Religions / Ideologies

Capitalism / Financial Markets

  • 1931 CE – No gold standard domestically in the USA. Hoover was president.
  • 1971 CE – No gold standard internationally. Nixon was president. August 15th – Nixon takes the US off the gold standard and initiated free-floating currencies/fiat money. The price of gold sky rocketed, reaching a high of $600 per ounce in 1980. The result was a massive shift in wealth from poor countries to rich countries.
  • The concept that gold is valuable is arbitrary. Rocks, salt, leaves could all be considered of equal valuable if we wished. Old consensus: that gold is valuable. New consensus: that the US dollar is valuable.
  • Currently we have floating currencies and they fluctuate in value based upon on what we think they are worth. In essence we are just playing “global monopoly.”
  • China’s historical outlook on financial systems
    • Since the Han Dynasty China has adopted a peculiar system of tribute, whereby in exchange for recognition of the Chinese Emperor as world-sovereign, they have been willing to shower their client-states with gifts far greater than they receive in return.
    • China’s current policy of owning US debt and treasuries and investing in the rest of the world.
    • Current “One Belt, One Road” project– this is China, in my opinion, acting in the same way that it has historically throughout the centuries. This project is basically exactly the same as Zheng He’s seven voyages across the Indian Ocean, his great “treasure fleet,” in 1405 – 1433 CE.
  • How do we make the system keep functioning?
    • Military power is required to ensure that countries will pay their debts. The USA has over 800 military bases around the world to enforce the system.
  • Where do we stand now?
    • It’s becoming increasingly clear that the current system, of a goal of 5 per cent growth per year, is not viable.
    • David Graeber in “Debt: The First 5,000 Years” conjectures that we are in the final effects of the militarization of American capitalism.
    • The most common reaction to the prospect of capitalism coming to and end is fear.
  • Where do we go from here?
    • The first thing we need to do is re-envisage ourselves as historical actors and see the big picture again.
    • The last time we shifted from a bullion economy to a virtual credit was at the end of the Axial Age and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Christianity

20th Century Theologians (all M.Div. graduates should be conversant with these names)

All of these people are thinking post-Christendom.

  • Europe
    • Karl Barth (German/Swiss) – Neo-orthodoxy. God as other, not as a part of our human systems, God is transcendent, later on the emphasis on the Word, ecclesiastical thinking putting the people as a central part of the kingdom.
      • Emil Brunner (German) – influential in ecumenical movement early on.
      • Rudolf Bultmann(German) – de-mythologizing the faith. Anti the fact that people get caught up in the mythology and metaphors of the Bible and missing the point of what we’re being called to.
      • Joseph Hromadka (Czech)
    • Dietrich Bonhoeffer (German) – starts with Barth and goes beyond Barth, discipleship, emphasis on the Sermon on the Mount, classic two kingdom approach called into question, theology of the cross (a vicarious representation of the suffering for the cross). He gets used in the “God is dead” theology movement, Bonhoeffer was saying that God is dead to western society. Union Theological Seminary.
    • Jurgen Moltmann (German)– that God is present and alongside those that are suffering, drawing from Bonhoeffer, later a theology of hope, the kingdom of God breaks into the world to form the new, discusses new ideas on the Trinity. He was a prisoner of war. Theology of hope.
    • All the above emphasis community, taking up the cross, that God is present in that suffering, all challenging the penal substitutionary atonement theology, challenging the pietistic otherworldly understanding of Christianity and making it real, now, and social.
    • Bonhoeffer and MLK were to two people in this list that were actors– acted in history, not just theory.
  • United States
    • Reinhold Niebuhr (brother), (German) – Union Theological Seminary.
    • Richard Niebuhr (brother), (German) – Union Theological Seminary.
    • Paul Tillich, (German) – trying to figure out what the problems are with modern society. The method of correlation. Union Theological Seminary.
    • Howard Thurman – African American theologian and pastor.
    • Martin Luther King, Jr. – Tillich’s theology was a mentor to MLK. Also Howard Thurman.
    • James Cone – father of black liberationist theology. Union Theological Seminary. One idea that shook the academy– that God is black. Calls out the sin of white theologians’ silence in the face of racism. Deeply theologian in the late 20th century.
  • Latin America
    • Gustavo Gutierrez – Peruvian. wrote a “Theology of Liberation”, the original liberation theology text. Influenced by base, small communities in Latin America, and their insights into Biblical texts. He was a Roman Catholic priest and influential in both Catholic and Protestant Church, more so in the Protestant church.

20th and 21st Century Events and Changes in Christianity

  • The strength of Christianity in it’s classic areas of Europe began to decline and the strength of the church began to materialize in other places such as Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

Anabaptists

  • During the period of the Reformation– the 16th century. Luther and Zwingli were advocating a return to the Christianity in the New Testament (as opposed to the corruption of the Catholic church). Zwingli held that only that which had scriptural foundation should be practiced. The Anabaptists were critics of Zwingli because they thought that Zwingli didn’t take his idea far enough. The compromise between church and state that resulted from Constantine’s conversion was not biblical in the opinion of the Anabaptists. They reject infant baptism, since a decision must be made to belong to the church. Pacifism is an essential element in the Christian life. The Sermon on the Mount must be obeyed literally. Eventually they adopted the New Testament tradition of baptism by immersion of those that express having faith, so they were called ‘anabaptists’ which means ‘rebaptizers.’

Alexandrine thought (4th century CE onward)

  • How could an immutable, eternal God be joined to a mutable, historical man? Alexandrine thought: Jesus was both divine and human, but he was the teacher of divine truth, and therefore had to be a full and clear revelation of the divine– his divinity was asserted over his humanity.

Antiochene thought (4th century CE onward)

  • How could an immutable, eternal God be joined to a mutable, historical man? Antiochene thought: Jesus was both divine and human, but to be the saviour of human beings, Jesus had to be primarily human (not primarily divine as the Alexandrines thought).

Apophatic (Eastern thought process)/ Kataphatic (Western thought process)

  • Apophatic: stays within defined parameters. Apophatic theology, also known as negative theology, is a type of theological thinking and religious practice that attempts to approach God, the Divine, by negation, to speak only in terms of what may not be said about the perfect goodness that is God.
  • Cataphatic: defining thinking. Cataphatic theology or kataphatic theology is theology that uses “positive” terminology to describe or refer to the divine – specifically, God – i.e. terminology that describes or refers to what the divine is believed to be, in contrast to the “negative” terminology used in apophatic theology to indicate what it is believed the divine is not. “Cataphatic” comes from the Greek word kataphasis meaning “affirmation,” coming from kata (an intensifier) and phanai (“to speak”).

Arian / Arianism

  • Arian teachings were first attributed to Arius (c. AD 250–336), a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt. The Arian concept of Christ is that the Son of God did not always exist but was begotten by God the Father. The Nicene Creed was written at the Council of Nicea (325 AD) to oppose the Arian concept.

Byzantine Christianity

  • While in the Western church popes were often more powerful than kings and even emperors, in the East the emperors ruled the church, and partiarchs who did not do their bidding were easily disposed and replaced.
  • In 1453, Constantinople fell to the Turks. Mohammed II, conqueror of Constantinople. Many Byzantine Christians saw this event as liberation from a tyrannical emperor.
  • In Constantinople, half the churches were turned into mosques.
  • Christian worship continued with full tolerance from the state.
  • The issues discussed during the Protestant Reformation in the West, were also discussed in the East.
  • 19th & 20th centuries– the Ottoman Empire breaks down and national Orthodox churches were formed.
  • During the two world wars the patriarchate of Constantinople recognized the autonomy of the various Orthodox churches.
  • Early in the 20th century the ancient patriarchates of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch found themselves under Arab rule.

Calvinism

  • Espouses there’s little human effort in the act of predestination/salvation, that it is God’s doing. The canons of the Synod of Dort (Nov. 1618 to May 1619) in Holland affirmed five doctrines that have become the hallmark of orthodox Calvinism:
    • T.U.L.I.P.
    • T = total depravity (the concept of original sin)
    • U = unconditional election (those that elected are saved)
    • L = limited atonement (atonement is for those that are elected)
    • I = irresistible grace (the grace of God that brings us to faith is cannot be resisted)
    • P = perseverance of the saints (even if the saved fall away their faith will always bring them back, they will always end up persevering in their faith).

Cartesian Rationalism (René Descartes)

  • 1596 to 1650 CE – France – Cartesian Rationalism. Lived during the time of the Thirty Years’s War (1618-1648). Descartes was a profoundly religious man who hoped his philosophy would be helpful to theologians. When his theories were criticized by theologians, he was surprised and he moved to Sweden and lived there for the rest of his life. His philosophy:
    • His starting point was to doubt everything, until something could be proved beyond doubt. He had a fetish for certitude. He had mathematical reasoning, and believed in the concreteness of subjectivity. If we’re focused on the subject (“I”) and can only believe in myself then we’re all living separately in our own heads, and makes human community impossible. He does not understand that energy flows through everything. In the midst of the trauma of the Thirty Years’ War he is disassociating (leaving his own body, and looking at himself from the outside).
    • His first undeniable existence he discovered was his own mind– “I think, therefore I am.” “Cogito, ergo sum.”
    • His mind was was real, but what about his body?
    • Before proving the existence of his own body, he would prove the existence of God. If the idea of God was in his head, an idea of a perfect being superior to himself, that thought could only have been put there by a higher being– God. So, God must exist.
    • Descartes theorized: that humans consist of two parts: one that thinks (“res cogitans”) and one that occupies space (“res extensa”). Or, soul and body.
    • Others wondered how the soul and body communicate. Three solutions were put forth:
      • Occasionalism – Arnold Geulincx – the soul and body don’t communicate directly, God makes it happen.
      • Monism – Benedictus de Spinoza – he denied that there is more than one substance, thought and physical extension are not two different substances, but are two attributes of a single substance (like ‘red’ and ’round’ are attributes of an apple).
      • Pre-established harmony – Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – there are infinite number of substances (monads) that are independent of each other, they do not communicate with each other, but instead they act according to the universal order (like clocks all keeping the same time in a shop).

Catholicism in the face of modernity

  • French Revolution – Pope Pius VI – did all he could to impede its progress. In retaliation the French republican government sought to weaken the papacy. In 1798, the French took Rome.
  • Napoleon saw no need to spend his time in conflict with the papacy and eased tensions between the French and the papacy. He travelled to Rome to be crowned emperor by Pius VII, but took the crown from the pope and crowned himself. In 1808, Napoleon took Rome again. Catholics held onto conservatism and repeatedly blocked attempts to support republican and democratic ideas.
  • Pius IX (1846-1878) – the longest papacy in history. 1848, revolutions across Europe. The Republic of Rome proclaimed in 1849. Camilo Benso, conte di Cavour, great statesman of Piedmont-Sardinia, whose goal was the unification of Italy. On Sept 20, 1870, the troops of the new kingdom took the Papal States. The papacy was allowed to retain power in a few places in Italy, including the Vatican. At the same time Bismarck in Germany was taking measures against the powers of the church. Therefore, the pontificate of Pius XI marks the end of the political power of the pope. In 1854, Pius IX proclaimed the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. Pius XI was the first pope to ever define a dogma on his own, without the support of a council. In 1864, he listed eighty propositions that Catholics must reject in his cyclical ‘Quanta cura’ and the accompanying ‘Syllabus of Errors’ (included a statement that the church should not be separate from the state). At the end of the century the First Vatican Council was compiled– the Council promulgated the dogma of papal infallibility.
  • Pope Paul VI (1963 – 78 CE) – in 1968 he issued the encyclical “Humanae vitae” in which he banned all artificial methods of birth control.
  • By the last decades of the 20th century Catholicism was declining in the traditionally Catholic countries of Europe and gaining strength elsewhere. It also included women, minorities in the North Atlantic, and believers in Latin America, Asia, Africa. In these regions, the number of believers continued to grow. In spite of the decline in Europe, by 2010 Catholicism had over a billion adherents. Outside of the traditionally core areas of Europe, Catholicism elsewhere experienced unprecedented growth, creativity, and vitality.

Councils

  • Council of Nicea – 325 CE
    • Produced the Nicene Creed to debunk Arianism.
  • Council of Constantinople –381 CE
    • Reaffirmed the Council of Nicea decisions against Arianism.
  • Third Ecumenical Council, met at Ephesus – 431 CE
    • Debunked/rejected Nestorian thought.
  • “Robber Synod”, met at Ephesus – 449 CE
    • The doctrine that there are in Christ “two natures” was declared heretical.
  • Council of Chalcedon, Fourth Ecumenical Council, met at Chaldecon – 451 CE
    • Produced a “Definition of Faith”. The Definition reaffirmed decisions of the previous three great councils (Nicea, Constantinople, Ephesus)– “…our Lord Jesus Christ is one and the same God, perfect in divinity, and perfect in humanity, true God and true human… “
  • Fifth Ecumenical Council, at Constantinople – 553 CE
    • To resolve the ‘Controversy of the Three Chapters’. Condemned the Three Chapters– the writings of three Antiochene theologians, which were offensive to Monophysites.
  • Concordant of Worms – 1122 CE
    • Granted the emperor the power to invest bishops with secular authority but not with sacred authority.
  • Fourth Lateran Council – 1215 CE
    • Proclaimed the doctrine of transubstantiation– the physical alteration of the wine and the bread into the body and blood of Christ during communion sacraments. The council also instituted episcopal inquisition, and that no new monastic orders could be founded, ordered every cathedral to have a school, ordered the clergy to abstain from theater, games, hunting, etc., ordered all faithful to take communion at least once a year, forbade the introduction of new relics, required all Jews and Muslims in Christian lands to wear distinctive clothing, made it unlawful for priests to charge for administration of the sacraments.
  • Council of Trent – 1545 – 63 CE
    • During the papacy of Pius IV. The policies and attitudes set at the Council were mostly in reaction against Protestantism and a reaction to Luther. Decrees were many including: ordered bishops to reside in their sees, condemned pluralism, defined the obligations of the clergy, regulated use of relics and indulgences, ordered the founding of seminaries, promoted the study of St. Thomas Aquinas making his theology the dominant theology of the church, the Vulgate (the Latin translation of the Bible) would be authoritative, tradition has an authority parallel to that of Scripture, that there are seven sacraments, the mass is a true sacrifice, that communion in both kinds (with the laity receiving both the bread and the wine) was not necessary, that justification is based on good works done through collaboration between grace and the believer. The Council of Trent marked the birth of the modern Catholic Church and these policies were followed for 400 years until the Second Vatican Council.
  • First Vatican Council – 1869–70 CE
    • Twentieth ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church. Convened by Pope Pius IX to refute various contemporary ideas associated with the rise of liberalism and materialism, it is chiefly remembered for its declaration of papal infallibility. The council was basically anti-modernity and all the changes that were taking place.
  • Second Vatican Council, 1962 – 65 CE
    • Cardinal Roncalli elected Pope at the age of 77, and took the name John XXIII (Pope from 1958 – 63 CE). He knew the degree to which the church had cut of communications with the world at large. His great task would be to restore that communication. He was different in that he called other bishops “my brother bishops” and asked their advice rather than commanding them. He was also convinced that the time had come for a complete updating of the church and this could only be done through the combined wisdom and concerns of all the bishops of the church. Only 46 per cent of the prelates came from Western Europe, United States and Canada. 42 per cent came from Latin America, Asia and black Africa– churches with limited resources. There were also 93 non-Catholic observers. It was time for the church to respond to the concerns of the modern world with compassion and understanding rather than self-righteous condemnation. By the time the Council adjourned, a new era in the Catholic Church had been entered.
    • The first document to be discussed and proposed the most significant changes was the updating of the liturgy– allowing the use of local vernacular in the liturgy rather than the Latin.
    • October 11, 1962 CE – first session of the Second Vatican Council formerly opened.
    • Pope Paul VI (pope 1963 – 78 CE) was elected.
    • September 29, 1963 CE – second session of the council opened. The document on the revised liturgy was approved. The “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” authorized the use of vernacular languages to a degree not permitted before.
    • September 14 – November 21, 1964 CE – third session of the council. The council issued reformist documents on the church, the Eastern churches, and ecumenism. The pope declared the Virgin to be the “Mother of the Church.”
    • September 14 – December 8, 1965 CE – the fourth and final session of the council. The council issues progressive documents on: bishops, priests and their formation, the laity, the church and non-Christians, missionary activity. The “Constitution on the Church” emphasized the notion that the church is the ‘people of God,’ of whom both laity and the clergy are a part. Other documents were on: religious freedom, Christianity and Judaism (this is post WWII), and the church in the modern world. Religious freedom must be respected. Rejected traditional prejudice against the Jews and acknowledged the unique connection between the church and that of Israel. The “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World” insists on Catholic principles of faith and morality, while accepting the positive benefits of modernity, deals creatively with family life, economic and social issues, politics, technology and science, the significance and diversity of human cultures, and so forth. Right in the middle of the Cold War the Second Vatican Council spelled out that the arms race could produce no permanent and true peace.

Colonialism (Factors Contributing to European Colonialism)

  • 1452 – 1510 – Papal Bulls. The Doctrine of Christian Discovery– the right of Christians to claim any land that is not inhabited by Christians.
  • 1453 CE – the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks (Muslims). Rise and spread of Islam as a world power.
  • 1492 CE – Completion of Reconquista. The Spanish take back Grenada from the Muslim Moors, and the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the New World.
  • The Crusading mindset, which gets applied to the New World and the conquest of the native infidels.
  • Theology – original sin, the doctrine of hell, satisfaction theory (humanity has committed an offense against God, and God can’t let sin go unpunished). Strong themes of law, punishment and retributive violence. God’s representatives– if violence has to be used as a means to bring salvation to the unsaved, like God sacrificed his own son, then the means is justified by the means.
  • Inter-European warfare.
  • Trade – due to the constant wars in Europe, countries needed to increase their trade, especially with the East. The land route to the East had closed down due to the Muslims having control of most of the way through, and the Black Death had closed the trading route along the Silk Road. The Europeans had to go by sea and find a route to the west.
  • The Black Death – disease and immunity to the disease.
  • Insecurity – of falling behind in trade, in being taken over by warfare, by the religious threat of Islam, and environmentally (much of Europe had been stripped). Often insecurity is covered over by a posture of supremacy.
  • The Great Chain of Being – the hierarchy of all things on earth.

Deism

  • Deists, or ‘freethinkers,’ were tired of the quibbling between orthodox theologies, the aberrations of atheists, and the people who held narrow beliefs in orthodoxy. Lord Herbert of Cherbury was the first great figure of Deism. Deists held that true religion must be universal. Such religion is not based on the natural instincts of every human, true religion is based on these five principles:
    • the existence of God
    • the obligation to worship God
    • the ethical requirements of worship
    • the need for repentance
    • reward and punishment, in this life and the next
  • Deism opposed the narrow dogmatism that had taken hold of branches of Christianity. And it tried to refute easy skepticism of those that abandoned religion.
  • Deist works:
    • John Toland “Christianity not Mysterious….”
    • Matthew Tindal “Christianity as Old as the World, or the Gospel a Republication of the Religion of Nature”
  • Criticism
    • David Hume, Scottish philosopher– the most devastating criticism of deism. He showed that “reason” was not as “reasonable” as Deists and other rationalists believed.

Eastern Orthodox Churches

  • See also the Russian Church (below) and Byzantine Christianity (above).
  • The Orthodox Church of Japan, China and Korea were all the work of Russian Orthodox missionaries.
  • Orthodox Diaspora– those people that left their homelands due to political upheavals, persecution, or better living conditions. Settled in Western Europe and the New World.
  • The movement of people put pressures on the Orthodox church in those locations. The Orthodox Church has always held that there can only be one Orthodox church in any location.
  • In the former Persian Empire territories, the majority of Christians refused to call Mary Mother of God. They were dubbed Nestorians. Also known as Assyrian. They have experienced persecution particularly from Muslim neighbors, and many fled to Cyprus and then to Chicago. Late in the 20th century there was still approx 100,000 members, mostly in Iraq, Iran, Syria and the USA.
  • Some churches refused to accept the Chalcedonian ‘Definition of Faith’ (Jesus was fully God, fully man), they are usually called Monophysites (see ‘Monophysites’ below).
    • The Coptic Church of Egypt.
    • The Church of Ethiopia.
    • The ancient Syrian Monophysite Church, also known as Jacobite.
    • The Syrian Church in India, claimed to have been founded by St. Thomas.
    • The Armenian Church.
  • The Armenian Church– their territory was conquered by the Turks. There was enmity between the Armenian Church and the Turks.
    • 1895, 1896, 1914– thousands of Armenians were massacred.
    • 1 million fled to Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Greece, France, and the Western hemisphere.
  • World Council of Churches & the Eastern Church
    • 1948 CE, First Assembly– the Eastern Orthodox Churches were hesitant to join and discuss their faith (because discussions about their faith would perhaps mean that they weren’t sure of their faith) with other denominations, and abstained.
    • 1950 CE– the Council issues a statement allaying most of the misgivings of the Orthodox Churches. The Orthodox Churches then became full members of the Council.

East-West Schism (1054 CE)

  • The East–West Schism, also called the Great Schism and the Schism of 1054, was the break of communion between what are now the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, which has lasted since the 11th century until Vatican 2 in the 1960s. Prominent issues of the Schism: the source of the Holy Spirit, whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist, the Bishop of Rome’s claim to universal jurisdiction, and the place of the See of Constantinople in relation to the Pentarchy.

Ecumenical movement (the field of ‘ecumenism’)

  • The 19th century was the beginning of a truly universal church.
  • ‘Ecumenical’ means ‘pertaining to the entire inhabited earth.’
  • The missionary movement was one of the driving forces leading the way toward the modern Christianity unity movement.
  • In overseas missions, cooperation became mandatory. Translated Bibles prepared by one denomination were used by others. Coordination between various missionary organizations as they entered into new lands was required, driving a spirit of cooperation. Divisions that seemed natural in Europe and the United States didn’t make much sense in other places, e.g. southern India or Japan, as it would seem to divide the Christian message and appear to the locals that Christians were not promulgating a unified/one religion. William Carey was one of the forerunners of the ecumenical movement, who suggested that an international missionary conference be convened at Cape Town, South Africa in 1810 CE (it would be 100 years before his call was heeded).
  • In 1910 CE – the first World Missionary Conference gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland, attended by official delegates of missionary societies from various denominations. It was decided that they would discuss missions to non-Christians to prevent debates between Catholics and Protestants at the conference. Most attendees were British and American, plus other Europeans.
  • International Missionary Council (IMC) – the World Missionary Conference led the way to this conference. This came to be about evangelism and evangelization. In 1961, the IMC folded into the WCC to become an even larger WCC, Billy Graham was against this because evangelism became of secondary importance.
  • 1948 CE – formation of the World Council of Churches. (1945 CE, the United Nations was formed.) WCC is primarily two orders: 1. Faith & Order (about theology), 2. Work & Life (about society). Faith and Order became to be about visible unity. Work & Life became to be about labour unions, family life in the midst of dehumanization, social justice. The Faith & Order portion of the WCC has basically died out now.
  • 1974 CE – Billy Graham launches the Lausanne Movement in reaction to evangelism becoming secondary in the new WCC (above). The Lausanne Movement focuses on evangelization. Then the WCC criticizes the Lausanne Movement and won’t have anything to do with it because it views the Movement doing prosletization (which is like converting/colonialism by force and known as ‘evangelism’ rather than ‘evangelization’ which is not so coercive). Difference between ‘evangelization’ (an active program of conversion which can easily morph into a coercive kind of conversion) and ‘evangelism’ (good news/gospel, evangel comes from the word angel, a messenger, and not coercive). Billy Graham promoted more coercive evangelization, which is akin to colonialization.

Empiricism

  • Philosophy in Great Britain. John Locke, in 1690, published his “Essay on Human Understanding.” He agreed with Descartes that the order of the world corresponded to the order of the mind, but (differing from Descartes) he held that all knowledge is derived from experience, both the outer experience of the senses, and the inner experience of our minds. The only true knowledge is based on three levels of experience: our own selves, outer realities that are presented to us, and God, whose existence is proven by the existence of the self and its experiences. Plus, another level of knowledge: probability, where we apply our judgement. Reason and judgement must be used in tandem to measure the degree of probability of what we are asked to believe by faith. In 1695, John Locke published “The Reasonableness of Christianity” in which he claimed that Christianity is the most reasonable of religions.

Evangelical Heresies

  • 1. Dispensationalism (premillennial) > escapism (leading to ignoring the healing of the world now, or a why do we care attitude). Founded in the 1830s. NIV Study Bibles are often dispensationalist. Pro Israel/Zionism. 7th Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, evangelicals. John Hagae “Left Behind.”
  • 2. Prosperity Gospel (1900s) > closely linked to pentecostalism and materialism (attachment to things) as evidence of God’s blessings. Signs of God’s blessing = material wealth. How do you generate that blessing? By the Protestant work/Calvinist work ethic. Spiritual gifts (Pentecostalism)/miracles. Christian Science has some aspects of prosperity gospel. Robert Shuler, Joel Osteen, Norman Vincent Peel, Creflo Dollar.
  • 3. Homogeneous Unit Principle (1970s) > rationalizing racism and segregation. Donald McGavern was the pioneer (& his acolyte C. Peter Wagner of Fuller Seminary), McGavern begun in India, by planting a church in one caste only and saw the church grow (would not grow if there were multiple castes in the same church). Came back to the US and suggested church planting within only a small demographic. Most white suburban mega churches came out of this pioneering. Inspired by the Hindu caste system. Historically is off with the biblical pentecost, and other biblical texts including the whole New Testament Church. It is not an inclusive gospel. Also goes against the apostle Paul’s ministry. Rick Warren and Bill Hybels.
  • The above all tend to be anti-abortion and anti-gay.

Fundamentalism

  • The five fundamentals that cannot be denied without “falling into the error of liberalism”:
    • the inerrancy of Scripture
    • the divinity of Jesus
    • the Virgin birth
    • Jesus’ death on the cross as a substitute for our sins
    • and Jesus’ physical resurrection and impending return
  • In 1846 the movement was beginning to crystallize, with the formation of the Evangelical Alliance, who saw liberalism as a denial of the faith.

Geographic Expansion of the West

  • In general the colonizers were convinced that their enterprise was justified by the benefits the colonized would receive. As they saw matters, God had placed the benefits of Western civilization and Christian faith in the hands of white of white people in order to share it with the rest of the world. That responsibility was the so-called “white man’s burden.”
  • Modernity produced the dislocation of vast masses who now became landless. There was the destruction of many cultural patterns that had sustained societies for centuries. Inducing growing disparities in living conditions between the rich and the poor.
  • The colonial expansion of the West coincided with its missionary expansion. Some missionaries were opposed to colonialism. There were other cases where missionaries reached regions that had not been reached before by the white traders and colonizers. The relationship between colonialism and missions was very complex.
  • 19th century– the formation of missionaries societies. All were voluntary societies, for the churches as institutions did not usually support missions. They heyday of missionary societies began in the 18th century and lasted through the 19th century (widespread support for missions during this century).
  • Mission forerunners:
    • Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) founded in 1698. (Anglican)
    • Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) founded in 1701. (Anglican)
    • Pietists, Moravians, and Methodists founded similar societies in the 18th century.
    • Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel amongst the Heathen was founded by William Carey in 1792.
    • 1795 CE – a group of Methodists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists founded the London Missionary Society (LMS).
    • 1799 CE – The Church Missionary Society (CMS) was founded, drawing members from the evangelical wing of the Anglican Church.
    • 1804 CE – the British and Foreign Bible Society was founded.
    • The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions founded in the United States by Congregationalists.
    • American Baptist Convention was founded when a society was organized to support missionary Adoniram Judson.
    • 19th Century – most governments and corporations (British East India Company) had no official relationship with missionary societies and sometimes slightly hostile to them. Missions appealed to the public at large for funds. Missionary societies brought news from the remotest part of Asia and Africa, and thus became one of the main sources of information regarding other cultures and lands.
    • At first all missionaries were men. However, women played an important role. Some feminine missionary societies began sending their own missionaries. Among Catholics, such missionaries were nuns. Among Protestants, female missionaries began assuming responsibilities that were forbidden at home, such as preaching and church organizing. By the 20th century, women’s work in missions is one of the roots of the feminist movement.
    • Co-operation and Ecumenicalism – another important consequence of the missionary movement was the co-operation that began appearing between various denominations. Rivalries that seemed justifiable in Europe and the United States were stumbling blocks to missionary work in India and China. Therefore, many missionaries took steps to lower the barrier between denominations. Thus, the ecumenical movement, at least among Protestants, has one of its main roots in the missionary movement.
    • By the time of World War I there were few countries in the world that weren’t under colonial rule or influence.
    • Indian subcontinent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka) – Christianity had existed there since ancient times. Catholicism had been introduced in the 16th century. The first Protestant missionaries arrived in the 18th century. But with the sudden growth of British influence in the 19th century, Protestant missionaries advanced in great strides. During its first century in operation the British East India Company opposed missionary work.
    • William Carey – the Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel amongst the Heathen, founded in 1792. William Carey was one of the primary founders of the missionary movement. He had the conviction that Christians had the obligation to preach the gospel in distant countries to people who had not heard it. He went to Calcutta in 1793. His zeal, particularly in his reports back to England, resulted in new interest in missions. From his HQ in Serampore, he and his associates felt one of their first tasks was to make the Bible available to the Indian population. Before he died he had translated the Bible, in whole or in part, into 35 different languages (translations later criticized for the errors). Carey’s work inspired many others in England and the United States to emulate his work. Scotsman Alexander Duff became famous for his work in education, for he was convinced that the best way for Christianity to enter India was through education. There were mass conversions in the lower classes. Protestant missionaries insisted that the caste system that prevailed in India was wrong. Many termed “untouchable” found Protestantism liberating and joined it, and many women found freedom in Christianity also. Pandita Ramabai, devoted her life to the education of women, and because of her work many women were able to make significant contributions both to the church and to Indian society. He was one of the forerunners of the ecumenical movement.
    • China – Christianity had been introduced repeatedly, and repeatedly it had been quashed. The Chinese government did not favor the presence of foreigners within its borders. The First Opium War (1839-1842) was one of the most shameful episodes in the history of Western colonialism– it set the precedent for other Western powers to force countries in Asia into opening their borders to trade, and therefore also missionaries because the treaties stipulated provisions to be made for the presence of missionaries in Chinese territories. Soon missionaries from various countries and denominations arrived in China.
    • Rebellion of Taiping – Heavenly Kingdom of the Great Peace – 1850 – 1864 CE – an unexpected by-product of Christian preaching. Twenty million people died. The movement covered most of China by the end. The Heavenly Capital was established in Nanjing.
    • The Boxer Rebellion (1899 – 1901 CE) – the violent expression of Chinese resentment of foreign intervention. It’s estimated that over thirty thousand Chinese Christians were killed.
    • Japan – during the first half of the 19th century Japan was closed to all Western influence or contact. in 1854, US Navy Commodore M.C. Perry forced the Japanese to sign their first commercial treaty, opening up Japan to western influence in much the same way that the British had forced their way into China. Japan’s response was to learn as much Western technology as they could and use it to their advantage. Im 1910, Japan annexed Korea and then later invaded China. Korea then found itself signing similar treaties with the USA (1882), Great Britain (1883), Russia (1884), again opening the way for Protestant missionaries.
    • Philippines, Indonesia, Micronesia, Australia, New Zealand – see pages 429-431 in “The Story of Christianity” by Justo Gonzalez.
    • Africa and the Muslim world – by the opening of World War I, Great Britain, France and Italy had control of the north coast of Africa and the Ottoman Empire was about to disappear. Christianity was present on the coasts but it was during the 19th century that the West began to make inroads into the interior lands in a battle in a search for resources. Roman Catholics sought to bring bodies of Eastern Christians into communion with Rome. Protestants often sought to cooperate with the Eastern churches. While the Muslim population they found to be some of the most difficult to convert, eventually the West began making converts in the Muslim population. 1799 CE, the British founded Sierra Leone as a land for freed slaves returning to Africa. 1n 1820, the first American blacks arrived in Liberia, which gained independence in 1847, which similarly was founded by the US for freed American slaves. In 1867 CE, diamonds were discovered in South Africa. All these events and more aroused missionary interest in Europe and the United States. Catholics missions were most successful in Catholic colonies, while Protestants gained more adherents in British and German colonies. The most famous missionary to Africa was David Livingstone who traveled across southern Africa preaching the gospel and healing the sick. He sometimes traveled as a missionary and sometimes as a representative of the British government. Gaining the trust and love of many Africans who came to know him, his writings did much to arouse interest in black Africa. By 1914, not only was most of Africa in colonial hands, but every one of those territories there were Christian churches.
    • Latin America – the independence movement in the 19th century across all of Latin America led to the founding of Protestant churches in every nation of Latin America. At first, this was the result of immigration. The independent countries wanted to emulate the industrialization of the West, it was hoped that immigration from those countries would provide the experienced personnel necessary for development. Also, there were vast lands available for agricultural expansion and the independent nations needed people to farm the lands. An independent nations wanted to introduce ideas that were contrary to those coming from Spain. Therefore, many governments issued laws guaranteeing freedom of religion to immigrants, that then spread to everyone in the population. The policy of encouraging foreign immigration eventually favored the spread of Protestantism among the native population. Scotsman, James Thomson, Baptist representative of the British and Foreign Bible Society arrived in Buenos Aires in 1818, he traveled to across Argentina, Chile, Cuba and Mexico, his work consisting mostly in the distribution of Spanish Bibles. Protestant missions – to organize missions to Latin America implied that Catholics were not Christian or that their Christianity was defective– this was a step that the Protestant churches were not willing to take, so the early missionary work was directed more to the native populations, e.g. Anglican missions among Indians in Tierra del Fuego. By the time of World War I, there were significant numbers of Protestants in every country in Latin America.
    • Haiti – Theodore Holly and 110 black Episcopalians emigrated from the USA to Haiti hoping to find greater freedom to preach the gospel to Haitians. In 1876, Holly was consecrated by the Episcopal Church to be the first bishop of the Apostolic Orthodox Church of Haiti, later called the Episcopal Church of Haiti.

Gnosticism

  • Having special knowledge that others do not have, particularly special knowledge of God.

JDDJ – 1999 – Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification

  • Took years to reach, but finally agreed that there is no doctrinal division between Lutherans and Catholics on the doctrine of justification. Some Catholics became Lutheran after the agreement. Each side is saying that they stand by their emphasis on the doctrine (on works or on faith by grace) but accept/see the point of the other could be Biblically based. It’s a live-and-let-live declaration.

Jansenism

  • Arguments in regards to predestination.

Jesuits (Society of Jesus), Catholic

  • Founded by Saint Ignatius of Loyola, a Spanish priest and theologian, and who became its first Superior General. Ignatius Loyola devoted himself to the service of his Lady, the Virgin. His spirit was tormented (as Luther’s had been earlier) by a profound sense of his own sin. He was not at peace. He found peace in the grace of God eventually. From then on he devoted himself to the service of the the [Catholic] church and its mission. In 1534, he and his followers returned to Montserrat and made solemn vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience to the pope. Pope Paul III gave his approval to this new order, the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). The Jesuits came to be one of the main instruments of the Catholic offensive against Protestants. Soon, hundreds of Jesuits were missionaries in the Far East and the New World. This was the era of the reformation of the Catholic church, the Jesuits were foremost among the orders that hoped to respond to the new times with new solutions. Francis Xavier was the sole Jesuit missionary sent to the Orient by King Joao III of Portugal. In 1542, Xavier arrived in Goa (India) where he was disgusted by the Portuguese actions there. Xavier walked through the streets, ringing a bell, inviting children to church, where he taught them the catechism and moral church teachings. The adults soon followed. Most of Xavier’s converts in India belonged to the lower castes. In 1549 Xavier sailed for Japan, he was well received and built a flourishing church. However, after his death, persecution broke out and his church would almost disappear. In 1552, he sailed for China, but the Chinese government refused him entry. Xavier died on an island at the fringes of the Chinese empire. Roberto do Nobili, a Jesuit who followed after Xavier, dressed as a Brahman in India and assimilated with the culture and then converted them, and set apart separate churches for the converts. Matteo Ricci followed a similar policy in China, who learned its culture and language. Ricci came to be respected by the Chinese, and he settled in Chaochin. He was the “wise man from the west.” In 1601, Ricci was invited to the imperial court in Beijing, where he built a great observatory, and remained until his death in 1615. He never built a chapel or church in China for fear of expulsion from China. Ricci held meetings in his home and had a small number of converts, who converted others through the years, eventually leading to a substantial number of Christians in China. The Jesuits supported intolerant policies that led to the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). Some were slave owners in the New World. But some, like Pedro Claver, in Cartagena, Colombia, advocated, served and protected black slaves. And around 1537, in Paraguay, they were the order that knew the language and customs of the Indians and organized villages (under authority of the missionary) for them in remote areas away from European contact, and the Jesuits prevented the Indians from becoming slaves. The Jesuits themselves became targets of attack by Portuguese invaders in Paraguay, and so the Jesuits armed the Indians for self-protection reasons. By 1731, there were 140,000 Indians living in these village missions. In 1767, the Jesuits were ordered to leave Spanish colonies and they left Paraguay in peace. In 1548, King Manoel of Portugal sent Jesuit missionaries to help set up the Portuguese colonies in Brazil. They founded missions very similar to the ones they founded in Paraguay, but they built them in locations that the Indians could serve on the plantations, which amounted to slavery. But as the Jesuits came to be better established in Brazil they turned a critical eye to the abuses of the colonizers– Antonio Vieira (1608-1697) was known as a defender of the Jews in Portugal, and then became a defender of the Indians in Brazil. The Jesuits were the first to settle the eastern shore of the Gulf of California. The Dominicans in the New World took the lead in the defense of the indigenous Indians and in the 18th century that defense was one of the factors that led to the suppression of the Jesuits. In 1759 the Jesuits were expelled from Portugal and its colonies. In France, the order was suppressed in 1764. In 1767, Charles III of Spain expelled them from Spain and its colonies. King Ferdinand IV expelled them from Naples. In 1773, Pope Clement XIV ordered the order’s dissolution.

Lutheranism

  • Luther never formulated his thoughts into a systemic type of theology (it was Calvin who did that with Lutheran thought). Melancthon was Luther’s collaborator but they had differences. Luther rejected Aristotelian thought and was more Platonic in his thinking.

Magisterial Reformation

  • Luther said let the ruler decide the religion of the territory. Who ruled? The magistrate. The magisterial reformation would be Luther’s and Calvin’s reformation (not the Anabaptists who believed in the separation of church and state.)

Melancthon

  • Was a main collaborator of Luther, but differed in opinion on some points. Had a love of peace. He rejected Luther’s “dirty reason.” He affirmed the doctrine of predestination and salvation by grace, but he also believed that salvation also expressed itself in works.

Mendicants

  • Monastic movements in Medieval Europe that questioned the mores of the growing cities, trade and monetary economy and responded to the needs of a population on the move. The monastics that did so were called ‘mendicants’– those who lived by begging. Mendicant movements were Franciscan and Dominican monks. Dominicans were originally known as the ‘Order of Preachers.’ Dominicans main objectives: preaching, teaching, study and poverty. Famous Dominicans: Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas.

Mennonites

  • Came out of the Anabaptist movement of the Reformation. Named after Menno Simons, a Dutch Catholic priest who reconsidered his faith, left the Catholic priesthood and embraced Anabaptism. “Foundations of the Christian Doctrine,” published in 1539, was his most influential treatise. His beliefs– pacifism was an essential part of true Christianity, Christians should not offer oaths or hold positions requiring them, people should obey civil authorities as long as doing so was not contrary to scripture, baptism should be administered only to adults who express their faith publicly, and practiced footwashing. By the 20th century, Mennonites were the main branch of the old Anabaptist movement of the 16th century.

Methodism

  • John Wesley (1703 – 1791 CE), the founder of methodism combined the religious zeal of the Moravians with the social activism that had long characterized the Reformed tradition. At Oxford he joined a religious society founded by his brother Charles. The society made a covenant to lead a holy and sober life, to take communion once a week, to be faithful to their private devotions, to visit the prisons regularly, and to spend three hours every afternoon studying the bible and books of devotion. Other students mocked them as a “holy club” because of their methodical style of life– “methodists.” John Wesley soon became leader of the group. After an experience where he no longer doubted his saving faith he could devote all his concern to the salvation of others. He is converted by Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans, Calvinist doctrine (preferring the Arminian position, that says we have a role in our predestined salvation– free will, a response to the hyper Calvinist of Calvin’s followers, the Synod of Dort reinforced the hyper Calvinist position, see T.U.L.I.P.) and Moravian spirituality, and Reformed social activism. George Whitfield, a former “holy club member, becomes a famous preacher and leads the Great Awakening in the Americas. Wesley and Whitfield worked together for a while and then split over the matter of predestination. Whitfield organized the Calvinist Methodist Church (strongest in Wales). Welsey stated, “The world is my parish,” and “I felt my heart strangely warmed.” (This means that the core of methodism is pietism, a personal experience of conversion and salvation.) He fully believed that communion is central to the church, but he preaches all the time (preaching central, like Calvin). Wesley was an Anglican priest and wished to remain so. Because Wesley needed lay preachers, many women become preachers (but not priests able to serve communion). A difficult legal decision came to matters difficult– they had to register their church buildings, but couldn’t register as Anglicans, and therefore a separate church began to emerge. Finally, in 1784, he ordained two preachers to serve in the New World, and also later in Scotland. His brother told him that John ordaining preachers, that was already a break with the Church of England, even though Wesley didn’t want to break. New industrial cities in England, and westward expansion in the Americas, opened up areas that needed preachers and his preachers expanded. The people in the Americas became the Methodist Episcopal Church. The American Methodist church has bishops, and the English Methodists do not (they have superintendents).

Monophysites

  • In opposition to Nestorians (distinction of the divine and human in Christ– two natures and two persons), Monophysites believed in the unified and singular divine & human nature of Christ– from the Greek ‘monos’ (one) and ‘physis’ (nature).
  • The Coptic Church of Egypt.
  • The Church of Ethiopia.
  • The ancient Syrian Monophysite Church, also known as Jacobite.
  • The Syrian Church in India.
  • The Armenian Church.

Nestorius / Nestorians

  • Nestorius, a representative of the Antiochene school of thought, patriarch of Constantinople from 428 CE. Declared that Mary should not be called “theotokos” (“bearer of God”) but instead called “Christotokos” (“bearer of Christ”). The question was not what honors were due Mary, but how to speak of the birth of Jesus. Nestorius declared that in Jesus there were “two natures and two persons”– one divine and one human.

Quietism

  • Molinas advocated total passivity before God. Contemplation of the divine and ignore even your neighbor. Total immersion and lostness in the spiritual, until the material world disappears and is unimportant.

Pietism

  • Philip Jakob Spener (1635 – 1705 CE)– rightly called the father of Pietism. Also, August Hermann Francke, Spener’s greatest follower. He founded groups of Bible study and devotion that he called “colleges of piety.” He suggested there be less emphasis on the differences between laity and clergy, more on the common responsibility of all Christians. Preaching was to be to call believers to be obedient to the Word of God. Spener did not deviate from Lutheran doctrine, he just felt dogma should be rid of and return to Scripture, spirit of devotion and piety. Spener agrees with Calvin but remained Lutheran. The Pietists insisted on contrast between what society expects of people and what God requires of the faithful– taking discipleship seriously. Pietism also gained adherents among the German Reformed– the outstanding figure of Reformed Pietism was F. A. Lampe (1683 – 1729 CE). The most significant contribution of Pietism to the story of Christianity was the birth of the Protestant missions. In 1707, the king of Denmark, and admirer of the Pietists, decided to send missionaries to his colonies in India, later in Lapland and Greenland.
  • Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf (Spener’s godson) and the Moravians– his interest in missions would last his lifetime. A movement that began with 200 Moravian refugees, within 20 years, had more missionaries in the field than the whole of the Protestant movement in two centuries. The Moravian church began as Lutheran but in the end his followers broke with Lutheranism.

Protestantism in Europe in the 20th century

  • Protestantism had convinced itself in the first half of the century that its colonial ventures were a vast altruistic enterprise for the good of the world. Protestantism had been immersed in this illusion more than the Catholic church which had condemned modernization. With the two World Wars, Protestant liberalism was shaken to its foundation. There was an increased skepticism and secularism that emerged. Europe, formerly the center of Christendom, began moving beyond Christendom. This is a move into post-modernity. Modernity was objectivity and universal truth, and that we had a hold on that, and that those are easily utilized in colonialism. Protestantism had no answer to events in the early part of the century. Liberalism, with its optimistic view of human nature and capabilities, had no word for the situation.  (see page 457 onward in The Story of Christianity.)
  • 1933 CE – Vatican and the Third Reich sign a concordant.
  • Hitler’s program included the unification of all Protestant churches in Germany, and then using them to preach a message of German racial superiority.
  • See John Nelson’s Timeline: Bonhoeffer, Germany and World War II.
  • 1934 CE – Several professors of theology, including Barth and Bultmann, signed a protest against the directions the united church was taking them. They called a ‘witnessing synod’ and issued the ‘Barmen Declaration’ (one of the confessions in the PCUSA Book of Confessions). Dr. Martin Niemöller, a pastor in Berlin was arrested and imprisoned for eight years.
  • 1906 – 1945 CE – Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Opens an underground seminary in 1935. In 1937, he published ‘The Cost of Discipleship’, in 1939 he published ‘Life Together’ which is reflections on life together at the underground seminary. The seminary was disbanded by the order of the Reich and Gestapo. In 1938, he was forbidden to live in Berlin. He then joins a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. He was arrested by the Gestapo in April 1943. Bonhoeffer spoke of a ‘religionless Christianity’. On April 9th, 1945, he was hanged, a few days before the Allies reached the prison that he had been imprisoned in.

Russian Church (see also Eastern Orthodox)

  • In 1453, when Constantinople fell to the Turks, Russians saw Moscow as the “third Rome” (first Rome, second Constantinople, third Moscow).
  • 1547 CE, Ivan IV takes the title of “czar” or emperor, by which he meant that he was the successor of the ancient caesars of Rome and Constantinople.
  • 1598 CE, Moscow takes the title of patriarch.
  • 1645 – 1676 CE, Czar Alexis I Mikhailovich encourages Patriarch Nikon to revise the liturgy to bring it in line with Greek practices.
  • 1689 – 1725 CE, Czar Peter the Great opens his country to western influences, leading to increased interest in Catholic and Protestant theology. They sought to develop an Orthodox theology using Catholic or Protestant methodologies. The Kievan School (Peter Moglia) associated with Catholic tendencies. Theophanes Prokopovick with Protestant tendencies.
  • 1804 – 1860 CE, Alexis Khomiakov, the Slavophile movement, places greater influence on the traditionally Russian, that true understanding of catholicity (sobornost) is a perfect synthesis of the Catholic authority of the church and the Protestant freedom of the gospel.
  • 1918 CE, the church is officially separated from the state (after the Russian Revolution and the rise of Marxism).
  • 1918 CE, all seminaries are closed in Russia.
  • 1920 CE, religious teaching is schools is outlawed.
  • 1936 CE, the separation of church and state is ratified by the constitution. It guarantees, “freedom for religious worship” and “freedom for anti-religious propaganda.”
  • 1943 CE, partly as a result of World War II, when the government needed as much support as it could get, the government recognized the continued existence of the church. Seminaries were reopened.
  • Late 20th century, after almost 70 years of communist rule, the Orthodox church in Russia was still some 60 million strong.
  • Orthodox Churches in Japan, China and Korea were the work of Russian missionaries.
  • The fall of the Soviet Union, and Mikhail Gorbachev’s ‘perestroika’ gives the church greater freedoms. 1989 CE alone, more than 1000 new Orthodox communities emerge. A seminary opened in Siberia and one in Belarus (White Russia). Several monasteries that has been closed by the government re-opened.
  • 1993 CE, the Orthodox University in Moscow was founded.
  • New freedoms brought new tensions, with uniate bodies claiming properties that they had lost to official Orthodoxy. Violence breaks out in the Ukraine, in Yugoslavia, there is a schism caused by the the recognition of the Estonian Orthodox Apostolic Church, in Albania new restrictions emerged from their new leaders.

Shakers

  • Mother Ann Lee claimed that she was the second coming Christ. Believed that sex was the root of all evil, believed in complete celibacy. The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, more commonly known as the Shakers, is a millenarian restorationist Christian sect founded in the 18th century in England. They were initially known as “Shaking Quakers” because of their ecstatic behavior during worship services. They practice a celibate and communal lifestyle, pacifism, and their model of equality of the sexes, which they institutionalized in their society in the 1780s. They are also known for their simple living, architecture, and furniture.

Spiritualism

  • Jakob Boehme (1575 – 1624 CE), German– did not found any church because he didn’t feel led to, but his writings are continue to be subject to various interpretations. He felt led by God to record his visions. The result was the book “Brilliant Dawn.” He exalted the freedom of the spirit, the inner life, and direct and individual revelation. He declared that believers ought not to be guided by Scripture, but by the Holy Spirit, who inspired biblical writers.
  • George Fox (1624 – 1691 CE), English– Founder of the Quakers. Fox and his followers believed that any structure in worship could be an obstacle to the work of the Spirit. He believed that we’re all born with the “inner light” and what we must follow in order to find God. Those that saw their religious enthusiasm would cause them to shake, therefore called these people “Quakers.” The Quakers did not include baptism and communion in their services. Fox underscored the importance of community and love (so that the nature of their services would not lead to excessive individualism). They denied the Calvinist belief in people’s total depravity, because it would be a denial of the love of God and of the experience of those that love God. Quakers came to be known for their staunch, unshakable convictions. Probably the most famous Quaker would be William Penn who founded Philadelphia (the city of fraternal love) and Pennsylvania, where complete religious freedom could be found.
  • Emanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772 CE), Swedish– his disciples founded the Church of New Jerusalem in 1784 (after Swedenborg’s death). According to Swedenborg, all that exists is a reflection of the attributes of God, and therefore the visible world “corresponds” with the invisible one. The same is true of Scripture, which reflects truths that can only be known by those who have entered the spiritual world. In the nineteenth century, the Swedenborg Society was founded. There are still some Swedenborgian churches today.

Tertullian

  • In Christ there were two natures united in one person.

Transition Movement

  • The Transition Movement is a 21st century movement and comprised of vibrant, grassroots community initiatives that seek to build community resilience in the face of such challenges as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis.

Transubstantiation

  • Christ in communion. The controversy begin in the Carolingian period (800-888 CE) under the rule of Charlemagne. A treatise “On the body and blood of the Lord” written by Paschasius Radbertus, a monk of Corbie, began the debate. Radbertus declared that when the bread and the wine are consecrated they are transformed into the body and blood of the Lord. Shortly thereafter some began to speak of a “change in substance” in the elements. Finally in the thirteenth century the Fourth Lateran Council (1215) proclaimed the doctrine of transubstantiation.

Unitarianism

  • Rejected the doctrine of the Trinity, rationalists, stressing human freedom and intellectual capabilities in contrast to the orthodox emphasis on divine mystery. The movement became most influential among the merchant class in New England.

Universalism

  • The doctrine that in the end all will be saved. Introduced to the American Colonies by British Methodists shortly before the push for independence.

Watershed Discipleship

  • An expression of both resistance and renewal:
    • It recognizes that we are in a watershed historical moment of crisis, which demands that environmental and social justice and sustainability be integral to everything we do as Christians and citizen inhabitants of specific places.
    • It acknowledges the bioregional locus of an incarnational following of Jesus: our individual discipleship and the life and witness of the local church take place inescapably in a watershed context
    • Implies that we need to be disciples of our watersheds.
      • From “Watershed Discipleship” edited by Ched Myers.

 

Fascism

  • Fascism arose in Europe, its exact form varied from country to country. Typically characterized by:
    • chauvinistic nationalism, expansionistic tendencies, anti-communism, ruthless repression of all groups presumed dissident, a mass party with a charismatic leader who typically rose to power through legitimate elections.
  • Benito Mussolini– fascism first gained a foothold in Italy under Mussolini. By the 1920s he was using his rhetorical powers to whip up popular support for his policies of nationalism, anti-socialism and government control of industry. The National Fascist Party (PFI) was founded by Mussolini in 1921. He created a cult of himself as”Il Duce” (the leader). He promised to deal with the threat of revolutionary socialism which won the support of the lower middle classes (in 1917 CE there had been the Russian and Chinese Revolutions). Landowners and industrialists gave large amounts of money to the fascist movement because they battered peasant and labour organizations into submission. Mussolini’s, then Prime Minister, “March on Rome” in 1922 signaled a new era. Mussolini wanted to revive national pride and create an Italian empire.
  • Hitler/Germany – Hitler’s rise to power can be seen partly as the result of the harshness towards the Weimar Republic, which really tightened an economic noose around the Republic’s neck. Hitler’s party was National Socialist German Worker’s Party (the “Nazis” which is an abbreviation for “Na” from National and “Zi” from Sozialist). Only the Nazi dictatorship represented the full expression of the fascist ideology– aggressive expansionism, racism, nationalistic and militaristic ideology. The “Final Solution”– Hitler believed in the superiority of the Aryan race, and killed and persecuted Jews, Christians, homosexuals, and others. Hitler’s first phase of his economic plan was to reduce the level of unemployment.
  • Spain– during the Spanish Civil War (1936-9) Spain became a battleground for fascist Germany and Italy (who backed the Nationalists) and the communist Soviet Union (which backed the Republicans).
  • Right-wing dictatorial regimes– were established across Europe and the Iberian peninsula during the 1920s and 1930s. Horthy in Hungary, King Carol of Romania, Hitler, Mussolini, General Franco (influenced/watered down the fascism of the Falangists).

 

Modernity (the effects of), 18th century and onward

  • For many centuries people trusted the tried and true traditions and beliefs. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution people began to look to technology as the solutions to society’s problems. People began to look to the future instead of the past as what to put their trust in. This had a lot of effect on religion and theology. Whereas Protestantism began to connect to modernity, and Catholicism tried to hang onto the traditions and theology, looking back to Thomas Aquinas. Protestantism the individual and individualism rises to the surface. With the advances in transport the movement of peoples became more easily possible and the larger family structure began to breakdown– aunts, uncles, cousins, etc became separated from the core family unit. With the rise of Darwin’s thinking also helped in the shift to believing in the survival of the fittest and social Darwinism. It did lead to higher living standards for many. There still was not a middle class developed (which really occurred after WWII in America). People began to look at history and theology differently– that if humankind and society was progressing then naturally we must also be progressing in the fields of theology and history.
  • The Myth of Progress:
    • 1. Technology and the Industrial Revolution
      • innovations and gadgets, higher living standards– is it really an improvement of the past?
    • 2. Darwin & Evolution
      • Ecological discovery, life is involving, competition, the strong survive– how much better would a mature, deep-rooted, be mature– a lot!
      • Leads to social darwinism and that some cultures are more advanced than others– a fallacy.
      • Capitalism is dependent on competition.
    • 3. The French Revolution and Democracy (“Freedom”)
      • The Revolution was seen as a moment where we move beyond the superstitious past, the absolute ruling of the kings, etc. It was definitely an improvement of some of the tyrannical ruling that was going on.
    • 4. Now the new ruling thinking is the rule of economics, the importance of constant growth of the economy, and ignore the effects on society and social structure.
    • Marx and Hegel were also, along with Darwin, instrumental in humankind’s belief that we are progressing towards the perfect society.

 

United Nations Peacekeeping since 1945 CE

  • First purpose of the UN enunciated in the UN Charter: maintain international peace and security.
  • “Peacekeeping” emerged as an improvised response at the inability to create a UN security force dedicated to keeping peace, to developing international crises in particular the 1948 crisis in Palestine. The term is used to describe efforts made by the United Nations to defuse civil and regional conflicts.