This is Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International, with the History of Christianity Podcast #222, titled, “The Offensive Against Islam.”
When I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I somehow had the false idea that Christianity began when I got saved. I had no concept of the hundreds of years of history that Christianity had gone through since the time of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. I have found that many believers, young and old, have the same false idea. The purpose of this broadcast is to dispel this notion by sharing with listeners the history of Christianity from the ministry of Jesus Christ all the way up until the present day in an easy-to-understand format. You don’t have to worry: this is not a lecture. This is a look at the basic facts and figures of Christian history that every believer and every person needs to be aware of.
Our Scripture for today is 1 John 4:20 which reads: “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?”
Our History of Christianity quote today is from Urban II. He said: “I say it to those who are present. I command that it be said to those who are absent. Christ commands it. All who go thither and lose their lives, be it on the road or on the sea, or in the fight against the pagans, will be granted immediate forgiveness for their sins. This I grant to all who will march, by virtue of the great gift which God has given me.”
Today, in the History of Christianity, we are looking at “The Offensive Against Islam” from Dr. Justo L. Gonzalez’s fine book, The Story of Christianity (Volume 1).
Among the many ideals that captivated the imagination of Western Christendom during the Middle Ages, no other was as dramatic, as overwhelming, or as contradictory, as was the crusading spirit. Tragically romanticized by many, the Crusades have the distinction of being one of the most blatant of the many instances in which Christianity, fueled in part by its own zeal, has contradicted its very essence–on this score, only the Inquisition can be compared with it. For several centuries, Western Europe poured its fervor and its blood into a series of expeditions whose results were at best ephemeral, and at worst tragic. The hope was to defeat the Muslims who threatened Constantinople, to save the Byzantine Empire, to reunite the Eastern and Western branches of the church, to reconquer the Holy Land as well as other territories that Islam had previously taken by means of a similar use of military force, and–in so doing–to win heaven. Whether or not this last goal was achieved is not for us to decide. All the others were achieved, but none of them permanently. The Muslims, at first defeated because they were divided among themselves, eventually were united in a common front that expelled the crusaders. Constantinople, and the shadow of its empire, survived until the fifteenth century, but then were swept by the Ottoman Turks. The two branches of the church were briefly reunited by force as a consequence of the Fourth Crusade, but the final result of that forced reunion was greater suspicion and hatred between the Christian East and the Christian West. The Holy Land was in the hands of the crusaders for approximately a century, and then returned to Muslim control.
Next time, we will begin looking at “The First Crusade.”
Dear friend, simply knowing the facts about Christian history without knowing the One on Whom this faith is based will do you no good. If you do not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, may I encourage you to get to know Him today. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can be a part of the church in this life and in the life to come. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Until next time, remember that history is truly His story.