German Pietism

Philippus_Theophrastus_Paracelsus

Most of us who think about the history of American evangelicalism are Anglo-centric. That is, if we think about the roots of American evangelicalism or about its subsequent development, we think about England (and perhaps Scotland and Wales) if we think outside of North America at all. Douglas Shantz, in An Introduction to German Pietism: [Read More...]

The Anabaptist Judith

One of Lucas Cranach's several renderings of Judith.

Things were not going well in Münster (in present-day northwestern Germany) as of June 1534. The previous year, local Anabaptists, their ranks swollen by arrivals from the Netherlands and elsewhere, seized full control of the city. In February, a prophet named Jan Matthias had taken charge, whereupon Catholics and most Lutherans were stripped of their [Read More...]

A Martin Luther Christmas

lutherchristmas

On the afternoon of December 25, 1530, Martin Luther preached a Christmas sermon. In the context of a still-chaotic Reformation, a combative Martin Luther railed against “papists,” “Junkers,” and “Turks” as he proclaimed the “joyful news” that the Christ child was the Lord and Savior. Luther was clearly embattled. In the wake of the 1529 [Read More...]

Martin Luther, Erich Honecker, and China’s Xi Jinping

Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece on China’s new leader Xi Jinping’s efforts to shore up party loyalty by having government officials watch a new film about the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Produced by a retired Chinese major general, the six-part documentary points a finger at Mikhail Gorbachev, not the communist system [Read More...]

REFORMATIONS THEN AND NOW

I have been thinking recently about parallels between the Reformation and the rise of contemporary Global Christianity. Next week, I am involved in a conference being held at Gordon College (November 14-16), on Protestantism? Reflections in Advance of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, 1517-2017. My paper bears the title “What hath Wittenberg to [Read More...]

Luther and the Word of God

Martin Luther did not want to preach in Wittenberg’s city church. The year was — most likely — 1513. Luther later commented that he “was chosen against my will to preach here.” He was afraid of what he considered a great responsibility. “I shall not live a quarter-year,” he feared. Germany is currently just more [Read More...]

Protestant Reformation Approaching 500

On October 31, 2017, the Protestant Reformation will turn 500.  How ought one commemorate such an epochal, complex, and influential historical development?  While the date is still a while off, I have been thinking about the question a lot lately.  In part, because my colleague Mark Noll at Notre Dame and I received a grant [Read More...]

St. Matthew’s Passion

The furtherance and further enrichment of the medieval Christian heritage of music and art remains of the greatest legacies of the Lutheran wing of the Protestant Reformation. As Luther stated in the preface to the 1524 Wittenberg Hymnal, he was “not of the opinion that the gospel should destroy and blight all the arts, as [Read More...]


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