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

The old adage has it that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. This could be the tag line for evangelicalism in the United States. After all, the original neo-evangelical-turned-evangelical movement, the one we associate with the National Association of Evangelicals, Fuller Seminary, Billy Graham, and Christianity Today, started precisely to accentuate the positive. For the 1940s leaders of born-again evangelicals, fundamentalism was separatist, sectarian, intolerant — in other words, negative. Evangelicals wanted to stand for… Read more

I don’t mean to pick on John Fea but he is on a roll of late. For the uninitiated, John is a fine historian who teaches at Messiah College. He also self-identifies as evangelical. Please remember that after reading what Eric Price wrote about Southern Baptists and John deemed as “excellent”: The Southern Baptist twittersphere has been up in arms about the Revoice Conference. One of the most extensive criticisms is from Owen Strachan of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Strachan’s… Read more

One of the best features of Paul Schrader’s new film, First Reformed, is that it introduces to popular culture the variety of Protestantism known as “Reformed.” The four original branches of Protestantism were Lutheran, Reformed, Anabapist, and Anglican. Lutheran, Anabaptist, and Anglican are fairly easy to identify. But Reformed is a word that could be confused with a certain kind of school, a specific form of political activism, or even a catalytic process in chemistry. Reformed technically is short for… Read more

Justin Taylor recalls the prayer that FDR prayed on D-Day seventy years ago: Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy… Read more

Where did the controversy over Paige Patterson come from? For instance, on April 5, 2018 the Baptist Press ran an overview of conferences on preaching sponsored by Southern Baptist seminaries. It included a summary of Paige Patterson’s talk at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary: Paige Patterson The doctrine of salvation is the most important element in God’s Word, Patterson said in his message. “Every doctrine is important, and the Bible is about many things,” he said, “but from the earliest chapters… Read more

In the land of Presbyterianism, we profess, with the Westminster Shorter Catechism, that “some sins in themselves and by reason of several aggravations are more heinous in the sight of God than others.” That’s a line that comes to mind in the discussion so far about Paige Patterson who has stepped down as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary after allegations that he gave bad counsel and used sermon illustrations offensive to women. The way some are reacting to the… Read more

Last week I had a brief exchange with Heath Carter about the limitations of George Marsden’s off-the-cuff definition of fundamentalism — namely, an evangelical who is angry. @johnfea1 so evangelicals who are angry at evangelicals for voting for Trump are really fundamentalists?— Old Life (@oldlife) May 16, 2018 George Marsden’s point about fundamentalism was that Protestants who qualified as such were not all that different from evangelicals. Both groups shared the same beliefs, such as inerrancy, Christ’s second coming, the… Read more

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