A Mountain Road: A Methodist Ministers Inspiring Autobiography
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It was the loss of Christian unity that led to the secularization of Western culture. Whereas Christendom provided one message to European society, the pluralism of religions provided different answers to questions about life and led to skepticism and conflict rather than unanimous thought. Discoveries in science had much to do with the Age of Enlightenment. Copernicus proposed the sun is the center of the solar system and the earth revolved around the sun. Galileo Galilei , the first to use a telescope, confirmed that Copernicus was right and was condemned by the Catholic Church.
Scientists such as Isaac Newton in physics and Robert Boyle in chemistry were pioneers and gave birth to technology, the application of science to practical problems, which led to the Industrial Revolution. Progress based on science and technology became a major goal of Western Society.
Mankind was left without its mooring, and philosophers set out in different directions to provide meaning for humanity. The critical Rationalism of Rene Descartes applied to philosophy the mathematical method so effective in science, that everything was questionable until it could be proved beyond all doubt. Blaise Pascal took a different stance and presented Pascal's Wager: it is better to live a good life, for if there is a God, you will end up with Him in Heaven; but if you have lived a bad life and there is a God, you are doomed!
John Locke applied reason to confirm revelation. The political philosopher Baron de Montesquieu of France proposed that the best form of government would incorporate a separation of powers into executive, legislative, and judicial branches and would be based on the natural law. David Hume proposed a science of man, and is considered a pioneer in the social sciences. But Jean-Jacques Rousseau , considered the father of Romanticism, took an opposite approach and spoke of the noble savage, that man was happy only in his original native state, before government, laws, and politics chained mankind.
It was the German philosopher Immanuel Kant that defined the era: "Have courage to use your own reason - that is the motto of Enlightenment. Unfortunately, the Age of Enlightenment ignored love, emotion, spirituality and concern for one's fellow man. It forgot that man is wounded by original and personal sin, and his reason is colored by desire and selfishness. In fact, the Age of Enlightenment brought the French Revolution and the Reign of Terror , Naziism, Communism, and the twentieth century, with its two World Wars, the bloodiest century in history.
Intellectual dryness and doctrinal religions prevalent during the Enlightenment Era led to a spiritual revival throughout Western Christian civilization, as seen with Pietism in Germany, Methodism in England and America, and the Great Awakening in the United States.
Biography – Vance Havner
Philipp Jakob Spener of Germany wrote Pia Desideria in and spoke of a theology of the heart , placing emphasis on inner devotion and Christian living, and inspired the Pietist movement. Pietism especially influenced Nikolaus von Zinzendorf and the Moravian Church. John Wesley and his brother Charles provided light for Christianity during the Enlightenment.
John Wesley, noted for his moving sermons, and his brother Charles, a poetic genius and hymn writer, began the Methodist movement in England, and set forth an evangelical revival throughout the British Isles, North America, and the world. The two brothers were raised in the Anglican Church.
Because of their strict method of living, they were soon called the Methodists. John Wesley experienced a heartwarming conversion experience at Aldersgate Street in London in He preached in the English countryside to the poor, and sparked a religious revival throughout England.
He assured the people that all could be saved by experiencing God and opening their hearts to his grace. George Whitefield made seven trips to America beginning in and was one of the most powerful evangelists ever. He, along with others, kindled a spiritual revival throughout the thirteen colonies known as the Great Awakening.
The Great Awakening was the first national experience in America and did much to unite the American colonies. Revival during the Enlightenment Era fulfilled the human need for spiritual experience through Jesus Christ. The independence movement in the American colonies sparked an outcry for freedom of religion, such that Christianity flourished in the newly-formed United States of America.
Every taxable resident was required to support the state established Church, no matter what their faith! This caused dissension in the Colonies such as in Maryland and Virginia, where Catholics in Maryland and Presbyterians and Baptists in Virginia objected to the unfair Anglican clergy tax. Of those states with established Churches, Maryland became the first state to disestablish church and state following the Declaration of Independence. The Bill of Rights allowed the free exercise of religion and proliferation of Christian denominations during rapid westward expansion in America.
Constitution and cousin of Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, became the first Catholic Bishop of Baltimore, a diocese which served the entire United States. Two days after Thomas Jefferson wrote his highly quoted but out-of-context expression "wall of separation between Church and State" to the Danbury Baptists, he appeared on January 3, in the House of Representatives to hear the Baptist preacher John Leland lead an evangelical service on public property.
Separation of Church and State did not preclude a vibrant public square. Recognizing the need to instill morals and values in our children, Bible reading and prayer continued in our public schools for years! Conversions by Evangelical Protestants and other Christian faiths provided the moral fabric for the new American nation after the Revolutionary War.
The Methodist movement proved most successful in North America. Methodist circuit-riders were effective missionaries in spreading the Christian faith from the South to settlers in the mid-West. It was left to the unlikely figure of President Abraham Lincoln to recognize the Christian culture of our Nation. In his Second Inaugural Address on March 4, , he remarked near the close of the Civil War: "Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. He appealed for "malice toward none, with charity for all … to bind the nation's wounds.
An conservative Supreme Court that respected the free exercise of religion and our Christian heritage declared in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States that "This is a Christian Nation. The American Declaration of Independence of July 4, read all men are created equal, but slavery persisted. How could the Revolutionary War be fought for freedom without granting freedom to all? The American Civil War reflected the Christian heritage of our Nation, for the moral issue of slavery troubled the hearts of Americans from our very beginning.
The non-violent religious movement of the s and s emerged as the civil rights movement in the USA, which finally afforded racial equality for African-Americans, one hundred years after the Emancipation Proclamation! The crusade arose within Negro Churches, the center of their life. African-Americans had begun to receive recognition in the fields of art, music, and sports. The arrest in Montgomery, Alabama of Rosa Parks , who was detained on December 1, for refusing to move to the back of the bus for a white person, sparked the drive for civil rights.
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The boycott lasted days until a Supreme Court decision ended segregation on city buses.
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Reverend King then organized 60 pastors into the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to foster civil rights. Augustine and St.
Thomas Aquinas distinguished between just and unjust laws. Non-violent civil disobedience , advocated by John Locke, Henry David Thoreau, and Mahatma Gandhi, was employed by civil rights leaders against oppressive and unjust civil laws. In general, one is obligated to obey civil laws that are just Matthew , Romans , but first one must obey God rather than man Acts in the event of unjust laws, such as Pharaoh's daughter v.
King Nebuchadnezzar Daniel ; the Maji v. King Herod Matthew ; and Peter and the Apostles v. Law itself is not meant for the righteous I Timothy The early Christians refused to obey the Romans and suffered martyrdom rather than worship the Emperor. President John F. Kennedy announced on nationwide television on June 11, that he would submit Civil Rights legislation the following week.
Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all. He urged non-violent protest to turn the tide in favor of racial equality.
The March on Washington, D. Martin Luther King Jr. Twentieth-century writers during the World Wars such as T. Eliot, Flannery O'Connor, Thomas Merton, and Dorothy Day catalogued the spiritual bankruptcy of the twentieth century and called for spiritual renewal. John XXIII was welcomed with open arms by all of Christianity, for the Pope called not only for an intense spiritual cultivation of the modern world, but also sought Christian unity.
His opening speech convening the Second Vatican Council on October 11, referred to Jesus in the Gospel of John : "The Catholic Church, therefore, considers it her duty to work actively so that there may be fulfilled the great mystery of that unity, which Jesus Christ invoked with fervent prayer from His heavenly Father on the eve of His sacrifice. The Second Vatican Council literally "reset the course" for the Catholic Church, a Church which had been described by some as a fortress Church embattled during the Enlightenment and the Modernist era.
To coin the expression of Hans Urs von Balthazar in , the time had come to raze the bastions of the Church. It was time for the aggiornamento of Pope John XXIII, the "opening of the window" of the Church to the outside world, "a translation of the Christian message into an intellectual language understandable by the modern world. The spirit of ecumenism and the change of heart towards all Christian brethren was truly a gift of the Holy Spirit. Lumen Gentium declared "the one Church of Jesus Christ subsists in the Catholic Church, although many elements of sanctification and truth exist outside its visible structure, elements which impel toward catholic unity.
John Ed Mathison Bio
The role of the laity to order temporal affairs to the plan of God was emphasized. Alan Schreck of Franciscan University offered 3 keys to Gaudium et Spes: a the root of the world's problems is found in the human heart. Vatican II led to the creation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church , first published in and updated in A playwright, actor, and poet, he was born May 18, in Wadowice, Poland.
In he enrolled in the school of drama at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, where he played goalie on the college soccer team. He entered an underground seminary in during the Nazi Regime, and was ordained a priest in after Poland fell under Communism.