Mr. Nicolson's fine book
These are the first of a few goodies I’ll be posting from Adam Nicolson’s book God’s Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible, of which I posted a brief review (really just a few observations) here.
“James himself would be quite open to an examination of the theological basis of the Church of England. It was one of his areas of expertise and he was relaxed and even intrigued by the idea of discussing doctrine and the form of church ceremonial. He had been brawling with the Scottish Presbyterians on these subjects for years.” (38)
“But now in the summer and autumn of 1603, the existence of a Protestant state church made the Puritans’ task extremely tender. Precisely because the head of the church was also the head of state, it was critical for their cause to separate theological questions from political. They had to establish themselves as politically loyal even while asking for changes to the state religion and the form of the state church. . . . The Puritans were teetering along a narrow rock ledge and they wrapped their suggestions in swathes of submissive cotton wool.” (38 – 9) Continue reading →
Benedict XVI with the Archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey
Any headline involving the words “Oxford professor” (turns out it’s a church history professor, too!) and “hissy fit” has me intrigued, to say the least. Add the fact that I had no idea what an “Ordinariate” is, and I jumped right on this article from the London Telegraph’s blogsite. But first, to understand that oddball (to me) term, I had to read another article, about Church of England bishops jumping ship to become Roman Catholic:
The Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to announce this week that two Church of England bishops are becoming Roman Catholics. Continue reading →
I’m thankful for the 2 1/2 years Christianity Today International trusted me to edit what was one of its finest magazines: Christian History & Biography. Every issue was fascinating to research, write, edit, and publish, but Issue #81: John Newton–Author of “Amazing Grace,” is one of my favorites. I got to work with the author of the definitive critical biography of Newton, my friend Bruce Hindmarsh of Regent College, and to learn so much about biographical writing by reading John Pollock’s short biography of Newton–on which I based much of the lead biographical article for that issue. That article became the writing sample I sent to Intervarsity Press to pitch my book Patron Saints for Postmoderns, which has since been published. Thank you, Bruce, John Pollock, and John Newton! Here is that article.
(Though Christian History & Biography is now no longer appearing in printed form, every article from each of its 99 issues is available at www.christianhistory.net, along with new articles still being released in online-only form, plus the ongoing blog at blog.christianhistory.net, where I post each month along with CT editor David Neff, CT writer Collin Hansen, former CHB managing editor Elesha Coffman, and CT online editor Ted Olsen.)
The Amazingly Graced Life of John Newton
His was a tale of two lives, with God at the pivot point.
The “old African blasphemer.” This was how John Newton (1725-1807) often referred to himself in later life. Such a self-characterization may seem like false humility. After all, by 1800 no evangelical clergyman had gained more fame or exercised more spiritual influence than Newton. He was loved and trusted by thousands; he preached in one of the most prestigious parishes of London; young ministers competed to stay with him and learn under the master. But Newton knew well the darkness at the heart of every person. Continue reading →
Posted in Patron Saints for Postmoderns
Tagged 18th century, Amazing Grace, Anglicanism, Church of England, evangelicalism, hymnody, John Newton, London, slave trade, slavery, William Cowper