What’s in a Name?

Coffman

At first glance, books about religious magazines should not be especially interesting, yet I find  them rather irresistible. As a graduate student, I remember being very impressed by Mark Hulsether’s fine study of Reinhold Niebuhr’s Christianity & Crisis. Now, I’ve just finished reading Elesha Coffman’s outstanding history of The Christian Century and the Rise of [Read More...]

Simple Living Pontiff Style

Chocolate-Pope

It’s easy to love Pope Francis. In one of his first acts as pope, he stopped by the hotel where he stayed before the conclave to settle his bill himself. With no fanfare he melts into the dark streets of Rome at night to hang out with the homeless. Shunning the official Papal Apartment of [Read More...]

Recovering Lemuel Haynes: Patriot Hero, African American Pastor

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the implications of “all men are created equal” for America’s slaves was uncertain, at least to the delegates to the Continental Congress, many of whom (like Jefferson) owned slaves themselves. There was no doubt about the Declaration’s meaning to many free and enslaved African Americans, however. Lemuel [Read More...]

Should I Send my (Christian) Child to a (Secular) State University?

No.  In an ideal world, you should send him or her to Gordon College.  Its robust blend of faith and intellect, its ideal location near Boston, and its commitment to the liberal arts ideal—all make it the only choice any right-minded Christian parent would opt for.  (The fact that I teach at Gordon and my [Read More...]

HIDDEN CHRISTIANS

I have been describing the Japanese campaign against Christianity, which peaked in the early seventeenth century. That story has a bizarre and quite moving aftermath. Notionally, the Christian church was utterly destroyed by about 1650, and the authorities sought out possible underground believers by making them defile the cross. Yet their success was not as [Read More...]

American Presbyterians and Israel

Even some seventy years after the Second World War, when one is in Germany one receives reminders of the Holocaust. Here in Heidelberg, vacant space and an understated memorial mark the 1938 destruction of the Jewish synagogue. That permanent emptiness reminds one of the enduring cost of evil. Most Heidelberg Jews died in Auschwitz. A [Read More...]

Campus Ministry in America: The Australian Connection

Missionary Aviation Fellowship

As the mid-twentieth century American evangelical renaissance bloomed, a whole host of evangelical ministries intent on engaging the world for Christ emerged.  Youth for Christ adopted trendy new methods to evangelize teenagers beginning in 1944, Mission Aviation Fellowship began serving missions in remote locations the year the World War II ended, and Fuller Seminary opened [Read More...]

How to Stop Fiddling Around and Start Writing

A friend recently asked me about my writing practices – in particular, how do I keep track of notes as I am preparing to write? This allows me to make a recommendation that I hope you won’t find too peculiar: When writing, don’t take notes. Don’t make outlines. Just write. Let me clarify. What I [Read More...]

DENYING THE FAITH

japanesemartyrs

I posted about the deadly Japanese persecution of Christians in the thirty years or so after 1614, and how this violence effectively destroyed organized Christianity in that nation. In 2014, we are commemorating the four hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the worst of the persecution. In describing Japanese acts against the Christians, I am [Read More...]

DESTROYING JAPANESE CHRISTIANITY

ChristianMartyrsOfNagasaki

This year marks a singularly grim anniversary in Christian history. In 2014, it is exactly four hundred years since the start of the horrific persecution that destroyed the once flourishing church in Japan. When we think of persecutions on this scale, we normally tend to set them in an ancient or medieval context. The world [Read More...]


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