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Produktart: Buch
Verlag: disserta Verlag
Erscheinungsdatum: 08.2017
AuflagenNr.: 1
Seiten: 668
Sprache: Englisch
Einband: Paperback


This voluminous work on Church History by Philip Schaff (1819-1893) was originally published between 1858 and 1893 in eight volumes in the USA and covers the period from the beginnings of Biblical Christianity in A.D. 1 to the History of the Reformation in Germany and Switzerland (1517-1648). Being still a popular text in North America, this work had been out of print for over a century and has now been carefully edited and reformatted for republication in four volumes, each of them containing the text of two volumes of the original edition. Schaff’s work, unlike other works in the field, covers a multitude of church history-related aspects - from church doctrine, policy, events and processes to aspects of social moral and family life, arts and more. This is the fourth and final volume in this series and is a special edition covering the period of the Reformation from 1517-1648 that ends with the Peace Treaty concluded 1648 in Münster, Westphalia, following the long period of the Thirty-Year War.


Textprobe: CHAPTER I: ORIENTATION: § 1. The Turning Point of Modern History: The Reformation of the sixteenth century is, next to the introduction of Christianity, the greatest event in history. It marks the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modern times. Starting from religion, it gave, directly or indirectly, a mighty impulse to every forward movement, and made Protestantism the chief propelling force in the history of modern civilization. The age of the Reformation bears a strong resemblance to the first century. Both are rich beyond any other period in great and good men, important facts, and permanent results. Both contain the ripe fruits of preceding, and the fruitful germs of succeeding ages. They are turning points in the history of mankind. They are felt in their effects to this day, and will be felt to the end of time. They refashioned the world from the innermost depths of the human soul in its contact, with the infinite Being. They were ushered in by a providential concurrence of events and tendencies of thought. The way for Christianity was prepared by Moses and the Prophets, the dispersion of the Jews, the conquests of Alexander the Great, the language and literature of Greece, the arms and laws of Rome, the decay of idolatry, the spread of skepticism, the aspirations after a new revelation, the hopes of a coming Messiah. The Reformation was preceded and necessitated by the corruptions of the papacy, the decline of monasticism and scholastic theology, the growth of mysticism, the revival of letters, the resurrection of the Greek and Roman classics, the invention of the printing press, the discovery of a new world, the publication of the Greek Testament, the general spirit of enquiry, the striving after national independence and personal freedom. In both centuries we hear the creative voice of the Almighty calling light out of darkness. The sixteenth century is the age of the renaissance in religion, literature, and art. The air was stirred by the spirit of progress and freedom. The snows of a long winter were fast, melting before the rays of the vernal sun. The world seemed to be renewing its youth old things were passing away, all things were becoming new. Pessimists and timid conservatives took alarm at the threatened overthrow of cherished notions and institutions, and were complaining, fault-finding and desponding. A very useless business. Intelligent observers of the signs of the times looked hopefully and cheerfully to the future. O century! exclaimed Ulrich von Hutten, the studies flourish, the spirits are awake, it is a luxury to live. And Luther wrote in 1522: If you read all the annals of the past, you will find no century like this since the birth of Christ. Such building and planting, such good living and dressing, such enterprise in commerce, such a stir in all the arts, has not been since Christ came into the world. And how numerous are the sharp and intelligent people who leave nothing hidden and unturned: even a boy of twenty years knows more nowadays than was known formerly by twenty doctors of divinity. The same may be said with even greater force of the nineteenth century, which is eminently an age of disco-very and invention, of enquiry and progress. And both then as now the enthusiasm for light and liberty takes two opposite directions, either towards skepticism and infidelity, or towards a revival of true religion from its primitive sources. But Christianity triumphed then, and will again regenerate the world. The Protestant Reformation assumed the helm of the liberal tendencies and movements of the renaissance, directed them into the channel of Christian life, and saved the world from a disastrous revolution. For the Reformation was neither a revolution nor a restoration, though including elements of both. It was negative and destructive towards error, positive and constructive towards truth it was conservative as well as progressive it built up new institutions in the place of those which it pulled down and for this reason and to this extent it has succeeded. Under the motherly care of the Latin Church, Europe had been Christianized and civilized, and united into a family of nations under the spiritual government of the Pope and the secular government of the Emperor, with one creed, one ritual, one discipline, and one sacred language. The state of heathenism and barbarism at the beginning of the sixth century contrasts with the state of Christian Europe at the beginning of the sixteenth century as midnight darkness compared with the dawn of the morning. But the sun of the day had not yet arisen. All honor to the Catholic Church and her inestimable services to humanity. But Christianity is far broader and deeper than any ecclesiastical organization. It burst the shell of mediaeval forms, struck out new paths, and elevated Europe to a higher plane of intellectual, moral and spiritual culture than it had ever attained before. § 2. Protestantism and Romanism: Protestantism represents the most enlightened and active of modern church history, but not the whole of it. Since the sixteenth century Western Christendom is divided and runs in two distinct channels. The separation may be compared to the Eastern schism of the ninth century, which is not healed to this day both par-ties being as firm and unyielding as ever on the doctrinal question of the Filioque, and the more important practical question of Popery. But Protestantism differs much more widely from the Roman church than the Roman church differs from the Greek, and the Protestant schism has become the fruitful mother of minor divisions, which exist in separate ecclesiastical organizations. We must distinguish between Catholicism and Romanism. The former embraces the ancient Oriental church, the mediaeval church, and we may say, in a wider sense, all the modern evangelical churches. Romanism is the Latin church turned against the Reformation, consolidated by the Council of Trent and completed by the Vatican Council of 1870 with its dogma of papal absolutism and papal infallibility. Mediaeval Catholicism is pre-evangelical, looking to the Reformation modern Romanism is anti-evangelical, condemning the Reformation, yet holding with unyielding tenacity the oecumenical doctrines once sanctioned, and doing this all the more by virtue of its claim to infallibility. The distinction between pre-Reformation Catholicism and post-Reformation Romanism, in their attitude towards Protestantism, has its historical antecedent and parallel in the distinction between pre-Christian Israel which prepared the way for Christianity, and post-Christian Judaism which opposed it as an apostasy. Catholicism and Protestantism represent two distinct types of Christianity which sprang from the same root, but differ in the branches. Catholicism is legal Christianity which served to the barbarian nations of the Middle Ages as a necessary school of discipline Protestantism is evangelical Christianity which answers the age of independent man-hood. Catholicism is traditional, hierarchical, ritualistic, conservative Protestantism is biblical, democratic, spiritual, progressive. The former is ruled by the principle of authority, the latter by the principle of free-dom. But the law, by awakening a sense of sin and exciting a desire for redemption, leads to the gospel pa-rental authority is a school of freedom filial obedience looks to manly self-government. The characteristic features of mediaeval Catholicism are intensified by Romanism, yet without destroying the underlying unity. Romanism and orthodox Protestantism believe in one God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and in one divine-human Lord and Saviour of the race. They accept in common the Holy Scriptures and the oecumenical faith. They agree in every article of the Apostles' Creed. What unites them is far deeper, stronger and more important than what divides them. But Romanism holds also a large number of traditions of the elders, which Protestantism rejects as extra-scriptural or anti-scriptural such are the papacy, the worship of saints and relics, transubstantiation, the sacrifice of the mass, prayers and masses for the dead, works of supererogation, purgatory, indulgences, the system of monasticism with its perpetual vows and ascetic practices, besides many superstitious rites and ceremonies. Protestantism, on the other hand, revived and developed the Augustinian doctrines of sin and grace it pro-claimed the sovereignty of divine mercy in man's salvation, the sufficiency of the Scriptures as a rule of faith, and the sufficiency of Christ's merit as a source of justification it asserted the right of direct access to the Word of God and the throne of grace, without human mediators it secured Christian freedom from bondage it substituted social morality for monkish asceticism, and a simple, spiritual worship for an imposing ceremonialism that addresses the senses and imagination rather than the intellect and the heart. The difference between the Catholic and Protestant churches was typically foreshadowed by the difference between Jewish and Gentile Christianity in the apostolic age, which anticipated, as it were, the whole future course of church history. The question of circumcision or the keeping of the Mosaic law, as a condition of church membership, threatened a split at the Council of Jerusalem, but was solved by the wisdom and charity of the apostles, who agreed that Jews and Gentiles alike are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus (Acts 15:11 ).Yet even after the settlement of the controversy by the Jerusalem compromise Paul got into a sharp conflict with Peter at Antioch on the same question, and protested against his older colleague for denying by his timid conduct his better conviction, and disowning the Gentile brethren. It is not accidental that the Roman Church professes to be built on Peter and regards him as the first pope while the Reformers appealed chiefly to Paul and found in his epistles to the Galatians and Romans the bulwark of their anthropology and soteriology, and their doctrine of Christian freedom. The collision between Paul and Peter was only temporary and so the war between Protestantism and Romanism will ultimately pass away in God's own good time.

Über den Autor

Dr. Muhammad Schmidt, born in 1950, is Bishop Emeritus of the Christian Missionary Anglican Communion (CMAC), working as a university professor of Linguistics at reputable universities wordwide before and has rich teaching and research experience as well as numerous publications to his credit. In June 2015, he retired from active work but continues to work on his book projects and to hold occasional lectures, as individual circumstances allow.

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