Too Conservative

Fred Clark has a post about the fact that conservative Evangelicalism's language gives the impression that there is only one direction in which one can move too far. He writes: Gatekeepers police the fortified boundaries of evangelicalism, but only on the “liberal” border. There is no conservative border… The tribe only has “liberal” boundaries. Conservatism [Read More...]

Intellectual Honesty vs. Statements of Faith

This coming academic year I will be teaching a class that runs in parallel to an annual public lecture series. The coming year’s topic is “Religion and Freedom of Speech.” It will look at the first amendment, specific examples related to Islam and to Russia, and academic freedom. In relation to that last point, here [Read More...]

Bible Verse Arms Race

Having just posted yesterday about treating the Bible as a card game, I was struck when Scot McKnight today shared quotes from an article in Relevant magazine about treating the Bible as an arms race. The point being made is much the same. Here’s a sample: I like to call this exercise a “Bible Verse Arms [Read More...]

Christians at the Forefront

David Hayward shared a cartoon today depicting the church as a deliberately slow and obstructionist entity: He notes that this is not something that the church is by definition, nor something that it must be. And so I want to take a moment to remember some of the progressive voices in the Christian tradition: the [Read More...]

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia on Evolution

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia published in 1915 is very popular among conservative Evangelicals and, being in the public domain, it can be accessed online in quite a number of places. I wonder how many of its users have read the article on “Evolution.” It really illustrates how the modern young-earth creationist stance is not [Read More...]

The Context of the Context of Jesus’ Words

It is not infrequent to hear self-centered pseudo-Christians justifying their lack of concern for the poor by appealing to Jesus’ statement, “The poor you shall always have with you.” The full statement, as those concerned about context know and emphasize, is “The poor you shall always have with you,  and you can help them anytime [Read More...]

A Low View of Scripture

Mike Beidler posted this as his status update on Facebook and I asked for permission to quote him: To say that if any part of the Bible is of the myth genre, so goes the rest, is to present a blatantly false dichotomy. Disregarding the fact that Genesis contains etiological literature (i.e., origins myth) is [Read More...]

Core Doctrines Between the Lines and on the Margins?

Has anyone else ever noticed that conservative Christians of various sorts tend to emphasize things which are either not actually spelled out in the Bible, or which are mentioned in passing or by lone authors and so arguably less than central to the faith and practice of early Christians? As a New Testament scholar, I [Read More...]

When Jesus Interrupts Your Bible Reading

Another thought-provoking cartoon from David Hayward. Perhaps less conservative Christians ought to point out to more conservative ones that Paul said that the letter is not merely dead but kills. And then, as they continue to seek God in the pages of a book, one might ask them in words from Scripture, “Why do you [Read More...]

The Next Lost Cause?

The title and focus of this post is inspired by an article in Patrol magazine by David Sessions. Young people even among Evangelicals have shifted away from the assumptions of many of their parents regarding things like gay marriage. And young-earth creationism, however popular it may seem in some circles now, is unlikely to survive [Read More...]

Original Christianity is Liberal Christianity

If “liberal Christianity” means Christianity that reflects the cosmology and worldview of a particular era, then the earliest Christianity is liberal Christianity. It is only later, as cosmologies and worldviews changed, that some insisted on clinging to the views of an earlier era, because those happened to be part of the worldview of previous generations [Read More...]


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