College Notes
Church History
Lecture 12


I. AMBROSE - 340-400 A.D.

A.  Greatest Contribution - was instrumental in conversion of Augustine (the greatest of all Catholic fathers).
B.  Bridges the gap to solidify Christianity in Roman Empire.
C.  Great fathers of Catholic church - became Bishop of Milan   
D.  Italian, Citizen of Rome
F.  Very successful orator.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Saint Ambrose was "bishop of Milan, one of the most eminent fathers of the church in the 4th century,  (he) was a citizen of Rome, born about 337-340 in Treves, where his father was prefect of Gallia Narbonensis.... A man of pure character, vigorous mind, unwary zeal and uncommon generosity, Ambrose ranks high among the fathers of the ancient church on many counts. His chief faults were ambition and bigotry.... In 374 Auxentius, bishop of Milan, died, and the orthodox and Arian parties contended for the succession.   An address delivered to them at this crisis by Ambrose led to his being acclaimed as the only competent occupant of the see, though hitherto only a catechumen, he was baptized, and a few days saw him duly installed as bishop of Milan.

G.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition Ambrose fought Arianism with diligence and zeal:

The eloquence of Ambrose soon found ample scope in the dispute between the Arians and the orthodox or Catholic party, whose cause the new bishop espoused.... The increasing strength of the Arians proved a formidable task for Ambrose. In 384 the young emperor and his mother Justina, along with a considerable number of clergy and laity professing the Arian faith, requested from the bishop the use of two churches, one in the city, the other in the suburbs of Milan. Ambrose refused, and was required to answer for his conduct before the council.   He went, attended by a numerous crowd of people, whose impetuous zeal so overawed the ministers of Valentinian that he was permitted to retire without making the surrender of the churches. The day following, when he was performing divine service in the Basilica, the prefect of the city came to persuade him to give up at least the Portian church in the suburbs. As he still continued obstinate, the court proceeded to violent measures:   (Ambrose’s response was) "If you demand my person, I am ready to submit: carry me to prison or to death, I will not call upon the people to succor me; I will die at the foot of the altar rather than desert it. The tumult of the people I will not encourage:  but God alone can appease it."

H. He was powerful politically as well According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition:

Although the court was displeased with the religious principles and conduct of Ambrose, it respected his great political talents; and when necessity required, his aid was solicited and generously granted.

And according to the book Western Theologins:
When Theodosius became master of Italy he still found in Milan a man whom no imperial power could bend. Some monks had destroyed a Jewish synagogue, and the emperor ordered that it should be rebuilt at their expense. Ambrose interfered, counting it a disgrace that Christian funds should be employed for erecting an unchristian sanctuary. The emperor persisted, until the   bishop preached against him, threatening excommunication, on which Theodosius gave way. On another occasion the emperor was   actually excommunicated by Ambrose. Sedition in Thessalonica had been followed by a cruel massacre; and the emperor, who had ordered the deed, presenting himself on his return to Milan as usual for communion, was refused entrance to the church, Ambrose severely rebuking him. For eight months the imperial penitent was debarred access to the Table; he was then absolved by the bishop, but on presenting himself (as usual with the emperor) within the rails, among the clergy, to communicate, Ambrose sent to him a deacon, bidding him to stand without, adding 'the purple makes men emperors, but it does not make them priests!" Theodosius meekly submitted to this crowning humiliation, and all questions as to the bishop's supremacy was at an end.

I.  Ambrose was a teacher of Neo-Platonian thought.
1. This was Complex philosophical doctrine of the 3rd century A.D.
2. It is derived from the Dialogues of Plato
     a. Holds that there is only one reality
     b. Everything emanates from this great cause
     c. Mind and soul come from it all else physical is lower on the scale
     d. To reach the good one must turn into oneself in contemplation
     e. He taught Augustine:

  "Look into your self and you will find God"

   3. The result was a doctrine that the way to God must be through escape from the flesh

A. He was one of the 4 great doctors of the Church

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition:

"No single name has ever exercised such power over the Christian Church, and no one mind ever made so deep an impression upon Christian thought.... The judgment of Catholics still proclaims the ideas of Augustine as the only sound basis of philosophy."

B. He fused the religion of the NT with Platonic teaching of the Greek philosophers 
C. Background and Education:
1. Father was pagan, mother was Christian.
2. From N. Africa the area that is now Algeria
3. Born Nov. 13 354
4. He was a Canaanite
5. His name was Aurelius Augustinus
6. His mother's name was Monica
7. When she was later canonized she became Saint Monica
    8. The city Santa Monica named after her
9. Educated at University of Carthage.
10. Brilliant orator - highly educated.
     a. At first thought the Bible was full of contradictions

From The Confessions of St. Augustine, translated by J.G. Pilkington, we read:

"I resolved, therefore, to direct my mind to the Holy Scriptures, that I might see what they were. And behold, I perceive something not comprehended by the proud, not disclosed to children, but lowly as you approach, sublime as you advance, and veiled in mysteries; and I was not of the number of those who could enter into it, or bend my neck to follow its steps. For not as when now I speak did I feel when I turned towards those Scriptures, but they appeared to me to be unworthy to be compared with the dignity of Tully; for my inflated pride shunned their style, nor could the sharpness of my wit pierce their inner meaning. Yet, truly, were they such as would develop in little ones; but I scorned to be a little one, and, swollen with pride, I looked upon myself as a great one."  p. 47 

        b. Augustine was Influence by Manichaeism
         1. Featured Dualism
         2. The elect were to become perfect and to do so they were to live a very strict austere life with celibacy

        c. Finally he found this religion too intellectually weak to answer his questions           

The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, says:

"His insatiable imagination drew congenial food from the fanciful religious world of the Manichaeans, decked out as this was with the luxuriant wealth of Oriental myth.   His strongly developed sense of a need of salvation   sought satisfaction in the contest of the two principles of Good and Evil, and found peace, at least for the moment, in the conviction that the portions of light present in him would be freed from the darkness in which they were immersed.   The ideal of chastity and self-restraint, which promised a foretaste of union with God, amazed him, bound as he was in the fetter of sensuality and for ever shaking at these feeters.  But while his moral force was not sufficient for the attainment of this ideal, gradually everything else which Manichaeism seemed to offer him dissolved before his criticism.   Increasingly occupied with the exact sciences, he learnt the incompatibility of the Manichaean astrology with the facts." P. 907

    11. Lived an immoral life, which started with an illegitimate child in his teens.

From The Confessions of St. Augustine, we read:
"To Carthage I came, where a cauldron of unholy loves bubbled up all around me. I loved not as yet, yet I loved to love; and, with a hidden want, I abhorred myself that I wanted not. I searched about for something to love, in love with loving, and hating security, and a way not beset with snares. For within me I had a dearth of that inward food, Thyself, my God, though that dearth caused me no hunger; but I remained without all desire for incorruptible food, not because I was already filled thereby, but the more empty I was the more I loathed it.   For this reason my soul was far from well, and, full of ulcers, it miserably cast itself forth, craving to be excited by contact with objects of sense. Yet, had these no soul, they would not surely inspire love. To love and to be loved was sweet to me, and all the more when I succeeded in enjoying the person I loved.   I befouled, therefore, the spring of friendship with the filth of concupiscence, and I dimmed its lustre with the hell of lustfulness; and yet, foul and dishonourable as I was, I craved, through an excess of vanity, to be thought elegant and urbane.  I fell precipitately, then, into   the   love in which I longed to be ensnared." P. 41


In another place Augustine explains in The Confessions:
"Meanwhile my sins were being multiplied, and my mistress being torn form my side as an impediment to my marriage, my heart, which clave to her, was racked, and wounded, and bleeding. And she went back to Africa, making a vow unto Thee never to know another man, leaving with me my natural son by her.  But I, unhappy one, who could not imitate a woman, impatient of delay, since it was not until two years’ time I was to obtain her I sought, -not so much a lover of marriage as a slave to lust, - procured another (not a wife, though), that so by the bondage of a lasting habit the disease of my soul might be nursed up, and kept up in its vigour, or even increased, into the kingdom of marriage.   Nor was that wound of mine as yet cured which had caused by the separation from my   former mistress, but after inflammation and most acute anguish it mortified, and the pain became numbed, but more desperate." P.13O-131

B.  Conversion.
1.  Studied at Rome and while there met Ambrose.
2.  Converted as a result of meeting Ambrose.
3.  Baptized on Easter - 387 A.D.
     a. He used the term "born again" to refer to his baptism


From The Confessions of St. Augustine, we read:
"Thence, when the time had arrived at which I was to give my name, having left the country, we returned to Milan. Alypius also was pleased to be born again with me in Thee, being now clothed with the humility appropriate to Thy sacraments, and being so brave a tamer of the body, as with unusual fortitude to tread the frozen soil of Italy with his naked feet.  We took into our company the boy Adeodatus, born of me carnally, of my    sin." p. 198

The Confessions of St. Augustine reveal that his change came after a religious experience:
"I was saying these things and weeping in the most bitter contrition of my heart, when, lo, I heard the voice as of a boy or girl, I know not which, coming from a neighbouring house, chanting, and oft repeating, "Take up and read; take up and read." Immediately my countenance was changed, and I began most earnestly to consider whether it was usual for children in any kind of game to sing such words; nor could I remember ever to have heard the like.  So, restraining the torrent of my tears, I rose up, interpreting it in no other way than as a command to me from Heaven to open the book, and to read the first chapter I should light upon.   For I had heard of Antony, that, accidentally coming in whilst the gospel was being read, he received the admonition as if what was read were addressed to him,  "Go, and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and follow me."  And by such oracle was he forthwith converted unto Thee. So quickly I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting; for there had I put down the volume of the apostles, when I rose thence.  I grasped, opened, and in silence read that paragraph on which my eyes first fell, --"Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lust thereof."  No further would I read, nor did I need; for instantly, as the sentence ended, - by a light, as it were, of security into my heart, - all the gloom of doubt vanished away." P.186

    4.  Lived a celibate life in semi-seclusion to study.

-  Thus the development of celibacy and monastic orders

C.  Doctrines:
1.  Asceticism - life of self-denial became part of the Roman Catholic Church.
2.  Development of a deep sense of sinfulness - thought man was different before the fall of Adam.
3.  Pelagian Controversy with Augustine:
     a.  Augustine felt babies were born in sin
     b.  Pelagius disagreed, and was against uterine baptisms
    4.  Augustine's most significant contribution:
     a.  Any other use of sex other than for procreation was considered venial sin
     b.  All sexual desire tainted by concupiscence

Mr. Armstrong, in The Missing Dimension In Sex, wrote this of Augustine:

"Augustine's conscience was wracked with guilt over his fornication and sex vices. He NEVER MARRIED. He largely influenced the establishment of priesthood celibacy. He was not without quantitative sex experience. But all that experience was motivated    by concupiscence. He never experienced the GIVING of love in marriage. He knew NOTHING of its happy and blissful joys. All he knew, by experience, was inordinate, self-desire, followed by the conscience-stricken pangs of self-condemnation and guilt.   Such men never experienced that clean, wholesome, LOVE of a pure wife, mingled with respect, admiration, high regard, esteem and honor. P.110

        c.  I Cor 7:1-5 God says we are marry to avoid fornication
     d.  Marriage is a command (read in Moffatt)  

Mr. Armstrong, in The Missing Dimension In Sex, continues:

"Now read it with the false modesty stripped away, in the Moffatt translation, "The husband must give the wife her conjugal dues, and the wife in the same way must give the husband his..." And the word "conjugal” means sexual or marital." p. 106

    5.  Concept that the church is the Kingdom of God...
     a. His masterpiece was The City Of God
         1. In it he combated the belief of the Pagans that Rome was destroyed because the people had change from the pagan gods to Christianity
         2. Charlemagne loved to have this work read to him
         3. It showed the world was in two camps the world and the City of God the Church
                a. Feel they have control of the state

According to A History of THE END of the World, by Yuri Rubinshy and Ian Wiseman, Augustine explained that:

"The church now on earth is both the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of heaven."    p. 59

            b. Justification of wars and crusades
         c. Anything done by the church is justifiable to get people to recant of heresy
D.  Augustine regarded as 2nd only to the Apostle Paul.

III.  BOGOMILS - 900-1400 A.D.
A.  Origin and Location:
1.  The people of God may have been among the Bogomils and the Paulicians.
2.  Bogomils moved from Asia Minor into S. Europe.

The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition, says:

"It is a complicated task to determine the true character and the tenets of any ancient sect, considering that almost all the information that has reached us has come from the opponents.... The Bogomils were without doubt the connecting link between the so-called heretical sects of the East and those of the West. They were, moreover, the most active agents in disseminating such teachings in Russia and among all the nations of Europe.   They may have found in some places a soil already prepared by more ancient tenets, which had been preserved in spite of the persecution of the official Church. P.119[1] 

B.  Strong anti-Catholic movement.
C.  Strange doctrine of dualism - good vs. evil.
D.  Origin of Name - 3 Theories:
1.  Combination of two Slavic words meaning "Lord have mercy".
2.  Derivation of Bogomil - "beloved of God, friends of God".
3.  Named after man called Bogomilly.

According to the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, by James Hastings, M.A., D.D, vol. 2, Arthur Bunyan:

The origin of the name has been usually found in the frequent use by them of the two Slavic words Bog milui, ‘Lord, has mercy.' A more likely explanation derives it from Bogumil,  'Beloved of God,' in which case it may be taken to denote the idea of a pious community analogous to the  (later) 'Friends of God' (q.v.) in Germany. But not less probable is its derivation from a personal name. Two early Bulgarian MSS have been discovered which are confirmatory of each other in the common point that a 'pope' Bogomile was the first to promulgate the ‘heresy’ in the vulgar tongue under the Bulgarian Tsar Peter, who ruled from 927 to 968. This would seem to afford a surer clue to the name, and (if correct) puts back the active emergence of the movement to the middle of the 10th century. p. 784

E.  Doctrines:
1.  Rejected Mosaic books of the Old Testament.
     a.  Accepted Psalms, Proverbs, and the four gospels
     b.  Accepted most of the rest of the Bible
2.  Anti-Trinitarian:
     a.  Satan was firstborn, then Christ was created - Docetistic in nature
     b.  Satan rebelled and took other Angels with him, and became god of this world - named Satanel|
    3.  Life created by Satan.
4.  Most men have been deceived by Satan.
    5.  Christ conceived by archangel Michael through Mary's ear.
6.  Christ overcame Satan, and qualified to rule.
7.  They were originally successors of the apostles.
8.  Rejected Roman Catholic means of baptism.
9.  Rejected Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation.
1O.  Believed temples of Catholic church to be houses of demons.
11.  Didn't have to have spiritual place to worship.
12.  Believed in power to cast out demons.
13.  Abhorred "Mary" worship - that to idols.

Green’s Handbook of Church History says this about a community that called themselves Christian, they were..."praying people, who had in various ways attempted to solve the mystery of evil, and to counteract the temptations of the flesh by ascetic methods, without the aid of recognized religious   methods and   institutions.    The Bogomils worshipped in private houses and in the open air. They were of two classes, the 'believers' and the 'perfect.'  The latter, to cultivate the higher life, abstained from matrimony as well as from animal food and from fermented liquors. They were instructors of the young, visitors of the sick, but were all required to take a share of manual labour.  Women as well as men might preach. Oaths were strictly forbidden, and all war was regarded as sinful.  Their doctrinal opinions are set forth at large by Euthymius Zigabenus in his Panoplia, probably with substantial correctness, although again it must be remembered that it is an enemy who writes. 


In their system, the evil principle appeared in Satanael, a Son of God, who had revolted through pride, and had formed man, into whom God Himself infused the breath of life.   Through man's material part, which, as the work of Satanael, was wholly evil, human nature became depraved, until another Son of God, the Logos, appeared for its redemption. The Incarnation was in appearance only, and was crowned by the Resurrection, or manifestation of the Logos, when Satanael was conquered and bound.   To be saved was to be made partakers of the Logos, the giver of the true life.  The Bogomils placed St. John’s Gospel above all the rest of Scripture, the great part of which they interpreted allegorically. Unlike the Paulicians, they altogether rejected water baptism, believing only in the baptism of the Spirit. The mass was, in their view, a sacrifice presented to demons; the true Eucharist was spiritual nourishment by the bread of life. Veneration of relics and images, the sign of the cross, and even the consecration of buildings for worship were abhorrent to them." p. 424, 425

F.  Great persecution.
    1.  Martyrdom - 1100-1150 A.D.

In his book Ecclesiastical History, Mosheim writes:

"...The Bogomils...founder, one Basil, a monk, when he could not be reclaimed, was burned alive at Constantinople under the emperor, Alexius Comnenus. The emperor devised a singular method for detecting the opinions of this man which would do honor to the inquisition.... Basil had, after the example of Christ, twelve of his followers as his apostles in order to propagate his doctrines. One of these, named Dibladuius, was arrested and he acknowledged that Basil was at the head of the sect. Basil was accordingly searched out and brought to the emperor who received him very flatteringly, admitted him to his table and called him his very dear father. Thus deceived, Basil disclosed to the emperor all the mysteries of his sect and the emperor caused the whole disclosure to be written down by a stenographer who was concealed in a chamber for the purpose. The emperor then laid aside the character of a learner and attempted to confute the opinions of the enthusiast. He defended himself vigorously and was not to be terrified by menaces of death. Upon this, the emperor commanded all Bogomils who persevered in their opinions, to be burned alive. Among these, Basil was one and was burned. This account was given to us by Anna Comnena in the passage referred to in the following note, daughter of the same emperor."

    2.  A great deal succumb to the Catholic demands.
3.  Some in Bosnia later converted to Islam 

The Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition says:

"These were noted heretics and were persecuted by the Greek Church with fire and sword. The empress Theodora killed drowned or hanged no fewer than 100,000. In the 10th century the emperor John Cimices, himself of Armenian origin, transplanted them in the neighborhood of Philippopolis, which henceforth became the centre of a far-reaching propaganda.... The popes in Rome whilst leading the Crusade against the Albigenses did not forget their counterpart in the Balkans and recommended the annihilation of the heretics. 

"The Bogomils spread westwards, and settled first in Serbia; but at the end of the 12th century Stephen Nemanya, king of Serbia, persecuted them and expelled them from the country. Large numbers took refuge in Bosnia, where they were known under the name   of Patarenes." p. 120

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