Reformed and Always Reforming… Even 499 Years Later

Next week we’ll mark the 499th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses, taking us right up to the verge of a quincentenary that has already inspired a great deal of reflection on the historical and contemporary significance of the Protestant Reformation.  Embed from Getty Images Tal’s the expert here, but not all Protestants make meaning of the Reformation in the same way. [Read More…]

Counting Down to the Reformation at 500

There’s an African proverb, I am told, that goes like this: “If I don’t beat my own drum, who will?” In this spirit, permit me to make known to Anxious-Bench readers two publications of mine. The first is recently out; the second will be out in a matter of weeks. It has been a delight [Read More…]

This Orient Isle

Back in February, I posted about the tight alliance that bound (Protestant) Elizabethan England with Muslim Morocco, and what that suggested about the limitations of religious or confessional politics in that era. A very good book on that theme is Jerry Brotton, This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World (London: Allen Lane, 2016), and [Read More…]

Rome, for Protestants

Most people today ooh-and-aah when they experience or envision a trip to Rome. It was not always so. Until the era of modern tourism, trips to Rome were rare, undertaken only by the wealthy. For devout Protestants, encountering Catholicism’s Eternal City could often induce more revulsion than admiration. Prior to Italian unification in the 1860s-1870s, [Read More…]

The Incombustible Martin Luther

  I have just returned from Europe, where, among other things, I led a 10-day study trip in search of the origins of Protestantism in the former East Germany, now among the most secular places on earth as sociologists of religion reckon.  As one Lutheran pastor put it during the twilight of the Soviet Era, [Read More…]

Christian Critics of Capitalism

There are certain columns those with an interest in the history and present of American Christianity should read. The Wall Street Journal‘s weekly Houses of Worship essay (see the recent pieces on Jackie Robinson and Robert Edwards). Our own Philip Jenkins’s essays at Real Clear Religion (see his recent column on the anniversaries of Waco [Read More…]