The Anxious Bench at the Conference on Faith and History

Where you can hear Anxious Bench contributors at next month’s 30th biennial meeting of the Conference on Faith and History [Read more…]

“Ask Jesus into Your Heart”: A History of the Sinner’s Prayer

[This week’s post comes from my Patheos archives.] Many an evangelical pastor has concluded a sermon by asking non-Christians to “ask [or receive, or invite] Jesus into their heart,” or to pray a version of what some call the “sinner’s prayer.” But some evangelicals, including Baptist pastor David Platt (president of the SBC’s International Mission [Read More…]

Ben Franklin, Anti-Catholicism, and the Founding of the University of Pennsylvania

Historians have generally cast the founding of the University of Pennsylvania (or the College of Philadelphia) in 1755 as a step toward secular education in America. While the early college met in the great evangelist George Whitefield’s preaching building, Ben Franklin was the brains behind the school. As I noted in an an earlier post, [Read More…]

George Whitefield’s Christmas, 1739

As we observed George Whitefield’s 300th birthday last week, here’s a post on his 1739 Christmas travels and preaching, from the Anxious Bench archive: In December 1739, George Whitefield was completing a treacherous overland trip from Maryland to South Carolina, and he stopped for Christmas in New Bern (“Newborn”), a relatively new parish in North [Read More…]

Happy 300th Birthday George Whitefield!

The day is finally here – the 300th birthday of George Whitefield, the greatest evangelist of the eighteenth century, and the best known person in colonial America prior to the Revolution. I have been waiting for this day for a long time, but I started getting serious about writing a Whitefield biography in time for [Read More…]

“More a Doctrine than a Person”: Evangelicals and the Holy Spirit

I suspect many a Christian, including many evangelicals, can identify with frustrations J.D. Greear expressed in his recent Christianity Today interview about the Christian life and the Holy Spirit:  it “seemed like people in the Bible had a fundamentally different relationship with God than my own. There was a hollowness in my spiritual life. God was more a [Read More…]

George Whitefield: Bridging the Evangelical and Academic Gap

Today is the official publication date for my book George Whitefield: America’s Spiritual Founding Father. Thanks to all of you who have already bought the book, as well as those who have so kindly posted and tweeted about it! Why do we need this George Whitefield biography? Aside from the fact that he needs to [Read More…]

America’s Spiritual Founding Father

In time for the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of George Whitefield (pronounced Whit-field), my co-blogger Thomas Kidd has just published a biography of the man he terms America’s Spiritual Founding Father. [Yale University Press identifies October 28 as the book’s release date, but it is already shipping]. Kidd’s George Whitefield is an eminently [Read More…]

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…]

Writing a Book, From Start to Finish

One of my newsletter subscribers, Job Dalomba [jobdalomba.com] suggested that I write a post how how to do “book projects from start to finish, and share any ideas on how to get started.” Philip Jenkins and I have been posting lately about how to choose a research subject, but I loved this suggestion and want to [Read More…]


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