On the 500th anniversary of Luther's theses, a landmark history of the revolutionary faith that shaped the modern world.
-In this compelling and sweeping book, Alec Ryrie charts the history of one of the greatest forces in the making of modernity: the rise of the Protestant faith and ethos. Without it, one is hard-pressed to envision the spread of capitalism or of democracy. Ryrie writes that his aim 'is to persuade you that we cannot understand the modern age without understanding the dynamic history of Protestant Christianity.' To which I reply: Mission accomplished.-
-Jon Meacham, author of American Lion and Thomas Jefferson
Five hundred years ago, an obscure monk challenged the authority of the pope with a radical new vision of what Christianity could be. The revolution he unwittingly set in motion has toppled governments, upended social norms, and transformed millions of people's understanding of their relationship with God. In this dazzling global history charting five centuries of innovation and change, Alec Ryrie makes the case that the world we live in was indelibly shaped by Protestants.
Protestants introduces us to the men and women who defined this quarrelsome faith. Some turned to their newly accessible Bibles to justify bold acts of political opposition, others to support a new understanding of how they should live. Protestants are conditioned to fight for their beliefs, and if you look at any of the great confrontations of the last five centuries, you will find them defining the debate on both sides: for and against monarchy, colonialism, slavery, fascism, communism, temperance, and war. Protestants are people who love God and take on the world.
They have set out for all four corners of the globe, embarking on courageous journeys into the unknown to establish new communities and experiment with radical new systems of government--like the Puritans, Quakers, and Methodists who made their way to our shores. Protestants created America and defined its special brand of entrepreneurial diligence. And today they are making new converts in China, Korea, Africa, and Latin America. This magisterial book by a brilliant scholars of the Reformation makes the case that whether or not you are yourself a Protestant, you live in a world--and are guided by principles and ideas--shaped by Protestants.