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...]

Phony Wars

Reform or perish. Cultural and ideological liberals have given such advice to conservative churches for years. Sometimes that advice comes from within, sometimes from outside of those communions. For example, Jonathan Rauch warns conservative Christians that “the First Church of Discrimination will find few adherents in 21st-century America. Polls find that, year by year, Americans [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...]

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...]

The Papers of a Prophet

The Joseph Smith Papers Project website (josephsmithpapers.org) is one of the very best electronic resources pertaining to the history of religion in the United States. It is a companion to the printed volumes of the Joseph Smith Papers, which have set an outrageously high standard for documentary editions because of their clarity of transcription, extensive [Read More...]

Dancing with Jesus

Anna Vetter grew up amid the poverty of the Thirty Years War. After marrying, she gave birth to seven children. Around the age of thirty, she grew ill and nearly died. Her husband abused her. A daughter died shortly after birth. Then her visions began. Anna Vetter saw God, angels, and Jesus Christ. In one [Read More...]

German Pietism

Philippus_Theophrastus_Paracelsus

Most of us who think about the history of American evangelicalism are Anglo-centric. That is, if we think about the roots of American evangelicalism or about its subsequent development, we think about England (and perhaps Scotland and Wales) if we think outside of North America at all. Douglas Shantz, in An Introduction to German Pietism: [Read More...]

American Religion and Freemasonry

Hackett

Freemasonry is a tricky topic for historians of American religion, both in terms of classification and in terms of content. Masonry confuses, in part because of the many changes within its ranks over the course of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Still, good books exist on the topic, such as Stephen Bullock’s Revolutionary Brotherhood. [Read More...]

Anniversary Penance

This will not be Patheos’s best anniversary post. For starters, I just double-checked the guidelines and now see that anniversary posts were supposed to reach you between May 5 and May 7. I am late. Moreover, I have not prepared a video to upload for you to enjoy. This, however, is perhaps a blessing. A [Read More...]


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