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Middle Ages Theology

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10)  Historical Evidence...
       from Marco Belmonte

Dear Family,

I wanted to share with you guys something I found in a class I'm taking.
It's European History, and I can't tell you how fascinating it is!

The textbook that is used for this class is called "Western Civilization",
written by Jackson J. Spielvogel. It's a secular textbook that would be
used in any university, or by anyone interested in historical references.
Right now, I'm studying The Middle Ages, and obviously, a lot of
information is given on the rise of Roman Christianity, and how Catholic
monks and missionaries help convert pagans to Catholicism. You can imagine
how I almost fell out of my chair when I read the following:

"It is difficult to asses what Christianity meant to the converted pagans,
especially the peasants on whom the Irish and English monks expended their

greatest efforts. As Pope Gregory had recommended, Christian beliefs and
values were usually superimposed on older pagan customs. Though effective
in producing quick conversions, it is an open question how much people
actually understood Christian theology. Popular belief tended to focus on
God as a judge who needed to be appeased to avert disasters in daily life
and gain salvation. Except for the promise of salvation, such an image of
God was not all that different from Roman religious practices." (page 176)

Is this unbelievable or what? This has no religious bias in it! This is a
simple paragraph from a history book! It seems to me that the
forensic/legal viewpoint has direct roots seeded deeply in pagan and
Catholic culture.

The book goes on to describe how one early Christian writer (160 AD) named
Tertullian had denounced all secular knowledge as being from The Devil,
and "The Bible contained all the knowledge anyone would need". Of course,
this tells me that Satan was already trying to stop the use of reason as a
methodology to Christianity. Fortunately, there were those people at the
time like our learned friend Dr. Maxwell that refused to take this view.
They were called Neoplatonists and they believed that "one could use
reason to perceive the link between the invisible spiritual world and the
visible material world". They fought against the suppression of classical
education, and said that it was only through application of science
(that's not what they called it) and Biblical knowledge that one
could come to know spiritual truth!

I am absolutely blown away by what history has shown me today, and I'm
fully convinced that this Truth About God is the everlasting gospel that
Paul talks about!

So much of what I read today jives with what Dr. Maxwell has talked about
on his tapes. I remember him always saying that the use of reason is our
God given ability to come to conclusions like "doing what is right because
it is right!". He talks about how we should use the same line of thought
to weigh biblical evidence as we would scientific information.

We as Seventh-Day Adventists should NOT be discouraged by the infiltration
of the forensic perspective. History is simply repeating itself! The good
news is, that my God is so great, that He can even use the forensic
perspective to win people to Himself! PRAISE GOD! And when those people
that have grown up with the legal viewpoint start looking for something
even more... That's where we come in! If AGM has done anything for me,
it's the example he has set for me concerning how I should share my faith.
Patiently, non-threatening, and humbly. I never have to contrast someone
elses viewpoint in the sharing of my own.

I love you guys,

- Marco

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