Surprised by Joy

Joy Davidman Gresham is best known for the very end of her life. As depicted in the film Shadowlands, she and the renowned Christian author Clive Stapleton Lewis married after Joy was diagnosed with terminal cancer.                 Recent years have brought an avalanche of books about C.S. Lewis, who a half-century after his death continues [Read More…]

Religion, Secularization, and the Academy

On my campus, there are plenty of signs that religion is not going quietly into the night. On a thoroughfare outside the main student center, very loud preachers have been hosting “sin awareness” days. Is that really needed? Pro-life groups have been stationed a hundred yards away, displaying fetal photographs and engaging passers-by in what [Read More…]

Trump, Presbyterians, and Adventists

A few days ago, Donald Trump thought it wise to remind Republican primary voters that he’s Presbyterian and Ben Carson belongs to some weird religion: I’m Presbyterian. Can you believe it? Nobody believes I’m Presbyterian. I’m Presbyterian. I’m Presbyterian. I’m Presbyterian . . . Boy, that’s down the middle of the road folks, in all [Read More…]

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…]


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