Problem with Primitivism – 2


In Bulgaria three hundred years later a new shoot sprang out of the Paulician sect. The Bogomils (meaning Dear Ones of God) grew in reaction to what they perceived as the corrupt established church of their time. They met in their own homes, rejected the priesthood, rejected the doctrine of the real presence and believed that all should be taught by the simple minded. They also rejected monasticism and did not accept marriage as a sacrament. Like the Paulicians, the Bogomils were dualists–believing in equal good and evil forces in the world.

Henry the Monk and Waldes (from whom the Waldensians are descended) were wandering preachers in the twelfth century who lived simple lives and preached against the corruption of the church. They gathered groups of disciples around them, while at the same time the Cathars carried on the dualistic and heretical teaching of the Bogomils. All these pre-Reformation groups were primitivist in their beliefs and restorationist in their actions. As such they were the pre-cursors of the Protestant Reformation.


Anti Tradition Tradition

Restorationists might be opposed to human tradition, but by the sixteenth century they had developed their own venerable anti-tradition  traditions. Usually their reasons were sincere and urgent. Wherever the church is corrupt, complex and privileged the urge for primitivism and restorationism is strong. People long for a simple and pure church of the early days. Simple Christians want the church to be for simple people. They read the gospel and see Christ ministering to the outcasts, the sick and the ordinary people and believe that is what the Church should be like. They are not wrong in their desire for simplicity and purity, and so it is easy to see why Restorationist movements are so attractive and successful.[Read More]