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...

The Changing Shape Of American Protestantism

Marty and R. Scott Appleby, eds., The Fundamentalism Project, 5 vols. (Chicago University of Chicago Press, 1993-2004). 2. The best study remains Bradley J. Longfield, The Presbyterian Controversy Fundamentalists, Modernists, and Moderates (New York Oxford University Press, I993). 3. George M. Marsden, Reforming Fundamentalism Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism (Grand Rapids, MI Eerdmans, 1987), 4-8. 4. For the episode, see Longfield, The Presbyterian...

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...

Protestantism The Arts And The Natural Sciences

Eamon Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars Traditional Religion in England, c. 1400-c. 1580 (New Haven, CT Yale University Press, 1992), 11. 2. Carlos M. N. Eire, War Against the Idols The Reformation of Worship from Erasmus to Calvin (Cambridge Cambridge University Press, 1986), 12. 3. John Bossy, Christianity in the West, 1400-1700 (Oxford Oxford University Press, i985X ii-i3. 4. Sergiusz Michalski, The Reformation and the Visual Arts The Protestant Image Question in Western and Eastern Europe...

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...

The Bible and Protestantism

One of the most enduring descriptions of Protestantism comes from the English theologian William Chillingworth 1602-44 . In his The Religion of Protestants the Safe Way to Salvation 1637 , he famously declared that the Bible, the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants. This is perhaps one of the most familiar statements of one of the slogans that emerged from the early Reformation and is characteristic of Protestantism as a whole the Latin phrase sola Scriptura by Scripture alone .1 At its...

Oppositionalism And The Shaping Of American Protestant Identity

How was a sense of identity shaped and reinforced within American Protestantism until the eve of the First World War This important question penetrates to one of the fundamental questions probed throughout this volume namely, what is it that actually defines Protestantism For the first Protestant settlers, their Protestant identity was what had singled them out for victimization and discrimination in Jacobean and Caroline England. Their sense of identity, already strong, was reinforced by their...