progressive-evangelicals

Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice

I’m delighted to bring you an interview with Brantley Gasaway, who teaches in the religious studies department at Bucknell University. He is the author of a new book Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice. We’ve known about each other for many years, ever since we learned we had written dissertations on the same subject. (I remember hearing about Brantley a month after I defended my dissertation.) But only recently did we meet each other in person. Brantley was directing a Buc … [Read More...]

Advice for the Dismal Academic Job Market

Over at Slate, Rebecca Schuman imagines an awkward scenario from a family gathering, which includes a newly-minted Ph.D.:You’re just making polite conversation, so you ask him: “Want to come visit us next Christmas?” Why on earth did his sallow face just cloud over at your kind and generous offer? Because he has no idea where he’ll be living two Christmases from now—he just applied to 30 jobs in 30 far-flung towns, so from a logistical standpoint “next Christmas” might as well be Pluto. Such … [Read More...]

From Oxford to Malibu

Apologies in advance, for this is going to be a short post. I have been on the road quite a bit, most recently to the UK to give a talk on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of World War I. The particular topic of the conference was Theology, Culture, and World War I. Even more particularly, it … [Read More...]

Peregrinus and Part-Time Christians

Around the 160s, the Greek satirist Lucian posted on the life and times of one Peregrinus, whom he depicted as a rogue and confidence trickster of dubious sanity. It’s a rollicking story, but one with serious implications for reading and teaching Christian history.According to Lucian’s ten … [Read More...]

How the Federal Council of Churches influenced The Sunday School Times

After twenty-one years of marriage, my wife and I know each other pretty well.  We are in that stage of our relationship where we often know what the other person is thinking in a conversation with a third party and can, at times, finish each other’s sentences.  Often, we find ourselves exclaiming, “ … [Read More...]

Graduate Course on the American Revolution

This semester I am teaching a graduate seminar on the American Revolutionary Era. As I have written before, choosing a book list for a graduate course is not as simple as picking 13 to 15 of your favorite books on a topic. When assigning books, I take several factors into account - inexpensive … [Read More...]

Corinthians and Communists

I posted recently on Friedrich Engels’s On the History of Early Christianity, his 1890s text that actually makes some excellent historical points about the social and political contexts of the early church. On occasion, it's actually... well, pretty funny.As a historian, Engels had the enormous v … [Read More...]

Christians and Communists

There is an odd but very useful source on early Christianity that remains strangely unfamiliar to many historians of that topic. Even less known is the discussion by a totally unexpected nineteenth century source, which provides many insights that are still valuable.In the late second century, … [Read More...]

Brigham Young’s Favorite Hymn

On April 8, 1877, Brigham Young delivered a sermon on the occasion of his imminent departure from the St. George Temple. Many observers of Young's multifaceted career forget how significant temple-building was for him and for his legacy. "We shall build Temples over north and South America," Young … [Read More...]

From “I, Pencil” to “I, Smartphone”: The Moral Limits of the Market

I'm pleased to feature a guest post by my friend and colleague Kevin Brown, an assistant professor of business and economics at Asbury University. This column is based in part on an article, "Capitalism and the Common Good," that appears in the September 2014 issue of Christianity Today. *** In … [Read More...]

The New Birth: A Uniquely American Concept?

Last week at CNN.com, progressive Christian author Matthew Paul Turner wrote a piece about the ways that America has "changed God." George Whitefield came into the discussion in way #2. Rather than engaging humanity through communal covenants—holy connections usually reserved for large groups —a … [Read More...]

Big History. Too Big.

Well into the early modern period, some histories of the world written by Europeans started the story way back—in the garden of Eden.  Not just church history, but what passed as universal histories, might start with the creation of the world.Nor is it strange for historians to consider their di … [Read More...]

Becoming Mary

In a recent post, I looked at the mysterious figure of the “Woman clothed with the Sun,” depicted in the Book of Revelation. I suggested that she was likely to symbolize New Israel or the Church, although later generations have usually connected her with the Virgin Mary, and the Revelation passage ha … [Read More...]

The Best Evangelicals on Campus

The recent de-recognition of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship by the massive California State University system is another escalation in a long simmering conflict.Often with considerable hyperbole, evangelicals have long complained of mistreatment at the hands of university administrators and … [Read More...]

Re-envisioning Our Public: The Conference on Faith and History 2014

For decades, committed evangelicals such as Richard Pierard, Robert Linder, George Marsden, Mark Noll, Nathan Hatch and others worked towards two different goals aimed at two different audiences.  First, to an evangelical constituency in which fundamentalism's suspicion of the academy lingered, they … [Read More...]

How to Survive Graduate School

As a new semester begins, it is a good time to reflect on the practices that students - particularly graduate students - need to survive and even thrive. Graduate programs are designed to make you part of a guild of professional experts, and require an enormous amount of reading and writing in order … [Read More...]

The Woman Clothed With The Sun

I recently posted on changing ideas about the Virgin Mary's role in the New Testament, suggesting that we see an upsurge of respectful interest in her towards the 90s of the first century. I am still grappling with the reasons for this change. I’d like here to explore one particular Bible passage t … [Read More...]

The War That Never Was

This is nothing like a standard Anxious Bench post, but it does get to some issues of how we write history.As I've remarked in the past, a lot of professional historians dislike and distrust "alternate" history, which they see as a kind of pointless parlor game. But we all use an approach like … [Read More...]

Pioneer Prophet in Paperback

My co-blogger Thomas Kidd mentioned in his most recent post that he has learned "how much authors need to work on publicity."So here goes -- next week, Harvard University Press is releasing the paperback edition of my Brigham Young: Pioneer Prophet. What was a tremendous value is now an outright … [Read More...]

Unexpected Sites of Christian Pacifism: Charles Spurgeon Edition

Charles Spurgeon, a Reformed Baptist known as the “prince of preachers” in the nineteenth century, remains revered. Known especially for his devotional writings, he currently ranks in the top 100 bestsellers of Christian literature on Amazon. Tom Nettles, a professor of historical theology at Sou … [Read More...]


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