December 2, 2004, re-edited December 2, 2005
Most Christians never have the privilege of taking a college or seminary level course in the History of Christianity. It is a LONG study. Many church history texts are 500 to a thousand pages in length! When you study church history carefully you come across some pretty shocking facts concerning what historians call "The Church."
I was surprised to discover that the Crusaders were about as Christ-like as meat grinders! I read of many powerful church leaders, bishops, reformers, popes who easily could have been characters in a horror movie! I discovered that the Church of England, that we call the Episcopalian Church here in the USA, was formed solely that King Henry the Eighth might dump another wife in his mad pursuit of a son. Seems he could only have daughters. He thought nothing of the sanctity of marriage and created a new church in order to unsanctify marriage a bit more.
I discovered that the true people of God were often minor, nameless characters, like the Lollards, Huguenots, Puritans, Moravians.
Even if you never study Christian history yourself you need to be aware of the over view because it might help you today. There are so many similarities in today's churches. We don't see the blood shed that went on then...but we still see the power structures too often standing in the way of the true will of God. Below I have listed some trends that I saw in the History of "The Church."
The history of the organized church on planet Earth has been a very shocking history. Nevertheless, God has had HIS true people here and there, doing HIS will. The true church goes on...but it has never been a majority, only a minority.