The Virtues of a Free (Christian) Press

In my time writing for WORLD magazine, one thing I have learned is that people don’t like being the subject of negative press coverage. This shouldn’t be a surprise, of course, but still it has been revealing to see how often coverage of controversy generates complaints from representatives of the person or ministry in question. Were I [Read More...]

Why Homeschool?

My wife and I are not exactly fire-breathing homeschool zealots. Homeschooling is not for everybody, and we have friends in Waco whose kids do just fine in public and private schools. But for us, and for many paleo evangelicals and their fellow travelers, the advantages of homeschooling are quite compelling. Recent reports have suggested that the [Read More...]

Review of R. Tracy McKenzie’s The First Thanksgiving

Over at Christianity Today, I reviewed Robert Tracy McKenzie’s excellent The First Thanksgiving. Here’s a sample: In 1623, Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford proclaimed the first Thanksgiving. “The great Father,” he declared, “has given us this year an abundant harvest…and granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.” He directed the Pilgrims [Read More...]

Clergy Housing Allowances Ruled Unconstitutional

Last week came the news that, in the latest legal success for secularist advocacy groups, a federal judge ruled that clergy’s tax-exempt “housing allowance” is unconstitutional. It is difficult to know exactly what the Founders would have thought of this issue, because a) there was no federal income tax until the early 20th century and [Read More...]

“A New Birth of Freedom”: The Gettysburg Address

November 19, 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, his most famous speech and one of the most famous in American history. He delivered the speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, four months after the conclusion of the Civil War’s decisive battle. The renowned orator Edward Everett was the main [Read More...]

The Supreme Court and Deity-Specific Prayers

Last week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Town of Greece v. Galloway, a case concerning the constitutionality of uttering Jesus’s name in prayers at public meetings. As I wrote in earlier coverage for WORLD Magazine, the town of Greece (N.Y.) attempted to accommodate pressure from secularists to make the town board’s prayers non-sectarian by recruiting [Read More...]

Why I Am Still a Baptist

A reader recently asked me why, given my knowledge of and interest in church history, I remain a Baptist. There are powerful arguments for apostolic succession, infant baptism, and other non-Baptist principles that other low-church evangelicals have found compelling. Why do I stick around? It may help to know that I did not grow up [Read More...]

Evangelical-Mormon “Detente”?

Adelle Banks of Religion News Service has a fascinating piece on signs of a possible new evangelical-Mormon detente, a thaw that goes even beyond the widespread evangelical support for Mitt Romney as president. She writes Last month, after being sure to get his caffeine fix at Starbucks, Southern Baptist leader Richard Land went where few [Read More...]

“Psychedelic Christians”: The Legacy of the Jesus People

I recently had the pleasure of reading Larry Eskridge’s remarkable God’s Forever Family: The Jesus People Movement in America (Oxford, 2013). [Full disclosure: Larry is a good friend and fellow Carolinian - though of the North Carolina variety - who has occasionally given me barbecue advice.] This book is the epitome of definitive, with rich, entertaining [Read More...]

Interpreting Demonic Possession

My graduate course recently read Brian Levack’s The Devil Within: Possession and Exorcism in the Christian West (Yale, 2013). Levack, the author of a number of important books on witchcraft and possession in early modern Europe, notes from the outset that “demonic possession is a methodological landmine for historians.” That’s the truth! It is relatively easy [Read More...]


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