Lesslie Newbigin–a guide for the perplexed

I'm often asked for recommendations of good theologians to read.  Usually the askers are not looking for academic theology; they are usually wanting to read something serious but relatively light.  And more often than not they are looking for theology that will unconfuse them.Over the years I have come especially to appreciate the theology of British missionary (to India) and theologian Lesslie Newbigin and I strongly recommend his books as guides for the theologically perplexed.Newbigin … [Read more...]

A final comment on Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism

Quick review: Zondervan has just published an excellent new book entitled Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism edited by Andy Nasselli and Collin Hansen.  The four authors are Kevin Bauder (fundamentalism), Al Mohler (confessional evangelicalism), John Stackhouse (generic evangelicalism) and Roger Olson (postconservative evangelicalism). I hope you will purchase the book and read it; it reveals much about the current state of evangelicalism in America.Long before the book was … [Read more...]

An invitation to read and discuss (here) an important new book

In about a week I plan to begin discussing here The Bible Made Impossible by Christian sociologist Christian Smith (Notre Dame).  The book was recently published by Eerdmans.  I consider it one of the most important challenges to evangelical theology ever written.  The subtitle is Why Biblicism Is Not a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture.  I invite you to get the book and join in the conversation about it.  It is only 178 pages long and easy to read, but it packs a real punch.I read the b … [Read more...]

Returning briefly to the subject of America as a family

A couple weeks ago I posted here a guest column I wrote for the local newspaper in which I argued that there are two kinds of people in America--those who view Americans as a quasi-family (not literally family but like an extended family held loosely together by bonds of care and obligation) and those who view it as a group of individuals competing with each other for limited resources and wealth.Some of the responses here and in letters to the editor were very negative.  Some people … [Read more...]

Is hell part of the gospel? (Read all of this or don’t read any of it!)

In the Al Mohler article I previously discussed in The Southern Seminary Magazine Mohler argues that hell is part of the gospel.  I disagree.NOW, before someone goes off on a disinformation campaign to smear me (and by extension my denomination and the institution where I teach) let me be crystal clear: I DO BELIEVE IN HELL.Contrary to many (notice I said "many") fundamentalists and neo-fundamentalists, not everything revealed in Scripture or believed and taught by Christians throughout … [Read more...]

Al Mohler stirs the Rob Bell pot some more

The current issue of Southern Seminary Magazine (Summer, 2011) contains an article by SBTS president (and self-appointed guardian of evangelical orthodoxy) Al Mohler entitled "Why So Serious? Taking the Gospel Seriously Demands Taking Hell Seriously" (pp. 26-30).  If you want to read it (to check my response here) I'm sure you can find it online somewhere.  I have a hard copy.In my opinion, this article by Mohler, where he takes on a variety of alleged evangelical defections from historic C … [Read more...]

Going where angels fear to tread: Christianity and Freemasonry

One of my biggest culture shocks in moving to the South has been seeing all the enormous Masonic lodges and discovering that many, if not most, older Baptist (and other) men are members.  Where I come from originally (upper midwest), evangelical Christianity (including the majority of Baptists) and Freemasonry don't mix.  They're like oil and water.  In fact, some denominations divided over whether members could be Freemasons; the conservatives considered the drift toward allowing it a sign of li … [Read more...]


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