Church History 7B: Liberals and Evangelicals

Evangelicalism In the 1800s, there are a large number of Protestant denominations living alongside each other in relative peace. While they differ on important doctrinal matters, they develop in similar directions, and work together in various ways. One particular movement (esp. in England and North America) may be identified as evangelicalism. The word “evangelical” is…

Church History 7A: Rationalism and Revival

Rationalism The period between (roughly) 1700 and 1900 is known as the “Age of Reason” or “Enlightenment”. It was dominated by a philosophy that put high hopes in the human mind and accomplishments. This rationalist worldview shifted the focus from religious, doctrinal truth to more humanistic, secular principles. (Some of this development already started in…

Church History 6C: Developments in England

The Church of England becomes Protestant In 1534, King Henry VIII denounced the Pope, thereby separating the Church of England from the Catholic church. He did not have sympathy for the Protestant theology; he resented the Pope for not sanctioning the divorce from his wife. Henry’s successor, the “boy king” Edward VI, was sympathetic to…

Church History 6B: Reformed Theology

Five “Solas” The theological focus of the Protestant Reformation is often summarized in five short Latin phrases. Sola Scriptura, “the Scripture alone”. Only the Bible is the ultimate authority and norm for the teaching of the church. The Reformers rejected the right of the Pope to make additional proclamations, or the claim of an “oral…

Church History 6A: The Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther The Protestant Reformation began with Martin Luther on October 31, 1517. He was a preacher and theology professor in Wittenberg, North Germany. Luther disagreed with the practice of selling indulgences, church-issued declarations of forgiveness of sins. To start a debate, he wrote 95 theses concerning this matter and published them on the door…

Church History 5B: The Medieval Church

Charlemagne After the Fall of Rome (476 AD) Western Europe was divided. This marks the beginning of the Middle Ages, which may be roughly dated from 500 to 1500 AD. An important factor during the Middle Ages is the rise of Islam (around 625 AD) and the following Muslim conquest. In the early 700s, Muslims…

Church History 5A: The Eastern Church

The Byzantine Empire After the Fall of Rome (476 AD), the Western part of the Empire crumbled. It was a time of unrest, war and poverty. Meanwhile, the East (Greece, Turkey, Syria, Arabia, Egypt) flourished, especially in the sixth and seventh centuries. From this time onward, the Eastern Roman Empire is usually called Byzantine empire.…

Church History 4D: Augustine

The life of Augustine Aurelius Augustine was born in 354 AD in Tagaste, North-Africa, as son of a heathen father (Patricius) and a devout Christian mother (Monica). He received a good education. During his wild high school years in Carthage, Augustine went in search of redemption. This led him to the Manicheans (see below). After…

Covenantal and Experiential Preaching

In my essay on redemptive-historical preaching, the focus was on the content of the sermon. Now I will focus on the recipients of the sermon: who are addressed and in what way? A first answer is found in the Canons of Dort, 2.5. “Th[e] promise [of the gospel] ought to be announced and proclaimed universally…