That’s So Dys-Evangelical …

 History presents many ironies.  One of them has to do with evangelicalism’s relationship to the task of Christian unity—or what theologians call ecumenism.  The mandate is robustly set forth in John’s Gospel 17:21, where Christ prays for his disciples and their followers: “That they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, [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...]

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...]

Rome or Death

I’ve just returned from a month of travels in Italy—Orvieto, Ravenna, Rome, Naples.  (The life of a scholar is sometimes tough, but someone has to do it.)  One of the highlights of the trip was the opportunity to work in the Vatican archives for the first time; I read there the correspondence from the nineteenth [Read More...]

Martin Luther, Erich Honecker, and China’s Xi Jinping

Recently, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece on China’s new leader Xi Jinping’s efforts to shore up party loyalty by having government officials watch a new film about the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Produced by a retired Chinese major general, the six-part documentary points a finger at Mikhail Gorbachev, not the communist system [Read More...]

July 4, July 14, and the Religious Question

July-4

  If you have French friends, thank them for their nation’s help during our revolution and I hope you invited them over for barbeque on July 4th.  And if they invite you to celebrate Bastille Day on July 14, gladly accept.  But you should not necessarily think you are celebrating the same revolutionary spirit.  This [Read More...]

Protestant Reformation Approaching 500

On October 31, 2017, the Protestant Reformation will turn 500.  How ought one commemorate such an epochal, complex, and influential historical development?  While the date is still a while off, I have been thinking about the question a lot lately.  In part, because my colleague Mark Noll at Notre Dame and I received a grant [Read More...]

The Agony of Papal Exits

Pius VI, who died in exile from Rome

“How heavy the papal mantle weighs,” wrote Dante in his Divine Comedy.  The shepherding of some 1 billion Catholics is no simple business, so one cannot begrudge the frail Pope Benedict for stepping down.  Given the rarity of such an event, the recent media frenzy is understandable.  Much commentary has and will focused on Benedict’s [Read More...]

Reading Tocqueville in Cairo

If Alexis de Tocqueville were alive today to witness the churning unrest and revolutions sweeping North Africa and Middle East in recent years, he would observe numerous contrasts with what he saw in America in the 1830s.  But permit me to speculate on one similarity that might catch his eye.  Unlike the French Revolution, which [Read More...]

God and Google

imagesCA2Y9N9T

 “Dad, we can just Google it” is the reply I often hear from my children when I’m stumped by questions they ask.  Recourse to this high-tech oracle did not avail itself to me as a kid, so this reality represents yet another novum for parenting in our hyper-digital age. As most of us have discovered, [Read More...]


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