The Two Seeds(pt 3b)-- The Waldensen Movement (Incredible Church History)

Part I -- Intro
Part II -- The Woman and the Dragon
Part 3b -- The Church in the Wilderness

Key Text:
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. 14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

I hope you been blessed by what you learned so far. This series started out with two seeds and the claim is that God's truth existed in every age, even from the time of Genesis.

Jesus says, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." Matt 24:25

And so that saying has been true from the beginning even until now and there hasn't been a moment in history where the light has been fully extinguished from the world. Nevertheless, that did not stop Satan from trying his uttermost to extinguish the light. And how does he do that? First by appeal, then by compromise, then intrigue, and if that does not work then by persecution. So it was that there were Christians that failed to compromise with the newly formed church/state government, that Satan put the pressure on, forcing those Christians to flee into the "wilderness" in order that they may offer a true sacrifice unto the Lord. This church would later be known as the Waldensian.

"The history of God’s people during the ages of darkness that followed upon Rome’s supremacy is written in heaven, but they have little place in human records. Few traces of their existence can be found, except in the accusations of their persecutors. It was the policy of Rome to obliterate every trace of dissent from her doctrines or decrees. Everything heretical, whether persons or writings, she sought to destroy. Expressions of doubt, or questions as to the authority of papal dogmas, were enough to forfeit the life of rich or poor, high or low. Rome endeavored also to destroy every record of her cruelty toward dissenters. Papal councils decreed that books and writings containing such records should be committed to the flames. Before the invention of printing, books were few in number, and in a form not favorable for preservation; therefore there was little to prevent the Romanists from carrying out their purpose." (1)

Who were the Waldensian?(the Church in the Wilderness)?

Despite Rome's success in eliminating much of history, the foot print of this movement remains. The Catholic Encyclopedia credits the movements beginnings to John Waldo. Although a giant man of faith who gave a great impetus to the movement in the 12th century, this sect existed well before John Waldo entered it's fold.

The name Waldensian may not have been known until later, but the principals they stood for existed existed since the time of the Apostles. "
Whenever, therefore, in the following sketches, the terms
Berengarians, Petrobrusians, Henricians, Arnoldists, Waldenses,
Albigenses, Leonists, or the poor men of Lyons, Lollards, Cathari,
etc, occur, it must be understood that they intend a people,
agreed in certain leading principles
, however they might differ in
some smaller matters, and that all of them were by the Catholics
comprehended under the general name of Waldenses

Church historian Neander says, " But it was not without some foundation of truth that the Waldenses of this period asserted the high antiquity of their sect, and maintained that from the time of the secularization of the church — that is, as they believed, from the time of Constantine’s gift to the Roman bishop Silvester [A.D. 314 — 336] — such an opposition as finally broke forth in them, had been existing all along.”(6) Therefore, as we learn more about this wonder sect, keep in mind that"the Church in the Wilderness is the connecting link between apostolic Christianity and God’s people today. "(3)

"THE Waldensen stand apart and alone in the Christian world. Their place on the surface of Europe is unique; their position in history is not less unique; and the end. appointed them to fulfill is one which has been assigned to them alone, no other people being permitted to share it with them. The Waldenses bear a twofold testimony. Like the snow-clad peaks amid which their dwelling is placed, which look down upon the plains of Italy on the one side, and the provinces of France on the other, this people stand equally related to primitive ages and modern times, and give by no means equivocal testimony respecting both Rome and the Reformation. If they are old, then Rome is new; if they are pure, then Rome is corrupt; and if they have retained the faith of the apostles, it follows incontestably that Rome has departed from it. That the Waldensian faith and worship existed many centuries before Protestantism arose is undeniable; the proofs and monuments of this fact lie scattered over all the histories and all the lands of medieval Europe;" but the antiquity of the Waldenses is the antiquity of Protestantism. The Church of the Reformation was in the loins of the Waldensian Church ages before the birth of Luther; her first cradle was placed amid those terrors and sublimities, those ice-clad peaks and great bulwarks of rock. In their dispersions over so many lands–over France, the Low Countries, Germany, Poland, Bohemia, Moravia, England, Calabria, Naples–the Waldenses sowed the seeds of that great spiritual revival which, beginning in the days of Wicliffe, and advancing in the times of Luther and Calvin, awaits its full consummation in the ages to come. " (5)

"Reinerius Saccho, an officer of the Inquisition (c. A.D. 1250), wrote a
treatise against the Waldenses which explains their early origin."(3) In it, he gave three reasons why he thought the Waldensian were dangerous to the Papacy:

"First, because it is of longer duration; for some say that it hath endured from the time of Pope Sylvester; others from the time of the apostles; second, because it is more general. For there is scarcely any country wherein this sect is not. Third, because when all other sects beget horror in the hearers by the outrageousness of their blasphemies against God, this of the Leonists hath a great appearance of piety: because they live justly before men and believe all things rightly concerning God and all the articles which 211 are contained in the creed; only they blaspheme the Church of Rome and the clergy." (6)

"Thus Saccho showed that the Leonists, or Waldenses, were older than the
Arians; yes, even older than the Manichaeans."


BThrough out various epochs of their existence, this movement had heroes of faith, whose work and influence in the church was felt through out the world. 'Because of the desperate attempt of papal writers to date the rise of the Waldenses from Peter Waldo, all Waldensian heroes before the time of the crusades which largely destroyed the Albigenses, will be called “early.”
This term refers to those evangelical leaders that kept continental Europe true to primitive Christianity between the days of the apostles and the Albigensian crusades. Such believers did not separate from the Papacy, for they had never belonged to it. In fact, many times they called the Roman Catholic Church “the newcomer.”

Vigilantius Leo (364 A.D - 408 A.D) - Vigilantius was the earliest leader of prominence in this movement and was accounted by some as supreme director of the Waldensian movement (3). He protested many of the heresies that were manifesting themselves in that early church/state religion. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, " The points against which he argued as being superstitious are: (1) the reverence paid to the relics of holy men by carrying them round the church in costly vessels or silken wrappings to be kissed, and the prayers offered to the dead; (2) the late watchings at the basilicas of the martyrs, with their attendant scandals, the burning of numerous tapers. alleged miracles, etc.; (3) the sending of alms to Jerusalem, which, Vigilantius urged, had better be spent among the poor in each separate diocese, and the monkish vow of poverty; (4) the exaggerated estimate of virginity."

Claudius of Turin (or Claude) ( 810 A.D. –827 A.D)

BERENGARIUS (999 - 1088)

PETER DE BRUYS (1117 – c.1131)

HENRY OF LAUSANNE (1116- 1148)

ARNOLD OF BRESCIA (1090 – June 1155)

PETER WALDO (1140 - 1205)

All those names lead to wiki articles. However, since Rome virtually has a monopoly on most of the writings of Christian history, its findings will be presented from that perspective.

This article is obviously by no means exhaustive. I also heavily quoted from other books and provided all the references below. I hoped to at least show that there have always been two seeds, two principals, that extend from apostolic times to the present day. There is no new thing under the sun. In the next study, I hope to show you how the seed of the wicked one developed in the church.



(1) The Great Controversy, pg 61.2, Ellen G White
(2) Benedict, A General History of the Baptist Denomination, vol. 1, pp. 112, 113.
(3) The Truth Triumphant (The Church in the Wilderness) by B.G. Wilkinson PHD
(4) The History of the Reformation Vol 1, pg 42, Wylie.
(5) The History of the Waldenses, Chp 1, Wylie
(6) Saccho, Contra Waldenses, found in Maxima Bibliotheca Veterum Patrum, vol. 25, p. 264