Theology from A Bunch of Dead Guys™
The Hall of Church History
The Medieval Churchmen
"That . . . you might learn not to exceed
what is written" (1 Corinthians 4:6).

he Dark Ages ushered in some dubious trends in theology. Medieval theologians seemed uncertain of how to sort out Scripture from tradition. Whereas the early Ecumenical Church Councils had invariably settled matters on the basis of Scripture, theology in the middle ages began to treat church tradition and ecclesiastical authority as tantamount to the Word of God. (This view was later formally ratified as official Catholic doctrine by the Council of Trent.)
    Despite the ruling against semi-Pelagianism by the Council of Orange in 529 A.D., subtle semi-Pelagian tendencies began to infiltrate the church, so that by the time of Trent in the late sixteenth century, the Catholic Church took a position that was almost pure semi-Pelagianism.
    During this period, monasticism was on the rise, and Scholasticism became the predominant approach to theology. Scholastic theology relied heavily on speculation and philosophy. Taken to an extreme, it ultimately turned the discipline of theology into pure sophistry. It broadened the gap between clergy and laity, and finally gave rise to the brand of Catholicism against which the Reformers rebelled.
    Thomas Aquinas (1225-74), the Master theologian of the Catholic Church, is the dominant figure of this era. In Thomas most of the seeds of Tridentine Catholicism are found. He backed away from Augustine's strong emphasis on the grace of God in salvation. Thomas seemed to see salvation as more of a cooperative effort between God and the sinner.
    There were still bright lights in these dark centuries, however. Surely the brightest is Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), whose work on the atonement laid the foundation for the Reformation.

Church History Timeline
Clay McKinney's ordered list of significant events in church history.

Church History Timeline

An informative and useful timeline from Jeremy and Rebecca Tredway.

Early Church Documents

An extensive collection of ancient and medieval church documents. From the Ecole Initiative.

Conversion of England

By the Venerable Bede (672-735).

The Mission of St. Augustine of Canterbury to the English (597-604)

The other St. Augustine (see the Church Fathers Page for St. Augustine of Hippo.) This Augustine was Canterbury's first towering church leader. Here's a nice page chronicling his life and ministry. Some of his works are reproduced here as well.

St. Anselm (d. 1109)

An entry from The Catholic Encyclopedia about the famous bishop from Canterbury, England.

Anselm on God's Existence

Excerpts from the work in which Anselm introduced the ontological argument for God's existence. Translated by David Burr, History Department, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA.

Anselm of Canterbury

On Loving God

A famous devotional work by Bernard of Clairvaux (1090?-1153).

The Fourth Lateran Council (1215)

The full text of the canons from the Council that ratified the doctrine of Transubstantiation (canon 1), decreed the Inquisition (canon 3), and authorized the Crusades (Holy Land Decrees).

Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74)

The massive theological treatise by Thomas Aquinas.

The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471)

A classic devotional work, still in print and widely available in book shops.

The Medieval Sourcebook

A gold mine of Medieval documents, many of which pertain to theology.

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| The Creeds | The Church Fathers | The Medieval Churchmen | The Heretics | The Eastern Orthodox | The Catholics | The Reformers | The Puritans | The Anabaptists | The Arminians | The Cultists | The Unorthodox | The Baptists | The Recent Stalwarts |

Looking for pictures of the leading figures of Church History? Visit The Museum of Pilgrims.

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