The Development of Modern Christianity since 1500

The Development of Modern Christianity since 1500

The Development of Modern Christianity since 1500

The Development of Modern Christianity since 1500

Excerpt

The primary purpose of this book is to portray briefly the development of Christianity in the context of modern history. The secondary purpose is to show how, in this development, many different churches and sects came into being, and how, especially in our day, these are manifesting an inner and continuing unity through the Ecumenical Movement.

A diligent attempt has been made to limit the book in length and in elaboration of detail. In spite of the risks of superficiality and vagueness, the primary consideration of concise introducton has been maintained. Such a book as this, if used as a text, invites extended reading in sources and secondary works. To that end the text has been restricted, and selected reading lists have been appended to each chapter. A textbook should be an invitation, not a barrier, to broad reading.

Recently students of church history have become aware that the modern period has not been given the attention, especially in survey courses, that it deserves. This really means neglecting the Protestant heritage. Within a modest scope this book seeks to redress the balance. The consequent neglect of the earlier periods is owing not to a judgment of their unimportance but rather to the fact that they have already been well and repeatedly treated.

Likewise, many earlier books have failed to integrate European church history with the broader panorama of the world stage, including American church history and the history of missions. Although it is impossible here to present all the global stage with comprehensiveness as well as clarity, it must be made plain that a major aspect of modern church history is the expansion of the faith.

A further consideration is the relation of the history of Christianity to the political, social, and cultural environment in which it lives. Religious traditions are not nurtured in a vacuum. Nor can the secular aspects be understood apart from the religious influences that participated in their origin. Hence the Reformation must be related to the political-power factors of Holy Roman Empire and territorial princes . . .

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