Full Text for Church History 3 - Volume 5 - The Seventeenth, Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (Video)

ROUGHLY EDITED COPY CH3-005 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. ***** >> PAUL: Already in the church history course which precedes this one, we began to see the many changes that the Reformation caused within Christianity in the 16th century. But I'd appreciate hearing more about what happened in subsequent centuries. How did the church developed in Europe during this time? How was the influence of the Reformation felt during the 1600's, the 1700's, and 1800�s? Were there any similarities between the experiences of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches? >> SPEAKER: Paul, you've hit on something very important here, and that is that all of the churches, all of the Western European society, faced tremendous changes over the course of the 16, 17, and 1800's. We've already seen that was the case philosophically with rationalism and the Enlightenment. Also within the church proper, we've seen movements like orthodoxy and Pietism that have affected the way the church lived out its life in the world. But also there were significant political changes that affected much of Western Europe. Reaching back into the Reformation period, England had undergone terrific changes as it broke free from the domination of the papacy under Henry VIII. Within the English church, significant changes occurred again and again including something of an irresolute will as to what the English church actually would be. After Henry's death, we see them make a move toward the Reformed tradition. In the mid 1550�s, Mary Tudor, or Bloody Mary as she was known, pushed the church back toward Roman Catholicism. She was succeeded by Elizabeth who then took the Anglican Communion into more of a middle road, and within that context, Anglicanism became a force to be reckoned with particularly on the colonial scene in the late 1500's and especially during the 16 and 1700's. But also as it grappled with its own problems, things like Anglicanism and Puritanism. Puritanism within the English church is something we'll speak about at some length later on in the course. Within the Lutheran Church, questions of the political ramifications of the Reformation were very much at the forefront. Luther himself appointed what were called *(German) or emergency bishops in the hope that during the extremely dynamic time of the Reformation period, that these men could lend a certain stability to the church as it made the transition from Romanism to Lutheranism. Later on it was hoped that these princes, these bishops, these secular bishops, I guess we'd call them, would relinquish some of their power back to the church, but it didn't play out that way. So that in many areas of Germany where Lutheranism dominated into the 16 and 1700's and even the 1800's, still the state had a dominant role in the life of the church and the development of the so-called consistory in which the church was a department of the state would have a tremendous impact on the growth and the life of Lutheranism in Germany. Within the other traditions, there were changes as well. And here we begin to see the impact of Reformation thought. In Roman Catholicism, already in the 1600's, changes began to occur. For example, in France a movement called Gallicanism. Gallicanism emphasized the independence of France, the integrity of the nation of France and of the church within that nation. That is to say, the church saw itself as independent, if you will, of outside authority. The church was answerable specifically to the king, and the church was answerable within the context merely of France. There was a resistance to outside authority, specifically the Italian papacy. And in this respect you can begin to see some of the impact of the Reformation as it emphasized the necessity of the local church governing local affairs. Now, obviously, this is when the context of the national church, and there's a strong state force that governs much of the church�s behavior. Nevertheless, what you begin to see in France in the 1600's is a break away from papal authority and a move towards a more independent church albeit one answerable to the secular authority. Similar things happened in Roman Catholic portions of Germany. There we see Febronianism come out in which the church argues that it is not answerable to the papacy per se, but that the arguments, the actions, and the decrease of the church must be adopted by the local church before they become effective. In other words, the ecumenical church, the broader Roman church, could not simply decree that the church in Germany follow a certain path. Rather, the German church itself had to approve of the manner in which it would live out its life until a local synod approved a papal or conciliar decree that would not be normative for the church�s life in Germany. Again, a modicum of independence, not autonomy yet where these folks were cut off from other external forces, but the insistence that the local church had the authority to establish these things for itself. Finally, in addition to Febronianism in Germany, Gallicanism in France, you have Josephism in Austria. And Josephism simply reflects these other movements. Later in the 1700's Joseph of Austria simply said that it was the government's responsibility to care for the life of the church. It was the government's responsibility to establish who would hold office as bishop and who would not. It was the government's responsibility to regulate the worship life of the church, not the papacy's responsibility off in Italy. In all three of these cases, you see a respect for the church's tradition while at the same time, a movement away from the centralized authority of one Roman Catholic pope calling all the shots for all the church. In that respect, some of the emphases of Luther are heard. There's an echo, if you will, of Luther's emphasis on the necessity of the church taking responsibility for itself. It hadn't completely cut itself free at this point, but it had established the principle. All of these movements, Febronianism in Germany, Gallicanism in France, Josephism in Austria all fall under a broader rubric, a larger umbrella, and the term there is Erastianism. And Erastianism simply says that the state is omnicompetent to control all aspects of a nation's life including its religious life. That large claim of omnicompetence would quickly be challenged, and as things moved into the 1700's, we see increasingly the evidence of revolution. The clearest example, obviously, the revolution in France breaking out in 1789 where the monarchy is overthrown. Also in France, we see the demise of the church only recovering later in the 1800's. But as things push into the 1800's, there is a greater and greater insistence on the part of the churches that they be truly free. Within German Lutheranism this especially plays itself out in the years 1817 and following. In Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm III enacted what was called the Union in 1817. This was an enforced union of Protestants and Lutherans, Reformed and Lutherans. And the idea was to break down the old divisive barriers of confession and to allow for intercommunion between adherents of the various traditions. What it did, in fact, was create a third church. That is to say where Friedrich Wilhelm saw all Protestants coming together in Prussia into one evangelical church, what happened was you had many who remained confessionally Lutheran, some who remained confessionally Reformed, and many who now also were considered evangelical. His forced enaction of union between the two groups actually created a third church. It was simply unworkable, and as he passed from the scene in 1840 and was succeeded by Friedrich Wilhelm IV, Friedrich Wilhelm IV recognized that free and independent churches simply had to be allowed to exist. From that point forward, there have been the self-standing churches of Germany, specifically in this case, in Prussia. And one might say at that point, one sees within Germany specifically, though this did happen elsewhere, one sees specifically within Germany the fruition of Luther's notion of the church functioning as church without the necessary interference, shall we say, of the secular authority. That is, not opposed to the secular authority, but the church operating freely within the realm that God has given to it, namely the proclamation of the gospel. That's a lot of history of within a short period of time. That is to say, some significant changes occurred in perspective, but many of these can be traced, at least in their incipient form, to Luther�s reforms in the early 1500's. By the early 1800's, and certainly by the latter part of the 1800's, these had become reality, and the church had moved significantly to a different posture within the political realm. ***** 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. *****