The Seventh Interview John D Woodbridge

After receiving his master's degree in history from Michigan State University, the bilingual Woodbridge earned his doctorate at the University of Toulouse in France. He has received a Fulbright Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Council of Learned Societies, and has taught at a number of secular universities, including the division of religion, Hautes Etudes, the Sorbonne, Paris. Currently, he is a research professor of church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Woodbridge's numerous history-related books include such technical works as Revolt in Pre-Revolutionary France: The Prince de Conti's Conspiracy against Louis XV, 1755-1757, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and more popular-level efforts, including Great Leaders of the Christian Church, More Than Conquerors, and Ambassadors for Christ. He also has written books on theology and biblical studies, such as Hermeneutics, Authority and Canon and Scripture and Truth, both coauthored with D. A. Carson, and Biblical Authority. In addition, he served as senior editor of Christianity Today for two years.

Woodbridge is a member of several key historical societies in the United States and France, including the American Catholic Historical Association, American Society of Church History, American Society of Eighteenth Century Studies; the Society francaise du XVII siecle; and the Society d'histoire moderne et contemporaine.

When I met Woodbridge at his traditionally decorated Dutch colonial home, I experienced a bit of deja vu. Only later did I realize that he bears an uncanny resemblance to the actor Peter Boyle. The fifty-nine-year-old, balding father of three was wearing a white fisherman's net sweater over a blue button-down shirt. We sat across from each other at his dining room table, which was strewn with papers for a book he was completing while on a sabbatical.

There was no way to ease into our discussion. Not with this topic. Although our interview took place a few months before Pope John Paul II made his historic public confession and asked God's forgiveness for sins committed or condoned by the Roman Catholic church during the last two millennia,io I pulled out a newspaper clipping about an earlier admission by the Pope and pointed to it as I posed my first challenge.

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