In April, Penguin Random House will release Protestants: The Faith That Made The Modern World by Alec Ryrie (Durham University). The publisher’s description follows:
Protestant Christianity began with one stubborn monk in 1517. Now it covers the globe and includes almost a billion people. On the 500th anniversary of Luther’s theses, a global history of the revolutionary faith that shaped the modern world
Five hundred years ago an obscure monk challenged the authority of the pope with a radical vision of what Christianity could be. The revolution he set in motion inspired one of the most creative and destructive movements in human history. It has toppled governments, upended social norms, and transformed millions of people’s understanding of their relationship with God. In this dazzling global history that charts five centuries of innovation and change, Alec Ryrie makes the case that Protestants made the modern world.
Protestants introduces us to the men and women who defined and redefined this quarrelsome faith. Some turned to their newly accessible bibles to justify bold acts of political opposition, others to support a new understanding of who they were and what they could and should do. Above all, they were willing to fight for their beliefs. If you look at any of the great confrontations of the last five centuries, you will find Protestants defining the debate on both sides: for and against colonialism, slavery, fascism, communism, women’s rights, and more. Protestants have also fought among themselves. What unites them all is a passion for God and a vital belief in the principle of self-determination. Protestants are people who love God and take on the world.
Protestants have set out for all four corners of the globe, embarking on courageous journeys into the unknown to set up new communities and experiment with new systems of government—like the Puritans, Quakers, and Methodists who made their way to our shores. They are resourceful innovators and are making new converts every day in China, Africa, and Latin America. Protestants created America and defined its special brand of entrepreneurial diligence. Whether you are yourself a Protestant, or even a Christian, you live in a world, and are guided by principles and ideas, shaped by Protestants.