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THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARY. COLLECTIONS. CHRIST'S INCARNATION. THE FOUNDATION OF. CHRISTIANITY by Charles Spurgeon. To the Students of the.
Table of contents
Also available from Logos is Spurgeon Commentary: Faithlife Your digital faith community. Logos Powerful Bible study tools. Faithlife TV A Christian video library. Faithlife Proclaim Church presentation software. Chapters 3 vols. The Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible 43 vols. Proverbs John Phillips Commentary Series 27 vols. The Foundation of Christianity Overview.
The Foundation of Christianity Charles H. Antony of Egypt took to heart the words of Christ to the rich young man, " Go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven" Matthew He headed across the Nile to a mountain near Pispir to live a life of solitude, prayer, and poverty. Soon many gathered around him to imitate his life, living as hermits in nearby caves in the mountain, and in he emerged from solitude to teach his followers the way of the ascetic.
He then moved further into the desert by Mount Kolzim near the Red Sea, where a second group of hermits gathered and later formed a monastery. He lived there for 45 years until his death in Maron , a contemporary of St. John Chrysostom, was a monk in the fourth century who left Antioch for the Orontes River to lead a life of holiness and prayer. As he was given the gift of healing, his life of solitude was short-lived, and soon he had many followers that adopted his monastic way. Following the death of St. Maron in , his disciples built a monastery in his memory, which would form the nucleus of the Eastern Catholic Maronite Church of Lebanon.
The fall of the Roman Empire to the barbarian invasions left European civilization in disarray, for the social structure under one ruler in Rome was destroyed. The preservation of culture and the conversion of the barbarians to Christianity was left to an unlikely group: Their missionary efforts converted one tribe after another, so that eventually all of Europe was united in the worship of the one Christian God. Patrick as Apostle to Ireland founded the monastery of Armagh in and other monasteries throughout Ireland. As the social unit in Ireland and much of Europe at the time was the tribe in the countryside, the monastery was the center of Church life and learning.
The Irish monks that followed him converted much of northern Europe. The lasting legacy of the Irish monks has been the present-day form of confession. In early times, penance was in public and severe, often lasting for years, such that Baptism was generally postponed until one's deathbed. The Irish monks began private confession and allowed one to repeat confession as necessary. Benedict was born in Nursia of nobility but chose a life of solitude in Subiaco outside of Rome. Soon he moved nearby to build a monastery at Monte Cassino in and there wrote the Rule of Benedict. Monte Cassino placed all of the monks in one monastery under an abbot.
The guiding principle for the monastery was ora et labora , or pray and work. The monastery provided adequate food and a place to sleep and served as a center of conversion and learning. Known for its moderation, Monte Cassino and Benedict's rule became the standard for monasteries throughout Europe and the pattern for Western civilization. The first monk to become Pope was St.
Gregory the Great Born to Roman nobility, Gregory at first pursued a political career and became Prefect of Rome. However he gave up position and wealth and retreated to his home to lead a monastic life. He was recalled to Rome and soon was elected Pope in and served until his death in A man of great energy, he is known for four historic achievements. His theological and spiritual writings shaped the thought of the Middle Ages ; he made the Pope the de facto ruler of central Italy; his charisma strengthened the Papacy in the West; and he was dedicated to the conversion of England to Christianity.
Gregory sent the monk Augustine to England in The conversion of King Aethelbert of Kent led St. Augustine to be named the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Soon English Benedictine monks were being sent to convert the rest of Europe, such as the English monk Winfrid, better known as St. Boniface in his conversion of Germany. His son Pepin and the Papacy formed an historic alliance. Pepin needed the blessing of the Pope in his seizure of leadership of Gaul from the Merovingians. Pepin died in and divided his realm between his two sons, Carloman and Charles.
Charles, known as Charlemagne , took over all of Gaul upon the death of his brother in , and soon conquered most of mainland Europe. He was a vigorous leader and ruled until Charlemagne was a strong supporter of Christianity. During his reign, Christianity became the guiding principle of the Carolingian Empire, as the Church established a powerful presence throughout Europe. He instituted a school of learning in his palace at Aachen. In the Middle Ages there was in theory a division between temporal power and spiritual authority, but in practice one saw a strong Emperor take control of some spiritual affairs and a strong Pope take control of some affairs of state.
Charlemagne, as Constantine, considered himself the leader of Christendom as political head of state and protector of the Church. The historian Christopher Dawson called this the beginning of medieval Christendom. The Byzantine Empire of the East, with its capital in Constantinople, flourished for a thousand years. The Empire reached its zenith under Emperor Justinian, the author of the Justinian Code of Law, who ruled from to Justinian built the beautiful Church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople in , which became a center of religious thought.
The Byzantine or Greek liturgy is based on the tradition of St. Basil and the subsequent reform of St. The Byzantine missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius brought Christianity to Moravia and Cyril created the Cyrillic alphabet for their liturgy, which became the basis of the Slavic languages, including Russian. Kiev was once the capital of the country of Kievan Rus, which comprised the modern nations of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. In the sixteenth century, a Russian mystic Philotheus of Pskof noted that Rome and Constantinople, the second Rome, had fallen, but "Moscow, the third Rome," stands.
The Russian Orthodox Church today is the largest Eastern Orthodox faith with over million members.
One of the most tragic events in Church history has been the Schism of between what is now the Catholic Church in Rome and the Byzantine or Eastern Orthodox Church in Constantinople. The actual event occurred on July 16, The abrasive Cardinal Humbert laid a papal bull of excommunication after Pope Leo had died on the altar right during the Liturgy at the Church of Hagia Sophia, which led the Eastern Church to excommunicate the envoy.
While the event did not end the relationship between the Eastern and Western Churches, it became symbolic for the distrust and strain between the East and the West that developed through the centuries. The break was sealed in with the sacking of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade. Rome and Constantinople had been able to agree through three more Councils. The fifth ecumenical council at Constantinople II in was called by the Emperor Justinian and reaffirmed that there is only one person or hypostasis in our Lord Jesus Christ. In response to the Monothelites, that Christ had only one will, the sixth ecumenical council affirmed the efforts of St.
The seventh ecumenical council at Nicaea II in resolved the iconoclast controversy thanks to the writings of St. However, the language of Rome was Latin, and that of Constantinople Greek. There was a difference in perception of Church authority between the East and West. Latin Rome believed the Pontiff, as the representative of Peter, was Pastor and Shepherd to the whole Church, whereas the Greek East saw the Pope, the Bishop of Rome and representative of Peter, as presiding with love in the sense of collegiality, as a first among equals.
This difference in perception of Church authority produced the conflict over the addition of the word filioque - and the Son - to the Nicene Creed by the Roman Catholic Church. Theological thought on the Trinity had progressed with time, particularly with St. Augustine, who saw the Holy Spirit as an expression of love between the Father and the Son.
King Recared and his Visigothic bishops converted from Arianism to Catholicism at the Third Council of Toledo, Spain in and were required to add the word filioque to the Creed. Charlemagne in insisted on its addition, so that the phrase read "the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son". The Eastern Orthodox Churches claim that the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed is the common possession of the whole church and that any change must be made by an ecumenical Council.
Catholic Spain was the first European territory to suffer Islamic invasion in when the Berber general Ibn Tariq conquered nearly all of Spain except the northern rim. The discovery of the relics of St. As recorded in the late ninth-century Chronicle of Alfonso III, Pelayo became the inspiration for the rightful recovery of Spanish territory lost to Muslim invasion. Spain was troubled in when the Moor Almanzor usurped the power of the Caliphate and sacked the city and Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in the northwest tip of Spain, but spared the tomb of St.
James Santiago in Spanish. With the loss of respect for the Caliphate, Al-Andalus fractured into multiple petty states, known as Taifas. El Cid held off the Muslims in Valencia until his death in The Reconquista of Spain, or the unification of Spain under Christian rule, was not formally completed until the reign of Ferdinand and Isabella, when Granada was captured from the Moors on January 2, Undertake this journey for the remission of your sins, with the assurance of the imperishable glory of the Kingdom of Heaven! Pope Urban II, in one of history's most powerful speeches, launched years of the Crusades at the Council of Clermont, France on November 27, with this impassioned plea.
In a rare public session in an open field, he urged the knights and noblemen to win back the Holy Land, to face their sins, and called upon those present to save their souls and become Soldiers of Christ. Those who took the vow for the pilgrimage were to wear the sign of the cross croix in French: By the time his speech ended, the captivated audience began shouting Deus le volt!
The expression became the battle-cry of the crusades. Three reasons are primarily given for the beginning of the Crusades: The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was once again in Christian hands and restored. The Kingdom of Jerusalem lasted 88 years, until Saladin recaptured the city October 2, The four Crusader states eventually collapsed; the surrender of Acre in ended years of formal Christian rule in the Holy Land.
The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were the peak of the Medieval Age. It was the flowering of Christendom, a time of extraordinary intellectual activity, with the rise of the University and the introduction of Arabian, Hebrew, and Greek works into Christian schools.
A new form of order arose whose aim was to pursue the monastic ideals of poverty, renunciation, and self-sacrifice, but also to maintain a presence and convert the world by example and preaching. They were known as friars and called the Mendicant Orders Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, Augustinians, and the Servites , because of begging alms to support themselves. Francis of Assisi was born to wealth. He loved adventure, but experienced conversion after joining the military.
He returned home, and heard a voice saying to him, "Francis, go and rebuild my house; it is falling down. Francis loved creation and considered it good, for Christ himself took on flesh in the Incarnation. He loved all living creatures. Francis originated the Christmas manger scene. He founded the Franciscan order, and received approval from Rome in The Poor Clare Nuns began when St.
Clare joined the Franciscans in in Assisi.
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Francis risked his life in the Fifth Crusade by calling directly upon the Sultan of Egypt in an effort to convert him and bring peace. He received the stigmata of Christ in , 2 years before his death in Dominic de Guzman was born in Calaruega, Spain. On a journey through France he was confronted by the Albigensian heresy like Manichaeism and the Cathari. As he came with a Bishop in richly dressed clothes on horses, he realized the people would not be impressed with his message. This led him to a life of poverty.
He spent several years preaching in France in an attempt to convert the Albigensians. In in Prouille, France, he received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and began to spread devotion to the Rosary. Dominic was a man of peace and converted many through prayer, preaching, and his example of poverty. He founded the Order of Preachers in known as the Dominican Friars. The universities in Europe began as guilds of scholars, which first attracted members of the clergy and were supported financially by the Church. The first universities in Europe were founded in Bologna and Paris; Oxford and Cambridge soon followed.
Theology, law, and medicine were fields of advanced study. The University of Paris was especially noted for studies in Theology. The age was the time of Scholasticism - of the schools, a method of learning that placed emphasis on reasoning. Important writers at the time were Bonaventure, Duns Scotus, Albertus Magnus, and his student Thomas Aquinas, who became the greatest theologian and philosopher of the age. Thomas Aquinas was a Dominican priest who lived from to Born in Roccasecca, Italy to the Aquino family, he joined the Dominicans at the age of He received his doctorate in theology and taught at the University of Paris during the height of Christendom.
One of the greatest contributions by Thomas was his incorporation of the philosophy of Aristotle into the theology of the Catholic Church. Thomas saw reason and faith as one and mutually supportive, and combined the Bible and Church Fathers and the reasoning of Aristotle into one unified system of understanding Christian revelation through faith enlightened by reason. His most noted work was the Summa Theologica , a five-volume masterpiece. Thomas Aquinas presented the classical approach to Biblical Exegesis.
Recalling the words of Gregory that Scripture transcends every science, " for in one and the same sentence, while it describes a fact, it reveals a mystery. His exposition on the Seven Sacraments remains a standard to our present day. The Renaissance , which means rebirth, was the period of phenomenal growth in Western culture in art, architecture, literature, and sculpture.
Christian humanism, a rejoicing in man's achievements and capabilities reflecting the greater glory of God, had its beginning with the Divine Comedy , published in by Dante Alighieri in Italy. The Renaissance continued through the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries until William Shakespeare. Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and Botticelli led the way in art. Brunelleschi revived the ancient Roman style of architecture and introduced linear perspective.
The great sculptors were Donatello and Michelangelo. Thomas More and Erasmus were leading Christian humanists in literature. The Protestant Reformation resulted from the failure of the Catholic Church to reform itself in time. The dark side of the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries witnessed the errant Fourth Crusade to Constantinople in , the Albigensian Crusade against the Cathari in , and the beginning of the Inquisition which became severely punitive.
The Papacy suffered a great loss of respect during the Avignon Papacy and especially during the Papal Schism , when two and at one point three men declared themselves Pope and opposed each other. However, the Council also condemned John Hus , the Prague reformer who believed in the priesthood of all believers and the reception of Communion through bread and wine; he was burned at the stake on July 6, Another victim of the Inquisition was St.
She was burned at the stake on May 30, in Rouen, France. The Spanish Inquisition in the fifteenth century was particularly ruthless. The lack of Church funds led to even further corruption, including simony and the selling of indulgences. For example, Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz had to pay Rome ten thousand ducats for the right to hold three dioceses at once, and agreed to a three-way split with the Roman Curia and the Fugger Banking firm from the proceeds of the selling of indulgences. These events led many to question the compassion and integrity of the Church.
The unity of Tradition and Scripture went unchallenged through the Patristic Age and thirteenth century scholasticists such as St. But the unity of Scripture and Tradition began to be questioned with the decline of the Church. The Belgian Henry of Ghent believed that one should first have the duty to follow Scripture rather than a Church that became one in name only. The English Franciscan William of Ockham or Occam was known for the principle of Occam's Razor , that one needs to reduce everything to its simplest cause.
Ockham theorized on three possibilities of the relation of Scripture and the Church. First there was Sola Scriptura , that one could obtain salvation by following Scripture alone; second, that God does reveal truths to the universal Church, an ecclesiastical revelation supplemental to apostolic revelation; and third, the concept of orally transmitted apostolic revelation parallel to written Scripture. Ockham believed that one could reach God only through faith and not by reason.
He wrote that universals, such as truth, beauty, and goodness, were concepts of the mind and did not exist, a philosophy known as Nominalism. Thus began the division of the realm of faith from the secular world of reason. The rise of Nationalism led to the end of Christendom, for countries resented any effort to support Rome, especially in its dismal state.
Dissemination of new ideas followed the invention of the movable type printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in Mainz, Germany; his very first printing was the Latin Vulgate Bible in The stage was set for the reform-minded Martin Luther , the Augustinian monk of Wittenberg, Germany.
He received his doctorate in theology in , and then taught biblical studies at the University of Wittenberg. His study of Scripture, particularly St. Paul in his Letter to the Romans, led him to believe that salvation was obtained through justification by faith alone. At first, his only interest was one of reform when he posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenberg Church October 31, But the intransigence of the Church and poor handling of the situation by the Pope and Curia only worsened matters, such that a break was inevitable.
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.
Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant could be seen in the temple. 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.
Juan Diego explained to the Bishop all that had passed. 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 before the tilma, as well as everyone else in the room.
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: 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 an inextricable part of Mexican life and 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: Seven major areas were included in doctrine: 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. What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead. 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.
He then headed to Cape Comorin, the southern tip of India, where he made many conversions of the fishermen there. Andres de Urdaneta and the Augustinian monks sailed to Cebu, Philippines in He was a self-sacrificing man dedicated to protecting the natives, and received the name Motolinia for his life of poverty. He recorded in his book History of the Indians of New Spain the dramatic conversions following the appearances of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Dominican Bartholomew de Las Casas first went to the West Indies in as a soldier, but on viewing the horrendous enslavement of the native Indians through the Spanish encomienda system, was ordained as a Dominican priest in , the first ordination in America.
In his role as human rights advocate for the Indians, he is considered an early pioneer of social justice. Missionary efforts would continue to the New World for years to come. The history of the English Bible is intimately intertwined with the history of the Reformation. He served until his death in , when he was succeeded by his son, Charles I.
It was a time when the English language reached its greatest expression in the works of William Shakespeare and the King James Bible. King James as head of the Church of England commissioned a group of bishops and scholars to establish an authoritative translation of the Bible from the original languages into English in There were several English versions available, either as translations of the Latin Vulgate or from the Greek-Latin parallel New Testament of Erasmus; the ones that follow influenced the King James scholars.
John Wycliffe produced a hand-written English translation of the Latin Vulgate in His colleague, Miles Coverdale, completed Tyndale's work, which formed the basis for the Great Bible , the first authorized Bible in English, which was placed in every church in England. When the Catholic Queen Mary came to the throne in , further work had to be done on the European continent, and the Geneva Bible, the first to have numbered verses, was published in The King James Bible originally included the Apocrypha but in a separate section.
A literary masterpiece of the English language, the King James Bible is still in use today. Christopher Columbus reached America in the Bahamas on October 12, Following the discovery of Florida by Ponce de Leon in , St. Augustine, Florida became the first permanent European settlement in North America in , from which missionaries spread Catholicism to the Native American Indians. Spanish explorations extended as far as Santa Fe, New Mexico, established in A wave of explorations to the New World continued. Samuel de Champlain explored the St. Christianity continued to thrive in the New World as our young Nation developed.
Four of the original 13 English colonies were specifically chartered for religious freedom, as a refuge from religious persecution in England at the time. The settlers soon enacted the Toleration Act of Maryland and founded St. Mary's Chapel in St. William Penn and the Quakers settled in in Pennsylvania. The Mennonites also moved to Pennsylvania in at the invitation of William Penn. The universal toleration offered in Pennsylvania continued to attract groups such as the Amish, Moravian Pietists, and Presbyterians.
The period from through the eighteenth century was known as the Age of Enlightenment in Europe. The time had come when men would set aside religious views and look to reason and social experience to guide society. It was the loss of Christian unity that led to the secularization of Western culture. Whereas Christendom provided one message to European society, the pluralism of religions provided different answers to questions about life and led to skepticism and conflict rather than unanimous thought.
Discoveries in science had much to do with the Age of Enlightenment. Copernicus proposed the sun is the center of the solar system and the earth revolved around the sun. Galileo Galilei , the first to use a telescope, confirmed that Copernicus was right and was condemned by the Catholic Church. Scientists such as Isaac Newton in physics and Robert Boyle in chemistry were pioneers and gave birth to technology, the application of science to practical problems, which led to the Industrial Revolution.
Progress based on science and technology became a major goal of Western Society. Mankind was left without its mooring, and philosophers set out in different directions to provide meaning for humanity. The critical Rationalism of Rene Descartes applied to philosophy the mathematical method so effective in science, that everything was questionable until it could be proved beyond all doubt.
Incarnation (Christianity) - Wikipedia
Blaise Pascal took a different stance and presented Pascal's Wager: John Locke applied reason to confirm revelation. The political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu of France proposed that the best form of government would incorporate a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches and would be based on the natural law.
David Hume proposed a science of man, and is considered a pioneer in the social sciences. But Jean-Jacques Rousseau , considered the father of Romanticism, took an opposite approach and spoke of the noble savage, that man was happy only in his original native state, before government, laws, and politics chained mankind.
It was the German philosopher Immanuel Kant that defined the era: Unfortunately, the Age of Enlightenment ignored love, emotion, spirituality and concern for one's fellow man. It forgot that man is wounded by original and personal sin, and his reason is colored by desire and selfishness. In fact, the Age of Enlightenment brought the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror , Naziism, Communism, and the twentieth century, with its two World Wars, the bloodiest century in history.
Intellectual dryness and doctrinal religions prevalent during the Enlightenment Era led to a spiritual revival throughout Western Christian civilization, as seen with Pietism in Germany, Methodism in England and America, and the Great Awakening in the United States. Philipp Jakob Spener of Germany wrote Pia Desideria in and spoke of a theology of the heart , placing emphasis on inner devotion and Christian living, and inspired the Pietist movement. Pietism especially influenced Nikolaus von Zinzendorf and the Moravian Church. John Wesley and his brother Charles provided light for Christianity during the Enlightenment.
John Wesley, noted for his moving sermons, and his brother Charles, a poetic genius and hymn writer, began the Methodist movement in England, and set forth an evangelical revival throughout the British Isles, North America, and the world. The two brothers were raised in the Anglican Church. Because of their strict method of living, they were soon called the Methodists. John Wesley experienced a heartwarming conversion experience at Aldersgate Street in London in He preached in the English countryside to the poor, and sparked a religious revival throughout England.
He assured the people that all could be saved by experiencing God and opening their hearts to his grace. George Whitefield made seven trips to America beginning in and was one of the most powerful evangelists ever. He, along with others, kindled a spiritual revival throughout the thirteen colonies known as the Great Awakening.
The Great Awakening was the first national experience in America and did much to unite the American colonies. Revival during the Enlightenment Era fulfilled the human need for spiritual experience through Jesus Christ. The independence movement in the American colonies sparked an outcry for freedom of religion, such that Christianity flourished in the newly-formed United States of America.
Every taxable resident was required to support the state established Church, no matter what their faith! This caused dissension in the Colonies such as in Maryland and Virginia, where Catholics in Maryland and Presbyterians and Baptists in Virginia objected to the unfair Anglican clergy tax.
Of those states with established Churches, Maryland became the first state to disestablish church and state following the Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights allowed the free exercise of religion and proliferation of Christian denominations during rapid westward expansion in America. Constitution and cousin of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, became the first Catholic Bishop of Baltimore, a diocese which served the entire United States.
Two days after Thomas Jefferson wrote his highly quoted but out-of-context expression "wall of separation between Church and State" to the Danbury Baptists, he appeared on January 3, in the House of Representatives to hear the Baptist preacher John Leland lead an evangelical service on public property. Separation of Church and State did not preclude a vibrant public square. Recognizing the need to instill morals and values in our children, Bible reading and prayer continued in our public schools for years! Conversions by Evangelical Protestants and other Christian faiths provided the moral fabric for the new American nation after the Revolutionary War.
The Methodist movement proved most successful in North America. Methodist circuit-riders were effective missionaries in spreading the Christian faith from the South to settlers in the mid-West. It was left to the unlikely figure of President Abraham Lincoln to recognize the Christian culture of our Nation. He appealed for "malice toward none, with charity for all … to bind the nation's wounds.
An conservative Supreme Court that respected the free exercise of religion and our Christian heritage declared in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States that "This is a Christian Nation. The American Declaration of Independence of July 4, read all men are created equal, but slavery persisted. How could the Revolutionary War be fought for freedom without granting freedom to all?
The American Civil War reflected the Christian heritage of our Nation, for the moral issue of slavery troubled the hearts of Americans from our very beginning. The non-violent religious movement of the s and s emerged as the civil rights movement in the USA, which finally afforded racial equality for African-Americans, one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation! The crusade arose within Negro Churches, the center of their life. African-Americans had begun to receive recognition in the fields of art, music, and sports.