Friday, March 26, 2010

Overview of Church History - Kerby Anderson

Kerby Anderson, host of radio program "Point of View," author, lecturer, and visiting professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, offered an in depth overview of the history of the Christian church at Bayside Community Church on Sunday, March 21, 2010. It's amazing he could cover two thousand years in twenty-five minutes! I'll try to make some sense out of my notes, some of which resemble shorthand...and I never took shorthand.
The ancient church (from A.D. 33-313), which consisted of Jewish believers and converted pagans, had its conflicts with the state, producing martyrs and apologists (with their "isms"). The Edict of Milan came in 313.
The Roman Empire continue to rule, even after Jesus' death, burial, and resurrecton.
The Christian Empire from 313-476 saw differing edicts of Nicea in 325, Constantine in 381, Ephesus in 431, and Chalcedon in 451. Augustine wrote Confessions and City of God, and developed doctrines of church and just war, grace and predestination.
The early middle ages, from 476-1054, saw the fall of the Roman Empire. A schism between the east and the west developed as the west spoke Latin, and the east spoke Greek. Bishops held political authority, and the ancient culture all but disappeared. The church tried to preserve it.
Islam started in the 7th century. Saladin and Richard the Lion Hearted clashed during the Crusades, which began in 1095.
The highpoint of the Middle Ages, from 1054-1303, saw disagreements in the church over clergy being able to marry and the type of bread used for Communion.
Then came the monastic orders of the Franciscans and Dominicans. European cities grew and cathedrals were built, with multi-generational construction crews.
The late Middle Ages, 1303-1453, brought the decline of the papacy, the 100-years war, and the black plague. John Wycliff translated the Latin Vulgate, and John Huss led his reformation.
From 1453-1600, the Americas were discovered, and Martin Luther posted his 95 Thesis of Sola Scriptura in 1517. As the Europeans immigrated to the colonies, they brought their own denominations:
  • John Calvin came from Switzerland.
  • John Knox came from Scotland.
  • The Mennonites came from the Netherlands.
  • Anglican-Episcopal came from England.
The 17th & 18th centuries brought bloody conflicts from internal controversy. Which Christianity is true?
  • Moravians came to the U.S. Colonies and brought the Methodist denomination.
  • The Puritans settled in Massachusetts.
  • The Baptists settled in Rhode Island and New Hampshire.
  • The Anglicans settled in Virginia, New York, and Maryland.
  • The Quakers and Mennonites settled in Pennsylvania.
  • The Catholics were dominant until the French left.
  • The Methodists later spread west to Kentucky and Ohio.

The 19th century brought more revolutions in America, France, and latin America. The protestant theologians turned away from Biblical faith. Then came the 2nd great awakening, when colleges were established by churches. The colleges strayed from the faith, as is evident in the present anti-God, liberal teaching at most universities.

John Jay, co-author of the Federalist Papers, President of the American Bible Society, and the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, established Sunday Schools in churches. (Wait...a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was the president of the Bible Society? Could that happen in today's society?)
In the 20th Century to 1914, the Eastern church is shaken by revolution. Protestant optimism is shaken by wars. Catholics struggle against modernity and worship of Mary.
In 1909, the protestants had their fundamentalist vs. modernist controversy.
The evangelical movement developed in post-WWII.
Now, with modern attitudes, we must ask, "Have we come full circle? Are we Rome again?"
  • Western civilization = Rome + Christianity
  • Western civilization - Christianity = Rome
Glenn Sunshine argues we are once again becoming like the Roman Empire. Look at the similarities of the ancient Romans and our culture:
  • Tolerance was the supreme virtue (Ditto for present day)
  • Oversexed society - anti-natal sexuality. Decadent sexual activity without procreating. (Ditto for present day)
  • Rampant homosexuality (Ditto for present day)
  • Abortion on demand. (Ditto for present day)
  • Infanticide - eliminating defective children) (Ditto for present day)
  • Declining birthrate, rising immigrant population. (Ditto for present day)
Can you hear Caligula and Nero saying, "We're back! Did you miss us?"

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