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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This is the thread which will be devoted to the discussion of the history of Protestantism and related topics.

message 2: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Ran across this one:

Southern Cross The Beginnings of the Bible Belt by Christine Leigh Heyrman Christine Leigh Heyrman

Library Journal:
Heyrman (history, Univ. of Delaware) traces the development of evangelical Christianity in early Southern history, from Colonial days to the early 19th century. The author shows how the primarily Methodist and Baptist evangelicals were able to overcome strong resistance to become a predominant force in Southern culture. Young and inspired preachers, fear of the devil, signs and wonders, and an appeal to the most disadvantaged members of society brought initial success. Later, a movement toward patriarchal church and family structures and racial separatism helped the radical movement establish a permanent niche for itself. Both strands of this heritage continue to have influence. The author points out the importance of understanding this powerful heritage when analyzing modern trends in conservative Protestantism. A fascinating work; recommended for public and academic libraries.?C. Robert Nixon, Lafayette, Ind.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Good add for this thread - thank you.

message 4: by Becky (last edited May 21, 2012 05:35PM) (new)

Becky (httpsbeckylindrooswordpresscom) | 1217 comments The Reformation: A History

The Reformation A History by Diarmaid MacCulloch Diarmaid MacCulloch (no photo)

A monumental study of the clash between late medieval Christianity and early modern Protestantism, both “religions of fear, anxiety, and guilt.”

And both, writes MacCulloch (History/Oxford Univ.), also claimed “remedy and comfort for anxiety and guilt through the love exhibited by God and humanity in Jesus Christ.” The remark points to one of MacCulloch’s constantly unfolding themes, and one of the great contributions of this superb narrative: that the Protestant revolution and the Catholic counterrevolution marked a clash between many breeds and conceptions of Christianity, so many that it might be well to speak of Reformations and Counterreformations in the plural. MacCulloch points to any number of doctrinal and, as it were, dialectal differences: the Franciscan hatred for Jews, an ironic subversion of St. Francis’s urging that Christians consider the life of Christ on earth (which “had the logical consequence of making the faithful also think about the death of Christ on the Cross,” which led, of course, to dark thoughts about Jews); the rise of Maristic devotion, which emphasized the Queen of Heaven without much scriptural support, and which served as a key point of Erasmus’s contributions to the Protestant revolution; the obsession of some strands of Catholicism—particularly at the edges of Christendom, in places such as Denmark and Galicia—with purgatory, another point of Protestant rejection. Against such deeply and widely held beliefs, matters like papal infallibility and the sale of dispensations seem almost rarefied, though they of course figure strongly in MacCulloch’s account of Martin Luther’s signal contribution to that revolution, as well as those of Luther’s near contemporaries and sometime rivals such as Zwingli and Calvin. MacCulloch adds much to our understanding of why the “Lutheran heresy” was not immediately crushed (he was protected by an important elector within the Holy Roman Empire). He also offers a lucid view of the Reformation and Counterreformation as ongoing struggles—not in Europe, where Christianity has become largely secular, but in the US, where the rate of church-going and fundamentalist belief would do the Middle Ages proud.
Kirkus Reviews

This is an essential work of religious history. It's long and thorough and fascinating.

message 5: by G (new)

G Hodges (glh1) | 901 comments God's Secretaries The Making of the King James Bible by Adam Nicolson by Adam Nicolson (no photo)

Last year was the 400th anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible, but this interesting history was published in 2005

message 6: by Scott (new)

Scott | 16 comments America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln

America's God From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln by Mark A. Noll by Mark A. Noll Mark A. Noll

Book Description
Religious life in early America is often equated with the fire-and-brimstone Puritanism best embodied by the theology of Cotton Mather. Yet, by the nineteenth century, American theology had shifted dramatically away from the severe European traditions directly descended from the Protestant Reformation, of which Puritanism was in the United States the most influential. In its place arose a singularly American set of beliefs. In America's God, Mark Noll has written a biography of this new American ethos. In the 125 years preceding the outbreak of the Civil War, theology played an extraordinarily important role in American public and private life. Its evolution had a profound impact on America's self-definition. The changes taking place in American theology during this period were marked by heightened spiritual inwardness, a new confidence in individual reason, and an attentiveness to the economic and market realities of Western life. Vividly set in the social and political events of the age, America's God is replete with the figures who made up the early American intellectual landscape, from theologians such as Jonathan Edwards, Nathaniel W. Taylor, William Ellery Channing, and Charles Hodge and religiously inspired writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catherine Stowe to dominant political leaders of the day like Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. The contributions of these thinkers combined with the religious revival of the 1740s, colonial warfare with France, the consuming struggle for independence, and the rise of evangelical Protestantism to form a common intellectual coinage based on a rising republicanism and commonsense principles. As this Christian republicanism affirmed itself, it imbued in dedicated Christians a conviction that the Bible supported their beliefs over those of all others. Tragically, this sense of religious purpose set the stage for the Civil War, as the conviction of Christians both North and South that God was on their side served to deepen a schism that would soon rend the young nation asunder. Mark Noll has given us the definitive history of Christian theology in America from the time of Jonathan Edwards to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. It is a story of a flexible and creative theological energy that over time forged a guiding national ideology the legacies of which remain with us to this day.

From Publishers Weekly

This "social history of theology" in America, from the colonial era through the Civil War, promises to reshape the way we think about American religion, and, indeed, American history. Noll, who teaches history at evangelicalism's premier liberal arts college, Wheaton, charts the changes and developments in American theology, but he does not approach this potentially technical and narrow topic from the fusty perspective of old-fashioned intellectual history. Rather, he embeds theology in American society, showing how, inter alia, printing presses, legislatures and war shaped, and were shaped by, theology. His gauntlet-throwing argument is that American theology (by which he means primarily Protestant theology) is markedly different from European theology. A specifically American evangelicalism, he contends, was forged during the Revolution and early Republic. Noll's story ends with the Civil War, which he claims reveals a "theological tragedy": the contradictions and complications of this distinctly American religion were exposed when, in war, the American project proved wanting. Noll's hints of the "post-Protestant, even post-Christian" post-bellum America will leave readers hoping for a sequel. Although this magnum opus will be of interest primarily to scholars, it could certainly be appreciated by a larger audience. Noll's trademark clarity-both in analysis and in prose-is in evidence here; unlike many academics, he does not make the reader hunt and strain to find (and follow) his argument. Equally obvious is Noll's erudite mastery of everything from Puritan ecclesiology to Scottish moral philosophy. This is, finally, the magisterial work that has long been expected from one of our leading historians.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Noll (Christian thought, Wheaton Coll.) is a well-recognized historian and author of American religious history. Here, he closely examines pre-Civil War American religion, showing that it was a unique synthesis of republicanism, commonsense moral reasoning, and evangelical Christianity. The antebellum United States was a society uniquely preoccupied with biblical religion, but American religion also reflected the prevailing sentiments and political preoccupations of secular society. Noll brings to light some lesser-known theological thinkers while also reexamining the more famous figures of the time, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thomas Jefferson, and Jonathan Edwards. Carefully documented and including an excellent bibliography, this insightful volume makes a useful contribution to the study of religion in America. It is not aimed at the general public but is unusually readable for such a scholarly book. Recommended for academic and large public libraries.
C. Robert Nixon, M.L.S., Lafayette, IN
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thanks Libby

message 8: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: May 5, 2015

Luther's Fortress: Martin Luther and His Reformation Under Siege

Luther�s Fortress Martin Luther and His Reformation Under Siege by James Reston by James Reston (no photo)


In 1521, the Catholic Church was hunting for Martin Luther. Angered by the Christian reformer’s unapologetic criticisms of the Church, the Holy Roman Emperor had called for him “to be apprehended and punished as a notorious heretic.” Knowing that Inquisitors would murder the monk and crush his fragile movement if they caught him, Luther’s followers spirited him away to Wartburg Castle in central Germany. There Luther hid for the next eight months as his fate—and that of the Reformation—hung in the balance.

In Luther’s Fortress, acclaimed religious historian James Reston, Jr. describes this crucial but little-known episode in Luther’s life. While at Wartburg, Luther translated the Bible, fought his inner demons, and held together his fractious and increasingly radicalized movement from afar. A gripping portrait of the theologian at a transformational moment, Luther’s Fortress reveals how Luther and his Reformation emerged from Wartburg Castle stronger than ever.

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you Teri

message 10: by Danail (new)

Danail Hristov (danail_hristov) | 5 comments You should not miss to look at the great reformer from a different angle – that of his mate.

Queen of the Reformation by Charles Ludwig by Charles Ludwig (no photo)

Reformation history woven into the personal story of Katie Luther, the great reformer's wife. A fascinating account that is accurate in historical setting and character detail.

message 11: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Thanks so much for your recommendation. Danail.

message 12: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) A good point, Teri. Wives (and mistresses) were often the "power behind the throne" although seldom recognized as such.

message 13: by Danail (new)

Danail Hristov (danail_hristov) | 5 comments I recommend a book that sheds more light on the Protestantism.
I will start with the second part.

Henry, King of France by Heinrich Mann by Heinrich Mann Heinrich Mann

In Henry, King of France, the sequel to Young Henry of Navarre, the compelling epic of Henry IV's reign over France is followed to its tragic destiny. The novel recounts two decades of chaos and war that led to the triumphant founding of the French Republic and culminated in the King's assassination in 1589.

message 14: by Danail (new)

Danail Hristov (danail_hristov) | 5 comments Young Henry of Navarre by Heinrich Mann by Heinrich Mann Heinrich Mann

Young Henry of Navarre traces the life of Henry IV from the King's idyllic childhood in the mountain villages of the Pyrenees to his ascendance to the throne of France. Heinrich Mann's most acclaimed work is a spectacular epic that recounts the wars, political machinations, rival religious sects, and backstage plots that marked the birth of the French Republic.

message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Very good - just change the word Description: to Synopsis: and you will have used the moderator format

message 16: by Jill (last edited Mar 12, 2015 07:39PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) The most influential Protestant minister in the United States, and maybe the world.

Billy Graham

Billy Graham (A&E Biography) by Sandra Donovan by Sandra Donovan (no photo)


Billy Graham rose from humble beginnings in rural North Carolina to become one of the world's most famous evangelists. Born in 1918, Graham grew up on his family's farm. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, his strict Presbyterian parents grew more religious. Graham attended church meetings with them out of duty, but one night a particularly fiery Baptist preacher ignited his faith. At age 15, he committed his life to Christ. Graham received his first chance to preach while still a student at the Florida Bible Institute. He delivered his sermon in such rapid fire, it was over in just eight minutes. But with study and practice, Graham perfected his style and launched an impressive career. During his lifetime, Graham has preached directly to more than two hundred million people in almost two hundred countries and has reached millions more through radio, television, movies, and books.

message 17: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (last edited Apr 02, 2015 11:59AM) (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
An upcoming biography:
Release date: November 24, 2015

Martin Luther: The Man and His Vision

Martin Luther The Man and His Vision by Scott Hendrix by Scott H. Hendrix (no photo)


The sixteenth-century German friar whose public conflict with the medieval Roman Church triggered the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther was neither an unblemished saint nor a single-minded religious zealot according to this provocative new biography by Scott Hendrix. The author presents Luther as a man of his time: a highly educated scholar and teacher and a gifted yet flawed human being driven by an optimistic yet ultimately unrealized vision of “true religion.”

This bold, insightful account of the life of Martin Luther provides a fresh perspective on one of the most important religious figures in history, focusing on Luther’s entire life, his personal relationships and political motivations, rather than on his theology alone. Relying on the latest research and quoting extensively from Luther’s correspondence, Hendrix paints a richly detailed portrait of an extraordinary man who, while devout and courageous, had a dark side as well. No recent biography in English explores as fully the life and work of Martin Luther long before and far beyond the controversial posting of his ninety-five theses in 1517, an event that will soon be celebrated as the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

message 18: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: October 27, 2015

Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned his Small Town into a Center of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe--and Started the Protestant Reformation

Brand Luther How an Unheralded Monk Turned his Small Town into a Center of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe--and Started the Protestant Reformation by Andrew Pettegree by Andrew Pettegree (no photo)


When an obscure monk named Martin Luther tacked his “theses” on the door of the Wittenberg church in 1517, protesting corrupt practices, he was virtually unknown. Within months, his ideas spread across Germany, then all of Europe; within years, their author was not just famous, but infamous, responsible for catalyzing the violent wave of religious reform that would come to be known as the Protestant Reformation and engulfing Europe in decades of bloody war.

Luther came of age with the printing press, and the path to glory of neither one was obvious to the casual observer of the time. Andrew Pettegree is perhaps our most distinguished living historian of the print revolution, but he launched his career as a historian of the Reformation. That double vision positions him to comprehend this epic event, not simply as a religious story but also as a story about how ideas were carried and spread in new ways, by new things—things called mass-produced books. Printing was, and is, a risky business—the questions were how to know how much to print and how to get there before the competition. Pettegree illustrates Luther's great gift not simply as a theologian, but as a communicator, indeed, as the world's first mass-media figure, its first brand. He recognized in printing the power of pamphlets, written in the colloquial German of everyday people, to win the battle of ideas.

But that wasn't enough—not just words, but the medium itself was the message. Fatefully, Luther had a partner in Wittenberg in the form of artist and businessman Lucas Cranach, who together with Wittenberg’s printers created the look of Luther's pamphlets, which included the distinct highlighting of the words "Martin Luther of Wittenberg" on the title page. Cranach also created the iconic portraits of Luther that made the reformer such a familiar figure to his fellow Germans. Together, Luther and Cranach created a product that spread like wildfire—it was both incredibly successful and widely imitated. Soon Germany was overwhelmed by a blizzard of pamphlets, with Wittenberg at its heart; the Reformation itself would blaze on for more than a hundred years.

Publishing in advance of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary, Brand Luther fuses the history of religion, of printing, and of capitalism—the literal marketplace of ideas—into one enthralling story, revolutionizing our understanding of one of the pivotal figures and eras in all of human history.

message 19: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
Release date: May 29, 2015

Ink Against the Devil: Luther and His Opponents

Ink Against the Devil Luther and His Opponents by Harry Loewen by Harry Loewen (no photo)


Sixteenth-century Reformation Europe was a tumultuous time during which many defining ideas of the modern era were formulated. The technological advancement augured by the Gutenberg press allowed the unprecedented circulation of ideas among a growing legion of literate Europeans.

The writings of radical reformer Martin Luther were perhaps the most influential of his time. His opposition to the universal Roman Catholic Church fundamentally challenged the elites and their institutions. Along the way, Luther encountered fierce opposition not only from the Church but from the political powers of the day and from competing religious ideologies. Ink Against the Devil distills the major impulses from these debates and shows how they resonate to this day.

This book will appeal to both lay and professional scholars of the Reformation and its major players with prose that is accessible and free of jargon. Loewen directly addresses the debates between Luther and his many foes, including humanists like Erasmus and the sectarian opponents found among contemporary Jews, Muslims, and Christians. Of particular interest will be a focus on anti-Semitism throughout Luther’s published writings and sermons. No other book on the subject combines its wide scope with such a natural, narrative presentation.

message 20: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
Reformation: A World in Turmoil

Reformation A World in Turmoil by Andrew Atherstone by Andrew Atherstone (no photo)


The Reformation marked a period of profound upheaval—one of the greatest turning points in the history of Christianity—and sent shock waves through the western world. Andrew Atherstone traces the dramatic and compelling story from the Renaissance to the 17th century wars of religion, following the drama from its beginnings in Germany, through France, England, Scotland, and Rome. Focusing on the key personalities and events, he explains the often complex ideas that were at stake—and the political as well as religious issues involved. This is a lucid, authoritative account of a movement that changed the face of Europe forever. The great figures, such as Martin Luther and John Calvin, are brought vividly to life in an accessible, lively, and engaging overview of this critical period.

message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you Jerome

message 22: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
An upcoming biography:
Release date: April 26, 2016

Martin Luther

Martin Luther by Lyndal Roper by Lyndal Roper (no photo)


When on October 31, 1517 an unknown monk nailed a theological pamphlet to the church door in a small university town, he set in motion a process that helped usher in the modern world. Within a few years Luther's ideas had spread like wildfire. His attempts to reform Christianity by returning it to its biblical roots split the Western Church, divided Europe and polarised people's beliefs, leading to religious persecution, social unrest and war; and in the long run his ideas would help break the grip of religion on every sphere of life.

Yet Luther was a deeply flawed human being: a fervent believer tormented by spiritual doubts; a prolific writer whose translation of the Bible would shape the German language yet whose attacks on his opponents were vicious and foul-mouthed; a married ex-monk who liberated human sexuality from the stigma of sin but who insisted that women should know their place; a religious fundamentalist, Jew-hater and political reactionary who called 'for the private and public murder of the peasants' who had risen against their lords in response to his teaching. And perhaps surprisingly, the man who helped create in the modern world was not modern himself: for him the devil was not a figure of speech but a real, physical presence.

As an acclaimed historian, Lyndal Roper explains how Luther's impact can only be understood against the background of the times. As a brilliant biographer, she gives us the flesh-and-blood figure. She reveals the often contradictory psychological forces that drove Luther forward and the dynamics they unleashed, which turned a small act of protest into a battle against the power of the Church.

message 23: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (truthfulreviewer) Bonhoeffer, if I remember correctly, ended up wanting vengeance on Hitler, by he and his friends killing him. This is where Bonhoeffer went wrong, and left the Christian biblical doctrine of not getting vengeance. I believe that's why he had such a struggle with his actions, too.
You asked: What is the church? What is its mission in the world?
The bible says the church is made up of born again, faithful believers in Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord, and the mission of the church is clearly stated in the Gospels, and the New Testament: go into the world and tell others about the only way to Heaven, which is by repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ, and His blood which was shed to pay the price for all who will follow Him.
Modern Protestantism's inability to provide a clear answer is due to the fact that most Prot. churches do NOT follow the strait and narrow path, do NOT abstain from all appearance of evil, and they do not reject worldliness, nor do they persistently deny themselves daily, and worst of all, they don't bother to read their bible. If they DO read a bible, it's most likely a mistranslated, full of errors version that misleads that person even further.
This is why there is so much confusion, apathy, sin, and hypocrisy in the church congregations. Very FEW people want to give up their sinful lifestyles, and obey Jesus Christ.
Most church congregations are made up of lost souls who have no interest in following Jesus Christ. They get angry if someone tells them about sin, hell, eternal damnation, and the Lake of Fire, which is waiting for EVERY person who will not repent and follow Jesus.
Romans 10:8-13; John 3:16-21

message 24: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (truthfulreviewer) Teri wrote: "History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland

A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland by William Cobbett by [authorimage:William Cobbe..."

I'd like to get recommendations for Protestant history, written by Protestants, and not recommended by Catholics.

message 25: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: April 4, 2017

Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World

Protestants The Faith That Made the Modern World by Alec Ryrie by Alec Ryrie (no photo)


Protestant Christianity began with one stubborn monk in 1517. Now it covers the globe and includes almost a billion people. On the 500th anniversary of Luther’s theses, a global history of the revolutionary faith that shaped the modern world.

Five hundred years ago an obscure monk challenged the authority of the pope with a radical vision of what Christianity could be. The revolution he set in motion inspired one of the most creative and destructive movements in human history. It has toppled governments, upended social norms, and transformed millions of people’s understanding of their relationship with God. In this dazzling global history that charts five centuries of innovation and change, Alec Ryrie makes the case that Protestants made the modern world.

Protestants introduces us to the men and women who defined and redefined this quarrelsome faith. Some turned to their newly accessible bibles to justify bold acts of political opposition, others to support a new understanding of who they were and what they could and should do. Above all, they were willing to fight for their beliefs. If you look at any of the great confrontations of the last five centuries, you will find Protestants defining the debate on both sides: for and against colonialism, slavery, fascism, communism, women’s rights, and more. Protestants have also fought among themselves. What unites them all is a passion for God and a vital belief in the principle of self-determination. Protestants are people who love God and take on the world.

Protestants have set out for all four corners of the globe, embarking on courageous journeys into the unknown to set up new communities and experiment with new systems of government—like the Puritans, Quakers, and Methodists who made their way to our shores. They are resourceful innovators and are making new converts every day in China, Africa, and Latin America. Protestants created America and defined its special brand of entrepreneurial diligence. Whether you are yourself a Protestant, or even a Christian, you live in a world, and are guided by principles and ideas, shaped by Protestants.

message 26: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
An upcoming biography:
Release date: July 1, 2017

Martin Luther: Rebel in an Age of Upheaval

Martin Luther Rebel in an Age of Upheaval by Heinz Schilling


No other German has shaped the history of early-modern Europe more than Martin Luther. In this comprehensive and balanced biography we see Luther as a rebel, but not as a lone hero; as a soldier in a mighty struggle for the universal reform of Christianity and its role in the world. The foundation of Protestantism changed the religious landscape of Europe, and subsequently the world, but the author chooses to show Luther not simply as a reformer, but as an individual.

In his study of the Wittenberg monk, Heinz Schilling - one of Germany's leading social and political historians - gives the reader a rounded view of a difficult, contradictory character, who changed the world by virtue of his immense will.

message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you Jerome

message 28: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: October 26, 2017

A World Ablaze: The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation

A World Ablaze The Rise of Martin Luther and the Birth of the Reformation by Craig Harline by Craig Harline (no photo)


October 2017 will mark 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenburg, launching the Protestant Reformation. At least, that's what the legend says. But with a figure like Martin Luther, who looms so large in the historical imagination, it's hard to separate the legend from the life, or even sometimes to separate assorted legends from each other.

Craig Harline aims to do just that. He tells the riveting story of the first crucial years of Luther's fame, from 1517 to early 1522, and brings out the immediacy, uncertainty, and drama of his story, when the ending was still very much up in the air. Luther started off as a friar deeply troubled by the question of salvation and the fate of his own eternal soul. The conflict that played out within him eventually expanded to encompass the whole of Christendom. A World Ablaze is for any reader who wants to get to know Martin Luther as the sometimes cranky friar and professor, instead of the dramatically posed bronze icon that people know.

message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you Jerome

message 30: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (last edited Apr 14, 2017 07:17PM) (new)

Jerome | 4349 comments Mod
An upcoming biography:
Release date: October 31, 2017

Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography

Martin Luther A Spiritual Biography by Herman Selderhuis by Herman Selderhuis (no photo)


Martin Luther is well known for initiating one of the most influential movements in church history--the Reformation. But this fascinating nonconformist, praised as a hero or criticized as a heretic throughout history, was first and foremost a man searching for God. This new biography by leading Reformation scholar Herman Selderhuis digs deep into the heart and mind of Luther, following him on his spiritual journey and revealing the many facets of his powerful personality, from loving husband and father, to serious monk, to feared opponent, to compelling preacher and writer. Selderhuis uses Luther's own words to help us see him as a man of flesh and blood, full of faith and full of faults, with a deep longing to live for God.

message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thanks Jerome

message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
The Attributes of God

The Attributes of God by Arthur W. Pink by Arthur W. Pink Arthur W. Pink


The foundation of our knowledge of God rests upon knowing what he is like. Without understanding God's attributes, we have a skewed perception of him--often one cast in our own image. We need more than just a theoretical knowledge of God in order to worship him as he desires. This classic work of Arthur W. Pink invites readers to discover the truth about seventeen attributes of God, including his sovereignty, immutability, patience, love, faithfulness, and much more. Pink shows readers a God who is alive, all-powerful, and active in his creation. The perfect introductory text, The Attributes of God also has enough depth and meat to satisfy the more experienced reader.

message 33: by Danail (new)

Danail Hristov (danail_hristov) | 5 comments Bentley wrote: "The Attributes of God

The Attributes of God by Arthur W. Pink by Arthur W. PinkArthur W. Pink


The foundation of our knowledge of God rests upon kno..."

Thank you Bentley!

message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
You are most welcome

message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thomas Cromwell: A Revolutionary Life

Thomas Cromwell A Revolutionary Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch by Diarmaid MacCulloch (no photo)


The long-awaited biography of the genius who masterminded Henry VIII's bloody revolution in the English government, which reveals at last Cromwell's role in the downfall of Anne Boleyn

"This a book that - and it's not often you can say this - we have been awaiting for four hundred years." --Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall

Since the sixteenth century we have been fascinated by Henry VIII and the man who stood beside him, guiding him, enriching him, and enduring the king's insatiable appetites and violent outbursts until Henry ordered his beheading in July 1540.

After a decade of sleuthing in the royal archives, Diarmaid MacCulloch has emerged with a tantalizing new understanding of Henry's mercurial chief minister, the inscrutable and utterly compelling Thomas Cromwell.

History has not been kind to the son of a Putney brewer who became the architect of England's split with Rome.

Where past biographies portrayed him as a scheming operator with blood on his hands, Hilary Mantel reimagined him as a far more sympathetic figure buffered by the whims of his master.

So which was he--the villain of history or the victim of her creation? MacCulloch sifted through letters and court records for answers and found Cromwell's fingerprints on some of the most transformative decisions of Henry's turbulent reign.

But he also found Cromwell the man, an administrative genius, rescuing him from myth and slander.

The real Cromwell was a deeply loving father who took his biggest risks to secure the future of his son, Gregory. He was also a man of faith and a quiet revolutionary.

In the end, he could not appease or control the man whose humors were so violent and unpredictable. But he made his mark on England, setting her on the path to religious awakening and indelibly transforming the system of government of the English-speaking world.

message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
How was 2018 as a year for history books?

Segment of interview with Paul Lay - "From female spies during the English Civil Wars to the enduring distinctiveness of Iran, there is much left to be understood about history globally. Editor of History Today Paul Lay recommends the best history books that hit the shelves this past year."

I wouldn’t say it’s been a vintage year. You get cycles, and there’s been a fair amount of repetition. You still see a lot of periods overdone while some, like the seventeenth century, are barely reaching a mainstream audience. There’s a lot of talk about global history and there has been some change with more Chinese history, more African history, but in terms of reaching a wider audience, I don’t think there’s been that much.

There’s no shortage of specialist books, but what we look at here—and it’s one of the things we do with our prize, the Longman-History Today book prize—are books that have real scholarly rigour, books that are really serious history, but are well-written and engaging enough that they can reach a wider audience. That’s the Holy Grail, and there aren’t that many books this year that have done that.

There have been a few benchmark books in the last couple of years.

Peter Frankopan’s The Silk Roads was important: it sold a million copies globally, which is absolutely astonishing for a book of that nature and on that subject. You also see people like Mary Beard, Tom Holland and Bettany Hughes reach a wide audience. On the whole there haven’t been many of those kinds of books this year, with one or two exceptions, which we might talk about.

Yes, so which book do you want to start with, which of your choices do you think most fits the bill of that kind of book?

I suppose, when it comes down to it, there isn’t really anyone better than Diarmaid MacCulloch. He is someone who is capable of reaching that Holy Grail of serious scholarly material, but who can also communicate it to a wider audience. He’s done it several times before.

He did his history of Christianity and a history of the Reformation. Both are major scholarly books—syntheses I suppose—but what I think he’s absolutely brilliant at is the historical biography.

He did two that really won him followers. One was a biography of Thomas Cranmer, who was so important to both the religious and literary life of this country with his Book of Common Prayer. He was a complex, sometimes quite unlikable figure, but hugely important to this country’s history. Then he wrote what I regard as one of the best history books of the last few decades, which was his Tudor Church Militant. It’s about Edward VI who (at least in the popular view) had been seen as the bit that happens between Henry and Mary and Elizabeth.

What Diarmaid MacCulloch did was refocus on this brilliant intellectual child and his milieu, the people around him, whereby radical Protestantism came to Britain. We can’t really talk about Henry VIII as being a Protestant in any real sense. He remained pretty much a Catholic in terms of his beliefs, despite his battles with the Pope.

That’s not true of Edward, who was a militant Protestant and transformed the country in his very, very brief reign. It could never quite return to being the Catholic country it was during Henry VIII’s reign.

Although you had the Marian reaction to that and then Elizabeth’s more pragmatic view of religion, those seeds had been sown and they would remain there for centuries. So that was a really important book.

Then the next thing he wrote was this greatly anticipated biography of Thomas Cromwell.

Diarmaid MacCulloch was influenced by Geoffrey Elton, who wrote The Tudor Revolution in Government, which depicted Thomas Cromwell as this reformer and bureaucratic genius.

I’m not sure if, when MacCulloch started writing the book, he was aware that Hilary Mantel was writing her novels.

Suddenly, Thomas Cromwell became a figure that was widely known, perhaps more widely known than he has been for centuries, because of Mantel’s fictionalization of him. So MacCulloch’s book couldn’t have been better timed, because we are now familiar, at least in part, with the story of Cromwell.

Now we have this scholarly but very accessible biography which will be the definitive life of Cromwell for many years to come.

It has all the qualities that we’ve come to expect from MacCulloch: it’s rigorous in terms of its scholarship, but it’s also beautifully written and it does, I think, make a change.

It transforms the character of Cromwell from this brilliant bureaucrat we saw with Elton into a slightly shadowy figure.

Cromwell is a person who is very real in his Protestant faith and conviction, but he’s also given opportunities because of Henry’s crises over succession and a male heir, his serial marriages and adulteries. He seems to navigate between the gaps.

Also, as Peter Cook said about David Frost, “he rose without trace.” He was quite lowborn—the son of a yeoman who was a brewer and a tavern keeper in Putney—although, because of the Wars of the Roses, a lot of the people who were part of the aristocracy were themselves new in that position.

So this was a period when a bright young man could make an impact and take advantage of the flux and fracture and fragmentation that was still part of this world. And he was an absolutely brilliant linguist. He seems to have mastered several languages. He was an autodidact, but very well-travelled.

That seems to be part of the reason for his rapid rise—his knowledge of Italy and Italian.

Yes, because Henry is dealing with the church in Rome. He’s also dealing with Francis I in France.

England is very much part of Europe, of Catholic Christendom at this time. So it’s extremely useful.

Cromwell rides on the back of Cardinal Wolsey, whom he is loyal to even when Wolsey meets the crisis that ends in his execution. What you see in this ‘rising without trace’ is that people underestimate him. He’s rather cunning. I always think of the famous Holbein painting of Cromwell which is in the Frick Collection in New York. He’s facing a portrait of Thomas More across a fireplace. He’s More’s nemesis, in a way. More looks very confident. He’s totally at home in the robes of state, whereas Cromwell looks slightly furtive, slightly anxious or even paranoid. It’s a brilliant study of the two men.

By the time Cromwell has risen, it’s almost too late to do anything about him. It’s only when his son marries the queen, Jane Seymour’s sister, and he’s given a title, that suddenly the resentment really comes out.

Then he’s on quite slippery ground and it all goes horribly wrong between the death of Jane Seymour and the arrival of Anne of Cleves. That’s a disaster for him and he ends up having the same fate as Wolsey, his mentor.

I saw Diarmaid MacCulloch at a talk at Blackwell’s bookshop in Oxford the other day. He said that not many of the letters Cromwell wrote survive, which might also be why he seems a bit shadowy, because you don’t see what he’s written—only what others have written to him.

It’s a real problem. I think about half of the letters and correspondence are available in the National Archives, so considering what a letter-writer he was, there’s an enormous amount that’s missing. It’s a jigsaw puzzle, and Diarmaid MacCulloch acknowledges that fact and is very open about it.

“Even in death, he is loyal to the king.”

It’s brilliant that it doesn’t appear to affect the book. Even though he’s hamstrung in terms of the correspondence, probably the best thing about the entire book is the way he constructs the network Cromwell builds up.

Cromwell has no official title for much of this period; he has no specific position someone can point to like chancellor or chief minister—and yet he is able to build this network.

This is where you see the genius of bureaucracy, the mastery of information. And, of course, he’s also helped by the fact that we’re living through this period of flux.

When the dissolution of the monasteries comes, he suddenly has this vast resource with which he can bribe, or pay people off, or convince doubters to be on his side, to support him and the king. Because he’s also very loyal to Henry VIII. That’s the other thing that you find: even in death, he is loyal to the king.

So on balance, after reading it, did you like him?

I think people in this period tend to choose between Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, and I’ve always been sympathetic to Cromwell. There is something admirable about this working-class boy made good and one has to admire his skill.

Countering that, he doesn’t seem to be particularly well-liked.

Take his relationship with Anne Boleyn, for example: he supports Anne because she is on the right religious side. She is an evangelical Protestant, like he is. She’s part of that circle of young, modern people who seek to transform the country with these new ideas. But she doesn’t warm to him at all, and there’s something approximate to cruelty in the way he makes sure Anne is destroyed.

I think it’s always been there in the background, but that’s something that emerges from the book. He’s quite vengeful.

“There’s something approximate to cruelty in the way Cromwell makes sure Anne Boleyn is destroyed”

But that, again, might mirror the paranoia, the furtiveness, the fragility of his situation because he’s a new man. I’d urge anyone who’s interested in Tudor history to read this book because it is magnificent.

Like everything Diarmaid MacCulloch writes, it’s beautifully written. It’s the third in a trilogy, in a sense, with Cranmer, Edward VI and now Thomas Cromwell.

Source: Five Books

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History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years

A History of Christianity The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch by Diarmaid MacCulloch (no photo)


The author of The Reformation returns with the definitive history of Christianity for our time. Once in a generation a historian will redefine his field, producing a book that demands to be read--a product of electrifying scholarship conveyed with commanding skill. Diarmaid MacCulloch's Christianity is such a book. Ambitious, it ranges back to the origins of the Hebrew Bible & covers the world, following the three main strands of the Christian faith.

Christianity will teach modern readers things that have been lost in time about how Jesus' message spread & how the New Testament was formed. It follows the Christian story to all corners of the globe, filling in often neglected accounts of conversions & confrontations in Africa & Asia. It discovers the roots of the faith that galvanized America, charting the rise of the evangelical movement from its origins in Germany & England. This book encompasses all of intellectual history--we meet monks & crusaders, heretics & saints, slave traders & abolitionists, & discover Christianity's essential role in driving the Enlightenment & the age of exploration, & shaping the course of WWI & WWII.

We live in a time of tremendous religious awareness, when both believers & non-believers are engaged by questions of religion & tradition, seeking to understand the violence sometimes perpetrated in the name of God. The son of an Anglican clergyman, MacCulloch writes with feeling about faith. His last book, The Reformation, was chosen by dozens of publications as Best Book of the Year & won the Nat'l Book Critics Circle Award. This inspiring follow-up is a landmark new history of the faith that continues to shape the world.

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The Reformation: A History

The Reformation A History by Diarmaid MacCulloch by Diarmaid MacCulloch (no photo)


At a time when men and women were prepared to kill—and be killed—for their faith, the Protestant Reformation tore the Western world apart.

Acclaimed as the definitive account of these epochal events, Diarmaid MacCulloch's award-winning history brilliantly re-creates the religious battles of priests, monarchs, scholars, and politicians—from the zealous Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses to the polemical John Calvin to the radical Igantius Loyola, from the tortured Thomas Cranmer to the ambitious Philip II.

Drawing together the many strands of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, and ranging widely across Europe and the New World, MacCulloch reveals as never before how these dramatic upheavals affected everyday lives—overturning ideas of love, sex, death, and the supernatural, and shaping the modern age.

Literary Awards:

National Book Critics Circle Award for General Nonfiction (2004), Wolfson History Prize (2004), Hessell-Tiltman Prize Nominee (2004), British Academy Book Prize (2004)

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Christine | 43 comments I finished reading Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World
and found it far more informative than I had originally thought it would be.
Martin Luther The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas

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Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Christine - thank you so much for your comment about the book on Martin Luther. For the citations you are off to a great start with the book cover, we then add the word by - then the author's photo and finally the author's link. Here is a sample.

Martin Luther The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas by Eric Metaxas Eric Metaxas

What are some of the interesting details about the book or man that you would like to share? You seemed to have some misgivings before you finished the book; but then seemed to change your mind.

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Andrea Engle | 1328 comments Bonhoeffer Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas by Eric Metaxas Eric Metaxas Martin Luther The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World by Eric Metaxas by Eric Metaxas Eric Metaxas
Metaxas’ biography of Luther is phenominal. He has also written an excellent biography of the martyred Lutheran, Dietrich Bonhoeffer that I heartily recommend.

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Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Excellent Andrea

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