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UPDATE: Chapter 25: Culture Wars (1960 – Present) – Part II: Doctrine of Hell in 20th century and the Orthodox Church after the Soviet Union
This will be our next to last submissions on MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years: two essays on the relevancy of the doctrine of hell in churches today and how the Orthodox Church has changed after the collapse of communism in Russia after 1991.
In our last entry for this series, coming next month, we will reflect on how a knowledge of Church history has impacted our understanding of the Christian faith.
We’re still alive! Trust me.
We were on hiatus because everyone’s schedule seemed quite packed last month, but we’re itching to come back.
Next Wednesday, we’ll finish up with the last three sections of Chapter 22: British Protestantism and the Oxford Movement, Orthodoxy: Russia and Ottoman Decay, Masters of Suspicion: Geology, Biblical Criticism and Atheism.
Please write a one page summary of one of the following questions:
- Describe the aims of the ‘Oxford Movement’ during the 1830s in England. What were its aims? Who were the Tractarians? What was the relationship between the Church of England and the State like at this time? What was John Henry Newman’s role during this period? And what were their fears about the Roman Catholic Church?
- Discuss the relations between the Ottoman Empire and the Orthodox Church (especially the Russian Orthodox Church) after the Russo-Turkish War of 1768 – 74. Why did the Russian Church tolerate the tsar’s tight control over the Church? How did Jews and Greek Catholics fair during the ‘Holy Alliance’ formed by Tsar Alexander in 1815? Why was the ‘Holy Alliance’ formed in the first place?
- Describe the role the Russian Orthodox Church played in the independence of Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria from the Ottoman Empire. How was the Ottoman Empire affected afterwards, especially the Ottoman rulers’ pursuit of Tanzimat?
- Discuss the impact of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution by natural selection. How did his books, On the Orgin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871), change how humankind was looked upon versus the biblical view of humankind? How are Darwin and his theory tied with his role in the anti-slavery/abolitionist movement? How did the relatively new science of geology change the perception of the Bible?
- Describe the rise of biblical criticism during the 19th century. Discuss the works of pastors and missionaries, like David Strauss and Albert Schweitzer, in their quests for the ‘historical Jesus’. How did perceptions of the Bible change because of higher criticism?
- Discuss the development of ‘Fundamentalism’ during the 1870s. What was it a reaction against? How and why did it form? How did it get its name? Discuss the roles Ira Sankey and D. L. Moody played in its rise. What are the central tenets of Fundamentalism?
- Discuss the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. Describe his ‘God is dead’ philosophy. Discuss how his Lutheran upbringing molded some aspects of his anti-Christian rhetoric.
Hope to see everyone next Wednesday.
Sorry for the delay, but here are the new entries.
This concludes our studies into the Orthodox Church for now, but through this I think we all gained tremendous insight into the history of the Orthodox faith as a whole.
In relation to the history of the Orthodox faith, we are living in interesting times right now as “the Twelve heads of autonomous Orthodox churches, the second-largest family of Christian churches, agreed to hold a summit of bishops, or ecumenical council, in 2016, which will be the first in over 1,200 years” recently.
It will be interesting how the Orthodox Church will respond to what is happening in Russia and the Ukraine right now as well.
In regards to reading MacCulloch, what I personally want to investigate is to see “God’s hand” in the major events of history. Of course, this isn’t MacCulloch’s main concern in this book, however, it’s just a personal spiritual question I have as I study Church history. So far, I’m a bit conflicted as to it being so clear that God is in a sense “micro-managing” everything that happens in history. We can so easily say “The Lord is the Lord of history!” in sermons and books, but I believe that it’s such a naive statement. History is rich and complex, with so many variables and moving parts, that it’s kind of hard to pinpoint and say, “Aha! You see, God was working here” etc.
Here is a great article in christianitytoday.com about the history of Crimea and the Crimean War (1853 – 56) – great background to what is happening in that region and the Ukraine today.
After reading about the history of the Orthodox faith in Russia for the past couple of months, when you read this article, things will seem more familiar even though we haven’t delved into this later part of Russian Orthodox Church history yet.
Next Wednesday, March 12, 2014, we will finish up Chapter 15 and our journey into the history of the Orthodox Church and specifically the Russian Orthodox Church by covering the sections: Muscovy Triumphant (1448 – 1547), Ivan the Terrible and the New Patriarchate (1547 – 98), and From Muscovy to Russia (1598 – 1800).
With these readings, and with all the tensions that has been going on in Kiev, Ukraine currently, I hope we’ve gained a better understanding of its complex history and geopolitical importance throughout Russian history.
Hi everyone, here is the update for Chapter 15 that you can read here.
Topics on the Tartars, Mongols, Kiev, Vikings, and how the Rus’ adopted and accommodated Byzantine culture and the Orthodox faith into their own.
Hi folks, next Wednesday (Feb. 26) we will begin our journey of Orthodoxy in Russia by focusing on the first two sections of Chapter 15: “A New Threat to Christendom: Norsemen, Rus’ and Kiev (900 – 1240)” and “Tartars, Lithuania and Muscovy (1240 – 1448)”.
Studying Russia’s Orthodox Church history seems appropriate with all that is happening in Russia currently with the Sochi Winter Olympics and the political unrest that is happening in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.