Santa Clara University



See also Christianity

1. Brief Introduction
2. Religion and Politics Sections
3. A Short Introductory Course
4. Other Resource Materials
5. Recent Articles

1. Brief Introduction:

From Luther’s ninety-five theses in 1517, Protestantism has placed emphasis on the relationship of the individual to God. Historian Marty (below) divides the early Reformation into what became Protestantism’s three great branches: Lutheranism as the largest continental faith, the Reformed-Presbyterian churches influenced theologically by Zwingli and Calvin; and the English Anglican tradition that served as a “bridge church” between Catholics and other Protestants because it retained its apostolic succession. In addition, Anabaptists and other radical groups suffered persecution from both Protestant and Catholic authorities. In England, the establishment Anglicans generated reactions from Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers, and Methodists, among others. The historian Daniel Nexon (below) explains the political consequences of the Protestant Reformations as they occurred in an early Modern Europe characterized by “composite states” led by dynastic rulers.

This entire religious dynamic was transferred to the United States through the colonial period and its aftermath, with the Congregationalists (Puritans) establishing themselves in the north, the Anglicans (Episcopalians) in the south, and Quakers and others in the middle states. Although Thomas Jefferson predicted the rise of the Unitarians, it was the Methodists and the Baptists who grew rapidly as the frontier moved west. Most of these denominations split into northern and southern branches during the Civil War. See the entry for the United States to continue this narrative.

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the expansion of the British Empire brought Protestant Christianity throughout the globe from Africa to China.  In the late twentieth century, the political prominence of the United States facilitated the growth of conservative Protestantism, supported by missionary finances and by global televangelist communication networks. Pentecostalism became particularly effective in spreading in Latin America and independent religions in Africa. Casanova (below) contrasts the meaning of secularism and its relation to Protestantism in the European and American contexts. The mainline churches formed the World Council of Churches in 1948 (see Hanson, pp. 286-87), currently directed by the General Secretary Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit.

2. Religion and Politics Sections:

The Protestant Reformation, Wars of Religion, and Secularism” (pp. 105-07)

“VI. Christianity, Secularization, and Immigration” (pp. 123-63)

“The Korean Peninsula: North-South Competition in the EMC Systems” (pp. 182-88)

“The Future of East Asia in the EMC Systems” (pp. 188-97)

“IX. Latin America: Indigenous Religions, Christianity, and Globalization” (pp. 260-94)

“Global Religious Dialogues and Political-Religious Alliances” (pp. 307-15)

3. A Short Introductory Course:

Nexon provides an historical discussion of the relationship of religion and European identity. Jenkins discusses the rise of charismatic Christianity in the international system. Miller and Yamamori cover the global societal roles of five types of Pentecostalism. David Little approaches ethics from the Protestant individualist perspective. Ex-president Jimmy Carter exemplifies a fine example of Protestant moral reasoning in the contemporary context.

Nexon, Daniel, “Religion, European identity, and political contention in historical perspective,” in Byrnes, Timothy A., and Katzenstein, Peter J., eds. Religion in an Expanding Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 256-82.

Jenkins, Philip. The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South (New York: Oxford, 2006).

Miller, Donald E., and Yamamori, Tetsunao. Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007). Their five types of Pentecostalism are classical Pentecostalism like the Assemblies of God; indigenous Pentecostalism with no connection to North America; independent neo-Pentecostal churches; the charismatic renewal movement; and proto-charismatic Christians in other denominations. 

Little, David, “Conscientious Individualism: A Christian Perspective on Ethical Pluralism,” Madsen, Richard, and Strong, Tracy B., eds. The Many and the One: Religious and Secular Perspectives on Ethical Pluralism in the Modern World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 229-56.

Carter, Jimmy. Our Endangered Values: America’s Moral Crisis (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2005). A fine discussion of Protestant values in current politics and society by the American ex-president and Nobel Peace Prize winner.

4. Other Resource Materials:

Berger, Peter L., “Christianity: The Global Picture,” World Religions and Democracy (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 2005), 146-52.

Bowen, Kurt D., Evangelism and Apostasy: The Evolution and Impact of Evangelicals in Modern Mexico. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1996.

Brasher, Brenda. Godly Women: Fundamentalism and Female Power. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1998.

Casanova, José, “Religion, European secular identities, and European integration,” in Byrnes, Timothy A., and Katzenstein, Peter J., eds. Religion in an Expanding Europe (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 65-92.

Corten, Andre, and Marshall-Fratani, Ruth, eds. Between Babel and Pentecost: Transnational Pentecostalism in Africa and Latin America. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001.

Freston, Paul. Evangelicals and Politics in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Freston, Paul. Protestant Political Parties: A Global Survey. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004.

Freston, Paul, ed. Evangelical Christianity and Democracy in Latin America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Gifford, Paul. Ghana’s New Christianity: Pentecostalism in a Globalising African Economy. London: Hurst, 2004.

Green, John, Rozell, Mark, and Wilcox, Clyde, eds. The Christian Right in American Politics: Marching to the Millennium. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2003.

Gregory, Brad S. Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).

Harris, Frederick C. Something Within: Religion in African-American Political Activism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Jenkins, Philip. The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).

Levine, Daniel H., and Stoll, David, “Bridging the Gap Between Empowerment and Power in Latin America,” Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber, and Piscatori, James, Transnational Religion and Fading States (Boulder, Co.: Westview Press, 1997), 63-103.

Marty, Martin E. Protestantism (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972). 

Parrella, Frederick J., ed. Spirit and Community: The Legacy of Paul Tillich’s Thought (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1995).
Pelikan, Jaroslav. Whose Bible is it? A History of Scripture Through the Ages (New York: Penguin, 2005).

Poewe, Karla, ed. Charismatic Christianity as a Global Culture. (Columbia, S.C.: University of South Carolina Press, 1994).

Sanneh, Lamin. Whose Religion is Christianity? The Gospel beyond the West (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Eerdmans, 2003).
Sannah, Lamin, and Carpenter, Joel A., eds. The Changing Face of Christianity: Africa, the West, and the World (New York: Oxford, 2005).

Spohn, William. Go and Do Likewise: Jesus and Ethics (New York: Continuum, 2000).

Vermaat, J.A. Emerson. The World Council of Churches and Politics (New York: Freedom House, 1989).

Woodberry, Robert D. and Shah, Timothy S., “The Pioneering Protestants,” World Religions and Democracy (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 2005), 117-31.

World Christian Encyclopedia. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.


The official site of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The BBC’s site on Christianity.

The official site of the World Council of Churches.


The site for the Evangelical journal Books and Culture. Peter Steinfels (New York Times) describes the journal as “provocative and open-minded.”

The official site of the National Council of Churches of the United States

The official site of the Presbyterian Church of the United States.

Survey data on Pentecostal and charismatic Christians in ten nations: United States, Brazil, Chile, Guatemala, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Philippines, South Korea, and India. Mentioned in New York Times, October 2006.

The official site of the Southern Baptist Convention.

5. Recent Articles:

"Anglican schism? Archbishop Rowan Williams strives to preserve the communion," National Catholic Reporter, September 14, 2007. Fine summary  Thof crisis in Anglican Communion and background of Archbishop of Canterbury Williams who is trying to solve it. Also relations with Roman Catholic Church.

"Anglican Archbishop Faults Factions," New York Times, December 15, 2007. Archbishop of Canterbury's letter faults both sides in dispute.

"Episcopal Split as Copnservatives Form New Group," New York Times, December 4, 2008. Conservatives for Anglican Church in North America and seek recognition from worldwide Anglican communion.

"Vatican to Ease Anglicans' Way to Catholicism," New York Times, October 21, 2009. Announcement of new Vatican policy to allow Anglican clergy and laity to join the Catholic Church as units with their cultural and liturgical practices, included married priests, but not married bishops, in tact.

"Vatican reveals new structures," National Catholic Reporter, October 30, 2009. John Allen's analysis of the above Catholic initiative.

List of other Religions

November 2, 2009.