I’ve had a zealous appreciation for Carl Trueman’s writing ever since reading The Wages of Spin (best non-fiction book I read last year). He is seriously awesome. If you aren’t acquainted with his work, get acquainted with it. In fact, here’s a chance to do just that.
A good friend of mine recently directed me toward Trueman’s lectures on Medieval Church history, a subject often derided and dismissed in our day (even within Protestant circles). The tendency is to regard the Medieval period as “the Dark Ages”, a time of superstition, savagery, and stagnation. This – as Trueman points out in his impeccably British way – is “arrant nonsense.”
Protestants may not go quite so far, but we can still be tempted to bypass the Medieval period and jump right to the Reformation, which is an utterly wrong-headed way to go about studying history, much less church history. To put it bluntly:
Without the developments that took place in the Middle Ages, we would have had no Reformation. Those of you who come from Protestant traditions, if you want to understand those traditions – why they are the way they are – one of the pieces in that puzzle has to be a proper understanding of the Middle Ages.
There are eleven lectures total, and all of them are available for free via iTunes U. Go download and listen to them. It will be time well spent.