Posts Tagged ‘Calvinism’


Robert Nelson on Lutheranism and Nordic Social Democracy

The Nordic states are known for their high levels of socio-economic equality, good governance, and high levels of social trust. While some scholars have attributed this to their unique brand of secular social democracy, Prof. Robert Nelson (U of Maryland) argues that Nordic social democracy has deep roots in the “Lutheran ethic.” We discuss how the Lutheran ethic is different than the Calvinist ethic (as seen by Max Weber), how contemporary social democratic thought in Nordic countries has similar elements to Lutheranism, and what is in store for social democracy.

Check out our other podcasts related to the Protestant Reformation this year!

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Cara Lea Burnidge on Religion and Woodrow Wilson

To what extent did President Woodrow Wilson’s southern Presbyterian upbringing play in shaping his political attitudes and American foreign policy? Prof. Cara Burnidge (U of Northern Iowa) addresses this question in a fascinating discussion that tracks the former Princeton University president through a period of dynamic religious and political change in American history. A strong Calvinist influence combines with the burgeoning thought of the social gospel movement in the late 19th century and leads to a vision for a “new world order.”

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Michael Rota on Pascal’s Wager

Is it rational to believe in God? Is it rational to believe in Christianity? These were the some of the questions raised by Blaise Pascal in the 17th century that Prof. Michael Rota of St. Thomas University takes up in a re-examination of Pascal’s famous wager. He discusses Pascal’s life, the nature of the wager itself, and then updates it with his own insights, finishing off with a discussion of the probability that God exists.

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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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Russell Kleckley on Religion, Science, and Johannes Kepler

Johannes Kepler is perhaps best known for his modifications to the Copernican theory of heliocentrism, but few people remember how his science was guided by his deep personal faith. Prof. Russell Kleckley of Augsburg College discusses the natural philosophy and theology of this gifted mind. Kepler’s story is an interesting encapsulation of the scientific and religious ferment that was occurring in Europe in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Plus, we learn all about “Scuba Jesus.”

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Michael McClymond on Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards is often considered one of the greatest theologians in US history. Prof. Michael McClymond reviews the fascinating life and times of Rev. Edwards and shows how his theology evolved over time based upon his surrounding circumstances and personal experiences. A serious intellectual who also relished in the beauty of God’s creation, Jonathan Edwards was at the forefront of a number of theological and religious trends that became hallmarks of American Protestantism.

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Douglas Baker on Dominionism, Michele Bachmann, & Rick Perry

Douglas Baker (Union University) clarifies the recent debate surrounding “Dominionism” and its relation to various Republican presidential candidates, most notably Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry. He covers the influence of thinkers such as Francis Schaeffer and Rousas John Rushdoony and how their thought has influenced others, as well as how their thinking has been misrepresented in the popular media. We also reflect on the proper role of religion in the public square.

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John Fea on Religion & the American Founding

Was America founded as a Christian nation? This is the title of Prof. John Fea’s book and the topic of our podcast this week. Prof. Fea presents a nuanced answer to this question, showing that although that the British American colonies were overwhelmingly Christian in culture in the late 18th century, the Founding was not necessarily a Christian event. We cover what it means to be a “Christian nation,” and examine whether the Founders lived up to Christian ideals, including a discussion of just war theory. This is a great podcast to pair with next week’s discussion featuring Mark David Hall.

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