Christianity's Dangerous Idea : The Protestant Revolution - A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First, Paperback

Christianity's Dangerous Idea : The Protestant Revolution - A History from the Sixteenth Century to the Twenty-First Paperback

5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Protestantism is one of the world's largest and most dynamic religious movements, currently experiencing major growth and expansion in many parts of the world.

This book sets out to explore the inner identity of this movement, and its implications for the religious future of humanity.

The 'dangerous idea' lying at the heart of Protestantism is that every individual has the right and responsibility to interpret the Bible.

With no overarching authority to rein in 'wayward' thought, opposing sides on controversial issues appeal to the same text, yet interpret it in very different ways.

The spread of this principle has led to five hundred years of remarkable innovation and adaptability - but also to cultural incoherence and instability."Christianity's Dangerous Idea" is the first book that attempts to define this core element of Protestantism, and the religious and cultural dynamic that this 'dangerous idea' has unleashed.

Its three major sections explore the history of the movement, engage with the distinctive features of Protestant belief and practice, and offer a provocative assessment of Protestantism's global future.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 560 pages
  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Church history
  • ISBN: 9780281059683



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First class account of not just the history but also the social effects of the reformation. Very rapidly it becomes obvious that even Protestants cannot agree about the bible and that that causes real problems. There are clear accounts in the book of where these disagreements are to be found.The influence of protestantism on theology and church history is described but of great interest is the attention given to colonial history, missionary work, the effect on the Arts, Science and Politics.At times McGrath leans over backwards to be fair to the Catholics. I have found many memorials in England which make it clear that the medievals thought they could buy remission for their sins with legacies in their wills, it was not just a local German problem. Calling the celebrations in Rome after the St Bartholomew's day massacre "bizarre" seems unduly kind, but then saying that Finney's evangelisitc methods "might" have been manipulative is equally gentle.Does he emphasise Pentecostalism too much? It's certainly not breaking through where I come from. Is it really having a lasting effect in the third world? When education spreads will they still be impressed by tongues?Excellent survey of the results of giving individuals access to the foundation documents of the faith.