An account of religious heresy. Hardly. No one can match Gottfried Arnold’s Impartial History of the Church and the Heretics. The Lutheran priest published the two volume tome in 1699 to almost universal disdain from within the Church and their supporters, and there were fewer heresies then than now. The uproar was not easily calmed and from the amplitude and magnitude of scorn heaped on Gottfried it can be deduced, that on the whole he took the side of the heretics. To devise one’s own religion. That is, in fact, what heresy is in terms of its literal meaning: private choice, the opposite of orthodoxy which is not chosen but imposed and accepted. The pure heretics are those who never created an established church or an orthodoxy and whose members came to it by personal choice. …
Lets take the puritans first. Undoubtedly the early Church was puritanical. So were its Old Testament models. The prophets, from Elijah to John the Baptist had been puritans, denouncing the gay polytheism, the local cults, the jolly beanfests of the Syrian tribes that surrounded and seduced the grim people of god. All through the first three centuries after Christ, the church had kept itself pure from similar contamination. The early Christian writers had denounced such unedifying pagan habits as the burning of incense, the “impious and detestable” practice of sprinkling holy water, the absurd use of candles and votive pictures, the “profane, damnable, impious” cult of images, etc., etc.
Such practices, the Christians thought, were exactly the kinds of things which the prophets had denounced and which Christ had ordered them to ignore, saying that mercy was better than sacrifice, evangelical poverty and mutual charity better than sophisticated profusion or pharisaical ritual. So the early Christians kept themselves apart from society, trying to live like the first disciples, without compromise, in “apostolic poverty” and “primitive communism,” a self-contained, puritan “out-group” in the secular pagan world.
Unfortunately the virtues of a sect can rarely be preserved in an established church, and when Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Empire, the bishops soon yielded to the temptations, or the necessities of power. Little by little the Christian clergy took over some of the methods of the pagan priests whom they had replaced. With the pagan temples they adopted the pagan sacrifices. Pagan gods became Christian saints. Apostolic poverty was forgotten. And the puritan virtues were left, as the unvalued relics of an outworn chrysalis stage, to the heretics who refused to move with the times.
(see link at end)…During the crusade on Christian heretics (Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade) in the early 13th century, Pope Innocent III led the nobility of northern France.
When they reached the city of Beziers, in the south of France near the Mediterranean coast, they surrounded it.
A question among the crusaders arised: how to distinguish true Christians from heretics who follow the so-called Cathar learning?
Cistercian monk ArnAmalric and French nobleman Simon IV de Montfort suggested unusual solution to the pope:
“Kill them all. For the Lord knows them that are His (Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius ).”
Unfortunately, the pope and crusaders did as suggested. The entire population of twenty thousand Cathars and Catholics that lived in Beziers were slaughtered. Read More:http://zumaworld.blogspot.ca/2011/07/lord-knows-arnaud-amalric-and-simon-iv.html