The title of this episode is Scholasticism

One of the most important questions faced by philosophers & theologians throughout the centuries has been the interplay between Faith & Reason. Are they enemies or allies? Is the Christian faith reasonable, or a blind leap into an irrational darkness? A major advance in answering this came with the emergence of a group of medieval theologians known as the Scholastics. Chief among them were Anselm of Canterbury in the 11th C & Thomas Aquinas in the 13th.

In his novel Pillars of the Earth, author Ken Follett spins an intriguing tale of the construction of a cathedral in England. While the cathedral & town are fictional, Follett does a masterful job of capturing the mindset and vision of medieval architecture.
Read more

64-The Eucharistic Controversy

This episode is titled “The Eucharistic Controversy.”

As I mentioned last episode, as we round out the Middle Ages in Europe, we have several topics we need to cover before we can launch into the Era of Scholasticism. Last time we took a brief look at the Investiture Controversy and an even briefer look at a doctrinal error that had a long lifespan – Adoptionism.

In this episode, we’ll look at another controversy that raged in the church of both East & West for a long time – that is, how to understand the presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

For Protestant listeners – the issue was: Just what do we mean when we say Jesus is present at Communion or the Lord’s Supper.
Read more


This 63rd episode is titled Invested

We’ve concluded a series of podcasts now on medieval monasticism and return to the narrative of the Church during the Middle Ages in Europe.

Before we do however, let’s remember the story of Church History is much bigger than just what happened in Europe. Most treatments of church history spend most of their time on the Western Church & only touch the church in other places as it relates TO the Western narrative. We’re trying to broaden our horizons here a bit, although it’s tough because the source material for the history of the church beyond the Western realm is much slimmer. It isn’t that there isn’t any; there’s quite a bit – but it’s not presented in the popular format that commends a layman’s, as I am, format. So it’s thick wading through most of it.

Anyway, with that said – back to the Church in the European Middle Ages . . .
Read more

62-Monastic Wrap Up

This 62nd episode of CS is the 5th & final in our look at monasticism in the Middle Ages.

To a lesser extent for the Dominicans, but a bit more for the Franciscans, these monastic orders were an attempt to bring reform to the Western Church which during the Middle Ages had fallen far from the Apostolic ideal. The institutional Church had become little more than one more political body, with vast tracts of land, a massive hierarchy, a complex bureaucracy, & had accumulated powerful political across Europe. The clergy and some of the older orders had degenerated into little better than illiterate fraternities. Many priests and monks could neither read nor write, & engaged in gross immorality while hiding behind their vows.

It wasn’t this case everywhere. But it was in enough places that Francis was compelled to use poverty as a means of reform. The Franciscans who followed after Francis were quickly absorbed back into the Church’s structure and the reforms Francis envisioned were still-born.
Read more


This episode is titled, Dominic & continues our look on monastic life.

In our last episode we considered Francis of Assisi & the monastic order that followed him, the Franciscans. In this installment of CS, we take a look at the other great order that developed at this that time – The Dominicans.

Dominic was born in the region of Castile, Spain in 1170. At an early age he excelled as a student. At 25, he became a priest & a few years later he was invited by his bishop, Diego of Osma, to accompany him on a visit to Southern France where he ran into a group of heretics known as the Cathars. Dominic threw himself into the Church-sanctioned movement to suppress the Cathars by going on a preaching tour of the region.
Read more