EUROPE AND AFRICA

Peter_Paul_Rubens_-_Four_Studies_of_the_Head_of_a_Negro_-_WGA20382

Largely through the missionary efforts of the day, early modern Europeans had quite extensive awareness of a much wider world. I stress the religious context because even some of the political and diplomatic contacts with distant realms owed much to missionary efforts, with Jesuits much in prominence as intermediaries. Some recent art exhibits have provided [Read More...]

A WIDER WORLD

SiameseEmbassyToLouisXIV1686NicolasLarmessin

I have been posting about how contemporary visual materials can be used to reflect the experience of Christian missionary history, with all its implications for globalization. Some of these materials are quite striking. For the Protestant world, the great age of missionary expansion only began at the end of the eighteenth century. The Catholic experience, [Read More...]

The End of Religious Freedom?

Smith Freedom

What is religious freedom? Is it the freedom to worship or otherwise interact with God, gods, or other things and entities as one sees fit? Is it freedom of conscience in terms of the supernatural? If religious freedom also involves the right to live out one’s religion in the public sphere, how far does that [Read More...]

Religious Marketplace, Religious Fragmentation

Moore - Selling God

I am a big fan of religious disestablishment.  I appreciate the tireless advocacy (and agitation) of my Baptist forbears for freedom of conscience in matters of religion.  Over the decades, men such as Thomas Helwys, John Clarke, John Leland, Isaac Backus and the signers of historic Baptist confessions like the First London Confession (1644), The [Read More...]

“Ask Jesus into Your Heart”: A History of the Sinner’s Prayer

[This week's post comes from my Patheos archives.] Many an evangelical pastor has concluded a sermon by asking non-Christians to “ask [or receive, or invite] Jesus into their heart,” or to pray a version of what some call the “sinner’s prayer.” But some evangelicals, including Baptist pastor David Platt of Birmingham, Alabama, have in recent years [Read More...]

PAINTING FRANCIS XAVIER

Miracle_of_Saint_Francis_Xavier

I posted about the art of mission, the ways in which Euro-American Christians visualized the missionary efforts under way in Africa and Asia. Those pictures give a fine insight into the ideology of mission, helping us understand what believers in that age thought they were trying to accomplish. We find some superb examples of that [Read More...]

THE ART OF MISSION

Stanley_-_Comment…_11

Visual art can be a terrific source for the history of religion, and that is especially true when we look at Christian missions through the centuries. Those visuals don’t just reflect our idea of a topic, they do much to shape it. For many people today, the word “missionary” is faintly ludicrous, and conjures up [Read More...]

American Pseudobibles (and the Book of Mormon)

American-Zion

Americans during the Revolutionary era and the Early Republic lived in a world suffused with the Hebrew scriptures. That reality, already charted by many historians (including Mark Noll, who once termed the Old Testament (“the common coinage of the realm”), is only the backdrop to Eran Shalev’s remarkable American Zion: The Old Testament as a [Read More...]

Unexpected Sites of Christian Pacifism: Holiness Edition

pentecostal-holiness-statements

Jay Beaman, a sociologist at Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, likes to do historical experiments. After extensive research he sends emails to members of Ancestry.com, telling them that he has found a relative of theirs who claimed religious objection on their World War I draft card. These relatives were members of holiness and Pentecostal [Read More...]

Tocqueville’s Uncanny Vision

Last week I had the privilege of leading my History of American Thought class at Baylor through Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. This is one of the most intriguing, and in some cases most chilling, analyses of the American republic ever written. Composed by the visiting French aristocrat in the 1830s, Democracy in America [Read More...]


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