestants. Although faced with hatred and persecution from every side, these forebears of the Anabaptist faith persisted in standing true their faith as they saw it proceeding from the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. Interestingly, most of the articles which they signed on that day have been in the centuries since then, been adopted by many other major denominations. One could say that they were just a little ahead of their time!

http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 29937.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3oaB6N0qvM

February 25, 1570: "Elizabeth I of England was excommunicated by Pope Pius V for her severe persecution of Roman Catholics in England. (It was the last such judgment made against a reigning monarch by any pope.)" (SLO)

February 25, 1536: A peaceful Christian couple is tortured and killed by other good, religious folk ...

http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 29959.html

February 27,280: "Birth of Constantine the Great, the first Roman emperor to be converted (ca. 312) to the Christian faith." (SLO)
It remains a topic of debate today whether Emperor Constantine's imposition of his very human measures on the Church, was an asset or liability to the long-term good of the Church of Jesus Christ.

February 28, 1944: Corrie Ten Boom's family is arrested and thrown into prison for hiding Jews from their Nazi murderers -

http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 30777.html
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.

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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby TexasBred » Mon Feb 23, 2015 11:26 am

Burt,just a question I had given no though to but after reading this wanted to ask for my own information. are Brethren Conscientious objectors when it comes to military service??
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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby burnt » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:39 am

Not sure if you are referring to "Brethren" as past or present. Those of the Reformation period would not take up weapons against anyone, just as those of the early church would not.

There were, of course, those exceptions like Jan Matthys who followed the teaching of Thomas Muntzer (who was not Anabaptist) which held that the sword was to be used to eliminate the unbelievers. (Who does that sound like today?) Matthys went off the deep end and believed that he was something of a Messiah and called to set up an earthly Kingdom, by force, as did Jan van Leyden of Munster. These were sorely deluded men who did much harm with their associations with the Anabaptist name.

These links provide some interesting background -

Matthys - http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Jan_Ma ... d._1534%29

van Leyden - http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Beukel ... 09-1536%29

Today there is a wide range of practice among the descendants of the early Swiss Brethren. Some will do whatever it takes to defend their interests. Many, however, would take the same course as taught and demonstrated by Jesus Christ and his early followers - "“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:43-45)
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.

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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby TexasBred » Thu Feb 26, 2015 11:58 am

I finally found it again. Appears it's the Anabaptist
During the Reformation, leaders such as Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin entered into political arrangements which gave them legitimacy and a measure of protection. However, the Anabaptists (who called themselves Brethren), taught that church and state should be separate. Membership in church, and the baptism that went with it, must be preceded by a confession of faith and a changed life. The New Testament should be the primary guide to life and should interpret the Old, not the other way around. Shortly after Luther's stand led to the Reformation, there had arisen a bizarre cult, often also called Anabaptist, which took the Old Testament as their rule, engaged in revolution and seizing the German city of Munster. This action brought fury on the pacifist Anabaptists.
The Roman Church and Protestants alike killed and harassed the harmless Brethren. So severely did the established churches persecute the Anabaptists that their leadership had to be constantly replaced as one after another was martyred. In 1527, the Swiss Brethren met under the leadership of Michael Sattler. He drafted them a confession of faith now known as the Schleitheim Confession (At the time, it was called the Brotherly Agreement of Some Children of God). The Brethren accepted it without a dissenting vote on this day, February 24, 1527. A few months later, Sattler, too, was martyred.
The confession fell under seven points. The first declared that Baptism should be given only to those who had learned repentance and amendment of life, and truly believed that their sins were taken away by Christ. The second point instituted the "ban." If a member persisted in sin after two private warnings, the congregation would exclude and shun that person. The third point said communion would be in memory of Christ not as a sacrament. The fourth separated the church from state. The fifth gave congregations the selection of their own pastors.
The sixth and seventh points were derived from Christ's teaching and example. These were a prohibition on taking up arms and a repudiation of oaths. "...The weapons of their conflict and war are carnal and against the flesh only, but the Christian's weapons are spiritual, against the fortification of the devil. The worldlings are armed with steel and iron, but the Christians are armed with the armor of God, with truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation and the Word of God." And "Christ, who teaches the perfection of the Law, prohibits all swearing to His (followers), whether true or false -- neither by heaven, nor by the earth, nor by Jerusalem, nor by our head."
Surprisingly, traditional churches viewed these teachings as threatening. Zwingli and Calvin both denounced them. Today, however, one point or another is accepted by almost every Protestant church or denomination.
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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby burnt » Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:49 am

March 1, 1633: "On his deathbed, English poet and clergyman George Herbert, 39, uttered these last words: 'I shall be free from sin and all the temptations and anxieties that attend it...I shall dwell... where these eyes shall see my Master and Savior.' " (StudyLight.org)

Long ago I heard a preacher make a statement that would likely displease both Calvinists and Arminians - "On this earth, we are two thirds saved. We are saved from the penalty of sin and the power of sin. But we won't be spared from the presence of sin until we leave this world." Perhaps he had read of Herbert's last words.

What a day that will be! "...heaven is a perfect place..." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G66ThRLy9js

March 2,1948: "U.S. Senate Chaplain Peter Marshall prayed: 'O God, forgive the poverty and the pettiness of our prayers. Listen not to our words but to the yearnings of our hearts. Hear beneath our petitions the crying of our need.' "(SLO)

March 3,1547: "The Seventh Session of the Council of Trent declared: 'If anyone says that one baptized cannot, even if he wishes, lose grace, however much he may sin, unless he is unwilling to believe, let him be anathema.' " (SLO)

March 4, 1966: "London's "Evening Standard" newspaper published an interview with Beatle John Lennon in which he remarked: 'Christianity will... vanish and shrink... We're more popular than Jesus Christ right now.' The quote touched off a storm of international protest, resulting in burnings and boycotts of the Beatles' records." (SLO)

March 5,1850: "Birth of Daniel B. Towner, American music evangelist. An associate of D.L. Moody, Towner composed over 2,000 hymn tunes, including AT CALVARY ("Years I Spent in Vanity and Pride"), MOODY ("Marvelous Grace of our Loving Lord") and TRUST AND OBEY ("When We Walk With the Lord")." (SLO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBFWThI0_mw

March 6, 1475: "The famed sculptor and painter Michelangelo (left) was born this day. He produced some of the most profound religious art ever conceived by any artist. He also wrote religious sonnets which reveal a heart hungering for God." (Christianity.com)

March 6, 1919: "Death of Julia H. Johnston, 70, American Presbyterian Sunday School leader. She penned about 500 hymns during her lifetime, one of which is still sung today: "Grace Greater Than Our Sin" (a.k.a. "Marvelous Grace of our Loving Lord"). " (SLO)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDdENxO6HVo

We are so blessed for having those who were given artistic gifts that help us in our walk of faith. I am especially grateful for those who have used their musical gifts, both as writers, composers or singers/musicians. Others have expressed how works of art - for instance, those of Michelangelo - have been instrumental in drawing their attention to the Divine.

It is a reminder that God, in His infinite wisdom, has provided every means necessary to reveal Himself to each individual as well as giving each one whatever it takes to grow to maturity in faith.

"Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11, NLT)

March 7, 202, two young women faced a choice between temporal obligations and eternal life... http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 29612.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyAwfwIRMuo

March 7,1782: " Ohio Territory militiamen began a two-day massacre of the Moravian Indian town of Gnadenhutten (modern New Philadelphia, Ohio). In all, 96 Christian Indians of the Delaware tribe were slaughtered, in retaliation for Indian raids made elsewhere in the Ohio Territory." (SLO)
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.

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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby burnt » Sun Mar 08, 2015 2:33 pm

March 8, 1740 - A preacher ticks off some other preachers by saying that those who teach Christ should first experience Him...

http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 30232.html

March 9,1843: "Scottish clergyman Robert Murray McCheyne wrote in a letter: 'You will never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness. Then he is like a rose blooming in the midst of the desolation, a rock rising above the storm.' " (StudyLight.org)

March 9, 1915 : The "religion of peace" orders genocide (not for the faint of heart to read): http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 30707.html

March 9,1930: "Pioneer linguist Frank Laubach wrote in a letter: 'It seems to me...that the very Bible cannot be read as a substitute for meeting God soul to soul and face to face.'" (SLO)

March 10, 1528: "Martyrdom of Balthaser Hubmaier, 48, German reformer and chief writer for the Anabaptist movement. Arrested in Moravia, Hubmaier was later condemned at Vienna and burned at the stake." (SLO)

http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 29943.html

March 11,1860: "Birth of H. Frances Davidson, pioneer missionary. In 1892 she became the first woman from the Brethren in Christ Church to earn an M.A. degree, and in 1897 became one of her denomination's first missionaries to travel to the African continent." (SLO)

More about her, read here - http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Davids ... 60-1935%29

Hanna Davidson was certainly a pioneer whose actions left a solid imprint on African people. 100 years later, her work is also having a direct impact on our family - our daughter is planning to go to Macha as a nurse and help meet the needs of the hospital that was built as a result of Hanna's work. I am not without trepidation at the thought of my girl going there...

March 12, 1607: "Birth of Paul Gerhardt, German clergyman and hymnwriter. He lost four of his five children in childhood, yet also composed over 130 hymns, including "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded." (Gerhardt's music marks the transition in Lutheran hymnody from confessional and high-church hymns to hymns of devotional piety.)" (SLO)

March 14, 1937: "English Bible expositor Arthur W. Pink wrote in a letter: 'Neither the nearness nor the remoteness of Christ's return is a rule to regulate us in the ordering of our temporal affairs. Spiritual preparedness is the great matter.' " (SLO)
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.

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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby burnt » Sun Mar 15, 2015 5:56 am

March 15, 1517: A pope sells "grace for money", virtually a license for sin. (Rather like today's "carbon credits!")

When Leo X was made pope, he reportedly said to his brother: "Since God has given us the Papacy, let us enjoy it." And "enjoy it", he did, spending the papal treasury into penury. Eventually, he makes mockery of the work of Christ on the cross when he offers the sale of "indulgences" (a remission of penalties for one's wrongdoings) in order to raise money to rebuild St. Peter's basilica - since he had wasted the papal wealth on his whims, Leo thus sought to finance the building project.

No one did a better job of selling this overt form of licentiousness than the monk, Johann Tetzel, who made obscene comments in his propagation of this unbiblical practice. Tetzel's erroneous teaching had two unexpected outcomes, one which led to a severe beating for himself, which can be read here - http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/tetzel.htm

And another direct and momentous impact of the actions of this corrupt pope - allegedly homosexual - led to the betterment of the church - the Reformation! Because when questions about the validity of the "indulgences" were brought to the attention of a certain young priest named Martin Luther, he expanded debate on them and nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Castle, sparking the Reformation.

http://www.christianity.com/church/chur ... 29920.html

Luther was instrumental in steering the church toward a more Biblical presentation of faith and grace. However, he also self-admittedly (in his later years) failed in his desire to see a moral and ethical improvement in general church life, which he had hoped would reflect the redemptive, practical life-changing power of these two elements of God's plan of salvation.

He promoted some right theology but, in Augustinian fashion, neglected to emphasize the reality of how free will necessitates choosing obedient discipleship. This remains as true today as in their day, as many, many preachers teach grace without the accompanying need for Spirit-empowered life change. Shades of Leo, Tetzel...

Indeed, God's grace is free to all, and those who freely respond to His call to costly discipleship will enjoy its benefits!

Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done." (Matthew 16: 24 -27, EVS)

Profession is important; obedience to His words is crucial as indicated by these words of Jesus: "His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ " (Matthew 25:21, ESV) Note that Jesus said "Well DONE", not "Well said..."

Well Done

By Connie Campbell Bratcher, June,1996.

Oh, to hear those words when we see His face,
At the end of time in that glorious place.
We’ll bow before Him, worshipping our King,
As we hear the host of angels sing.
A crown of righteousness awaits we’re told,
For our faithfulness within the fold;
But at His feet our crown we’ll cast,
When our wonderful Saviour we meet at last.
Yes, face to face we’ll see Him there,
The one who died, our sins to bear.
He made the way for our spiritual birth,
And abundant life upon the earth.
As we enter into glory with our merciful King,
Along with the angels we’ll eternally sing...
Praises to His name for His marvelous grace,
Enabling us to enter His Holy Place -
And as faithful servants who’ve received God’s Son,
We’ll hear his voice say to us..."Well Done".



"His Lord said unto him, well done
thou good and faithful servant"
(Matt. 25:21)

http://faithpoetry.com/faith1/welldone.shtml


More on discipleship from Matthew Henry -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1b1manI7SCU


March 18, 1767 "Anglican clergyman and hymn writer John Newton wrote in a letter: 'The more you know him, the better you will trust him; the more you trust him, the better you will love him; the more you love him, the better you will serve him.' " (SLO)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9bjPwwLgj0
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root". Henry D. Thoreau.

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Re: This week in Christian History

Postby Martin Jr. » Sun Mar 15, 2015 1:47 pm

http://www.newadvent.gcathen/09162a.htm


The most important occurrence of Leo's pontificate and that of gravest consequence to the Church was the Reformation, which began in 1517. We cannot enter into a minute account of this movement, the remote cause of which lay in the religious, political, and social conditions of Germany. It is certain, however, that the seeds of discontent amid which Luther threw his firebrand had been germinating for centuries. The immediate cause was bound up with the odious greed for money displayed by the Roman Curia, and shows how far short all efforts at reform had hitherto fallen. Albert of Brandenburg, already Archbishop of Magdeburg, received in addition the Archbishopric of Mainz and the Bishopric of Hallerstadt, but in return was obliged to collect 10,000 ducats, which he was taxed over and above the usual confirmation fees. To indemnify hiim, and to make it possible to discharge these obligations Rome permitted him to have preached in his territory the plenary indulgence promised all those who contributed to the new St. Peter's; he was allowed to keep one half the returns, a transaction which brought dishonour on all concerned in it. Added to this, abuses occurred during the preaching of the Indulgence. The money contributions, a mere accessory, were frequently the chief object, and the "Indulgences for the Dead" became a vehicle of inadmissible teachings. That Leo X, in the most serious of all the crises which threatened the Church, should fail to prove the proper guide for her, is clear enough from what has been related above. He recognized neither the gravity of the situation nor the underlying causes of the revolt. Vigorous measures of reform might have proved an efficacious antidote, but the pope was deeply entangled in political affairs and allowed the imperial election to overshadow the revolt of Luther; moreover, he gave himself up unrestrainedly to his pleasures and failed to grasp fully the duties of his high office.

The pope's last political efforts were directed to expanding the States of the Church, establishing a dominating power in central Italy by means of the acquisition of Ferrara. In 1519 he concluded a treaty with Francis I against Emperor Charles V. But the selfishness and encroachments of the French and the struggle against the Lutheran movement, induced him soon to unite with Charles, after he had again resorted to his double-faced method of treating with both rivals. In 1521 pope and emperor signed a defensive alliance for the purpose of driving the French out of Italy. After some difficulty, the allies occupied Milan and Lombardy. Amid the rejoicings over these successes, the pope died suddenly of a malignant malaria. His enemies are wrongly accused of having poisoned him. The magnificent pope was given a simple funeral and not until the reign of Paul III was a monument erected to his memory in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. It is cold, prosaic, and quite unworthy of such a connoisseur as Leo.

The only possible verdict on the pontificate of Leo X is that it was unfortunate for the Church. Sigismondo Tizio, whose devotion to the Holy See is undoubted, writes truthfully: "In the general opinion it was injurious to the Church that her Head should delight in plays, music, the chase and nonsense, instead of paying serious attention to the needs of his flock and mourning over their misfortunes". Von Reumont says pertinently—"Leo X is in great measure to blame for the fact that faith in the integrity and merit of the papacy, in its moral and regenerating powers, and even in its good intentions, should have sunk so low that men could declare extinct the old true spirit of the Church."




History presents few characters that have suffered more senseless misrepresentation, even bald caricature, than Tetzel. "Even while he lived stories which contained an element of legend gathered around his name, until at last, in the minds of the uncritical Protestant historians, he became the typical indulgence-monger, upon whom any well-worn anecdote might be fathered" (Beard, "Martin Luther", London, 1889, 210). For a critical scholarly study which shows him in a proper perspective, he had to wait the researches of our own time, mainly at the hands of Dr. Nicholas Paulus, who is closely followed in this article. In the first place, his teaching regarding the indulgences for the living was correct. The charge that the forgiveness of sins was sold for money regardless of contrition or that absolution for sins to be committed in the future could be purchased is baseless. An indulgence, he writes, can be applied only "to the pains of sin which are confessed and for which there is contrition". "No one", he furthermore adds, "secures an indulgence unless he have true contrition". The confessional letters (confessionalia) could of course be obtained for a mere pecuniary consideration without demanding contrition. But such document did not secure an indulgence. It was simply a permit to select a proper confessor, who only after a contrite confession would absolve from sin and reserved cases, and who possessed at the same time facilities to impart the plenary indulgence (Paulus, "Johann Tetzel", 103).


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