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Definition:   The slaughter of approximately 60,000 residents of a town in southern France by the Catholic Church. In 1207, Pope Innocent III authorized a crusade against the Albigenses. He ordered the King of France to use force. Under the military leadership of Simon de Montfort, and with the promise of indulgences, hundreds of thousands of men took part in pillaging, torture, and extermination of simple Christians. For centuries these people lived in relative seclusion apart from the domination of the Church of Rome. They were known for their disciplined lifestyle (especially in comparison to the profligacy displayed by the papacy), and held beliefs similar to Protestant teaching. They peacefully refused to submit to the dominion of the popes, whose worship they considered idolatrous. They paid the price for their convictions on earth, but the Albigenses are even now offering true worship before the throne of God in heaven.

Discussion: The Catholic Church often appeals to its antiquity and its universal character to support its validity. But there have always been true Christians who refused to submit to the errors and domination of Rome. A false church uses force to achieve its supremacy (Rev. 12:7). The true church uses peaceful and godly means to extend the kingdom of God (2 Cor. 10:4).  The papacy will be severely judged by God for shedding the blood of His saints (Rev. 16:6-7).

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