Any history apologists?

Can someone help me answer this so-called history lesson by a separated brother?

Couple points for clarification. Exactly what the Reformation brought about must be understood in the context of this discussion. I’ll only focus on one point, and then attempt to show the influence of Christianity on free government in general.

Under Catholicism, the Pope has the authority of God, and his words are considered equal to, or superior to, the Bible. When Luther finally translated the Bible from Latin to German, so that the common man could finally read it, two things happened: (1) There was a revelation that God is really a personal God who desires an intimate relationship with all people, and (2) that the Bible is the highest authority for the Church, and an absolute by which society could be transformed. Point 2 is quite consistent with the idea of “moral absolutes”, or “universals”, in the philosophical sense.

The effect on governments in particular was this: People now finally had an absolute moral authority by which they could challenge governments. A man could confront the emperor, point to his Bible, and show the emperor that he was himself under God’s authority. This radical, new idea swept across all of Europe. Countries transformed by the Reformation saw their governments transformed MOSTLY peacefully, as was the case with our own Revolution, and especially in the bloodless revolution of England.

France, on the other hand, had two difficulties: (1) A staunch rule by the Catholic Church, and (2) an embracement of the secular humanism movement that came out of the Renaissance. As such, although there were likely multitudes of people with a Christian worldview, it can hardly be said that they were ever a “Christian” nation, as could be said of America, and most of the rest of Europe. Russia suffered a similar dilemma under the rule of the Tsar and the Orthodox Church, which resembles Catholicism in many ways. So it is no wonder that Marx was able to plant his seeds of godlessness and humanism in both of these nations.

[quote=mom 07]Can someone help me answer this so-called history lesson by a separated brother?
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Lets see…

Under Catholicism, the Pope has the authority of God, and his words are considered equal to, or superior to, the Bible.

Totally untrue. The Pope is infallible, only when making an ex-cathedra statement on faith and morals. The Pope must teach in line with scripture and tradition. He cannot reverse anything essential that is defined and taught by the church.

When Luther finally translated the Bible from Latin to German, so that the common man could finally read it, two things happened:

Actually there were several other (Catholic) translations of the Bible into German before Luther. Luther was by no means the first. The Bible in German was the 2nd best selling printed book in German many years before Luther. (The first being the Bible in Latin.)

(1) There was a revelation that God is really a personal God who desires an intimate relationship with all people, and

The writer clearly imagines this “revelation” was unknown to the 1500 years of Christians, believers Saints and martyrs before Luther! people like St Augustine, St Francis, St Bernard, St Columba, St Catherine etc.

(2) that the Bible is the highest authority for the Church, and an absolute by which society could be transformed. Point 2 is quite consistent with the idea of “moral absolutes”, or “universals”, in the philosophical sense.

Not in the sense the writer clearly thinks: ie. the bible ABOVE the Church - like the Koran is for Muslims. The Bible is part of the teaching authority of the Church, given by Jesus. The Bible was made by the Church as late as 382 AD at the Councils of Rome and Carthage. Where was the “highest authority” before this?

The effect on governments in particular was this: People now finally had an absolute moral authority by which they could challenge governments. A man could confront the emperor, point to his Bible, and show the emperor that he was himself under God’s authority.

Not really, because the ruler could simply point to another verse: say the one saying to obey rulers in all things, or that slavery was okay, and contradict the people. In fact the whole History of the pre-reformation church age has seen confrontations between church and governments on matters of principle. Look at Magna Carta, the foundation of Liberty and Human Rights in the English speaking world. Drawn up by the Bishops.

…continued

This radical, new idea swept across all of Europe. Countries transformed by the Reformation saw their governments transformed MOSTLY peacefully, as was the case with our own Revolution, and especially in the bloodless revolution of England

Rubbish. The Governments of Henry VIII and the other Tudors were the most tyrannical in British History, with all restraints removed. In Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway the governments ruled as absolutely as before, only with control of the Church as well. Tens of thousands of peasants were slaughtered by the Protestant nobles with Luther’s encouragement. The Jews were driven from Luther’s Saxony. Where there was democracy as in Zurich and Strassburg, this existed before the Reformation.

The “bloodless” revolution of England is presumably a reference to the “Glorious Revolution” or rather coup, of 1688, when William of Orange overthrew the Catholic James II. The revolution of the 1640s was far more bloody, and even 1688 certainly wasn’t bloodless in Ireland, and it led to a situation where the Irish catholics were disenfranchised and oppressed by laws that later became the model for the Jim Crow laws of the US South.

While 1688 brought a form of democracy to England, this was actually a sham. The vote was limited to wealthy protestants, the poor reached their lowest ebb, and the whole system was one of a corrupt whig oligarchy - against which Scotland rebelled in 1745 and America in 1776.

France, on the other hand, had two difficulties: (1) A staunch rule by the Catholic Church, and (2) an embracement of the secular humanism movement that came out of the Renaissance. As such, although there were likely multitudes of people with a Christian worldview, it can hardly be said that they were ever a “Christian” nation, as could be said of America, and most of the rest of Europe. Russia suffered a similar dilemma under the rule of the Tsar and the Orthodox Church, which resembles Catholicism in many ways. So it is no wonder that Marx was able to plant his seeds of godlessness and humanism in both of these nations.

France and Russia had completely different Histories. So while secular humanism had a huge influence in France, it had very little in Russia.

The idea that democracy comes from Protestantism doesn’t really stand up. Most national parliaments were founded in the wholly Catholic period of the Middle Ages. Absolute rule was something that came out of the wars and social changes of the 1500s and 1600s. England too had absolute rule in this period (identical with the coming of protestantism) . If you look at protestant North Germany and Catholic South Germany in the 1600s and 1700s, you don’t see any difference in levels of democracy and personal freedom. The earliest european democracies were Catholic city states in the Middle Ages in Germany, Switzerland and Italy.

What usually brings some (often brief) democracy is a revolution. Full democracy (every male regardless of wealth or origin having a vote) didn’t reach France until the 1820s the US until 1865, and the UK until 1880.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer this so clearly. I check in periodically on my local newspapers “faith forum” and look for misguided statements concerning the Church. This one was so all over the map. Thank you once again for your help.

Terri

[quote=mom 07] Countries transformed by the Reformation saw their governments transformed MOSTLY peacefully, as was the case with our own Revolution, and especially in the bloodless revolution of England.
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Taking the chance of being uncharitable, this brother is separated from more than the Catholic Church. “Our own MOSTLY peaceful Revolution.” ???
I’m sorry. This person is MOSTLY separated from reality.

YOU SAID: The Governments of Henry VIII and the other Tudors were the most tyrannical in British History, with all restraints removed

MY RESPONSE: HENRY VII was the first Tudor ruler and a Catholic. His son was HENRY VIII and he was a Catholic who separated from the authority of the pope as the head of the church of England. He thought he should be the head of the church in his own country. He was not one who embraced Protestantism as a personal profession of faith. HENRY VIII’s son was EDWARD VI who was a child during his reign and much of what took place in his reign cannot really be attributed to the actual Tudor monarch. HENRY VIII’s oldest daughter was MARY I and was a staunch Catholic and was so against any Protestantism that she burned many at the stake for their Protestant views. Thus, her name Bloody Mary. HENRY VIII’s youngest daughter was ELIZABETH I and she was the last of the Tudors. Despite some snafus and sticky political situations, her reign has been mostly regarded as prolific and progressive and productive. So, basically, the only Tudors who ruled with no regard for responsibility or religious freedom amongst the subjects were the Catholic rulers.

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