By Richard Miller
Just to hand is Alistair McGrath’s book “Christianity’s Dangerous Idea, The Protestant Revolution, a history from the sixteenth century to the twenty first” [1. SPCK] published as long ago as 2006 ( we always like to give you the very latest!). Obviously it is a bit “off topic” for us. But equally clearly it is so important a work that I thought that it should at least be mentioned here if only briefly.
MacGrath’s judgement is not impeccable. He crashes an important methodological fence in the introduction when he says that church history should explicitly be written in the light of later developments- which of course is a bad way to write the history of anything. ( Were we, for example, to write the history of the build up to The First World War in the light of the German defeat in 1918 it would be difficult to make sense of the Kaiser’s actions in 1914. He thought he would win. We know he lost. )
I doubt also that McGrath has properly understood the relationship between the Renaissance and the Reformation- which was probably much more complicated than he allows.
Despite these miss steps this is an a well written survey by an Irish born author which should be read widely. I’m not making any promises- blogging is like that – but I may well have more to say about this ( to me ) fascinating volume soon.