As we move toward the Middle Ages, we look at the changes
that began to take place in the life and organization of the church.

PART 2: The World Captures the Church (up to AD 1500)

2.1. Changes in the Life and Organization of the Church

a) How the First Christians Worshipped

  1. Early Jewish influence: synagogues
  2. Paul's emphasis: 1Cor - AD 55

b) Early church government

Elders, deacons, apostles, prophets, teachers

c) Worship becomes more formal

  1. 1Clement (c.96 AD)
  2. Ignatius (c.115 AD)
  3. Correspondence between Pliny & Trajan (112 AD)
  4. Apology by Justin (AD 150)
  5. Origen (254 AD)

d) Development of ministry

  1. 1Clement - continues 2-fold ministry of bishops/deacons
    - Emphasis on authority: apostolic delegation
    - apostolic succession.
    - Leaders described as priests for first time.
  2. Ignatius
    - 3-fold ministry - bishop / presbyter / deacon
  3. Established pattern of 3-fold ministry

e) Magical view of Sacraments

  1. Eucharist – sacrifice; Minister – priest
    - "Medicine of immortality" (Ignatius);
    - see also Justin "Apology 1" + Sacramentary of Serapion
  2. Baptism – baptismal regeneration
    Infant baptism + baptism when dying

f) Conclusion

Established religion + nominal membership

For further discussion:
a) How did church services change over the first couple of hundred years of church history? How did the leadership style and structure of the church in this time period?

As the church began to change significantly in its life and organization, increasingly deviating from the church of the Bible, various protest movements began to emerge. In this lecture we consider two of them: Montanism and Monasticism.

2.2. Protests against the trends: Montanism

a) Trend toward liberalism

  • Some gnosticism: license because body = irrelevant
  • Division re: lapsed - Pope Callistus (217-222) = liberal; a trend into 3rd century

b) Trend toward establishmentarianism

  • Ecclesiasticism becomes Constantine's day

c) Protests (1) – Donatists

  • Does unworthiness of minister affect validity of his ministry?
    = challenge to sacramental theology

d) Protests (2) – Novatianism

  • Feud between Callistus & Hippolytus
  • Same issue: Novation declared himself Pope too

e) Protests (3) – Montanism

  • Montanus: enthusiastic young Christian; started as prophet AD172 in Asia Minor with 2 prophetesses (Prisca & Maximilla) becomes revival of prophecy / Pentecostalism (vs dead establishment).
  • Rediscovery of gifts; emphasis on return of Christ; zealous re: holiness becomes asceticism, fasting, no 2nd marriages, no forgiveness for deadly sin after baptism
  • Tertullian: most famous convert
  • Total emphasis on prophecy & ecstatic vision becomes no place for teaching; women prominent (bishops & priests); unwilling to regulate gifts.
  • Opposed by established church becomes excommunication
  • Fanatics more than heretics (orthodox but zealous) - but the established bishops were justified by the fact that Montanism went wrong:
  • Weird ideas: found a place in Phrygia which they renamed Jerusalem expecting Jesus' imminent return there
  • Maximilla prophesied: "After me there will be no prophecy, but the End."

2.3. Protests against the Trends: Monasticism

a) Introduction

b) Reasons for rise of Monasticism

c) Beginnings: asceticism

d) Hermits: began with solitary individuals

  • St Anthony
  • Simon Stylite

e) Monks: organized communities

  • St Pachomius
  • Basil the Great
  • St Benedict

f) The Religion of the Monks

g) Excesses

  • Celibacy

h) Conclusion

For further discussion:

a) Write out the definitions of these terms from the “Glossary of Terms”:
Donatists, Montanists, Novationists, Asceticism, Hermits, Monasticism

b) What were the distinctive features of these various groups? What was good and what was bad about what they believed and practiced?

Many have called the next period of history The Dark Ages. We shall consider some of the most significant people and movements: Augustine, Roman Empire, Papalism, Islam

2.4. The Dark Ages: Augustine, Roman Empire, Papalism, Islam

a) Introduction: fall of Rome - AD 410

  • Catastrophe as Barbarians destroyed; Romans left Britain to defend Rome - Jules/Angles/Saxons destroyed Christianity in Britain.
  • People thought this was end of civilization. A mystery to church - for Rome succeeded as a pagan Empire but fell as a Christian one.
  • Augustine thought this through ‡ conclusion: "It was the best thing that could have happened"

b) Life of Augustine

  • Early life
  • Conversion
  • Writings : Confessions & City of God
  • Conflict with Pelagius

c) History of Papacy

  • Up to Leo the Great (440-461)
  • To Gregory the Great (590-604)
  • To Charlemagne & Leo III (795-816)
  • History of False Decretals (up to end of 9th century)

d) Identification with Roman Empire

  • Misunderstanding of Augustine
  • Origin of Christendom

e) Islam

For further discussion:

a) Write out the definitions of these terms from the “Glossary of Terms”: Pelagianism; Semi-Pelagianism; Reformed Theology

b) What were the respective roles of the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperors?

c) What did Pelagius teach? How did Augustine refute these ideas?

The Middle Ages were characterized by terrible atrocities and some significant signs of hope. We look at the: Crusades, and the Inquisitions, and the indications of great changes ahead

2.5. The Middle Ages: Crusades, Inquisitions,
Beginnings of Change

a) The ascendancy of the Pope - Hildebrand

b) The Crusades

c) The Inquisition

d) Signs of life

  • Bernard of Clairveaux
  • St Francis of Assissi

  • Paulicans
  • Bogomils
  • Cathars
  • Waldensians
  • John Wycliffe
  • Jan Hus

e) The Renaissance

For further discussion:

a) Write out the definitions of these terms from the “Glossary of Terms”: Crusades; Inquisition; Waldensians; Eastern Orthodoxy; Lollards; Renaissance

b) What were the strengths and weaknesses of the various “Radical” movements considered in the lecture? What were the main convictions that motivated John Wycliffe?

Brian Watts is Pastor of The King's Community Church and lives in Langley with his wife Rosalind.
© 1994-2006 THE KING'S Community Church