There are 2 thoughts on “Multiple Reformations and a Deeply Divided House”.

  1. I read MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First 3,000 Years and was impressed with the man’s encyclopedic knowledge and organization of such a topic. But the book was sterile for me, void of that which is Christianity: Faith in a divine being. I learned a lot, but then again, I learned very little.

    • I reviewed Diarmaid MacCulloch’s Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years (Penguin, 2009) in the cancelled Mormon Studies Review 23/1 (2011): 173-177. It is, as Brett DeLange suggests, the work of one with encyclopedic knowledge of Christian faith in all its forms. MacCulloch comes from a long line of Anglican churchmen, but, as a result of a life-style shift, he lost his faith, though not his interest in Christian things. He explains both his appreciation for the culture of Christianity, including vast endeavors, enormous learning, as well as many unfortunate evils in the name of God, and so forth; he also holds that Christian faith is strictly irrational–a manifestation of madness, whatever else one might say about it. How, he asks, can something so obviously crazy, have captivated so many people and generated such enormous human effort? He does not, however, explain why he does not move on and grow petunias or study the history of something less troublesome from his strictly secular perspective.

      I endorse MacCulloch’s secular accounts of Christian faith precisely because they offer an encyclopedic treatments of a history I think is our own extended history. For my argument, see “Telling the Larger ‘Church History’ Story,” Mormon Studies Review 23/1 (2011): 157-171. MacCulloch also sets out a rigorous secular account of the history of Christian faith in its various manifestations. Careful attention to the quirks of such a secular account, I believe, should enlighten and hence also warn Latter-day Saints about going down that road. Brett DeLange is correct in seeing something sterile in what MacCulloch professes about Christian faith.

      I very much appreciate Brett DeLange’s comments, especially since it comes from one previously aware of MacCulloch’s remarkably learned and detailed accounts of the story of Christianity.

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