The Study of Church History

Exploring the History of the Church ....

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Fourth Lateran Council (Twelfth Ecumenical Council) 1215. Pope Innocent III

Canon 1 concluded, "Not only virgins and those practicing chastity, but also those united in marriage, through the right faith and through works pleasing to God, can merit eternal salvation." The truth, of course, is that we are saved by grace through faith completely apart from works. Works are the result, not the cause, of our salvation (Eph. 2:8-10). No one can merit salvation.

Canon 5. Placed the Roman Church as supreme over all other churches, second, Constantinople, third, Alexandria, fourth Antioch, and fifth, Jerusalem. The truth is that, in the NT, no church held any preeminence over any other church.

Canon 21. Commanded the faithful to confess their sins to a priest of their own parish at least annually. In the NT, there were no clerical priests whatever. Confession was to God (1 John 1:9) and, as needed, to one another (James 5:16).

Canon 54. Payment of tithes to the church takes precedence over taxes. Tithes to the churches are legally due. In the NT church there was no command to pay a tithe. The Apostle Paul laid out principles for giving (2 Cor. 8:1-9:15).

Canon 68. Jews and Saracens (Muslims) must dress themselves in a way that distinguishes them from Christians so that intermarriage may not take place. Here is a precedent that antedated Hitler's requiring of Jews to wear stars.

Canon 71. (Holy Land Decrees). "...we decree ... that all who have taken the cross and have decided to cross the sea, hold themselves so prepared that they may, on June 1 of the year after next (1217), come together in the Kingdom of Sicily, some at Brundusium and others at Messana, where, God willing, we (the Pope) will be present personally to order and to bestow on the Christian army the divine and Apostolic blessing."

Where in the New Testament is any church leader authorized to send off a "Christian army" to kill Muslims and Jews? Aren't we rather required by the Lord to serve as His witnesses, and to make disciples of all nations rather than killing them (Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8)? Why would God bless a "Christian" army sent out to murder people under whatever pretext?

What did the Reformation accomplish? Published October 29, 2019

(Scripture quotation taken from the NASB.)

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Updated October 29, 2019