Brigham Young’s Favorite Hymn

Eliza-R.-Snow

On April 8, 1877, Brigham Young delivered a sermon on the occasion of his imminent departure from the St. George Temple. Many observers of Young’s multifaceted career forget how significant temple-building was for him and for his legacy. “We shall build Temples over north and South America,” Young declared in 1875 while planning the construction [Read More...]

The Age of Evangelicalism

9780199777952

Steven Miller’s first book, Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South, discusses the role of Graham and of evangelical Christianity more broadly in the political realignment of southern politics in the years following the Second World War. Miller’s second book, The Age of Evangelicalism: America’s Born-Again Years has already received a great deal [Read More...]

A Family Guide to Visiting Philadelphia

There are few better cities in America for a history-themed visit than Philadelphia. We recently returned from a week and a half visit to Philly and Princeton, where I was a faculty leader for a wonderful Witherspoon Institute seminar. (I highly recommend their excellent seminars, which range across topics in law, history, and religion.) Whenever [Read More...]

Joseph Smith and the Book of Abraham

Outsiders to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints familiar with Mormonism typically have heard something about the Book of Mormon. Perhaps they know that Joseph Smith claimed to have received golden plates from an angel. Those a bit more familiar with Mormonism might know that Smith also dictated scores of revelations, messages from [Read More...]

Fully Divine, Fully Human Word of God

Erosion

When Christianity Today editor Harold Lindsell identified a Battle for the Bible in 1976, he spoke to a conflict that had been roiling American Protestants for more than two centuries and that had been splitting conservative Protestants for many decades. In The Erosion of Biblical Certainty (not exactly bargain priced, so the Anxious Bench pursues [Read More...]

Have Visions Ceased?

luther-tischreden

In his published account of his first visionary experience, Joseph Smith reported that a Methodist preacher reacted to his report of his vision with utter contempt: “he treated my communication not only lightly, but with great contempt, saying it was all of the devil, that there were no such things as visions or revelations in [Read More...]

Five American Religious History Books Every Evangelical Minister Should Read

Summer Reading

Traditionally, summer is the time for reading lists.  In honor of that tradition, I present the following post. Among Anxious Bench authors, I am a bit of an anomaly.  My colleagues on the blog–Agnes Howard, Tal Howard, Thomas Kidd, Philip Jenkins, David Swartz, and John Turner–all hold positions in history departments.  I teach in a [Read More...]

Evangelicals Not Welcome

It’s been a long time since most public and private universities and colleges in the United States desired the active presence of evangelical Christians in their midst. After the YMCA/YWCA and the Student Volunteer Movement backed away from their evangelical roots, groups such as Inter-Varsity, the Navigators, and Campus Crusade for Christ filled the vacuum. [Read More...]

Anti-Catholicism: The Defining Religious Principle of Early America?

I have been reading Owen Stanwood’s excellent book The Empire Reformed: English America in the Age of the Glorious Revolution, which has taken me back to my own doctoral research and first book (now a cult classic!) The Protestant Interest: New England after Puritanism. Stanwood shows just how much weight “anti-popery” carried in early English America, and [Read More...]

What’s Right with (Christian) Higher Education

Many things are wrong with higher education today, to be sure.  But let’s not overlook the bright spots.  One of these is the Lilly Fellows Program in the Humanities and the Arts seated at Valparaiso University.  (Full disclosure: I was a postdoctoral fellow at this program from 1997 to 1999). I write about it now [Read More...]


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