The New Birth: A Uniquely American Concept?

Last week at CNN.com, progressive Christian author Matthew Paul Turner wrote a piece about the ways that America has “changed God.” George Whitefield came into the discussion in way #2. Rather than engaging humanity through communal covenants—holy connections usually reserved for large groups —according to the Anglican evangelist George Whitefield, God was now interested in making [Read More...]

The Best Evangelicals on Campus

The recent de-recognition of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship by the massive California State University system is another escalation in a long simmering conflict. Often with considerable hyperbole, evangelicals have long complained of mistreatment at the hands of university administrators and professors. Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, referred to UCLA as the “little [Read More...]

Re-envisioning Our Public: The Conference on Faith and History 2014

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For decades, committed evangelicals such as Richard Pierard, Robert Linder, George Marsden, Mark Noll, Nathan Hatch and others worked towards two different goals aimed at two different audiences.  First, to an evangelical constituency in which fundamentalism’s suspicion of the academy lingered, they cultivated the idea of history as a legitimate Christian vocation.  Second, building on [Read More...]

The Age of Evangelicalism

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Steven Miller’s first book, Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South, discusses the role of Graham and of evangelical Christianity more broadly in the political realignment of southern politics in the years following the Second World War. Miller’s second book, The Age of Evangelicalism: America’s Born-Again Years has already received a great deal [Read More...]

Scripture as Usable History II

GodsGloryBible

In my last post I described the pushback from some American evangelicals against God-and-country Bibles like the Patriot’s Bible or the Bicentennial Bible. Another woefully understudied, but potentially significant, source of dissent is global evangelicalism. To my knowledge Mark Noll is one of the few to analyze foreign perspectives on America’s treatment of Scripture. In [Read More...]

Evangelicals and Immigration–1940s Style

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! These words, ascribed on a bronze plaque affixed to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, were penned by American [Read More...]

Phony Wars

Reform or perish. Cultural and ideological liberals have given such advice to conservative churches for years. Sometimes that advice comes from within, sometimes from outside of those communions. For example, Jonathan Rauch warns conservative Christians that “the First Church of Discrimination will find few adherents in 21st-century America. Polls find that, year by year, Americans [Read More...]

Five Great Books on Evangelical Christianity

My recent post “‘Evangelicals’ Who Are Not Evangelicals” generated quite a discussion about who’s in, and who’s out of the evangelical camp. The study of evangelicalism has seen an amazing renaissance in the past fifty years, so here’s a list of five excellent books on evangelicals and their history. The usual disclaimers: I’m not including [Read More...]

Spirits Eat Ripe Papaya

Spirits Eat Ripe Papaya

It’s beach-reading season—and I have a can’t-miss recommendation. Spirits Eat Ripe Papaya, the debut novel of St. Mary’s College (Ind.) history professor Bill Svelmoe, is a hysterical account of the foibles of good-hearted, but sometimes naïve missionaries. I recommend the book for several reasons. First, it offers texture and empathy. I grew up in the [Read More...]

The “Evangelicals” Who Are Not Evangelicals

At the Wall Street Journal, Barton Swaim recently reviewed Steven Miller’s excellent book The Age of Evangelicalism, which I also reviewed at The Gospel Coalition. In my review, I suggested that evangelicals’ necessary engagement in politics has defined evangelicals by their politics and politicians, such as George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. Swaim helpfully raises the problem [Read More...]


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