Recent Magazine Articles

14 Nov 2016

A faith that could not be contained

by Jennifer Powell McNutt | Issue 120

looting a church in Lyons

THE STORY OF CALVINISM’S emergence and the development of the Reformed tradition is forever tethered to Geneva. And yet Reformed Christianity in Europe reached well beyond those walls of refuge. Even the great reformer of Geneva, John Calvin, was not a Genevan himself, but a French refugee seeking asylum from persecution in his native country. 

[Reformers looting churches in Lyons, France]

It is estimated that by 1600 around 10 million people worshiped in Reformed churches, a 2,000 percent increase in just 50 years. Established churches...

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14 Nov 2016

United with Christ in eternity and at the table

by Raymond A. Blacketer | Issue 120

Calvin memorial

IF I SAY LUTHER, you say “95 Theses .” If I say Zwingli, you say “sausage in Lent.” And if I say Calvin, you say “predestination!” Predestination is a biblical theme and a perennial topic of Christian theology: how God’s sovereignty interacts with our free will. It was not something Calvin invented. Why has his name become so closely tied to the doctrine? 

[Calvin memorial]

amazing grace, how sweet the sound. . .

Some theologians throughout church history, like Augustine, have considered salvation the work of God alone creating faith and...

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26 Oct 2016

Another accidental revolutionary

by Jon Balserak | Issue 120

MISSIONARIES SENT INTO THE COUNTRY under assumed names, taking obscure mountain passages in an effort to elude detection by the authorities along the border, provided with false papers and sent out secretly to their destination: sound like North Korea in the twentieth century? No—France in the 1560s. 

Facade of Geneva church

secret agent men

From miles away in Geneva, John Calvin (1509–1564) and Theodore Beza (1519–1605) were discipling French Calvinists. They created and fostered Reformed communities devoted to the Genevan vision by smuggling books on Reformed...

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26 Oct 2016

From turmoil to peace

by Mary S. Sprunger | Issue 120

Menno Simons

IN 1536, when Menno Simons (c. 1496–1561) became an Anabaptist, he joined a movement in peril. Almost all of its initial leaders were dead, either by disease (Conrad Grebel) or execution (Felix Manz, Michael Sattler, Hans Hut, Hans Denck, Balthasar Hubmaier, Georg Blaurock, Jakob Hutter). Melchior Hoffman (1495–1533), the leader responsible for introducing Anabaptism to the Low Countries (modern Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg), was in prison, discredited for prophecies that had not come true.  

no new Jerusalem for now

A 1534 coup in...

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26 Aug 2016

The heavens declare the glory of God

by Glenn E. Myers | Issue 119

Greek monasteryPSALM 19 PROCLAIMS, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Psalm 19:1–2). Since the beginning of the church, Christians have affirmed this insight and joined together with the creation pictured in Psalm 19 to worship God. 

Many of those vibrant believers were monks and nuns who set their lives apart for prayer and memorizing Scripture; but these monastic Christians also tended the garden of creation where the Lord had...

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26 Aug 2016

Cosmic worship, sanctified matter, transfigured vision

by Kathleen A. Mulhern | Issue 119

John of Damascus“GRACE IS EVERYWHERE.”

So testified the dying priest in Georges Bernanos’s The Diary of a Country Priest (1936), a gritty, tragic tale of an ordinary man’s journey to God. Though deprived of the church’s final sacrament, the priest had no concerns, for he found it all around him in the “light and dazzling beauty” of common roads and kicked-up dust. 

Freed slave Sojourner Truth (c. 1797–1883) also saw something extraordinary in the ordinary, writing, “’Twas God all around me. … An’ then the whole world grew bright, an’ the trees they waved...

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