The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church - Vol. 6

The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church - Vol. 6

The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church - Vol. 6

The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church - Vol. 6

Synopsis

This sixth volume of Hughes Oliphant Old's monumental, acclaimed study of preaching throughout history, The Modern Age, tells the story of preaching and worship from the French Revolution to the fall of the Berlin Wall (1789-1989). During this period preaching continued to support the historic Christian faith while the church undertook to resist secularization, come to grips with biblical criticism, and initiate bold overseas missions.

Opening with the revived Catholic Order of Preachers, continental Protestants such as Abraham Kuyper, and the self-consciously modern preaching of Friedrich Schleiermacher, Old moves on to consider Victorian figures such as John Henry Newman and Charles Haddon Spurgeon. He carefully lays out the tensions between Old and New School Calvinism as well as the beginnings of black preaching and the great American tradition of Charles Finney, Dwight L. Moody, Harry Emerson Fosdick, and many more. In the twentieth century Old's focus falls on the crises of the two world wars, especially the courageous ministries of German, Dutch, and Hungarian preachers during the Third Reich.

Excerpt

Back in the fifties when I was a student, “modern times” were somehow assumed to be the culmination of history. This was the age when human history had so obviously come to its fulfillment, the age that stood as the goal of all former ages, the great epoch that judged all that had gone before.

More recently, however, we have come to have a sense that this modern age, so highly regarded for the last century or two, has, like all its predecessors, passed on. the common wisdom, if I read it correctly, had just never expected this to happen. Our bewilderment over this inevitable passage is expressed by the word “postmodern.” We don’t quite know what to call the new age, but it seems clear to us that the modern age is past and its successor is already in place.

That this transition had occurred became obvious to me first in the months following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Eastern European Communism. I remember very well just how and when I first sensed it. Through my friend Joan Alexandru, I had been invited to Romania by His Beatitude, Teoctist, patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church. Several of us had gone for a walk in the venerable city of Argeş. Our host, Bishop Calinic, was talking about the future he saw opening up before his people. As he saw it, it would be an entirely new age. Somehow that storm of social upheaval that had begun with the French Revolution and had spread its fury from Corsica to the gates of Moscow had finally spent its force. There was a certain historical symmetry in what Bishop Calinic said. the French Revolution began in 1789, and with the Roma-

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