Church History: 1100-1200
Now, the fun begins.
It is in this century that we see the appearance of the first proto evangelicals, the fore runners of the Reformation.
If you’re a Protestant, this is your first ancestral family.
This group was founded by Waldo of Lyons, a wealthy merchant who was convinced through his study of the Bible to give his wealth away and embrace voluntary poverty.
Waldo was a lover of the Word and his passion was to preach that Word and encourage others outside the Roman Catholic hierarchy to do the same.
Like all the early reformers, the Waldensians tried to enact change from within the church….they asked Rome for permission to continue preaching and teaching.
When that permission was denied, they chose to act according to their conscience and centuries of slaughter and persecutions followed.
They believed in the priesthood of all believers, the need for the Bible to be in the hands of the people, and the ancient creeds.
They opposed the moral and financial abuses of Rome and chose to live as close to biblical standards as they could, as they understood them.
There is much debate about all the early doctrinal beliefs of the Waldensians…let’s not turn them into modern day evangelicals.
We do know that as their numbers increased and the persecution of Rome increased as well, they discarded more and more Roman Catholic doctrine.
A few centuries later they took refuge in Geneva, and affirmed The Swiss Reformation under Calvin.
Today, they also are in union with Methodists as well.
They remain with us today and are a fascinating piece of our history.
While they embraced heretical doctrine, they also opposed the abuse of power and wealth by Rome and further cracked the facade of Roman Catholicism.
Names you really should know:
Peter Abelard, philosopher and theologian.
Bernard of Clairvaux, brilliant writer and preacher, big influence on the later Reformers Luther and Calvin.
Peter Lombard, the first real systematic theologian of the medieval period.