Chapter Title: The Waldenses
Favorite Quotation: “The persecutions visited for many centuries upon this God-fearing people [the Waldenses] were endured by them with a patience and constancy that honored their Redeemer. Notwithstanding the crusades against them, and the inhuman butchery to which they were subjected, they continued to send out their missionaries to scatter the precious truth. They were hunted to death; yet their blood watered the seed sown, and it failed not of yielding fruit. Thus the Waldenses witnessed for God centuries before the birth of Luther. Scattered over many lands, they planted the seeds of the Reformation that began in the time of Wycliffe, grew broad and deep in the days of Luther, and is to be carried forward to the close of time by those who also are willing to suffer all things for “the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 1:9.” P. 78.
Lessons I’ve Learned:
- Among the Waldenses of the early Dark Ages, the Bible was the final authority in all of life, including worship, lifestyle, mission and the training of youth. It was studied, copied, and applied to the life even if it meant persecution and death.
- Young people were taught to recognize God in nature, to endure hardship, to think for themselves, to submit to their parents’ authority and to copy and memorize large portions of the Bible.
- In addition to the regular training every Waldensian youth received, each future pastor learned a trade to support himself. He spent three years in evangelistic mission service with an older, more experienced worker to teach him a spirit of self-denial and sacrifice before being assigned a church at home. This “missionary internship” also gave him experience in his future responsibilities of preaching the gospel, visiting the sick, training the children, counseling the wayward and settling differences among believers to promote unity within the church.
- The Waldenses did not simply hide out in the valleys where they lived. As they studied the Bible, accepted the gospel and the Bible truths, and saw the prophecies being fulfilled they devised every means possible to tell the entire world about the hope in their hearts. Children and youth were trained from their mother’s knee to share Jesus and the Bible for the rest of their lives.
- Although persecuted off and on for centuries, the Waldenses would rather lose possessions, property, comfort and even life itself than to participate in false religion or abandon their Bible faith.
- For additional lessons click here.
Comments: As the Roman Empire morphed into the Roman Church Empire, a religious and political union, the Roman armies took the Roman brand of Christianity wherever they went. This led to a separation from the Roman Church system by many groups throughout the former Roman Empire who gave priority to the Bible over church tradition and papal decrees. The Waldenses (”people of the valleys”) were one of these groups. For centuries during the Dark Ages the Waldenses kept truth alive by copying the Bible and taking its precious truth throughout Europe, sometimes at the cost of their lives. They trained their young people from their earliest years to be missionaries, later sending them under the guidance of more experienced workers into the cities as college students or merchants. Always looking for interested people they would share promises from God’s Word and sometimes portions of the Bible they had copied or memorized, before going on their way. Only in heaven will we learn the full impact of their faithful ministry.
- What role did the Bible play in the lives of the Waldenses? What role does the Bible play in your life?
- What were some of the methods used for training Waldensian youth? Do you have children/youth in your home, church or school who could benefit from some of the training methods of the Waldenses?
- How were future Waldensian pastors mentored? What are you doing to mentor a young person in Bible study, service, ministry and witnessing?
- What were some of the Bible promises the Waldenses shared with others to bring them hope and freedom from the papal lies? What are some of your favorite Bible promises?
- What motivated the Waldenses to have missionary zeal? Do you have missionary zeal? Can you remember how wonderful it was the first time you understood the plan of redemption and the blessings of Bible truths and prophecy? How can you step out of your comfort zone this week to share Jesus and Bible truth with someone else?
- How did one of the popes motivate people to destroy the Waldenses? Do you love Jesus enough to die for Him? Do you value the truths of the Bible enough to follow them no matter what the cost? Do you realize that there is a life and death struggle for your soul going on every day and you can choose to place yourself on the side of Jesus?
Family Worship Activity: The Waldenses copied the Bible in the days before printing. Since it was God’s Word it was very important to copy each word very carefully and accurately. As a family choose a section from the Bible to carefully copy. Assign a number of verses to each person, taking into account their age. Each person copies his section perhaps with sacred music playing in the background. Exchange papers and check for accuracy, making corrections as needed. When finished staple the pages together so the entire Bible passage can be read page by page. Add an attractive homemade cover if desired. Materials needed: a sheet of paper, pen and Bible for each person, stapler, sacred background music if desired.
Hi there! I’m Dan Serns. I grew up in a Seventh-day Adventist pastor’s home but strayed from God in my younger days. But after a re-conversion during my junior year of college I went to Korea as a Student Missionary. That experience put in my heart a passion for Jesus, soul winning, missions, and leadership development that is still burning today. God has given me a wonderful family. I serve as the Evangelism Director at Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
The Great Controversy Project- Read It! Share It!
The Great Controversy is a book that gives a Bible-based outline of church history and Bible prophecy stretching from the Fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD to the final events of earth and beyond.
Since it was written in the 1800s it has been published in many languages and titles.
Read or listen to it online at www.egwwritings.org
Share it with friends. You can purchase copies at www.adventistbookcenter.com.