Who Fascinates you in church history?

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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Apr 28 2019 2:29 PM

Hello All and Happy Sunday:

I hope you all are doing well.

I have a quick question for you.  I have to write a research paper for my church history class.  In an earlier class, I chose to write about Pierre Abelard.  I found him and his life story utterly fascinating.  However, for this class, I'm struggling a bit.  Who, from the time of the reformation until now, do you find fascinating and why?  (I don't want to write on Luther, Calvin, Arminius, Whitefield, or Wesley brothers, as it's been done, done, done.)  Someone a little more obscure would be great.  So far, the only individual whom I find interesting is Isaac Backus.

So, who would you choose and why?  Also, if you REALLY feel like helping, a link to a resource or two that you could suggest would be great.

Thanks for your input!

Cynthia

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 28 2019 2:51 PM

Simone Weil would come to mind but she doesn't count as church history - only religious history. Thomas à Becket is a bit on the early side.

What about Anne Marbury Hutchinson, the Puritan woman who was educated and taught other women? She was on the wrong side of the antinomian controversy and the Cottons. I think she has a feast day in the Episcopal church calendar.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 28 2019 3:43 PM

Thank you for this wonderful suggestion MJ.  Truth is, I was hoping someone would bring to my attention some women from Church History.  Surprisingly (or maybe not), I have yet to read about one in my required reading books or hear any mention of women in my lectures.  However, I do get to choose ANYONE from church history-reformation and forward.  I'll look at her for sure!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 8893
fgh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 28 2019 4:13 PM

Personally, I might choose e g Jean Marie Vianney or Thérèse of Lisieux or someone in Sweden, but since you're American: how about Dorothy Day? Her life story is certainly interesting enough.

"The Christian way of life isn't so much an assignment to be performed, as a gift to be received."  Wilfrid Stinissen

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Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 28 2019 4:40 PM

Cynthia in Florida:
Truth is, I was hoping someone would bring to my attention some women from Church History.  Surprisingly (or maybe not), I have yet to read about one in my required reading books or hear any mention of women in my lectures. 

That is too bad, but I agree not surprising. Women have been largely overlooked in church history until recently. Most of the history has been written by men.

Here are a few interesting ones since the Reformation:

  • Catherine Booth - co-founder of the Salvation Army
  • Aimee Semple McPherson - Pentecostal evangelist and founder of the Foursquare Church
  • Phoebe Palmer - Methodist evangelist and one of the founders of the "Holiness" movement
  • Hannah More - English religious writer and philanthropist; pioneer in the Sunday School movement
  • Sojourner Truth - African American evangelist, abolitionist, and women's rights activist
  • Hannah Whitall Smith - lay speaker and author in the Holiness movement
  • Fanny Crosby - prolific blind hymn writer
  • Thérèse of Lisieux - French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun, one of only four women "Doctors of the Church" -- saints recognized by the Catholic Church as having made significant contribution to theology or doctrine -- and the only one since the Reformation.
  • Amy Carmichael - Protestant missionary in India
  • Edith Stein - German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun; she is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church
  • Dorothy Day - social activist, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement
  • Gladys Aylward - British-born evangelical missionary to China
  • Mother Teresa - Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary, admired for her charitable work
  • Edith Schaeffer - Christian author and co-founder of L'Abri

Some resources you might be interested in:

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Randy W. Sims | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 28 2019 4:57 PM

I had a great english professor who was really out there. He influenced me a lot to think outside the box when writing papers which I had a good bit of luck with. I also learned a lot of the same from great books like "Conceptual Blockbusting". So I try to look at different angles sometimes when questions are posed or write from an interesting perspective (such as in the character and voice of Sherlock Holmes--that really worked, very well). One interesting way of approaching this one uniquely might be to look at persons outside of christianity that have had a profound influence on the shape of the church in history. Norma McCorvey. Richard Dawkins. Madalyn Murray O'Hair. Crystal Eastman. Don't know if that falls within the bounds of your assignment, but it could definitely be an interesting paper.

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David Ames | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 28 2019 5:08 PM

Carlstadt?   The only drawback would be that he is a he but, for a while, was ‘friend’ of Luther.  

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 28 2019 5:14 PM

Madalyn Murray O’Hare because of how she opposed God and in the end one of her own atheist colleague kidnapped her and murdered her!

DAL

Posts 784
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 28 2019 5:50 PM

Randy W. Sims:

I had a great english professor who was really out there. He influenced me a lot to think outside the box when writing papers which I had a good bit of luck with. I also learned a lot of the same from great books like "Conceptual Blockbusting". So I try to look at different angles sometimes when questions are posed or write from an interesting perspective (such as in the character and voice of Sherlock Holmes--that really worked, very well). One interesting way of approaching this one uniquely might be to look at persons outside of christianity that have had a profound influence on the shape of the church in history. Norma McCorvey. Richard Dawkins. Madalyn Murray O'Hair. Crystal Eastman. Don't know if that falls within the bounds of your assignment, but it could definitely be an interesting paper.

Hello Randy:

I love this idea and have actually given assignments like this to my students.  However, since part of my prompt asks three questions about how God has equipped the individual to use his/her God-given talents and passions to shape church history, I don't think that would work here.  But thanks for the great suggestion!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 784
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Apr 28 2019 5:51 PM

Rosie Perera:

Cynthia in Florida:
Truth is, I was hoping someone would bring to my attention some women from Church History.  Surprisingly (or maybe not), I have yet to read about one in my required reading books or hear any mention of women in my lectures. 

That is too bad, but I agree not surprising. Women have been largely overlooked in church history until recently. Most of the history has been written by men.

Here are a few interesting ones since the Reformation:

  • Catherine Booth - co-founder of the Salvation Army
  • Aimee Semple McPherson - Pentecostal evangelist and founder of the Foursquare Church
  • Phoebe Palmer - Methodist evangelist and one of the founders of the "Holiness" movement
  • Hannah More - English religious writer and philanthropist; pioneer in the Sunday School movement
  • Sojourner Truth - African American evangelist, abolitionist, and women's rights activist
  • Hannah Whitall Smith - lay speaker and author in the Holiness movement
  • Fanny Crosby - prolific blind hymn writer
  • Thérèse of Lisieux - French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun, one of only four women "Doctors of the Church" -- saints recognized by the Catholic Church as having made significant contribution to theology or doctrine -- and the only one since the Reformation.
  • Amy Carmichael - Protestant missionary in India
  • Edith Stein - German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun; she is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church
  • Dorothy Day - social activist, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement
  • Gladys Aylward - British-born evangelical missionary to China
  • Mother Teresa - Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary, admired for her charitable work
  • Edith Schaeffer - Christian author and co-founder of L'Abri

Some resources you might be interested in:

Thanks so much Rosie:  This looks great!  You've given me much to consider!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 391
Liam Maguire | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 2:07 AM

Cynthia in Florida:

Hello Randy:

I love this idea and have actually given assignments like this to my students.  However, since part of my prompt asks three questions about how God has equipped the individual to use his/her God-given talents and passions to shape church history, I don't think that would work here.  But thanks for the great suggestion!

Encouraged by Randy's post I was going to suggest someone ended up founding a sectarian group like Mary Baker Eddy. However, I think your essay questions might hedge them out of the running. 

Personally, I always think individuals who divide opinions make great subjects for these kinds of essays. For example, Aimee Semple Mcpherson not only split opinions in her day but has had a lasting impact on many church denominations. Thinking more contemporary, Joyce Mayer would be another who splits opinions.

Just a thought. 

Check out my blog 'For Fathers'

Posts 1328
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 5:53 AM

Aimee Semple McPherson is really interesting, and the biography by Sutton quite readable. 

Otherwise, the people I find interesting right now are Desiderius Erasmus and Lorenzo Valla. 

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 1328
Ben | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 5:54 AM

And Niels Stinsen/Nicholas Steno!

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

Posts 677
Kevin A Lewis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 6:17 AM

Hi Cynthia

Interesting question - and I was tempted to answer initially in a way that would fit with the question. However being a bit of an "agent provocateur" I found myself thinking a bit "out of the box". Please bear with me.

What got me thinking was something I read way back that posed the following question. "If church history was written as if it was a continuation of the Book of the Acts - what would it read like"? - or put another way - what is heaven's viewpoint in church history.

So if the plan of God is to gather a faithful people unto himself from amongst mankind and these are to be a called out people (either Israel or Church) and they are to be a wife and/or bride to Christ, how is the church doing? Particularly if the church is to be a bride without spot or wrinkle.

How are we shaping up?

For instance were the east/western church schism or the reformation the work of God or tragic steps in a tortured story? Did the reformation stop reforming when it should have continued? Are we in need of a revival, another great awakening or another reformation?

I am not expecting answers - these are largely rhetorical.

What I am leading up to is the most interesting character in all of Church history has to be Jesus Christ. More particularly what is he doing at this stage of the history of the church and what are His plans for the "bride" (which is so clearly heavily tarnished)?

You will either understand where I am going with this - or miss it completely. Either way - thank you for the question - and it really got ME thinking.

Shalom

Posts 784
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 10:11 AM

Thanks Ben!  Great suggestions that I'm looking into now.

Kevin:  I COMPLETELY understand what you're saying and to be honest with you, I find it a rather fascinating concept.  I think I would LOVE to write something like that (the creative side of me can see the union with the academic side of me in your suggestion).  However, I don't think it would fit in the purview of this assignment.  However, I'm tucking that in the Rolodex of my mind for the future!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 745
David A Egolf | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 1:20 PM

I would vote for Henrietta Mears.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrietta_Mears

"She served in leading the Sunday School program from 400 to 6500.[5] Henrietta Mears taught the college age program herself.[3] Henrietta Mears was one of the most influential Christian leaders of the 20th Century. She founded "Gospel Light"., a publishing company for many of her training materials, Forest Home, a Christian conference center nestled in a wooded setting of California's coastal range, and "Gospel Literature Internationals (GLINT)"., and profoundly impacted the ministries of Bill Bright and Vonette Zachary Bright (Campus Crusade), Jim Rayburn (Young Life) and Billy Graham (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) and Louis Evans, Jr. who was the organizing pastor of Bel Air Church (where Ronald Reagan and many other stars attended) and led the congregation of the National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C. with her emphasis on Scripture and a clear Gospel message for young people. Mears is believed by many theologians to have most directly shaped Bill Bright’s Four Spiritual Laws, which defined modern evangelism in the 20th century."

I spent many church summer camps at Forest Home, while growing up.

Posts 18592
Rosie Perera | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 1:30 PM

David A Egolf:
I would vote for Henrietta Mears.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henrietta_Mears

Oh yes, I would second Henrietta Mears. She was hugely influential on my pastor Earl Palmer who has gone on to influence a generation or two of college students and adults through his widespread ministry.

Posts 1593
Ken McGuire | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 2:26 PM

Teresa of Avila - vital for the Counter-Reformation.

Catherine Winkworth - Vital for translating Lutheran Chorales into English - and we Lutherans have a love/hate relationship with those translations - they are beautiful poetry, but her Unitarianism does influence those translations at time.

The Gospel is not ... a "new law," on the contrary, ... a "new life." - William Julius Mann

Posts 909
Deacon Steve | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 2:42 PM

Ken McGuire:

Teresa of Avila - vital for the Counter-Reformation.

Catherine Winkworth - Vital for translating Lutheran Chorales into English - and we Lutherans have a love/hate relationship with those translations - they are beautiful poetry, but her Unitarianism does influence those translations at time.

You beat me to it ….

Yes

Posts 1912
Mark | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 29 2019 3:35 PM

This is a great list.  This has been a useful thread.

On Rosie's list is Amy Carmichael.  I remember reading a biography on her life when I was young.  I wish this book would be available in Logos.  It had a great impact on my early years.

Cynthia in Florida:

Rosie Perera:

Cynthia in Florida:
Truth is, I was hoping someone would bring to my attention some women from Church History.  Surprisingly (or maybe not), I have yet to read about one in my required reading books or hear any mention of women in my lectures. 

That is too bad, but I agree not surprising. Women have been largely overlooked in church history until recently. Most of the history has been written by men.

Here are a few interesting ones since the Reformation:

  • Catherine Booth - co-founder of the Salvation Army
  • Aimee Semple McPherson - Pentecostal evangelist and founder of the Foursquare Church
  • Phoebe Palmer - Methodist evangelist and one of the founders of the "Holiness" movement
  • Hannah More - English religious writer and philanthropist; pioneer in the Sunday School movement
  • Sojourner Truth - African American evangelist, abolitionist, and women's rights activist
  • Hannah Whitall Smith - lay speaker and author in the Holiness movement
  • Fanny Crosby - prolific blind hymn writer
  • Thérèse of Lisieux - French Catholic Discalced Carmelite nun, one of only four women "Doctors of the Church" -- saints recognized by the Catholic Church as having made significant contribution to theology or doctrine -- and the only one since the Reformation.
  • Amy Carmichael - Protestant missionary in India
  • Edith Stein - German Jewish philosopher who converted to Roman Catholicism and became a Discalced Carmelite nun; she is canonized as a martyr and saint of the Catholic Church
  • Dorothy Day - social activist, founder of the Catholic Worker Movement
  • Gladys Aylward - British-born evangelical missionary to China
  • Mother Teresa - Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary, admired for her charitable work
  • Edith Schaeffer - Christian author and co-founder of L'Abri

Some resources you might be interested in:

Thanks so much Rosie:  This looks great!  You've given me much to consider!

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