THE THEOLOGICAL RATIONALE OF THE CRUSADERS
A THESIS SUBMITTED TO
JOHN LANDERS PROFESSOR OF
HISTORY OF CHRISTIANITY 1
TO UNDERSTAND THE GOD-VIEW OF
THE CRUSADERS IN ITS HISTORICAL
Chapter 1. Preaching the Crusades 4
Chapter 2. Salvation 9
Chapter 3. Other motivations behind the Crusades 14
604 years is the time span that the crusades took place. During this 604 years, waves of crusaders battled over waves of controversy. Controversy that lead the Church leaders of the time to call upon nobles, farmers, and peasants to take up arms and fight to resolve them. Soldiers throughout history stood up to join the ranks of their countrymen to die for a united belief of protection, freedom, liberty, hegemony, or maybe even religious dominance.
Military leaders even today are taught to motivate their soldiers. We are taught to inspire our soldiers to work and fight for something, whether it be the mission, our fallen brothers, or for our families back home. We, as military officers, remind our soldiers of these, and that there sacrifice is not futile. Throughout a deployment, it is part of a leaders job to give soldiers the motivation that keeps them driving on, and to inspire a the valor, that if needed, to give the ultimate sacrifice.
The crusaders were given a motivation and a theological rationale unique to Christian history. Unique to biblical history, unique to the history of the early church, and unique to modern theology. The primary rationale of the crusaders was a theological God-view that was implanted into the churches of the time. It was the view that forgiveness of sin, and thus salvation, required penance. This penance, experiencing punishment in order receive forgiveness of sin, was exercised by the authority of the church leaders and was a key motivator for the the crusades. But, was this motivator theologically sound or were the crusaders misled by the propaganda of a religious war. Thus my thesis, salvation and the forgiveness of sins can only be given and exercised by the Lord Jesus Christ, and not by any other authority on earth.
The following chapters are focused on the rationale of the Crusaders, a biblical perspective on salvation, and other motives of the crusades and the Church. Although we will talk about the casus belli, justification for acts of war, of the church leaders, our focus is on the rationale of the crusaders. The men that risked their life for the cause of the crusades.
These men were the body of Christ, His hands and feet, His saints, and His disciples that were to do great things in His name. This is where we will find how the church of the second millennium viewed their relationship with our same God and under our same covenant, through Christ, with God. This understanding may allow us to see how a twisted view of Christ’s laws and a misunderstanding of Him can lead to the desecration of His name and a desecration of His people.
The theological ins and outs of today’s view of salvation is still debated among theologians and church members. Our main discussion will consist of the theological view of salvation of the crusaders and the theological view of salvation in the context of the gospel alone. Views of Salvation will be discussed and compared to other modern views as it pertains to the Crusaders and not to any specific school of thought.
Although the Holy Wars were predominantly religious, other factors of motivation for crusading will be presented. Rational-Choice Theory, Realism, and International Systemic change will...