History Surprises

Those who profess to dislike history may as well profess to dislike people.          ~Everett Ferguson I like people.  I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them–whether they are dead or alive.  For me, meeting new people from the past and growing in my understanding of them make history fun. [Read More...]

Unintended Consequences in American Religious History

Evan Treborn has a gift.  The main character in the 2004 science-fiction film The Butterfly Effect, Evan possesses the ability to travel back to particular points in his life, changing the events of that moment.  Over the course of the movie, he does this several times, hoping to change outcomes for the better.  Of course, [Read More...]

Religious Marketplace, Religious Fragmentation

Moore - Selling God

I am a big fan of religious disestablishment.  I appreciate the tireless advocacy (and agitation) of my Baptist forbears for freedom of conscience in matters of religion.  Over the decades, men such as Thomas Helwys, John Clarke, John Leland, Isaac Backus and the signers of historic Baptist confessions like the First London Confession (1644), The [Read More...]

Birmingham Revolution

Birmingham Revolution

For the February 2014 Patheos Book Club With the publication of Birmingham Revolutionon the occasion of the Birmingham Campaign’s fiftieth anniversary last year, IVP Books provided a readable, well-informed, and smartly packaged work that can serve as either an introduction to those unfamiliar with the seminal events of spring 1963 or a refresher for those [Read More...]

Campus Ministry in America: The Australian Connection

Missionary Aviation Fellowship

As the mid-twentieth century American evangelical renaissance bloomed, a whole host of evangelical ministries intent on engaging the world for Christ emerged.  Youth for Christ adopted trendy new methods to evangelize teenagers beginning in 1944, Mission Aviation Fellowship began serving missions in remote locations the year the World War II ended, and Fuller Seminary opened [Read More...]

Shattering the Illusion, Part 2

Marshall Keeble

We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with.     ~Martin Luther King, Jr. When Martin Luther King, Jr. first drafted those now-famous in [Read More...]

Shattering the Illusion, Part 1

Rosa Parks

  When authorities in Montgomery, Alabama arrested Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her seat to a white patron on December 1, 1955, African Americans in the city formed the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) in order to organize a direct action campaign.  Led by twenty-six year-old Martin Luther King, Jr., the MIA launched a boycott [Read More...]

Personality-Driven Leadership, Evangelicalism, and the NFL

NFL

The National Football League (NFL) playoffs begin this weekend.  Over the next several weeks, twelve teams–six from each conference–will contend for a chance to play for the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl XLVIII, held at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.  Holding a virtual monopoly on professional football in North America, the NFL manages [Read More...]

Personality-Driven Leadership in the Local Congregation

Hatch - Democratization

In my last post, I suggested that the evangelical embrace of personality-driven leadership forms the backstory to the Mark Driscoll-Janet Mefferd imbroglio over plagiarism.  Several commentators on the blog raised astute questions regarding the pervasive nature of this aspect of American evangelicalism.  After all, doesn’t personality-driven leadership characterize evangelicalism in local congregations, not just mega-ministries [Read More...]

Plagiarism, Personality-Driven Leadership, and the Problem With Evangelicalism

George Whitefield

Update: New developments in the Mefferd-Driscoll storyline can be found over at Warren Throckmorton’s blog post, “Janet Mefferd Removes Evidence Relating to Charges of Plagiarism Against Mark Driscoll; Apologizes to Audience.” Updated 12/4/13 @ 5:14 pm EST The recent dust-up within evangelical circles over accusations of plagiarism highlights one of the problems with the personality-based [Read More...]


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