Though this is somewhat irrelevant I should at least introduce myself so that you do not think I am some nut or cultist. ;o)
My name is James Stroud - I am no one special but my background is undergraduate degrees in History/Religious Studies and masters in theology and classical history. I have authored books on Mere Christian Apologetics and The Philosophy of History: Naturalism and Religon. These books can be found on Amazon and the latter at book stores such as Barnes and Noble. I say this as an introduction but it should be pointed out that my uncle has a highschool diploma only and has forgotten more about history than I will ever know; a degree is just a piece of paper so don't put too much stock in them (none of the apostles had degrees that we are aware of. ;o)
My wife and I continue to strive to draw closer to God which is an everyday process. We now live in the midwest where we grew up (we spent 2 years in New York City and learned much while there). Though I do not support denominationalism I work through various churches as an area representative for Voice of the Martyrs (www.persecution.com) and I myself prefer a Church of Christ or Anabaptist church theology merely for their simplicity of faith (just to give you my own background). My wife ran our Chrisitan apologetics coffee lounge and book store for the last 2 years and we recently closed it (was expensive and hard to run in a post-Christian environment) but it was a blessing and we look forward to future endeavors and Lord willing children (I am 36 she is 30).
We have small group meetings and I am in the process of putting together a mobile museum that will focus on not only biblical history but on why the reality of God and Christ are more alive now than ever (though the media would try and have you think otherwise). So please keep all of these endeavors in your prayers. Like I said, I am just a Christian and hopefully one that is striving to better understand Christ each day; nothing more nothing less. ;o)
James and Gina Stroud
The Return of the Lollards?
"We must stand apart from the rest of the world. Anyone who joins Christ's kingdom must separate from the world. It takes only one bad thread to ruin the whole fabric. If we allow the fabric of this world to be woven into Christ's Church, then the Church is corrupted."
(In describing what happens when we try and interwine a single thread of man/church's dogma into Christ's; it becomes corrupted just like a single thread can ruin an entire garment of clothing)
Who are the "Lollards" and what do they have to do with us today?
NO this isn’t some attempt to say “let’s follow some 14th century group today and start a new denomination!” I am pretty much using the Lollards to hopefully promote the exact opposite of this! Before I can really use their example to make my point however, I will need to at least give you a very brief run-down of who they were and how they faced many of the similar problems we are facing today, (but to a much greater extent).
In a nutshell – the Lollards were really more of a movement founded by John Wycliffe (c.1330-1384), who was an Oxford professor, philosopher/theologian, who developed a number of doctrines and is considered by most way ahead of his time and the “Morning Star” of the reformation to go back to the bible as supreme authority and not the Roman Catholic Church. He taught that all persons had the right to have the bible in their own language and was thus charged with heresy a number of times. Among his greatest contributions to English literature was his inspiration of the translation of the Bible into Middle English, the first complete translation in the language, and a notable influence on the English language itself.
One of the practical initiatives undertaken by Wycliffe was the training and commissioning of laymen, or poor preachers, whose task was to teach the Scriptures throughout all lands in accordance to Christ’s great commission. Wycliffe stressed that his intentions were not to start some new movement or to replace the church, but to fill the growing gaps by the established church. Their simple focus was to go in groups of two, to offer Christ-like assistance and tell the core of messages found in the Gospels. Many of these poor preachers carried with them hand written copies of the Gospels in the common English language of the day instead of the Latin, so that all could understand. It is interesting to note that the printing press would not be invented for about another 100 years, so all of these Gospel tracts had to be hand written, (We can order 1,000 copies of the Gospel of John in almost any language for a reasonable price today). These poor priests followed the doctrine of the “priesthood of all believers,” and saw it as our duty to truly imitate Christ as well as tell others what Jesus’ words are vs. the churches, (which often differ significantly).
Lollards also followed similarly to Gandhi’s (and moreover to Jesus’) approach of non-violence, as they were for the most part against war, violence, and abortion. Lollards were effectively absorbed into Protestantism during the English Reformation, in which Lollardy played a role. Since Lollardy had been underground for more than a hundred years, the extent of Lollardy and its ideas at the time of the Reformation is uncertain and a point of debate.
So what we conclude with the Lollards is:
·They were persecuted for following Christ; had to operate underground (much like most persecuted churches to in other countries do today)
·Oxford University eventually had to expel Wycliffe for not following the “status quo” – similar to what we will face (see the Expelled documentary), in an increasingly hostile academia towards the God hypothesis and moreover to Christ.
·They used basic apologetics.
·They focused on the priest hood of all believers, and our responsibility and privilege thereof
·Simplicity of serving the poor vs. lavish and costly church buildings; formed house type churches and cell groups
·Follow Christ and Scripture as opposed to the governing church and authorities
·Following the Book of Acts – went out 2X2 to propagate the word to anyone who would listen.
·This was all happening during a time in history when Islam was attacking the remains of a weakened Byzantium Empire and thus placing pressure on southern Europe of possible invasion; coupled with the western church continuing to fight its eastern counterpart (resulting in Christ-ian vs. Christ-ian and fascist Islam vs. both, (similar to today and the future)).
·The Byzantine Empire would collapse with the fall of Constantinople in 1453 to Islam – during which many Lollard groups were underground due to persecution by the church.
Food for thought: ·A small group like the Bolsheviks or Nazis were able to throw their dominantly Christian countries into an atheistic mindset; Islam wiped out the majority of Christian communities throughout the Middle East; Faith survived in these communities from small dedicated believers forming groups like the Lollards.
Thank you once again for taking the time to prayerfully consider going through this simple set of 7 lessons and getting better prepared for an increasingly hostile world to the Christian faith. As mentioned for every person who completes this course (all 7 lessons) we will mail you a certificate and starter "Lollard" package retailed over +$100.
Below are some of the materials we will be using through the course (just click on them to read an online copy):
*First and foremost is God's Holy Word - the Bible: https://www.biblegateway.com/
At this site you can choose the version you would like or just let us know when you request to begin this study plan (on the request FREE tab to the left of the screen) and we will send you your own Bible.
-An Apologetics Handbook covering Intelligent Design, God, Christ, and the Entire Biblical Narrative in 100 pages-
For a much more detailed and advanced level my published MA thesis is available here:
Please request your FREE copy today: http://thephilosophyofhistory.org/
As public education becomes less and less reliable (homeschooling and private Christian schooling ranks ahead of all public schooling in all areas of study (including science) as of 2014), more people will want to turn to this type of online or lollard-like education. For more information on any of these please contact us or visit homeschool network at: http://www.homeschoolchristian.com/
In a nutshell the "Truth Project" is the same concept we hope to cover through this website and our course work in making us all more knowledgeable about God, meaning and purpose (the difference is our course is 100% Free and gives you items for Free to help you on your journey as well as being here via email to help in anyway we can). Here is their very insightful introduction video showing each part of their journey in a similar way that we will also be taking: