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Christianity Challenged

Christianity Challenged
The Great Schism
While the Roman church evolved under the pope, the Greek-speaking eastern
Roman Empire followed a different evolution.
Differences in history led to the first major schism or separation of the
The Greek church looked to an emperor and a patriarch in Constantinople.
The Greek church maintained authentic tradition, while the pope asserted the
ancient primacy of Rome, he was the supreme authority of the entire Church.
Conflict arose over differences in custom, rule and liturgical expression.
The Differences
The Christian Church split into the Orthodox Church
and the Roman Catholic Church
Each Church took on its distinctive customs, practices,
and emphases.
The essential doctrine remained the same, the major
issue was the role of the papacy in church authority.
In the Western Church, the popes
were recognized as the
successors of Saint Peter –
the symbols of
The Eastern Church
The Christian Church in the East
became known as the Eastern
Orthodox Church.
Church governance is in the hands of
local patriarchs and bishops.
The patriarch of Constantinople is
looked to as having primacy of
honour, but not actual authority.
The Eastern Church held to the
practice of the early Christian
communities: the bishops were
selected by their local communities,
and each local bishop was considered
equal to all other bishops in authority.
Western bishops added a line (“the
Holy Spirit…who proceeded from the
Father and the Son”) to the Nicene
Creed without consulting eastern
The Filioque Controversy
Filioque means “from the son”
Centers on the relative divinity of the
Father and the Son
In the place where the original Nicene
Creed reads "We believe in the Holy Spirit
... who proceeds from the Father", the amended
version reads "We believe in the Holy Spirit ...
who proceeds from the Father and the Son"
The Son and the Spirit are said to have their
eternal origin from the Father; the Son, the
eternal is "generated" ("born" or "begotten")
of the Father, while the Spirit "proceeds" from
the Father.
The essential matter in the filioque
clause is a desire to protect the deity of
the Holy Spirit.
Other Differences
Other differences:
The Western Church, until much later, used only Latin in its rituals,
however the Orthodox churches used whatever language the local people
In Roman Catholicism, priests are required to be celibate; Orthodox
priests are not.
Different calendars of religious feasts.
Orthodox Churches use leavened bread; the Catholic Church does not.
The 7th and 8th centuries saw the rapid expansion of Islam – led
to the disappearance of Christianity in Syria, Egypt and North
Africa (weakened the Eastern Church).
Along with these differences and the Filioque Clause, which
proved to be the final straw, a mutual excommunication between
Rome and Constantinople took place in 1054.
The Basic Causes of the Schism of
Leadership: The Roman pope
versus the emperor or patriarch in
Language: Latin vs. Greek as the
official language of the Religion.
Many of the original
Testament books were written in
Customs: different customs and
practices related to historical
traditions such as the singing of
major portions of the mass.
Art: cultural differences were
reflected in the art.
Doctrine: The eastern rite uses
doctrine only from the first seven
Church councils because they all
occurred in the East.
Schism between East and West
The Eastern Orthodox Church
Includes the Greek, Serbian,
Russian and other eastern
Has about 250 million
Observes the same 7
sacraments as Catholicism, but
limits its doctrines to those set
out by seven councils held
prior to 787.
Focus is on the Incarnation, a
mystical union with god
through faith in Christ
Worship includes strict fasts
and other disciplines
The Use of Icons in the Orthodox
They were used to help teach the faithful about God.
Icons kept the mind from wandering and helped focus one's
attention on prayer.
The icon is of particular importance for the Orthodox Church
since it is seen as the dwelling place of God's grace, creating in
the faithful a sense of the presence of God.
The faithful do not worship the wood and paint, but deeply
respect and venerate the person depicted.
The Medieval Era: Crusades and
Contact with the Jewish and Muslim
Beginning in 700 AD, much of the
formerly Christian Roman Empire,
especially in North Africa and the
Middle East, was conquered by
advancing Muslim armies
The majority of inhabitants in these
countries converted to Islam, with
some Christian minority pockets
Jewish communities, after initial
conflict with Islam, were left to live in
relative peace within the growing
Muslim Empire
After the fall of Rome (476 AD)
philosophy split three ways:
ARISTOTLELEANISM – Aristotle’s teachings were
lost to western Europe but preserved, translated into
Arabic and commented upon by Averroës and
Avicenna in the Muslim culture
PLATONISM – Plato’s philosophy dominated the
Eastern (Byzantine) Empire, centered in
NEO-PLATONISM – Following St. Augustine’s
example, western (Roman) philosophy was influenced
by Plotinus until the Crusades and re-discovery of
As we can see, by 750 AD, much
of the former Roman Empire
was conquered by Muslim rulers
Pockets of Christian
communities remain in these
countries to this day (e.g. Iraq,
Europe contended with a
Muslim threat to its territory
until the late 1800’s
Turkish armies threatened the
gates of Vienna, Austria in 1699,
leaving behind bags of coffee
beans – which explains why the
beverage is so popular in the city
to this day!
In 800 AD, the Frankish king CHARLEMAGNE
was crowned Holy Roman Emperor
He fought a border war along the Pyrenees against
the Muslim rulers of Spain
Parts of Spain were ruled by Muslims until 1492
when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled
the last Moors (along with Spain’s last remaining
Muslim Ottoman Turkish armies conquered
Constantinople, the Eastern Roman capital in 1453
The Balkans, including the former Yugoslavia, were
ruled by Muslims until the early 1900’s, which
explain the presence of Muslims in Bosnia
In 1095, Pope Urban II called on Christian knights
in Europe to “take up the Cross” in order to
liberate the Holy Land and its Christian sites – in
particular the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem
and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem
– from “infidel” hands
Over the course of the next 300 years, several
Crusades re-established European contact with the
Arab world, allowing the West to rediscover
knowledge it had lost during the “Dark Ages”, but
which had been preserved in the Arab world, e.g. the
writings of Aristotle, algebra, medicine, etc.
Pope Urban’s Speech
"With what reproaches will the
Lord overwhelm us if you do
not aid those who, with us,
profess the Christian religion!
Let those who have been
accustomed unjustly to wage
private warfare against the
faithful now go against the
infidels and end with victory this
war which should have been
begun long ago. Behold! on this
side will be the sorrowful and
poor, on that, the rich; on this
side, the enemies of the Lord,
on that, his friends."
The Capture of Jerusalem
On July 15, 1099,
Frankish armies captured
Jerusalem. Its Jewish
and Muslim inhabitants
were slaughtered.
Jerusalem in Crusader Times
The First Crusade began in
Jerusalem was lost in 1187
The Eighth and Last
occurred in 1271
Europe would never be the
same as a result of its contact
with the Jewish and Muslim
The Muslim world would
never forget either!
The Crusades
The Crusades (1099-1290's) were
attempts by European Christians to
recapture the Holy Land (Palestine)
from Muslims.
The Effects of the Crusades
New trade routes to the east
stimulated the European economy
Crusaders brought Muslim culture
and technology back to Europe.
For example: Arabic Numeral
System we now use, scientific
knowledge – Astrology, etc.
Greek classics, particularly the
philosophical tradition of Aristotle,
were re-introduced to European
The Causes of the Reformation
Changes European Society
The expansion of the European economy as a
result of the Crusades caused a number of
changes in European society.
Growth of cities and towns along with decline in
rural feudalism
Emergence of a middle class who were involved in
People were becoming financially independent and
were becoming educated.
A Cultural Renaissance resulted – new thought, etc.
Invention of the printing press made information
(particularly the Bible) available to the educated
middle classes.
Central authority of the Feudal Lord no longer a part
of the lives of everyday people. People more selfdetermined.
Widespread knowledge of the Bible led to calls for
reform and/or purification of the Church.
Increase in the number of poor people living on
the outskirts of the cities.
By the end of the 15th Century modern nation
states were emerging which were seeking to be free
from central powers of the past – Papacy, the
Germanic Empire, etc.
I.Changes in the Church
Changes in European society meant changes & challenges for the Church:
The Church was rich, powerful, and served mainly the middle
class and nobility.
Church was out of touch with the poor. Church institution was
no longer meeting the needs of the majority of the people.
Abuses in the Church:
Abuses in the Mass & Liturgies
Abuses in the Clergy – Clergy was poorly trained, etc.
Abuses by Popes
Problem of Indulgences.
Abuses in the Church
Selling Indulgences: The Church, in order to raise money to
build St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, had begun to allow people to
purchase forgiveness in advance.
Church Power: Many people felt that the Church, under the
authority of the Pope, had too much power in the world. They
wanted the Church to stick more closely to spiritual matters.
This was the beginning of a separation between Church and
State which today has gone in the opposite extreme.
Corrupt Clergy: The clergy of the Church were corrupt and
not living up to Christian Standards. They were accused of
simony (bribes), nepotism (hiring relatives), and having
concubines (mistresses).
There was too much of a focus on saints and relics. It was
argued that the liturgy (mass) had lost a sense of the spiritual
and sacred.
The Call for Reformation
The pressure for reform came to a head in
Germany through the monk Martin Luther
Luther was born in Germany in 1483,
graduated from the university of Erfurt,
studied law.
Experienced God after a near-death
experience, made him join a monastery,
ordained at age 24, and sent to the University
of Wittenberg to teach moral theology.
Earned his doctorate in moral theology and
was made professor of biblical studies at
He took his religious commitment seriously
and studied the Bible, he became convinced
that reforms were necessary if the Catholic
Church was to be the Church founded by
The Lutheran Reformation
Luther was repelled by the
Catholic custom of buying
In 1517, needing money, the
pope authorized a sale of
indulgences – a piece of paper
stating that the pope using the
power vested in him by Christ,
forgave sins in return for a
certain sum of money.
Led to the belief that they
could buy their way into heaven.
In Luther’s mind, these same
people forgot that it is through
God’s grace that Christians are
saved – not through their own
Luther Outraged
Luther believed that the Catholic
Church had turned away from the
Christian Scriptures
The event that began the
Reformation was the posting of
Luther’s Ninety-five Theses on the
door of the Wittenberg Cathedral
on 31 October 1517, which were
soon circulated throughout Europe.
Church officials in Rome were
strongly opposed to Luther and his
He began to say that total change
was needed and in particular that the
authority of the papacy must be
Luther’s Views
Luther’s theses included:
1. Human beings are saved by faith alone and not
by any works they do.
2. The Church's sale of Indulgences was wrong.
3. Infallibility of the Pope: Luther challenged the
authority of the Pope.
4. Scripture is more important than Tradition.
5. Priests should marry.
Church officials saw Luther’s theses as heretical,
his beliefs included:
The Absolute Authority of the Bible: God’s
Word in the Bible is the final authority that must
be followed.
Justification by Faith Alone: Only by the grace
of God can we be saved. Salvation came from a
person’s faith not actions.
The Priesthood of All Believers: Priests are not
mediators between God and humankind. All
humans have the same status before god and the
same responsibilities to study the Bible and to
transform the world into the Kingdom of God.
The Controversies
The Catholic Church
Authority of People interpret scripture,
the Bible
human teachings can be taken
less seriously.
The church is the only true
interpreter of the Bible and its
creeds and traditions must be
God gives grace and salvation
freely to undeserving humans,
loving acts are evidence of the
Holy Spirit in our lives.
Good works are a necessary
response to grace and are signs of
their faith in Jesus. (“faith by itself,
if it has no works, is dead” James
All humans have equal status
before God and are equally
responsible to study God’s
word. Priests were not special
Priest was a mediator between
God and humankind – taking the
place of Jesus, (Peter passed on
the duty to priest and bishops)
The Protestants
In 1521, Luther was excommunicated and
outlawed by the Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V, although he never intended to
break away from the Catholic Church.
Luther’s reforms took root in many
German states, he left the priesthood and a
denomination of Christianity emerged that
was eventually called Lutheran.
The Emperor tried to force the German
princes to reject Luther, but they objected
and thus Luther’s supporters became
known as Protestants; the name has been
used ever since.
The Protestant movement spread
throughout much of northern Europe,
Scandinavia, and North America.
Churches also sprang up in Norway,
Finland, Sweden and Denmark.
Other Reforms
John Calvin
Studied law and theology at the
University of Paris.
Influenced by Luther, he broke
with the R.C.C and escaped from
France (persecutions of
reformers had begun)
Developed a criticism of
Catholicism more thorough than
He banned almost all forms of
religious ceremony, statues,
shrines, and devotions, all of
which he called idolatory. The
Catholic mass was especially
Calvin’s beliefs
Calvin preached the doctrine of
predestination, the idea that God has
preplanned everything that happens –
especially the salvation of individuals.
God had determined from all eternity who
would be saved and who would be
condemned to eternal suffering, and there
was nothing one could do to win God’s
“For all are not created in equal condition; rather,
eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal
damnation for others.”
Believed in creating a godly state, cities and
government should follow Christian
teachings. If people followed God’s law and
worked hard, they would prosper; this
prosperity in turn, would surely be a sign that
they were predestined.
He did not believe in the real presence of
Jesus in the bread and wine.
Calvin’s beliefs
1. Predestination: The omnipotence of God and the salvation
of the elect by God's grace alone, basically the theory of
predestination. The "elected" are known as "saints" in the
Calvinist faith. Calvin denied that human beings were capable of
free will.
2. Scripture: Calvin also stated that the writings of the scriptures
are to be taken literally.
3. Structure: Following the history of the earliest church
recounted in the New Testament book, The Acts of the
Apostles, Calvin organized the church of Geneva into four
A. Pastors: These were five men who exercised authority over religious
matters in Geneva
B. Teachers: This was a larger group whose job it was to teach doctrine to the
C. Elders: The Elders were twelve men (after the twelve Apostles) who were
chosen by the municipal council; their job was to oversee everything that
everybody did in the city.
D. Deacons: Modelled after the Seven in Acts 6-8, the deacons were appointed
to care for the sick, the elderly, the widowed, and the poor.
Followers of Calvin
John Knox was a dedicated
pupil of Calvin, and returned
with these views to Scotland.
He eventually restructured the
Church of Scotland, forming
French Calvinists, called
Huguenots, grew in numbers
despite intense persecutions.
In Holland, Calvinism became
connected with the attempts by
the Dutch to overthrow
oppression by Catholic Spain.
The majority of early
immigrants to America were
Calvinists, most notably the
Protestant Church Today
It is the predominant form of
Christianity in northern Europe,
England, Scotland, Australia, the United
States, and Canada.
Calvin’s lasting legacy is called the
Protestant work ethic, the belief that
although good works could not help one
to achieve salvation, work itself (and the
prosperity it earned) was proof that one
was in God’s grace.
Today’s Presbyterian Churches hold that
no one is hindered from accepting
God’s grace and salvation, nor is anyone
condemned at birth.
The Church of England
The Anglicans (Episcopalians in the U.S.),
were formed when the Church of England
broke from Rome in 1536.
King Henry VIII needed a male heir to his
throne, and since his wife had only given him
a daughter, he asked the pope for permission
to divorce her.
The pope could not grant this divorce, for
several political reasons, (did not want to
anger Emperor Charles V) so the king
rejected papal authority and named himself
and his successors the head of the Church of
The statements of faith and practice of the
English Church are very Catholic, Henry
rejected Lutheran teachings and never
considered himself a Protestant.
The key issue was the matter of authority
over the national Church in England.
The Anglican Church has spread around the
globe with about 65 million members.
Anglican Reformations
Methodism: started by John and
Charles Wesley (Anglican priests), who
began preaching to the working
classes of industrial England. Their
message: there is a warm and loving
God who wants to save everyone
from sin and hell. They disagreed
with predestination.
The Baptists: Rejected infant baptism,
believed only adults could freely
assent to faith in Jesus. Also believed
that the end of the world was coming
Pentecostalism: believe in a baptism
of the Holy Spirit, speaking in
tongues and healing. They stress
individual revelation and action under
the power of the Holy Spirit.
The Catholic Reformation
Because the Roman Catholic Church had received so many
challenges, a decision was made to re-examine the Church and its
This period of time is known as the Catholic Reformation.
This reform was dealt with at the Council of Trent (1545-1565).
The Council of
Purpose of the Council of Trent:
 bring the Reformers back into the Catholic Church
 clarify and define basic Catholic teachings and beliefs
 The Reformers did NOT return.
 Many of the abuses in the Church were corrected.
 Beliefs and teachings were clarified (ie. both faith and good
works are equally need for salvation; celibacy of priest,
supremacy of the Papacy, authority of tradition)
 Papal infallibility and Recognition of the 7 sacraments
 New religious communities formed to implement these
reforms. For example, The Society of Jesus was founded
(1534) by Ignatius Loyola to spread the Catholic faith
through education and missionary work. Today, there are
over 20,000 Jesuits who continue this work.
Other Features:
 The Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) - a war throughout
Europe between Protestants and Catholics. The Church
remained divided at the end of the war.
 Spain - Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross
 Mystics = people full of direct experience of God. They
established the Carmelite orders of priests and nuns.
The Modern Period was ushered
in during the 17th century, and
the concept of human reasoning
was stressed.
Religion was diminished by an
increasing emphasis in the belief
that people could determine their
own destiny and had little need
for God.
Christianity expanded overseas,
to the Far East and South Africa.
Reformation in the Modern Period
Modern Catholicism has been strongly
affected by the teaching of the Second
Vatican Council. (Vatican Council II)
A world-wide council of bishops convened
by Pope John XXIII, occurring from 19621965.
Made major strides in recognizing the
validity of the existence of the various
religions in the world.
Encouraged the participation of Catholics
in humanitarian efforts.
Among the major changes was the shift
from the use of Latin in the Mass to the
use of the vernacular, the reception of the
Eucharist in the hand, the addition of lay
ministers within the Church, and a shift in
the seating arrangements in the churches.
The Call to Unity: Ecumenism
Ecumenism: The promotion of worldwide unity among Christians.
“The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the
Lord founded one church and one Church only. However, many Christian communions present themselves to [people] as the
true inheritors of Jesus Christ; all indeed profess to be followers of the Lord but they differ in mind and go their different
ways, as if Christ himself were divided (Decree on Ecumenism, number 1)
Decree on Ecumenism:
Catholics should avoid judgments or actions that misrepresent non-Catholics.
Study of other faiths to promote common understandings
Catholics should cooperate with other Christians in service to humankind
Catholics need to renew their faith through study, prayer, discussion of the Word of God, and
participation in the sacraments.
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