Church History

Lesson 9The Crusades - Part 2: 1200 A.D. - 1400 A.D.

In this lesson, I intend to finish our study of the period of the Crusades, look at some of the effects the Crusades had on the growth of the Church, and finish with a look at the forerunners of the Reformation, specifically John Wycliffe. At the end of this week’s lesson we will have covered through the end of the 14th Century (known as the Renaissance), and will be ready next week to look at the beginning of the Modern Era and the Reformation led by Martin Luther.


As you will recall from our last lesson, religious zeal and fervor had dramatically escalated by the late 12th century. Gothic cathedrals of grand proportion were being designed and constructed, and going off to fight for God and Country was all the rage. After a faulty start and the loss of tens of thousands, the First Crusade succeeded in capturing Jerusalem and driving back the Turkish Muslims. Jerusalem and the surrounding area was established as the Kingdom of Jerusalem and a period of forced peace settled in under the watchful eyes of the Knights Templars and the Hospitallers.

Gradually, however, the Turks regained territory one battle at a time and would eventually retake Jerusalem. At the end of our lesson last week, we had studied about two additional crusades which had both ended in failure: the Second Crusade -– the King’s Crusade -- saw one of the three kings drown, one leave the Crusade and return home after disagreements over leadership, and the third, Richard, return to England with only a small political victory to show for all his efforts.

This week we’ll look quickly at three other Crusades, then the impact they had on the growth, teaching and leadership of the Church.

So once again, grab your history books, dictionary, or a good computer and a cable modem, and let’s take a look at an important period in Church history called the Crusades.

  1. Innocent III preached the need for a Fourth Crusade following the failure of the Kings’ Crusade. What did Innocent want the Fourth Crusade to capture and why?
  2. As a part of the Fourth Crusade what major religious capital was captured on April 13, 1204?
  3. Why was the capture of this capital so significant in the growth of the Church?
  4. There are two more notable crusades that typify this period; they are the one led by Frederick II – leader of the Sixth Crusade and the Children’s Crusade.
    1. What did Frederick II capture?
    2. Who were the Saracens?
    3. The Children’s Cruscade broke into two groups; what were they?
    4. What happened to the two groups?
  5. What was significant about the fall of Acre in 1291 to the Muslims?
  6. What do you suppose was the result of so many Lords and Knights selling their property to pay for the crusades, then going off to war and not returning home? What affect did it have on the local cities’ and Kings’ approach to governing?
  7. Interestingly, even though the crusades failed, the Pope and the Papacy saw its power and influence increase, while the capture of Constantinople saw the Eastern Church weakened and the divide between them widened. However, the church’s approach to dealing with the Muslim threat changed. What role did Raymond Lull (1235-1315) have in that change?
  8. Like other wars, the Crusades brought the world’s cultures and trade closer together. Returning Crusaders wanted to be able to purchase the products from the Far East they had seen while there -- silk, spices, perfumes and so on. In Italy, led by Venice, trade with the Far East began shortly after the success of the First Crusade. This trade brought great affluence to Italy and allowed it to be a major patron of the art and culture known as what period in history?
  9. Another result of the Crusades was the creation of the military monks – the Hospitallers and the Knights Templars of last week, and the Friars. What are some of the basic differences between a Friar and a Monk?
  10. Who was Francis of Assisi and what’s the Franciscan Order?
  11. Who were the “Waldenses” and what did they have in common with the later Protestants of the Reformation?
  12. What did the Synod of Toulouse in 1229 forbid laymen the use of?
  13. Who was John Wycliffe and what impact did he have on the Church?

I believe that this study, and the coming ones, will really begin to give you insight into how the major pieces of today’s Church came into being and how the theology we have today evolved. I hope that you are finding this useful, and I pray it’s better equipping you as witnesses in a lost and dying world.

May Christ’s name be elevated and glorified in all that we say and do, have a great week everyone.

In Christ,


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