William Of Ockham – Seeds of Change in 14th Century England
Historic Generational Blessing: The Path to Modern Protestantism, English Bibles and Prophetic Understanding
Hab 2:4 “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.”
CONTEXT OF 14th Century... What was going on back then???
black death (a deadly disease spread by fleas and pests) claims a third of Europe's population 1347-1351
Hundred Years' War begins when Edward III of England lays claim to French Throne in 1337
There is a constant power struggle between Roman Catholic popes and emperors for supreme command.
Hand cannons and handguns make their first appearance and use in this century
In the midst of this era, comes...
William Of Ockham
Lifespan: c.1280-c.1349 AD
Born in: England, pressumably in Ockham, near London.
Known as: “The First Protestant”, also called William Ockham
Known For: “Ockham's Razor” and “Fideism”, “Separation of Church and State”, and “Freedom of Speech”.
14th century English theologian and philosopher
joined the Franciscan Friars order in the Roman Catholic Church (Order of Friars Minor).
Went to Oxford University to earn degree in Theology
Did not finish degree, because he was called to Avignon, France, to stand trial before the Office of the Pope to answer charges of heresy. Escaped and was never captured again. Spent rest of life as Political thinker/writer in Munich Germany
Believed that the pope's office was unbalanced in a grab for power, and offered a new and unpopular idea for the time: He believed that the emperor and pope should have separate and equal “jurisdictions”, never to cross over. The emperor alone should have exclusive authority in civic matters, and the pope should have authority only in spiritual matters. Before this, the debate was: should the emperor appoint the pope, or should the pope appoint the emperor? Ockham's idea was considered radical and was unwanted by either side.
William of Ockham was never reconciled to the Roman Catholic Church, and thus suffered a loss of reputation with his church. This was all because He believed the Bible more than the Pope and held to the belief that the Pope was not deserving of all authority. This, along with his “faith doctrine”, was the seed to the true reformations that happened later, in the 16th century.
Devoted Christian, but known for skepticism about the use of complicated doctrines/theories. If a simpler one could be used just as effectively, then the complex one should be discarded. This principal came to be called “Ockham's Razor”, although others used it before him, such as Aristotle.
Claimed that theologies like the Trinity (Triune God) are not logical in human terms, therefore, you must accept it on faith alone. This led William to have a “Fideist belief” (use Faith only, in matters of religion, not science or philosophy.)
A look at William of Ockham – Thinking Ahead of His Time, and Out of The Box:
He was a known FIDEIST. Fideism is described in the American Heritage Dictionary (sited on dictionary.com) as: “Reliance on faith alone rather than scientific reasoning or philosophy in questions of religion.” So this thinking was the seed of the Protestant Reformation. Fideists claimed that man could not, with his own logic or 5 senses, “understand” God by natural means, science, reasoning or works. Ockham went so far as to say that you could not find evidence of God in nature... it was a matter of faith. Ockham was likely not aware of the micro-complexities of nature at the time, which lend themselves to having faith in the Creator. Nevertheless, the faith-alone principal still stands Biblically. We must simply accept Jesus on faith, and believe Him, even when our surrounding circumstance would appear to suggest that God is not there.
Mat 6:30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Mat 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Mat 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Mat 9:22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
Mat 14:31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
Mat 15:28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Mat 16:8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? [Notice here, that Jesus is asking why the disciples are reasoning... or trying to figure things out in human terms. There is no need to worry when JESUS is your provider! Just listen to Him and do what He asks.]
Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
[ A clearly illogical statement in human terms. Humans have many limitations. But God has none. So in heavenly terms, this is a logical thing to say. If you do as Jesus says, and obey Him (act) on a small amount of faith.... you will be capable of the impossible!]
Mat 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
Let's live by FAITH in JESUS CHRIST, and not try to make sense of His supernatural ability to go beyond science and laws of nature. Like William, we must realize that some things are beyond our comprehension. He is God, and we must accept Him by SIMPLE FAITH. This is how we are SAVED!
Pastor Curtis Alexander
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