Church History 1179-1517


1179    Third Lateran Council

·         Rome Council III

·         12th Church Council

·         To enforce Ecclesiastical discipline

·         Declared all usury (regardless of interest rate) forbidden.  (Thus the Christian was not required to repay debts to the Jews.

·         2 Waldenses appeared to seek approval.  They gave the pope a translation of their Bible for approval.  The council mocked them and called them simple.  When asked if they believed in the persons of the Trinity the Waldenses said “Yes.”  When asked if they believed “in the Mother of Christ.”  They also said “Yes.”  The whole committee burst out laughing at the ignorance because it was not proper to believe “in” Mary but to believe “on” her.  The Waldenses were excommunicated.


1189    Third Crusade

  • Was a failure.
  • Emperor Frederick accidently drowned on the way to Palestine
  • Philip Augustus went home after a quarrel with Richard  of England.
  • Richard continued to fight but was unsuccessful in recaptureing Jerusalem but did get pilgrims access to Jerusalem.


1212    The Children’s Crusade

  • Children from France and Germany led by two boys not yet in their teens named Stephen and Nicholas
  • They marched across southern Europe to Italy
  • The logic was the purity of their lives would bring more success than their parents had due to the sinful condition of the adults.
  • Many perished and the rest were sold as slaves into Egypt


1215    Fourth Crusade

  • An attempt to capture Egypt as a base to attack Jerusalem.


1189-1216       Innocent III

·         Pope unanimously elected while still a deacon

·         Strengthened his political power with every opportunity

·         Defeated King John of England who refused to accpt Innocent’s nomination of a church man.

·         He imposed an interdict (“to exclude from certain church offices, sacraments and privileges”) on England and threatened a crusade.

·         In 1213 England agreed to become the possession of the pope and pay an annual tribute.

·         The pope then ruled England for many years




1215    Fourth Lateran Council

·         Rome Council IV

·         13th Church Council

·         The bidding of Innocent III.  He dominated the council

·         Established the Inquisition

·         Formulated the doctrine of transubstantiation

·         The crusade of 1217 was scheduled


1216    Dominicans Founded

  • Received the papal sanction in 1216
  • They began with approval from scholars, princes and popes
  • Later they became idle,  insolent and ignorant
  • They were the salvation of Western Christianity in an era that had been overrun with Crusades and awful heresies.
  • They suppoied the universities and scholastic theology with some of the greatest minds.
  • The founder, Dominic, was has been called a bright light and an ecclesiastical statesman.  He was cold, systematic and a master disciplinarian.  Dominic’s life’s work was to strengthen the church.
  • The Franciscan Order was founded in 1223 and was identical to the Dominicans in purpose and historical development.  Their founder was Francis.  Francis was described as unpretentious, gentle with a great personality.  His life work was to move among the people saving the souls of men.  Contrary to Dominic who wanted to strengthen the church, Francis sought to carry the ministries of the Gospel to the masses.
  • Features and vows:
    • Absolute poverty
    • Devoted to practical activities in society
    • Lay brotherhoods which were men who continued their lives but  were bound by oath to practice the virtues of the Gospel.
    • Became teachers in the universities
    • The first monastic bodies to vow allegiance directly to the pope.  No bishop, abbot intervened between them.  They became the pope’s bodyguard and organized support.  They made it their job to preach the supremacy of the pope.


12        Thomas Aquinas


1245    Lyons Council I

  • 14th Church Council
  • Settle quarrel with the pope and the emperor
  • They prosecuted and deposed emperor Frederick II.


12        Dante


1274    Lyons Council II

  • 15th Church Council
  • Attempt to unite East and West.  The East was represented by an imposing delegation.
  • Attended by 500 bishops and 1,000 other ecclesiastical leaders.
  • Reaffirmed that the Spirit procedes from the Son.
  • Repeated the prohibition of the institution of new monastic orders


1311    Vienne Council

  • 16th Church Council
  • Suppress Templars
    • The Templars were the Knights of the Temple
    • Founded in 1119 to protect pilgrims and to defend the Holy Land from Muslims
    • The Templars had outlived their purpose
    • Beginning around 1307 the King and the Pope began to have these knights arrested including their grand master
    • The Inquisition was set into motion in 1308.  They were charged with false charges such as heresy, spitting upon the cross, worshipping an idol of Mohammed, along with sodomy, kissing the posterior parts and navel of fellow knights.  Also of meeting with the devil and female demons.  There were 127 total charges.
    • Under the strain of prolonged torture many of the knights assent to these charges and admitted dening Christ.
    • The king, the pope, the Dominican order, the University of Paris, and the French episcopacy was against them.
    • Many  renounced their confessions as they burned.
    • In Paris 36 died under torture, 54 died in one burning, 100’s died in prison.  This spread throughout Europe where the pope order trials in Germany, Italy, Spain, Cyprus, and England.  Papal inquisitors went into all these countries.
    • At the council of Vienne the majority were in favor of a new, fair trial but the king insisted that the order of the knights be abolished. 
    • This order of knights was abolished on March 22, 1312.


1300-1400       Mysticism

  • Mysticism is described as “the perception of God through experience.” 
  • Its advocates say such an experience is reached by humility and penance more than through the path of speculation. 
  • It is the contemplative life followed with action.
  • This contemplation is the knowledge of John 17:3, “This is life eternal, to know Thee and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”
  • One of the early mystics, John Gerson, helped balance out experience with truth and feelings with reality:

a)  As coins are tested for hardness, weight, color, shape and stamping, so visions are to be tested by the humility and honesty of those who profess to have them and their readiness to teach and be taught.

b)  He agreed with the monk’s teaching when asked to look at an image of Christ, “I do not want to see Christ on the earth.  I am contented to wait till I see him in heaven.”

c)  According to Job 33:14, “For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not,”  he developed the principle that if visions reveal what is already in the Scriptures, then they are false, for God does not repeat himself.  People have itching ears for revelations because they do not study the Bible. 

d)  Warned against the revelations of women, as women are more open to deception than men.

e)  He taught that the scriptures are the Church’s rule and guide to the end of the world.

  • It was the age of the decline of scholastic method, the scandals of Avignon court and the papal schism when mysticism began to develop.
  • It began in Germany and was widespread among the Dominicans.
  • The people North of the Alps began to draw attention to the value of the inner religious life and God’s immediate communications to the soul
  • They were called the fFriends of God, the Brothers of the Common Life.
  • The little books called the “German Theology” and “Imitation of Christ” were the finest of their works.
  • Their leading names were:

Meister Eckart, d. 1327          John Tauler, d. 1361                               Henry Suso, d. 1366                       John Ruysbroeck, d. 1381                     Gerrit Groote, d. 1384         Thomas a Kemis, d. 1471

  • They formed groups, but had no formal organization
  • They did no have universal expression but agreed on the pure heart and union with God.
  • It was a life of devotion, not outward, formal practice of religious rules.
  • It was an experience more than assent to intellectual tenets of faith.
  • The element of intuition has a large place
  • Mysticism had risen earlier in the middle ages and would appear again in the 1600’s as French quietism (Madame Guyon, Fenelon).
  • For example, Echart sought the loss of our being in the ocean of the Godhead.
  • Ruysbroeck sought the impact t of the divine nature upon our nature at its innermost point, kindling with divine love as fire kindles.
  • Tauler described it as the undisturbed peace of the soul.
  • Bernard expressed it as passionate and rapturous love for Jesus, but in the end he felt it was not possible to reach it in this world.
  • This was the antithesis  of the theology of the Schoolman.  Where Scholasticism had beaten a dusty highway for years, the mystics moved in the private, moist, shady pathways.
  • The German mysticism emphasized above all dogmas the necessity of the new birth.
  • Although church councils have not quoted from them the fruit of the German mystics was Luther, Melanchthon and the reformation
  • The dangers:

1-  In seeking to hear the voice of God in their hearts ran the huge risk of considering the conscious, cultural standards and imagination for revelation from God.

2-  It magnified individualism and their own emotions and desires without considering that everyone feels the same way


1324-1384       John Wyclif

  • The Morning Star of the Reformatioin
  • He was of Saxon blood and studied at Oxford.
  • He several appointments including one from the king
  • In 1366 he was one of the king’s chaplains
  • In 1374 Wyclif went for the king to negotiate peace with France and to meet with the pope’s agents on filling of ecclesiastical appointments in England.
  • ON his return to England he began to speak of religious reform.
  • He preached in Oxford and London against the pope’s secular sovereignty.
  • IN one of his tracts he calle dthe bishop of Rome “the anti-Christ, the proud, worldly priest of Rome, and the most cursed of clipers and cut-purses.” 
  • Wyclif said that the pope “has no more power in binding and loosing than any priest.”
  • In 1378 he was tried for heresy
  • He then began to write in English the Scriptures
  • He organized traveling preachers to take his message
  • He rejected transubstantiation, priestly absolution in the confessional and indulgences.
  • His followers were called ‘Lollards’ and were arrested
  • He suffered a stroke in 1382 that left him partially paralyzed
  • While saying mass in his church hes was struck again with paralysis and died two days later on Dec. 29, 1384.
  • Wyclif was said to have lit a fire that would never go out.



1305-1378       Popes at Avignon

  • The increase in the number of sects, nationalism, and the wider spread of money began the decline of the papacy
  • England and France were at odds with the pope.  The clash centered not on lands as in the past but on the accumulation of money. 
  • The church had to resort to demanding tithes from the churches or risk excommunication
  • In France King Philip the Fair levied taxes on the French clergy of one-half their annual income.
  •  In 1296 Pope Boniface threatened excommunication
  • Philip then forbid the exportation of gold to Rome
  • Pope Boniface countered by stating the most far-reaching claims ever made by medieval papacy.   He said that Christ, being both a king and a priest, had committed to Peter not one key but two, and not one sword but two – the temporal as well as the spiritual.  Peter had renounced for himself the actual use of the temporal sword, but had delegated it to kings to be employed under papal direction. 
  • 1303 some of Philip’s men captured the pope in his summer residence near Rome and tortured him until he died.
  • The papacy was then transferred from Rome to Avignon a little town in Southern France.  This city as to be the papal residence from 1305 until 1378. 
  • This was known as the Babylonian captivity



1378    Great Schism of Papacy

  • Other countries were rejecting the papacy as a French institution.
  • Pope Gregory XI went back to Rome but his cardinals refused to go with him and elected another pope in Avignon, Clement VII
  • Gregory XI was succeeded by Urban VI in Rome who then created a new college of cardinals.
  • There were now two popes and two sets of cardinals.
  • The conflict continued until both sets of cardinals were so disgusted that they met together with out either pope in 1409, calling their two popes “Benefictus” and ”Errorius” and deposed them both.
  • They elected a new pope


1380    Wyclif’s English Translation of the NT


1414-1418       Constance Council

  • 17th Church Council
  • Heal Papal schism
  • Burn Hus


1415    John Hus Burnt at stake

  • He began preaching to the people of Bohemia in their own language
  • He criticized Catholicism at first on a moral basis.
  • He upbraided the luxury and license of the bishops and pope and drew a graphic picture of Christ riding on a donkey and the pope on a stallion being kissed on his feet.
  • Hus movement restored the cup to the laity and not just to the priest
  • Students at the University of Prague burned the papal bull of indulgence and were executed.  Huss protested and was sent into retirement and wrote “On the Church”
  • At the Council of Constance the council proposed to examine Hus. 
  • Hus welcomed the suggestion and was guaranteed a safe journey there and back.
  • Upon arrival Hus was shocked by the blatant immorality of the priests.
  • Hus was imprisoned
  • Hus was accused of teaching the doctrines that he did not teach.
  • He was burned by the council and said while burning, “O Christ, thou son of the living God, have mercy upon me.  O thou, who wast born of the virgin Mary. . .”
  • Even the dirt around the stake was dug up and removed so there would be no relics.


1431-1449       Basel Council

  • 18th Church Council
  • Reform the Church


14        Turks Capture Constantinople


1456    Johan Gutenberg

  • Printing press invented
  • Prints first Bible


1478    Spanish Inquisition

  • In an attempt to rid the country of Spain of all heresy against the Catholic church.
  • Spain sacrificed Jews, Moors, and protestants.
  • No church organization has ever been more unrestricted than the Spanish Inquisition.
  • It was in agreement with the papal Inquisition established by Innocent III in its aim to eradicate heresy.  But it was under the direction of a tribunal appointed by the Spainish king and answerable to him.  They were completely independent of the bishops.
  • The first sitting of the tribunal in 1481 result in six men and woman being cremated alive.
  • It began with the Edict of Grace which gave heretics a period of 30-40 days to turn themselves in.
  • The priest were then placed under a vow to reveal these names. 
  • Then 750 of them in 1486 were to march through the streets with candles to the church where they were told 1/5 of their property would be taken and they could never hold public office.
  • By 1491, 298 people had been burned and 79 condemned to perpetual imprisonment.
  • 1490-1500, 75 were burnt alive and 26 dead were exhumed and cast into the flames.
  • In 1500 the entire population of a city was banished by inquisitor-general Deza.
  • The crimes of unorthodox faith could be refusal to eat pork on a single occasion, visiting a house where Moorish notions were taught, saying that the Virgin herself and not her image effected cures
  • People were tortured into confession and to get a conviction of someone else.
  • The water-cure: the victim was tightly bound and stretched upon a rack with the body on an incline and the head tilted back.  The jaws were opened and a linen cloth stuck down the victim’s throat.  Water from a quart jar trickle through it into his body until they held 7-8 jars.  Weights were attached to the feet and the body would be raised and lowered to increase the pain.
  • Whipping, Galley labor
  • By 1488 5,000 were in perpetual imprisonment.
  • The last case of an execution by the Spanish Inquisition was a schoolteacher on July 26, 1826.  He was accused of being a deist and substituting the words “Praise be to God. For “Ave Maria purissima.”  He died on the gibbet (gallows or forked stick)  repeating the words, “I die reconciled to God and to man.”


1512    Fifth Lateran Council

  • Rome Council V
  • 19th Church Council
  • Another Reform effort


1500-1600       Reformation


1517    Martin Luther and 95 Theses

  • Translates the Bible


15        John Calvin

  • Calvin’s “Institutes”


15        Melaanchthon


15        Zwingli


15        Cranmer


15        Swiss Reformation


1525    Anabaptists in Europe


15        King Henry VIII

  • Head of church of England


15        Loyola

  • “Spiritual Exercises”


15        Xavier


15        Renaissance

  • Michelangelo
  • Erasmus
  • Raphel


15        William Tyndale

  • Translates English New Testament


15        Inquisition Revived


1545    Council of Trent                                 

  • 20th Church Council
  • Lasted from 1545-1563
  • Counter Reformation


15        Foxes Book of Martyrs


15        Queen Elizabeth I

  • England’s Queen