The Crusades Controversy: Puting Old Myths to Rest

Feeling Cornered

Has anybody ever asked you about the Crusades and what you thought of them? Chances are, somebody has. I myself was confronted with this question some years ago and to be honest, I froze. I felt embarrassed since I had no idea what to say in response.

Certainly the topic of the Crusades is not something most ordinary people have  devoted much thought and study to. It’s not one of those events in history that lots of people are losing sleep over. And yet, some of us wish we’d been better equipped to answer questions about it!

30 Minutes Is All You Need

Thomas F. Madden is Professor of History and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Saint Louis University. He has written several scholarly works on the history of the Crusades and the impact they’ve had in our modern world.

Thomas Madden
Thomas Madden

His most recent work on the topic is a very short and accessible 50 page booklet called The Crusades Controversy.

In six short, but by no means simplistic, chapters, Madden has managed to provide us with enough information to clear away the most common misconceptions and distortions many people still hold about the Crusades.

Two portions of the booklet deserve lengthy quotations.

“the Crusades….were a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslim armies had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point Christianity as a faith and a culture either defended itself or was subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.”

“The eighteenth century saw the rise of the Enlightenment with its strict emphasis on rational thought, religious tolerance, and anticlericalism. In an intellectual atmosphere like that the medieval Crusades did not fare well…the Crusades were described as a bizarre manifestation of medieval barbarism in which thousands of the deceived and the foolish marched through rivers of blood in a pitiful attempt to save their souls. In his famous Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–88), Edward Gibbon insisted that nothing good at all came out of the Crusades, except perhaps Europe’s exposure to more sophisticated Eastern cultures.”

These two quotes are among the many excellent take-away points of the booklet.

Now you can answer the questions!

I highly recommend Madden’s little booklet The Crusades Controversy. It’s a superb and easy to digest introduction to a topic around which there is much misinformation and even disinformation!.

At 50 pages, you can read it easily in one sitting. I can’t think of a better way to give yourself a sound basic knowledge on this intriguing topic. Enjoy your reading and help set the record straight!

Debate Replay: Devin Rose vs. John Martignoni on the Bible

I debated John Martignoni on whether the Catholic or Protestant Bible is the true one?

Watch the debate by entering your email below:

What Was the Debate About Exactly?

Catholics have 73 books in their Bible.
Protestants have 66 books.

The difference underscores the fundamental question of who, if anyone, has authority and divine guidance in discerning which books the Holy Spirit inspired.

Devin Rose vs. John Martignoni
John Martignoni

That’s what our debate centered on.

I put on my former Protestant hat for the debate and argued, as did John Calvin, that the books of the Bible are self-authenticating.

That means that, because God inspired them, they have a quality that no other books have, and since the Holy Spirit dwells within each Christian, the Spirit testifies in our hearts to which books He inspired.

John argued the Catholic position, that Protestants stole from Catholic Tradition (which they ostensibly reject as false) in order to even come up with the 66 books they do accept, but this is arbitrary since they think the early Christians went off the rails on numerous doctrines (the Eucharist, infant baptism, the Mass, sacraments, and so on).

Why Is the Canon of Scripture Important?

This came out in the debate. Since Protestants believe in sola Scriptura, that the Bible alone is the sole infallible rule of faith, they absolutely must know which books belong in the Bible.

And to know which books belong in the Bible, they must be able to offer a principled reason for why they accept the books they do and how they came up with the criteria for them.

As John demonstrated in the debate, in fact all Protestants have is their opinion on what they think the Holy Spirit is telling them. That way leads to chaos and cannot be the way God designed things. Further, it is not how the early Church operated.

I tried to argue that God wanted us to have something written down because traditions could be corrupted, but John countered that God can preserve both written and oral works from error.

It was a lively debate! You can watch it for free anytime by registering below:

Finally, at the end of the debate I offer anyone who watches it a discount on my Proven Catholic video course and ebook. You can get that deal here.