Much of the emerging Protestantism of the sixteenth century produced a Reformation in conscious opposition to formal philosophy. Nevertheless, sectors of the Reformation produced a spiritualizing form of Platonism in the drive for correct devotion. Out of an understandable fear of idolatry or displacement of the uniquely redemptive place of Christ, Christian piety moved away from the senses and the material world--freshly uncovered in the Reformation.
This volume argues, however, that in the quest for restoring "true religion," sectors of the Protestant tradition impugned too severely the material components of prior Christian devotion.
Larry Harwood argues that a similar spiritualizing tendency can be found in other Christian traditions, but that its applicability to the particulars of the Christian religion is nevertheless questionable. Moreover, in that quest of a spiritualizing Protestant "true religion," the Christian God could shade toward the conceptual god of the philosophers, with devotees construed as rationalist philosophers. Part of the paradoxical result was to propel the Protestant devotee toward a denuded worship for material worshipers of the Christian God who became flesh.