Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Apokalupsis (part 2) - Where's Waldo?

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Where's Waldo?

Sound like an exercise in finding this guy with round glasses wearing a stocking cap and a red and white striped shirt - such as this game  - Where's Waldo or in these books -  Waldo Wiki - Where's Waldo?.

*  *  *

But during the12th and 13th centuries, "Where's Waldo?" most likely could have been asked by an inquisitor ferreting out heretics.

And for this post, I will try to answer the question -

Who's Waldo?
Peter Waldo, that is

For the story of the medieval Peter Waldo (1130 - 1217), who became a pain in the side of a politicized Church, check out this snippet of a lecture by Bruce Gore:

(reference:  http://youtu.be/eGy2AY0iaHg )

High Points:

* Peter Waldo was a rich French merchant born in the middle of the 12th century

Peter Waldo was raised a Roman Catholic in Lyon, France.  His family had benefited from the opening of trade to the East a result of the Crusades.  He was part of the rising middle class and its concentration of wealth.  His family was cloth merchants and gave him a comfortable life.  Part of that advantage was that he had an education. 

[further references: The Dynamics of Christian Mission: History Through a Missiological Perspective - Paul Everett Pierson - Google Books]

* Peter Waldo had three major life changing events in his early thirties

1.  At a garden party, a friend and fellow merchant dropped dead in front of him.  This gave Peter Waldo a sense of mortality as he wondered where his friend ended up.

2.  A travelling minstrel told the story of St. Alexis, who had heard a sermon on  Jesus' parable of the rich young ruler.  Alexis had sold all his wealth, gave it away, and became a monk, serving the poor. This story got to Peter's conscious as he became aware of his wealth while surrounded by conspicuous poverty. 

3.  The Pope was about to make an announcement about transubstantiation.  If you denied the doctrine, you would be executed.  Peter saw this as a move away from a moral authority to a coercive authority that seemed so wrong.  It did not make sense to pound people into submission instead of appealing to their heart.

[further references: The Fourth Lateran Council - Dr. Herb Samworth Who Was Peter Waldo?]

* Peter had the New Testament translated into French-Provencal 

Since Peter did not know languages of Greek or Latin, he hired men to translate the New Testament into the local dialect so he could read it.  To translate Holy Scriptures to the vernacular was forbidden during this time.

[further references:  Waldo Sought a Truer Faith: Medieval HistoryA Prophet Without Honor - Christian History & Biography - ChristianityTodayLibrary.com]

* Peter sounds like a proto-Lutheran ... one of the first lights of the Reformation

After reading the Bible for himself, Peter was struck by the conspicuous difference of the flavor of the Christian religion as described the New Testament versus the flavor of the religion disseminated by the powers that were at that time.  He was convinced of some great departure from the proper path.  

Peter followed Jesus parable of the rich young ruler; hence he sold his goods, gave them to the poor and adopt a different life.  He went about preaching from his newly translated French Bible to the people of his town the message of the simplicity of the Gospel. 

In his message, he emphasizes faith in Christ and the simplicity of life.  He challenged his peers not to get too obsessed with comfortable living, and not forget the needs of those surrounding them.

[further references: Peter WaldoWaldensians or Vaudois: The Poor of Lyons]

* Peter questioned authority

At his own peril, Peter questioned the doctrines of Purgatory and transubstantiation, which he could not find in the Bible.  He saw these doctrines as coercive devices (threats) to manipulate the submission and obedience of the people.  The powerful extorted the responses desired by the Church, but bypassed the hearts, the minds, the conscious.

Peter had called the leadership of the Church at that time was the harlot as in Revelation.  (And he didn't win many friends doing that.  Reference: Rome and the Harlot of Revelation 17 | Roman Catholicism)  Thus he was greeted with mockery, ridicule, dismissal as he preached his message.  This caused a conflict with the Church.  And the archbishop of Lyon moved forces to have Peter arrested and tried for his crimes.

[further references:  Waldenses (religious movement) -- Encyclopedia Britannica]

* Peter's followers, the Waldensians, spread the Gospel in the vernacular

Peter's followers went out two by two preaching the message.  They came to towns like peddlers, tucking in text from the Bible in the vernacular in their wares.

[further references:  The Christian History of France | Christian Assemblies International]

* Peter took his defense of his message to the Pope

Before he could be arrested, Peter went to Rome for a hearing with the Pope.  He hoped to make his case and convince them of the truth of what he was saying.  And the Pope did convene a gathering so Peter's case could be heard.

[further references: Peter Waldo Facts]

*  It was a replay of the Book of Acts in the 12th century

Walter Map wrote about this meeting with Peter Waldo.  And he gave his counsel to the Pope.  The Waldensians, followers of Peter Waldo, were likened in his report to the first century apostles with their message and style.

But the Pope was counselled that these Waldensians were a danger.  He had to get rid of them, silence them, eliminate them.  He feared their movement would sweep across Europe like a wildfire, and the powers that be would be destroyed.  This was same response of the Sanhedrin to the Apostles out of the Book of Acts.

The Third Lateran Council in 1179, Peter Waldo and his followers were condemned as heretics.  But at the time, there was too many of them and they were too wide spread to be totally squashed.

[further references: Champions of Christianity in Search of Truth - Ronald Charles Thompson - Google BooksCATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Waldenses]

* The Waldensians survived ... even to this day

Though small in number, the Waldensians were a tiny minority that made life more complicated for a politicized Catholic Church.  Many of them had become become part of the Protestant Movement, but they survive to this day.

[further references:  Peter Waldo and the Waldensians by W. Robert Godfrey | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org, American Waldensian Church]

For a summary:

Fiction imitates life ...

The historical fiction series - The Forbidden Book and the Upside Down Kingdom - is set in the late 14th century.

Apokalupsis means revelation.

It's a story about rediscovering the Bible during a time when the Church has been politicized and the Bible had been kept from the people.


The Forbidden Book is Revealed

So with this fiction, there is some truth as this scenario has happened before ... like with Peter Waldo.

It's the Darkest Age that reveal the brightest Light.


Where the eBook may be purchased:

Info at:  S. K. Smith - Apokalupsis

Amazon.com: Apokalupsis: The Forbidden Book Revealed - eBook in Kindle format

Barnes and Noble:  Apokalupsis - Nook Book as an ePub


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