Peter Toon on Postmodernity & Asceticism
Why do we refer to a lengthy period of Western European history, from the early Middle Ages through the Reformation, as “Christendom”? Not because every person in that period, or even the majority of people, were living virtuous lives, obeying the commandments of Christ Jesus.
We call it Christendom for several reasons. (The word means “the Christian jurisdiction” or “the place where Christianity prevails.”) First, everyone was baptized in the Name of the Holy Trinity. Second, history was universally seen as beginning with the Creation and then the Fall, as centering upon the Incarnation, and as ending with the Second Coming of Christ Jesus and the Final Judgment. Third, the Christian Festivals, including the weekly Lord’s Day (Sunday), gave meaning to the days and weeks and months of the year. Public worship was central to life.
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