Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "An Apology of the Church of England." In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Monday, February 2, 2015

2 February 962 A.D. Otto crowned (Holy Roman) Emperor by the Bishop of Rome, John XII

2 February 962 A.D.  Otto crowned (Holy Roman) Emperor by the Bishop of Rome, John XII.

Dr. Rusten tells the story.

Rusten, E. Michael and Rusten, Sharon. The One Year Christian History. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2003.  Available at:

John XIIl was one of the worst in the long line of reprobates in the Roman see.

King Otto 1 was one of the better and strong German sovereigns.

John XII crowned Otto 1 as Emperor on 2 February 962.  This was done in the Italian hellhole of Rome.  As such, according to Dr. Rusten, the Pope was signing his own political death certification while re-issuing the rebirth certificate for the strengthened (Holy Roman) Empire.

The (Holy Roman) Empire received its ceremonial warrant with Charlemagne on Christmas Day, 800 A.D.  Charlemagne was worshipping quietly at St. Peter’s in Rome when the bishop of Rome, Pope Leo III, stepped down and crowned him successor to the Roman Caesars.  Of course, that tagged the Pope as the Ego-man with the authority to confer such in the first place, as if such were legitimated by the Biblical witness, to make or break kings or queens.  Later bishops of Rome would turn this into quite an art form.

Charlemagne’s successors did not succeed in holding things together. There was no central government.  Norseman from the North were invading targets of opportunity including England. Feudalism emerged and varied alliances and allegiances were on offer. By the end of the 9th and first half of the 10th century, the Popes were doing jigs of subordination to varied political entities. 

Greed, violence, intrigue and more informed the Pornocrats in Rome. Popes were deposed or installed at whim.  Drunken orgies were held in the Lateran Palace under John XII.

Meanwhile, Otto 1 was growing in power and prestige. He generously granted large land-grants to German bishops whose loyalty turned towards him rather than the southern bishop of Italy. A certain independence developed amongst German bishops.

As previously noted, Otto 1 rode into Rome quietly and peaceably.  John XII did the honors.  But, Otto witnessed first-hand the moral degradation.  He was horrified by it all, something Luther and Cranmer would centuries later. Something we’ve witnessed in our times with the massive pedophilia coverups, but we digress.

A year later, 963, Otto returned to Rome.  He summoned John XII before an ecclesiastical tribunal on charges of adultery, incest, bribes of bishops, and for turning the Papal palace into a brothel.  John XII disregarded the summons and went hunting.

The Cardinals, however, removed John XII and put in a layman.  The new Pope, Leo VIII, now answered to Otto 1, a convenient State-over-Church arrangement that would be seen in other nations, e.g. Tudor and Stuart England. 

Subsequent Popes would attempt to readjust that relationship.  The Full-of-Bull Uanm Sanctum of 1301 claimed the Pope to be sovereign in both realms of Church and State.  France’s King was unamused by the Bull, but that’s for another day.

We remember this day when John XII crowned Otto 1.


  1. What about modern Popes? TBN? Large mega-ministries? Mark Driscoll?  CJ Mahaney before his recent demise?
  2. What good academic studies are there dealing with the church-state relationship through the ages?
  3. What role does the Civil Magistrate play today?
  4. Was Otto 1 right in getting John XII deposed?  Was the deposition largely ecclesiastical?  Should modern leaders, e.g. Queen Elizabeth, move ecclesiastical leaders to depose some English bishops?
  5. Should US Presidents use the bully pulpit on theology?  To pressure churches themselves to discipline liberals, for example?  That is, use moral force so the churches would do their duty and clean their barns of the horse crap?


Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church. 4: 283-84.

Walker, Williston. A History of the Christian Church.  Rev. ed. New York: Scribner, 1959. 188.

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