• Forerunners of the Reformation Media Resource by

    As the church continued to consolidate its power and define its beliefs, it did not always act and speak with one voice. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, certain churchmen began to speak out against the corrupt practices and unbiblical doctrines that had become increasingly common within the medieval church. Emphasizing the authority of the Bible and a life of genuine piety, these leaders quickly gained a large following among the spiritually hungry common people. Though these reform movements were fiercely opposed by the church, they helped to lay the groundwork for profound spiritual changes that would come in later … View Resource

  • Great Scholastics Media Resource by

    The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries represented an era of significant change in the Medieval world. In the East, these centuries witnessed the final decline and collapse of the Byzantine Empire. Meanwhile, institutions in the West continued to develop and flourish. While European monarchs labored to build up their power and prestige, the pope continued to increase his authority over the church. At the same time, an influx of new ideas had ushered in a season of considerable academic achievement. As Europe began to establish its first universities, talented Scholastics appeared who dramatically shaped the trajectory of Christian thought. View Resource

  • Mysticism & the Renaissance Media Resource by

    As the Middle Ages continued to wind down in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, a diverse array of movements continued to exercise influence inside and outside the church. Amidst the backdrop of great Scholastic thinkers, other leaders appeared, advocating a vision of the Christian life that was driven more by the heart than by the head. Others responded to Scholasticism by looking to the ancient writings of Greece and Rome for inspiration. As Western scholars became increasingly proficient in classical languages and ancient texts, Christians inherited a variety of tools and resources to help them better understand the church, the … View Resource

  • Popes & Councils Media Resource by

    As the Middle Ages progressed, certain issues remained unresolved. Second to none in terms of its importance to the medieval church was the question of the pope’s authority. During the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the papal office faced unique challenges from secular authorities, from rival popes, and from clergy who sought to consolidate the church’s power within ecumenical councils. As different popes succumbed to and overcame these challenges, the papacy found itself sometimes losing ground, sometimes gaining ground, and always adapting to new realities within the church and society. View Resource

  • Theologians Media Resource by

    Medieval Scholasticism is often seen today as being speculative and of little practical value. In some cases, this critique may be warranted. However, this movement nevertheless helped to create an environment of thoughtful reflection and study that nurtured some of the greatest thinkers of the Middle Ages. As we turn our attention to a few of the most prominent philosophers and theologians of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, we will begin to see the familiar contours of questions, answers, and ideas that are still influential in our day. View Resource

  • Church Power & Dissent Media Resource by

    As the Middle Ages progressed, the Roman Catholic Church became one of the most powerful institutions in Western Europe. People responded to the church’s growing influence in a number of ways. Many supported the church, considering it to be God’s ordained means of governing medieval society. Certain political figures voiced opposition to the church’s influence, contending that the pope’s authority was over spiritual matters and that he had no right to interfere in politics and other societal affairs. Others, especially the common people, expressed their concern over corrupt practices and mistaken beliefs that were becoming increasingly common within certain sectors … View Resource

  • The Crusades Media Resource by

    Few incidents in the history of the church are as controversial as the Crusades. The tragic loss of life that resulted from this movement has, sadly, discredited the Christian faith in the eyes of many. Today, Christians are sometimes uncertain about how they should view or react to this chapter in history. In this lecture, Dr. Godfrey will offer valuable insight about how Christians can best understand and learn from this dramatic period in the church’s past. View Resource

  • Innocent III Media Resource by

    So far we have studied several notable events and movements that took place in the high Middle Ages. In addition to being an era of significant social, political, and cultural developments, this era also marked an important chapter in the theology, practices, and influence of the church. In this lecture, Dr. Godfrey will examine the life and time of Pope Innocent III as a case study in what the medieval church believed and how it functioned during the wondrous twelfth century. View Resource

  • Monasticism & Scholasticism Media Resource by

    For nearly two millennia, many Christians have chosen to express their piety through ascetic living. Though the roots of monasticism existed long before, the sixth-century monk Benedict of Nursia is considered to be the founding father of the medieval monastic movements. Benedict’s charter, known as the Benedictine Rule, outlined key principles of holiness and self-denial for communities of monks and nuns who were committed to the values of poverty, chastity, and obedience to God. However, later generations did not always show the same degree of commitment and devotion as their predecessors. In response, certain influential leaders responded to corruption and … View Resource

  • Gregory, Missions & Islam Media Resource by

    Around 600, as Gregory I labored in Rome for the growth and development of Christianity in Western Europe, an Arabian trader named Muhammad began to wrestle with religious questions and arrive at answers that were very different from the teachings of the Christian church. Though neither knew it, each man’s influence would extend far beyond his lifetime: Gregory’s, through the missionary efforts that would bring all of Europe under Christian influence; and Muhammad’s, through the zeal of his followers who would establish Islam as a major religion. As the sixth century transitioned into the seventh, events were being set in … View Resource

  • Introduction to the Middle Ages Media Resource by

    Our word “medieval” comes from the Latin terms medium and aevum, which mean “middle age.” Neglected by some and romanticized by others, the period of the Middle Ages is important for understanding the triumphs and struggles of Christians in Europe and the Mediterranean world during the thousand-year period between the decline of the Roman Empire and the emergence of modern Europe. In this lecture, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey will offer insight into the historical complexities of the Middle Ages and will explain the approach that this series will take as we explore this important era in church history. View Resource

  • Justinian & Gregory Media Resource by

    Emperor Justinian I and Pope Gregory I stand out as two of the most significant figures in the centuries of transition that marked the early Middle Ages. As the vestiges of Roman culture and institutions continued to fade or be reinvented, the inhabitants of the Mediterranean world looked for leaders who could offer them a sense of continuity with the past and direction for the future. In the midst of this uncertain climate, Justinian and Gregory contributed to the development of the state and the church in ways that would influence medieval life and culture for generations to come. View Resource

  • Paths to God: Theologies Media Resource by

    The early centuries of church history stand out as a time of striking unity. It is unrealistic to look upon this time as a golden age of Christianity due to the many challenges it faced from both within and without. Yet, for several hundred years the church in the Roman world managed to maintain a united stance and respond to challenges with one voice. As time passed, certain cultural, theological, and organizational differences began to test the bonds between east and west. Torn apart by the effects of new controversies and old rivalries, the medieval church eventually found itself to … View Resource

  • Worship & Sacraments Media Resource by

    As this study has shown, the ancient church was not perfect. It committed errors, did not always provide theological specificity where it might be desired, and laid the foundation for serious ecclesiastical misunderstandings. Nonetheless, it accomplished an amazing amount for the people of God by staying close to His Word and continually struggling to interpret life and faith through the lens of Scripture. This should encourage the church today, for although the church is a hospital for sinners and not a museum of saints, Jesus has sent His Spirit, and His promise never to leave or forsake His church will … View Resource

  • Augustine Media Resource by

    As Augustine wrestled with Christianity and whether or not to embrace it, he struggled with sexual immorality. Possessing a long-time concubine, through whom he fathered a son, Augustine refused to end this affair. Even after his amazing conversion, which, at least in Augustine’s mind, only occurred after targeting this vice, Augustine still struggled in this area. Perhaps this “thorn in the flesh” contributed to Augustine’s eventual realization concerning the burden of sin and the need for grace: if not for the work of God through His Spirit in the heart of man, he would go on sinning out of a … View Resource