What Was the Great Schism and Why Did It Happen? (With Dr. Stephen Nichols)

Hey my friends it's Matt I hope things Are going awesome in your world in this Video I want to talk about the great Schism a division that happened in the 11th century between the Western Catholic church and the Eastern Orthodox Church it's one of the two really big Really consequential partings of ways in The history of Christianity I know some Of you right there you're like really Internet man parting of ways is what you Want to describe that as uh no I think It was a lot more consequential and You're right it it was not pleasant it Has not been Pleasant over the centuries There's been all kinds of flare-ups and Difficulty and hurt that has come out of This But also I think there's been good that Comes out of the fact that there are Multiple different expressions of Christianity I think that is a Consequence of having an Ever outward Focused impulse baked into all of Christ's Kingdom and the stuff that Followers of Jesus are meant to do so I'm one who's very optimistic about the History of Christianity not just my own Version of it I'm excited about the Whole thing I think awesome things have Come of it and I think they're awesome Things ahead I think this is the true Kingdom of Christ and so when I look at These kind of difficult moments

I want to learn more about the Difficulty they're in and understand the Hard Parts better but I also want to Understand what happens next and where We go with that and to do that I felt Like I needed to bring in a heavier Hitter than myself and so we're going to Be joined This Time Around by a very Talented man named Dr Stephen Nichols He's the president of reformation Bible College he's written a gajillion things He's got a stack of degrees in this kind Of subject matter and he hosts a very Popular very excellent podcast called Five minutes in church history and that Is a part of an organization called Ligonier Ministries he's very plugged in Very prolific guy and also very smart And down to earth and good at explaining Things in a normal way that normal People will understand I particularly Appreciate that so at this time I'm Going to jump over to a conversation That I want to share with you with Dr Stephen Nichols about first and foremost Just the nuts and bolts of that great Schism that division between the East And the West about a thousand years ago Then I think we're going to do a Follow-up conversation in the next video About what we do next in light of that Moment of division and other moments of Division what does Church Unity look Like where do we go from here I'm really

Interested to pick his brain about that Okay let's bounce it over to that Conversation slip came in 1054. so we're Going back in time you said this is Before the Protestant Reformation Split came in 1054 between what we come To call the Orthodox Church which Primarily has the two versions The Greek Orthodox and the Russian Orthodox at the Time it was predominantly the Greek Orthodox church with its patriarch and Its home base their Constantinople and Set up in that region of the world The other break and that's called The Church in the East the church in the West of course is the Roman Catholic Church the head of the church being the Bishop of Rome or the pope of Rome and That split came in 1054. it came Technically over a difference That was really not even a single word In Latin it was sort of an addition to a Word and that is this expression filioce Which means and the Sun And this is back to the Nicene Creed and Did the Holy Spirit proceed From the father or and from the Sun the Filioque controversy And the western church affirmed that the Holy Spirit proceeded from the father And the son the Eastern Church did not Accept the filioque expression and The two split as you called it a breakup It was able to break up with

Repercussions uh felt throughout the World why does that matter why would the West even care why would they see that Differently what sensitivities were There that caused that different read Well you know like most things I think Counselors talk about this right they Call it the presenting problem Um we speak of the iceberg case right so So what's the tip of the iceberg is Really not the issue it's it's Everything that Lies Beneath the surface The filioque was just something that the Eastern Church could hang its hat on Um they could say see you you Embellished the Nicene Creed so you made The addition we are the Philadelphia's Not original the East is saying to the West you guys are adding bonus stuff you Are you are messing with the tradition We are the theorists and we are the Guardians of the pure tradition and so That's the split but it's it's the Iceberg it's the presenting problem dig Beneath the surface and what you find is That you really have two cultures uh you Have two languages you know initially it Was Greek in the Greco-Roman world then It became Latin in the Greco-Roman world And from the 400s on Latin was the Language of Rome and Latin was the Language of the church at Rome and of The Roman Catholic church and it is to This day it's the official Catholic

Language The Greek Church of course spoke Greek So there are two languages there are two Cultures and in many ways there are two Different approaches to Theology and so What happened in 1054 was centuries in The making with all sorts of extra Baggage around it and it really just Showed that you had two different Church Cultures I think a lot of people when they think About stuff from a thousand years ago in The church and they remember like one or Two things they caught in a book or in a Class or something they remember Something about images and icons and There being some kind of friction about That does that factor in here absolutely You could probably say so what are the Differences I think the differences are two or three Uh one is The the Greek Church tends to emphasize Mystery if you've ever had any Experience with the Orthodox Church they Love the notion of mystery they love Mystery as the theological category and They want to emphasized mystery Uh whereas like Western theologians you Know think about how we Americans do Things we're going to figure it out We're going to have multiple Roman Numerals with multiple sub points and Sub points we're going to figure it out

Uh the the Greek Church loves mystery The second thing is you mentioned the Icons now of course the Roman Catholic Church has icons too but the the Greek View of icons I think is a bit more Let's say robust but runs much more deep And thick even to the extent that if you Walk into an Orthodox Church many of Them have this you look up on the Dome Of the church and you see the pinto Creator sure that's this this image of Christ and that's that's not a word you Hear a lot in Western Traditions Protestant Traditions or Roman Catholic Traditions but it's very prominent in The Eastern tradition and it's it's a Reference to Christ as uh not just Creator of the world but really it's Supreme Majestic judge over the world is The idea there But it was very interesting when you Look at this and this is why the philio Quay was the issue We tend to emphasize the one substance In three persons so even when we Define The Trinity like your reflex is not to Say three persons in one substance You're you typically say God is one in Essence or one in substance and three Persons that's the definition of the Trinity The the Orthodox tend to flip it around And even tend to emphasize the three Persons of the Trinity which is why then

They saw the filioque as unnecessarily Subordinating the Holy Spirit They they tend to focus on the quality Of the members of the of the Trinity That's why even Christ as panto crator You know we tend to think of God the Father as the almighty judge whereas It's Christ who's pan to a great door so So there are some differences in terms Of icons icon practice worship the Liturgy is different Um but there are also some just Fundamental theological differences like The concept of mystery like the concept Of how the Trinity is conceived and Understood and taught so by fundamental You're talking about stuff that even Goes beyond the easily systematizable or Articulatable and into how the Expression of Christianity feels if you Orient toward mystery instead of Orienting toward more of a modernist Systematizing It's just I mean it's just hard to have The conversation it just feels like We're operating in completely different Categories am I hearing you right that That that talking past each other might Have been part of the issue as well I Think there is a talking past each other Yeah absolutely you know the other thing Is From a from a Protestant standpoint now So now we we have another schism

And and the 16th century that we can be Talking about So from the Protestant standpoint what We see is there's in both camps whether It's the Orthodox camp or the Roman Catholicism camp Is a the doctrine of salvation includes Works and so that's true both of Greece Or Greek Orthodox and of Roman Catholicism so so there are significant Similarities between those true Traditions which would which would set Them aside or set them apart rather from The Protestant tradition and I suppose Bringing up the Reformation one of the Key issues there is Church Authority does salvation is it is It mediated by the church or is this Something that I mean there's just one Mediator between God and man is Christ Jesus I mean that's a significant Difference but if what you're saying uh People are tracking with it here we have An Eastern tradition that has a high View of the authority of the church and A Western Roman tradition that has a High view of the authority of the church And they don't agree on exactly how that Authority shakes out On all of these little issues it feels Like any of them could have really been The spark that ignited the whole thing Because it sounds like what you're Describing is really an authority issue

Which is a huge deal when you're talking About Uh theological approach that Places a premium on that Authority what Was the breakdown between the two in Terms of how they viewed each other and Who was in charge and how decisions like Say whether there should be affiliate Clause should be made Well that's why they broke because the Roman the Roman Church asserted its Judicial authority over the entire Earth So so the church wherever the church is On the globe the the the the pope is the Authority and of course the patriarch uh Of the Greek Church disagreed with that So that's the Schism of 1054. there was An attempt in the 1200s at the Council Of Leon Um to bring the two sides together but It wasn't successful why did it work it Didn't work and Oh Why didn't it work Yeah I think because of the same thing It it there's there this is just there's Cultural differences between the two and Of course in order for them to come Together you can't have two heads of the Church and so again the church in Rome Is sort of anticipating that the the Greek Church will fall in line because Because The keys were given to Peter and Peter Was the first Bishop of Rome and his Successors are the head of the church uh

The head of the church on Earth of Course Christ in the room Catholic view Is the head of the church in heaven but He has given the keys to Peter So same issues that caused it in 1054 Are going to keep it from coming Together uh later and then let's do this Then did they know Did they understand that this cultural Difference These underlying assumptions these Stylistic the things about just the Ethos of the Eastern mind and the Western mind did they see that when they Were trying to sort it out or is that Something that with the benefit of Another 800 years of looking back at This meeting that we have in Lyon that We can see more clearly but that they Didn't know in the moment yeah it's Probably a combination of both and it's Also a combination of you have different Parties with different interests that Are either pushing for a Reconciliation Or will push against a Reconciliation uh When it when all parties are sitting at The table Um even even today you know with Vatican II which was Um didn't didn't under didn't change a Lot of Catholicism but it did change Many things of Catholicism it referred To Protestants as separated brethren Yeah and then made significant

Conciliation towards the Eastern Church And for all intents and purposes they United But that was just a sort of in theory And practice there's still two distinct Churches with two distinct cultures and Two distinct hierarchies Um so it's just sort of in in a in in Theory there's this Union between the Two communions of Catholicism and Orthodoxy but uh again and then the Other thing is still I think the Orthodox Church tends towards its Isolation even the communities in the United States of the Orthodox church It's not it's not as if they're Significantly Um engaged in proselytization you know They tend to exist within the ethnic Communities that are then Um In Pockets uh as uh communities in The United States and that's what tends To constitute the community churches or The Um uh Orthodox Churches as I go around And visit churches that's been my Experience uh yeah going from three to One I found the Orthodox to be Generally always exceptions the most Isolated I've walked in to an orthodox Church with my family it's like yeah I Want to show you this we're going to Attend Nope I we were straight up ungreeted and

Visually scolded from the front and it's Like do we can we And everybody looked at us like why Would you be here what are you doing and I was like I'm kind of pointed over my Shoulder like I literally did this like Do you want me to and everybody looked At us like yes leave and so we left now I've been to other Orthodox Churches Where that was not the case at all But I've I've never had the cowboy Walking into the old west Saloon and the Guy on the piano stops and everybody Looks up thing happened anywhere except A decidedly Eastern European ethnic Orthodox Church in the United States I Think Catholicism I've experienced more Of an outward impulse especially of late And then within protestantism like you Don't have any history to fall back on Or not like the super Apostolic history To fall back on so there I tend to find A little bit more of uh like we gotta go Get people we got to bring people into Our thing and and I don't know how old Those three different types of impulses Are but but what you're saying Rings True with my experience Why has it evolved that way that that Orthodoxy has a little bit more of that Regional ethnic Enclave kind of feel Whereas Rome and and the expressions of Christianity that came out of there Seem to have a little bit more of a

Go-getum kind of feel If you're talking about the Greek Orthodox Church of the 100s 200s 300 Let's let's just call it the Greek Churches of the hundreds three hundreds Four hundreds Uh these were very Orthodox Churches by That I mean you know intent on Practicing what the Bible says and Listening to what the Bible says It was these were the folks who brought Us the Nicene Creed the calcedonian Creed these were many of the heavy Lifters of the early trinitarian Theology we talk about the cappadocian Fathers if you've ever heard of them Sure uh the gregories Uh these these were significant Theologians that we are very much Indebted to Downstream Millennia later What happened though is over time those Churches became rather culturally Identified And so they also tended very quickly to Become nominal churches so by that what I mean is Are you a Christian well if you are a Member of this church and you have been Baptized in this church or you're a Member of this community and as a like Town and as a member of this town you Will be baptized in this church and you Will die buried in this church and you Will die with a funeral by the

Orthodox minister of this church that's What makes you a Christian I think you see that in both Greek and Russian Orthodox churches and so that That tended to be their Hallmark Rather early on after you get out of Those early centuries of course the Church in Rome is spreading through Europe it's not just this Mediterranean Thing it's a northern European thing and Then it becomes a new world thing And as it spreads it wants to become a Part of that you even see it like in Jesuit missionaries in the United States Among the Um first peoples that were here in the United States the Jesuit Ministries just Sort of put a crucifix up next to the Totem pole right so so they were they Were more interested in saying hey we Can come into your culture rather than We're going to override your culture So that's fascinating though because if That's what people conceive of in a Given time in a given place as what it Is to be a Christian Then who's in charge is really important In part because Everybody's got a bunch of dead Relatives who they love and if it turns Out that your team wasn't actually in Charge the whole time That question of authority like to the Common person that's going to have waves

Of implications in terms of just Notions Of security in your faith security of Those who've departed before the system Is going to really really matter whereas In my context in the American West I Live in the Black Hills Rapid City South Dakota I mean here I don't know if Something gets weird at church I guess You just go to a different one and like If if that guy was wrong about stuff at The last Church like that doesn't really Change anything about the equation or The fate of my dead relatives or or Anything because there never really was A hierarchy Authority with that that I Acknowledged as part and parcel of Signing up so it really is a very Different set of tensions than than what A modern Protestant might imagine Yeah absolutely I mean I think if you Were to if you were to get to the heart Of protestantism which really gets to The heart of what the Reformation was About The before the issue arose of authority The question was how can I be right with God that was the question that that Really drove Luther And when Luther said I'm not sure the Answer of later medieval Catholicism Is the right answer to how I can be Right with God in fact I think it is not The right answer is what Luther said Then comes the question

From uh EK right the car the Cardinal Yeah the smartest guy is alive at the Time On what Authority Luther Like on what Authority do you say the Church is not right on the answer how Can I be right with God And Luther says well not on the Pope's Authority and not on the council's Authority but on the authority of the Word of God alone so the question of how Can I be right with God came first that Drove the question by what Authority can You give this answer and so Luther lands On scripture And of course X says you're a hasai You you know you're you're you're a Heretic we already burned that guy Exactly and and you know Guilty By Association and because The authority is in the church and it Resides in the church And I think even Um that that sheds light if we keep with Our subject I know I'm digressing here But we'll keep with our subject it's a Good digression it relates we go back to The Schism it was perfectly fine for the Filioque Uh phrase to be added it was perfectly Legitimate Because that's what sort of happens in a Tradition culture where it's it's not Necessarily tradition is static do you

Mean the Parliamentary procedure was Legitimate or do you mean the Theological clarification is a Legitimate thing to do theological Clarification was legitimate because you You have that like you know the doctrine Of Mary Did not happen in the second century In the 10th Century in fact there were Additions to it in the 19th century in Roman Catholic thought so Roman Roman Catholicism is not the idea that Tradition is static it's sort of an Evolving thing uh the the Greek Orthodox Tradition we've we settled we said what We needed to say why are we saying Anything more We this is Mystery why are we peering Any further into the Trinity to Understand this yes I have a friend who Is a monk at Mount Athos And he one of the key things that my Friend who I think is incredibly wise And thoughtful and reflective points to Is we've been doing this forever like We've been saying these words in this Order in this way now some people are Going to hear that and be like that's That's beautiful that's what I need is This idea that Christianity is this Unbroken tradition and what's being said And prayed and done right now what's Being liturgized right now They that's what Matthew and Thomas did

Big after the Ascension they got Together they said these were like they Need that connection and I think it's a Valid thing to be excited about there Are other people who look at that and Would go Well wait what like I look at the church Fathers and there are a bunch of them That Don't don't look super bibley and it Looks like they're kind of figuring Things out like even within their own Lifetime says one person writing down Their thoughts like I'm not sure we'd Want to do the exact same thing we've Always done I think there's some Reflection and evaluation and it seems To break down along personality lines to Some extent in terms of who I I float That mount Athos ethic of consistency to And they get excited versus those I Floated to and they're like well I don't Know about that like don't we don't we Continue to think about this Yeah ah no I think you're getting right At it and I mean so this is where They're all trained uh the Orthodox Theologians all come out of the mount Ethos Um monastery and You know what one of the things we Haven't mentioned which is uh very Crucial it's part of the western Tradition too but it's it's part of the

Western tradition it gets qualified in The Eastern tradition so here's another Big word for everybody Theology So apophatic Means negative What negative this is Mr this is a way Of expressing mystery so what negative Theology is basically what I say about God is what I can't say about God So everything about God is really Transcendent The positive if I if I say positive About God that's my knowing him that's My containing him now that's a challenge To God's Transcendence and even if you Use words like infinite I mean it seems Like infinite isn't limiting right Um so you're talking now about the the Negative but it's it's infinite but if You try to figure out well what is God's Relationship to time now you sort of Moved off of the apathetic tradition So the apophytic tradition is just what God is Not and fundamentally he's not us Right so he's sometimes referred to as Holy other like w-h-o-l-l-y other holy Other being no connection to us of Course we we believe that uh God is Transcendent but we also believe that God has revealed himself so like we love This verse the secret things belong to The Lord But the revealed things belong to us

And so the idea is what God has revealed About himself we're going to study it We're going to get in there we're gonna We're gonna debate it and if you think Differently then we're going to debate That and and if in the next Century We're going to debate this piece of it And we crack the nut this far this Century The Next Century we go this next Step further with this particular Doctrine Um we're going to get into the revealed Things the the Eastern side wants to say The secret things And let's leave it there and let's leave Our worship in liturgy at mystery and so Um Yeah it's it's a it's a fundamentally Different approach even just to What we should be doing as Christians Exploring theology understanding our Bibles trying to get hone in on that Interpretation because we find it a duty To understand God's word in the best Clearest way that we can I don't think You find those kinds of things in an Orthodox a Greek or Russian Orthodox uh Traditions I don't know I I don't know I've Certainly been struck in my Conversations with Orthodox leaders By just how different the tenor the the Tone the feel of the Enterprise of Theological thought is and maybe you're

Helping me put my finger on On how that works a little bit better But in light of all of this what you're Describing is something that it really Is a little bit different brain between The Eastern brain and the Western brain You're talking about something where There are some legitimate theological Differences from the first Millennium And even since you're talking about a Difference in an understanding of Authority structure you are talking About some efforts that were made since 1054 to put the thing back together or Check back in see what we could do we Haven't talked about but we certainly Have to acknowledge the fact that once Blood is shed it does tend to calcify People's positions on a thing and blood Got shed early on in the Crusades Between the East and the West that Surely isn't helping anything Yeah that's a huge piece because because Uh you know the historian Church story Mark Knowles makes this comment I always Remember it that the Crusades sealed the Schism And so while while it was a theological Hierarchical issue The the Crusades Um That that was the sort of How do you come back from that how do You come back from that yeah

Uh and I always thought that was an Interesting observation by uh by Noel Yeah and they're just they're these Little rubicons in relationships where As long as we both stay on our side of It it's like all right we can put trust Back together and we all know what this Feels like interpersonally but somebody Traipses across the Rubicon and all of a Sudden it's like whoa you'll do that and Now I know you'll do that and further Now I'm invested I have got to I've got to stand up for the memory of Of these people or of those those costs That went into it in a way that blood Getting shed causing calcification Phenomenon is just sunk cost fallacy It's we already paid this so in for a Penny in for a pound and this is not Something that I'm pointing a finger at The eastern and western church and Saying you guys are so funny look how Different I am no like that's I think That's just us I'm that way Protestants Are that way a lot of history I think Can be explained in terms of those Little Rubicon Crossings but all of your Characterization is so incredibly Helpful I asked for it to explain it to Me like I'm five I think you've done an Amazing job Dr Nichols is great and I feel like I Just learned a ton in a very short Amount of time I hope that was useful

For you as well and I also thought he Was great by the way on a zoom interview Those are way harder than you might Think in person it's easy you just be a Human with the other person and you can Read those very human dance steps you Know when to get in and when to shut up A little easier Zoom calls I always Mistake a little delay in the feed or I Don't quite catch those subtle social Cues as well and I always feel like I'm Stepping on people's toes and jumping in A bit too much he was really gracious About that as well so I just thought he Is wildly talented and did a great job With all of this and I'm excited to Share with you the part where we pick His brain more about what we do in light Of this this video was meant to cover The nuts and bolts of this particular Division but in the shorter follow-up Video I just want to think about where It goes from here do we play any role What does putting the church back Together look like is that a prudent Endeavor are we already be put back Together and we're just moping and Things are actually going better than we Think I'm very very excited to pick in Particular his brain about that kind of Stuff and so I hope you'll come back for This next conversation if you're not Subscribed to the channel I don't hardly Ever bring this up because subscription

Is just kind of don't mean what they Used to on YouTube but if you are ever Interested in making sure you catch a Back to back thing like this it can be Helpful on your end to hit the Subscribe Button and the little gray Bell look my Friends also it is totally cool if you Don't so either way I just thank you for Being here and hanging out with me when It makes sense to catch one of the Videos on this channel thanks again to Dr Stephen Nichols and final note thanks To all of you for your graciousness Every time we talk about Delicate Moments from the history of the church Or delicate points where we might not See all the things the same way you're Classy and I like the way you handle Your business on the internet all right More of this next time around I'm Matt Thanks for hanging out with me on my YouTube channel

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