There are people who profess to be Christians who nevertheless don’t believe that Jesus was conceived “by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary” without a human father.  But the notion that this teaching is a mythological accretion or a misunderstanding of the language is being shot down.  The virgin birth of Jesus is best explained as a historical fact. My fellow Patheos blogger Tom Hobson (Ph.D., Concordia Seminary), a Presbyterian pastor and former professor, makes this point in his blog… Read more

Conservatives have been known for promoting “civil religion”–investing patriotism, the flag, American heroes, etc., with spiritual significance.  Christians warn about slipping into that kind of idolatry, even as they value patriotism and the like in their proper sphere. Liberals, on the other hand, have tended to be civil religion iconoclasts, critiquing American history for its evils and failures.  But now a liberal Democrat, in his zeal to repair the alleged damage Donald Trump has done to our country, is calling… Read more

Happy New Year! A time to look ahead! A time to make your predictions for 2018! The custom on this blog on New Years Day is for readers to predict what they think will happen over the course of the year ahead. Then, once the year is over, on or around the next New Year’s Eve, we will revisit those predictions and see who made the best one. (See this for what I’m talking about.) Certainly 2018 opens with lots… Read more

New Year’s resolutions tend to be demonstrations of the bondage of the will. Read more

Last year at this time, Donald Trump was on the verge of taking office, the state of the economy was uncertain, and no one knew what would happen.  That didn’t keep us from making predictions!  The Year of Our Lord 2017 was tumultuous and full of surprises.  But last year’s post Make your predictions for 2017 brought forth some thoughtful predictions, which were often interesting even when they were wrong.  But one of them was startlingly spot-on. My predictions were all wrong.  Queen… Read more

In church and Bible studies all over the world, people are taking out their smart phones–not to distract themselves, but to read the Word of God on the YouVersion Bible App.  With that technology, the Word of God is getting everywhere, including where physical Bibles are banned. According to the article Life.Church leaders expect YouVersion Bible App to reach 300 million downloads by year’s end | News OK, the year 2017 will reach a milestone:  300 million downloads. First launched in 2008… Read more

Today we look back on 2017 by reviewing the top posts here at the Cranach blog.  These are determined not by polls of journalists nor by anyone’s personal opinion, as is the case with most top 10 polls at this time of year.  This list is based on the number of page views that each post attracted. The readership of these posts went far beyond that of you regular readers who check in with Cranach every day.  These posts were the ones that… Read more

Democrats can hardly control their indignation at the Tax Reform Bill that has just passed.  As proof of its unfairness, Democratic critics point out that the provisions that give big tax cuts to corporations are permanent, whereas individual tax cuts will expire in 7 years.  So why don’t the Democrats vote to make the individual tax cuts permanent? The Washington Examiner makes that challenge in an editorial entitled Democrats should now vote to make middle-class tax relief permanent. It also provides the useful… Read more

Continuing our look back at 2017, we turn our attention to developments in religion.  A poll of religion journalists has given us another Top Ten list of the top stories in that realm.  But it’s an odd list, though revealing in its own way.  Most of the items have to do with Donald Trump, as if he has some kind of religious significance!  I’ll give the list and offer some comments. From ‘Trumpvangelicals’ top religion journalists’ poll | Religion News Service and Religious News… Read more

An LCMS missionary is getting attention for battling “sanguma” in Papua New Guinea, the practice of torturing and burning women accused of being witches. Read more

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