Sir Francis Drake I

Lead: Part scoundrel, part tyrant, part patriot, Francis Drake, for generations of his countrymen, was the symbol of England’s greatness.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Drake was born in Devonshire, southwestern England in the early 1540s, the last years of the reign of King Henry VIII. His father was a tenant farmer, but also an ardent Protestant lay preacher. In 1549 the family had to flee to southeast England during one of the Catholic uprisings common to the West Country. In those the years the nation was struggling over whether to stay with Protestantism or return to the Roman Catholic Church. Drake’s lifelong and enthusiastic commitment to the Protestant faith and apparent delight in tweaking the tail of Catholic Spain may be traced to the experiences of his troubled youth.

Arrest of the Five Members

Lead: In early 1641, Parliament and King Charles I of England had reached a dangerous impasse.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Taxation, the war with Scotland, the rights of Parliament, and royal manipulation of the courts were among the subjects of a contentious and sometimes bitter struggle between a majority of the House of Commons and the government of Charles I, but it was religion that generated much of the passion of those years. For nearly a century, the Puritans, a minority in the Church of England, had been agitating for an end to corruption in the clergy, a simpler form of church worship, and greater control of congregations by the local churches.

Francis of Assissi II

Lead: Born into a prosperous commercial family Francesco di Pietro di Bernardone, Francis of Assisi, in 1208 answered a spiritual call to a life of poverty and service. His movement brought repentance and reform to a church in deep need of renewal.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Struggling to maintain its authority the face of a growing challenge from newly emerging nation states, the Roman Catholic Church was focused on institutional survival. Many ordinary believers, however, were convinced the Church had lost its way and were turning elsewhere for spiritual solace. Into such a environment came Francesco di Bernardone. A popular youth, he was raised in the central Italian town of Assisi, north of Rome in the Umbrian hills. In 1208 he had a spiritual crisis which, in turn, drew him into a life of pious service. Francis was a layman, whose spiritual journey included preaching and a life of consistent imitation of Christ. He celebrated poverty and stripped himself of all possessions and worldly encumbrances; he never insisted that personal poverty was the Christian ideal, but invited his followers to such a lifestyle. He considered that all nature reflected the divine and called all creatures his brothers and sisters.








Francis of Assissi I

Lead: In 1210, responding to the prompting of a lay preacher, Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardone (informally Francesco), Pope Innocent III established the Order of the Friars Minor. Francis of Assisi had the vehicle by which he could spread his message of sacrifice and salvation.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Religious institutions are social organisms. They go through periods of robust energetic growth and spiritual enthusiasm then decline into periods of corruption and stasis, when the ideals of the faith dim and require reformation. Having preserved what remained of civilization and order in Western Europe in the centuries following the collapse of the Roman Empire, by the 11th century the Roman Catholic Church was locked in a bitter struggle for pre-imminence with the newly re-emerging and secular national states of England, France and Germany. The focus of this struggle was the authority of the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. It was a struggle the church would eventually lose, but this decline would take another three centuries and culminate in the rending of the unity of Christian Europe in the Protestant Reformation.







Trial of Henry Ward Beecher II

Lead: Part of a famous family of educators, clergymen and activists, Henry Ward Beecher was charged with adultery in 1875.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Henry Ward Beecher was perhaps the most famous American clergyman of his generation. After pastorates in the Midwest, he served as minister of the Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, New York for twenty-five years. Employing a casual, yet animated preaching style that drew large crowds to the church week after week, Beecher built a reputation as a powerful advocate of liberal causes such as opposition to liquor and slavery and the advocacy of women's rights.

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Trial of Henry Ward Beecher I

Lead: Religion was important in nineteenth-century America. Its influence was in no way better demonstrated than in the prominence of the Beecher family.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Religion has played a vital role in the shaping of the American experience. While the Founders created a secular state, it was in many ways the only choice they had. So prevalent was religion in its various forms that only a government that was neutral could possibly deal fairly with all the churches and sects that had established themselves in America even by the 1780s. The Founders were determined that no state church would encumber the tender consciences or drain the pocketbooks of those of the unwilling. The Founders were also painfully aware of the scars that remained on the European landscape after three centuries of religious warfare and intolerance. However, this official secular bias or lack of bias did not mean Americans were irreligious. In fact, the history of the United States is replete with examples of the powerful influence of religion over political, social, and economic life. Even in the late twentieth century church attendance and participation in America outstripped that of any other developed country.

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Martin Luther Debates Johann Eck – II

Lead: In early years of the Protestant Reformation, public disputations or debates allowed religious leaders explain to their views. In Leipzig in 1519 Martin Luther debated the Catholic champion Johann Eck

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: His original name was Johann Maier but early on changed it to the name of his home village, Egg or Eck.  He received a superb education at the University’s of Heidelberg, Cologne, Freiburg and Tubingen, was ordained, and became lifelong professor of theology at the University of Ingolstadt a small Bavarian town just north of Munich. He developed the reputation as a careful scholar, but one talented in public debate. As contemporaries, Luther and Eck were acquaintances and apparently were on friendly terms, at least until the appearance of Luther's Ninety-five Theses on the question of indulgences.

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Martin Luther Debates Johann Eck – I

Lead: The rhetoric and opinions of Martin Luther helped bring an end to the comfortable religious and political unity of western Europe. His incendiary critique of Roman Catholicism tossed up champions of the Church. One of those was Johann Eck.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When Luther advanced his 95 theses in fall 1517 his desire was to provoke a debate about the role and power of the Roman Catholic Pope, but even further how the believer secures salvation. He had come to believe that no Church ritual, no righteousness on the part of the believer, indeed, no human agent, including priests and popes, could facilitate or mediate that salvation. To Luther, only God by Grace through faith in Christ could save anyone.

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