*** this is a rough transcript of today’s show ***
It is the 7th of June 2021 Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org, I’m Dan van Voorhis.
Today we head to the mailbag and I am going to be cleaning up a few questions that I tend to receive the most.
Once again, please send your questions either as audio or text to CHA@1517.org.
We will call today the FAQ mailbag as I will answer the most frequent questions I have received via email and Twitter.
1. Can you recommend a book on __________?
Yes and no. There are no perfect books. The best books are those that show their work with evidence and sources you can check yourself. If you want one book that covers it all, it doesn’t exist. My favorite book that is close to that is A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years by Diarmaid MacCulloch. I have also enjoyed the 2 Volume history of the World Christian Movement by Dale Irvin and Scott Sunquist.
But most of all I would encourage you to start with articles in magazines like Christianity Today or even well sourced Wikipedia articles to get the lay of the land, the players involved and the people who have been doing the research.
2. What is your favorite church history book?
I’ve answered this before, but the answer is probably the Waning of the Middle Ages by Johann Huizinga. Some of the history is dated and I might suggest he draws out mega-themes that sometimes run over the complicated history… but it is literate, fun, raises more questions and can be read in small sections. One more older text that helped me think through a lot was Sydney Ahlstrom’s A Religious History of the American People.
3. Who is your favorite character in church history?
I have favorite sports teams and athletes because the tribalism and rooting for your own team is part of the fun. I don’t find this kind of joy in finding a tribe and rooting for my team when it comes to church history. Because I am not a “fan” but a disciple. I do like the outsider and the outcast because I can feel that. And while I may praise certain actions of the so-called “Great Men and Women” I will give you a quote from Lord Acton… but the whole quote:
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority.”
It’s a fallen world in need of Jesus. I don’t need to pretend otherwise.
The last word for today comes from the Gospel of St. Matthew, from the 11th chapter
28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 7th of June 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.
The show is produced by Boilermaker Fan (the team, maybe the drink?) Christopher Gillespie.
The show is written and read by am man who knows as of this morning if the Clippers are still in the playoffs, but not at the time of recording. I am Dan van Voorhis.
You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.