For about a thousand years, the church gradually fell into darkness and began practicing stuff that is not in the Bible. Rome has fallen, causing a rise in illiteracy and education declined. The entire Bible was translated into latin and “tradition” entered the church without life or meaning attached to it. Even better, those that dare question or leave the church were condemned a heretic and put to death. The church controlled every aspect of human life. J. H. Merle D'Aubigne Wrote, “The semblance of an identical and exterior organization was gradually substituted for that interior and spiritual communion, which is the essence of the religion of God. Men forsook the precious perfume of faith, and bowed down before the empty vessel that had contained it. They sought other bonds of union, for faith in the heart no longer connected the members of the Church; and they were united by means of bishops, archbishops, popes, mitres, canons, and ceremonies.”2 The church would stamp out “heretics” through what is called the inquisition. What they would do is kidnapped suspected people spreading ideas that are contrary to what the church believes and teaches, force a confession out of people, and kill them if they refuse to repent. Many have been murdered through the inquisition.
Also during this time period were the crusades (A very sad event that has marred the reputation of Christianity and the Gospel). Beside all the bad things that occurred during this event, this encouraged travel and the embracing of different cultures. What all this encouraged was the renaissance. The mantra of the renaissance was ad fontes, which means “going back to the fountain” in Latin. The Europeans went back and read the writings of the Greeks, Romans, and other ancient civilizations. During the crusades, many of the warriors were bringing back with them the writings of people such as Aristotle and Plato (The Muslim House of Wisdom had the classic writings when Europe was in the dark ages) and began to read them for themselves. For the Reformers, they went back to the original manuscripts of the scriptures. The overarching theme of the Reformation was whether the Bible or the Roman Catholic Church was the ultimate source of authority. Today, this doctrine is called sola scriptura. Scripture alone was(and is) the final source of doctrine and practice for the church and the believer.
After reading through the Bible, the doctrines that the church enjoys today have been brought back into the Christian life. Martin Luther listed five of them which include sola scriptura(scripture alone), sola gratia(Grace alone), sola fide(faith alone), soli deo Gloria(to God alone be glory), and soli Christo(Christ alone). The churches are now doing services in one’s natural language rather than it being in Latin (Which only the clergy could understand) and each was hearing the Gospel in his own native tongue. Education was reestablished through the work John Calvin and Martin Luther did in establishing schools for children. Over a period of time, Reformed Christianity had an influence on the arts and the Scientific Revolution. Who knew that such a move of God would have such an impact on world history and how we live today?