A Journey through Centuries
499 years ago tomorrow, a monk named Martin Luther, moved by what he saw as the corruption in the church, walked to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany, and nailed up a series of 95 “theses” for debate. This event and what followed set off the “Protestant Reformation.” We are heirs of those events in many ways.
Paul traced God’s amazing paths leading to his own time. The story went on. For 300 years the Good News spread in the Roman Empire and beyond, in spite of strong opposition. In the 4th cent. emperor Constantine became a patron of the church. The church gradually took on the hierarchy and government pattern of the empire. At the top it used tools of empire to enforce conformity. Many wonderful things, but also deep transformations as it became Christendom, the religious governing culture of Europe. With the political and violent power of the state often came corruption and conflict.
As Christendom came to its zenith in the “Middle Ages,” the church, crossing all political boundaries of Europe, had vast power, but often poor leadership at the top.