Visions in the Hebrew Scriptures

Ezekiel's_vision

Beginning today, I’m starting a weekly series on visions. My immediate interest in the question stems from my recent foray into the history of Mormonism, a movement that now traces itself to Joseph Smith’s theophany of God the Father and Jesus Christ. (See this recent statement on the subject published last year by the Church [Read More...]

The Strange Case of Two Stony Brook School Classmates

Felicity, California

Several weeks ago I settled down to my usual Sunday afternoon reading of the New York Times. I encountered one of the more fascinating profiles I’ve read in a while. It opened like this: “One morning in late January, Jacques-André Istel woke up at his home in Felicity, Calif., did 100 push-ups and 125 squats, [Read More...]

George Marsden and the Gift of Clear Writing

Over at The Gospel Coalition, I recently reviewed The Twilight of the American Enlightenment: The 1950s and the Crisis of Liberal Belief, by my doctoral advisor George Marsden. One of the things that I admire the most about Marsden as a history writer, which I see again in Twilight, is his clarity. (Wilfred McClay agrees, calling Twilight “sprightly [Read More...]

Lenten Confessions: The App

It was bound to happen.  As apps proliferate for all kinds of purposes, it was probably just a matter of time before one was invented to probe the recesses of conscience for sin.  With version 1.0 appearing in 2011, “Confession: A Roman Catholic App” was released several months ago in its 2.0 version.  2.0 not [Read More...]

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...]


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