The Bible in Medieval Sermons: Part I for Understanding the Top Ten Bible Verses in Medieval England

My husband recently noted in his facebook series on local church highlights in Waco, TX, (yes, we live–literally–in the middle of the Fixer Upper world) how modern protestants characterize the medieval church as keeping people from the Bible. I have talked about medieval views of the Bible on this blog several times, including Banning the Bible: Did [Read More…]

The Christian History of “Pagan” Easter

This is a slightly updated post from my Anxious Bench archives. Happy Easter! I bought Easter candy for my students. It was a mistake. Although the students made a valiant effort to eat as much as possible, they left a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs (a particular weakness of mine) in the candy basket. Needless [Read More…]

A Reasonable Reading List for Medieval Christianity: Part 2

If you ever have the chance, visit the church of St. Bartholomew the Great in London. St. Bart’s, as it is affectionately known, stands in Smithfield, just outside the old London wall.  I recommend a Sunday morning walk to it from St. Paul’s Cathedral. Go about 9:45 a.m. to hear the Cathedral bells; you can [Read More…]

Did Medieval Christians Know Jesus?

Recently I was made aware of an online church history curriculum.  At first glance, it seemed promising (at least from my perspective as a medievalist). It dedicated two weeks to the Medieval Church (five if you include the three weeks of Reformation), and it began the lesson for the High Middle Ages with this disclaimer: [Read More…]

Halloween: More Christian than Pagan

This is from my archives at the Anxious Bench, originally published Oct 31, 2015. Although I have previewed it this year with my recent 2016 posts  Burning Witches in Medieval Europe? and The Modern Roots of Pagan Halloween , this post stands as I originally wrote it. We, of course, will carve pumpkins again very soon (next [Read More…]

Of Pastors and Power: Mark Driscoll and the Avignon Papacy

  I made the mistake recently of reading Mark Driscoll’s 2008 Crossway book On Church Leadership. For those of you who have forgotten, or just blocked it, Mark Driscoll was the former pastor of the Mars Hill megachurch. He resigned deep in scandal in 2014, but has recovered somewhat and started a new church in Scottsdale, [Read More…]

The Gender Inclusive Bible Debate (Medieval Style)

I remember this so well. It was 1997–the year I graduated from college, the year I got married, and the year I started graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was also the year that the world learned about Zondervan’s gender-neutral edition of the NIV (which eventually became known as [Read More…]

Gender and the Trinity: A Medieval Perspective

Very recently, on June 16, Christianity Today published the article Gender and the Trinity: From Proxy to Civil War. Author Caleb Lindgren writes that the current debate over the nature of the Trinity is especially significant because it involves like-minded theologians dividing over a core Christian belief: the nature of the Trinity. Is Jesus, the second [Read More…]

Banning the Bible: Did It Really Happen in the Medieval World?

Yes, it did. But not the way you were taught in Sunday School. Let me explain. Last week I stood under the Tudor arch of St. Bartholomew the Great in London (unfortunately still marred by scaffolding). If it had been the 16th century, I would have looked out over an open grassy field just outside the [Read More…]

The English Bible before the Reformation

Literally steps from where the Great Fire of London began in 1666, at Thomas Farriner’s bakehouse on Pudding Lane, stands the small church of St. Magnus the Martyr. It was the second church destroyed by the fire and the most expensive church to be restored under the direction of Sir Christopher Wren. Unfortunately its pricey [Read More…]