Lesson 7: Middle-Aged Decay, Then New Life, 1294-1517

I.World conditions 世界形势

A.In Europe 在欧洲

  1. From the 1200s on, France, England, Spain, and Germany developed as strong, independent countries. More and more people were getting used to the idea that they were English or French, or whatever country they were from.


  2. European Christians no longer accepted interference from the pope in any of their country’s political affairs.


B.In Asia 在亚洲

  1. Between 1200 and 1500, by one estimate, the number of Asian Christians fell, from 21 million to 3.4 million.


  2. In the same years, the percentage of the world’s Christians living in Africa and Asia combined fell from 34% to just 6%.


  3. There was also a dramatic drop in Chinese Christianity.


    a. In 1368, the patriotic Ming dynasty took over the country from the Mongols.


    b. The new dynasty cracked down on foreign religious bodies, especially those the defeated Mongols had permitted.


    c. Christian visibility vanished. Most of the Catholic clergy at that time simply vanished without a trace. For almost 200 years, China lacked an obvious Christian presence.


II.Failures in the church 教会的失败

A.More and more people criticized the pope’s worldliness and life of luxury. They began to ask how the pope could be the foundation of Christian society on earth. 越来越多的人开始批评教皇的世俗和奢华的生活,他们开始质问,这样的教皇怎么能成为这世界上基督徒社会的基石呢。

  1. Pope Boniface VIII (1294-1303) wore a crown that contained 48 rubies, 72 sapphires, 45 emeralds, and 66 large pearls.


  2. Boniface wrote an official decree that said, “Every human being needs to obey the Pope.”


  3. The pope made a lot of money selling indulgences to people. These indulgences guaranteed less time in purgatory to the purchasers. Popes used the income from these sales for building projects and waging war.


  4. Dante, the great Italian writer who authored The Divine Comedy, reserved a place in hell for Boniface.


  5. Roderigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503), was probably the most corrupt and evil pope. He committed adultery with many women, had numerous children, murdered people, bribed others. He was hungry for money and power.

    罗德利哥 博尔吉亚,即教皇亚历山大六世(1492-1503)可能是最堕落、最邪恶的一位教皇。他与很多女人通奸,有无数孩子,谋杀、受贿,无恶不作。渴求金钱和权力。

B.Christian priests did what their leader did. They enjoyed the lifestyle of the rich and famous, particularly high ranking priests. 基督教祭司们也在行他们的领头人所行之事。他们享受富有、有名望的生活,尤其是那些高阶祭司。

  1. Catholic leaders became incredibly wealthy. Most people lived in total poverty.


    a. Many priests held two or more positions of leadership in the church.


    b. They collected payment from each of them, but neglected their responsibilities.


  2. Sexual sin was normal at all levels of Catholic leadership.


  3. Most monks were famous for adultery, lechery, gluttony, drunkenness, greed, and other noticeable sins.


C.Unbiblical, unchristian beliefs in the Catholic church – Church leaders never spoke about what Jesus had done to rescue humanity. 天主教会非圣经、非基督教的信仰——教会领袖从来不说关于耶稣为拯救人类而做的事情。

  1. Leaders turned the sacraments into religious things people do to save themselves.


  2. Leaders taught people to pray to Mary and the saints.


  3. Superstition, instead of Bible truth, controlled people’s lives.


D.Neglect of the people 忽视百姓

  1. Bishops failed to prioritize leading people to Jesus and saving souls.


  2. Priests did little more than lead church services in Latin.


  3. Average people never heard explanations of what the Bible taught.


  4. European population was growing, but Catholic leaders were in the dark and kept their people in the dark.


III.Many groups organized protests against the Catholic church. 很多团体组织起来对抗天主教会

A.The Cathari (Pure Ones) were from Albi, France. That’s why they got the name Albigenses. They caused the most trouble for the Catholic church. 清洁派(清洁者们)来自法国阿尔比。这也是阿比尔教派得名的由来。正是他们给天主教制造了大部分麻烦。

  1. They influenced the 12th and 13th centuries, particularly in southeastern France.


  2. They claimed having a human body is evil. Only people’s spirits are good. This was what the Gnostics taught long before them.


  3. They taught Jesus had no human body and didn’t die on a cross.


  4. They taught the way to holiness comes by escaping your body, even by suicide.


  5. They believed you should punish your body by refusing meat, possessions, marriage and sex.


  6. They rejected not only popes and bishops, but basic Christianity.


  7. Catholic leaders designed the Inquisition to hunt these heretics down.


    a. Catholic leaders used torture and secret trials to punish heretics.


    b. People they accused had to prove they were innocent.


    c. The people they found guilty they turned over to community leaders to burn alive tied to a post.


B.Peter Waldo (1140-1218) started out as a rich businessman in France. 彼得·瓦勒度(1140-1218) 起先是法国的一个富有的商人。

  1. He emphasized that being a Christian meant saying “no” to society’s priorities.


    a. He gave always everything he had to help poor people.


    b. He refused normal married life.


  2. His supporters told people to sacrifice everything in this life for the sake of earning God’s blessings in the next life (Matthew 19:21).


    a. They wanted the Catholic church, especially its leaders, to go back to the simple life of Jesus and the apostles.


    b. The Catholic church decreed that whoever believed this way was going to hell.


C. John Wyclif was born around 1330 in England. 约翰·威克里夫于1330年左右出生在英国。

  1. He got a doctor’s degree from Oxford and taught there.


  2. He was also a priest at Lutterworth.


    a. He denied the pope’s right to get wealthier from collecting taxes from European countries.


    b. He called the pope the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3-11), and said Jesus is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23).


    c. He denied the Catholic teaching that priests have the supernatural ability to transform the bread and wine into Jesus’ body and blood.


    d. He stressed that from the Bible Jesus teaches what we should believe. He taught that neither the pope nor church “experts” are the final authorities.


  3. He translated the Bible into English


    a.He sent barefoot supporters with no money or luggage to spread the news about Jesus to people Catholic churches had neglected.


    b. They spread tracts, sermons, and copied parts of the Bible.


  4. Catholic leaders hunted down Wyclif’s supporters and forced them to take back what they taught from the Bible.


  5. Wyclif died peacefully in 1384 at his home in Lutterworth.


D.John Hus lived in Bohemia (1373-1415) 约翰.胡斯居住在波西米亚(1373-1415)

  1. He lectured at the University of Prague


  2. He was a priest and Bible teacher. He started a back-to-the-Bible society.


  3. He attacked the pope’s habit of selling Christians indulgences and refusing people the wine in the Lord’s Supper.


  4. He said Catholic leaders should be people who have given away all they own. They should live a humble life. They should help people in churches and be examples of Christian goodness.


    a. He and Wyclif believed that Jesus told the truth, but that the pope teaches only wrong things. Hus and Wyclif taught that Jesus lived in poverty, but that the pope wants to be the richest man. They reminded people that Jesus refused political power, but that is what the pope wants the most.


    b. Hus said that the pope rides a horse, but that Jesus walked barefoot, that Jesus washed His students’ feet, but the pope wants people to kiss his feet.


  5. The Catholic church excommunicated Hus in 1412.


  6. Hus asked for another trial in front of a more respected group of church judges.


  7. The Council (church convention of experts and church leaders) at Constance, Germany in 1414 declared him guilty of heresy, threw him in prison for 8 months.


  8. They tied him up to a pole and burned him alive in 1415.


E.Several Councils (Constance and Basel) attempted to change the way the Catholic church did its business. They resulted in failure. 康斯坦茨和巴塞尔的几次议会试图改变天主教会的行事方式,最终失败了。

IV.Popes begin to lose their power. 教皇开始失去权力。

A.Boniface VIII (check part II, at the beginning of this lesson) 波尼法爵八世(参考本课讲义开头第二部分)

  1. In 1294 he tried to take control of England from King Edward I and from France’s king King Philip the Fair.


  2. He later excommunicated Philip who then arrested the pope for a few days.


B.Babylonian Captivity - from 1305-1377 教皇的“巴比伦之囚” 1305-1377

  1. King Philip from France made sure the next pope was from France. This pope never spent any time in Rome.


    a. For the next 72 years, the next six popes were French.


    b. None of them ever even visited Rome, just like when ancient Jews lived in Iraq for over 70 years.


    c. These popes lived in Avignon, France, very close to the French king.


    i. Avignon used to be a little town on the Rhone River.


    ii. When the popes moved there, it grew to 80,000 people with all the pope’s officials and his state-of-the-art palace.


  2. In 1377 the elderly Pope Gregory XI came back to live in Rome. He died within a year.


C.Multiple popes competed for control at the same time 同一时期有好几位教皇在为控制权展开争夺

  1. For 39 years two competing popes fought to overpower the other.


  2. One lived in Rome, the other in Avignon.


  3. In 1409 a third man was elected pope. The other two popes wouldn’t step down. Three popes at a time are too many by almost anyone’s standards.


  4. This sort of behavior set the stage for the Protestant Reformation.


V.New Life 新生

A. A wave of learning 学习的浪潮

  1. Scholars became interested in classical Greek and Roman life and literature.


  2. Intellectuals began to study of the Bible in Greek.


  3. New Bible research raised many questions about life in the church.


B. Invention of the printing press. 印刷机的发明

  1. Guttenberg was the inventor in 1450.


  2. This was one of the greatest inventions of all time. No more copying unaffordable books.


Christian History After Jesus
Lesson 1: Influences on Christians
第二课:早期基督教 公元100-313
Lesson 2: Ancient Christianity 100 – 313 A.D
第三课 早期基督教 公元313-590年
Lesson 3: Ancient Christianity 313 – 590 A.D.
第四课 中世纪早期的基督教 公元590-1073年
Lesson 4: Early Middle-Aged Christianity 590 – 1073 A.D.
第五课 中世纪早期的基督教 II 公元590-1073年
Lesson 5: Early Middle-Aged Christianity II 590 – 1073 A.D.
第六课 中世纪基督教的高度 公元1074-1294
Lesson 6: The Height of Middle-Aged Christianity, 1074-1294
Lesson 7: Middle-Aged Decay, Then New Life, 1294-1517
第八课:宗教改革时期,第一部分:1517 – 1648
Lesson 8: The Reformation Age, part 1: 1517 – 1648
第九课:宗教改革时期 ,第二部分:1517 – 1648
Lesson 9: The Reformation Age, part 2: 1517 – 1648
第十课:基督教: 1648年至现代
Lesson 10: Christianity: 1648-Modern times
Lesson 7: Middle-Aged Decay, Then New Life, 1294-1517