The Strange Career of the Antimission Baptists

I recently wrote about “Calvinism and the Roots of the Missionary Movement,” in which I discussed the powerful (and to some, counter-intuitive) influence of Calvinism on early Baptist missionaries. There’s a flip-side to that story, which is the largely Calvinist antimission movement of the 1820s and 1830s. Baptists and other evangelicals founded a number of [Read More...]

The Historical Genius of Edmund Morgan

Last week we lost one of the titans of American history writing, Yale’s Edmund Morgan. His publishing career spanned an incredible sixty-five years from his first book (1944) to his last (2009). His topics ranged widely across colonial and Revolutionary American history, but if you have read anything by Morgan, it is likely The Puritan [Read More...]

Calvinism and the Roots of the Missionary Movement

Over at Kevin DeYoung’s blog, Jason Helopoulos asks “Does Calvinism Kill Missions?” and answers with a resounding historical ‘no.’  I agree, and want to put a little finer point on it: from the perspective of Baptist history, Calvinists birthed the missions movement. (For background on Calvinism/Arminianism in the Baptist context, see links below.) I’ve recently been reading Jason Duesing’s [Read More...]

Five Compelling Books on the American Revolution

For the Fourth of July, here are five compelling books on the American Revolution. A few caveats: these are all books written by academic historians for a popular audience. I’m not including books on the Revolution by journalists and other writers, though there are many excellent ones, such as Ron Chernow’s biographies of Alexander Hamilton [Read More...]

America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has released its 2013 list of the 11 “most endangered historic places.” As a historian, I am a sucker for these kinds of lists, and think that the the NTHP performs an excellent service by publicizing these places. I was also pleased (dismayed?) to see two churches on the [Read More...]

The NSA Controversy, the Founding Fathers, and the Fourth Amendment

My latest post for The Federalist Papers reflects on the meaning of the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and requires that warrants be justified by “probable cause.” What was the historical context of the Fourth Amendment, and why were the Founders so concerned about what they called “general warrants”? More [Read More...]

Graduate Course Readings in Early American Religion

This fall I am teaching a history graduate course at Baylor (doctoral and master’s students) on early American religion, and have recently submitted my book orders. What am I trying to do with this list of readings? Several goals overlap: first, I want to introduce students to some of the most important recent academic titles [Read More...]

You Might Be a Paleo Evangelical If…

Over at The American Conservative, my new Baylor colleague Alan Jacobs wonders if he is really a conservative (my short answer is yes), even though he declines to affiliate with the Republican party, doubts that corporate capitalism is the answer to all our social ills, and opposes “military adventurism” and nation-building. Jacobs centers his own political [Read More...]

Hope for Revival in Britain?

My family and I just returned from two weeks in the U.K., and while we were there, several major British religion news events transpired. First, on a day we happened to be in Edinburgh, Church of Scotland delegates voted to allow gay ministers. Then, when we returned to London, came the appalling murder of a [Read More...]

Do Christians and Muslims Worship the Same God?

The Boston Marathon bombings and the faiths of the Tsarnaev brothers have renewed the debate about the nature of Islam, so this week I am reposting my review of Miroslav Volf’s Allah: A Christian Response, from the Patheos archives. – President George W. Bush created a boiling controversy amongst evangelicals in 2003 when he declared that [Read More...]


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