A Muslim, an Evangelical, and Jesus Walk into a Bar …

It might well be that Jesus is the only one who would place an order. American Evangelicalism has longed harbored a strain of teetotalism while the Qur’an strictly forbids Muslims from drinking alcohol. Jesus, of course, turned water into wine, according to the Gospel of John. Relations between Christians and Muslims have been on my [Read More...]

An Infallible, Liberal Pope?

First Vatican Council, 1869-70

Pope Francis has been back in the news. Most recently, because the Vatican confirmed that he will visit the United States next year, but earlier because of the much-discussed extraordinary synod on the family. At this gathering, some prelates drafted a document evincing an unprecedented welcome to gays and divorced Catholics before it was criticized [Read More...]

The Axe that Severed the Bishop’s Head

Saga

. . . also brought the Protestant Reformation to Iceland. Recently I’ve had a chance to travel to Iceland for the first time. The small island republic in the middle of the Atlantic is best known for its beguiling landscape: a plethora of active volcanoes (one now erupting), glaciers, lava beds, waterfalls, thermal baths, geysers, [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 [Read More...]

Bonhoeffer’s “Who am I?”

Much attention has been directed to the legacy of Dietrich Bonhoeffer lately due in part to the popular biography by Eric Metaxas (Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy) and, more recently, the more scholarly approach of Charles Marsh (A Strange Glory: The Life Of Dietrich Bonhoeffer). For most American Christians, the best known of Bonhoeffer’s works [Read More...]

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...]


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