Christian History Institute

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items tagged with 20th century

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28 Feb 2000

The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century: Recommended Resources

by the Editors | Issue 65

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE when researching prominent figures from recent history isn’t finding information, but deciding which of the numerous resources to concentrate on. We found these to be most helpful in preparing this issue.

Karl Barth

Barth’s Church Dogmatics  fills a bookshelf, but a careful reading of volume one alone will richly reward the patient reader. His commentary on The Epistle to the Romans  (Oxford, 1968) shook the theological world. It’s another dense book but full of Barth’s energy. For something completely different...

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28 Feb 2000

The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century: Introductory Timeline — Visionary Years

by the Editors | Issue 65

UNITED STATES poet laureate Robert Pinsky said in a recent interview, “The history of my century is a history in which the visionary has repeatedly collapsed into nightmare. . . . Pol Pot was a visionary. And Hitler was a visionary.”

The century seemed to be one large, visionary experiment in which people desperately sought, as Alexandr Solzhenitsyn put it, “to live without God.” Politics was to save us from injustice, science from disease, psychoanalysis from suffering, and literature from despair. When it worked, we benefited (civil...

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28 Feb 2000

The Ten Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century: From the Editor — The Long and the Short of Lists

by Mark Galli | Issue 65

THE JOURNALIST IN ME is pretty happy with this issue’s title, “The 10 Most Influential Christians of the Twentieth Century.” It’s got bite, appeal, and it begs for an argument. And I had a lot of fun pulling the list together: after reading the results of our poll (see “What Do You Think? ") and sifting that through my experience and reading, this is what came out. 

On the other hand, the historian in me is nagged by the qualifications that whisper their disapproval.

First, among the readers and scholars we polled last year, one exclaimed:...

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28 Feb 2000

Survey Results: What Do You Think?

by the Editors | Issue 65

ONE YEAR AGO, we asked you, our readers, to do two things: list the five most influential Christians of the twentieth century and then note five well-known Christians who were most personally  influential. We posed the same two questions to historians who belong to the Conference on Faith and History, a group composed of mostly Christian historians who study Christianity’s influence in history. We've ranked each of the four lists by the percentage of votes received for each person. Here’s what we discovered.

Surprises

  • John Calvin (yes,...

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28 Feb 2000

Third World: Rumblings to the South

by Derek Peterson | Issue 65

LATE IN 1913 a barefoot figure carrying cross, calabash, and Bible crossed the frontier from Liberia to the Ivory Coast and began the most effective evangelistic crusade in modern African history. His name was William Wade Harris, a native Liberian. Tens of thousands followed Harris, establishing churches in regions that had never seen a missionary. Harris himself was arrested by French colonial officials, treated roughly, and expelled from the colony in 1915. But his followers persisted, forming congregations that were “discovered” when...

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28 Feb 2000

Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Russel Moldovan | Issue 65

"WE MUST KEEP God in the forefront. Let us be Christian in all our actions.” So spoke the newly elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association, which had just been organized to lead a bus boycott to protest segregated seating in the city buses. The president, and new pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist, went on to say that blacks must not hate their white opponents. “Love is one of the pinnacle parts of the Christian faith. There is another side called justice, and justice is really love in calculation.”

And so began his public...

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28 Feb 2000

Roman Catholic Reform: John XXIII

by Elesha Coffman | Issue 65

ANGELO GUISEPPE RONCALLI began his life in 1881 as the son of farmers so poor they shared the first floor of their house in Bergamo, near Milan, with six cows. After entering seminary at age 11, he pursued a thoroughly Catholic education, then spent most of his life in the papal diplomatic service. He served mainly in obscure places, which helped him make a lot of friends without collecting any enemies. He was known for being lovable and kind, if a bit unconventional—hardly qualities that would automatically propel him toward the papacy.

...

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28 Feb 2000

Neo-Orthodoxy: Karl Barth

by Mark Galli | Issue 65

"THE GOSPEL is not a truth among other truths. Rather, it sets a question mark against all truths.” Karl Barth (pronounced “bart") not only said this, he spent his life setting question marks, in the name of Christ, against all manner of “truths.” In the process, he did nothing less than alter the course of modern theology.

He started out life conventionally enough: he was born in 1886 in Basel, Switzerland, the son of Fritz Barth (a professor of New Testament and early church history at Bern) and Anna Sartorius. He studied at the best...

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