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His was an itinerary of enormous proportions but the sheer length of the trip was not the whole story. Not only did he run the risk of roaming the post-Civil War south but he also had to bear gruelling conditions. He would have got robbed several times by small bands of guerrilla if it had not been for his modest appearance. Besides Muir travelled light. To make matters worse the money package he was expecting from his brother failed to arrive.
Exhausted and penniless, he resolved to go to the Bonaventure graveyard, close by, and dwell there. Every now and again he had to drink from streams or puddles. He led such a life for 6 days. His declining strengths notwithstanding he walked on undeterred and again, found himself subjected to extreme conditions in Florida.
There, refusing to come in contact with his fellow-men, he tested his vital forces to the utmost. Eventually his body could take no more of this regimen and he was struck down by malarial fever. He did not go through such a perilous and exhausting experience solely on account of material necessity. Crucial to his adventure was the notion of ascetics. An eager reader of the American transcendentalists since his time at Wisconsin university, Muir had been inspired by the example set by H. Thoreau in Walden. It appeared more beautiful to live low and fare hard in many respects […]. Above all he was willing to observe the harmony of nature and to experience life in the open to the full.
Muir deemed his humble fare undoubtedly worthwhile and he could have contemplated no other way to travel. There was, however, much more to this journey than the mere pleasure of individual development. The young naturalist prepared the ground for a part of twentieth-century ecological thinking in America. And indeed the scientific motive behind the trip can hardly be understated.
John Muir has often been portrayed as a romantic figure, intent only on marvelling at the aesthetics of nature. Nothing could be further from the truth. First and foremost Muir took a rational and scientific approach to nature. Truly he was a man of science, albeit an amateur. Reading between the lines one realizes that Muir kept abreast of the latest research in the field of botany.
Mention is made for instance of the Swedish botanist, Linneaus, who shaped his field well into the nineteenth century. Muir also refers to Harvard botanist Asa Gray whose writing helped give a new orientation to botanical research in the United States. When asked by a blacksmith what had brought him to Kentucky, Muir stated it had been his botanical interest, much to the dismay of his interlocutor.
He quoted as the chief motive of his journey not adventure and the quest for freedom but botany. Such a propensity is worth noting since scientific knowledge is one of the prerequisites of ecology. In the autobiography of his youth he claims to have been greatly influenced by the German naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt.
Firstly, Humboldt refused to dissociate the scientific from the aesthetic. To him, reason and beauty went hand in hand. Secondly, Humboldt put particular emphasis upon first-hand knowledge that he had gained in the field. To his mind the natural philosopher had by all means to come into direct contact with nature in order to understand it properly. Walking, therefore, appeared to him as the best means by which knowledge about the world could be obtained.
This, of course, was reminiscent of the ideas set forth by Thoreau in a brief essay entitled Walking which Muir was also acquainted with. He made this point clear in his monumental study of natural phenomena, aptly entitled Cosmos. In this book, he argues that nature can only be analysed as a whole. Ultimately what the naturalist should be concerned with is the cosmos. In Cosmos Humboldt urges every naturalist to study details with great care but only so as to come back to the general plane in the end, an approach which Muir eagerly took on board. Chief among his ideas, therefore, was the notion that natural harmony, unity and beauty were to be observed at close range and contemplated from a general plane.
In ecology nature is indeed seen as oikos , the Greek for household. According to such a perception, every single living being is linked to the rest of the biosphere and can, if modified, have an impact on the integrity of the whole. Accordingly it seems pointless and self-defeating to take a fragmentary approach to natural phenomena. In that respect his six-day stay at Bonaventure graveyard some four miles away from Savannah was an intellectual watershed. As the money package which Muir expected failed to arrive, he was loath to be put up at a hotel and therefore made for the Bonaventure graveyard.
There, he experienced some sort of a revelation, as is made evident by his recollection of the place:.
I’m a New Christian…What Next?
Bonaventure is called a graveyard, a town of the dead, but the few graves are powerless in such a depth of life. One of the most revolutionary aspects of evolutionism was that it knocked down the barrier which, in the Christian tradition, had separated man from all other living beings. He held that man was a member of the biosphere in his own right but no more so than any other beings. His understanding of nature as oikos was already so well formed that it led him to value insects and microscopic beings as important members of the biosphere when they were usually discarded as a mere nuisance or pests which most people were eager to get rid of.
It is worth noting that Muir set forth this radically new idea almost a century before American ecologist Rachel Carson popularized such views in her much-acclaimed Silent Springs More interestingly Muir was henceforth prepared to draw all the logical conclusions as to what he considered the errors and the limitations of Judeo-Christian culture. In this comprehensive scheme no animal or plant ought to be disparaged since every living being, including predators, had a part to play in the economy of nature.
As such alligators were much-maligned creatures, said to be the very embodiment of cruelty and treachery. In the Florida chapter Muir seeks to reverse this trend by writing several pages in praise of the alligator. He does not deny the fact that alligators are no friends of men. However, to him, that is no reason to attack, or even disparage them. They belong in the biosphere, just like any other living being. He argues that predators have a part to play in the greater economy of nature. That is why Muir did his utmost to foster a feeling of empathy towards all predators, which deserved to be treated as equal and rightful members of the land-community.
There is no denying, therefore, that A Thousand-Mile Walk contributed to the concept of land-community which Leopold coined in the twentieth-century. It should come as no surprise that Leopold read Muir and claimed to have been influenced by him. From the same material he has made every other creature, however noxious and insignificant to us. They are our earth-born companions and our fellow mortals. A few decades later Aldo Leopold would follow suit. Nevertheless when he expounded his ecological views, Muir was also painfully aware that his writings fell beyond the pale of American culture.
First of all Muir came to question the American consensus on utilitarianism. In nineteenth-century America utilitarianism held sway and materialistic impulses were rampant. Muir had had several opportunities to observe these tendencies at first hand as he was brought up on the American Frontier where tilling and improving the land were the chief activities people pursued. A man was then expected to become a farmer or choose a trade, make a living and shift for himself. Muir went in the opposite direction and thus found himself at odds with the spirit of the age.
Several people he met on his way to Florida discarded the motives behind his journey as pointless and ridiculed his passion for botany. To him virtually no room was made for the life of the mind for its own sake or for the enjoyment of beauty. This, however, is not the main critique Muir levelled at American culture. Muir sought to refute the centrality of mankind in nature. To him the works of men were nothing compared with the stately beauty of nature. Going from there Muir got on with the meditating process engaged at Bonaventure when he arrived in Florida. Muir wants to force his readers to confront the cultural contradictions of Christian anthropocentrism.
By a series of rhetorical questions he endeavours to expose what he regards as its inconsistencies:. Or about those myriads of noxious insects that destroy labor and drink his blood? Doubtless man was intended for food and drink for all these? Oh, no! Not at all! Why does water drown its lord? Augustine , where he describes his moment of conversion in the garden reading St.
Paul to the Romans , But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provisions for the desires of the flesh. Both his mother and son died soon afterwards and he returned in to his home in Tagaste. He was ordained a priest in , and became Bishop of Hippo in Augustine was people-oriented and preached every day. Many of his followers lived an ascetic life. He had a great love for Christ, and believed that our goal on earth was God through Christ himself, "to see his face evermore. Augustine was one of the most prolific writers in history, and his writings show an evolution of thought and at times a reversal of ideas, as seen in his Retractations.
His Scriptural essays on Genesis and Psalms remain starting points for modern Biblical scholars. His commentary on the Sermon on the Mount is still read today. Perhaps most debated are his views on predestination. Augustine is the doctor of grace. In his book Grace and Free Will , he explained simply why he believed in free will. If there was no free will, then why did God give us the Ten Commandments, and why did he tell us to love our neighbor? Augustine's arguments against the Pelagian heresy set the doctrine of grace for the Catholic Church to the present day.
Pelagius thought that man could achieve virtue and salvation on his own without the gift of grace, that Jesus was simply a model of virtue. This of course attacks the Redemption of man by Christ! If man could make it on his own, then the Cross of Christ becomes meaningless! But Augustine saw man's utter sinfulness and the blessing and efficacy of grace, disposing man to accept his moment of grace, and hopefully ultimate salvation. Grace raises us to a life of virtue, and is the ground of human freedom. Perhaps one of his greatest works was The City of God, which took 13 years to complete, from to History can only be understood as a continued struggle between two cities, the City of God, comprised of those men who pursue God, and the City of Man, composed of those who pursue earthly goods and pleasures.
He refers to Cain and Abel as the earliest examples of the two types of man. The Roman Empire was an example of the city of man which had just been sacked by Alaric in and was the occasion of the book. Augustine was a living example of God's grace that transformed nature.
The Friday Cover
He died August 28, , during the sack of Hippo by the Vandals. August 28 is celebrated as his Feast Day in the liturgical calendar. Pope Leo entered the Papacy at a difficult time. Alaric had sacked Rome in , and the Huns and the Visigoths were gaining strength. However the Pope proved to be a master statesman and history has deservedly accorded him the title of Pope Leo the Great. One of his first actions in was to bless the missionary efforts of St.
Patrick and to ordain him as Bishop of Ireland. A tension in Church authority between papal leadership and collegiality of the bishops was developing over theological questions. Rome was the place of martyrdom for Saints Peter and Paul. Rome's position as the capital of the Roman Empire was also supportive of a leadership role for the Bishop of Rome. The Bishop of Rome as successor to St. Peter was the Pastor and Shepherd of the whole Church, as seen with St. The independent Church of the East in Persia believed in two distinct natures dyophysite in Christ and did not accept the wording.
Pope Leo synthesized the thought of the differing Schools of Antioch and Alexandria in a letter known as the Tome. The Council of Chalcedon in was the Fourth Ecumenical Council, which supported Leo's stance that Christ had two natures, Divine and human in perfect harmony, in one Person or hypostasis. This set the theology for Roman and Byzantine theology and was important for European unity. Just one year later , Attila and the Huns were threatening outside the walls of Rome. Pope Leo met Attila, who decided to call off the invasion!
The Monastic Orders have been a premium influence on the formation of Christian culture. For not only have they been islands of asceticism and holiness that have served as ideals to a secular world, but also they have provided many if not most of the religious leaders within each historic age, especially during times of renewal and reform.
The word monos is the Greek word for one or alone. Monasticism began in the East and spread throughout Europe and saved European civilization. The practice of leaving the ambitions of daily life and retreating to the solitude of the desert was seen throughout Palestine, Syria, and Egypt, St. John the Baptist Mark an early example. The father of Christian monasticism was St. Antony of the Desert , the first of the Desert Fathers. Antony of Egypt took to heart the words of Christ to the rich young man, " Go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven" Matthew He headed across the Nile to a mountain near Pispir to live a life of solitude, prayer, and poverty.
Soon many gathered around him to imitate his life, living as hermits in nearby caves in the mountain, and in he emerged from solitude to teach his followers the way of the ascetic. He then moved further into the desert by Mount Kolzim near the Red Sea, where a second group of hermits gathered and later formed a monastery. He lived there for 45 years until his death in Maron , a contemporary of St. John Chrysostom, was a monk in the fourth century who left Antioch for the Orontes River to lead a life of holiness and prayer. As he was given the gift of healing, his life of solitude was short-lived, and soon he had many followers that adopted his monastic way.
Following the death of St. Maron in , his disciples built a monastery in his memory, which would form the nucleus of the Eastern Catholic Maronite Church of Lebanon. The fall of the Roman Empire to the barbarian invasions left European civilization in disarray, for the social structure under one ruler in Rome was destroyed.
The preservation of culture and the conversion of the barbarians to Christianity was left to an unlikely group: the monastics of Europe. Their missionary efforts converted one tribe after another, so that eventually all of Europe was united in the worship of the one Christian God. Patrick as Apostle to Ireland founded the monastery of Armagh in and other monasteries throughout Ireland. As the social unit in Ireland and much of Europe at the time was the tribe in the countryside, the monastery was the center of Church life and learning.
The Irish monks that followed him converted much of northern Europe. The lasting legacy of the Irish monks has been the present-day form of confession. In early times, penance was in public and severe, often lasting for years, such that Baptism was generally postponed until one's deathbed. The Irish monks began private confession and allowed one to repeat confession as necessary.
The monk St. Benedict was born in Nursia of nobility but chose a life of solitude in Subiaco outside of Rome. Soon he moved nearby to build a monastery at Monte Cassino in and there wrote the Rule of Benedict. Monte Cassino placed all of the monks in one monastery under an abbot. The guiding principle for the monastery was ora et labora , or pray and work. The monastery provided adequate food and a place to sleep and served as a center of conversion and learning. Known for its moderation, Monte Cassino and Benedict's rule became the standard for monasteries throughout Europe and the pattern for Western civilization.
The first monk to become Pope was St. Gregory the Great Born to Roman nobility, Gregory at first pursued a political career and became Prefect of Rome. However he gave up position and wealth and retreated to his home to lead a monastic life. He was recalled to Rome and soon was elected Pope in and served until his death in A man of great energy, he is known for four historic achievements.
His theological and spiritual writings shaped the thought of the Middle Ages ; he made the Pope the de facto ruler of central Italy; his charisma strengthened the Papacy in the West; and he was dedicated to the conversion of England to Christianity. Gregory sent the monk Augustine to England in The conversion of King Aethelbert of Kent led St. Augustine to be named the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Soon English Benedictine monks were being sent to convert the rest of Europe, such as the English monk Winfrid, better known as St.
Boniface , who served from as the Apostle to Germany. Boniface in his conversion of Germany. His son Pepin and the Papacy formed an historic alliance. Pepin needed the blessing of the Pope in his seizure of leadership of Gaul from the Merovingians. Pepin died in and divided his realm between his two sons, Carloman and Charles. Charles, known as Charlemagne , took over all of Gaul upon the death of his brother in , and soon conquered most of mainland Europe. He was a vigorous leader and ruled until Charlemagne was a strong supporter of Christianity.
During his reign, Christianity became the guiding principle of the Carolingian Empire, as the Church established a powerful presence throughout Europe. He instituted a school of learning in his palace at Aachen. In the Middle Ages there was in theory a division between temporal power and spiritual authority, but in practice one saw a strong Emperor take control of some spiritual affairs and a strong Pope take control of some affairs of state.
Charlemagne, as Constantine, considered himself the leader of Christendom as political head of state and protector of the Church. The historian Christopher Dawson called this the beginning of medieval Christendom. The Byzantine Empire of the East, with its capital in Constantinople, flourished for a thousand years. The Empire reached its zenith under Emperor Justinian, the author of the Justinian Code of Law, who ruled from to Justinian built the beautiful Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople in , which became a center of religious thought.
The Byzantine or Greek liturgy is based on the tradition of St. Basil and the subsequent reform of St. John Chrysostom. The Byzantine missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius brought Christianity to Moravia, and Cyril created the Cyrillic alphabet for their liturgy, which became the basis of the Slavic languages, including Russian.
Kiev was once the capital of the country of Kievan Rus, which comprised the modern nations of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. In the sixteenth century, a Russian mystic Philotheus of Pskof noted that Rome and Constantinople, the second Rome, had fallen, but "Moscow, the third Rome," stands. The Russian Orthodox Church today is the largest Eastern Orthodox faith with over million members.
One of the most tragic events in Church history has been the Schism of between what is now the Catholic Church in Rome and the Byzantine or Eastern Orthodox Church in Constantinople. The actual event occurred on July 16, The abrasive Cardinal Humbert laid a papal bull of excommunication after Pope Leo had died on the altar right during the Liturgy at the Church of Hagia Sophia, which led the Eastern Church to excommunicate the envoy. While the event did not end the relationship between the Eastern and Western Churches, it became symbolic for the distrust and strain between the East and the West that developed through the centuries.
The break was sealed in with the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Rome and Constantinople had been able to agree through three more Councils. The fifth ecumenical council at Constantinople II in was called by the Emperor Justinian and reaffirmed that there is only one person or hypostasis in our Lord Jesus Christ. In response to the Monothelites, that Christ had only one will, the sixth ecumenical council affirmed the efforts of St. Maximus the Confessor at Constantinople III in and confessed that Christ had two wills and two natural operations John , divine and human in harmony.
The seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea II in resolved the iconoclast controversy thanks to the writings of St. John of Damascus: since Jesus had a true humanity and his body was finite, it was only proper to venerate holy images of the human face of Jesus, as well as Mary and the saints. However, the language of Rome was Latin, and that of Constantinople Greek. There was a difference in perception of Church authority between the East and West. Latin Rome believed the Pontiff, as the representative of Peter, was Pastor and Shepherd to the whole Church, whereas the Greek East saw the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and representative of Peter, as presiding with love in the sense of collegiality, as a first among equals.
This difference in perception of Church authority produced the conflict over the addition of the word filioque - and the Son - to the Nicene Creed by the Roman Catholic Church. Theological thought on the Trinity had progressed with time, particularly with St. Augustine, who saw the Holy Spirit as an expression of love between the Father and the Son. King Recared and his Visigothic bishops converted from Arianism to Catholicism at the Third Council of Toledo, Spain in and were required to add the word filioque to the Creed.
Charlemagne in insisted on its addition, so that the phrase read "the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son". The Eastern Orthodox Churches claim that the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is the common possession of the whole church and that any change must be made by an ecumenical Council. Catholic Spain was the first European territory to suffer Islamic invasion in when the Berber general Ibn Tariq conquered nearly all of Spain except the northern rim.
The discovery of the relics of St. As recorded in the late ninth-century Chronicle of Alfonso III, Pelayo became the inspiration for the rightful recovery of Spanish territory lost to Muslim invasion. Spain was troubled in when the Moor Almanzor usurped the power of the Caliphate and sacked the city and Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the northwest tip of Spain, but spared the tomb of St. James Santiago in Spanish. With the loss of respect for the Caliphate, Al-Andalus fractured into multiple petty states, known as Taifas. El Cid held off the Muslims in Valencia until his death in The Reconquista of Spain, or the unification of Spain under Christian rule, was not formally completed until the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, when Granada was captured from the Moors on January 2, Pope Urban II, in one of history's most powerful speeches, launched years of the Crusades at the Council of Clermont, France on November 27, with this impassioned plea.
In a rare public session in an open field, he urged the knights and noblemen to win back the Holy Land, to face their sins, and called upon those present to save their souls and become Soldiers of Christ. Those who took the vow for the pilgrimage were to wear the sign of the cross croix in French : and so evolved the word croisade or Crusade. By the time his speech ended, the captivated audience began shouting Deus le volt! The expression became the battle-cry of the crusades. Three reasons are primarily given for the beginning of the Crusades: 1 to free Jerusalem and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; 2 to defend the Christian East, hopefully healing the rift between Roman and Orthodox Christianity; and 3 to marshal the energy of the constantly warring feudal lords and knights into the one cause of penitential warfare.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was once again in Christian hands and restored. The Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted 88 years, until Saladin recaptured the city October 2, The four Crusader states eventually collapsed; the surrender of Acre in ended years of formal Christian rule in the Holy Land. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were the peak of the Medieval Age. It was the flowering of Christendom, a time of extraordinary intellectual activity, with the rise of the University and the introduction of Arabian, Hebrew, and Greek works into Christian schools.
A new form of order arose whose aim was to pursue the monastic ideals of poverty, renunciation, and self-sacrifice, but also to maintain a presence and convert the world by example and preaching. They were known as friars and called the Mendicant Orders Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and the Servites , because of begging alms to support themselves.
Francis of Assisi was born to wealth. He loved adventure, but experienced conversion after joining the military. He returned home, and heard a voice saying to him, "Francis, go and rebuild my house; it is falling down. Francis loved creation and considered it good, for Christ himself took on flesh in the Incarnation. He loved all living creatures.
Francis originated the Christmas manger scene. He founded the Franciscan order, and received approval from Rome in The Poor Clare Nuns began when St. Clare joined the Franciscans in in Assisi. In St. Francis risked his life in the Fifth Crusade by calling directly upon the Sultan of Egypt in an effort to convert him and bring peace. He received the stigmata of Christ in , 2 years before his death in Dominic de Guzman was born in Calaruega, Spain.
On a journey through France he was confronted by the Albigensian heresy like Manichaeism and the Cathari. As he came with a Bishop in richly dressed clothes on horses, he realized the people would not be impressed with his message. This led him to a life of poverty. He spent several years preaching in France in an attempt to convert the Albigensians.
In in Prouille, France, he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and began to spread devotion to the Rosary. Dominic was a man of peace and converted many through prayer, preaching, and his example of poverty. He founded the Order of Preachers in known as the Dominican Friars. The universities in Europe began as guilds of scholars, which first attracted members of the clergy and were supported financially by the Church.
The first universities in Europe were founded in Bologna and Paris; Oxford and Cambridge soon followed. Theology, law, and medicine were fields of advanced study. The age was the time of Scholasticism - of the schools, a method of learning that placed emphasis on reasoning. Important writers at the time were Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, Albertus Magnus, and his student Thomas Aquinas, who became the greatest theologian and philosopher of the age.
Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest who lived from to Born in Roccasecca, Italy to the Aquino family, he joined the Dominicans at the age of He received his doctorate in theology and taught at the University of Paris during the height of Christendom. One of the greatest contributions by Thomas was his incorporation of the philosophy of Aristotle into the theology of the Catholic Church. Thomas saw reason and faith as one and mutually supportive, and combined the Bible and Church Fathers and the reasoning of Aristotle into one unified system of understanding Christian revelation through faith enlightened by reason.
His most noted work was the Summa Theologica , a five-volume masterpiece. Thomas Aquinas presented the classical approach to Biblical Exegesis. Recalling the words of Gregory that Scripture transcends every science, " for in one and the same sentence, while it describes a fact, it reveals a mystery. His exposition on the Seven Sacraments remains a standard to our present day.
The Renaissance , which means rebirth, was the period of phenomenal growth in Western culture in art, architecture, literature, and sculpture. Christian humanism, a rejoicing in man's achievements and capabilities reflecting the greater glory of God, had its beginning with the Divine Comedy , published in by Dante Alighieri in Italy. The Renaissance continued through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries until William Shakespeare. Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli led the way in art.
Brunelleschi revived the ancient Roman style of architecture and introduced linear perspective. The great sculptors were Donatello and Michelangelo. Thomas More and Erasmus were leading Christian humanists in literature. The Protestant Reformation resulted from the failure of the Catholic Church to reform itself in time. The dark side of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries witnessed the errant Fourth Crusade to Constantinople in , the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathari in , and the beginning of the Inquisition which became severely punitive.
The Papacy suffered a great loss of respect during the Avignon Papacy and especially during the Papal Schism , when two and at one point three men declared themselves Pope and opposed each other. However, the Council also condemned John Hus , the Prague reformer who believed in the priesthood of all believers and the reception of Communion through bread and wine; he was burned at the stake on July 6, Another victim of the Inquisition was St.
She was burned at the stake on May 30, in Rouen, France. The Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century was particularly ruthless. The lack of Church funds led to even further corruption, including simony and the selling of indulgences. For example, Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz had to pay Rome ten thousand ducats for the right to hold three dioceses at once, and agreed to a three-way split with the Roman Curia and the Fugger Banking firm from the proceeds of the selling of indulgences.
These events led many to question the compassion and integrity of the Church. The unity of Tradition and Scripture went unchallenged through the Patristic Age and thirteenth century scholasticists such as St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas. But the unity of Scripture and Tradition began to be questioned with the decline of the Church.
The Belgian Henry of Ghent believed that one should first have the duty to follow Scripture rather than a Church that became one in name only. The English Franciscan William of Ockham or Occam was known for the principle of Occam's Razor , that one needs to reduce everything to its simplest cause. Ockham theorized on three possibilities of the relation of Scripture and the Church. First there was Sola Scriptura , that one could obtain salvation by following Scripture alone; second, that God does reveal truths to the universal Church, an ecclesiastical revelation supplemental to apostolic revelation; and third, the concept of orally transmitted apostolic revelation parallel to written Scripture.
Ockham believed that one could reach God only through faith and not by reason. He wrote that universals, such as truth, beauty, and goodness, were concepts of the mind and did not exist, a philosophy known as Nominalism. Thus began the division of the realm of faith from the secular world of reason. The rise of Nationalism led to the end of Christendom, for countries resented any effort to support Rome, especially in its dismal state.
Dissemination of new ideas followed the invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany; his very first printing was the Latin Vulgate Bible in The stage was set for the reform-minded Martin Luther , the Augustinian monk of Wittenberg, Germany. He received his doctorate in theology in , and then taught biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg. His study of Scripture, particularly St.
Paul in his Letter to the Romans, led him to believe that salvation was obtained through justification by faith alone. At first, his only interest was one of reform when he posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church October 31, But the intransigence of the Church and poor handling of the situation by the Pope and Curia only worsened matters, such that a break was inevitable.
HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY
In a July debate with the Catholic theologian Johann Eck, Luther stated that Sola Scriptura - Scripture alone - was the supreme authority in religion. He could no longer accept the authority of the Pope or the Councils, such as Constance. In Luther published three documents which laid down the fundamental principles of the Reformation. In Address To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation , Luther attacked the corruptions of the Church and the abuses of its authority, and asserted the right of the layman to spiritual independence.
In the Babylonian Captivity of the Church , he defended the sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, and Penance, but criticized the sacramental system of Rome, and set up the Scriptures as the supreme authority in religion. In The Freedom of the Christian Man , he expounded the doctrine of salvation through justification by faith alone.
The Augsburg Confession of , written by Philip Melanchthon and approved by Martin Luther, was the most widely accepted Lutheran confession of faith. Once Sola Scriptura became the norm, it became a matter of personal interpretation. Huldrich Zwingli of Zurich, Switzerland was next, and he broke with Luther over the Eucharist, but his sect died out. The Anabaptists separated from Zwingli as they denied the validity of infant baptism; they survived as the Mennonites. While he agreed with Luther on the basic Protestant tenets of sola scriptura, salvation by faith alone, and the priesthood of all believers, he went even further on such issues as predestination and the sacraments.
George Fox, the son of Puritan parents, founded the Quakers in England in Thomas More refused to attend the wedding, and was imprisoned in the Tower of London and later beheaded in Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral in Two major sects that split off from the Anglicans were the Baptists , founded by John Smyth in , and later the Methodists , founded by John Wesley and his brother Charles. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder, an earthquake, and a violent hailstorm. A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
On December 12, , Juan Diego was obedient to the Blessed Virgin Mary's instruction to gather beautiful roses in his tilma and take them to the Franciscan Bishop Don Fray Juan de Zumarraga on his third visit to appeal for the building of a Church as requested by Our Lady. Then he put up both hands and untied the corners of crude cloth behind his neck.
The looped-up fold of the tilma fell; the flowers he thought were the precious sign tumbled out on the floor. The Bishop fell on his knees in adoration, for on the tilma was the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, just as described by Juan Diego, and is still preserved today in original condition in Tepeyac on the outskirts of Mexico City. Spanish conquistadors may have conquered the Aztecs in , but their ruthless behavior antagonized the people and conversions were few.
Our Lady of Guadalupe conveyed the beautiful message of Christianity: the true God sacrificed himself for mankind, instead of the horrendous life indians had endured sacrificing thousands of humans to appease the frightful gods! It is no wonder that over the next seven years, from to , eight million natives of Mexico converted to Catholicism. Indeed, the Blessed Virgin Mary entered the very soul of Central America and became a central figure to the history of Mexico itself.
A harbinger of things to come, Christianity would thrive in the Americas. Her appearance in the center of the American continents has contributed to the Virgin of Guadalupe being given the title "Mother of America. The Catholic Church reformed itself both through the positive work of renewal and through the impetus of the Protestant Reformation. Efforts at reform had already begun with the Oratory of Divine Love in Genoa in The strict order of the Theatines was founded in and made significant efforts at the reform of the parish clergy.
The Capuchins were founded in Italy in to restore the Franciscan Order to its original ideals. Ignatius of Loyola began the Jesuit Order in Spiritual enrichment was kindled through the Spanish mystics St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. The Council of Trent marked an important turning point for the Catholic Church, for it provided clarity on the beliefs of the Church, and ecclesiastical discipline was restored.
The doctrines established at Trent persist to this day. The Council addressed three areas: doctrine, discipline, and devotion. Seven major areas were included in doctrine: that our justification was not just by faith alone, but also by hope and charity expressed in good works in cooperation with God's grace. Both Tradition and Scripture were essential to the faith. The Latin Vulgate Bible was promoted as the only canonical Scripture. There was a clear definition of the seven sacraments. The Mass, known as the Tridentine Mass, was given strict form and was celebrated only in Latin.
The Latin Tridentine Mass provided unity for the universal Church, for it was the same Mass in every place and time. Discipline involved strict reform and the establishment of the seminary system for the proper and uniform training of priests. The office of indulgence seller was abolished, and doctrine on indulgences was clarified. A Bishop was allowed only one diocese and residence was required, begun by the reformer St. Charles Borromeo of Milan. Catholic Missionaries accompanied the explorers on their journeys, such as Christopher Columbus in , the Portuguese Vasco da Gama to Goa, India in , and Ferdinand Magellan to the Philippines in Francis Xavier exemplified the missionary movement, and has been recognized as second only to the Apostle Paul in his evangelical efforts.
The patron saint of missionaries, Francis Xavier sailed from Lisbon, Portugal and landed in Goa in His humble way had great impact on the local people, and he trained the young in the Ten Commandments and the Lord's Prayer.
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He was soon reported to have baptized 10, a month. He then headed to Cape Comorin, the southern tip of India, where he made many conversions of the fishermen there. Andres de Urdaneta and the Augustinian monks sailed to Cebu, Philippines in He was a self-sacrificing man dedicated to protecting the natives, and received the name Motolinia for his life of poverty. He recorded in his book History of the Indians of New Spain the dramatic conversions following the appearances of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Dominican Bartholomew de Las Casas first went to the West Indies in as a soldier, but on viewing the horrendous enslavement of the native Indians through the Spanish encomienda system, was ordained as a Dominican priest in , the first ordination in America. In his role as human rights advocate for the Indians, he is considered an early pioneer of social justice. Missionary efforts would continue to the New World for years to come. The history of the English Bible is intimately intertwined with the history of the Reformation. He served until his death in , when he was succeeded by his son, Charles I.
It was a time when the English language reached its greatest expression in the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible. King James as head of the Church of England commissioned a group of bishops and scholars to establish an authoritative translation of the Bible from the original languages into English in There were several English versions available, either as translations of the Latin Vulgate or from the Greek-Latin parallel New Testament of Erasmus; the ones that follow influenced the King James scholars.
John Wycliffe produced a hand-written English translation of the Latin Vulgate in His colleague, Miles Coverdale, completed Tyndale's work, which formed the basis for the Great Bible , the first authorized Bible in English, which was placed in every church in England. When the Catholic Queen Mary came to the throne in , further work had to be done on the European continent, and the Geneva Bible, the first to have numbered verses, was published in The King James Bible originally included the Apocrypha but in a separate section.
A literary masterpiece of the English language, the King James Bible is still in use today. Christopher Columbus reached America in the Bahamas on October 12, Following the discovery of Florida by Ponce de Leon in , St. Augustine, Florida became the first permanent European settlement in North America in , from which missionaries spread Catholicism to the Native American Indians. Augustine, Florida.
Spanish explorations extended as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico, established in A wave of explorations to the New World continued. Samuel de Champlain explored the St. Christianity continued to thrive in the New World as our young Nation developed. Four of the original 13 English colonies were specifically chartered for religious freedom, as a refuge from religious persecution in England at the time. The settlers soon enacted the Toleration Act of Maryland and founded St. Mary's Chapel in St. Mary's City, Maryland. William Penn and the Quakers settled in in Pennsylvania.
The Mennonites also moved to Pennsylvania in at the invitation of William Penn. The universal toleration offered in Pennsylvania continued to attract groups such as the Amish, Moravian Pietists, and Presbyterians. The period from through the eighteenth century was known as the Age of Enlightenment in Europe. The time had come when men would set aside religious views and look to reason and social experience to guide society. It was the loss of Christian unity that led to the secularization of Western culture.
Whereas Christendom provided one message to European society, the pluralism of religions provided different answers to questions about life and led to skepticism and conflict rather than unanimous thought. Discoveries in science had much to do with the Age of Enlightenment. Copernicus proposed the sun is the center of the solar system and the earth revolved around the sun.
Galileo Galilei , the first to use a telescope, confirmed that Copernicus was right and was condemned by the Catholic Church. Scientists such as Isaac Newton in physics and Robert Boyle in chemistry were pioneers and gave birth to technology, the application of science to practical problems, which led to the Industrial Revolution. Progress based on science and technology became a major goal of Western Society.
Mankind was left without its mooring, and philosophers set out in different directions to provide meaning for humanity. The critical Rationalism of Rene Descartes applied to philosophy the mathematical method so effective in science, that everything was questionable until it could be proved beyond all doubt. Blaise Pascal took a different stance and presented Pascal's Wager: it is better to live a good life, for if there is a God, you will end up with Him in Heaven; but if you have lived a bad life and there is a God, you are doomed!
John Locke applied reason to confirm revelation. The political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu of France proposed that the best form of government would incorporate a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches and would be based on the natural law. David Hume proposed a science of man, and is considered a pioneer in the social sciences. But Jean-Jacques Rousseau , considered the father of Romanticism, took an opposite approach and spoke of the noble savage, that man was happy only in his original native state, before government, laws, and politics chained mankind.
It was the German philosopher Immanuel Kant that defined the era: "Have courage to use your own reason - that is the motto of Enlightenment. Unfortunately, the Age of Enlightenment ignored love, emotion, spirituality and concern for one's fellow man.