Prof. Hart’s Book in the Wall Street Journal!
If you haven't yet heard, Visiting Professor of Church History at WSC, Dr. Darryl Hart, recently had his new book Calvinism: A History published earlier this summer by Yale University Press. For many years students have had to rely on John T. McNeill's The History and Character of Calvinism, but now with Hart's volume they have a freshly minted resource to study the history, development, and spread of the Reformed faith.
Interestingly, Hart's book was positively reviewed in the Wall Street Journal and appeared August 20, 2013, on page A13 in the U.S. edition with the headline: The Eating Of Sausages. The review's author concludes his assesment of Hart's book with the following observation:
Where does Calvinism stand now? Mr. Hart, whose other writings tend toward pessimism and regret, sounds almost cheerful about Calvinism's global presence. "Reformed Protestantism has been a global faith since the 17th century," he writes, and it is equally so now. It thrives in South Korea; self-consciously Reformed churches in the U.S. aren't on life support as their "mainline" counterparts are; missionaries from Reformed denominations are spreading throughout Africa and Asia; and there are even modest signs of a Calvinist resurgence in Europe.
In the developed world, established churches have dwindled to the point of insignificance, and national loyalties (along with national borders) mean less and less. If Mr. Hart's view of Calvinism is right—that it has flourished best when freed from the encumbrances of the nation-state's power—its history is far from over.
For as much criticism as Hart receives for being unconcerned and having capitulated to the surrounding culture given his commitments to the doctrine of the Two Kingdoms, this observation begs the question as to how accurate the criticisms have been. Maybe questions about cultural influence and transformation deserve broader discussion and input as well as bringing old ideas to the table for reconsideration? Nevertheless, it's worth noting that Hart's book on the history of the Reformed tradition has been featured in one of our American culture's leading secular publications--another counterfactual piece of evidence against the charge that Two Kingdoms advocates are culturually disengaged.
In the end, read the review in the WSJ, or better yet, pick up Hart's latest book!