The Challenge of 21st-Century Christianity

The Challenge of 21st-Century Christianity
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Religion and Revolution in the 18th Century
Is America a "Christian" country? Did the Founding Fathers use the Bible as a blueprint for government? What about France - how did revolutionaries there both oppress and adopt religion to advance their cause? In both cases, history is so much more complicated than culture-war slogans.
Prophets of Reform before Protestantism
Start your journey in Renaissance Italy where - right in the pope's backyard - two men gave very different yet powerful critiques of the church, years before the Reformation. By examining these representative figures, Professor Worthen unpacks several key themes running through Christianity for the past 500 years.
Luther and the Dawn of Protestantism
Delve into the early Reformation, which begins with Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. An original thinker and an outlaw to Catholic authorities of the time, Luther was also surprisingly conservative in many ways. Review his critique of the church and his theology in the context of the 16th century.
Zwingli, Calvin, and the Reformed Tradition
Continue your study of the Reformation with a look at several thinkers who were more radical than Martin Luther. Here, you'll explore the ideas of Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and others who advanced their own theological and political critiques of the church. You'll also consider Henry VIII's quarrel with Rome…
The Anabaptist Radicals
In this third lecture on the Protestant Reformation, you'll meet the most radical of rebels, the Anabaptists. Based on the slogan sola scriptura - the Bible alone - the Anabaptists wanted to cut ties completely between church and state, making them politically as well as theologically dangerous.
The Catholic Reformation
Protestants weren't the only ones fighting to reform Christianity. While Luther, Calvin, and others were breaking from Rome and founding independent churches, leaders within the Catholic Church pushed to consolidate the power of their ideas and institutions. Survey the founding of the Jesuits and the role of education in the…
The Church Militant in the Spanish Empire
One key theme from this course is the way religious motives are often inseparable from political and economic ambitions. Perhaps nowhere is this more apparent than Spain in the 16th century. See how Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand joined forces to create a unified Catholic nation, and how they worked…
War and Witchcraft in the Holy Roman Empire
The Thirty Years' War is one of the most confusing episodes in world history. Was it truly a religious war, in which Protestants battled for religious tolerance and freedom, or was it a political ploy to depose kings and change the balance of political power? As you delve into this…
Puritans, Kings, and Theology in Practice
The Reformation opened the door for radicals to challenge traditional authority. Follow the Puritans from England, where they pushed King James to authorize a new translation of the Bible, to the New World, where they tried to build a Christian Zion and wrestled with theology on their own terms.
Religious Dissent and the English Civil War
Survey the fascinating history of the English Civil war, from the rise of Charles I, his battles with Parliament and eventual beheading, to the rule of Oliver Cromwell and the Restoration of Charles II. This political tumult allowed a profusion of radical sects to flourish, from the proto-communist Diggers to…
Eastern Orthodoxy: From Byzantium to Russia
Shift your attention from the Protestant Reformation to another schism. Centuries before Martin Luther, Orthodox Christians in the East broke with Rome and developed their own theology. Reflect on the principles of Orthodox Christianity and see what role it played in the rise of the Russian Empire.
Christians under Muslim Rule
Like the church in the West, Eastern Christianity has given rise to a range of diverse cultures and clashing theological opinions. Here, you'll discover the history of Christians in the Middle East, particularly Coptic Christians in Egypt and Syriac Christians in the Middle East. Find out what life was like…