Satan, that Insidious Whisperer

It goes without saying that Islam and “the West” have had a distressed relationship in recent decades. One can be forgiven for clinging to the hope of improved relations in the decades ahead and for inroads of genuine democracy in Muslim-majority Middle Eastern states. But this hope should be tethered to a sober historical understanding, [Read More...]

What’s Right with (Christian) Higher Education

Many things are wrong with higher education today, to be sure.  But let’s not overlook the bright spots.  One of these is the Lilly Fellows Program in the Humanities and the Arts seated at Valparaiso University.  (Full disclosure: I was a postdoctoral fellow at this program from 1997 to 1999). I write about it now [Read More...]

Nihilism and “The Book of Mormon”

I refer to the blockbuster musical, not the sacred book of Mormons.  Recently, I took a group of (mostly evangelical) students at Gordon College to see the play when it was staged in Boston.   (No parents have complained—not yet anyway!)   Much has already been written about the play.  Still, after watching it, I could not [Read More...]

That’s So Dys-Evangelical …

 History presents many ironies.  One of them has to do with evangelicalism’s relationship to the task of Christian unity—or what theologians call ecumenism.  The mandate is robustly set forth in John’s Gospel 17:21, where Christ prays for his disciples and their followers: “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, [Read More...]

Lenten Confessions: The App

It was bound to happen.  As apps proliferate for all kinds of purposes, it was probably just a matter of time before one was invented to probe the recesses of conscience for sin.  With version 1.0 appearing in 2011, “Confession: A Roman Catholic App” was released several months ago in its 2.0 version.  2.0 not [Read More...]

Should I Send my (Christian) Child to a (Secular) State University?

No.  In an ideal world, you should send him or her to Gordon College.  Its robust blend of faith and intellect, its ideal location near Boston, and its commitment to the liberal arts ideal—all make it the only choice any right-minded Christian parent would opt for.  (The fact that I teach at Gordon and my [Read More...]

Rome or Death

I’ve just returned from a month of travels in Italy—Orvieto, Ravenna, Rome, Naples.  (The life of a scholar is sometimes tough, but someone has to do it.)  One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to work in the Vatican archives for the first time; I read there the correspondence from the nineteenth [Read More...]

Martin Luther, Erich Honecker, and China’s Xi Jinping

Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece on China’s new leader Xi Jinping’s efforts to shore up party loyalty by having government officials watch a new film about the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Produced by a retired Chinese major general, the six-part documentary points a finger at Mikhail Gorbachev, not the communist system [Read More...]

Virtue and Vice and Everything …

One of the heartening things about our times has been the recovery, at least in some quarters, of the language of virtue and vice.  At a popular level, this owes much to William Bennet and his concern for the moral formation of children, and at an academic level, the smoking gun points, above all, to [Read More...]

The Promise of America’s Religious Colleges

As a new academic year gets underway, the writing is on the wall: higher education might well be lurching toward a period of creative destruction of the sort that has affected many other sectors of the economy in recent decades.  Mention of “the University of Phoenix” or “MOOCs” or “the Minerva Project” strikes fear in [Read More...]


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