101-And to the South

This episode of CS is titled, “And to the South . . . ” as we take a break from our review of the Reformation in Europe to get caught up with what’s happening with the Church in Africa.

In many, maybe most popular treatments of Church history, the emphasis is on what’s going on in Europe. I mean, that’s what most church-based Christian history courses and many western colleges & seminaries focus on. We’ve already devoted several podcasts to the Church in the East, both the Eastern or Greek Orthodox church, as well as what’s called “The Church IN the East,” or the Syrian, sometimes referred to as the Nestorian Church.

We’ll soon be jumping the Atlantic to take a look at the Church in the New World. But before we do, we need to shift our gaze south to Africa.
Read more

100-CS Anniversary

This is the 100th episode of CS.

Because this is something of a milestone for the podcast, we’re taking a break from our usual episodic fare for something very different.

For those listeners who subscribe only for the historical narrative, you’ll want to skip this one altogether because we won’t be looking at Church History at all in this episode. This Century mark for CS will be about the podcast itself.

A few weeks back I posted a query, asking who might be interested in an episode that was a more personal look at CS & the host. There were enough positive replies that it made doing this reasonable. I remember listening to my first podcast series some years back; Mike Duncan’s index-level podcast, The History of Rome. About a dozen episodes in, I began to look for Duncan’s cryptic personal comments, rare as they were. Then as the series progressed, he’d share a few more details about himself. Though the content on Rome was sterling, it was the personal comments & his dry wit that kept me interested à & in an odd way, seemed to personalize the information so that it wasn’t just a dry academic pursuit. Maybe some prefer the personal element of a podcast be left out. I suspect they are the exception, not the rule.
Read more


There are two wonderful resources I want to let the CS audience know about.

Go check out Pritchard Websites  and Reformation Tours.

Pritchard Websites has recently become the new home for CS and Mike has done a stellar job of managing the transition.

Reformation Tours offers great tours of Europe.

99-In the Low Countries

This episode is titled “In the Low Countries.”

Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxemburg are referred to as “the Low Countries.” The get this name because laying along the coast NW of Germany & NE of France, they are at or slightly below sea level. That and there’s not really much in the way of mountains. There are some low hills, but for the most part the region today called Benelux is pretty flat.

During the Reformation, as in most of northern Europe, Protestantism in the low countries gained adherents early on. In 1523, in Antwerp, the first 2 Protestant martyrs were burned. From that point on, there’s solid evidence Protestantism made headway across the region. But the political situation there hitched the advance of Protestantism to a long and bitter struggle for independence.
Read more


This episode is titled “Cracks.”

One of the great concerns of the Roman Church at the outset of the Reformation was just how far the Reformation would go, not so much in terms of variance in Doctrines, although that also was a concern.

What Rome worried over was just how many different groups the Faith would split into. After all, division wasn’t something completely new. There’d already been a major division in the Church between East & West a half century before. And in the East, the Church was already fragmented into dozens of splinter groups across Central Asia.

But up till the Reformation, the Western Church had managed to keep new & reform movements from splitting off. Most had eventually been subsumed back into the larger reach of the Church structure.
Read more

97-Wars of Religion

This episode is titled, “Wars of Religion

In our review of the Reformation, we began with a look at its roots and the long cry for reform that had been heard in the Roman church. We saw its genesis in Germany with Martin Luther & Philip Melanchthon, its impact on Switzerland with Zwingli & later with the Frenchman John Calvin. John Knox carried it to his native Scotland & Thomas Cranmer led it in England.

We’ve taken a look at the Roman Catholic response the Reformation in what’s called the Counter-Reformation, but probably ought to be labelled the Catholic Reformation. We briefly considered the Council of Trent where the Roman Church affirmed its perspective on many of the issues raised by the Protestants and for the first time a clear line was set, marking the differences in theology between the 2 groups. We saw the Jesuits, the learned shock troops of the Roman Church sent out on both mission and to counter the impact of the Reformation in many regions of Europe being swung toward the Protestant camp.
Read more