Month: September 2015

105-Westward Ho! file | Play in new windowWestward – Ho! • In this episode of CS, we take a look at the Expansion of Christianity into the New World. Following Columbus’s voyages of the end of the 15th C to the Caribbean, the expansion of Christianity into the New Word was chiefly  dependent on the 2 great colonial powers of Portugal & Spain. From the outset of their adventures in the New World, a religious intention was central to the efforts of the explorers, however secondary it may have become to conquest and treasure-seeking for themselves and their royal patrons back in Europe. By means of a papal bull in 1493, Pope Alexander VI, divided the world between the 2 kingdoms. Although the line was later moved to allow Portugal to colonize Brazil, the original division was a line drawn from North to South west of the Azores Islands. Spain was given the West Indies & the Americas; while Portugal, because it had already explored the west coast of Africa & moved towards India thru Vasco da Gama’s explorations, was given the right to colonize Africa, India & the East. It seems monumentally arrogant to us today that these Europeans assumed they were “discovering” lands that already had people living there for generations. And how do you plant a colony in a place the natives call home? Yet that was...

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104-A Needless Tragedy file | Play in new windowThe title of this episode is – A Needless Tragedy. This episode sees us backtracking a bit. We’re going back to that period of European history following the Reformation called the Wars of Religion. We’re taking a look at one day – August 24, 1572 and one city – Paris & the infamous event that happened then & there = the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre. We do this because while it’s a lot more detailed & specific event that we usually get in to here on CS, it illustrates for us the impact the Reformation had on Europe &, I think, the Modern World. John Calvin was French but his reforming work was conducted in Geneva, Switzerland. It didn’t take long for his influence to spread back to his native land and by 1555, Calvinism had firm roots there. French Calvinists were called Huguenots – a word of unknown origin but was meant as a mockery of the Protestants. The Faith spread rapidly and soon there were 2000 French Reformed churches. Nearly half of the population was won over to the Reformed faith. What made things difficult for the French Roman Catholic rulers was that many of the nobility were drawn into the Calvinist camp. Remember that at that time, religious affiliation and political alignment were regarded by most Europeans as one &...

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103-Back in the East Part 2 file | Play in new windowThis episode of CS is titled, Back in the East – Part 2 In our last episode, we took a brief look at the Jesuit missions to the Far East; namely Japan, China, Vietnam & India. We encountered the revolutionary approach to mission work of Alessandro Valignano and his spiritual heirs – Michele Ruggieri & Matteo Ricci. Their accomodationist approach to evangelism, where the Gospel was communicated by seeking to build a cultural bridge with the high civilizations of the Far East, was officially suppressed by Rome, even though it had amazing success in planting a healthy & vibrant church. So healthy was the Church in Japan it came under fire from a fierce resurgence in Japanese nationalism that expelled the Jesuits and persecuted the Church, driving it underground. But it wasn’t just the Jesuits who took the Gospel to the Far East. From the dawn of the 17th C, both Dutch & English trading interests moved into Asia. Their commercial & military navies dominated those of other European nations. The Dutch established bases in Indonesia and created a center at Jakarta. The Dutch East India Company was founded in 1602, and carried the Dutch Reformed Church to the East Indies. But don’t think this means the Dutch conducted missionary work among indigenous peoples. It merely means they carried their religious institution with...

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102-Back in the East – Part 1 file | Play in new windowThis episode of CS is titled, Back in the East – Part 1 In our last foray into the Church in the East, we stopped our review with the Mongols. You may remember while the Mongols started out generally favorable to Christianity, when later Mongol Khans became Muslims, they embarked on a campaign to eradicate the Gospel from their lands. This pretty much rang the death knell to The Church in the East, which for centuries boasted far more members and covered a much wider geographic area than the Western Church. And again, let me be clear to define our terms, when I speak of the Church in the East, I’m not referring to the Eastern Orthodox Church HQ’d in Constantinople; not the Greek Orthodox Church or it’s close cousin, the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church in the East was also known as the Nestorian Church and looked to the one-time Bishop of Constantinople, Nestorius who was officially labeled a heretic, but who became the patriarch of a wide-ranging church movement that reached all the way to Japan. While today Nestorianism is officially recognized as a heresy in its view of the nature of Christ, it’s doubtful that Nestorianism was actually taught by Nestorius and what was believed by the Christians of the Church in the East. It would probably be best if...

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