THE EVANGELICAL MELTING POT

Journalist Mira Kamdar had a lovely story in a recent New York Times about the “Other” Paris that tourists rarely see, with its rich tapestry of immigrant peoples. One anecdote in particular: I’ve learned a lot during my long commutes on the metro. One thing is not to underestimate the cosmopolitanism of my fellow travelers. [Read More...]

RESTORING PRIMITIVE TRUTH

For many years I taught a course on Sects, Cults and New Religious Movements. Scholars produce many reasons why new religions should attract particular groups, and offer similar messages, eg the promise of healing. Often these reasons are drawn from psychology or sociology. But the groups themselves explain their message and their appeal according to [Read More...]

The Secularization of Christian Holidays

Weinachtsmarkt

The Christmas season starts early in Germany as well. Some stores have had their displays out for weeks, and bakeries are already churning out the Stollen and Plätzchen. I’m trying to imagine what December in Germany would be like if American-style jurisprudence reigned. Christmas markets across Germany (organized by cities) would become “Winter markets” or [Read More...]

The Cold War Origins of World Vision

Bob Pierce and Korean orphans in the 1950s

World Vision, known best for its child sponsorship programs, has become the largest and most significant evangelical relief and development agency. The organization’s Wikipedia page vaguely describes its humanitarian origins. Its official website features a similarly vague history, preferring to tout its culturally appropriate development work. But its story is much more vivid than these [Read More...]

The Supreme Court and Deity-Specific Prayers

Last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case concerning the constitutionality of uttering Jesus’s name in prayers at public meetings. As I wrote in earlier coverage for WORLD Magazine, the town of Greece (N.Y.) attempted to accommodate pressure from secularists to make the town board’s prayers non-sectarian by recruiting [Read More...]

When death comes before life

Martin Luther, mindful of the trials and blessings of family life, offered balm to women suffering one of its sorrows: the death of a child before birth.  He counseled pastors “not to frighten or sadden such mothers by harsh words because it was not due to their carelessness or neglect that the birth of the [Read More...]

WARS OF RELIGION?

crusadecombat

What are religious wars really about? I’ve been posting recently about the relationship between war and religious history, chiefly in the context of how warfare can shape religious change. Sooner or later, though, we encounter the familiar argument about what motivated a given cause, what drove a particular side in a war that they claimed [Read More...]

REFORMATIONS THEN AND NOW

I have been thinking recently about parallels between the Reformation and the rise of contemporary Global Christianity. Next week, I am involved in a conference being held at Gordon College (November 14-16), on Protestantism? Reflections in Advance of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, 1517-2017. My paper bears the title “What hath Wittenberg to [Read More...]

The Book of Mormon in 15 (or so) Days

C.C.A. Christensen, "The Hill Cumorah," ca. 1878

I’m re-posting the below, which originally appeared in two separate segments at Religion in American History: After years of studying the history of Mormonism, I finally resolved to read the tradition’s founding scripture in short order: the Book of Mormon in fifteen days. Because of its large print and easy-to-read format (I’m not quite as [Read More...]

The Expansion of Evangelicalism

The Expansion of Evangelicalism

This past week, I re-familiarized myself with John Wolffe’s The Expansion of Evangelicalism: The Age of Wilberforce, More, Chalmers, and Finney (2006) while preparing a lecture on evangelicalism for my Survey of Church History course (which I wrote about here). Sequentially second in IVP’s History of Evangelicalism series, Wolffe’s volume spans the 1790s to the 1840s, a period [Read More...]


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