Sacred Violence in Early America

In 1637, English forces and their native allies encircled a Pequot village and burned alive some five hundred men, women, and children. John Mason termed it a “fiery oven” and declared: “It was the LORDS DOINGS, and it is marvelous to our Eyes.” William Bradford, then governor of New Plymouth, allowed that “it was a [Read More…]

The Terror Attack in France

I don’t normally post two items in a day, but this is a special circumstance. I am of course utterly horrified at last night’s appalling terror attack in France. It made such a personal impact because the specific method is one I have discussed through the years. Just last week, I published an article for [Read More…]

Fertility and Faith, Continued

I have made the case that fertility and faith are intimately linked. Very generally, falling fertility rates correlate with declining support for organized religion, and growing secularization. (This is the total fertility rate, TFR). The key marker is the “replacement” rate, when a typical woman bears 2.1 children during the course of her life. When [Read More…]

The Crisis of Corporate Evangelicalism (Part 2 – Defining Evangelicalism)

  [You can read Part 1 here if you missed it.] Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: what do I mean by the term evangelical? There are as many definitions as there are pundits trying to explain Donald Trump. And you can expect a new batch soon, now that Pew has reported 78% of [Read More…]

The Gender Inclusive Bible Debate (Medieval Style)

I remember this so well. It was 1997–the year I graduated from college, the year I got married, and the year I started graduate school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was also the year that the world learned about Zondervan’s gender-neutral edition of the NIV (which eventually became known as [Read More…]

What Makes for the Best Historical Movies? (part 1)

How should we evaluate historical movies like Free State of Jones? (part 1 of 3) [Read more…]

Fertility and Faith

I have written a good deal about the relationship between demographics and religious loyalties, and this theme has critical implications for the future development of all the world’s faiths. This topic will probably be the theme of my next book, so let me take the opportunity offered by the blog format to lay out some [Read More…]

Two Sides of One Coin? (Buddhist and Christian Decline, Part III)

I have been comparing the decline of two once mighty religious systems, namely Buddhism in India, and Christianity in the Middle East. By the late Middle Ages, both were damaged irreparably, and had shrunk to shadows of their former selves. Indian Buddhism came close to extinction. Both the Christian and Buddhist stories raise the fundamental [Read More…]

Forgeries and Schadenfreude

Nearly four years ago, Karen King publicized a Coptic manuscript she had dated to the fourth-century. It contains the words, “Jesus said to them, ‘my wife.’” King did not claim the papyrus as evidence that the historical Jesus had married, but she did consider it evidence that early communities of Christians believed that he had. [Read More…]

Evangelicals, Local Churches, and Transformational Advocacy

Historically, evangelicals have hesitated to engage structures and systems. The book Advocating for Justice represents a new trajectory. This guest post, by Krisanne Vaillancourt Murphy of Bread for the World, describes how one local congregation in Indiana is pushing for immigration reform. –David *** Evangelicals can effectively practice transformational advocacy in the local church. Here [Read More…]