An Overview of Christian History

 

This overview, while not an exhaustive reference--is rather meant to stimulate your study of the history of the church. Does your church study Christian history in any organized way? Why not? Is it perhaps because Christian history is not something we can all be proud of?

 

We only seek to ask these questions in our study of these historical events.....

Is it possible, that people in the past have influenced the church today? Is it possible that decisions were made, hundreds of years ago, that changed the operation of the Christian church from the plans that the Bible sets forth? If--hundreds of years ago--the spirit of oppression was invited into the church---have we ever truly cast it out? How much have Roman emperors, dark ages popes, and protestant kings effected our operational structure, and redefined ministry--authority--and the very definition of the church itself?

We can only encourage you---study history for yourself!


THE MEDIEVAL CHURCH......

1. The catholic church was at the center of the Medieval world. Unlike today it was the only church in Europe and all Christians belonged to it...........

2. By the 14th century the church had grown hugely wealthy. Money poured in from rents, tithes and the sale of indulgences (pardons for sin)..........

3. During the Middle ages the church was organized like a government with laws and officers. The church and nobles cooperated with one another to control the common people.......

4. .....all the people of the parish were expected to set aside a tithe, one-tenth of their income, for the use of the church.......

5. To rebel against the king was equivalent to defying God.........

6. The picture at the right shows part of the buildings used by the monks of Gloucester Abbey......

7. A bishop was the Christian leader in one are of the country called a diocese........to show this he carried a special pole called a shepherds crook........

8. In some countries religious leaders have the right to govern the people.........

9. Charlemagne, King of the Holy Roman Empire..........

10. A person who wanted to give his or her life to God had to do several things to show this.......

11. Monks and nuns were well-known for helping others--yet.........

12. During the 13th century the religious Inquisition was established.........

13 The church was so powerful that it's leaders helped kings and queens rule their countries.........


KINGS--NOBLES --AND CLERGY--THEM THAT HAVE THE RULE............The leaders of the church in the dark ages were rulers who had authority over the common folk--in a BIG way! It seems they never read the Bible--where Jesus said that Christians are not to exercise authority one over another amongst ourselves (Matthew 20:25-26, Mark 10:42-43, Luke 22:25-26--etc.). The question is this: how much does 1500 years of "ministerial rule and authority" effect the church today? When was the last time Luke 22:25-29 was preached in your church?


CATHEDRALS--WORKIN' HARD TO BUILD A HOUSE FOR THE SHEPHERD.............In the dark ages the "building fund" went crazy in the church! The church had come a long way from the Biblical "house of God" which was simply the home of every believer--but have we gone back to the Bible truth all the way?


PEASANTS--THE GUYS WHO PAID ALL THE BILLS--DID ALL THE WORK--AND GOT NO CREDIT--AND THIS IS THE WAY GOD WANTS IT!..........The peasants of the dark ages were the ultimate "sheep"--used and abused by the kings--the nobles--and yes-- church leadership. Church history is a great thing to study--if we look with open eyes we can see God working all this wrong human authority out of His church---but is the work done?


Read this excerpt from a biography of Charlemagne....... Who was Charlemagne and why should we study his life? He was a big influence on the Christian church. Charlemagne utilized the church to set up his own kingdom--he wasn't the first to do this and certainly not the last--but the question is this: are we still influenced by decisions and dictates that he made?


MARTIN LUTHER--CHURCH REFORM--THE BIBLE FINALLY PUBLISHED!......Martin Luther realized the church was corrupt--and he was able to get his message across because of the printing press and the availability of the Bible. This was the beginning of church reform---but have we reformed ALL THE WAY?


THE END OF ROME--OR IS IT?........The Roman empire ended, but the church, so intertwined with Rome, carried on it's traditions in many ways. What were Roman traditions?--How about slavery, hierarchy and rule--to name a few! Too bad no one read the Bible, where Jesus said not to exercise authority like the "Gentile kings"--of course no one could read the Bible, Rome owned it!


ART--IT IMITATES LIFE--SO STUDY IT!........The art of the dark ages was much inspired by the church--and if we study it we can also get some picture of life--and the way the church operated.


THE FEUDAL SYSTEM--HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CHURCH?............For hundreds of years, western Europe followed a strict code of "ethics" called the feudal system. Everyone had his place in the society, no one dared rebel against authority."Rulers" ruled because God made it that way--no questions asked please! Is there any of this spirit in your church?


THE FEUDAL SYSTEM--HAS IT INFLUENCED YOUR CHURCH?--PART 2........A good general description of the feudal system---in order to encourage more study on your part. STUDY HISTORY FOR YOUR SELF!