Briefly Noted

Saint Paul Lives Here (In Minnesota)by zach czaiawipf and stock, 66 pages, $7.50 A fter years of controversy over the mishandling of sexual predators among the priests of his archdiocese, Archbishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul John Nienstedt resigned last June. Now facing criminal prosecution, the . . . . Continue Reading »

Mapping Europe's Religious Convulsions

Tim Dowley’s Atlas of the European Reformations offers a plentitude of useful, well-organized information. After eight pages of timeline and a short introduction, the next 120 pages generally follow the format of text on the left (often accompanied by pictures of the persons and places described) and a map taking up the entirety of the right-hand page. Dowley divides his text into four sections: the late medieval world, the Protestant reformations, the Catholic reformation, and the wars, exploration, and evangelization projects of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. . . . Continue Reading »

Erasmus Before the Storm

Five hundred years ago this year, in February and March of 1516, a Swiss-German printer in Basel named Johann Froben published a volume of some 1,000 pages titled Novum Instrumentum Omne, “the whole New Testament.” This was the first officially published edition of the Greek New Testament, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Reformation Day

It was around two o’clock in the afternoon on the eve of the Day of All Saints, October 31, 1517, when Martin Luther, hammer in hand, approached the main north door of the Schlosskirche (Castle Church) in Wittenberg. There he nailed up his Ninety-Five Theses protesting the abuse of indulgences in the teaching and practice of the Church of his day. In remembrance of this event, millions of Christians still celebrate this day as the symbolic beginning of the Protestant Reformation. October 31 is not a day for the ghosts and ghouls of Halloween but a time to remember the Reformation, especially what Luther wrote in thesis sixty-two: “The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.” Continue Reading »

Two Holidays, Two Reformations

While the broader culture celebrates Halloween at the end of this month, many Protestants will focus on Reformation Day while two days later Catholics will utter prayers as part of All Souls’ Day. It is a fitting historical tribute (or irony) that All Souls’ Day and Reformation Day occur within two days of one another with All Saints’ Day sandwiched in between. It is as though the two great reform movements of western Christianity stand as bookends to the patristic heritage. The observance of these three days reminds Christians of a common patristic heritage and the way reformation and renewal can both reshape and fracture that heritage. Continue Reading »

The Catholic Luther

I Ecumenical skeptics today often argue that presumed doctrinal convergence between Protestants and Roman Catholics only papers over an underlying—and fundamental—disagreement. Typically, Martin Luther is called on as the prime witness to this contention: did not the Reformation schism . . . . Continue Reading »