Month: June 2015

93-Knox Knox; Who’s There? file | Play in new windowThis Episode is titled, Knox, Knox, Who’s There? John Knox was born in 1514 in the small burgh of Haddington, south of Edinburgh. At the age of 15 he entered the University of St. Andrews to study, not golf, but theology. After 7 yrs he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest & became a notary since his studies specialized in the Law. Being a gifted speaker, he was employed as a tutor for the sons of some local lairds, a term referring to lower rung of Scottish nobility. Dramatic events unfolded in Scotland during Knox’s youth. Many were angry with the Catholic church, which owned more than half the land and gathered an annual income of almost 20 times that of the crown. Bishops and priests were more often than not political appointments, & many so morally corrupt, they didn’t even try to hide their debaucheries. Cardinal Beaton, archbishop of St. Andrews, openly consorted with concubines and fathered 10 children. The constant traffic between Scotland and Europe saw a lot of Protetant literature smuggled into the country. Church authorities were alarmed by the pernicious German “heresy” as they labeled it & tried to suppress it. Patrick Hamilton, an outspoken Protestant convert, was burned at the stake in 1528. In the early 1540s while tutoring the sons of some Protestant families, Knox came under...

Read More

92-The School of Christ file | Play in new windowThis episode of CS is titled “The School of Christ” and is part 2 in our look at the Reformer, John Calvin. We left off last time with John Calvin back in Geneva after being banished for a few years following a run in with the City Council. They realized how much they needed him to design the reforms they felt they had to make so they asked him to return and accommodated themselves to being the agents by which his plans could be implemented along civil lines. Social welfare in Geneva was charged to the church’s deacons. They were the hospital management board, social security executives, and alms-house supervisors. The deacons were so effective at administering these welfare programs, Geneva had no beggars. When the Scotsman John Knox visited Geneva in 1554, he wrote a friend that the city was à “the most perfect school of Christ that ever was in the earth since the days of the apostles.” While Calvin designed & engineered the policies enacted by the city government, he kept himself to his role as a minister in the church. He preached twice every Sunday, then again every other day, every other week during the weekdays. He lectured on the Old Testament as professor thrice weekly. Besides his role as a teacher, Calvin was a busy pastor, offering guidance...

Read More

91-Thrust Into the Game file | Play in new windowThis episode it titled, Thrust Into the Game. So far we’ve marked the rise of 2 of the 3 major branches of the Reformation. We’ve considered Luthernism & the Radical Reformers or Anabaptists. Over the next few episodes we’ll consider the 3rd branch, called Calvinism, or simply, Reformed Christianity. I begin with a summary of the opening section of Bruce Shelley’s excellent, Church History in Plain Language & his chapter of John Calvin. Because the road to Strassburg was closed by the war between France & Spain the young French scholar had to pass thru Geneva. His plan was to spend only a night. He ended up spending many. The city was in disarray. Immorality was rampant, the political situation was a mess, and there was little prospect for help. A fiery reformer named William Farel had been preaching in Geneva for 4 years, and masses at the Catholic church were halted. But Geneva’s embrace of the Reformation was more out of political ambition than a sincere allegiance to Protestant theology. No one had taken the lead in transforming the city’s institutions along Biblical lines. Geneva needed a manager; someone who could step into the political and spiritual vacuum and bring order. When Farel heard of the young French scholar, John Calvin was spending the night, he made a point to call on...

Read More

90-Taking It Further file | Play in new windowThis episode is titled, Taking It Further. History, or I should say, the reporting of it, shows a penchant for identifying one person, a singular standout as the locus of change. This despite the recurring fact there were others who participated in or paralleled that change. Such is the case with Martin Luther and the Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli. While Luther is the “historic bookmark” for the genesis of the Reformation, in some ways, Zwingli was ahead of him. Born in Switzerland in 1484, Ulrich Zwingli was educated in the best universities & ordained a priest.  Possessing a keen mind, intense theological inquiry coupled to a keen spiritual struggle brought him to a genuine faith in 1516, a year before Luther tacked his 95 thesis to Wittenberg’s door.  2 yrs later, Zwingli arrived in Zurich where he’d spend the rest of his life. By 1523 he was leading the Reformation in Switzerland. Zwingli’s preaching convinced Zurich’s city council to permit the clergy to marry. They abolished the Mass & banned images & statues in public worship. They dissolved the monasteries & severed ties w/Rome. Recognizing the central place the Bible was to have in the Christian life, the Zurich reformers published the NT in their own vernacular in 1524 & the entire Bible 6 yrs later; 4 yrs before Luther’s German translation was...

Read More

Subscribe To

Communio Sanctorum



Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates providing insights into the history of the Christian Church.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest