My New Adult Sunday School Class: “The Church and the Wars of the 20th Century”

All next month I’ll be teaching an adult Sunday School class at Salem Covenant Church (New Brighton, MN) on a favorite topic of mine: “The Church and the Wars of the 20th Century.” It’ll be offered twice each Sunday, at 9:45am and 11:00am in Salem’s Fellowship Hall. Here’s the summary blurb:

Worship service at WWI aerodrome
A British chaplain preaches at an aerodrome in France – National Library of Scotland

This spring will mark the 100th anniversary of the United States entering the First World War, a decision that was criticized by many “Mission Covenanters” but embraced by most American Christians. In this class, we’ll explore how the church has responded to and been shaped by the modern age of warfare, with particular focus on the two World Wars and the Cold War (including Vietnam).

Flowing out of courses I teach on the two world wars and Cold War, plus my digital project with Fletcher Warren on Bethel at War, 1914-2014, the class will start Sunday, February 5th with some foundational questions: Can Christians participate in warfare? What is the role of the Church in times of war? How has the “total war” of the 20th century shaped Christianity in America? The next two classes will focus on World War I (Feb. 12th) and World War II (Feb. 19th), then we’ll wrap up with class members sharing their memories of and reflections on more recent conflicts (Feb. 26th).

Salem Covenant Church logoWhile I’ve enjoyed speaking at other churches the last couple years, I’m especially excited to be doing this class at Salem, my church home. The last time I had a chance to teach adult Sunday School there was back before our kids were born, since I’ve been busy serving as church chair and teaching younger kids.

So I hope to see you at Salem next month! If you do join the class, let me also invite you to come early for traditional worship (8:30 or 9:45) or to stick around for the contemporary service (11:00). And if you have kids, you can check them into their own Sunday School program at 9:45 — it happens to be directed by my wife.

One thought on “My New Adult Sunday School Class: “The Church and the Wars of the 20th Century”

  1. I appreciate your boldness to explore this topic. Last year I read: The Great and Holy War” by Philip Jenkins (; it was eye-opening to me – as your summary alludes. I hesitate to add to your thinking/reading on this topic since I write to this topic in articles found here:
    May your class be edifying as it is informative.

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