The Punnappra Vayalar struggle is a chapter which was written by blood in the history of the independence struggle of Kerala and India. The blood of the martyrs of Punnappra and Vayalar was shed to control the autocratic reign of a ruler and to begin the process of humanizing people, the people who were once no people!
Sankar Guha Niyogi was an activist organizer of manual workers of various sorts and an aggressive trade Union Leader under severe and repressive tactics of industry and government. His activities became irksome to the establishment which led to harassments and arrests. On September 20th, 1991, he was murdered by an assassin.
Thanks are due to many people for help in respect of a book which has taken five years to write. First to my publisher for being so patient. It is dangerous to make a contract with an author who is also a publisher; he tends to have a cavalier attitude when it comes to delivery …
One little-noted fact in this bicentennial year is that our country, which was born in revolution, has been opposed to all recent revolutions and in most cases has tried to undermine them. We need to reflect on this point and to ask if there was anything about the nature of the American revolution that helps …
A brief account of the theory and practice of indulgences.
No contemporary historian has recorded the Gospel’s eastward march, but there is no doubt that the Gospel did move east even while Paul was opening his mission in Europe. And however Western scholars may write their histories of the church, from time immemorial Asia has linked the church’s expansion eastward to the missionary travels of the apostle Thomas.
Brauer examines how Puritanism’s and Revivalism’s theological beliefs and symbols helped to create a revolution in the colonists’ hearts and minds prior to the outbreak of the Revolution. Puritanism created the center out of which New England society live. Then the Great Awakening not only creatted a belief in the new man which tended to question traditional values; it also created an image of a new age. It taught thousands to question the past and to be open to the future. It transformed some of the central symbols of Puritanism and introduced new values and beliefs which questioned not only the authority and function of Crown and Parliament but also the traditional role and power of established clergy and magistrate.
The early years, from 1606, witnessed the planting of the Christian Church in America. It came in many ways, using many. Languages, with the Anglicans, the Puritans, the Dutch Reformed, and Swedish Lutherans. To this day there is no one Christian group that embraces all the American people.
Through the long centuries in which God was seeking to prepare the way for the “incarnation” God was seeking men who would willingly respond to “the light which lighteth every man” and slowly was finding some in the small minority of God’s “chosen people” who were struggling to understand what God’s Spirit, respecting their free will, was trying to say through them.
Wycliff is considered as the morning star of Reformation. He initiated and shown forth a bright light of moral and doctrinal reform of the church and society in a time of darkness. Many of the ideas of the later Reformers were reflected in these predecessors. At a special synod in 1382, the Archbishop of Canterbury took strong action against his doctrines. However, he was allowed to end his days in peaceful retirement at his Lutterworth presbytery.
We do not know the exact date, month and year of Paul Ni Tsiong-Hoi’s date of birth or where he was born. Moreover, the sources do not tell us in which year he died. All we know about him is that he died in prison at the age of 36. We do not know how he died. Details are given of his conversation with the governor and others as he stood firm as they tried to get him to deny his faith.
Christians, a rapidly growing group, claimed on moral and spiritual grounds exclusive loyalty to Christ and opted when confronted with loyalty to the Emperor for the Heavenly king they worshipped. Bishop Polycarp’s martyrdom makes it clear, however, that despite the intense hostility of an apparent majority, the persecutions of Christians in the region of Asia was limited and selective.
As the oldest child in a stable middle class family, Luther endured a childhood of strict discipline at home, school and church that left him with a sense of inferiority, and emerged into university life at a time of great intellectual ferment that challenged the entire educational system as well as the corruptions of a politically powerful church. In the process he proved himself a gifted scholar.
Shakers, Rappites, Transcendentalism, Brook Farm, Millenarianism and the Millerites, Seventh-Day Adventists, Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. Under full religious liberty, it is not odd that many kinds of religions could develop in America.
The assassination of Archbishop Romero in March 1980 shocked the world. Oscar Romero lived all his life in the midst of poverty and injustice in Latin America. As the archbishop of San Salvador, he became the leader of the church, and he also became a man who stood for the poor. He became their voice when they were voiceless. He suffered and gave his life for them.
The industrial revolution challenged Christianity through a multiplicity of new social structures. The Catholic Church’s response was mixed, while the Protestant response was more positive.
Amid general social unrest the demand for church renewal and reform expanded in a flurry of writings by Luther that evoked an equally strong response from Rome issuing in Luther’s excommunication and a papal bull commanding his appearance for trial at the Diet at Worms.
The half century following 1914 found Christianity both openly attacked and endangered by a less openly but more subtle erosion. The facing of this challenge resulted in a greater impact of Christianity upon mankind as a whole — greater than at any earlier time.
The Churches of America could not be held together when the nation was divided over slavery. Both sides thought they knew God’s will in this matter, and both sides quoted God’s Word, either to defend slavery or to condemn it.
The Diet at Worms was essentially a call for Luther to recant, and his defiant refusal based on scriptural authority evoked a papal excommunication followed by a staged kidnapping by his friends to place him in protective custody at Wartburg Castle. A flood of his writings poured from there into the rising social unrest covering issues like the mass, clerical vows and freedom as well as a translation of the New Testament from Greek into German, and catapulted him into the leadership of the impending Reformation.
The purpose of this writing is to share the Christian faith of Martin Luther King, Jr. and to find out whether those means and methods are rightly used to bring about social change in our context today.
"…The close of the age" may seem evil and that "close" be either at hand or far off, but we as Christians must continue to witness, seeking to bring all men to discipleship and to lead them to obedience to what Jesus taught His disciples.
The Wittenberg Luther found on leaving his refuge disturbed him deeply and led him to voice caution to the forces of change in both church and secular life, and to produce a flow of pastoral writings on all manner of subjects intended to restore order to Germanic society. Meanwhile, he published his translation of the New Testament into German from the Greek text and struggled to preserve a middle ground against voices from both left and right.
Although Martin King’s failed to establish freedom in his existing situation, he prevented despair from becoming the defining characteristic of his life by looking forward to God’s eschatological freedom which was to come. Although he had to face the threat of death daily, King denied that it had the last word.
The years of Lincoln and the Civil War and its outcome were followed by peace, plenty and growth. But at the same time, American Protestantism faced a period of disagreement and theological argument.
Late nineteenth century revivalism tended to ignore the mind of man and its deepest insights into the Christian faith. To them, the Bible and conversion were enough, nothing more was needed; it ignored the broader questions as it concentrated on one great problem: Are you saved? Among the revivalist were Moody, Chapman, Mills and Sunday.
For the Church to be alive in Poland as nowhere else under the Communist rule several priests had to lose their lives. Among them the most prominent was Father Jerzy Popieluszko. He died as a martyr for the cause of human dignity and freedom.
The major life changes brought about by his leadership in the reforming of the church and his leaving the Augustinian order issued in Luther’s rather sudden decision to marry, which was difficult for some to accept. He adjusted happily to marriage and the birth of a son, at the same time being drawn into the Peasant’s War on the ruler’s side with writings so filled with anger that his influence was compromised.
An examination of the two historic atrocities on Dalits that took place in Karamchedu and Tsunduru in 1985 and 1991 respectively.
Those who reacted in a purely defensive way to the presentation of Darwin’s theories failed to grasp the truth of the new scientific discoveries and set their minds and hearts against the new discoveries, spending so much time and energy defending the indefensible that they failed to make truly relevant the deepest insights of the faith.
Following his happy adjustment to marriage, Luther addressed Erasmus’ critiques in an acrimonious exchange that diminished their common concern for freedom. Meanwhile, the ongoing disruptions in state and church caused by the Reformation pulled Luther more and more into public involvements, often at great danger and inconvenience.
In the early twentieth century many wanted to defend the social and economic system exactly as it was, but that could not be. The social gospel movement might have been wrong in several ways, but in one respect it was absolutely correct — it pronounced a word of judgment against a society that glorified greed and lawlessness, and it bravely attempted to offer a solution on the basis of Christian insights.
Although kept at a distance from the Imperial Diet at Augsburg, Luther exhausted himself sending letters, theological arguments and pastoral counsels to Melancthon and others involved at the Diet. The Emperor’s siding with the Pope’s representatives unleashed Luther’s rage and led to his sanctioning military self-defense by the German princes if attacked by the Emperor in attempting to enforce his anti-reform position.
Following the conclusion of the Peace of Nuremberg which established the political future of Germany and the organizational future of Christianity, Luther settled into his new life as patriarch and family man, and devoted himself to Bible translation and clarification of the German Mass and liturgy, relying on an incarnational theology and practical spirituality to guide him. Meanwhile, major societal adjustments to the Reformation were taking place throughout northern Europe, and especially in England under Henry VIII and in Switzerland with Calvin. With increasing health problems and depression Luther gradually entered into old age.
Two main problems faced America during the period of World War I and the era following — the churches’ relation to the rising social and economic problems and the unrestricted competition among the churches themselves. Over these problems the liberals and the fundamentalist fought it out while the conservatives tried to take the middle road and preserve both the freedom and the peace of the church. Through it all the church grew in numbers and prosperity.
The Great Depression had a devastating effect on the Churches as well as on the nation, for it gave birth to despair and the loss of confidence. The effect of this saw reactionary response both within the church and in society. After World War II there was a remarkable change in theology led by Reinhold Niebuhr and others which resulted in many great preachers entering the pulpit during this era, establishing the beliefs and the theology that underlie action.
Luther’s final ten years were marred by infirmities and ill health which exacerbated his anger and led to outbursts of rage in tongue and pen, both in his continuing struggle with the papacy and in his depression over the excesses in public morality. Nevertheless, his wife and friends continued to support him faithfully, and the peaceful death longed for finally claimed him in his sixty-third year.
After the 1950’s Christianity was seen as a minority movement within a thoroughly secularized culture. It was no longer a formative influence that shaped the mores and aspirations of American people despite the fact that Protestant institutions were more numerous and larger than ever before in history. Society considered Christian institutions irrelevant. The church was being challenged to great change.
When the American Revolution was completed, not only had the Established Church of England been rejected, but, more important, the very idea of Establishment had been discarded in principle by the new Constitution. For the first time in Christendom there was legal religious freedom as distinct from toleration in a commonwealth. A church became a voluntary association, in competition with perhaps hundreds of others. This meant that even while ostensibly defending the authority of the Bible against skeptics, infidels, and atheists, each sect was actually contending against all other Christian groups. Many theologians of the sects continued to talk as if they were the exponents of the normative culture system of the commonwealth, while actually they represented only that of, at best Christianity in general, at worst their exclusive sect. Meantime the intellectuals of the commonwealth, e.g., Jefferson, Franklin, Lincoln, and even Eisenhower, naturally found no real religious home in any existing sect. And many sensitive persons squirmed to have the best of both worlds, usually in the end by giving each a separate but equal compartment in their minds.
On the basis of new historical evidences available, it is possible to establish the fact that there was a Christian church in Edessa (Western Mesopotamia) in the first century, and not only there but also in other places in Mesopotamia.
Almost all the major Churches found today in America had representatives in the colonies. In spite of the division into many churches, the Church was truly at work in America through the influence of Roger Williams, Ann Hutchinson, Dr. Robert Child, the Presbyterians, the Puritans, the Quakers and many others.
Five questions emerge as this long history is faced. (1) What is the reason for this presence of religion as a continuing accompaniment of human history? (2) Is advance seen in the history of religion? (3) Which if any of the high religions most nearly approaches the truth with which religion is concerned? (4) Is religion to continue, or is it a passing phase in mankind’s long pilgrimage? (5) If religion is to continue, what form or forms will it take?<
John Hus was a Bohemian reformer with strong reformation views. The Council at Constance (November 1, 1414) condemned Hus. The archbishop ex-communicated him and he was burned at the stake despite his denial of some views attributed to him.
In our context today where millions of people are in hunger and live in sub-human conditions on account of the unjust socioeconomic and political strictures of our country (India), Polycarp’s faith in Jesus Christ challenges us to identify ourselves with the struggles of the poor and the oppressed for justice and liberation.
In time, early missionaries were stripped of all influence and had to depart from Madagascar leaving behind a small handful of Christians. Although they witnessed and won many, all were ultimately persecuted and martyred. Their martyrdom holds a special place in the memory of the protestant churches of Madagascar.
Following his baccalaureate graduation, Luther experienced depression which lifted after he aborted entering the study of law to enter the Augustinian novitiate at Erfurt. His father relented in his opposition to this radical vocational change, and Luther prospered in the structural rhythm of monastic and academic life as he received his master’s degree and moved toward ordination as a priest.
The earliest centers of Christianity in the East were: Edessa, Arbela in Parthia, and India. As long as the Roman emperors considered the Christians as enemies of Rome, the Persian emperors were inclined to consider them as friends of Persia. It was not until after Constantine’s death in AD 337 that the Christians began to be persecuted in the East.
A brief resume of Jesus’ life whom Christians assumed was God incarnate, yet fully human.
The Great Awakening, beginning around 1727, brought about the reality that it was not what man believed but what he did. The emphasis was placed on man’s activity, with less and less regard for doctrine, theology, or the Church as the chosen instrument of God. Thus both the place of the Church and the importance of worldly activity suffered at the hands of revivalism.
Livingstone was criticized severely for apparently doing more exploring than missionary work, yet probably no missionary had ever preached to so many blacks and did so much to open Africa for the world to see.
For Joan of Arc, It was “better to obey the voice of Heaven than that of man.” It was her passionate love of freedom that made her ready to sacrifice her life. She was burned at the stake as “Heretic, backslider, apostate, idolater…” at the age of 19.
Many Christians in Lyons and Vienne were martyred after being assaulted, beaten, stoned and tortured. They were charged with incest, cannibalism and murder and subject to the most cruel and inhuman treatments before dying.
After a comfortable accommodation to monastic life, Luther entered preparation for ordination as a priest, but was plagued by depression about his relationship with God, feeling he could never make himself worthy of God’s love. Meanwhile, he was promoted both within the order and in his academic pursuits toward a doctorate in theology.
It is the essence of general civil religion that it is religion in general, If we ask what virtue and corruption meant to the founding fathers the answer is clear. Franklin described it as “zeal for the public good.” Jefferson described virtue as “a love of others, a sense of duty to them, a moral instinct.” Corruption is the opposite of “zeal for the public good.” It is exclusive concern for one’s own good. For Jefferson, corruption consists in forgetting oneself “in the sole faculty of making money.” But all religious traditions in America were called in question in the 1960’s. The legitimacy and authority of all our institutions, political, economic, educational, even familial, as well as religious, has now never been shakier. We are not only in an economic depression but in a political and religious one as well.
The Puritan clergy rallied the people against British rule, paving the way for the American Revolution. New England ministers were among the first to enunciate the doctrines that became the basis of this Revolution and the Declaration of Independence.
Professed Allegiance of the Roman World; Influence of That World; Birth of the Catholic Church; Definition of Christian Beliefs.
Appollonius inspired the Christian communities of his times by refusing to makes sacrifices to the statue of the Emperor Commodus, despite the fact that many of Appollonius’ motives were selfish. (e.g. he believed in the rewards of a faithful life, thus not helpful to his neighbor in need.)
Thomas More, the Lord Chancellor of England and a humanist, disagreed with the King on his divorce issue and he refused to take the oath to the Act of Supremacy. He was tried for treason for refusing to the King his titles. He was tried on 1st July 1535 and executed. The Roman Catholic church canonized him in 1935. But in fact the reason for his martyrdom cannot be confined only to the refusal of recognizing the king as the head of the Church of England. As a humanist his words and deeds were the main reasons for his martyrdom.
Christian missionaries were at first invited to Uganda, but when the colonial division in Africa occurred the missionaries were identified as White conquerors and persecuted. But still local Christians increased in numbers. Nevertheless, many of these were martyred under the most cruel conditions. These martyrs were “crazy for God,” and did not give in to human weaknesses.
After being appointed lecturer in philosophy at the new University of Wittenberg, Luther received a baccalaureate in biblical studies and qualified to lecture in Bible. He was reassigned to Erfurt, and following a trip to Rome on monastery business, was elected a sub-prior in the Augustinian order and awarded the doctorate in theology at the early age of twenty-eight.
There are traditions that Christianity found its way to China in the first century, but the earliest more reliable report is from Arnobius who wrote in 300 AD, stating that the Gospel had been preached in China. A definitely more reliable report comes from Patriarch Yeshuyab II in about 635 AD from an excavated inscription by him which was found in an excavation in 1625 AD.
The decline of Christianity from approximately 500 A.D. to 950 A.D. can be ascribed to the gradual weakening of the Roman Empire, the inroads of the barbarians from the North and the conquests of the Arabs, the bearers of a new religion, Islam. The tenth century saw Christianity at a lower nadir than at any time to the present.
It was to the Russian émigrés working the factories of the suburbs of Paris, in the mines and steel works, who had sunk their lives in alcohol and drugs, that Marie Skobtsova was called. When World War II broke out she helped the Jews, but the SS arrested and imprisoned her. The exact nature of her death is unknown but she died in the Ravensbruck concentration camp.
Muentzer saw in the rebellion of the peasants war (1524-25) the dawn of a new age in which God would rule through the sword and the elect. For this, and other’s of his views , he was arrested, tortured and beheaded. His head was exhibited, with others, as a warning to the living.
A general sense of unease — social, political and especially spiritual — was found everywhere in Germany, and found expression in Luther’s periodic depressions in spite of his career advancements and popularity as a preacher. Luther only found relief in his struggle with what he saw as a demanding, angry God when he encountered God as the loving and gracious Father of the scriptures, thereby setting the stage for an angry confrontation with the church that had caused him and others so much pain.
By the late 18th century, newly free men faced the mighty task of replacing English control with a government that would express the principles for which they had fought. Driven by necessity and by the Baptist and Quaker interpretations of God’s Word, the nation and Churches decided for religious liberty rather than an state-established church. This was utterly new in the history of Christianity.
The martyrdom of Perpetua and Felicitas, though in their early adolescence and females — who are usually considered to be the weaker sex — yet because of their faith in Jesus Christ and their constant dependence on His sustaining grace and power were able to face the discouraging pleas of a father, the sadistic mob and the wild animals in the amphitheatre at Carthage.
From the evidence available to us, especially the East Syrian and Indian traditions, it is reasonable to believe that the Indian church has an independent origin, independent of Persian Christianity, in the apostolic activity of St. Thomas in the first century.
At Wittenberg Luther emerged in multiple roles — as religious superior, university lecturer, translator, preacher, friend and author. However, it was the need for reformation of academic and church life that evoked his deepest and most profound responses, coming as they did from his own personal struggle for freedom before God.
In the late eighteenth century the Church faced the challenges of The Age of Reason and new theologies: Thomas Paine’s direct attack on the Christian Church; Elihu Palmer and the Deistic Society; the ruggedness of the frontier in the push West; the work of the Baptists, the Congregationalists, the Presbyterians, the Methodists and others.
Beginning in the middle of the tenth century, a slow recovery of Christianity began, first among the Scandinavians, then by the West led by Roman and those in the East loyal to Constantinople.
For Cyprian of Carthage persecution is seen as an opportunity to testify ones faith and hope, a wellspring of the highest example of generous devotion, love and freedom.
Maximilian Kolbe, a Polish priest, offered his life in substitution for that of a father of a family who had been condemned to die in the Nazi extermination camp at Auschwitz. The father lived; Kolbe died in his place. He was a man who was not concerned for his own future but looked ahead for the future of others.
The expansion of Christianity in the East was not the work of Hellenistic Christian missionaries from Antioch, or a linear progression from Antioch. It was the work of Jewish Christian missionaries such as Addai in Edessa, Aggai and Mari in Persia and Thomas in India.
In publishing his theses for debating the selling of indulgences, Luther gave voice to popular discontent with the church and, though not a new issue, it evoked a strong note of alarm from the church hierarchies and concern by Luther’s friends for his safety.
From the mid-fourteenth through the mid-sixteenth centuries saw a succession of Moslem conquests, divisions and corruptions in the Catholic Church, healings through an ecumenical council and corruption in the papacy as well as outside Rome. Yet there were indications of continuing vitality despite movements condemned by the Catholic Church.
Revivalism beginning at the end of the eighteenth century rescued the Church from deism and indifference, finding an answer to the question of how to present the judgment and redemption of God, but also limiting their message and binding it to emotionalism.
Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor, a theologian and a great realist. He steadfastly opposed Nazi inhumanity and moved in the direction of Christian humanism inspired by the vision of Jesus as “the man for others.” On 5th April 1943 he was arrested by the Gestapo on suspicion that he was involved in the attempt on the life of Hitler at Smolensk. He spent 18 months in prison at which time he wrote his famous Letters from Prison. He was finally taken to the concentration camp at Fiossenburg, and was hanged on the morning of 9 April 1945.
This writing deals with a biographical sketch including Cyprian’s life history, priesthood, martyrdom, writings and the author’s reflection on St. Cyprian.
While the publication of Luther’s 95 theses was intended only for scholarly debate, his challenge to papal authority not only evoked a strong ecclesiastical charge of heresy, but found sympathetic support from the laity, anti-clericals, German nationalists, humanists and the poor and ordinary people who heard him preach, and culminated in his defense by his sovereign, Frederick the Elector of Saxony.
Revivals brought growth and strife to American Protestantism. In looking about to find ways of meeting the challenges — of deism, of the vast masses of unchurched peoples, of the great space to be covered, of the disintegrating morals, and the threat of financial collapse after the Revolution — the Churches found their answer in revivalism.
The surge of life in Christianity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was seen chiefly in Western Europe. There it had two main expressions — in the emergence of Protestantism and in a renewed animation in the Roman Catholic Church which purged it of much of the glaring corruption of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, gave birth to new monastic movements, and inspired the most extensive missionary activity that Christianity or any other religion had thus far produced.
Crispina is a mother who, like all mothers, was willing to sacrifice her all for her children, but her love for Christ, comes above all else thus she was willing to even give up her life with her children for Christ’s sake.
Contrary to what has been said by western historians, there is evidence to show, though very scanty and fragmentary, that Christianity found its way into South East and East Asian countries even before the coming of western missionaries, through the efforts of Nestorian merchants and missionaries from Persia or India or China or from all the three places.
By AD 1500, the story of Asian Christianity, after a millennium and a half of heroic efforts and phenomenal expansion almost came to an end in several countries; so much so, the historians speak of the eclipse of Christianity in Asia. Reasons for the eclipse are suggested.
With new life of the Spirit pulsating through the Churches, revivalism poured outward through home and foreign missions as well as a vast number of societies for benevolence and reform, not forgetting that the message was for all of life.
Archbishop Romero was a resolute defender of human rights and was known as “The Prophet of the Poor.” The government became so repressive that he called from his pulpit: “In the name of God and in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise daily more loudly to heaven, I plead you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God : Put an end to this repression.” The next day he was murdered by an assassin as he was standing at the Altar.
The transition from the eighteenth to the nineteenth centuries was a climax of movements and trends long present but now exploding in the intellectual, religious, political, and economic life of Western Europe. Christianity had become intertwined, seemingly inextricably, with that structure of Western European civilization which the new stage in the revolution undermined.
After the 95 Theses Luther published a vast array of sermons and lectures including The Explanation of his theses in an atmosphere of public and private controversy that escalated into papal charges and a debate at Leipzig with Eck. Eventually Luther ended up challenging the pope, the authority of the church, and in fact the entire structure of European society, in his appeal To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation.
Unquestionably the nineteenth-century world with which the remarkable expansion of the faith was closely associated is largely gone. In some respects, incredible though the affirmation may seem, it is more potent in the life of mankind than ever before. But the age-long conflict, at best at least latent and often chronic or acute, between Church and state, seems for the time to be going against the Church.
In the course of the fifteenth century movements broke out, chiefly in Western Europe, which were to bring unprecedented reinvigoration to Christianity and were to make it, by A.D. 1750, the most widely influential of the faiths of mankind.
Decay undermined the morale of the Church in the main center of Christianity, Western Europe, and among most of the Eastern Churches it was even more pronounced.
By its nature Christianity must always be in antagonism to much in the world about it. Yet it must live in that world, bear witness to the Christian Gospel, and seek to permeate the world with its ideals. While it can never hope to bring the world into full conformity to its standards, it must always be striving to do so. Now and again it will make striking progress. This seems to be best accomplished by organized, avowedly Christian fellowships, the churches.
Not even in the first five centuries did the Church fully live up to its ideal. Never were all who called themselves Christians in one visible organization. Yet, with all their weaknesses, it was through the churches that Christianity and with it the influence of Jesus spread.
Never had Christianity or, indeed, any other system or set of ideas been so widely spread as in the century which followed the close of the Napoleonic Wars, primarily through the missionary movement. During this period Protestant Christianity, giving rise through its churches to movements for the transformation of society which often had little organic connection with the Church, was having a wider effect in mediating the influence of Jesus to the world than was Roman Catholic Christianity.
In the eighteenth century came a new recession in the Christian tide. Rationalism, Deism and romanticism. The numerous revolutions in Latin America.
In this period Christianity was to mold an important culture more profoundly than ever it had molded a culture before and was to expand more widely geographically than at any previous time.
Christianity faced a long period of decline which for a time seemed to presage the end of the influence of Jesus. The fall of Rome, the Arab invasion and Islam of the 7th and 8th centuries. In Western Europe Christianity seemed dying from within. However, in spite of the prodigious numerical losses, the largest proportionately which Christianity was to know, by A.D. 950 Christian communities were scattered over a broader area than they had been in A.D. 500.
When Christianity spread to Syria (probably by the end of the second or early third century) there is no doubt that some of the Arabs also became Christians. Islam which originated in Arabia in the seventh century was a great missionary religion. By the 13th Century, Islam became the prominent religion. Yet numerous bodies of the Nestorian Christians were still scattered over all Central Asia.
(ENTIRE BOOK) This book summarizes the history of the Christian religion, directing attention to the challenges it has met, the failures of many of its most loyal adherents to live up to "the high calling of God in Christ Jesus," and some of the achievements in seeking to make that calling a reality.
Jesus: Symbol of God, by Roger Haight, S.J. Orbis, 505pp., $44.00 Roger Haight’s rich, magisterial survey of Christology from biblical times to the present is filled with useful summaries of a wide array of complex and difficult issues. It is a helpful reference for students, preachers and professors — even for those who may disagree …
(What If. . . ?’ — Rewriting U.S. History — is the second in a Bicentennial Series) What would the course of American history and the quality of our national life have been like over the past 110 years or so if the U.S. had not fought the Civil War? It is hard to imagine …
Book Review The First Crusade: A New History. By Thomas Asbridge. Oxford University Press, 416 pp. The Fourth Crusade and the Sack of Constantinople. By Jonathan Phillips. Viking. 400 pp. The leader of the Western world stands before his compatriots and outlines a list of atrocities allegedly committed by a demonic and militaristic Muslim …
(ENTIRE BOOK) An introduction to the exciting and fascinating story of the movement of the Christian Gospel in Asian lands. The evidence is slight and fragmentary, but there is enough to indicate that while Paul and other missionaries were converting Greeks, Romans and the barbarian tribes in the west, there was a movement of Christianity to the East – Edessa, Persia, Arbia, Central Asia, China and India before the arrival of western missionaries.
A review of the lasting contributions of Luther’s remarkable life and achievements.
This book seeks to provide students with a concise yet comprehensive account of Protestant Christianity in America, for there is a lack of such studies for seminary students. Protestantism in America can be characterized in terms of a full, free experimentation and an enduring biblicism.
Book Review: Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America. By Alien C. Guelzo. Simon & Schuster, 416 pp. During the third debate of the 2000 presidential election, then-vice president Al Gore stepped away from his podium and wandered over to George W. Bush’s side of the stage while Bush was answering a question. Observers …
Book Review: The Most Famous Man in America: The Biography of Henry Ward Beecher. By Debby Applegate. Doubleday, 544 pp. There is something very familiar about The Most Famous Man in America. It is a portrait of a charismatic leader, a brilliant but troubled man who reached the pinnacle of fame only to land in …
The 1892 lynching of a dear friend, Thomas Moss, launched Wells into international prominence as leader in the anti-lynching crusade. Her contribution was crucial: she spoke out at a time when few voices challenged the horror and injustice of the lynch law, and her research, writing and public speaking informed people of the facts. She …
The author explains how he divides the history of Chistianity into certain periods, and why.
Martin Luther was a professor at the Saxon University of Wittenberg. An Augustinian friar, Visitor of the group of friaries in the region, often preaching in the town church, at the age of thirty-two he was the successful local man, He had just published his first little book, a translation into German of the seven …
A general and brief introduction to the exciting and fascinating story of the movement of the Christian Gospel in Asian lands. Christianity came to Asia in the first century itself.
Book Review: In Search of the Early Christians: Selected Essays By Wayne A. Meeks. Edited by Allen B. Hilton and H. Gregory Snyder. Yale University Press 314 pp. Over the past three decades Wayne A. Meeks has investigated the social world of the early followers of Jesus. “The emphasis on the social context of writing …
A biography of each contributor to "Martyrs in the History of Christianity"
There is hardly any authenticated information about Martin Luther’s first 18 years, which led him to the threshold of the University of Erfurt. What we do have are memories used to illustrate and evaluate later experiences. These memories are colorful and vivid, but they are not in a real sense biographical data. As testimonies to …
(ENTIRE BOOK) The author intends to present the portrait of a man of extraordinary accomplishment in the fields of religion, politics, linguistics and ecclesiology, but also as an ordinary man whose letters and reported conversations reveal his struggle with the ordinary issues of a person of his time.
(ENTIRE BOOK) A biographical account of many Christian martyrs through the centuries, some not well known in the West. Each article is written by a student of Dr. Balasundaram as a project from his class based on the subject at The United Theological College in Bangalore, India. Despite the shortcomings of the text, the bravery of the great Christian martyrs comes through prominently.
A bibliography for background and research.
Book Review: Adam, Even and the Serpent by Elaine Pagels. (Random House, 189 pp.) Elaine Pagels has established her reputation by making the seemingly arcane topic of patristics, the theology of the early church, into a subject for celebrated and briskly selling books. As a follow-up to The Gnostic Gospel, which won the National Book …
Christianity has had a wider geographic spread and is more deeply rooted among more peoples than any other religion in the history of mankind, therefore it must be of concern to all who are interested in the record of man and particularly to all who seek to understand the contemporary human scene.
The reasons for martyrdom in antiquity, in the Classical Period, and in the twentieth century.
These three essays represent a coordinated and unified effort to gain a new perspective on the way that religion and the American Revolution were interrelated.
(ENTIRE BOOK) An interesting and readable history of Protestantism in America, starting with the Jamestown settlement in Virginia in 1607, and ending in 1965.
(ENTIRE BOOK) An examination of the two primary traditions — denominational biblical tradition and enlightenment utilitarianism — that worked together to contribute to the American Revolution and to create the civil religion which marks American culture to this day. The three chapters are by Brauer, Sidney Mead and Robert Bellah.
“It is one of the striking facts of American history that the American Revolution was led by men who were not very religious,” wrote Gordon Wood in New York History. “At the best the Founding Fathers only passively believed in organized Christianity and at worst they scorned and ridiculed it.” When asked why the Constitution …
The Resurrection of the Body in Western Christianity, 200-1336.. By Caroline Walker Bynum. Columbia University Press, 368 pp., $29.95. Caroline Walker Bynum concludes The Resurrection of the Body with this judgment on a millennium of Christian theologians: “We may not find their solutions plausible, but it is hard to. feel that they got the …
PRIMORDIUM. It’s time to get used to the term. Next to it one might mentally store such words as “primitivism” and “restorationism,” terms that will come in handy for interpreting America’s past. Paradoxically, though they refer to various sorts of pasts, they are also convenient tools for understanding how many Americans are interpreting the present …
This section lists, in chapter order, the titles from which quotations have been taken. Other references are also included in the introductory paragraph.
Barnes, Gilbert Hobbs, The Anti-Slavery Impulse 183 -1844. D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc., 1933. Billington, Ray Allen, The Protestant Crusade 1800-1860. Rinehart & Company, Inc., 1938. Braden, Charles Samuel, These Also Believe. The Macmillan Company, 1950. Carter, Paul A., The Decline and Revival of the Social Gospel. Cornell University Press, 1956. Clark, Elmer T., The Small …
A highly popular, widespread impression of Jonathan Edwards is the one expressed in verse by Phyllis McGinley: “Whenever Mr. Edwards spake / In church about Damnation, / The very benches used to quake / For awful agitation.” A somewhat less impressionistic portrait, though drawn also from folk memory more than from life, was offered by …
The following article is excerpted from the concluding chapter of historian Jaroslav Pelikan’s book titled Jesus Through the Centuries: His Place in the History of Culture, scheduled for October publication by Yale University Press. The book examines the impact of Jesus on the cultural, political, social and economic history of the past two millennia. Studying …
(ENTIRE BOOK) A brief historical overview of the development and spread of Christianity, examining the several periods of advance and decline and detailing its various branches.
When Goethe visited Assisi in Italy in the late 18th century, the only thing he found worthy of his attention was the Roman temple in the main square. He indicated no desire to see the frescos of Giotto, Cimabue or the Lorenzetti brothers, nor did he evince the slightest interest in the man who inspired …
When I was a student at Yale Divinity School a friend of mine gave me a pamphlet much like those handed out by street evangelists. This one was a parody of the five articles of the Synod of Dort, a 17th-century document long considered to represent the essence of John Calvin’s theology. The tract’s cover …
I have lived with Martin Luther for 76 years, since I was christened with the reformer’s name. My father was a Lutheran teacher and organist. Lutheran chorales have provided the cantus firmus for my life. But in only in the past few years, as I worked on a short biography of Luther, did the reformer …