It is the 9th of August 2021. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org, I’m Dan van Voorhis.

Mailtime!

Dave in Pennsylvania (you don’t have to tell me the city, I’m not stopping by… but its a big state).

“…is it possible to rank the importance of events in church history? If so, what would you consider the most important events in church history?… [kind words about the show]

There are fewer things I like in more than counting things down- best songs, music videos, best teams of all time, ways to serve a potato, methods of sunscreen application, worst kind of chips, etc…

But Church History is different

It’s personal and relative to the person looking into the past and pulling out what “matters most”. A Christian in Russia, India, Alabama, Southern California…. A Protestant, a conservative or progressive Protestant, what kind of Protestant? You get it. History is the record of the events that took place but also how we receive it where we are.

So in a way, my answer is going to be shaped by my context. So here we go in chronological order

(And I’m going to use “moments” to telescope events close to each other in time and significance)

The Nicene Moment

  • Constantine and the Edict of Milan
  • The Person of Christ
  • Church doctrine decided by the council- consensus

The Carolingian Moment

  • Charlemagne
  • Emperors and Popes
  • Church and State
  • Christianity and the Arts

The Gutenberg/Luther Movement

  • Literacy
  • Personal reading
  • Reaction to presumed improper authority
  • Individual Faith

The Great Awakenings

  • Transatlantic
  • Personal, Protestant faith
  • The early schism between Church and State

Azusa Street and the Jesus People Movement

  • Pentecostalism/Calvary Chapel/Megachurch
  • West Coast peculiarities
  • Personal faith, deeply pious and expressive
  • Schismatic
  • Presumed to be a Counter Culture but often indistinguishable

So, this isn’t “the best things to ever happen to the church” or the “definitive list” but rather those things that shaped the context of my own faith. Some of these events are deeply tragic, others wonderful, and most a mix of both.

The last word for today comes from the book of the Prophet Isaiah, chapter 43:

But now, says the Lord—

the one who created you, Jacob,

the one who formed you, Israel:

Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have called you by name; you are mine.

2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

when through the rivers, they won’t sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire, you won’t be scorched

and flame won’t burn you.

3

I am the Lord your God,

the holy one of Israel, your savior.

I have given Egypt as your ransom,

Cush and Seba in your place.

4

Because you are precious in my eyes,

you are honored, and I love you.

I give people in your place,

and nations in exchange for your life.

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 9th of August 2021 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.

The show is produced by a man who ranks his methods of serving a potato thus: 3. Au Gratin 2. Mashed 1. French Fries Christopher Gillespie.

The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis who will also go with the Hasselback option.

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.