The Crusades, the Inquisition, and Protestants

President Obama told the National Prayer Breakfast that Christianity, like Islam today, has been used to justify violence, mentioning particularly the Crusades and the Inquisition, historical episodes that are always being brought up against Christians.  It’s kind of strange, though, for us heirs of the Reformation to be blamed for those particular incidents. [Read more...]

If religious liberty is THE political issue for Christians. . .

My post on Russell Moore’s contention that religious liberty needs to be THE political issue for Christians in the upcoming elections is approaching 500 comments, and the discussion–despite a few fights that broke out–has been quite good.  But there are some misconceptions I want to address and some implications that I want us to think about. [Read more...]

THE political issue for Christians in 2016

In the early days of the Republic, Baptists supported Thomas Jefferson, even though he was not a Christian.  Why?  Because he supported religious freedom.  Russell Moore says that Christians today need to develop that same mindset  in their political activism today.  He says that THE political issue for Christians in the upcoming elections needs to be religious liberty. [Read more...]

A narrowed religious liberty vs. erotic liberty

Religious liberty, Al Mohler observes, is being restricted to private, unexpressed inner feelings and to what happens within the walls of a church.  Whereas traditionally, religions liberty extended to convictions that apply to external behavior and views about society.  But today religious views about how a person lives his or her life in the world are  increasingly are being outlawed and punished.  Dr. Mohler also gives a name to the specific conflict we are seeing today:  religious liberty vs. erotic liberty. [Read more...]

“Two Kingdoms” from another Lutheran at Patheos

Another Lutheran joins me here at Patheos, Rebecca Florence Miller.   She has made a splash already with her post Why Christians Should Stand Up for Atheists,  which makes the case that religious liberty is for everyone, including those who reject religion.   (Atheists are reportedly astounded that a conservative Christians is standing up for them, but that should happen more than it usually does on an issue like this.)  But I leave you, after the jump, with a post that explains very well the Lutheran doctrine of culture and social engagement:  The Two Kingdoms. [Read more...]

Pastors defying the IRS by politicking from the pulpit

More and more pastors are endorsing particular candidates from the pulpit, purposefully defying the IRS law for non-profit tax-exempt organizations.  So far the IRS is ignoring the violations, but the pastors are goading the agency by sending it tapes of their sermons.

Is this a violation of Romans 13?  Also, under Romans 13, shouldn’t churches just pay taxes, thus preserving their ability to preach whatever they want?  Or can you make a case for this kind of civil disobedience?  There is also, of course, the theological issue of what is supposed to be preached from the pulpit–namely, Christ and Him crucified for sinners, as opposed to worldly powers and principalities.  Or can you give a theological reason for preaching about political candidates? [Read more...]


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