Small Christian Communities: A Vision of Hope for the 21st Century

Small Christian Communities: A Vision Of Hope For The 21st Century (2002 Edition)
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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.

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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.

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It will mean seeing good and evil tangled up together with no person or system being all good or all bad. Expedited International Shipping. Moreover we are an utterly dependent species. In these years, Brusselmans also set about implementing the Rite of Christian Initiation adapted to children of catechetical age. It will always be a privileged occasion for communicating the Word of the Lord. Will usually ship within 2 business days of receiving cleared payment - opens in a new window or tab.

The Renaissance continued through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries until William Shakespeare. Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli led the way in art.

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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.

HISTORICAL FOUNDATIONS OF CHRISTIANITY

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.

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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.

50 Great Inspiring Christian Biographies

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. 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.

He was soon reported to have baptized 10, a month.

THE APOSTOLIC AGE

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.