The First 600 Years

My husband, who is a pastor (retired now) and a church history buff will be teaching a new class through the Shepherd University Lifelong Learning program. In case you’re interested, here is a brief description of the course, which focuses on the early church:

Christianity grew from a few dozen people to be the state religion of the Roman Empire in less than 300 years. It was also preached and planted everywhere from Africa to India to western China to the cold winters of Russia before 600 CE. But, like all growth, pain is involved and there was much of that during the same period of growth. This class will explore those 600 years, looking into the growth, the crises, the debates and the people whose faith and work changed the world in their time.

This will be a six-week course, beginning on Wednesday, March 15th from 10:00-11:30 AM. It will be available via ZOOM, as well as on the Shepherd campus. There is a small fee ($60) for those who are not Gold Members of the continuing education program. (The teachers are all volunteers and are not paid).

If you would be interested in this class, you can visit:

or contact:

There will be a course preview of all the classes on Tuesday, March 1st from 5-7 PM.

For more about ways to continue learning see:

Learning Sound Theology

Book Learning, Again

Learning from Everyday Saints

Evangelicalism: What It Was, What It Is, Can It Survive?

One way to deepen our walk with Jesus is to learn about Him and His body, the Church. Starting in September, my husband, a retired pastor, will be teaching a continuing education class at Shepherd University. Here’s his class description:

I couldn’t tell you how many news articles and other publications I’ve seen in the last thirty years or so that refer to people called “evangelicals.” The problem I often see in these references is the lack of definition in the way people, especially the news media, use that word. Just what makes someone an evangelical? How does that fit in with the historical definition of the word? When and why did people who call themselves evangelicals become one of the many groups seeking to impact American politics?

We will begin our search for answers to these questions by looking at the history of evangelicalism beginning 500 years ago and continuing up to today. We will assess the relationship of evangelicalism to such hot topics as race, gender, national culture, national politics and the Christian Church in America.

A few years ago someone said the only common thread he could find among evangelicals was that they were people who liked Billy Graham. Well, I think there’s a lot more there and it would help us all if we could actually come to understand the way this group of Americans think, act and worship. The good, the bad and the less than handsome parts of this American religious phenomenon affects us all in one way or another.

If you are interested in taking this class follow the link below. It will be available on the campus, but also through Zoom.

For more about evangelicalism see:

Billy Graham on Hope

Film Review — The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel

Stott on the Christian Life by Tim Chester –Book Review

Who were (are?) the Puritans?

Most Americans know little to nothing about who the Puritans were and what they taught….and a major part of what people do know is wrong!  Puritanism was nothing more or less than an English expression of the doctrines of the Reformation as formulated by Luther and his associates and other Reformed figures such as Calvin, Bucer and Zwingli.

For Lutherans it is interesting to compare Puritan thought with Lutheran Pietism–a movement which has profoundly affected Lutheranism in the United States.  The Association of Free Lutheran Congregations has its background in that Pietist movement brought here in the 18th and 19th centuries by immigrants.  When we look at the two movements (Puritanism and Pietism) we can see the relationship is not just between two past movements, but has to do with what we believe, teach and confess today at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Leitersburg.

Both Puritans and the Pietists sought to teach and experience a faith that was truly guiding their lives, the kind of faith we say we desire today.

If you are interested in learning more about the Puritans, my husband, Pastor Terry Culler, will be teaching a continuing education class through Shepherd University via Zoom.  The class will begin on Wednesday, March 17 from 3:30PM-5PM and will continue for 6 weeks at the same day and time.  To learn more follow the link below:

Shepherd University | Lifelonglearning

You can also contact Pastor Culler at St. Paul’s at 301-739-5443 or email him at

For other posts about the Puritans see:

Heaven is a World of Love by Jonathan Edwards — Book Review

An Introduction to John Owen by Crawford Gribben–Book Review

Beyond Stateliest Marble by Douglas Wilson — Book Review

For more on pietism see:

What is Pietism?

Lutheran Pietism



Be a Lifelong Learner — Take a Class

I imagine many of our readers follow this blog because they are lifelong learners.  We review lots of books and study materials and attempt to discuss and explain spiritual issues from a Lutheran perspective.  If you’re a church history buff, I’d like to recommend another opportunity to learn.  My husband, Pastor Terry Culler is offering a course on Zoom through Shepherd University’s continuing education program.  Here’s the class description:

16th Century Christianity:  A Study of Five Reformations

Western Civilization cannot be well understood without reference to the impact of Christianity on our social structures and our ways of thought.  The 16th century particularly has shaped our religious views, our political views, our economic systems and our cultural practices.  The 16th century saw the rise of five related but still distinct reformations:  Lutheran, Reformed, Radical, English and Roman Catholic.  This class will explore all five movements seeking to understand how they continue to affect not only religious thought in the modern world, but all aspects of culture.

Classes will be held on Tuesdays:  September 15, 22, 29 and October 6, 13, 20 at 10:30 AM- Noon on Zoom.

If you are interested in attending, you can follow the link below for more information on Shepherd’s Lifelong Learning Program.  There is a fee, but the instructors are volunteers and do not receive payment for their time.

If you have problems with the link or questions, you may email Pastor Culler at