James White and Reformation History

It’s that time of year again.  It’s nearing October 31 and Dr. White is talking about the reformation.  Ironically, he’s making it less glorious than he’s made it out to be in the past.  A bit odd in my opinion.  He covered several topics a while back.  I want to comment on some of them.  The times are for the video above.

Ad Fontes(41:40)

Dr. White talks about the fall of Constantinople and Greek manuscripts coming West.  Very true.  He also talks a lot about the use of Greek as crucial to the doctrines that the reformers discovered.  Has Dr. White ever asked himself, why did none of these scholars from the East fleeing the Turks believe in reformation doctrines?  None believed in Sola Fide, TULIP, or believers baptism.  I think that’s a question worth asking.  Many of these scholars actually joined the Catholic Church such as Metropolitan Bessarion.

The Black Plague and the Jews(51:00 and 1:00:30)

Dr. White talks about the Muslims not blaming the plague on the Jews but Christians did.  He was very careful not to say that the Church did this.  He didn’t talk about how Pope Clement VI issued a papal bull condemning those who blamed the plague on the Jews.  I honestly wonder why that wasn’t mentioned.  Does White not know about it?

The Rise of Nationalism(1:03:30)

I believe that this is the majority cause of the reformation.  About 95% of the cause.  I talked about this in a previous post about how princes would rather have a local tribal Church instead of a Universal Church.  As I said in the previous post:

Prince X rules over a certain area.  Prince X wants his friend in control over the local church in his dominion instead of a man appointed by some celibate Italian a thousand miles away.  Prince X wants the religious leader of his area to report to him, not to the Pope of Rome.  Prince X doesn’t care much about the doctrine promoted, only that he reports to him.  In conclusion, the doctrine is protected by politicians.

Gottschalk and the promotion of Augustinian theology(1:10:15)

Dr. White says that in the medieval period there were potential pre-reformers who promoted Augustinian theology and Gottschalk can maybe be considered one.  I actually wonder how much White has read from the medieval period.  Has he read St. Anselm of Canterbury, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Bonaventure, St. Thomas Aquinas or many of the other Doctors of the Church from this time period?  Their writings are bursting at the seams with quotes from St. Augustine.  Why was St. Augustine one of the original four Doctors of the Church?  This makes absolutely no sense.  Augustinian theology has nothing to do with the reformation.  Seeing as how 1100 years divides the reformation from St. Augustine is also a powerful testament that the two had nothing in common.  An example of people who look at St. Augustine with disdain is the Greek Church.  To this day he isn’t trusted by the majority of scholars in the Greek Church.  In the Catholic Church we refer to him as the Doctor of Grace.  If Augustinian theology is so bad, the Church would have declared the Bishop of Hippo a heretic.


There is much more that I would like to respond to but I obviously can’t respond to all of it.  To all of my Protestant readers:

The period from 1000 AD to 1300 AD was the golden age of the Church.  It had the best theology, the greatest teachings and the best Popes.  People like White would have people believe that this was an era of darkness where Scripture was not promoted.  In fact it’s just the opposite.  If you’ve ever read any of the writings from this era, they’re big on Scripture, the writings of St. Augustine, and the writings of other Church fathers.  But why should you take my word on this over that of Dr. White?  You shouldn’t and therefore I recommend that all Protestants read theologians from this time period.  Read St. Anselm of Canterbury, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, St. Bonaventure and St. Thomas Aquinas.  Read the writings of the great Popes such as Pope Gregory VII and Pope Innocent III.  See if they just make stuff up as they go along or if they get their doctrine from Scripture, St. Augustine, and the other Church fathers.  Also, study the lives of the great Saints of this period such as St. Francis of Assisi or St. Dominic to see if it was an era of holiness or debauchery.

All of these writings can be found and purchased online.  Read them.  They’re primary sources, not propaganda writings concocted by frauds like Foxe, Dowling, Hislop, Schmucker or Brownlee.

Read and be the judge.  Good luck!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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