George McGovern and the Religious Left

I’m pleased to post this interview with Mark Lempke, who just published the terrific book My Brother’s Keeper: George McGovern and Progressive Christianity with the University of Massachusetts Press. Mark teaches history in Singapore for the University of Buffalo. Part II, in which Mark explains why he’d want McGovern on his pub trivia team, will [Read More…]

“The Riddle of the Religious Other”

Often I have been asked about putting together a grant proposal or a book prospectus. So, I thought I would post here a current proposal (which is very much in progress!) that I plan to send to the Guggenheim Foundation and eventually to a publisher. I hope this might help anyone out there crafting there [Read More…]

4 Reasons Why John Wesley Opposed the American Revolution

American Christians invoke John Wesley on all manner of subjects including sanctification, the sacraments, and social holiness. On this most sacred of American holidays, let us consider Wesley’s views on the American Revolution. Wesley, initially ambivalent about American independence, landed in favor of loyalist political arguments. He pointed out that the colonists held the same [Read More…]

Christian Responses to Lindbergh: “The Recrudescence of Paganism”

Christians debated how to respond to Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. To some, the ensuing hero worship smacked of “paganism.” [Read more…]

“To Unite All Religion Against Irreligion”

Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was a grand affair, celebrating (one year late) in the form of a world fair the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s voyages. For religious historians, the event is especially important because the Exposition hosted the World’s Parliament of Religions—the first ever, at least in terms of scale, interreligious dialogue among what [Read More…]

A Brief History of Vacation Bible School

Keep in mind that VBS is one of those traditions in American Christianity that is well-established, but not as old as you might think. [Read more…]

Mike Pence, “Orientation to Authority,” and Public Uses of Romans 13

When Vice President Mike Pence told Naval Academy graduates on Friday that they should “submit… to the authorities,” he revived an old American tradition of bringing Romans 13 into public discourse. [Read more…]

What’s the Future of the Evangelical Past?

Are we at the end of one era in the history of evangelicalism and the beginning of another? Where is the field headed? [Read more…]

The End of American Evangelicalism

Amid the semester’s end, the following is adapted and slightly updated from the Anxious Bench archives… One of the big surprises of 2017 was the extent of evangelical support for Donald Trump. During the Republican primaries, evangelicals might well have divided their support among a number of candidates who spoke persuasively about their Christian faith, including Ted [Read More…]

Billy Sunday vs. Kaiser Wilhelm the Mephistopheles

As the U.S. enters the centenary of its entry into World War I, a look back at war’s staunchest advocate among Christian fundamentalists: baseball player-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday. [Read more…]