Yes, Religious Liberty is Threatened in America

Oral arguments begin today at the Supreme Court in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, a case precipitated by the HHS Mandate, under which corporations must provide abortifacient and contraceptive coverage to employees. This requirement, the most controversial in a host of controversial provisions under Obamacare, has elicited a host of lawsuits from a variety of religious organizations, [Read More...]

An Interview with Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Author of The Men Who Lost America

Today’s guest post is an interview with Dr. Andrew O’Shaughnessy, by David Moore. Dave blogs at www.twocities.org. Dr. Andrew O’Shaughnessy is vice president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello.  His book, The Men Who Lost America (Yale, 2013) has received number of awards, and is a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize.   [Read More...]

George Marsden and the Gift of Clear Writing

Over at The Gospel Coalition, I recently reviewed The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief, by my doctoral advisor George Marsden. One of the things that I admire the most about Marsden as a history writer, which I see again in Twilight, is his clarity. (Wilfred McClay agrees, calling Twilight “sprightly [Read More...]

“Ask Jesus into Your Heart”: A History of the Sinner’s Prayer

[This week's post comes from my Patheos archives.] Many an evangelical pastor has concluded a sermon by asking non-Christians to “ask [or receive, or invite] Jesus into their heart,” or to pray a version of what some call the “sinner’s prayer.” But some evangelicals, including Baptist pastor David Platt of Birmingham, Alabama, have in recent years [Read More...]

Tocqueville’s Uncanny Vision

Last week I had the privilege of leading my History of American Thought class at Baylor through Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. This is one of the most intriguing, and in some cases most chilling, analyses of the American republic ever written. Composed by the visiting French aristocrat in the 1830s, Democracy in America [Read More...]

What to Publish, and When?

In response to one of my recent newsletters, a friend and former student asked, from the perspective of a Ph.D. student, “With seminar papers, conference papers, book reviews, and journal articles, there is a lot to think about. How to prioritize these? How to find time to work on long-term projects when the daily tasks [Read More...]

Recovering Lemuel Haynes: Patriot Hero, African American Pastor

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the implications of “all men are created equal” for America’s slaves was uncertain, at least to the delegates to the Continental Congress, many of whom (like Jefferson) owned slaves themselves. There was no doubt about the Declaration’s meaning to many free and enslaved African Americans, however. Lemuel [Read More...]

How to Stop Fiddling Around and Start Writing

A friend recently asked me about my writing practices – in particular, how do I keep track of notes as I am preparing to write? This allows me to make a recommendation that I hope you won’t find too peculiar: When writing, don’t take notes. Don’t make outlines. Just write. Let me clarify. What I [Read More...]

So You’re Thinking of Homeschooling…

A friend and parent of preschoolers recently asked how my wife and I made the decision to homeschool our kids. As I have written previously, homeschooling is not for every family. There are any number of reasons parents might decide not to homeschool, including a simple lack of passion for doing it. But even for [Read More...]

“Experts” and Evangelical Subculture

In my recent post on platforms and publishing, I noted that certain “experts” seem to be mostly platform and little substance, and that evangelicals have a special fondness for these sorts of pop experts. Matthew Lee Anderson subsequently asked me to address the question “Why do you think evangelicals are especially vulnerable to ‘experts’?” I am [Read More...]


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