Why I Joined Marco Rubio’s Religious Liberty Advisory Board

Many of you have heard that I have joined Senator Marco Rubio’s Religious Liberty Advisory Board. Many have congratulated me; a few have denounced me! I can imagine some readers asking, why would I join such a board for a presidential campaign? I have written often about how politics is not ultimately the answer to [Read More…]

Dueling Apocalypses

I have been posting about some apocalyptic sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, which are found in the collections known as the Hadith. Such sayings are numerous, and at so many points, they echo the lore found among contemporary Christians. Taken with those Christian documents, in fact, they suggest the depth of the apocalyptic fascination [Read More…]

Jesus at Dabiq

The Hadith are sayings attributed to the Prophet Muhammad, and some address apocalyptic themes. One in particular has attracted a lot of attention recently because it refers to the North Syrian city of Dabiq, and that name and the associated story have inspired the murderous sect known as ISIS/Daesh. Despite that connection, though, the passage [Read More…]

Vonette Zachary Bright (1926-2015)

In December 2004, I went to Orlando, Florida, to interview Vonette Bright. I was in the process of researching and writing a dissertation about Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru), using the organization as a lens into the trajectory of American evangelicalism in the second half of the twentieth century. I already felt as if [Read More…]

InterVarsity and #BlackLivesMatter in Historical Perspective

In the last month, Franklin Graham called for a moratorium on Muslim immigration. Polls seemed to show considerable evangelical support for Donald Trump. Jerry Falwell declared, “If more good people had concealed-carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walked in and killed them.” Graham and Falwell represent a particular strain of Christianity. [Read More…]

Donald Trump and the Crisis of American Populism

In the 1960s William F. Buckley famously quipped that he’d rather be governed by the first two thousand names in the Boston phone book than by Harvard’s two thousand faculty members. I still agree with Buckley, but events of 2015 have made my populist leanings waver. We are waiting to see whether Donald Trump’s enormous [Read More…]

Apocalypse at Dabiq

Over the past year, the word Dabiq has come to be associated with some horrendous deeds. That is the name of the emetic publication of the group ISIS/Daesh, in which it presents its propaganda and advocates acts of terror worldwide. Here, though, in a series of posts, I want to describe where the name comes [Read More…]

The Study Quran

For the unfamiliar (that includes me), the Qur’an is an imposing, rather intimidating scripture. Unlike the Bible, it doesn’t contain long chunks of historical narrative that allow one to advance in something like chronological order. Without knowing the context of the individual sections (or sections of sections), one encounters a bewildering array of spiritual, legal, [Read More…]

A Pastor’s Quick Guide to Reliable Historical Research

A friend of mine was preparing his sermon. We happened to be at the same social function, and so he casually asked me what I knew about medieval illuminations (i.e. fireworks). To be honest, I didn’t know much. From my years of teaching world history I knew that gunpowder and fireworks had originated in Asia and [Read More…]

Top Posts of 2015, Anxious Bench

Here are the year’s top posts of 2015 by author. Thanks for reading and supporting us at the Anxious Bench! Beth Allison Barr, “Halloween: More Christian Than Pagan” Agnes Howard, “How We See the Fetus” Tal Howard, “Moors, Saracens, and Turks: Islam and Europe’s Deep History” Philip Jenkins, “Mormons and New World History” Thomas Kidd, [Read More…]