THE BREAKING OF IMAGES

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In a recent Times Literary Supplement, David Motadel reviewed James Noyes’s 2013 book The Politics of Iconoclasm: Religion, Violence and the Culture of Image-Breaking in Christianity and Islam. The review, and the associated scholarship, raises important questions about how we conceive of the Reformation, how we teach it, and, significantly, how we will commemorate the [Read More...]

That’s So Dys-Evangelical …

 History presents many ironies.  One of them has to do with evangelicalism’s relationship to the task of Christian unity—or what theologians call ecumenism.  The mandate is robustly set forth in John’s Gospel 17:21, where Christ prays for his disciples and their followers: “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, [Read More...]

PICTURES WITHOUT WORDS

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I recently attended an outstanding conference at Gordon College on the upcoming celebration of the fifth centennial of the Reformation in 2017 – the half millennium. I’m not going to summarize the Gordon event here, but a project occurred to me, or rather a challenge. Suppose you had to describe an event like that, but [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...]

FORGETTING EZRA

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In October, 1555, the regime of Mary Tudor burned two former English bishops for their stubborn Protestant convictions. As they went to the flames, one of the martyrs, Hugh Latimer, addressed his comrade, Nicholas Ridley, in stirring terms that have inspired successive Protestant generations. He urged him, “Be of good cheer, master Ridley, and play [Read More...]

Whither Luther?

Hilary Sherratt, an alumnae of Gordon College and a guest blogger for this post, was a participant on Professor Tal Howard’s recent trip to sites of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.  His own reflections on this trip appeared in an earlier blog, “The Incombustible Martin Luther.” Whither Martin Luther? Whither Christian Unity? – Ecumenical Purpose [Read More...]

SAINT JOHN FISHER

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Often, stories of martyrs and saints are so reworked over time that they become outrageously improbable, and it becomes all but impossible to excavate to find what really happened. That’s doubly unfortunate, because some unquestionably genuine stories are so powerful in their own right that they need not the slightest additional coloring. As a case [Read More...]

The Incombustible Martin Luther

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  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...]

DUALISTS AND PROTESTANTS

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I have recently been posting about Dualist versions of Christianity, and their incredibly long-lasting influence across Europe and the Middle East. But whatever happened to Dualism? The answer is mysterious, but might conceivably tell us something about the origins of the European Reformation. That disappearance was near-total. In the Christian world at least, Manichaeanism was [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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