Category: Protestantism


Rodney Stark on Myths of the Reformation

Many misconceptions surround the Protestant Reformation, from it being the birth of capitalism to it prompting Europe’s secularization. Noted sociologist of religion Rodney Stark (Baylor ISR) joins us to discuss these myths and more. With the 500th anniversary of the Reformation just about a month away, this is a great opportunity to refresh on some interesting talking points to engage your friends, family, and colleagues.

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Emily Fisher Gray on Luther’s 95 Theses

The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation will be celebrated on October 31st of this year, marking the date that Martin Luther disseminated his famous 95 Theses on papal authority and indulgences. Prof. Emily Fisher Gray of Norwich University contextualizes this historically important document and explains how the themes of liberty and authority play out in this and other of Luther’s writings. We review the impact of this document, as well as Luther’s thoughts about a peasant uprising he inspired.

This is the fourth in our special series on the Protestant Reformation. Visit our archives for more great episodes.

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Donald Kraybill on The Amish (Encore Presentation)

As we take a short summertime break, we bring back a superb interview by Donald Kraybill regarding the theology and lifestyle of the Amish and Old Order Mennonites.

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Rob Sorensen on Martin Luther’s Life

With the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his “95 Theses” to the doors of the Wittenberg Cathedral approaching, we take a pause to examine the early life of Martin Luther with Rob Sorensen, a PhD candidate at Faulkner University and author of a book on Luther’s life. Our attention is devoted mostly to Luther’s formative years leading up to his defiant act in 1517, but there are reflections on his life following excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church.

Check out our other episodes in the Protestant Reformation Series by visiting our archives.

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Steven Pfaff on the World of 1517

What did Europe look like economically, politically, and religiously on the eve of the Protestant Reformation? What broad historical trends facilitated the success Martin Luther’s schismatic break from the Catholic Church where others in the past had failed? Prof. Steve Pfaff (Sociology, University of Washington) discusses the factors spurring on the Protestant Reformation, sharing some of the most up-to-date research on how social movements spread.

The second in our series devoted to the people and events of the Protestant Reformation. Great for classroom use.

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Marion Goldman on Martin Luther and Spiritual Virtuosity

With the quincentennial anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (dated from October 31, 1517), we begin an occasional series looking at the events and people that made up this historic event. We start with Prof. Marion Goldman (sociology, University of Oregon) who argues that Martin Luther had the characteristic of a “spiritual virtuoso” and that this factor was critical to the split that transpired between the Catholic Church and Protestants. Spiritual virtuosos are individuals who are concerned with personal sanctification, are reluctant leaders, but do acknowledge their role in inspiring social movements. Our conversation also covers other similar individuals such as leaders of the Abolitionist Movement and Steve Jobs of Apple fame.

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John Fea on the American Bible Society

Happy bicentennial to the American Bible Society, celebrating its 200th year in operation on May 11, 2016. To celebrate, we invite historian John Fea (Messiah College) to discuss the history of the ABS and his recent book “The Bible Cause.” We track the changes to this quintessential American institution over time, emphasizing how it reflected and shaped our society over the past two centuries.

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Phillip Sinitiere on the Osteens & Lakewood Church

Joel Osteen has risen to fame and popularity over the past decade and a half, and not without much criticism for his spiritual message and preaching style. Prof. Phillip Sinitiere examines the founding and growth of Lakewood Church, dating back to John Osteen, to put the Osteen phenomenon into a broader context. We examine the history of the Osteens, the institutional development and innovativeness of Lakewood Church, as well as the development of the prosperity gospel and what it all entails. The story that emerges is more nuanced than either supporters or detractors paint.

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Warren Bird on Church Leadership Teams

What makes for an effective leadership team? Using insights from business analysis, Dr. Warren Bird of the Leadership Network discusses a study conducted in over 200 churches that filtered out the various characteristics of groups that led to success. Our conversation also discusses the recent Pew Forum report on the declining presence of Christianity in the United States and finishes up with how church leadership should address a potentially new religious environment in America.

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Oliver Crisp on Calvin and Reformed Theology

Who was John Calvin, how have people interpreted his theology throughout the ages, and is it really as narrow as many believe it to be? These questions and more are answered as Research on Religion dips into the world of historical theology with Prof. Oliver Crisp of Fuller Theological Seminary. With a delightful English accent, Dr. Crisp explains a lot of words that Tony cannot pronounce and argues that Reformed theology is a great deal more diverse that it is typically portrayed. Prof. Crisp also makes a strong case for why the study of deep theology is important.

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