Alexander Hamilton’s “Christian Constitutional Society”

den hartog

Today’s guest post comes from Jonathan Den Hartog, associate professor of history at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minnesota. The University of Virginia Press recently released his Politics & Piety: Federalist Politics and Religious Struggle in the New American Nation. Den Hartog’s book illustrates that intense political conflicts over the relationship between Christianity [Read More...]

Wolf Hall’s Prophetess


Having transitioned from Downton Abbey to Wolf Hall, PBS’s Masterpiece Theater has entered onto terrain far more religious and historically treacherous. George Weigel recently commented on the anti-Catholicism that he alleges permeates the thought and writing of Hillary Mantel’s novel that serves as the basis for the television series. I haven’t read the novels, but [Read More...]

The Mormon Bonhoeffer

20th-century Martyrs, Westminster Abbey

In the 1970s, Latter-day Saint leaders began to quote C.S. Lewis in the semi-annual General Conference talks. Earlier this month, Mormon Apostle D. Todd Cristofferson made a rather striking reference to the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a discussion of marriage. Cristofferson quoted at length from a May 19, 1943 sermon that Bonhoeffer wrote while [Read More...]

Headship and Abuse

du mez book

Today’s guest post is from Kristin du Mez, Associate Professor of History at Calvin College. Her A New Gospel for Women: Katharine Bushnell and the Challenge of Christian Feminism has just been published with Oxford University Press. “If conservative churches preach the dominance of men, and submission of women, does this add weight to those [Read More...]

Mormons, Race, and Slavery


In the middle of 1870, Scipio Africanus Kenner feared losing the girl he loved. For some time, he had been courting Isabel Park with her family’s encouragement. Then, suddenly, Park’s mother cooled on the match and asked Kenner never to visit the home again. Park, however, did not stop seeing Kenner. According to Kenner, Agnes [Read More...]

Hunting Heretics


The heresiography (or heresiology) is something of a dying genre among Christians today. For centuries, though, heresiography was a staple of Christian literature, as those who contended for their understanding of orthodoxy theology catalogued the theological sins of others. To give a recent example, through at least most of the twentieth century, conservative Protestants in [Read More...]

Jesus, Time, and Calendars

A funny thing has happened to time during my adult lifetime. When I began college, it was customary to use the abbreviations “BC” (Before Christ) and “AD” (Anno Domini, or in the year of our Lord) in the rather tricky task of keeping track of years. Thus, the Babylonians destroyed the first Jewish temple in [Read More...]

Lincoln’s Shrewd Sermon

Courtesy of Library of Congress.

Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration as President of the United States. On that date, Lincoln delivered an address that, while never quite rivaling the Gettysburg Address in terms of fame, has nevertheless earned the lasting admiration of many Americans. Carl Sandberg termed it ”the great American poem”; Frederick Douglass praised [Read More...]

A Thief in the Night


Today, as part of a course on religion and film, I had the opportunity to discuss the 1972 film A Thief in the Night with a group of religious diverse undergraduate students. My church — a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation that straddled the worlds of evangelical and mainline Protestantism — did not screen the film [Read More...]

Americans Incarcerate

An 1858 Harper's illustration of a freezing "shower"

Americans incarcerate. So begins and ends Jennifer Graber’s The Furnace of Affliction: Prisons & Religion in Antebellum America. Americans incarcerate. One of out every hundred American adults is behind bars. One would rather not think about the economic, emotional, and spiritual cost of this mass imprisonment. I imagine that most Americans and most American Christians [Read More...]