A common refrain in evangelical higher education for the last thirty years has been that Christians pursue academic work from the perspective of faith or belief and that by virtue of that insight they produce scholarship that is different from a secular or unbelieving scholar. Whether the insights that Christian scholars possess stem from regeneration, theological training, or biblical knowledge is seldom addressed by those who champion the cause of faith-informed scholarship. One way of illustrating this point is to… Read more

The Democratic nominee in New York’s fourteenth congressional district, Alexandrio Ocasio-Cortez, would have her possible constituents and the editors at America magazine imagine that Christian teaching on forgiveness is the path through the tangled trail of criminal justice reform: Discussions of reforming our criminal justice system demand us to ask philosophical and moral questions. What should be the ultimate goal of sentencing and incarceration? Is it punishment? Rehabilitation? Forgiveness? For Catholics, these questions tie directly to the heart of our… Read more

On this morning’s walk when I usually converse with the missus, her bad back forced me to listen to a podcast on my trusty Walkman (this one plays mp3 files, unlike the old cassette version). Next in the queue was Jonah Goldberg’s Remnant podcast with a conversation about Anthony Kennedy’s retirement and Trump’s short list for justice nominees. His guest was Ilya Shapiro, a legal scholar with the libertarian Cato Institute. In the course of their conversation, each man distinguished… Read more

Alan Jacobs asks what’s the point of writing another book: What is the point? and could not come up with any answers. As an evangelical Anglican Christian and a professor of the humanities, I have spent my adult life in service to the church and the academy, and I don’t know how anyone could look at either of those institutions right now and see them as anything but floundering, incoherent messes, helmed largely by people who seem determined to make… Read more

File this one under the category of when journalists and professors appeal to the Bible the way pastors and (some) bishops do. In case you missed it, Slate’s Ruth Bell tag teamed with a Baptist professor, Matthew Arbo, to correct a U.S. government official, Jeff Sessions, on the right use of the Bible. And here I thought the right response should have been the Jeffersonian one (think Independence Day afterglow) of building a wall between church and state, or keeping… Read more

Joe Carter thinks it is safe to segregate Christianity from American nationalism (on the eve of July 4th no less when Roman Catholics themselves are observing the Fortnight of Freedom). He writes: America has done a fine job of incorporating Rousseau’s “dogmas of civil religion,” keeping them “few, simple, and exactly worded.” We have restricted such sentiments to the most unobtrusive areas, allowing “In God We Trust” to be printed on our coins, and the phrase “under God” to slip… Read more

Here is a thought experiment for those who think the evangelicals who voted for Trump are exposing the dark underbelly of born-again Protestantism. Notice how evangelical support for Trump resembles political developments in Europe. First, what’s been happening in Europe: Populist and nationalist parties have been on the rise for the better part of a decade, responding at first to structural economic problems and frustrations with the bureaucratic burdens of the European Union. But they received a potent infusion of… Read more

One reason is that Presbyterians are nowhere near as large (and in charge) as Southern Baptists. While the SBC weighs in at roughly 15 million members (that’s pretty, pretty big), the largest Presbyterian communion in the United States is the Presbyterian Church, USA. It has a tenth of the SBC’s member (roughly 1.5 million). Meanwhile, the largest of the conservative Presbyterian denominations, the one in which the vaunted Tim Keller has his ministerial credentials, the Presbyterian Church in America, is… Read more

Damon Linker welcomes President Trump’s refusal to portray American greatness in moral superiority: Americans love to think well of themselves, especially when it comes to questions of moral purity. We imagine ourselves on the side of the angels, an exceptional nation that stands for human rights and democracy and against tyranny in all of its forms. Because of these assumptions, we like to divide the nations of the world into two categories: those belonging to the “free world” (of which… Read more

Mike Pence is a follower of the Billy Graham Rule, the one where a married man does not meat meet alone with a woman other than his wife. Some have objected to that rule, but if Harvie Weinstein had followed it he might not have had to write a check for $1 million to the bail bondsman. But because the VPOTUS works for a man who apparently never followed the Graham Rule, Pence is a politician whom the Southern Baptists… Read more

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