Protestantism: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780199560974

Mark A. Noll
184 Pages
114 x 173 mm
Pub date
Aug 2011
Very Short Introductions


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  • Explores Protestant movements from their European origins in the early sixteenth century to the present day
  • Integrates both non-Western and Western history to highlight the great worldwide diversity of Protestantism
  • Considers the influence of American Protestants in recent world history and explains why that influence should not be exaggerated
  • Includes contributions from well-known figures such as Martin Luther, John Calvin and F. D. E. Schleiermacher, as well as Karl Barth, Dora Yu, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, and Pandita Ramabai

Mark A. Noll presents a fresh and accessible history of Protestantism from the era of Martin Luther to the present day. Beginning with the founding of Lutheran, Reformed, Anglican, and Anabaptist churches in the sixteenth-century Reformation, he also considers the rise of other important Christian movements like Methodism and Pentecostalism. Focussing on worldwide developments, rather than just the familiar European and American histories, he considers the recent expansion of Protestant movements in Africa, China, India, and Latin America, emphasising the on-going and rapidly expanding story of Protestants worldwide. 

Noll examines the contributions from well-known figures including Martin Luther and John Calvin, along with many others, and explores why Protestant energies have flagged recently in the Western world yet expanded so dramatically elsewhere. Highlighting the key points of Protestant commonality including the message of Christian salvation, reliance on the Bible, and organization through personal initiative, he also explores the reasons for Protestantism's extraordinary diversity.


1: Reformation beginnings
2: Protestant christendom
3: Pietists, the American colonies, evangelicals, and the Enlightenment
4: Flourishing, flailing, fragmenting
5: Missionary transformations
6: Pentecostals, revival, independents
7: Whither the West?
8: From everywhere to everywhere
Further reading

About the author: 

Mark A. Noll is Francis A. McAnaney Professor in the history department at the University of Notre Dame. His earlier books include studies in the history of evangelical Protestantism, such asThe Rise of Evangelicalism: The Age of Edwards, Whitefield and the Wesleys, as well as American religious history including America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln and in the general history of Christianity (Turning Points: Decisive Movements in the History of Christianity).

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