Does the church have amazing men and women accomplishing great things for the Kingdom of God today? That doesn't mean these generations can’t inspire us with their examples of Christian faithfulness in a broken world. We should celebrate them as well. Aug 11, 2011 [Name Redacted] rated it … Here Are 10 Events You Need to Know. The results are fascinating. The flip side is that the other generations are never as bad as the Golden Age mentality makes them out to be. Then, in 1959, came Wilt Chamberlain, who would score one hundred points in a single contest in 1962. 1702 Isaac Watts, “the liberator of the English hymn,” becomes Minister of Mark Lane Church in … More hymnwriters who penned memorable lines we love. If perfection is the criterion for an age to be classified as golden, the early church didn’t qualify any more than ours does. Other Important Hymn Writers. What about those professing evangelicals who are dropping like flies by rejecting orthodoxy? Good News for the Living Dead: A Fresh Take on the Gospel Story, California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information. Grasping for the gifts of the past implies a distrust in the redemptive plan of Christ. Philip Jenkins HarperOne 2009-11-03. Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age skewers the notion that secularism is the result of a straight-shot progression from religious superstition to objective rational belief in science. It is true that Christ’s bride doesn’t look like she should, but it’s equally true that she will look exactly the way she should at the wedding of the Lamb. Our Age isn’t as bad as we think it is. Even Peter, rock of the church that he was, exhibited his share of brokenness. Article Images Copyright © 2021 Getty Images unless otherwise indicated. Therefore, we should be patient with Christ’s bride because we know that she will make it to that final day. Christianity and Culture, Contemporary Christianity, Moral and doctrinal failures will permeate the air until Christ’s second advent. And the same could be said for every Golden Age. Roman Catholicism - Roman Catholicism - The golden age of Scholasticism: Philosophy, hitherto concerned almost exclusively with logic and dialectic, had stagnated in the late 12th century. Probably in the commercial intercourse between the Irish and continental ports, some Christian converts had been made among the Irish navigators or merchants. During the late Middle Ages, the Catholic Church flourished — especially under Pope Innocent III. But these situations aren’t unique to the modern church. I understand the frustration in reading the book of Acts and concluding that the Holy Spirit was more visible in His work in the early church. Christian History Timeline: The Golden Age of Hymns. But, as we’ve seen, that’s been true of every generation. Depending on your perspective, such evaluation either romanticizes what was and disregards what is, or it romanticizes what is and disregards what was. Why the Pilgrims Really Came to America (Hint, It Wasn't Religious Freedom), All Saints' Day, November 1 - Meaning and History, Church History Matters! The term Golden Age comes from Greek mythology, particularly the Works and Days of Hesiod, and is part of the description of temporal decline of the state of peoples through five Ages, Gold being the first and the one during which the Golden Race of humanity (Greek: χρύσεον γένος chrýseon génos) lived. Comparing the modern church against the early church is like comparing Bill Russell with Michael Jordan. That will be the true golden age—the age when the church triumphant will be made up of only those for whom Jesus prayed and the Great Commission will have ceased (Jer. Do we even know? The great example here is the so-called "Middle" Ages. The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-and How It Died Paperback – Illustrated, November 3, 2009 by Philip Jenkins (Author) › Visit Amazon's Philip Jenkins Page. Following Wilt were Oscar Robertson, Moses Malone, Julius “Dr. For the life of the church between the first and second advents of Christ, there have always been Judases among Peters. Third, the degree to which Ancient Christianity “died” in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East remains unclear, even though Christianity’s ancient “Golden Age” and public visible presence faded, at least temporarily. In fact, never again would these two spheres be united so strongly in the Church. That will be the true golden age—the age when the church triumphant will be made up of only those for whom Jesus prayed and the Great Commission will have ceased (Jer. Even at its lowest, the Church is still the Church. His historical survey delves into the complexities of the historical record, and along the way, he shows how easy it is to interpret history as a way of justifying … Christianity - Christianity - The Middle Ages: Christian myth and legend were adapted to new traditions as the faith expanded beyond its original cultural milieu of the Mediterranean into northern Europe. As religions go, then, Christianity (at only 2000 years of age) is one of the younger ones. From the slow pace of play in the early decades, to the lack of defense in the 1980s, to the eschewing of set plays in favor of hoisting three-pointers today, the point is that each NBA era has had its share of the good, the bad, and the ugly. They recognize the "dark side" of Aquarius as well -- coldness, subsuming individuals for the sake of the group, turning freedoms into mandates or structures, and other possible flaws. Only a few years later came Michael Jordan. Christianity.com is a member of the Salem Web Network of sites including: Copyright © 2021, Christianity.com. The primary difference is with regard to methodology, not source. David T. Koyzis. I. The extraordinary, foundational Apostolic office—with all its accompanying gifts—eventually gave way to a more permanent church structure featuring the simple offices of elder and deacon. Tsk! 31:34). Tsk! Spiritual Movements around the world through the generations have experimented with the concepts of bringing Heaven to Earth. Only then will she exchange her rags for the unblemished wedding dress her Husband has prepared for her (Rev. This could be the early church, the Reformation, the Puritans, or some other group. We need to be careful that we don’t deny that Christians in certain eras got certain things more right than Christians in other eras. Or perhaps it is a consequence of being educated at a madrasa. There are at least five problems with the golden age mentality. Synopsis : Constantine Divine Emperor of the Christian Golden Age written by Jonathan Bardill, published by Cambridge University Press which was released on 10 January 2021. Constantine, Divine Emperor of the Christian Golden Age offers a radical reassessment of Constantine as an emperor, a pagan, and a Christian. Excerpt from The Golden Age of Classic Christian Art The date of the great pictorial cycle of mosaics decorating the interior of the basilica of 8. That will be golden. 31:34). 7:15; Col. 2:8; 2 Peter 2:1–3) and church officers falling (3 John). Write a review. This must-read book by Philip Jenkins tells the story of a once-thriving Christian world that most westerners don't even know existed. Every student agrees that we're in a Not-Golden Age. To identify the early church as the golden era and to yearn for its exact replication is misguided and dangerous. The Mirage of “Golden Age” Christianity. “Jenkins is one of America ’s top religious scholars.” —Forbes. Don’t get me wrong. After the end of the first age was the Silver, then the Bronze, after this the Heroic age, with the fifth and current age being Iron. The Church was at its zenith both spiritually and politically. The poets who put words in our mouths. Evidence of a Golden Age If we are to define a Golden Age of Jewish-Christian interaction as a period of amicable rela- tions, prosperity and mutual creativity, then there is certainly enough evidence to support its application to medieval Spain during the high and late Middle Ages. Islamic Spain is sometimes described as a 'golden age' of religious and ethnic tolerance and interfaith harmony between Muslims, Christians and Jews . Trajan, Hadrian, and Marcus Aurelius The Arch of Constantine is _____ in that it celebrates a victory of a Roman, Constantine, over another Roman, Maxentius, at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge. And the same could be said of every other high/low point in our story. Indeed, I think you learn far more when you truly understand their failures as well as their victories. But, whoever it was, they nailed it. New saints and martyrs emerged during the process of expansion, and their miracles and other pious deeds were recorded in hagiographic works. It has been called by such different names throughout the centuries… Or try the seven letters in Revelation. Paul Westermeyer. In the last fifty years, we’ve seen unprecedented growth in our ability to reach new people groups with the gospel. 1:9). Even if the Reformation was a Golden Age for the church in Western Europe, what about the rest of the world? This is just the part of the story you have to endure if you want to get from the high-water marks of the early church and the Reformation. You don't learn from someone by ignoring their brokenness. The underlying culprit of these debates is a lack of consideration for historical development. The dreaded "middle" part of the trilogy. But the Golden Age mentality tends to get stuck in that mode, blinded to the amazing things that God is doing in this age. But that's never happened. On the other hand, the golden age of the church is yet to come. Many who embrace New Age beliefs view the Aquarian Age as a Golden Age of spiritual advancement, total equality, and unparalleled achievements for humanity. The Golden Age of Hymns: A Gallery of the Hymn Writers’ Hall of Fame. They weren't perfect, of course. As Head, Christ will complete the work that He has begun (Phil. Paul had to rebuke his fellow Apostle Peter for abysmal conduct with regard to prejudices (Gal. Rev. Covering topics including Christianity and Culture, Contemporary Christianity, There was no “Golden Age.” Or maybe we’d be better off saying that every age is a Golden Age; that is, a time when God is still faithfully working through his people to spread his gospel and display his glory throughout this broken and fallen world. It's a good way to see what they know, and, more importantly, what they think they know. 2:11–14). It was revived by the gradual arrival from Spain and Sicily of translations of the entire corpus of Aristotle, often accompanied by Arabic and Hebrew commentaries and treatises. Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age skewers the notion that secularism is the result of a straight-shot progression from religious superstition to objective rational belief in science. But why not? First, it's almost impossible to emphasize how terrible a generation was and seek to learn from it at the same time. Those who fall away prove themselves to be those for whom Jesus hasn’t prayed (John 17:9) and those who never truly belonged with us (1 John 2:19). If this is the Golden Age of Christianity, we’re setting the bar kind of low. B) frequent conflicts between Christians and Jews C) advances in mathematics, science, and medicine D) policies to reduce trade between the Middle East and China. But none of them got it "right," whatever that even means. Absolutely. As I’ve just said, we’ve seen God move in some amazing ways in the last fifty years. But we can do this without closing our eyes to their blights and blemishes. I’m not saying this generation is perfect, or even great. Or is someone just being naughty! There were wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. But, for the most part, these periods were mostly flawed examples of what happens when the Church goes astray. The winnowing fork is separating the wheat from the chaff before our eyes (Matt. In reality, the early church devoted itself to the same things that we should be devoting ourselves to—the sacraments, the Word of God, fellowship, and prayer (Acts 2:42). This post is an excerpt from his new book Good News for the Living Dead: A Fresh Take on the Gospel Story. The start of the twenty-first century ushered in Shaquille O’Neal and then Kobe Bryant, who recently passed the baton to the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant. They want it to be free of denominationalism and separation. The final separation won’t happen until the consummation of the kingdom. But there are at least five problems with that way of telling the story. There were doctrinal failures—legalism (Galatians and Hebrews), false spirituality (Colossians), and pretentious, heartless religion (Ephesians; see Rev. 2:1–7). There was no golden age. How was it for them? & Historical Theology. And it's one that I hear from almost all of my students. But each generation has its own voice, and we silence those voices to our own detriment. Even the name suggests that nothing good really happened during this time. Every cherished Golden Age had its share of problems. Everyone thinks the players they grew up watching represent the golden era of the NBA. To that end, He prayed to the Father to “keep them in your name, which you have given me” (John 17:11). A Forgotten Golden Age. The first Christians dealt with moral failure—sexual immorality (Romans and Corinthians), greed and dishonest gain (Jude), disunity and quarrels (Philippians and James), and laziness (Thessalonians). At some point in history, the church got things right. And the same could be said for every Golden Age. In the summer of 1949, the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merged to form the National Basketball Association (NBA), a league made up of seventeen teams. Even North American and Europe have seen God working in incredible ways. Someone slept through their history classes. The brilliant light from the halo blinds them to the flaws and foibles of that age. Bill Russell, for instance, played for the Boston Celtics beginning in 1956, bringing eleven championships to the franchise in his thirteen-year career. People romanticize a particular era. We would do well to reform our piety and practice to better conform to Scripture, which reform perhaps was modeled better by previous generations of Christians. All rights reserved. Start your review of The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died. Even the great Reformers of the 16th century struggled with infighting, jealousy, arrogance, and even outright persecution and violence. An eternal hopefulness lived in the heart of the great prophets, like a light shining in a dark place, amidst all the scenes of national sin and depression. & Historical Theology. Will there be a Golden Age before Christ Returns by Lee Irons, B.A., M.Div. C. The Spirit who made the ascended Christ present to them in and through those means is the same Spirit who does so for us today. Bruised, battered, and broken, but still God's people. That fascinates me. During these periods, you still have the faithful minority, the Christians who reflect the values of the Golden Age and somehow manage to eke out a faithful existence among the depraved majority. It is believed that we have in these verses a very ancient oracle, first delivered by the earlier prophet Joel (see Joel 3:10), and from him repeated by Isaiah and Micah (Micah 4:1-4). 3. Churches in South America, Africa, and Asia have exploded with new conversions, spreading their influence in ways no one would have thought possible even a single generation earlier. Instead, they all wrote about the great challenges and terrible failures of the day. In fact, if you were to analyze the history of basketball, it wouldn’t be difficult to divide the NBA into eras based on players whose presence significantly changed the game. Who were the mendicants, where did they come from, and how did they forever change the Church? 1:6). 3:12). They want the church to be more “Apostolic.” They want it to be more communal (see Acts 2:44). Even the great Reformers of the 16th century struggled with infighting, jealousy, arrogance, and even outright persecution and violence. If you don’t believe me, try to reason with a Chicago native (like me) that LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan, and he’ll chronicle Jordan’s career as if he never missed a shot. Chronicling the NBA in terms of its greatest players also misses the point that each era has its drawbacks. Visit him at marccortez.com. (I’m not saying that we should, of course, just that it wouldn’t be an unreasonable claim.). What’s the difference, then? The Arch of Constantine borrowed elements from other monuments to show that Constantine was a good emperor just like _____ who represented a golden age. And the reason this generation really stands out is because the other generations got things so badly wrong. Discouragement with the state of the modern church and an overly optimistic view of church history have caused some Christians to believe that the church once had a golden age. The Golden Age mentality is geocentric. THE "GOLDEN AGE" OF PRE-CHRISTIAN ERINN. As I said earlier, I find it fascinating that no one ever lists our own age as one of the Golden Ages of the church. But this is a far cry from direct decrees to kill or subdue nonbelievers because of their unbelief. The early Christians faithfully employed the divinely ordained means of grace (v. 42), they shared the gospel with deep fervor, they exhibited tremendous generosity, and so forth. At this point in the story, every student agrees on one thing: we are not in a Golden Age now. Aaron L. Garriott (@AaronGarriott) is managing editor of Tabletalk magazine, resident adjunct professor at Reformation Bible College, and a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. 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