The editors of TCI have been working on a project of Protestant and Reformed Resourcement for some time. We have named this project, “How Then Have We Lived?,” in tribute to the late Francis Schaeffer. He energized the Evangelical world to move forward confidently with a Christian philosophy and engagement with the world of arts and letters. In a similar spirit, we are calling the Evangelical world to first go back to the best of the tradition so that it can then go forward with the best tools for the job. Part of our project will be to lay out an intellectual and historical map of the most eminent philosophers, theologians, artists, and statesmen of our history- a gallery of models of what we believe to be “mere Christendom.”
You will notice that we are not limiting the list to “intellectuals” in the narrow sense, as we do not believe history to have been shaped merely by ideas. To the contrary, we have felt that a major weakness of many Christian histories is their neglect of the statesmen and poets, giving the false impression that church history exists apart from world history. Some of the most important men in the life of the Church have been princes, kings, emperors, and other magistrates. Many of these have even clashed for good cause with the official clergy, oftentimes proving themselves be the more pious.
We have also attempted to include influences from across traditional ecclesiastical and denominational lines, as well as international and cultural lines. We have begun with those names and places closest to us, but we intend to continue expanding the project.
Our entries are necessarily selective. We are concerned primarily with the most eminent and representative architects of past order, and we will be offering introductory and explanatory commentary for many entries in order to help the reader. Still, selective though we must be, we aim to draw an honest and faithful portrait of the Protestant heritage, and we believe that knowing who we have been is crucial to knowing who we are, and knowing who we are is the only way for Protestants to continue to proclaim their message faithfully and effectively.
This will be an ongoing work. Our aim is helpfully collate and comment upon online resources especially, since we believe that the new electronic archives are not the end of classical learning but rather offer a possibility for a new beginning of it. We are also not starting from scratch or even ourselves creating most of the materials. Rather we are depending on other scholarship and seeking to collect and highlight the most important contributions to the Western and Protestant tradition, and make them more readily accessible to readers. We will thus point constantly to primary source web archives like the Post-Reformation Digital Library. The pages and links will be consistently updated.
As of now, the resourcement map looks like this:
How Then Have We Lived– An introduction to the theme and goal of the project
19th c Writers– The best of “modern” Protestantism
English Puritans– A selection of those men who shaped the ecclesiastical and political fate of England and then the United States
Evangelical Centers of Learning– A Collection of Protestant intellectual and cultural seats, including:
Irenic Writers– A broad school of Lutheran and Reformed irenic thinkers
Renewal and Reform– The most famous and traditional Protestant Reformers
Western Springtime– The medieval renewal of Western Christendom which laid the foundations of legal, political, intellectual, ecclesiastical, and cultural world in which we live today