Beyond Playboy: The Inner Life of Jimmy Carter

In 1976 Playboy magazine conducted its infamous interview of Democratic presidential candidate Jimmy Carter. The interview nearly cost Carter the election. Secular pundits mocked his confession of “adultery in my heart.” Conservative Christians not only disagreed with his use of the word screw but objected that Carter would grant the salacious magazine an interview in [Read More...]

Lone Star Religion

Rough Country - Wuthnow

Review of Robert Wuthnow, Rough Country: How Texas Became America’s Most Powerful Bible-Belt State (Princeton University Press, 2014). I grew up in Texas in the 1970s and 1980s. During my childhood, Texas was a purple state. Both major parties represented us in the Senate, and the governorship oscillated between Democrats and Republicans. Things have changed quite [Read More...]

The Promises and Perils of Denominational History

Today’s guest post is by Nathan A. Finn, who serves as associate professor of historical theology and Baptist studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he also directs the Center for Spiritual Formation and Evangelical Spirituality. You can follow him on Twitter​. Near the end of my time in college, I was a history major who knew I [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 2

SBC ExComm Building

From the Archive In light of the upcoming annual meeting of the largest (for now) Protestant denominations taking place in Baltimore, MD next week, it seemed appropriate to re-run my two-part series from last summer, “A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention.”  This is the second part.  The first part ran Wednesday, June 4th.  Relevant updates and emendations [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1

Bmore-Skyline1

From the Archive In light of the upcoming annual meeting of the largest (for now) Protestant denominations taking place in Baltimore, MD next week, it seemed appropriate to re-run my two-part series from last summer, “A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention.”  The first part will run today, the second will run on Saturday, June 7th.  Relevant updates [Read More...]

What Can Stop Southern Baptist Decline?

In anticipation of the 2014 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, the SBC’s LifeWay Christian Resources issued its annual report on church statistics, and for the seventh straight year, the SBC’s overall membership declined. (Here’s my coverage of the 2013 report and annual meeting for WORLD Magazine.) The University of North Carolina’s Molly Worthen, [Read More...]

Five from One: Happy Anniversary Patheos

As Tommy Kidd noted yesterday, we are in the middle of Patheos’ five-year-anniversary celebration.  Congratulations to Patheos for successfully “hosting the conversation on faith” for the past half-decade.  In my estimation, they have done a great job! For my part, this month marks a full year that I have had the privilege of writing for [Read More...]

Why I Am Still a Baptist

A reader recently asked me why, given my knowledge of and interest in church history, I remain a Baptist. There are powerful arguments for apostolic succession, infant baptism, and other non-Baptist principles that other low-church evangelicals have found compelling. Why do I stick around? It may help to know that I did not grow up [Read More...]

Religious Liberty and Evangelical Identity Politics

russel-moore

Last Thursday Baptist ethicist Russell Moore made a case for religious liberty in a way that perhaps startled critics who see conservative evangelicals as theocrats. He advocated on behalf of non-Christians. At a Washington, D.C., symposium entitled “Faith, Culture & Religious Freedom in the 21st Century,” Moore said that evangelicals have done a poor job [Read More...]

The Strange Career of the Antimission Baptists

I recently wrote about “Calvinism and the Roots of the Missionary Movement,” in which I discussed the powerful (and to some, counter-intuitive) influence of Calvinism on early Baptist missionaries. There’s a flip-side to that story, which is the largely Calvinist antimission movement of the 1820s and 1830s. Baptists and other evangelicals founded a number of [Read More...]


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