Full Text for Church History 3 - Volume 2 - The Thirty Years' War (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CH3-002 PROFESSOR LAWRENCE REST PROFESSOR WILL SCHUMACHER Captioning Provided By: Caption First, Inc. P.O. Box 1924 Lombard, IL 60148 800-825-5234 ***** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. ***** >> DAVID: Hello, Professors. I'm David. I've read about the 30 Years' War and know that it�s closely tied to the changes brought by Luther's reformation. But I'd like to hear you provide us with some more information about it. When did the 30 Years' War occur? How did it affect the Lutheran Church especially? And how are we to understand the role that religion played in that war as contrasted to political factors? >> SPEAKER: David, you're right. You've brought all of these things together so it's a very good question in terms of all of the factors that come together into causing a war. We can never isolate religion from politics from economics and the like. All of these things come together and actually influence one another. But in the 30 Years' War, in this particular case, religion especially, confession especially, seems to play a very prominent role. Its background goes back a little bit to the early part of the 1600's when Lutherans and the Reformed began to organize themselves to resist the threat of Roman Catholicism. Even though this was an illegal perhaps and improper thing to do, you might say, the Lutherans and the Reformed actually began to prepare themselves for what they believed was the imminent onslaught of Roman Catholicism and the determination of the Roman Catholic Church to retake German lands that had been lost during Luther's reformation and beyond. As a result of these beginnings, tension began to be very, very evident between Roman Catholicism and the Protestant movement generally by the late part of the 16 teens until finally, in 1618, confrontation occurred. And in an event called the Defenestration of Prague, one of my favorite events simply because of the title, hostilities broke out in a profound way. Simply what happened in this event was Protestants became concerned, overwrought, and finally tossed several Roman Catholics out of windows in the city of Prague. Though the men who were defenestrated, that is, thrown out the window, were not killed, nevertheless, antagonism broke out, and the result was one of the most devastating wars in German history. From 1618 to 1648, the 30 Years' War devastated Germany. In fact, in some parts of the country, fully 70 percent of the population was killed including women and children. It was a horrible war. In fact, as the first part of the war played out, the sheer strength, militarily, of the Roman Catholic Church threatened to overcome the Lutheran Church. Protestantism found itself on the verge of utter collapse. The German Lutherans, along with the German Reformed, simply didn't have the means to resist the full might of the Roman Catholic armies. At this point, however, out of the north, came Gustavus Adolphus, the Swedish king. And the Lion of the North came into the situation and in many ways literally saved the Lutheran Church from destruction. Though he himself gave his life at the Battle of Lutzen in 1632, Adolphus�s armies were determined to carry forward the work that had been done. 1632, then, was a key turning point in the war, and from that point forward, the combined efforts of the Protestants gave greater and greater results in terms of resisting the ultimate collapse of the Lutheran and Protestant causes. As things played out, by 1648, all of the participants had simply worn themselves out, you might say. In fact, the overall population was so exhausted by this horrific experience, that finally, all parties worked together to achieve peace. In 1648, a series of treaties, collectively referred to as the Peace of Westphalia, was signed, and as these came to fruition, peace was restored to the land. Interestingly enough, however, a change of attitude began to occur. And the attitude that began to show itself popularly in Germany was simply this: If the cause of this particular war has been the confessions of the church, if this in other words has been a war of religion, perhaps it's the fault of religion and the hair splitting kind of work that so many theologians had done that actually led to it, perhaps there is a way as Christians can find a way to get along with one another, to work together, to respect our differences, and to move forward, on that basis, rather than killing and slaughtering one another for our differences of opinion. This is the beginning of the modern period, the notion that we can live together in peace while at the same time differing fundamentally from one another in terms of our religious convictions. It is, if you will, the establishment of the principal of diversity. Later on, this notion would give rise to the idea of pluralism, but that was some way off. Diversity said, I can hold to my truth. I will be established in that, but I will respect your rights as well. However, the way this played out was in the adoption of a very interesting kind of phrase. It's a Latin phrase. I�ll say it, and then I'll translate it. The phrase was: *qui es regio eus religio. It simply means: His region, his religion. That is to say, the religion of the areas of Germany, of the independent political units that comprised Germany as a whole, the religion of those units was established on the basis of the ruler�s religion. So in the wake of the 30 Years' War, after the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, the idea was if you had a Lutheran ruler for an area, that area was entirely Lutheran. If you had a Roman Catholic ruler for an area, that area was entirely Roman Catholic. If you had a Reformed ruler for an area, that area was entirely Reformed. That was the establishment of diversity, discreet, independent regions believing as they saw fit. That perspective sufficed for the time, but as time rolled gone, things began to change and folks began to say, is it really necessary that I hold to the convictions of my ruler. Should I not, as an individual, have the opportunity to believe as I see fit regardless of what the ruler may believe. As that idea permeated German society, Western European society generally, that became the basis for an emerging pluralism. Now, it took some time for that to play out, David. But it did in time. And you can see, I think, from this the roots of what we experienced here in the United States in the 21st century. We'll see how we connect those dots as this course moves on. ***** This text is being provided in a rough draft format. Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART) is provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings. *****