Protestantism In America

For the best survey of the emergence of American Christianity, see Mark A. Noll, The Old Religion in a New World The History of North American Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI Eerdmans, 2002). 2. Virginia DeJohn Anderson, New England's Generation The Great Migration and the Formation of Society and Culture in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1991). 3. For useful studies, see Peter N. Carroll, Puritanism and the Wilderness The Intellectual Significance of the New...

The Reunification Of Protestantism

This brief analysis of some of the major constituent elements of modern Protestantism raises an important question might the denominations representing these elements settle their differences someday and form one large Protestant mega-church The vision of a reunited Protestantism has captivated the imaginations of many Protestants, especially when the movement has felt itself to be under threat and in need of reaffirming its unity. Two threats in particular have brought home the importance of...

European Protestantism in Crisis 15601800

In his exploration of what gives rise to a sense of national identity, the nineteenth-century French historian and philosopher Ernest Renan (1823-92) pointed out the importance of suffering and persecution in creating a sense of solidarity and shared values Suffering in common, he wrote, unifies more than joy.1 Violence and oppression and sometimes even the mere perception of such a threat from a rival religious grouping help to crystallize a sense of self-identity in the face of the other....

The Shape Of The Bible The Old Testament And The Apocrypha

The rise of Protestantism forced reconsideration of what had up to that point been a relatively unproblematic question what specific texts does the phrase the Bible denote At a fairly early stage in its history, the Christian church had to make some important decisions as to what the term scripture actually designated. The first major phase in the history of the church, often referred to as the patristic period (c. 100-c. 450), witnessed the setting of the limits to the New Testament a process...

Pentecostalism Its Defining Characteristics

In many respects, Pentecostalism accepts the basic themes of Protestant theology, but with a significant addition that leads to modifications of doctrinal emphasis at some points and different patterns of worship at others. The term Pentecostal takes its name from the Jewish festival of Pentecost, during which, the New Testament records, the apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues (Acts 2 4). Traditional Protestant theology had regarded this phenom enon as...

Colonialism Imperialism And Protestant Missions

There has been a surge of interest in the history of Protestant missions in recent years on account of its multiple facets. The study of these missions possesses the capacity to illuminate a wide variety of issues such as the history of specific Protestant denominations, the relation of mission to the practically simultaneous global expansion of capitalism and imperialism (summed up for many in David Livingstone's slogan Christianity, commerce, and civilization), and the place of Christianity...

Protestantism And Women

In recent years, there has been a concerted effort to rediscover the role played by women in the religious and social life of the later Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and the Reformation.75 There is a clear consensus that the agendas and interests of earlier (largely, it must be admitted, male) historians of these movements may have minimized the significance of these writers, whether unconsciously or deliberately. The retrieval of such forgotten or repressed histories has renewed interest in...

The Relation Between the Old and New Testaments

Protestants regard the Bible as having two major sections the Old and New Testaments. Following John Calvin, most Protestants affirm the theological continuity between the two Testaments both are the work of the same God, setting out the same fundamental themes of creation, grace, sin, judgment, redemption, and consummation. At the theological level, the New Testament states more clearly and more fully what is sometimes set out more opaquely in the Old. This basic theme is often summarized in a...

Protestantism On Church And State

The birth of Protestantism coincided with the beginning of the end of Christendom the great medieval vision of the essential unity of church and state, with individual monarchs ruling their territories, all presided over by the pope. From the outset, Protestantism was bound to cause political ripples. Perhaps it should be no cause for surprise that the first mainline Protestant reformers adopted models for understanding the relation of church and state that were adapted to the political...

Instruments Of Authority Creeds And Confessions

Protestantism regards itself as Christian and thus accepts the two great creeds of the Christian church the Apostles' Creed, which dates from the eighth century in its final form, and the fourth-century Nicene Creed. These creeds, which are both minimalist, set out fundamental landmarks for Christian belief such as the two natures of Jesus Christ while merely affirming other areas of faith or leaving them altogether undefined. For example, the creeds set out no doctrine of the church or...

Tensions And Revival The Nineteenth Century

American Protestantism underwent dramatic development during the nineteenth century, and many of the distinctive contemporary traits of the movement were forged at this time. That development was shaped by forces unique to the American situation, including the rapid expansion westward into geographical regions without any history of a Christian presence and an expanding Catholic population in what had once been a predominantly Protestant nation. Between 1800 and the eve of the Civil War, the...

The Shift In Power Calvin And Geneva

For the background, see Gabriele Schl tter-Schindler, Der Schmalkaldische Bund und das Problem der causa religionis (Frankfurt am Main Peter Lang, 1986). 2. See the comments of Frank Tallett in War and Society in Early Modern Europe, 1495-1715 (London Routledge, 1992), 51. 3. A series of legends have arisen around this event, none with any reliable historical basis. The best known is that, on being urged to burn Luther's bones to demonstrate he died as a heretic, Charles answered He has met his...

Early New England Protestantism

Those who brought their form of Protestantism to New England on the Mayflower were not economic migrants, but rather individuals who believed that they were being persecuted or oppressed on account of their faith. They saw themselves as called a notion heavily freighted with the most powerful Puritan theological themes to establish holy commonwealths in a new world, free from the opposition and ridicule they had faced in England. They would be the salt of the American earth, the light of the...

Protestantism And The American Revolution

The historical roots of the American Revolution are complex, and it is difficult to assign priority to any one factor as the ultimate cause of the rebellion against British rule. The burdens of taxation, the lack of due representation, and the desire for freedom were unquestionably integral ingredients in the accumulation of grievances that drove many colonials to take up arms against the king.22 Yet religious issues also played their part, not least in intensifying a sense of injustice over...

New Reformation Revisionist Protestantism 19601990

During the 1960s, Western society underwent a series of convulsions that called the settled assumptions of the past into question with unprecedented vigor. It was as if there was an unrelenting impatience with the ways of the past, a sense of dissatisfaction with existing ideas and values, and a strong belief that a new beginning lay just around the corner. The cultural mood of the period is caught well by Tom Wolfe in his essay The Great Relearning.11 It was all about sweeping everything aside...

Africa

Christianity became established in North Africa during the first centuries of the Christian era.8 Churches were established along much of the North African coast in the areas now known as Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. A particularly strong Christian presence developed in Egypt, with the city of Alexandria emerging as a leading center of Christian thought and life. Augustine of Hippo, one of the most significant Christian leaders and writers of all time, was based in this region. Much of this...

Henry Viii A Catholic Reformer

One of the most remarkable developments in the recent historiography of the English Reformation under Henry VIII is the general abandonment of the term Protestant to refer to its leading reforming representatives.4 English reformers simply did not refer to themselves by this term, which they tended to use instead to refer to German Lutheranism, especially seen from a political perspective. The term evangelical is increasingly being used to designate the English reformers of the 1520s and 1530s,...

Darwin Biblical Interpretation And The Origins Of Humanity

One of the most vigorous debates within modern Christian thought concerns the implications of Darwinism for religious belief. It is a debate that is by no means limited to Christianity, as is evident from the generally hostile reaction to Darwinism in the Islamic world. So what is Darwinism While the term is often used to refer specifically to the views set out by Charles Darwin in his Origin of Species, it is more widely used to refer to the theories that emerged from Darwin's work and have...

Beyond The West New Cultural Concerns

In the past, discussions about Protestantism and culture have been shaped by Western concerns precisely because of the widely held assumption that Protestantism is a Western religion, located in Western culture. The twentieth century has challenged both assumptions, not only through the emergence of Protestantism outside the West but also and perhaps more significantly through the transformation of Protestantism in those other regions as its foundational legacy of theological and cultural...

The Changing Shape of American Protestantism

As the twentieth century dawned, it seemed to many American Protestants that something troubling was happening to their nation. Its Protestant foundations seemed threatened by erosion in some quarters in others they were regarded as insignificant. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that the exchange by the American academy and body politic of one orthodoxy for another was well under way. This process would culminate by the late twentieth century in the predominance of a strictly secular...

Neoevangelicalism Reengagement With The Mainstream

The battles of the Second World War diverted American Protestantism from its internal feuds and set them in a not altogether unhelpful context. Once the war was over, new voices began to emerge within conservative Protestantism, urging fundamental changes of direction. The emergence of evangelicalism as a distinctive Protestant position dates to 1942 and the formation of the National Association of Evangelicals, with its principled attempt to distinguish evangelicalism from fundamentalism.5 In...

Predestination

From the outset, Protestantism has found itself divided by certain issues such as the nature of the presence of Christ in the bread and wine. One of the most contentious debates has been centered in the area of theology known as predestination.25 The question at issue concerns the way in which God and humanity are involved in salvation. Is salvation something that humanity freely chooses Or is it something that is chosen for humanity by God The matter was debated extensively in the fifth,...

The Next Generation

This study has woven together many histories to create a grand narrative of the origins and development of Protestantism. Like a plant, the movement has grown rapidly, and in unexpected ways. Perhaps the biological notion of mutation offers the best model for understanding the growth of Protestantism. In biological mutation, small changes in genetic codes lead to the emergence of new forms. Some of these prove poorly adapted to survival and die out others prove highly adapted and flourish,...

Africa Engaging Traditional Religion And Culture

Early missionaries tended to regard traditional African religions as evil, primitive, and superstitious, and they extended this negative attitude toward African culture as a whole. The Ghanaian writer Kwame Bediako points out that African Christians were thus often put in the intolerable position of being obliged to turn their backs on their own traditions and culture and rely on an imported European heritage.8 This served to reinforce the perception that Christianity was culturally alien to...

Calvin and Geneva

By the mid-i53os, two major reforming movements had become established in western Europe. The first, increasingly referred to as Luther-anism, was geographically restricted to certain German territories and was primarily influenced by the catechisms of Martin Luther and the theological writings of Philip Melanchthon. The second, located in some of the southern German and Swiss cities and later to become known as the Reformed faction, adopted a program of reform that was in many ways more...

The Global South

The transformation of Protestantism in the twentieth century was the outcome of many forces, social and cultural as much as theological, that combined to give a new lease of life and sense of identity to a movement that seemed to some to be about to run into the enfolding sands of history in the aftermath of the First World War. The shaping of Protestantism in the later twentieth century was dominated by the United States, which became the intellectual and entrepreneurial powerhouse of the...

The New Quest For The Origins Of Pentecostalism

The traditional account of the origins of Pentecostalism, which we set out earlier in this chapter, tends to portray it as an American phenomenon that gradually spread throughout the world, partly by active transfer, partly by passive diffusion. On this view, Azusa Street was the Jerusalem from which the message of God's gift of the Spirit went out to the nations. There is certainly some truth in this account twenty-six Pentecostal denominations trace their historical origins back to Azusa...

Protestantism And The Emergence Of The Natural Sciences

To some, the notion of any positive link between religion and science seems highly improbable from the outset. Surely science and religion have always been locked in mortal combat Yet the stereotype of the warfare of science and religion is a product of the social conditions of the late nineteenth century and is now regarded as historically unac-ceptable.50 The interaction of science and religion is far too complex and interesting to be represented in such a simplistic, inaccurate way. The...

Fiction Protestantism And The Novel

As we have seen, early Protestants disliked both drama and opera, seeing these as extravagant, fictional, illusory art forms devoted to amusement rather than education. Protestantism's similarly hostile attitudes toward the literary category of the novel reflect this pervasive, characteristic distrust of fiction as a form of cultured deceit.36 For Puritan writers, ample literary satisfaction was to be had from the literary genre of conversion narratives.37 Why read fiction when real life was...

The Status of Biblical Language Literal Metaphorical Poetic or Accommodated

The Bible frequently makes statements of the form A is B. Debate has often arisen over whether the deceptively simple word is means is literally identical with or something rather more nuanced, such as is like or points to. We have already seen how precisely this kind of debate fractured both the personal relationship between Luther and Zwingli and that between the German and Swiss Reformations. That debate was over this statement made by Jesus of Nazareth at the Last Supper This is my body...

Protestantism And Education

As it began to gain influence in western Europe, Protestantism discovered the importance of education. Populations had to be persuaded of the folly of their older religious ways and beliefs and assisted in gaining a firm grasp of the principles of the new form of Christianity that was gaining influence and momentum. The development of the educational form of the catechism was an important response to this need congregations could be encouraged to learn these by heart. Luther's Catechisms of...

Protestantism And Verbal Creativity

Early Protestantism developed an antipathy toward poetry that was typical of its age, rather than demonstrating any particular distinguishing theological roots. The early Christian writer Tatian (born c. 120) was skeptical concerning the merits of classic rhetoric and poetry, both of which he regarded as encouraging deception and a disregard for matters of truth. Plato's severe censure of poetry was widely accepted within early Christian circles and percolated into the Christian tradition. The...

The Guardians Authority Within Protestantism

One of the most important findings of modern social psychology concerns the mechanisms by which ideas and values are absorbed and assimilated so that they appear natural, despite actually being nothing of the sort. It is widely conceded that the plausibility, legitimacy, and coherence of belief systems are created through social and cultural means.55 For religious believers of any persuasion, their faith engenders a sense of what is natural or real that structures their engagement with and...

Protestantism And Social Engagement

Recent studies have noted that most of the intellectual and spiritual leaders of medieval Christianity were monastic, isolated from many of the harsher realities of everyday life by the walls of their monasteries and convents. Protestantism chose to inhabit the more dangerous world of the city and marketplace, exposing its thinkers to pressures and problems that their Catholic forebears had not been required to consider. It is of the utmost importance to appreciate that the intellectual lights...

The Fundamental Themes Of Luthers Reforms

Luther's reforms, set out in 1520 and enacted at Wittenberg during the period 1522 to 1524, acted as a catalyst and role model for like-minded reforming individuals and congregations throughout Europe. This was no idealistic vision of a utopian church it was a theological program for reform that could be implemented immediately. Luther was able to convert ideas to concrete reality. The reforms he introduced rapidly set the standards for others. The leading features of those reforms, which were...

Rationalism Indifference Revival And Enthusiasm The Eighteenth Century

By 1700 western Europe was exhausted by seemingly endless wars of religion that had caused social disintegration and economic hardship. Religious idealisms as contradictory as they were inept had run riot, destabilizing nations and peoples. The Thirty Years' War (1618-48) was both an international religious conflict and a German civil war, involving Lutheran, Reformed, and Catholic regions and nations. The populations of many regions were decimated by this war of attrition, and their economies...

Decentralization And The Future Of Denominations

The history of twentieth-century Protestantism confirms that the movement is in the middle of a clear and irreversible process of congre-gationalization, in which central authority is ebbing away from denominational bureaucracies and becoming concentrated in individual congregations. Since the 1980s, the growth of market-shaped or market-driven congregations in American Protestantism has forced denominational leaderships to determine whether they will be regulatory or consultative in nature....

The New Frontiers Of Protestantism The Global South

The best study is Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom The Coming of Global Christianity (New York Oxford University Press, 2002). 2. Dana L. Robert, The First Globalization The Internationalization of the Protestant Missionary Movement Between the World Wars, International Bulletin of Missionary Research 26 (2002) 50-66. 3. For a case study, see Francis X. Hezel, Indigenization as a Missionary Goal in the Caroline-Marshall Islands, in Mission, Church, and Sect in Oceania, edited by James A....

The Future Of The Protestant Denomination

As we noted earlier, the Protestant denomination is essentially a European phenomenon that reflects the shifting patterns of church life and controversy in western Europe from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth. Patterns of religious affiliation and belonging that derived from the general situation of western Europe and often the very specific conditions of religious life in England were thus exported to the United States as self-evidently correct forms of Christian association. As a...

The Heterogeneity Of Early Protestantism

The Reformation is best conceived as a series of initially independent reforming movements with quite distinct agendas and understandings of the nature of theology and its role in the life of the church. Through the complex networks of the interchange of people, correspondence, and publications that were characteristic of this age, these originally independent movements came to achieve at least a partial degree of alignment over the following decade. Yet this identity was not determined by the...

Protestantism the Arts and the Natural Sciences

An ominous cloud of suspicion hovers over the issues to be discussed in this chapter, casting a shadow over its themes. It is impossible to ignore the brute historical fact that, virtually from the inception of the movement, certain sections of Protestantism unleashed a wave of destruction of religious art. How can we even begin to explore the relationship of Protestantism to the arts in the light of such a violent and destructive past Was not the Welsh poet R. S. Thomas right when he...

The Western Recognition Of The Need For Indigenization

At the dawn of the twentieth century, Protestantism was at best a minority presence outside the West, sustained largely by Western missionaries. The great Edinburgh mission conference of 1910 had set an agenda that was interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. Once the war was over, Western Protestants turned their attention to renewing and reinvigorating the missionary enterprise.2 Yet it soon became clear that things were changing. The war which had seen death and devastation on an...

New Testament Commands Universal or Specific to the Original Audience

A third problem concerns the intended audience of a biblical passage. Earlier, we saw that for its first two centuries Protestantism tended to interpret the Great Commission as a mandate delivered to the apostles, not their successors (Matthew 28 17-20). As a result, Protestants saw little reason to pursue missionary work until the end of the eighteenth century, when the passage in question was read in a different way. The passage clearly demanded that the gospel be proclaimed its...

The Problem Of Heresy For Protestantism

Heresy is one of the most ominous terms in the vocabulary of Christendom. The Christian usage of the word can be traced back to the New Testament itself, where it is used to designate a sect, faction, or grouping (see, for example, Acts 24 5 28 22). Similarly, the great Jewish historian Josephus applies the term (airesis) to the three religious sects prevalent in Judea in his day the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Es-senes. At this stage, the term did not have the strongly negative...

Tongues of Fire

The Pentecostal Revolution in Protestantism The charismatic movement is the most rapidly growing element of Christianity today. Pentecostalism in its various forms is now the largest single Christian group apart from Catholicism and outnumbers the sum total of all other forms of Protestantism. Although numerical estimates of its strength are unreliable, the movement grew from ground zero in 1900 to at least half a billion in 2000. Its historical origins and fundamental beliefs locate it firmly...

Transformation

Hammond, In Search of a Protestant Twentieth Century American Power and Religion Since 1900, Review of Religious Research 24 (1983) 281-94. 2. Simon Coleman, The Globalization of Charismatic Christianity Spreading the Gospel of Prosperity (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 2000), 24-26. 3. The best study is Jon Ruthven, On the Cessation of the Charismata The Protestant Polemic on PostbiblicalMiracles (Sheffield, UK Sheffield Academic Press, 1993). 4. Jim Crow, a shabbily dressed...

Protestantism and the Shaping of Western Culture

Christianity has always had an ambivalent relationship with its cultural context. As Christianity became a growing presence within the Roman Empire during the first three centuries of its existence, it was regularly regarded with hostility and suspicion and occasionally even persecuted by the authorities.1 So how were Christians, who often held high public office, to understand their relationship with the culture at large The rise of monasticism was a particularly significant development in...

The Appeal Of Pentecostalism

Why is Pentecostalism so appealing, especially to those who find themselves on the margins of society The best answer seems to be its emphasis upon personal spiritual empowerment, through which the status of individuals is not determined by their sociological location or their intellectual ability, but by their gifting by the Holy Spirit. This radical shift in the frames of reference by which individuals are evaluated is strongly evident in the egalitarianism of Seymour's Azusa Street...

Justification By Faith Alone

One of the most distinguishing features of Western Christianity is its insistence that the basis of salvation is not any form of human privilege, merit, or achievement, but the graciousness of God. The idea is found throughout the New Testament, particularly in the letters of Paul By grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing it is the gift of God not the result of works (Ephesians 2 8-9). The implications of these ideas were explored and clarified during the...

Confessionalization The Second Reformation

At the beginning, it was all so simple. There were Lutherans, and there were Catholics, a simple binary opposition that shaped most aspects of religious life in Germany. The Council of Trent, the Catholic church's response to the Reformation, engaged seriously with Lutheran theory and practice at many points during the late 1540s interestingly, scant attention was paid to the other form of Protestantism then consolidating itself in Europe. But once Calvin's vision of Christianity expanded...

Protestantism And Economics

One of the most visible differences between Protestant and Catholic Europe in the early seventeenth century was the marked economic superiority of the former over the latter. For example, consider Flanders, which was torn apart in the second half of the sixteenth century by Protestant revolt and Catholic reconquest by the Spaniards. For the best part of two hundred years thereafter, the Protestant zone was bustling and prosperous, and the Catholic area depressed and unproductive. Even in...

England The Emergence Of Anglicanism

Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Myth of the English Reformation, Journal of British Studies 30 (1991) 1 19. 2. It is, in fact, quite difficult to find a satisfactory label for these forerunners of the nineteenth-century Anglo-Catholics other than the vague description High Church, which can be applied equally to Presbyterians in comparison with Congregationalists. In his excellent account of this period, Anthony Milton has suggested the term avant-garde conformists to refer to this trend see Anthony...

War Peace And Disinterest European Protestantism In Crisis 15601800

Ernest Renan, What Is a Nation , in Nation and Narration, edited by Homi K. Bhabha (London Routledge, 1990), 8-22, 19. 2. For an excellent analysis, see Nikki Keddie, An Islamic Response to Imperialism Political and Religious Writings of SayyidJamal al-Din al-Afghani (Berkeley University of California Press, 1983). 3. Robert Bireley, The Refashioning of Catholicism, 1450-1700 A Reassessment of the Counter Reformation (Basingstoke, UK Macmillan, 1999). 4. R. Po-chia Hsia, The World of Catholic...

The Invention Of Protestantism Early Attempts To Unify The Reformation

In the 1520s, city after city in Germany and Switzerland went over to the Reformation, often as a result of public disputations followed by a vote on the part of the city council. In Germany, more than fifty of the sixty-five imperial free cities responded positively to the Reformation, with only five choosing to ignore it altogether. In Switzerland, the Reformation originated in an urban context (Zurich) and spread through a process of public debate within confederate cities such as Berne and...

Protestantisms Changing Interpretations Of Scripture

In 1620 the great Puritan theologian John Robinson preached a sermon to those about to leave for the New World aboard the Mayflower. His powerful address portrayed the pilgrims as setting out on a voyage that would lead them not only to a new world but to a new grasp of truth. They would be spiritual and theological pioneers exploring not only the new world of the Americas but the new insights they would find in the Bible as they sought to plant the kingdom of God there. One phrase from that...

Will The Philippines Turn Protestant

In 1521 the great Spanish explorer Ferdinand Magellan discovered a group of some 3,141 islands. The islands, now known as the Philippines, became a Spanish colony. Under Spanish rule, a program of evangelization was undertaken by various religious orders, especially the Franciscans and Dominicans. The islands were annexed by the United States in 1898. The Philippines are unusual in that they constitute the only predominantly Christian country in Southeast Asia. Although Catholicism is the...

The Critical Analogy Between Protestantism And Islam

In recent years, reform movements have arisen within non-Christian religions, particularly Nichiren Buddhism, which bears clear resemblances to Protestantism.9 An excellent example of this trend is provided by the Soka Gakkai, a Japanese lay reformist Buddhist organization that emphasizes social engagement.10 Yet the most striking and interesting parallels exist between Protestantism and the world's second-largest religious movement Islam. As is well known, the Muslim world is divided into a...

Copernicus Biblical Interpretation And The Solar System

One of the fundamental principles of Protestantism is its insistence that all interpretations of the Bible must be regarded as provisional, not final part of the task of the church is continually to reexamine previous ways of interpreting scripture to ensure that they have not lapsed into uncritical, unthinking, or simply wrong ways of interpreting this foundational text. During the Middle Ages, the Bible was interpreted on the basis of a set of assumptions that were assumed to be secure and...

The Great Awakening

One of the most distinctive features of North American Protestant Christianity is the phenomenon of the Awakening. To date, three Awakenings have been documented, each leading initially to religious renewal and subsequently to social change. Sociologists have noted that such religious revitalization often originates in times of cultural stress and uncertainty and leads to radical social reform and transformation.11 The Awakening, though primarily religious in nature, has the capacity to...

Protestantism Religion And World Power

The world is changing rapidly, leaving many puzzled by its twists and turns. One of the settled assumptions of Western thought during the period 1960 to 1990 was that religion was of diminishing importance in world affairs. Paul Kennedy's magisterial Rise and Fall of the Great Powers (1988) mentions Islam only incidentally, and then links it particularly with the fortunes of the Ottoman Empire.12 There is no hint, no anticipation, of the importance of Islam as a political force to be reckoned...

Calvins Institutes And The Intellectual Molding Of Reformed Christianity

The printed book was one of the most significant factors in molding intellectual opinion across sixteenth-century Europe. Books were easily transported, could cross national frontiers undetected, and found their way to private libraries, where they were eagerly, if secretively, devoured. The printed word was integral to the spreading of the ideas of the Reformation across the religious and political boundaries of Europe. Martin Luther never visited England, yet his ideas were brought there...

The Bible And Tradition

The word tradition comes from the Latin term traditio, which can be understood to mean both the act of handing over and what is actually handed over. The idea is found in the New Testament itself, as when Paul speaks of handing over to the church at Corinth teachings about Jesus Christ that had originally been handed over to him (1 Corinthians 15 1-4). The mainline reformers believed that the Bible had been honored, interpreted, and applied faithfully in the past and that Protestant theologians...

The Sacraments

The great tumult of the early sixteenth century that gave birth to Protestantism was not simply about how ideas are developed or what those ideas might be. It concerned actions the way in which the Christian faith was manifested through the worship of the church in a series of rites that were held to be of particular importance to affirming the identity of the Christian faith, the place of the church in the scheme of salvation, and the deepening of faith and commitment on the part of the...

Persecution And The Shaping Of Protestant Identity

As Protestantism began to expand in the early 1560s, it encountered resistance from a renewed Catholicism. The Catholic Reformation, long delayed by the Habsburg-Valois conflict, had begun to make an impact. Although some degree of internal reform had been under way since the 1490s, the rise of Protestantism catalyzed a systemic review of the church's life and thought.3 Clerical abuses were remedied new religious orders such as the Society of Jesus were established, and others reformed and the...

The Nineteenth Century The Global Expansion Of Protestantism

Gustav Warneck, Abriss einer Geschichte der protestantischen Missionen von der Reformation bis auf die Gegenwart Ein Beitrag zur neueren Kirchengeschichte, 5th ed. (Berlin Martin Warneck, 1899). 2. The best response is from the Swedish scholar Ingemar Oberg, Luther och v rld-smissionen (Abo, Finland Abo Akademi, 1991). Yet Oberg merely shows that the basic elements of a missionary theology are present in Luther, not that they were assembled and put to use for this purpose by Luther himself or...

Worship And The Visual In Protestantism

The medieval Catholic church had a strong sense of the importance of the visual in church life, in relation to both worship and Christian education. Gospel scenes were often painted on church walls to act as visual aids for the illiterate. Altarpieces that provided vivid depictions of the crucifixion enabled worshipers to appreciate the suffering of Christ and the benefits resulting from his death. These were supplemented by panel paintings, decorated pulpits, and pictorial epitaphs, all of...

Preaching In The Protestant Tradition

Christianity has always valued preaching as an important means of teaching congregations, offering them guidance on practical issues, and encouraging them to remain faithful. The sermon served an important devotional role during the Middle Ages, particularly in a monastic context.20 But sermons were not limited to the monastic world. A homily would be (or was meant to be) preached in each parish church at Sunday mass. These sermons were often based on biblical passages, but a tension can be...

The Place Of The Bible In Protestant Thought

The first generation of Protestants regarded an appeal to the supreme authority of the Bible as both theologically correct and ecclesiastically liberating. The authority of the pope could be resisted, even undermined, through the programmatic assertion that all are ultimately under the authority of the Word and are to be judged by it. The slogan Verbum Domini manet in aeternum (The Word of the Lord abides in eternity) became emblematic for Lutheranism in the 1520s.6 Lutherans literally wore...

Issues In Biblical Interpretation

How is the Bible to be interpreted This unavoidable question lies at the heart of Protestantism. In virtually every debate that takes place within the Protestant community of faith whether concerning the origins of humanity, the ministry of women, the nature of the end times, or the legitimacy of abortion all sides will make an appeal to the Bible. One side will accentuate one set of texts and the other side another set, or both will appeal to the same basic texts yet interpret them...

Protestant Views On Music In Worship

Modern Protestant worship makes extensive use of music, especially hymns, choruses, and worship songs. Indeed, Protestants have become so used to singing hymns as part of their worship that many have no idea that this practice was late to develop and was accompanied by much controversy. In this section, we explore how the place of hymns in worship was significantly affected by characteristically Protestant debates about how to understand and apply the Bible. Luther saw no difficulty with using...

The Consolidation And Expansion Of Calvinism In Europe

Calvin's growing influence led to Geneva becoming the epicenter of the Reformed world during the second phase of Protestant development.22 Zurich had once been that epicenter, on account of the major influence of the movement's original reformer, Zwingli. His successor, Heinrich Bullinger, did much to maintain Zurich's political and theological influence over the Reformed wing of Protestantism. However, political influence ebbed away from Zurich to the more powerful city of Berne in the early...

Wittenberg Local Alternatives To Luther

The Reformation at Wittenberg in the early 1520s centered on three very different dynamic and charismatic individuals Martin Luther, Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt, and Thomas M ntzer. With his public profile, Luther was by far the most visible and well-known representative of the reforming movement in Germany. Yet his ideas did not find universal acceptance, even within Wittenberg itself. Luther was seen as much too conservative by Karlstadt and M ntzer, both of whom urged him to adopt far...

Tongues Of Fire The Pentecostal Revolution In Protestantism

For this example and an excellent analysis of the movement in general, see Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 2004). There is a mass of useful information in the authoritative collection assembled by Stanley M. Burgess and Ed M. van der Maas, eds., The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (Grand Rapids, MI Zondervan, 2003). 2. There are significant differences within Pentecostalism over which of these...

The Background To The English Civil

Historians disagree as to whether the English Civil War should be seen as the last European war of religion or the first European revolutionary movement, presaging the French Revolution of 1789. A case can be made for each interpretation, in that at least some of their elements were unquestionably present. For our purposes, the importance of the English Civil War is that it set one form of Protestantism against another within a single nation, bringing about a major crisis of identity within the...

Protestantism And The Stage

In the sixteenth century, the image of the theater came to play a potent role in public symbolism, religious or otherwise. John Calvin famously declared that the world was a theater of the glory of God, in which the divine works of creation and redemption were displayed for the benefit of humanity, who were invited to become participants within, rather than mere observers of, what they saw.24 This suggests that Calvin and his successors might have warmed to the theater as an art form capable of...

Religion And Culture Protestant Models Of Interaction

The classic analysis of the types of relationships to emerge between Christianity and its cultural context was the work of the American Protestant theologian Richard Niebuhr (1894-1962). In 1951 Niebuhr published Christ and Culture, which sets out five models that historic Christianity developed in reflecting on its relationship to its environ-ment.4 Although Niebuhr clearly had a preference for the fifth of these models (to be described later), his work gave an empathetic account of all the...

Biblical Values and Ethics Culturally Contingent or Universal

A fourth area of debate in biblical interpretation concerns whether the cultural norms assumed within the biblical narrative were endorsed by the biblical writers. The case of slavery is of particular importance, and we consider this in more detail later. This question has been particularly significant in recent discussions about Christian attitudes toward homosexuality. Although the Bible makes surprisingly few unequivocal references to homosexual practices, those that can be identified are...

The South Pacific

The term Oceania is now generally used to refer to the 1,500 or so islands in the Pacific Ocean. Oceania is further subdivided into three regions. Polynesia designates the group of islands stretching from Hawaii (known as the Sandwich Islands in earlier centuries) in the north to New Zealand in the south, including Tahiti and Pitcairn Island. Micronesia refers to the group of small islands between Hawaii and the Philippines, including the Caroline, Gilbert, and Marshall Islands. Melanesia...

The Global Expansion Of Protestantism

As it happened, the answers to such questions lay to hand. Two historical developments transformed the situation, allowing the evangelistic wish (stimulated, as we have seen, by evangelicalism) to become a real ity the expansion of Protestant sea power, leading to the establishment of European colonies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and the development of the voluntary society, an evangelistic agency that bypassed the inertia of the churches. Each of these developments offered new...

Asia

By the end of the nineteenth century, Protestantism had established what might best be described as a precarious presence in Asia, often protected by the diplomatic and military power of Western nations. The most significant Protestant presence was in India where Christianity is traditionally believed to have been established in the first century in the form of the Mar Thoma church. This group of Christians traced their origins to St. Thomas the Apostle, who was believed to have come to India...

The Growth Of American Pentecostalism

The origins of the Pentecostal movement are traditionally held to lie in the United States. Although the roots of the movement are particularly to be found in the holiness tradition, the movement took on its distinctive form in the first decade of the twentieth century, primarily through the influence of the African American preacher William J. Seymour. Seymour was born in Centerville, Louisiana, in 1870, the son of former slaves, Simon and Phyllis Seymour. After a period working as a railroad...

The Problem Of Protestant Identity

What is the essence of Protestantism What gives it its inner identity On a critical historical reading of the development of Protestantism, the movement has been characterized from its outset by divergence and difference. Protestantism came into being as a diverse entity shaped by a multiplicity of different driving agendas, cultural contexts, intellectual resources, and directing visions. There is no question of a lost primal unity of Protestantism, a golden age of unity that quickly shattered...

Edward Vi The Enforcement Of Protestantism

Under the terms of his will, his successor was beyond dispute the nine-year-old Prince Edward, Henry's son by his third wife, Jane Seymour, was the only male Tudor heir to the throne after the death of his father. There was no question of the legitimacy of the succession. It is, however, a moot point whether one can really speak of Edward exercising kingship in either a personal or possessive sense during his brief reign.18 Power would lie in the hands of...

Fundamentalism Withdrawal From The Mainstream

What should be done One answer was given in a series of pamphlets published during the years 1910 to 1915 entitled The Fundamentals A Testimony to the Truth. These essays, drawn from a range of conservative Protestant writers, set out a classic statement of Protestant teachings from a generally Reformed perspective. By an accident of history, they gave birth to the term fundamentalism, which was first used in 1920 by the journalist Curtis Lee Laws to designate those who were ready to do battle...

The English Civil War Anglican Against Puritan

The death of James I in 1625 precipitated a new wave of religious uncertainty in England. Although Charles I was widely regarded as more urbane and level-headed than his father, he was known to be much more pro-Catholic and anti-Puritan than his father. Added to that, he had married a foreign queen, Henrietta Maria of France a Catholic. Religious criticism of the marriage surged, fueled by anxieties about what it might portend for English religious life and home and for English foreign policy....

Sport The Origins Of Muscular Christianity

The emergence of a symbiotic relationship between Protestantism and sport dates to the nineteenth century. If Puritanism can be judged to be representative of the movement as a whole, early Protestantism was characterized by a virtually unrelenting hostility toward any form of sport, which was seen as a waste of time and effort and a diversion from the more serious things in life.41 Yet such a uniformly negative attitude eventually proved unsustainable as the value of sport for public health...

Believing And Belonging Some Distinctive Protestant Beliefs

For a comprehensive introduction to the basic themes of Christian theology, including a comparison of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox positions, see Alister E. McGrath, Christian Theology An Introduction, 4th ed. Oxford Blackwell, 2007 . 2. For some representative works, see Heinz Zahrnt, The Question of God Protestant Theology in the Twentieth Century New York Harcourt Brace amp World, 1969 William A. Scott, Historical Protestantism An Historical Introduction to Protestant Theology...

The Styles Of Protestant Worship

For most people, Protestantism is encountered primarily through the regular acts of worship of its churches. Protestantism is most regularly experienced and encountered as a living reality through its Sunday worship and its marriages, baptisms, and funerals. Any account of how Protestantism manifests itself must therefore include description and analysis of Protestant worship. Yet this is not the easiest of tasks, mainly because of the astonishing variety of forms of worship now encountered...

New Models Of The Church

The limitations of the traditional denomination were being felt by some by the late 1950s.25 Some strongly entrepreneurial Protestants found themselves increasingly frustrated by the institutional inertia of denominational structures, which increasingly appeared to them to be unresponsive bureaucracies that were uninterested in local initiatives or innovations. Such frustration, of course, is not new. The great Protestant preacher Harry Emerson Fosdick, who played such an important role in the...

Redefining The Other Changing Attitudes Toward Catholicism

As we have stressed throughout this work, Protestantism gains its sense of identity through both internal and external factors. Internally, this sense of common identity arises from a shared commitment to certain beliefs and norms such as the centrality of the Bible. Yet Protestantism has also been shaped by the perception of a common threat from a significant enemy Catholicism. From its beginnings until very recently, this has been an integral aspect of Protestant identity. The importance of...

Early Protestant Disinterest In Mission

Protestant interest in mission overseas took some considerable time to develop. During its formative phase, Protestantism seems to have had little interest in the notions of mission or evangelism. Neither John Calvin nor Martin Luther had any particular concern to reach beyond the borders of Christendom. In particular, Calvin's model of evangelism, evident in his approach to the French situation, is primarily that of the reformation of Catholics that is to say, the conversion of people from one...

The Origins Of The Bible Belt

The emergence of the Bible Belt is one of the most puzzling features of American Christianity.40 The original heartlands of Protestantism were in the greater New England area, especially Massachusetts. It was here that Congregationalism and Presbyterianism took root and quickly became the most significant and dynamic forms of Protestant self-expression in the region. The southern colonies tended to be dominated by a socially conservative and quietist Anglicanism, which lent tacit support to the...

The Origins Of The Reformation At Geneva

During the 1520s, evangelical reforming movements achieved considerable success in the cities of Switzerland. Although the movement began in Zurich, by the late 1520s it had won over some of the leading cities of the area, including Basel and Berne. Yet these were all German-speaking cities. As the decade came to an end, interest began to develop in converting some of the French-speaking regions and cities to the west of Switzerland to the reforming cause such as the Pays de Vaud and the cities...

The Protestant Work Ethic

The phrase the Protestant work ethic is widely used in contemporary Western culture to designate the belief that work has intrinsic value in its own right and for its own sake.53 This, it must be noted, represents a secularized version of this work ethic it might more accurately be described as the post-Protestant work ethic. Protestantism's own rigorously theological reevaluation of the place of work in human life and culture, however, would continue to influence Western culture albeit in a...

The Swiss Alternative Zwingli And The City Of Zurich

During the 1520s, reforming movements sprang up in many territories and cities in western Europe.12 Our story here concerns a priest who celebrated his thirty-fifth birthday on New Year's Day 1519 by being installed as the people's priest at the Great Minster in the Swiss city of Zurich. Huldrych Zwingli 1484-1531 would never achieve Luther's fame and is today seen as ranking behind Luther and Calvin, in terms of both his ideas and his activities. Yet he played a vitally important part in...

Painting Protestantism And Iconoclasm

Ordinary people encountered the medieval Catholic church not so much in the form of its abstract ideas but through its practices and images. The liturgy of the church, especially the mass, enacted the theology of the church, setting out dramatically a visual grand narrative of human history and experience. The church's ritual observances and symbolic gestures shaped the congregation's perception of the world and their own location within it. It offered spectacle and instruction, theater and...

Elizabeth I And The Stabilization Of English Religion

Recognizing the need to secure religious stability in England, Elizabeth set about crafting a Settlement of Religion that would bring at least some degree of unity to a deeply divided nation.29 The basic elements of the Settlement were the Act of Supremacy, which affirmed Elizabeth's sovereignty over the national church and abolished any papal power, and the Act of Uniformity, which aimed to enforce religious uniformity throughout the nation, making church attendance compulsory on Sundays and...

The Church As The Bearer Of The Word

One of the most significant and distinctive Protestant beliefs concerns the nature of the church. As we saw earlier, the medieval church in western Europe offered a strongly institutionalized account of how salvation was effected. There was no salvation outside the institution of the church it was by membership in the sacral community and observation of its rites that the individual secured salvation. Continuity with the apostles was safeguarded by historical institutional continuity, which was...

Protestant Mission And Native Americans

While the predominant model of Protestant mission in the late eighteenth century and the nineteenth century involved missionaries working abroad, it is important to appreciate that a quite different model emerged in North America as Protestant settlers encountered Native American cultures. Missionary work began in New England in the seventeenth century as Puritan settlers made contact with local tribes. The Puritan missionary John Eliot 1604-90 became interested in the culture and language of...

The Accidental Revolutionary

Why do seemingly insignificant events have the capacity to spark firestorms History is laden with seemingly minor incidents that escalated with astonishing rapidity, leading to outcomes that seemed out of proportion to the original event. Why did the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in June 1914 set off the horror known as the Great War How could the death of a relatively insignificant individual in an obscure part of Europe ignite such a disastrous conflict Or, going back...