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Many young believers have no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

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Canonical and Papal Reform, Part 3 (The History of Christianity #218)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #218, titled, “Canonical and Papal Reform, Part 3.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is Ephesians 4:11-13 which reads: “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Philip Yancey. He said: “History shows that when the church uses the tools of the world’s kingdom, it becomes as ineffectual, or as tyrannical, as any other power structure. And whenever the church has intermingled with the state, the appeal of the faith suffers as well. Ironically, our respect in the world declines in proportion to how vigorously we attempt to force others to adopt our point of view.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Canonical and Papal Reform, Part 3” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

After that time, with one exception, there was a succession of reforming popes. That exception led the reformers, under the leadership of Nicholas II (second), to call the Second Lateran [LAT-ER-UHN] Council, which determined the manner in which popes were to be elected thereafter. The power of election was to rest with the cardinals who also held the title of bishops, who would then seek the consent of the rest of the cardinals, and, finally, of the Roman people. (The origins of the title “cardinal” are obscure, and need not detain us here. By the time of the Second Lateran [LAT-ER-UHN] Council, in 1059, the cardinalate was an ancient institution.) Since the cardinals were committed to reform, and since the popes elected by them would name any new cardinals, the power of the reforming party seemed assured. The next pope, Alexander II (second), was duly elected by the cardinals and continued the work of reformation, although some of the powerful Roman families, with support from the Germans, set up a rival pope.

When Alexander died, Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND] was elected pope, although the order prescribed by the Second Lateran [LAT-ER-UHN] Council was reversed, for it was the people who demanded his election, and the cardinals who agreed. He took the name of Gregory VII (seventh), and continued the work of reformation in which he had been engaged for years. His dream was of a world united under the papacy, as one flock under one shepherd. Among the many steps he took in this direction, he declared that the Bible should not be translated into vernacular languages, for the ministry of teaching and interpretation msut be in the hands of Rome. His vision of unity included not only Western Europe, but also the Byzantine [BI-ZUHN-TEEN] church as well as the lands then under Muslim control. For a while he sought to organize a great military offensive against Islam, with a western front in Spain and another in the East, where Latin Christians would go to the succor of beleaguered Constantinople–a project that two decades later would result in the Crusades. But these plans, as well as his efforts to extend his authority to the East, never came to fruition.

In Western Europe, Gregory VII (seventh) continued the campaign against simony [SAI-MUH-NEE] and the marriage of clergy. A synod gathered in 1070 condemned simony [SAI-MUH-NEE] and ordered that clergy by celibate. Gregory reinforced the synod’s decisions by forbidding the laity from receiving the sacraments from the hands of simoniacs [SAI-MUH-NEE-ACKS]. He also named legates who would travel, ensuring that these orders were obeyed. In response, some accused Gregory of heresy, for long before his time Augustine had declared–and the rest of the church had agreed–that sacraments administered by schismatics [SKIZ-MAT-IK] were nonetheless valid. In truth, Gregory did not declare that such sacraments were invalid; he simply ordered people to abstain from them. In France, King Philip I would not heed Gregory’s admonitions. With his support, the French clergy refused to obey Gregory’s reforming decrees. Indeed, the two-pronged offensive against simony [SAI-MUH-NEE] and clerical marriage was unwise, for it created an alliance between the powerful prelates who profited from ecclesiastical posts, and the many worthy members of the lower clergy who bemoaned simony [SAI-MUH-NEE], but who were married and refused to set their wives aside. By joining the monastic ideal of celibacy to his reformation, Gregory and his friends made it much more difficult for their plans to succeed.

Gregory was most successful in England, where William the Conqueror now ruled. When he was still a papal advisor, Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND] had supported William’s plans to invade England from Normandy, and now the Conqueror, who in any case was in favor of ecclesiastical reform, supported the pope’s campaign against simony [SAI-MUH-NEE].

Next time, we will begin looking at “The Papacy and the Empire in Direct Confrontation.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Canonical and Papal Reform, Part 2 (The History of Christianity #217)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #217, titled, “Canonical and Papal Reform, Part 2.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is 1 Peter 2:9-10 which reads: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Paul House. He said: “The early church was most useful when it preached the meaning of Christ through the lens of the whole of Scripture. It was most powerful when it maintained integrity with God and other human beings. It was most evangelistic when it understood that adherents of other religions, whether Jewish or Greek or Roman, faced eternal judgment without Christ.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Canonical and Papal Reform, Part 2” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

As soon as he saw himself on Saint Peter’s throne, Leo began his work of reformation by calling to his side several people who were known for holding similar ideas. One of these was Peter Damian, who had long rued the state of the church, and had convinced many of the need for reformation–although without the fiery zeal of Humbert and Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND], for he insisted that reformation must be a work of love and charity. The program of reformation of the entire group was based on the promotion of clerical celibacy and the abolition of simony [SAI-MUH-NEE]. There was a connection between these two, for in that feudal society the church was one of the few institutions in which there still existed a measure of social mobility. Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND], for instance, was of humble origin, and would eventually become pope. But this social mobility was threatened by the practice of simony [SAI-MUH-NEE], which would guarantee that only the rich would occupy high offices in the church. If to this was added clerical marriage, those who held high office would seek to pass it on to their children, and thus the church would come to reflect exclusively the interests of the rich and the powerful. Thus, the movement for reformation by abolishing simony [SAI-MUH-NEE] and promoting clerical celibacy had the support of the masses, who seem to have understood that here was an opportunity for wresting from the powerful the control of the church.

After taking a number of reforming measures in Italy, Leo decided that the time had come to carry the movement across the Alps. He went to Germany, where Emperor Henry III (third) had already taken some steps against simony [SAI-MUH-NEE], and reaffirmed the emperor’s decisions while making it clear that this did not mean that the emperor could rule the life of the church in his domains. While in Germany, he excommunicated Godfrey of Lorraine, who had rebelled against the emperor, and forced him to submit. Then he saved the rebel’s life by interceding for him before the emperor.

In France simony [SAI-MUH-NEE] was widespread, and Leo sought to put an end to it. With this in mind, he decided to visit that country. Although the king and several prelates let him know that he would not be welcome, Leo went to France and called a council that deposed several prelates who had been guilty of simony [SAI-MUH-NEE]. The same council also ordered that married bishops should set their wives aside, but this order was not generally obeyed.

Leo made two grave errors during his pontificate. The first was to take up arms against the Norsemen who had settled in Sicily and southern Italy. Peter Damian urged him to desist, but he marched at the head of the troops, which were defeated by the Norsemen. Captured by those whom he had hoped to conquer, Leo remained a prisoner until shortly before his death. His other error was to send Humbert as his legate to Constantinople. Humbert’s rigidity and lack of interest in the concerns of the Byzantines [BI-ZUHN-TEENS] led to the schism of 1054, shortly after Leo’s death.

The election of the new pope was a difficult matter. To ask the emperor to select him would be tantamount to the control of the church by the state, which the reformers deplored. To let the Roman clergy and people proceed to the election risked having the papacy fall again in the hands of one of the Italian families who wished to have it as a means to their own political ends. Eventually it was decided that the Romans would elect the new pope, but that this had to be a German–thus making it impossible for any of the various parties in Rome to capture the papacy. The new pope, Victor II (second), continued Leo’s policies. When emperor Henry III (third) found himself in difficulties–Godfrey of Lorraine had rebelled again–the pope went to this aid, and on the emperor’s death was entrusted with the care of his young son, Henry IV (fourth). Thus for a time Victor held the reins of both church and empire, and the reformation that he advocated progressed rapidly.

Next time, we will continue looking at “Canonical and Papal Reform.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Canonical and Papal Reform, Part 1 (The History of Christianity #216)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #216, titled, “Canonical and Papal Reform, Part 1.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is 1 Timothy 3:15 which reads: “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Pope Pius the Eleventh. He said: “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Canonical and Papal Reform, Part 1” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

There were other efforts at reforming the entire church through legislation and through the centralization of power in the hands of reforming popes. In the field of legislation, the Decretum [DUH-KREE-TM] usually called “of Gratian [GRAY-SHEE-UHN]”–although its author is unknown–was compiled around 1140, and was an effort to compile and coordinate the many laws that supposedly governed the life of the church. Joined to five other main documents, it came to form the Corpus Juris Canonici [KUH-NON-UH-SAHY], which was the basis for the law of the Roman Catholic Church until 1917.

But it was a series of reforming popes that led the way to reformation as they understood it. The small band of pilgrims on their way to Rome in 1048 was headed by Bruno, to whom the emperor had offered the papacy, and who had preferred to enter the city as a pilgrim. If, once there, the people and the clergy elected him, he would accept. But to take the office of pope from the hands of the emperor was dangerously close to simony [SAI-MUH-NEE]–or, as Hildebrand had told Bruno, it would mean going to Rome “not as an apostle, but as an apostate.”

Another member of the small party was Humbert, who in his monastery in Lotharingia [LOTH-UH-RIN-JEE-UH] had devoted himself to study and to a constant campaign against simony [SAI-MUH-NEE]. This had never been attacked as forcefully as in his treatise Against the Simoniacs [SAI-MUH-NEE-AKS], which was a blistering attack on the powerful of his time. Humbert was a man of fiery temperament, and in his attack against simony [SAI-MUH-NEE] he went so far as to declare that sacraments offered by simoniacs [SAI-MUH-NEE-AKS] were not valid–a position that Augustine had rejected centuries earlier in his debates with the Donatists [DAA-NUH-TUHSTS]. It was also he who later, in 1054, would lay the sentence of excommunication against Patriarch Michael Cerularius [SEH-ROO-LAHR-EE-UHS] on the high altar of Hagia Sophia [HAI-UH SOW-FEE-UH], and thus seal the schism between East and West.

The third and most remarkable member of that party was the monk Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND], a man of humble origins–his father was a carpenter in Tuscany [TUH-SKUH-NEE]–who had entered a monastery in Rome at a very early age. While a monk at Rome he had met the future pope Gregory the Sixth. As was said at the end of the last chapter, Gregory the Sixth hoped to reform the church. To that end he called Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND] to his side. But then a situation developed in which there were three who claimed to be the rightful pope, and Gregory abdicated for the sake of peace and unity. Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND] went with him into exile, and it is said that he closed the saintly man’s eyes on his deathbed. Two years later, Bruno, on his way to Rome, asked Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND] to join him in the task of reformation that lay ahead.

Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND] has often been depicted as the ambitious man behind several popes. Until he felt ready to take power for himself, however, the sources of the time seem to indicate that in truth he wished nothing more than the reformation of the church. It was apparently on that basis that he supported the work of several popes, until the time came when it seemed that reformation could best be served by accepting the papacy himself, which he took under the name of Gregory the Seventh.

For the time being, however, the man called to be pope was Bruno of Toul [TOOL], who went to Rome as a barefooted pilgrim in an act of personal devotion. As he crossed northern Italy on his way to Rome, multitudes lined the roads and cheered him, and soon people began to talk of miracles that supposedly had taken place during that pilgrimage. After entering Rome barefooted and being acclaimed by the people and the clergy, Bruno accepted the papal tiara, and took the name of Leo the Ninth.

Next time, we will continue looking at “Canonical and Papal Reform.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Monastic Reform, Part 4 (The History of Christianity #215)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #215, titled, “Monastic Reform, Part 4.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is Luke 10:41-42 which reads: “And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Thomas Merton. He said: “By reading the scriptures I am so renewed that all nature seems renewed around me and with me. The sky seems to be a pure, a cooler blue, the trees a deeper green. The whole world is charged with the glory of God and I feel fire and music under my feet.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Monastic Reform, Part 4” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

The wealth that it accumulated was one of the main causes of the decline of the Cluniac [KLOO-NEE-ACK] movement. Inspired by the holiness of the monks, rich and poor alike made gifts to their monasteries. Cluny [KLOO-NEE] and its sister houses adorned their chapels with gold and jewels. Eventually, the simplicity of life that had been Benedict’s ideal was lost, and other movements of more recent foundation, and more insistent on poverty, took the place of Cluny [KLOO-NEE]. Likewise, one of the main causes of the final failure of the reformation of the eleventh century was the wealth of the church, which made it very difficult for it to set aside the intrigues of the powerful, and take the side of the poor and the oppressed.

Discontent with the ease of Cluny [KLOO-NEE] soon gave rise to other movements. Peter Damian, for instance, sought to outdo the Benedictine [BEH-NUH-DIK-TEEN] principle according to which a monk should be content with what is sufficient, and advocated living in extreme need. The next great movement of monastic reform, however, began late in the eleventh century, when Robert of Molesme [MOH-LES-MAH] founded a new monastery at Citeaux [SIT-OH]. Since the Latin name of this place was Cistertium [SUH-STUR-SHM], the movement came to be called “Cistercian [SUH-STUR-SHN].” Robert returned to his original monastery, but a community continued existing in Citeaux [SIT-OH], and eventually gave rise to a wave of monastic reform similar to that which had been led earlier by the abbots of Cluny [KLOO-NEE].

The great figure of the Cistercian [SUH-STUR-SHN] movement was Bernard of Clairvaux [CLARE-VOH], who was twenty-three years old when he presented himself at Citeaux [SIT-OH] (in 1112 or 1113) in the company of several relatives and friends, and requested admission to the community. He had decided to join that monastery, and before even presenting himself for admission he had convinced several others to follow him. This was an early indication of his great powers of persuasion, which would eventually be felt throughout Europe and would even send many to the Holy Land. When the number of monks at Citeaux [SIT-OH] grew too large, he was ordered to found a new community at Clairvaux [CLARE-VOH]. This grew rapidly, and soon became a center of reformation.

Bernard was first and foremost a monk. He was convinced that, as Jesus had told the two sisters at Bethany, Mary’s was a better lot than Martha’s, and all he wished to do was to spend his time meditating on the love of God, particularly as revealed in the humanity of Christ. But he soon found himself forced to take on the role of Martha. He was a famous preacher–so much so, that he came to be known as “Doctor Mellifluous [MUH-LI-FLOO-UHS],” for the words from his mouth were like honey. Examples of this are two hymns attributed to him and still popular: “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” and “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee.” His fame forced him to intervene as an arbitrator in many political and ecclesiastical disputes. His personality dominated his time, for he was at once the mystic devoted to the contemplation of the humanity of Christ, the power behind and above the papacy (especially when one of his monks became pope), the champion of ecclesiastical reform, the preacher of the Second Crusade, and the enemy of all theological innovation. Bernard’s fame gave the Cistercian [SUH-STUR-SHN] movement great impetus, and soon it came to play a role similar to that which Cluny [KLOO-NEE] had played more than a century before.

This brief overview of the two main movements of monastic reform from the tenth to the twelfth centuries has forced us to move ahead in our story. Therefore, let us return to where we had left our narrative at the end of the previous chapter, to the year 1048, when Odilo [OH-DIL-OH] was still abbot of Cluny [KLOO-NEE], and rejoin Bruno of Toul [TOOL] and his companions as they made their way to Rome.

Next time, we will begin looking at “Canonical and Papal Reform.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Monastic Reform, Part 3 (The History of Christianity Podcast #214)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #214, titled, “Monastic Reform, Part 3.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is James 3:2 which reads: “For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Saint Benedict of Nursia [NUR-SEE-AH]. He said: “Whatever good work you begin to do, beg of God with most earnest prayer to perfect it.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Monastic Reform, Part 3” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Thus, the goal of ecclesiastical reformation was seen in the eleventh century as an extension of what was taking place in many monastic communities. This was the vision that Bruno of Toul [TOOL], and his companions Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND] and Humbert [HUM-BUHT], took with them on their way to Rome, where Bruno would become pope under the name of Leo IX (ninth). Just as Cluny [KLOO-NEE] had been able to carry on its great work because it was independent of all civil power, so was the dream of those reformers a church whose leaders would be free from every obligation to civil authorities, be they kings or nobles. Simony [SAI-MUH-NEE] (the buying and selling of ecclesiastical posts) was therefore one of the worst evils to be eradicated. The appointment and the investiture of bishops and abbots by nobles, kings, and emperors, although not strictly simony [SAI-MUH-NEE], was dangerously close to it, and must also be forbidden, particularly in those areas whose rulers were not zealous reformers.

The other great enemy of reformation thus conceived in monastic terms was clerical marriage. For centuries, many had practiced celibacy, and there had been earlier attempts to promote it, but never as a universal rule. Now, fired by the monastic example, these reformers made clerical celibacy one of the pillars of their program. Eventually, what earlier had been required only of monks and nuns would also be required of the clergy.

This was not achieved without much pain, heartbreak, and even violence. At some point in the process, apparently in Milan [MI-LAHN], the “Patarines” [PAH-TAH-REENS] arose. These were overzealous promoters of clerical celibacy who held that the marriage of priests was really a form of concubinage, called priest’s wives harlots, and insisted that they must simply be expelled from their husband’s households. In Florence, many refused to accept sacraments celebrated by married priests. When the bishop tried to appeal to reason and tradition, the Patarines accused him of simony [SAI-MUH-NEE]. John Gualbert [GOHL-BERT] of Vallombrosa [VAHL-OHM-BROH-SAH]—later canonized as a saint—paraded through the streets of the city proclaiming that the bishop was indeed a simoniac [SAI-MUH-NEE-ACK]—which the bishop denied. Hildebrand entered into the fray in support of John Gualbert [GOHL-BERT]. Peter Damian, a respected reforming monk, called for calm, moderation, patience, and love. Finally someone suggested that the matter be settled by trial of fire. On the outskirts of the city, a bonfire was built, a monk who supported the Patarines [PAH-TAH-REENS] walked across it, and this was taken as proof that the accusations against the bishop were true. The bishop had to flee the city, where clergy families were forcibly pulled out of their homes and thrown out in the streets.

Obedience, another cornerstone of Benedictine [BEH-NUH-DIK-TEEN] monasticism, would also be fundamental to this reformation of the eleventh century. Just as monks owed obedience to their superiors, so must the entire church (in fact, all Christendom) be subject to the pope, who would head a great renewal in which his role would be similar to that of the abbots of Cluny [KLOO-NEE] in the monastic reform.

Finally, when it came to poverty, both Cluniac [KLOO-NEE-ACK] monasticism and the general reformation that it inspired were ambivalent. A good monk should own nothing, and must lead a simple life. The monastery, however, could have property and vast expanses of land. These grew constantly through gifts and inheritance from the faithful who admired the monastic way of life, or who simply wished to earn merit toward their salvation. Eventually, this made it difficult for monks to lead the simple life which the Rule required. In the case of Cluny [KLOO-NEE] itself, the time came when it and its sister houses were so rich that their monks could spend all their time at the Divine Office and neglect physical labor. Likewise, the reformers criticized the luxurious life of many bishops, but at the same time insisted on the right of the church to its holdings of land and to all the wealth it had accumulated over the centuries. In theory, this was not for the use of the prelates, but for the glory of God and to help the poor. But in truth it hindered the proposed reformation, for it invited simony, and the power that bishops and abbots had as feudal lords led them to be constantly involved in political intrigue.

Next time, we will continue looking at “Monastic Reform.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Monastic Reform, Part 2 (The History of Christianity Podcast #213)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #213, titled, “Monastic Reform, Part 2.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is Galatians 2:20 which reads: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Philip Schaff. He said: “The history of the Church is the rise and progress of the kingdom of heaven upon earth, for the glory of God and the salvation of the world.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Monastic Reform, Part 2” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

Berno [BER-NO] ruled at Cluny [KLOO-NEE] until 926. Not much is known of those early years, for Cluny [KLOO-NEE] was only one of several monasteries that Berno [BER-NO] set out to found or to reform. But after his death the house was led by a series of able and highminded abbots who turned Cluny [KLOO-NEE] into the center of a vast monastic reform: Odo [OH-DOH] (926–944), Aymard [AY-MAARD] (944–965), Mayeul [MAH-YEE-UHL] (965–994), Odilo [OH-DIL-YOH] (994–1049), and Hugh (1049–1109). Six abbots of extraordinary dedication, ability, and length of life ruled Cluny [KLOO-NEE] for a total of two hundred years. Under their leadership, the ideals of monastic reform expanded ever farther. The seventh abbot, Pontius [PON-SHUS] (1109–1122) was not of the caliber of the rest. But his successor, Peter the Venerable (1122–1157) regained much of what had been lost in Pontius’s [PON-SHUS’s]time. One of the characteristics of the Cluniac [KLOO-NEE-ACK] reformation of monastic life was that all their houses had to have clear title to their property, thus freeing them from subjection to the whims of a feudal lord.

At first, the purpose of the monks of Cluny [KLOO-NEE] was simply to have a place where they could follow the Rule of Benedict in its entirety. But then their horizons widened, and the abbots of Cluny [KLOO-NEE], following Berno’s example, set out to reform other houses. Thus there appeared an entire network of “second Clunys,” [KLOO-NEEs] which were directly under the abbot of the main monastery. It was not an “order” in the strict sense, but rather a series of independent monasteries, all under the rule of a single abbot, who normally appointed the prior of each community. This reformation also gained way in women’s monastic communities, the first of which, Marcigny [MIIR-SE-NY], was founded in the eleventh century, when Hugh was abbot of Cluny. [KLOO-NEE]

The main occupation of these monks and nuns, as the Rule commanded, was the Divine Office, or the celebration of the hours of prayer and scripture reading that had been set by Benedict. To this the Cluniacs [KLOO-NEE-ACKs] devoted their undivided attention, to such a point that at the height of the movement 138 psalms were sung in a single day. This was done in the midst of ceremonies that became more and more complicated with the passing years, and therefore the Cluniacs [KLOO-NEE-ACKs] came to spend practically all their time at the Divine Office, neglecting the physical labor that was so important for Benedict. This departure from the Rule was justified by arguing that the monks’ function was to pray and to praise God, and that they could do this with more purity if they were not soiled in the fields.

At its high point, the reforming zeal of the Cluniacs [KLOO-NEE-ACKs] knew no bounds. After ordering the life of hundreds of monastic houses, they set their sights on the reformation of the entire church. This was the darkest hour of the papacy, when pontiffs succeeded one another with breathtaking frequency, and when popes and bishops had become feudal lords, involved in every intrigue that was brewing. In such circumstances the monastic ideal, as it was practiced at Cluny [KLOO-NEE], offered a ray of hope. Many who were not Cluniacs [KLOO-NEE-ACKs] joined in the goal of a general reformation following the monastic model. In contrast with the corruption that reigned in the highest offices of the church, the Cluniac [KLOO-NEE-ACK] movement seemed to many a miracle, a divine intervention to bring about a new dawn.

Next time, we will continue looking at “Monastic Reform.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Movements of Renewal and Monastic Reform, Part 1 (The History of Christianity Podcast #212)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #212, titled, “Movements of Renewal and Monastic Reform, Part 1.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is Titus 1:7-9 which reads: “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Peter Damian. He said: “What would the bishops of yesteryear have done, had they had to live through all of this? … Every day a banquet. Every day a parade. On the table, all sorts of delicacies, not for the poor, but for sensual guests. Meanwhile, the poor, to whom these things rightfully belong, are not allowed in, and they perish in hunger.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Movements of Renewal and Monastic Reform, Part 1” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

The violence and corruption that followed the decline of the Carolingian [KEH-RUH-LIN-JN] empire awakened in many a deep yearning for a new order. The sight of the papacy turned into a bone of contention for petty rivals, bishoprics bought and sold, and the entire life of the church put at the service of the powerful was a scandal for many who took their faith seriously. Given the options open at that time, it was to be expected that most of those who yearned for reform had taken up the monastic life. Thus, it was out of monasteries that a wave of reform arose that conquered the papacy, clashed with the powerful, and was felt even in the distant shores of the Holy Land.

MONASTIC REFORM
Monasticism itself was in need of reformation. Many monasteries had been sacked and destroyed by Norsemen and Hungarians. Those in more sheltered areas became toys for the ambitions of abbots and prelates. The nobles and bishops who were supposed to be their guardians used them for their own ends. Just as the papacy and the episcopacy had become means of personal aggrandizement, so had the great abbeys. Some became abbots by buying their posts, or even through homicide, and then gave themselves to an easy life on the basis of the abbey’s income. The Rule of Benedict was generally ignored, and monks and nuns who sincerely felt called to the monastic life found that violence was done to their vocation. One such was Hildegard of Bingen [HIL-DUH-GAARD of BING-UHN] (1098-1179), a German Benedictine [BEH-NUH-DIK-TEEN] abbess whose mystical writings became popular among those who sought a more profound spiritual life. But although there were numerous nuns and monks whose commitment to reformation led them to found new monastic houses, eventually the prevailing corruption would affect them too.

Two centuries before Hildegard’s [HIL-DUH-GAARD’s] time, in 909 Duke William III of Aquitane [A-KWUH-TEIN] had founded a small monastery, hoping that it would be better than the existing ones. In itself, this was not new, for such actions had become common on the part of the powerful nobles. But several wise decisions and providential circumstances turned that small monastic house into the center of a vast reformation.

In order to lead his new monastery, William called on Berno [BER-NO], a monk who was well known for his steadfast obedience to the Rule and for his efforts for the reformation of monasticism. At Berno’s [BER-NO’s] request, William set aside Cluny [KLOO-NEE], his own favorite hunting place, for the use of the monastery. This, with the necessary lands for the sustenance of the monastery, was deeded over to “Saints Peter and Paul,” thus placing the new community under the direct jurisdiction and protection of the pope. Since at that time the papacy was at its nadir [NAY-DEER], such protection would only amount to forbidding the intervention of nearby bishops and feudal lords, including William himself or his heirs. Also, in order to guarantee that the new monastic foundation did not fall prey to a corrupt papacy, the deed explicitly forbade the pope from invading or otherwise taking what belonged only to the two holy apostles. This and other similar donations to abbeys and monasteries may well have been part of a general attempt on the part of many to be reconciled with God as the end of the first millennium approached, for Augustine and others had suggested that, since a thousand years are as a day in the eyes of God, the end of the first millennium would bring about the consummation of creation.

Next time, we will continue looking at “Monastic Reform.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Decay in the Papacy, Part 3 (The History of Christianity #211)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #211, titled, “Decay in the Papacy, Part 3.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is Galatians 2:16 which reads: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from Tertullian [TR-TUH-LEE-UHN]. He said: “For though you think that heaven is still shut up, remember that the Lord left the keys of it to Peter here, and through him to the Church, which keys everyone will carry with him if he has been questioned and made a confession [of faith].”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Decay in the Papacy, Part 3” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

For a while, Emperor Otto III was able to determine who would be pope. His first choice was his own nephew, who became pope at twenty-three years of age, and took the name of Gregory V. Then he named the famous scholar Gerbert of Aurillac [JER-BER of AW-REE-ACK], who became Sylvester II (second) and made a valiant but unsuccessful effort to reform the papacy as well as the entire church.

When Otto died, the family of Crescentius [KRES-SEN-TEE-UHS]–which was also the family of Theophylact [THE-OH-FY-LAK], Theodora [THE-OH-DOR-UH], and Marozia [MAH-ROH-ZEE-AH]–once again gained control of the papacy, until the counts of Tusculum [TUHS-KYUH-LUHM] gained the upper hand and named Benedict VIII (eighth), John XIX (nineteenth), and Benedict IX (ninth). The latter was fifteen years old when he became pope. Twelve years later, in 1045, he abdicated on the basis of having been promised a financial settlement. His godfather, Gregory VI (sixth), tried to reform the church, but then Benedict IX (ninth) withdrew his abdication, and Crescentius’s [KRES-SEN-TEE-UHS] family put forth its own pope, whom they called Sylvester III.

Finally, King Henry III (third) of Germany intervened. After an interview with Gregory VI (sixth) he gathered a council that deposed all three popes and named Clement II. The same council also enacted a series of decrees against ecclesiastical corruption, particularly simony–the practice of buying and selling positions in the church.

Clement II crowned Henry emperor, and died shortly thereafter. Henry then decided to offer the papacy to Bruno, bishop of Toul [TOOL], already known for his reforming zeal. But Bruno refused to accept the papacy unless he was elected to it by the people of Rome. To that end he left for the ancient capital, in the company of two other monks of similar ideas, Hildebrand [HIL-DUH-BRAND] and Humbert [HUM-BERT]. As it approached Rome, that small party carried with it the beginnings of a new age for the church.

Next time, we will begin looking at “Movements of Renewal.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Decay in the Papacy, Part 2 (The History of Christianity Podcast #210)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #210, titled, “Decay in the Papacy, Part 2.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 which reads: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from St. Ambrose [AM-BROHZ]. He said: “The Church is like the moon; it may wane, but never be destroyed; it may be darkened, but it can never disappear.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Decay in the Papacy, Part 2” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

But the reign of the next pope, John VIII, saw the first signs of decline. In order to respond to the threat of Muslim invasion, he sought the support of Charles the Fat, as well as the Byzantines [BI-ZUHN-TEENZ], and found that neither of them would come to his aid. He was murdered in his own palace, and it is said that when the aide who had poisoned him saw that he was slow in dying, he broke the pope’s skull with a mallet.

From then on, pope succeeded pope in rapid sequence. Their history is one of intrigues too complicated to follow here, as the papacy became the prize for which the various rival parties in Rome and beyond the Alps fought. Popes were strangled, or died of starvation in the dungeons where they had been thrown by their successors. At times there were two popes, or even three, each claiming to be the one true successor of Saint Peter.

Some instances will suffice to illustrate the mood of the times. In 897 Pope Stephen VI presided over what came to be known as the “Cadaveric [KUH-DAV-UH-RIK] Council.” One of his predecessors, Formosus [FOR-MOH-ZUHS], was disinterred, dressed in his papal robes, and exhibited on the streets. Then he was tried, found guilty of a multitude of crimes, and mutilated. Finally, what remained of the body was thrown into the Tiber [TAHY-BER].

In 904, Sergius III [SUR-JEE-UHS] had his two rivals, Leo V and Christopher I, incarcerated and killed. He had come to power with the support of one of the most powerful families of Italy. This family was headed by Theophylact [THE-OH-FY-LAK-TUHS] and his wife Theodora [THE-OH-DOR-UH], whose daughter, Marozia [MAH-ROH-ZEE-AH], was Sergius’s [SUR-JEE-UHS] lover. Shortly after the death of Sergius [SUR-JEE-UHS], Marozia [MAH-ROH-ZEE-AH] and her husband Guido of Tuscia [GWEE-DOW of TWO-SHUH] captured the Lateran [LAT-ER-UHN] palace and made John X their prisoner, subsequently suffocating him with a pillow. After the brief pontificates of Leo VI and Stephen VII, Marozia [MAH-ROH-ZEE-AH] placed on the papal throne, with the name of John XI, the son whom she had had from her union with Sergius III [SUR-JEE-UHS]. Thirty years after the death of John XI, that papacy was in the hands of John XII, a grandson of Marozia [MAH-ROH-ZEE-AH]. Later, her nephew became John XIII. His successor, Benedict VI, was overthrown and strangled by Crescentius [KRES-SEN-TEE-UHS], a brother of John XIII. John XIV died of either poison or starvation in the dungeon where he had been thrown by Boniface VII [BON-UH-FEYS], who in turn was poisoned.

Next time, we will continue looking at “Decay in the Papacy.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.

Decay in the Papacy, Part 1 (The History of Christianity #209)

This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #209, titled, “Decay in the Papacy, Part 1.”

When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.

Our Scripture for today is Matthew 23:8-10 which reads: “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.”

Our History of Christianity quote today is from St. Gregory of Nyssa [NIS-SUH]. He said: “True perfection consists in having but one fear; the fear of losing God’s friendship.”

Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “Decay in the Papacy, Part 1” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).

The crowning of Charlemagne put the papacy in an ambiguous position. On the one hand, since the popes seemed to have the right to crown emperors, they enjoyed great prestige beyond the Alps. But, on the other hand, in Rome itself chaos often reigned. Thus, those who had the power to dispose of the empire seemed unable to govern their own city. And this in turn made the papacy an easy prey for the ambitious, one to be had by bribery, deceit, or even violence.

The decline of the papacy was not as rapid as that of the Carolingians [KEH-RUH-LIN-JNS]. As imperial authority waned, there was a brief period during which the popes were seen as the only source of universal authority in Western Europe. Consequently, the reign of Pope Nicholas I, which lasted from 858 to 867, was the most outstanding since that of Gregory the Great, three centuries earlier. His authority was reinforced by a collection of documents, supposedly ancient, which granted popes great power. These documents, the False Decretals [DIH-KREET-Ls], were probably forged by members of the lower echelons in the German ecclesiastical hierarchy, who sought to bolster the authority of the pope over their direct superiors. In any case, both Nicholas and the rest of Europe believed that the Decretals [DIH-KREET-Ls] were genuine, and on that basis he acted with unprecedented energy. He was particularly active in curbing the warring inclinations of the powerful, who often seemed to make war as a sport, while the common folk suffered most of the consequences.

His successor, Hadrian II, followed a similar policy. He clashed with Lothair II [LO-THARE], king of Lorraine, whom Nicholas had already reprimanded for marital irregularities. In Monte Cassino [MAWN-TE KAHS-SEE-NAW], when the king appeared for communion, the pope cursed him and his court. When a terrible epidemic broke out in the king’s court, and Lothair [LO-THARE] was among the dead, the pope’s prestige knew no bounds.

Next time, we will continue looking at “Decay in the Papacy.”

Let’s pray.

—PRAYER—

Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.