LOSING ENOCH

The scriptures attributed to the Biblical figure of Enoch commanded immense respect in the early Christian church, but by the ninth century or so, these had largely vanished from use, in Europe at least. Not only were they treated with less respect, but they effectively disappeared. Why and how did this happen? What does this [Read More...]

Anti-Mormon Humor

Brigham Young's Widows Mourn His Passing

It’s so easy to make fun of Mormons that The Book of Mormon: The Musical didn’t even mention polygamy. The golden plates — where are they now? The Garden of Eden — where is it? No coffee? The preceding three questions may violate the spirit of Episcopal Bishop of Utah, the Rev. Scott Hayashi’s plea [Read More...]

Debating Constantine

constantine

Peter Leithart’s landmark book Defending Constantine (2010) sharply rebuked Christian pacifists. Leithart clearly intended to do more than rehabilitate the reputation of Constantine, emperor of Rome in the fourth century; this project was also a polemic against Mennonite icon John Howard Yoder. In its most grave charge, Defending Constantine accuses Yoder of doing bad history. [Read More...]

When the United Nations Did Good: Os Guinness and Religious Liberty

Baylor recently welcomed Os Guinness, one of the seminal Christian apologists of the past half-century, for a public conversation with our president, Judge Ken Starr. Guinness spoke about his new book The Global Public Square: Religious Freedom and the Making of a World Safe for Diversity. [Video of the event is available here.] Guinness offers a [Read More...]

WHY MARY?

polyptych-annunziata-assumption-of-mary

I recently posted about the historic devotion to the Virgin Mary, and the range of alternative writings and even pseudo-gospels that it inspired. These texts made Mary a close facsimile of Christ, with a comparably miraculous story of conception, birth, death and (in a sense) resurrection. Mary’s birth-story is described in the Protevangelium, and the [Read More...]

THE MYSTERY OF ENOCH

Idris_the_prophet

And Enoch walked with God and then he was gone, for God took him. I am investigating a mysterious disappearance. As I am a mere academic, there’s no actual blood involved, but it’s still a puzzling case. Briefly, I am trying to explain why the Book of Enoch vanished as thoroughly as it did, and [Read More...]

Evangelicals and White Supremacy (part II)

While a national denomination fitfully advanced an agenda of social justice and civil rights, my local congregation fractured. The session moderator, a host of leading congregants, and much of the attendance disappeared. Week by week, the numbers dwindled. Empty pews were disillusioning. Across the country, congregations were leaving and joining a splinter denomination, and bitter [Read More...]

The Roots of Evangelical Opposition to Syrian Intervention

Last week I wrote about “Paleo Evangelicals and Syria,” explaining why many traditional evangelicals will not support intervention in Syria’s civil war. Evangelicals are hardly the only Christians opposing intervention; indeed, the Syria question has become one of the most remarkably unifying issues for progressive, Catholic, Orthodox, and evangelical Christians that I can ever recall. [Read More...]

PAPIAS AND THE MIRACULOUS VINES

Jesus the true vine

Based on my study of Christian history, I offer a couple of strictly non-scientific impressions. The first is that the religion is more consistently weird in its expressions than we usually assume. Also, we can find a remarkable number of long-term continuities and connections, if we remain open to noticing them. And finally, any long-term [Read More...]

THE PASSING OF MARY

assumption icon

And, behold, the archangel Michael rolled back the stone from the door of the tomb; and the Lord said: Arise, my beloved and my nearest relation; thou who hast not put on corruption by intercourse with man, suffer not destruction of the body in the sepulchre. And immediately Mary rose from the tomb, and blessed [Read More...]