Christian Biography

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The feel of dirt mattered to Wolfgang Musculus. Common dust and clay and grass accompanied many of his formative experiences like sod stuck to a child’s knee. [...]

Zachary Purvis
Friday, September 1st 2023

Outside the Catholic vicar-general’s house in Geneva, a large mob of priests congealed in the thin sunlight one autumn morning in 1532. Inside, Guillaume Farel, the French Protestant missionary who had stopped in Geneva, was summoned to answer the accusations of ten canons of the cathedral chapter. […]

Zachary Purvis
Saturday, July 1st 2023

What hath the Reformation to do with stoves? In 1550, Alsatian Reformer Martin Bucer prepared a gift for the Protestant King of England, Edward VI: his monumental book De regno Christi or Kingdom of Christ. Bucer had much for which to be thankful. He had been exiled from Strasbourg the year before, when various rites […]

Zachary Purvis
Sunday, January 1st 2023

April 25, 2003, was an ordinary Friday morning. I was making final sermon preparations for the coming Sunday when my next-door neighbor informed me that a friend of mine was going to recite poetry in Concord that afternoon. Jim Bradley and I had discussed literature in depth for years. He was a University of Chicago […]

Gregory E. Reynolds
Larry Woiwode
Tuesday, November 1st 2022

Specters haunt the history of church committees. Today’s disciplined clerks, as we know them, harken back to yesterday’s unseen scribes. Every reader of ecclesiastical documents and every lover of polity, decency, and good order remains in their debt. For without them, there would be no surviving record of church business. No committee—therefore no associated team […]

Zachary Purvis
Thursday, September 1st 2022

The best stories come from boats. Tales of threatening gale winds and thousand-pound tunas are never blasé. Yet old fishermen are not on their oath when they reminisce about the weather they fought or the fish they caught in their youth. The annals of early modern Protestantism are also filled with stories—both striking and true—of […]

Zachary Purvis
Monday, May 2nd 2022

Late in 1538, Martin Luther wrote to his Wittenberg colleague Philip Melanchthon. He had just finished reading Melanchthon’s latest manuscript, On the Authority of the Church and the Writings of the Ancient Fathers, which would be published in 1539. As he thumbed through it, he told Melanchthon that his head swirled with thoughts of Aristotle […]

Zachary Purvis
Tuesday, March 1st 2022

The University Library of Groningen in The Netherlands possesses a remarkable book previously owned by Martin Luther: a 1527 edition of the New Testament by Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam. Erasmus’s New Testament, first published in 1516, contained the Greek text, Erasmus’s own translation into Latin, and his technical commentary, which justified the choices he had […]

Zachary Purvis
Saturday, January 1st 2022

Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. [1] April is the cruellest month, breedingLilacs out of the dead land, mixingMemory and desire, stirringDull roots with spring rain.Winter kept us warm, coveringEarth in forgetful snow, feedingA little life with dried tubers. [2] Thomas Stearns Eliot was born in […]

Patricia Anders
Friday, January 1st 2021

The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers by Maxwell King Harry N. Abrams, 2018 320 pages (hardback), $30.00 There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind. —Fred Rogers Earlier this year, PBS […]

Patricia Anders
Sunday, September 1st 2019

She had a temper—molto fantastico!—complained the Catholic ambassador from Florence; and in 1528 when she was born, her parents (King Henry and Queen Marguerite d’Albret of Navarre in southwestern France) likely wished for a son after neighboring royal rivals from Spain scoffed at their newborn female heir: “The cow has brought forth a sheep.”1 Little […]

Rebekah Dan
Thursday, November 1st 2018

I have been searching for joy my entire life, and I believe I am not alone. If pastor and theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) is correct, then we are all on the same quest. The reason is because we were created for joy. Yet the quest to find it—that is, true spiritual happiness—often leads us to […]

Matthew Everhard
Saturday, September 1st 2018

It’s easy to yawn over yet another new book on Martin Luther, this past year’s five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation notwithstanding. We’ve seen the movie, right? We all know he fell terror-struck in a thunderstorm, confessed copious amounts of sins we would today label as personality foibles or age-related distress, gave the “Here I stand” […]

Mary Lynn Spear
Douglas Bond
Tuesday, May 1st 2018

The medieval historian Steven Runciman once quipped, “Of all the roads that a historian may tread none passes through more difficult country than that of a religious historian.” If he’s correct, then the controversial terrain of Greek reformer, writer, and eventual patriarch Cyril Lucaris (1570–1638) is a most treacherous bog for us to enter. Yet […]

John Stovall
Monday, January 1st 2018

Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer By Scott H. Hendrix Yale University Press, 2017 368 pages (paperback), $22.00 Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet By Lyndal Roper Random House, 2017 576 pages (hardback), $40.00 October 31, 1517: Martin Luther and the Day that Changed the World By Martin Marty Paraclete Press, 2016 128 pages (hardback), $19.99 When Martin […]

Adam S. Francisco
Friday, September 1st 2017

“Modern Reformation has championed confessional Reformation theology in an anti-confessional and anti-theological age.”

Picture of J. Ligon Duncan, IIIJ. Ligon Duncan, IIISenior Minister, First Presbyterian Church
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