HOLY ROMAN EMPIRE -- God's Second Try
Germany - Gods new chosen people
Arian missionaries converted the German tribes of northern Europe to Christianity during the 4th and the 5th centuries. The first Bible translated into the language of the German tribes was Arian. All the kingdoms in Europe were officially Arian to begin with. Arianism held its ground until the Franks were converted to orthodoxy and overthrew the Visigoths. When the Germanic tribes turned away from anti-Trinitarianism, Christianity lost power. If it had united under the belief that Jesus was not born of a virgin and was a man, Christianity would have swept the earth. Instead, other religions filled the void and grew.
In Arnold Toynbee's A Study of History he writes that the barbarian invaders were Arian,"On the European front the barbarian invaders of that generation, in so far as they were not still pagans, were Arians, and, although their original conversion to Arianism rather than Catholicism had been the result of chance, their subsequent fidelity to Arianism, after that heresy lost its temporary vogue within the Christianized Hellenic World, was the result of deliberate preference. Their Arianism was henceforth a badge, deliberately worn and sometimes insolently displayed, of the conquerors' social distinction from the conquered population."
Toynbee misreads history here. The barbarians were not Arians just because the Romans were not. They were not being insolent, but simply believing in what made more sense. And their conversion to Arianism was not, as Toynbee says, by "chance."
But Satan was influencing orthodox missionaries to convert the Franks. In 589 the king of the Goths was converted to orthodox Christianity and the Franks won over them. Exactly 21 years later in 610 Mohammed began the only other major monotheistic religion in the world - Islam. Satan has influenced them to stop freedom of religion and it is a crime to witness for Christianity in many Islamic countries. Mohammed received the revelation that God is one and Jesus was a man, but Satan garbled the transmission and Mohammed rejected Jesus as the messiah. He was supposed to understand that Jesus was a man and the messiah. Now God had another headache as Islam captured the souls of many millions of people and is today a great block to the building of the Kingdom. They were wrong to have the symbol of the sword. Islam is not conducive for the growth of freedom. It persecutes Christians and will not let them freely proselytize in many of their countries.
There are mathematical timetables here. Christians went through three centuries, 300 years, before they were in control. They had 100 years to make Rome a great Christian nation. Four is the symbol of earth, three of spirit. They had 300 years of spirit and were within 400 years to manifest it on earth physically. But they failed and God chose the Christians in north Italy, the Visigoths to be his champions. They were Arian. But they failed to convert the Franks, the Cain side of Germany. In 600 years, if they had been united, they would have proselytized the rest of the world and Mohammed would have been a Christian who was anti-Trinitarian and a follower of Jesus as the messiah who wanted to build a physical kingdom of heaven. Augustine would not have led Christianity down the path of unbalanced focus on the spirit instead of seeing that God made our physical bodies and physical things to be spiritual too. They took asceticism too far. If they would have had done right they would have had better lives. The life for most people in Germany was in Hobbes famous phrase, "nasty, brutish and short." Average life expectancy was under thirty years. Most people died of illness, hunger and periodic famines. Then there was human violence. Most were illiterate. Human history has been political and religious turbulence.
When Gods central figures fail, great repercussions happen. Physically and spiritually people suffer. There is great physical and spiritual poverty. Germany would have become rich physically and spiritually if Charlemagne had not failed.
Charlemagne or Charles is called the "Father of Europe." How successful was this patriarch? He felt that the Church was the greatest unifying force in his vast realm and everyone needed to have a common belief in Christ. History is repeating itself again in that he is like Constantine. And like Constantine he had to deal with Arianism. A bishop in far away Spain, at the other end of his empire, started teaching against the virgin birth and the trinity. He began converting people. It spread quickly through Spain and into Aquitaine (what is today France). The Pope condemned the doctrine but it continued to spread. One history book says it "spread with amazing rapidity in Spain and crossed the border into Aquitaine. Bishops, priests and monks as well as the people made it their own. Thousands upon thousands accepted it as truth. The Pope condemned the doctrine, calling it blasphemous and serpents venom, but still it continued to spread." In the words of one contemporary, there were "two churches quarreling with each other over the One Church." This is a typical pattern in human history -- a conflict between two sides: one Cain; one Abel.
"It was at this crucial moment that Charles, realizing that words of condemnation would not stem the growth of this heresy, decided to act." He picked a prominent bishop who was preaching this "heresy" and marched to his town. They had a passionate debate. Charlemagne chose wrong and condemned him. He ordered that all books by him and other Arians to be burned. God's way is for freedom of belief. Christians were wrong in banning and burning books. Some Christians in the 20th Century America still want to ban books. They are wrong in their efforts, even if the books and films they want to ban are satanic. Karl Marx's books, pornography and any other expression should not be regulated by government force.
1. BIBLICAL THEOLOGY -- CHARLEMAGNE FAILS
Charlemagne was brutal and cruel like Constantine. He crushed Pagans wherever he went pitilessly.
Facing Charlemagne, Bishop Felix recanted his beliefs and was allowed to continue being a bishop. But, "he stubbornly reverted to his heresy, preaching it with more fervor than ever. Charles was enraged. He condemned the Bishop and threatened him. Once again the Bishop started preaching again. Charles held a third trial. He forced Bishop Felix to go to a different city and be watched over closely by its bishop for the rest of his life."
Charlemagne then sent messengers on horseback throughout his Kingdom "to wipe out the heresy. It was a gigantic task but their efforts were successful." Charlemagne was proud that he had saved the unity of the Church. Unfortunately, Europe was doomed to not be united from then on. One history book says this about this "heresy": "For centuries it never really died out entirely in Southern France and northern Spain."
Charlemagne was very religious. He often had someone read aloud at dinner from his favorite book, Augustines The City of God. He loved learning. God used him to advance learning. But without a truer ideology, it took a long time before people could be literate.
2. Biblical Family -- Charlemagne Fails
Charlemagne had no good family values. He callously drove off his first wife for another. And he deserted the second. He had many mistresses and children from them. He lusted after women.
3. Biblical Government -- Charlemagne Fails
He tried his best to organize his vast empire that is today all of Europe, but he failed to leave a constitution that would have given the people a democracy. The history of mankind has been mainly the history of Kings and kingdoms. God wanted his champions to introduce democracy. This is why the first great empire of the world, Athens, Greece hundreds of years before Jesus was so successful. Rome started out as a republic and then turned to authoritarian leaders. Satan invaded God's efforts to have a democratic Roman Empire when Jesus was born. God continued to work with Europe after Charlemagne to inspire it to decentralize power. That is one of the the reasons for the Protestant Reformation -- to decentralize the power to people instead of the authoritarian Catholic Church that like so many who get power are corrupted by it.
Reformation turned violent
We learn in the Divine Principle that God sided with the Protestants in the Reformation. Protestants were Abel; Catholics were Cain. God had hoped that Martin Luther in 1517 would have elevated Christianity higher to accept the true view of Jesus such as that he was a man, not God and to use persuasion instead of force on those who disagreed with them. Sadly this did not happen. Let's look at the failure of Calvin who was supposed to accept unitarian thought and not use violence.
Tragic case of Servetus
Once again, God spoke through someone far away from the center of power. When Martin Luther hammered his ninety-five criticisms on the door of Wittenberg Cathedral, Michael Servetus was a six-year-old boy living in Spain. He remembers feeling something was wrong with the Church even at that young age. Years later he wrote of what he felt when as a young boy he watched the Pope crown Spains Charles V as Roman emperor. He wrote of the experience saying, "With these very eyes I saw him [the Pope] borne with pomp on the shoulders of princes, and in the public streets adored by the whole people kneeling, to such a point that those that succeeded even in kissing his feet or shoes deemed themselves happy beyond the rest. Oh, beast of beasts the most wicked! Most shameless of harlots!"
TALK OF NATIONS
Servetus was a passionate man and wrote without holding any emotion back. Fourteen years after Luthers protest, Servetus, age 20, made his protest. This young man wrote a book that was the talk of nations. God, once again, had spoken through someone who did not have fancy titles and lived in the boondocks. He was the younger Abel trying to lead his elder brother Cain. Servetus got the same reaction as Abel did.
In the book The Epic of Unitarianism we read, "Servetus reaction against the incomprehensible theology and worldly corruption of the Church focused on the doctrine of the Trinity. As a brash youth of twenty, he set out to convince the leaders of the Protestant movement that they were wrong about the Trinity, and that he was right. When his letters and conversations failed to move them, he presented his case in a learned, shrewd, and impertinent book, On the Errors of the Trinity (1531)."
He wrote, "In investigating the holy mysteries of the divine Triad, I have thought that one ought to start from the man; for I see most men approaching their lofty speculation about the Word without having any fundamental understanding of Christ, and they attach little or no importance to the man, and give the true Christ quite over to oblivion. But I shall endeavor to recall to their memories who the Christ is."
LAUGH AT OUR FOOLISHNESS
He said that the teaching of the trinity is so ridiculous it makes people around the world laugh. The other two monotheistic religions of the world will never see who Christ is while Christians believe in their polytheism: "How much this tradition of the Trinity has, alas! been a laughing-stock to the Mohammedans, only God knows. The Jews also shrink from giving adherence to this fancy of ours, and laugh at our foolishness about the Trinity; and on account of its blasphemies they do not believe that this is the Messiah who was promised in their law. And not only Mohammedans and Hebrews, but the very beasts of the field, would make fun of us did they grasp our fantastical notion, for all the works of the Lord bless the one God...." He goes on to say that "this plague of philosophy" is from people who "never understood the passages of Scriptures." He writes, "may this blasphemous and philosophical distinction of three beings in one God be rooted out from the minds of men."
Servetus = Abel Calvin = Cain
Servetus published his own book and printed out 1000 copies and sent one to Calvin. Calvin said the book was "ravings" but did not write back. Servetus then wrote to a minister: "Your gospel is without God, without true faith, without good works. Instead of a God you have a three-headed Cerberus ... You close the kingdom of Heaven before men ... woe! woe! woe! I have written to warn you, that you may know better. In this fight I know that I surely die ... but I do not falter. Christ will come."
One book says, "Servetus book was a best-seller. It ignited smoldering embers of Antitrinitarian sentiment in Germany, Switzerland, and especially in Italy, where a number of Protestant dissenters had gathered, later to produce some of the leaders of Polish Antitrinitarianism."
"But the Reformers, whom Servetus had hoped to convert, recoiled in shock and dismay. They were shocked by his effrontery and insults, dismayed at what his views might do to the young Protestant movement if left unchecked. The Reformers also feared a renewal of Catholic suppressions if Protestant doctrine deviated too far. Thus Servetus, while intending the opposite, forced the Protestant leaders to embrace the Trinity ever more zealously." This is the dilemma all Gods champions have. They are to respect their elders and parents but they must also be critical of their errors. God has worked throughout history to make those in leadership be more humble and not turn to violence against those who disagree with them. Gods dispensation has been one of tolerance."
"Almost immediately the sale of Servetus book was forbidden in leading Protestant cities. The Spanish Inquisition sought unsuccessfully to bring him to trial." Servetus fled to France and lived under an assumed name and became a doctor. But he couldnt give up his mission to teach the true view of Jesus and wrote another book, The Restoration of Christianity, "which offered a plan for the complete reformation of the Christian churches Catholic and Protestant alike based on the teachings of Jesus." He wrote it under his new name, but he was quickly exposed for who he was. "The French Inquisition imprisoned him, but he escaped. En route to Naples, Italy, where he had friends, he passed through Geneva, but was recognized and immediately arrested. Calvin, who had once boasted that should Servetus ever come to Geneva he would never let him get away alive, had his man." Servetus was recognized because he was so famous.
"Servetus, rotting in prison, was tried before the Council of Judges in Geneva. Calvin helped to convict him. He was found guilty and died in flames October 26, 1553."
The court ruled saying his book was "against the Holy Trinity containing many great blasphemies to the scandal of the churches of Germany." He continued "to spread the venom of his heresies and horrible, execrable blasphemies against the Holy Trinity.... He calls this Trinity a diabolical monster with three heads ... a three-headed Cerberus.... He has been burned in effigy with five bales of his books."
"You have with malicious and perverse obstinacy sown and divulged even in printed books ... against the fundamentals of the Christian religion, and that you have tried to make a schism and trouble the Church of God by which many souls may have been ruined and lost, a thing horrible, shocking, scandalous and infectious. And you have had neither shame nor horror of setting yourself against the divine Majesty and the Holy Trinity, and so you have obstinately tried to infect the world with your stinking heretical poison... For these and other reasons, desiring to purge the Church of God of such infection and cut off the rotten member, having taken counsel with our citizens and having invoked the name of God to give just judgment ... speaking in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we now in writing give you final sentence and condemn you to be bound and taken to a stake and burned with your book to ashes. And so you shall finish your days and give an example to others who would commit the like." Orthodox Christians still view unitarian thought as a "stinking heretical poison."
At the trial Calvin personally appeared to accuse him. Servetus boldly defended his views. He was sentenced to death for the heresy of Unitarianism. He pleaded for mercy. But to the end he would not recant his beliefs and one contemporary wrote, "he besought God to pardon his accusers. He was fastened to a stake by iron chains, a rope was wound four or five times around his neck, and his last book was bound to his side. When the flames reached his face he shrieked with agony. After half an hour of burning he died." Catholics and Protestants united in approving this sentence. He was burned in absentia effigy by the Catholic authorities in France while the Protestants burned him in actuality. This is not a coincidence. Entire Christendom condemned him and therefore God had to move on to a new nation. Servetus was a martyr and saint in Gods eyes, but a heretic in the eyes of traditional Christianity that has always had the problem of seeing from Gods viewpoint.
One book said, "Scarcely were his ashes cold before there arose a controversy over the punishment of heretics."... "The image of Servetus dying in flames, just because his view of the Trinity differed from Calvins, caused a storm of outrage. Calvin cried that the dogs are barking at me on all sides, and was almost forced to leave Geneva. To justify himself he hastily wrote a Defense of the Orthodox Faith respecting the Holy Trinity, against the prodigious errors of ... Servetus early in 1554. Believing heresy to be worse than murder, Calvin argued that Servetus had to be put to death, else his heresy contaminate all Christendom."
Calvin felt blasphemers of God were worse than murderers because a "murderer merely kills the body, while heresy accepted damns the soul to everlasting hell." Calvin crushed anyone who attacked the fundamental assumptions of Christianity. Those who spoke out for freedom of worship were banished or beheaded.
Calvin believed God "has explicitly instructed us to kill heretics, to smite with the sword any city that abandons the worship of the true faith revealed by Him. Calvin quoted the ferocious decrees of Deut 13:5-15, 17;2-5; Exodus 22:20 and Lev. 24:16. God, he says, demands 'extreme severity' if we have Him in our 'combat for His glory.'"
One book said, "Far more Christians were murdered by Christians during the Reformation than the believers sacrificed in three centuries of Roman persecution." Calvin is one of the greatest failures in Christianity. He was cruel.
"Therefore when Calvin came to dictatorial power in Geneva, he saw to it that every mans mortal acts were judged vigorously. The citys 16,000 inhabitants were spied upon and punished for acts considered heretical or immoral by Calvin and the elders. During the years 1542-1546 the little town witnessed fifty-eight executions and seventy-six banishments. The theater was banned as immoral, bright colors in dress were forbidden, swearing and dancing were punished, and nobody was allowed to sit up in the inns after nine oclock at night except spies. As Preserved Smith says, 'Calvin also pronounced on the best sort of stoves and got servants for his friends. In fact, there was never such a busybody in a position of high authority before or since.'"
Calvin punished with ferocity those holding religious views other than his own. One man wrote "all rubbish" on one of Calvins tracts and was put on the rack twice a day, morning and evening, for a whole month.
It is tragic beyond words to see that he and other Christian leaders turned to violence. Europe became a bloodbath. One book says, "questions were not argued by reason or cooperative good will but rather by bloodshed and force. The hundred and fifty years following 1500 are among the bloodiest in European history. They form an era often referred to as the period of the Religious Wars."
An example of the horror of these times that fought over theology was the terrible Massacre of St. Bartholomews Day. This horrible exhibition of religious fanaticism and political ruthlessness began at dawn on August 24, 1572, with a signal from the bell of the palace of Justice in Paris. The Catholic party fell upon their Protestant rivals and before the day was done 10,000 were killed.
"By dawn the whole hysterical city was taking up the bestial cry , "Kill! Kill!" Women and children were senselessly hacked to death and dumped into the Seine. The great scholar Petrus Ramus was cut down while he knelt at prayer, and his pupils dragged his body through the streets. Debtors murdered their creditors. Looting continued for days. Such was the St. Bartholomew massacre, in which at least three thousand Huguenots were killed in Paris. As word spread throughout the country, another ten thousand were killed in the provincial towns. Some modern historians, numbed by gas chambers for the Jews and napalm for the Vietnamese, dismiss the episode as just another atrocity. But this will hardly do. The St. Bartholomew massacre should be remembered as mass murder in Europes greatest city, plotted by the leaders of the state, and triggered by religious hatred. When the news reached the pope, he was so delighted that he gave a hundred crowns to the messenger."
Christianity still showed it could be vicious during the Reformation. God abandoned Germany. Italy was the formation stage, Germany was the growth stage, and England would be the completion stage. God moved from the language of the Romans, to the language of the Germans, to the language of the English. English would be the language of the nation of power for the Messiah to come to and distribute his message. England failed and like Abraham a second chance was given, and America became the chosen nation for world power.