The French Revolution dealt a fatal blow to the alliance of Church and State. The Christian church had to adapt to great changes - from the social upheavals of the Industrial Revolution to the philosophical speculations of Kant's 'Copernican revolution', to Darwin's evolutionary theories. Some Christians were driven to panic and blind reaction, others were inspired to re-interpret their faith; the results of this conflict within the fabric of the Church are still reverberating today. In this masterly appraisal of a doubt-ridden and turbulent period in Christianity Alec Vidler concludes with a discussion of the position of the Church in modern times and expertly answers the question: 'Has the Church stood up to the Age of Revolution?'
This book, volume 5 of the Penguin History of the Church, covers the period from the French Revolution to the present day (the present day in this case being up to the 1960s, just before this book was written). It is well written and like others in the series, very easy to read. Vidler does a very good job of showing the church's reaction to the various revolutions (especially industrial and scientific advancements), both those who reacted blindly to the changes and those who reevaluated their faith in response. A very interesting book, an excellent introduction.
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