Plans for 2018 Study Project

As many of my common readers now know, every year I pick a subject to study for 12 months. The goal is to dive into a subject intensively, dig deep, and read broadly to gain a good introductory knowledge of the subject. Since, however, I am interested in far too many things choosing a topic of study is always a challenge. Several years ago I came up with a system of rotating categories to help guide my selection. This year I have been studying a theological or doctrinal subject, but next year I am due for a historical survey subject. So, regular readers, help me select my next topic!

Below are several options for 2018’s study project. There are several figures from church history that interest me, and studying their biographies and their theological, philosophical, and ministerial contributions to the church would be especially compelling. On the other hand I could take a more “big picture” look at a point or place in history, looking at movements, time periods, or regional contributions to philosophical/theological history. Think of it in terms of looking at the forest or the individual trees that compose that forest. Naturally, whatever I study will become a point regular writing here at the blog, so if there’s something you want to learn about too then here’s your chance to suggest a topic.

Individual subjects:

  • Martin Luther – With this year being the 500th anniversary of the Reformation I thought about taking next year to revisit an old friend. I have done a fair amount of study on Luther, but something fresh would be worthwhile and intriguing in light of the anniversary of a movement he launched.
  • Francis Schaeffer – I have had Schaeffer on my mind for years now, intrigued by his love for culture and art, and at the same time his love for Jesus. I am particularly attracted to his work in L’Abri and would love to dig deeper into his lifestyle, not just his thought.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Bonhoeffer is a controversial and fascinating figure. He had a unique view of both theology and ministry that makes him a worthwhile figure to study.

Big Picture:

  • The Reformation – Again, in light of the 500th anniversary of the movement it seems worthy to spend time looking at the broad picture of the Reformation and all of its various figures and progressions.
  • Religious History of France – I am a Francophile of sorts and the history of religion in France is very interesting to me. I’d love to read more and study more carefully about the birth of Christianity, the development of Catholicism within the country, the French Reformation, and the more modern rise of Islam there.
  • Theology in the Roaring 20s – The 20s were no doubt a major point of transition in Western culture, especially American culture. In conjunction with many cultural upheavals, this was also an age of fascinating religious change, conflict, and movement. I am intrigued by the relationship between both theology and culture during these iconic years.

So, what interests you? Do you think one of these subjects compelling and worthy of 12 months of study? Is there one you’d love to see me write on next year? Is there something I haven’t mentioned that you’d love to see explored? Help me pick a study topic for 2018, friends.


  1. Of the above, I’d have a personal pull on the France idea. I know that Europe was largely planted well before the Roman Church forced its way throughout, demanding submission or death (reminds me of another religious group). My ancestry is believed to have originated, as French speakers, from France, as Waldensians. It is known that they fled to the Swiss mountains, where my surname had its genesis, as in: “Here comes ‘Brother Bonjour’.” Yes, that is the earliest name we have. I think he got that nameplate from being an enthusiastic evangelical. I found it in an old copy of “Whose Who in World Religion”. BTW, the Bonjour’s are still local to the region, and are still … Waldensians.

  2. There are two topics that evangelical Christianity is experiencing massive confusion about: art and politics. So, my proposal would be an intensive study of Augustine. Learning at his feet was pivotal to my faith and my ability to interact with the above topics (as well as many others).

  3. The Reformation and Theology in the Roaring 20’s both sound fascinating! Looking forward to which ever subject you choose to take us through.

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