Every generation has an uncanny tendency to view themselves as more enlightened than those that have gone before. The Church certainly has made mistakes all through history - and yet, no insights which we possess would be possible without the efforts, and even some of the mistakes, of our ancestors. The first volume of 2,000 Years of Christ's Power covers the period from the 1st Century AD to the start of the Middle Ages. From the works of Saint Augustine of Hippo to the first apologetic ever penned, this time in history established the foundations of what we take for granted today.
The Middle Ages were dubbed the 'Dark Ages' almost before they had begun to draw to a close. Ever since then, they have continued to be seen as a time of hardship and oppression, full of Popes and Crusades. In the second volume of 2,000 Years of Christ's Power, another side of the Middle Ages shines through though: The continual workings of Christ as He built His kingdom through figures such as Thomas a Kempis and John Wycliffe, who lived and struggled during these centuries. This was far from a period of stagnation; rather it was the fire from which the Reformation was kindled.
The Renaissance was a reaction against the attitude of the Middle Ages. And the Reformation was the passionate, divisive argument that grew out of it. Catholics, Calvinists, Lutherans, Anabaptists - our present-day divisions were the front-page headlines of the Reformation. Volume three of 2,000 Years of Christ's Power, in showing the progression of the Reformation era, and the daring bravery of its figures, presents a period of history from which there are many lessons to be learnt - not least of all, the vibrancy of people's lives and the courage with which they faced death.
The Renaissance and Reformation were exciting times of learning and discovery - they pushed the boundaries of accepted thought. The repercussions of this, however, were that they left in their wake a period of universal uncertainty. The centuries-old status quo had been turned on its head. Nothing was stable anymore. Conflict ensued.
The fourth volume of 2,000 Years of Christ's Power spans from the 16th to the 18th century. It presents a time from which English Protestantism, Scottish Presbyterianism, and French Catholicism, to name only a few, were birthed and refined. Perhaps few eras have had such a direct impact on the characteristics of our own period of history.
Steven P. Miller offers a dramatically different perspective: the Bush years, he argues, did not mark the pinnacle of evangelical influence, but rather the beginning of its decline. The Age of Evangelicalism chronicles the place and meaning of evangelical Christianity in America since 1970, a period Miller defines as America's "born-again years." This was a time of evangelical scares, born-again spectacles, and battles over faith in the public square. From the Jesus chic of the 1970s to the satanism panic of the 1980s, the culture wars of the 1990s, and the faith-based vogue of the early 2000s, evangelicalism expanded beyond churches and entered the mainstream in ways both subtly and obviously influential.
Born-again Christianity permeated nearly every area of American life. It was broad enough to encompass Hal Lindsey's doomsday prophecies and Marabel Morgan's sex advice, Jerry Falwell and Jimmy Carter. It made an unlikely convert of Bob Dylan and an unlikely president of a divorced Hollywood actor. As Miller shows, evangelicalism influenced not only its devotees but its many detractors: religious conservatives, secular liberals, and just about everyone in between. The Age of Evangelicalism contained multitudes: it was the age of Christian hippies and the "silent majority," of Footloose and The Passion of the Christ, of Tammy Faye Bakker the disgraced televangelist and Tammy Faye Messner the gay icon. Barack Obama was as much a part of it as Billy Graham.
The Age of Evangelicalism tells the captivating story of how born-again Christianity shaped the cultural and political climate in which millions Americans came to terms with their times.
Author Douglas Sweeney begins with a brief outline of the key features that define evangelicals and then explores the roots of the movement in English Pietism and the Great Awakening of the eighteenth century. He goes on to consider the importance of missions in the development of evangelicalism and the continuing emphasis placed on evangelism. Sweeney next examines the different subgroups of American evangelicals and the current challenges faced by the movement, concluding with reflections on the future of evangelicalism.
Combining a narrative style with historical detail and insight, this accessible, illustrated book will appeal to readers interested in the history of the movement, as well as students of church history.
This third edition of "The Anabaptist Story" has been substantially revised and enlarged to take into account the numerous Anabaptist sources that have come to light in the last half-century as well as the significant number of monographs and other scholarly works on Anabaptist themes that have recently appeared. Estep challenges a number of assumptions held by contemporary historians and offers fresh insights into the Anabaptist movement.