For Evangelicals, Party Trumps Personalities

My co-blogger Thomas Kidd suggests that church-going evangelicals and a group he calls “paleo-evangelicals” (already disaffected with the Republican Party) should desert the Republicans should Donald Trump capture the GOP nomination. I am in the camp of those who consider that outcome an improbability in two respects. First, despite widespread dissatisfaction with “establishment” politicians, Republicans [Read More…]

Station Eleven

Last year, John Wilson of Books & Culture praised Emily St. John Mandel’s post-apocalyptic novel Station Eleven. Over the years, B&C has placed several splendid novels on my radar screen, including Mischa Berlinski’s Fieldwork (Berlinski’s second novel will appear this coming March). Station Eleven did not disappoint. Mandel’s is an artfully crafted narrative, weaving together [Read More…]

Playing Mormon, Playing Indian

In 1869, Lucy Stanton Bassett traveled from New York to Utah, possibly riding on the transcontinental railroad completed that May. When she reached Utah, she was reunited with her parents and children, and she met her grandchildren. For tens of thousands of Americans and Europeans, the journey to Zion was a rite of passage, a [Read More…]

Adam, Billy Graham, and Biblical Authority

Last week, I excerpted some highlights from a recent intra-evangelical debate about Adam’s historicity in the (online) pages of Book & Culture. Today, some commentary. I agree with William VanDoodewaard that the somewhat lopsided nature of the debate is itself remarkable: “Combined as participants we present one quarter committed to the historical Adam of historic [Read More…]

The Historical Adam

Books & Culture recently hosted a symposium on the “historical [or not] Adam,” organized by Karl Giberson and John Wilson. Eight participants posted brief essays on the subject, followed by a round of responses. Here are some highlights from each: Peter Enns, Eastern University: “the modern study of the ancient world of the Bible has [Read More…]

Liberty and Civility

Earlier this week, Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke to 12,000 students at Virginia’s Liberty University. Sanders’s visit provided some of the more substantive political theater in the 2016 campaign thus far. The self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” proved himself a bit more facile with the Bible than the Donald, and he received a [Read More…]

Five Thoughts on Evangelical History

Nathan Finn (an occasional Anxious Bench guest blogger) recently published a review essay in Themelios on the state of “evangelical history after George Marsden.” In it, he introduces the Marsden generation of scholarship and then comments on recent books by Steven Miller, Matthew Sutton, and Molly Worthen. My first thought when reading the essay is [Read More…]

Race and American Christianity

Jesus and I were the only white people in the room. After my freshman year of college, I spent the summer on an uncompensated internship in the Washington, DC, area. (The experience gave me a lasting desire to be compensated for work performed). The internship did come with one perk — free housing in a [Read More…]

Publishing without Perishing

Several of my co-bloggers have commented on aspects of dissertation writing and academic publishing. Perhaps for some gifted individuals, books come forth with ease. For most of us, however, they are laborious endeavors, filled with stretches of angst and exhaustion. What follows are a few thoughts on how to minimize publishing stress and how to [Read More…]

Seer Stones and Prophetic Authority

Last week, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made national and international news by releasing photographs of a seer stone used by Joseph Smith during the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. For some contemporary Latter-day Saints and for some outside critics of the church, the fact that Joseph Smith used a [Read More…]


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