Did the Reformation Spawn a Million Churches? or Who’s the Modernist Here?

That’s the old canard that the Emergent Village folks appear to be trotting out (HT: Daily Scroll). Honestly, I wonder where this lot went to school. I noted the strange historical story that EV folk tell themselves in my essay in Brian . . . Continue reading →

When Was Zwingli an Anabaptist? Updated

Robert G. Torbet, A History of the Baptists (Philadelphia: The Judson Press, 1950), 35 contains this striking subordinate clause, “…when Zwingli became reluctant to continue his Anabaptist teaching…” I’ve read this claim before and I’ve heard it repeated. I’ve never seen any . . . Continue reading →

Godfrey on Waldo and the Waldensians

For a time, the movement spread widely into parts of Germany and Austria, as well as Northern Italy. Persecution by the church, however, was severe and eventually reduced the movement to a remnant in the valleys of Northern Italy. Efforts to eradicate them through the centuries failed, and only in 1870 did the Waldensians receive full civil rights in Italy. [click image for more] Continue reading →

The Power of Faith: 450 Years of the Heidelberg Catechism

In 2013 the Heidelberg Catechism will be 450 years old. To mark this event Karla Apperloo-Boersma and Herman Selderhuis have edited a new volume (hardcover, 440 pages) on the catechism. According to Amazon it’s $56.00 (HT: Michael A. G. Haykin). Thus begins the . . . Continue reading →

Unintended Reformulation?

Brad Gregory is a well-respected Reformation historian. He has taught at Stanford and now teaches at Notre Dame. His study of martyrdom in the Reformation period is highly regarded. He has produced a new work which is receiving a good deal of . . . Continue reading →

Before the Word-Faith Hucksters

Before the modern Word-Faith (“name it and claim it” or “health and wealth”) preachers there was a huckster named Johann Tetzel (1465–1519). He is famous for his marketing of the medieval practice of selling indulgences with the jingle, “When the coin in . . . Continue reading →

Luther’s Judgment On Images

With regard to Luther’s judgment on images, we are not in the dark. In his report to his confidant Nikolaus Hausmann on the situation he found in Wittenberg, he was unambiguous: “Damno imagines.” The elimination of images, however, should be brought about . . . Continue reading →

Identity Markers: Why Some Axioms Persist

Peter Berger has been an influential and important sociologist of religion for more than 50 years. He is presently Professor Emeritus of Religion, Sociology and Theology and Director of the Institute on Culture, Religion, and World Affairs at Boston University. To review a . . . Continue reading →

The Martyrdom Of George Wishart 1 March 1546

On the sixteenth day of January, 1546, the Regent and cardinal arrived after night-fall at Elphingston Tower, in the neighbourhood of Ormiston, with five hundred men, and despatched the Earl of Bothwell to apprehend Wishart, holding themselves in readiness, if need were, . . . Continue reading →

Office Hours Season 8: Reformation 500—Backgrounds

Office Hours Video

This is season 8 of Office Hours and we are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. In this episode we look  at the background to the Reformation in the medieval church, how the medieval church set the stage for the Reformation . . . Continue reading →

Where Was Your Church Before Luther?

Josiah writes to the HB: Often when we think of the reformation we think back to 1517 when Martin Luther nailed the 95 Thesis on the church door in Wittenberg Germany but we describe it in such a way that it’s almost . . . Continue reading →

The Reformation Was Not A “Modern” Event

It is widely held and assumed that the Reformation was a modern event. Reformation studies, where they still happen in state-funded universities, are nearly always categorized as “early modern.” Historians of the 16th and 17th centuries regularly describe themselves as scholars of . . . Continue reading →