Jonathan Edwards and the Sanctified Emotions

A recent e-mail conversation with Lauren Winner raised an important question – in the view of Jonathan Edwards and similar eighteenth-century evangelicals, do the emotions become more, or less, central to the Christian life as the believer proceeds in sanctification? After the resurrection, and during the millennial reign of Christ, will believers’ emotions be “engaged and [Read More...]

Should We Elect a Muslim President?

Ben Carson stirred up the latest Republican primary tempest this weekend when he volunteered the opinion that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.” What should we make of this statement? First, it speaks to a pervasive religious ignorance in our political culture, of which Carson is hardly the [Read More...]

Why Are Academic Books So Expensive?

[Today's post is taken from one of my author newsletters. It is a question that comes up so often that I thought I would share it here.] Many an academic author has had the experience of proudly announcing the publication of his or her new book, only to have someone ask “Why is it so [Read More...]

The Biblical Case for Organized Labor

Today’s guest post is from Heath W. Carter. He is an assistant professor of history at Valparaiso University and the author of Union Made: Working People and the Rise of Social Christianity in Chicago (Oxford, 2015). These are the worst of times for organized labor, which during the post-World War II decades – the heyday of middle [Read More...]

The Ex-Baptist Pastor Who Popularized Ben Franklin’s Electrical Experiments

James Delbourgo’s A Most Amazing Scene of Wonders: Electricity and Enlightenment in Early America offers a remarkable account of Ebenezer Kinnersley, a Baptist pastor who lost his Philadelphia church position due to his opposition to the Great Awakening. Kinnersley then improbably became the greatest popularizer of Ben Franklin’s discoveries in electricity. Kinnersley was born in Gloucester, England, [Read More...]

How to Write an Excellent Statement of Purpose for Graduate Applications

Fall is the time for students to put together their applications for graduate school. Many of these applications require an enigmatic-sounding “statement of purpose.” With due regard for differences between disciplines, here are the top three mistakes in statements of purpose by graduate applicants: 1) Failing to be specific enough. “I am interested in the [Read More...]

Graduate Course Readings in Early American Religion

I’m gearing up for the start of classes, so here’s another edition of my readings for the semester. This fall at Baylor I am teaching an introductory American history survey, and a history graduate course (doctoral and master’s students) on early American religion. What am I trying to do with the list of readings for the [Read More...]

The “Evangelicals” Who Support Donald Trump

There has been much hand-wringing in recent weeks about the persistent support of Donald Trump among “evangelicals.” Why in the world would so many Christians support a rude and crude candidate like Trump, whose pro-life credentials seem obligatory at best, and who specializes in vilifying Hispanics? If we are to believe the polls, the American [Read More...]

Teaching Salem Witchcraft

One of the most provocative topics in the American History survey class is the Salem witchcraft trials. Although it was a great tragedy, the episode lends itself to wonderful discussions about historical interpretation. As Emerson Baker’s recent book A Storm of Witchcraft points out, the past four decades have seen a huge expansion of the literature on [Read More...]

How Far Mike Huckabee Has Fallen

Over at the Washington Post’s Acts of Faith blog, I have a piece on the strange decline of Mike Huckabee as a Republican presidential aspirant. I really liked Huckabee in 2008, but it has pretty much been all downhill from there. Supporting David Barton, getting his Fox News gig, and now playing the “Nazi card” on the [Read More...]