THEY WERE THE TWO GIANTS of the eighteenth-century evangelical revival. Fitting for men from a century known as the “Age of Reason,” both were university-trained, articulate defenders of faith they believed reasonable. But reason was not all. They saw love as the fountain and heart-warmed affections—we might use the word “emotions” today—as a stream (to use Edwards’s words) that waters an interior life that...Read More
IN 430 the Germanic tribe known as the Vandals fled the grip of another tribe, the marauding Huns. Their flight took them to the doorstep of Hippo in modern-day Algeria. There the Vandals laid siege to one of the weakening Roman Empire’s outlying
cities. The Christian bishop of that city, dismayed by the conflict, looked back over his 75 years and pondered
That bishop, the greatest theologian...Read More
It’s a statement that many know by heart, reciting it regularly, in some cases weekly, in church services. The Nicene Creed maintains a pervasive presence in contemporary Christian teaching and has shaped Christian theology for almost 1,700 years. And we owe the survival of its orthodox views, at least in part, to a controversial Egyptian deacon-turned-bishop.
constantine claims the cross
Many aspects of...Read More
[Editor’s note: This magazine is now available as a reprint .]
CALVIN CAME FROM LOWLY STOCK. His paternal grandfather was a barrel-maker and boatman, his mother’s father an innkeeper. His own father, Gerard, however, had improved his lot to become a successful lawyer, with a practice which brought him into the society of the local gentry and cathedral clergy. A side benefit from these connections fell to John, in...Read More
On June 13, 1525, 41-year-old Martin Luther and Katharine von Bora, 15 years his junior, married in Wittenberg after a brief engagement of less than a day. It was a union that shocked a nation—not because of their age difference, but because the couple was, in the eyes of the medieval church, committing incest.
As a former monk and a former nun, the two had been “brother” and “sister,” even if only in a spiritual...Read More
Who was Jesus, and what could he have meant to imply about himself when, as the Gospel of Matthew reports, he broke bread and told his disciples to “take, eat, this is my body”? Early Protestants were fairly certain they knew what Jesus did not mean: to suggest that bread and wine had been miraculously “transubstantiated” into his physical body and blood. The word “transubstantiation,” the medieval Catholic...Read More