Schisms, Reformation, Recovery & Renewal
by Allan Carlson
Christendom was torn by two great schisms. The first came in 1054, when disagreements over the precise nature of the Trinity and papal preeminence led to mutual excommunications by Patriarch Michael Cerularius in Constantinople and Pope Leo IX in Rome. The second came in 1517, when the Augustinian monk and theologian Martin Luther challenged church doctrines pertaining to redemption and salvation, which quickly devolved into a full rejection of papal authority.
In both cases, Christian rupture occurred at a time of mounting pressure from Islam. In the eleventh century, it came from the Seljuk Turks, tribes that were moving into Christian Anatolia. In the sixteenth century, the new force came from the Ottoman Turks, whose armies had conquered Constantinople, overrun the whole of the Balkans, and hungered for Vienna.
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Allan C. Carlson is the John Howard Distinguished Senior Fellow at the International Organization for the Family. His most recent book is Family Cycles: Strength, Decline & Renewal in American Domestic Life, 1630-2000 (Transaction, 2016). He and his wife have four grown children and nine grandchildren. A "cradle Lutheran," he worships in a congregation of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. He is a senior editor for Touchstone.
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