In this brief clip from his teaching series A Survey of Church History, W. Robert Godfrey examines how the Crusades marked a radical break from how earlier Christians thought about the relationship between church and state. Watch this entire message for free.
The Crusades are a radical break with anything that it happened in Christian history until that point. Up until that point, Christians had gone to war but Christians had always gone to war in support of the state to pursue some political objective. They may have felt that their state was a Christian state and that therefore in going to war for the state, they were doing something that was good in the eyes of God but they had never gone to war for the church. They had always in fact believe that part of the separation of church and state was that the state was given power by God to protect the nation and to promote peace whereas the church had a spiritual mission on earth. But with the coming of the crusading ideal in Europe, that idea began to change and Christians began to think that it was legitimate to use force to advance the church and the cause of Christ not just to protect and to defend the state.