From Renaissance (Humanism) To the Reformation b - RR160D8b

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Lesson[edit]

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: From Renaisssance (Humanism) to the Reformation_b
Course: Course - World History
Subject: Subject:History
Lesson#: 15
Length: 0:46:23
TapeCode: RR160D8b
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
World History.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission.


To be the ruler. His interest in theology remained all his life, a very devout Roman Catholic in his theology. As a matter of fact he gained the title Defender of the Faith for his book against Luther. That title, Defender of the Faith, was given to the English crown as a hereditary thing by the Pope. It has now been dropped by Elizabeth which is very interesting. You used to find the Latin abbreviation for Defender of the Faith on many of the coins including Canadian coins until not too many years ago but it’s been dropped. Now Henry’s problem was this: he was brilliant, he was intelligent, he was a humanist, a Renaissance scholar, he had learned his lesson well. And what he realized was I have all this power, I am the philosopher king, I can do as I please and there’s no law that can bind me. It was Henry’s very intelligence that took him the course that it did. Men of lesser intelligence would have been less ready to throw aside laws and his father had been a hard money man who made England very very wealthy with his emphasis on gold. Henry thought ‘well if man makes laws and I can make any law I choose why not copper coins with a little bit gold wash on them to get by with the people’ and of course those coins began to wear out very quickly and since with his image on them the nose was that which was most prominent, the gold wash would wear off on the nose first and so they began to call him, looking at those images, old copper nose. [00:03:15]

He debauched the currency...[edit]

He debauched the currency. And it wasn’t until Queen Elizabeth’s day when Gresham told Elizabeth what was wrong with the money and the economy of England that they went back to hard money as a result of Gresham’s advice, known now as Gresham’s law. It was not original with him which is that bad money drives out good money. But because Henry had this power he utilized it in every area. He did some things that were gross, that were brutal, but it was because this superb mind believed that now I can do as I please and on the earth there is no one who has any right to oppose me nor can, he did become a tyrant. The danger of Henry VIII is precisely the danger with have in our day. And again men again are without faith, in fact having far less faith. And the more intelligent the man in government who has this humanistic perspective the more readily he will use power without any scruples. Now Henry VIII we are told divorced Catherine in order to marry Anne Boleyn with whom he was having a flaming affair and this is why he got his divorce, this is not true. Anne Boleyn was probably only seven years old when he filed for the divorce. The action took a number of years, it was not because he didn’t love Catherine any longer, as a matter of fact the one queen he perhaps loved right to her death was Catherine. Catherine was quite a remarkable woman, she had a neurotic streak which ran in the family, she was the daughter of Isabella of Spain, and her sister was known as Joanna the Mad, another queen, she was not mad, she was framed by her father, Ferdinand, who was a viscous ugly character, that’s another story, but there definitely was a neurotic streak in the family. [00:06:05]

She was extremely devout and she was heavily used by...[edit]

She was extremely devout and she was heavily used by her father, so that through her chaplain who was being instructed by Ferdinand and through various counselors and advisors she was giving pro-Spanish ideas to Henry so that more than once in foreign policy Henry did things that were damaging to England to help out his father in law who then would leave him in the lurch and betray him. But even then Henry never lost his respect for Catherine although she made a fool out him more than once to please her father. The reason was this: Henry’s father had not been a prince. He had gained the crown as a result of a long struggle, a civil war in England. There was a danger that there would be another civil war, a bitter struggle to gain power if there were no male heir. And so Henry felt I’ve got to have a male heir, I’ve got to have one. And this was the issue that he presented to the pope. He said England is faced with great dangers, one of the dangers is that the Reformation could sneak in here from Germany if I don’t have a male heir and if a civil war develops. Catherine is passed the time for childbearing, therefore, I need an annulment of the marriage to her so I can have a male heir, there’s only a sickly daughter, Mary, and she was sickly and she died after not too many years as Queen. The pope was sympathetic to Henry, he agreed with him, but there was a problem, Italy was run by Spain and was the Spanish crown going to see one of the girls of the family set aside and not take it out on the pope? So he had a practical problem, you see, I can’t give you an annulment, they are right on my neck and of course finally the sack of Rome did come about at a later date, worse than the one by the barbarians when Rome fell in 410 A.D. [00:08:46]

So the pope’s suggestion was...[edit]

So the pope’s suggestion was: don’t divorce her or have the marriage annulled, just take a second wife, I’ll make polygamy legal in your case. Well Henry thought it over and he didn’t like the idea. He said no, I don’t want a polygamous marriage, I just want one woman, but I want a younger woman by whom I can have a son. Now that was the real issue. And that’s what he kept hoping for, a son that he could leave the realm to. Edward the 6th was born subsequently, I think by the fourth or fifth wife who died subsequently but Edward was also a sickly child. The only healthy child of the three that he had was Elizabeth, who was quite vigorous. This then was the key to Henry’s acts. He was not a sentimental fool. He who was going to tear the country apart because he loved a woman, this is the modern perspective reading it back into history, he was concerned about the future of the kingdom and he wanted a male heir. He did not want a reformation, Cramer wanted it, this is why Henry VIII burned the Protestants during his reign as heretics but he hung the Catholics as traitors. [Laughter] It was a point he was very insistent on, he never burned the Catholics, they were not heretics, the Protestants were. So he hung them or beheaded the Catholics as traitors but he burned the Protestants as heretics. The English Reformation thus was a very, very difficult one. The puritan movement was a part of the movement within the English church, we don’t have time to go into that now but the English church finally was broken for some time to come under Charles II. Under Charles I under Cromwell the Laudians and Charles of course and his Queen Henrietta wanted to return the church to Rome. Charles II was a secret Catholic and James II an open one. And what they did was first to drive out the puritans and that led to the formation of the Presbyterian Church, the Presbyterian Church of England came right out of the Episcopal or the Church of England and then they drove out the non-juror bishops so that the men of faith on both sides were driven out and only political bishops left, or created, in order to lead the church back to Rome. [00:12:16]

But of course then you had the revolution of ...[edit]

But of course then you had the revolution of 1688 and William and Mary came over, but the crown control of the church remained. This has been a chronic problem in the Church of England. So that the future of the Church of England is still questionable as far as any kind of real future in terms of its basic faith, 39 articles in the Prayer book are concerned. It will probably have to be a new movement of some sort which will then revitalize what is existing. We’ll go into later the similar decay in the Lutheran and Reformed churches. Very briefly to pass on, because our time is limited, in Scotland the Reformation was led by John Knox who had gone to Geneva and learned Reformation doctrine there. Scotland had long been a problem to England and Scotland by and large was very close to France. The Scotch and the France throughout the Middle Ages were usually in alliance as against the English. Scotland represented a politically difficult kingdom, very few kings died a natural death because the clan organization of Scotland was more basic than the crown and this led to a heavily undisciplined situation. Very, very commonly in the history of Scotland prior to the Reformation the Scotch who could usually wipe out any English army began to falter after Edward I and Edward II began to train disciplined organized British troops. This was the failing of the Scotch throughout that entire area, the lack of discipline. They were given to wild charges and as a result England very frequently dominated Scotland. [00:14:52]

With the Reformation however the wild nature of the...[edit]

With the Reformation however the wild nature of the Scots, the most feared people of Europe because they were regarded as almost impossible with their wildness, it was the country of the real barbarians as far as the rest of Europe was concerned, because of their continual switching of sides, became the most disciplined area of Europe. They became the empire builders for Britain, they became the back bone of the imperial armies of the British empire. You’ve perhaps heard the remark of one British general when Canada was taken from the French, “You put the Scotchmen up in the front lines because her Majesties enemies were always expendable.” [Laughter]. However this policy only led to victory over and over again and the Scotch became the empire builders. An anthropologist has said that the two people who have done more in more parts of the world, accomplished more, than all others by considerable margin are the Scotch and the Jews. There’s scarcely a part of the world where you can go without finding the Scotch and the Jews very much running things. Moreover, another interesting fact that goes along with that, people can go to different countries and lose their accent and learn the language and become very much one of the people except for the Scotch, they never lose the Scotch burr when they immigrate. And racially anthropologists say the Scotch to this day have maintained their ancient Celtic distinctiveness. They have never fully become integrated as it were with any of the other peoples. Scottish history is a very, very remarkable and interesting story, it would be tempting to take time to go into it but our time is short, let us go on now to the counter-Reformation and the Council of Trent. [00:17:45]

Now the counter-Reformation within the Church of Rome...[edit]

Now the counter-Reformation within the Church of Rome is very important for us to understand. Why had the Reformation come about and what was the problem. Well, as the medieval period developed more and more within the Roman communion alien doctrines began to creep in, against which of course, the Reformers protested. But even more that which developed was the increasing power of the Vatican so that you had both in church and state the development of the doctrine of divine right, the divine right of kings, the divine right of the popes or of the papacy. So that the popes progressively claimed to speak for God and to speak infallibly, papal infallibility was a doctrine that developed in the medieval period. This papal power prevented grassroots reform during the medieval period, progressively. Earlier there had been all kinds of false doctrines that had crept in again and again and again. But repeatedly there had been grass roots reform within the medieval church. Now it had been stifled. Let me say parenthetically this is the problem in Protestantism today, is it not? Power has gone into the hands of general assemblies and the denominational authorities or bishops and so on, not in the hands of the local church as it was in the early medieval period. And as a result the possibility of reform has been stifled. It’s been choked off and this is why just as with the Reformation it had to be a movement outside the old church again reform will have to be outside the established structure of the church because the control chokes off the possibility of inner-reformation. Well this is what the Vatican had done. It had choked off any possibility of reform. Its control was so thorough. But the Reformation gave Catholics a chance. Because with northern Europe and England and Scotland having gone with the Reformation the Holy Roman Empire could say to the Vatican, look, this is all because you’ve done nothing to bring about reform, we’ve got to have a general council of the church to reform things. [00:20:55]

Now the Vatican did not want one but the emperor forced...[edit]

Now the Vatican did not want one but the emperor forced the calling of the Council of Trent on the Vatican. A counter reformation was only possible when this was done. Now the Council of Trent was some years in session because the pope was doing everything to frustrate it. What it did do was to clean up a lot of the immorality of the priests and a lot of the misconduct and the Vatican as well. The Council of Trent did bring about a moral reformation within the Catholic Church. However, it established those dogmas that had grown up during the medieval period. So that it was not a return to the faith of the early church or to biblical faith, it was simply confirming the faith, but they did give priority to that faith over the pope. In other words, that Trent emphatically said is: that the faith however wrongly they interpreted it is prior to the pope. As a result the Vatican and the papacy declined in power from the Council of Trent to the time of Napoleon. What happened? Well Napoleon destroyed the emperor of Austria who was the Holy Roman Emperor, Francis, the son of Maria Teresa, who didn’t have the common sense that his mother did. He was a good man but he lacked his mother’s common sense and again and again when Napoleon gave him every chance to be at peace he allowed England and others to push him into action and he would take the first beating. So the Holy Roman Empire collapsed. Now the [Hamburg’s] had controlled the Vatican, they kept it from getting out of line. Their concern had been to keep the Catholic Church pure of moral corruption and to keep the Vatican from trying to dominate the churches, so the local churches all had a great deal more freedom. Then Napoleon as ruler controlled the pope, he even took the pope prisoner, but when napoleon fell the Vatican was free and the pope was free. What happened? [00:23:53]

Within a half a century the Vatican was ready to move...[edit]

Within a half a century the Vatican was ready to move and it called the first Vatican council. And what did they do? They defined papal infallibility. In other words they hadn’t learned a thing, they went right back to the doctrine with that they had corrupted and virtually destroyed the church. Now what did Pope John and Pope Paul did, Vatican Two. Now the whole point had been at Trent the priority of the faith over the pope. What did Vatican Two do? Well it subverted the Council of Trent, in other words, the counter-Reformation. The Baltimore catechism which is the Trident or Trent confession and catechism is not in print since Vatican Two. Father Newton in Kentucky is going to republish it so that conservative Catholics can have it but you see it was war against Trent by the Vatican, it was dropped immediately. The Latin Mass expressed the theology and the faith of the Council of Trent. Now to all practical intent that is suppressed. The few priests who perform it are usually bootlegging it and they are being threatened by bishops. It all adds up you see to war against the Council of Trent. And the changes, what’s their purpose? To subvert everything that a traditional catholic has affirmed. But out of it all, you see, what will remain is loyalty to the pope and this is the issue that is being fought out in catholic circles. You have loyal to the pope no matter what he says. This then is the direction that is now being taken and of course loyalty to the church, this same thesis that led to the Reformation and which today Vatican Two has in effect reaffirmed and the Vatican is affirming, the various protestant churches, Episcopal, Lutheran, Reformed, are emphasizing, loyalty to the church not loyalty to the faith. And this is why there is the systematic desecration in all these communions, Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Catholic, of that which long was regarded as essential to those particular churches. [00:27:09]

They are going to break them of any loyalty to that...[edit]

They are going to break them of any loyalty to that and replace it with loyalty to the church. As a result we must recognize that today we are again in the same position as the people in the years before Luther were. This time the paganism goes deeper, the totalitarianism in our part of the world does not go as deep as did then but it may. And again the hope is first that scholars working to make again the faith relevant to all of life may find among the people an answering response so that again there can be a true reformation. And this is why the Christian school movement is important, because it can create the answering response in the hearts of the people of the years ahead. Let us bow our heads in prayer.

Almighty God our Heavenly Father, we give thanks unto Thee that Thou art on the throne. And we beseech Thee that now again as men desecrate Thy church Thou wilt again revive Thy people as of old and reestablish Thy church and make again the supremacy of Thy word and the faith to be paramount in the hearts of people. Use us we beseech Thee to this purpose, in Jesus’s name, Amen.

An announcement before we have our questions, we will not have a class next week because of Christmas but we will meet two weeks from tonight and continue our study. [General talking]. Yes, the week before New Year’s, it will be, let’s see, twenty ninth? Something like that. Yes. Alright any questions now? [00:29:53]

[Unintelligible Question]...[edit]

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] Right. Yes.

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] Oh yes, right, right. Yes?

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] It does not follow today, no. There are some Lutherans that will believe in predestination but most do not. But Luther’s bondage of the will is the great all time classic on the doctrine of predestination. Luther formulated it, worked out the scriptural analysis of it, Calvin did not add much to it. It’s a great work, if you haven’t read it, it’s well worth reading, tremendous study. Yes?

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] Right, a friend of mine, now a professor in this country, is an ordained minister of the Church of England. He has not transferred to the Episcopal Church in this country and he said the orthodox churches in the Church of England today are those which are under local patronage, that is, from the early medieval period they are controlled by local lords or a local township or a local foundation which provides the funds and has the power to call the minister. And these are the orthodox ones, he says, and he said the bishops are very unhappy about these because the ministers are all orthodox. Very few of any of the others are but they cannot touch them to this day. And he feels that the hope for the future there is out of these particular churches. Yes? [00:32:53]

[Unintelligible Question]...[edit]

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] Yes, yes. But the question is, isn’t there always a remnant left, yes there is. But we must be aware of assuming that that remnant is necessarily within, you see. Very often the remnant separates itself in order to rebuild and then to influence again the church. Yes?

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] Yes that’s very true. The, some of these churches have retained some of the more conservative aspects longer than the Church of England.

[Same lady]

[Rushdoony] Yes…yes, well for example it was the Church of England and the Church in America that led the other episcopal churches in dropping the [unknown] creed and other things form the Prayer Book. So the others were far more conservative and you can see it to this day in the Canadian prayer book which is…[lady speaks] yes. Yes?

[Unintelligible Question] [00:35:53]

[Rushdoony] Yes, the question is about the play, The...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Yes, the question is about the play, The Man For All Seasons. I saw it in stage form rather than the movie and it was a very beautiful, a very powerful story, except that it was not historically accurate. [Laughter] The moral point of course was sound, the point that was made there. But Thomas Moore, Saint Thomas Moore as he is now called, was not being moved primarily by Christian considerations but rather by humanistic ones. Thomas Moore was one of Henry’s teachers as well as advisors. And he had both advised him against being too loyal to the pope earlier and in favor of asserting his power more independently. Moreover, Thomas Moore was a communist to the core, he wrote Utopia and Utopia is a vision of a communist society. He was moreover instead of being the fine sensitive person that he’s portrayed in the play, I think, a very crude and course man. Thus he in his book suggests that the best way to pick a wife is to examine her in the nude. And so when Sir Thomas Roper said he was interested in marrying one of his girls and suggested the same policy he took him into the bedroom where the girls were sleeping and their nighties had come up under their armpits so Thomas Moore just flipped back the bedding and they were lying on their back and they woke up and rolled over so Thomas Moore had a look at both of them on both sides and he reached over and slapped one in the fanny and said I’ll take that one and that was how the marriage was arranged. And now the only reason why Thomas Moore was made a saint and is magnified today by the Catholics is for political reasons. Here was someone who fought against the English crown, you see. Not for the right reasons, so let’s make a saint of him and very early he was promoted as anti-royal step. If they really wanted someone who would qualify in terms of Catholic standards for piety at all Henry VIII’s first wife Catherine would have far more readily qualified, she was a woman who would spend four to six hours on her knees in prayer every morning and for years Henry did it with her by the way, something very few people realize. [00:39:00]

So it was a beautiful play and I’m sure it was a beautiful...[edit]

So it was a beautiful play and I’m sure it was a beautiful picture and the point was a sound one, that a man should stand in terms of the faith, and it is true that Thomas Moore said a number of very moving things during the trial and later but he was good at that sort of thing but basically in his writings you see the man he is and he was nothing, he was a rather contemptible character. Yes?

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] No, it’s a part of the myth and Catholics are convinced that if the church says a man is good and holy, he is. Now I read one book of the works of Moore with a preface by a couple of Catholics who kept saying, well, don’t take them too seriously when he says this and don’t take him too seriously when he says that, as though the man wasn’t telling us what he meant when he was very emphatic about it and he certainly wasn’t kidding. He said what he meant and he did have a vision of a communist order. He was an egghead, and like all eggheads he felt that life could be planned on paper and the trouble with kings and politicians is that they don’t follow the plans we have so wonderfully developed. [Laughter] In other words he was the kind of person I dislike. [More laughter]. Well I better add that in case you hadn’t gotten the idea…yes?

[Unintelligible Question] [00:41:22]

[Rushdoony] Luther often was concerned with the law...[edit]

[Rushdoony] Luther often was concerned with the law but then he was not a systematic thinker, he often contradicted himself, he didn’t develop his position in terms of an overall theology, you see, in which things tied in together. Thus we often encounter people who are very good on one doctrine and then they’ll have some weird idea and they won’t put things together to make a unified picture and you try and tell them, well you are right in holding to that, but don’t you realize that this which you just said contradicts that? They won’t think systematically, consistently. Luther was a great man on fighting on an issue rather than seeing through to the totality of the picture. So he was a very wonderful, a very lovable person but he was also a very emotional and somewhat unstable person too. He was the kind who would get quite intensely worked up. Sometimes with very good results but sometimes very foolish. For example, he learned very early that it was the place to learn Hebrew the best was some of the Rabbis, so he went to them and was taught and he enjoyed their company very much, they were very friendly so there was a lot of reports where he thought oh we’re getting along so beautifully, I’m going to convert them. Well when he couldn’t he became so angry with them that he denounced them in language that would have delighted Hitler, you see. Now this is the way he was, and a great deal of some of Luther’s writings are very intemperate because he was the kind of man who would lose his temper very readily. And when you read Luther you’d better forget about outlining what he says because a good deal of the time he starts on something and it reminds him of something else and he goes from there to something else and from there to something else and from there to something else, so that he goes into every possible subject before he comes back to his original one or he might forget his original point. He was this way, tremendous insights, powerful great mind, in the Bondage of the Will, there he martials arguments systematically and goes through, he could do it but it wasn’t his emotional temperament. Yes? [00:44:17]

[Unintelligible Question]...[edit]

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] Yes that’s right. No.

[Unintelligible Question]

[Rushdoony] Yes well it’s easy to do that to him but he was a very great and a very lovable man. And as I say very often in his emotional outbursts he would say some very stupid and very foolish things. So it’s very easy for people who dislike Luther to go to him and make a fool out of him. But very often out of the spontaneity comes some of the most charming things. I like the letter he wrote after his marriage to a friend, you know, the story of his marriage is a delightful one because after he began the Reformation a lot of nuns left convents and it was a difficult life for them because very often their families, still being devout Catholics, would not have anything to do with them. But they having seen corruption in the convents and having read Luther’s writings would run to him. So he always had a lot of nuns on hand and he had a place to house them and he would very quickly try to find husbands for them and so on. And to get them rehabilitated in some area. And since the nuns in those days tended to be the daughters of prominent families these were no ordinary girls. So there was this one girl, Katharina von Bora,

[Tape ends]