A Long Essay on “Christian Fundamentalism”

What Is Christian “Fundamentalism” and Who Is a Christian “Fundamentalist?”I’ll begin with a series of criteria for identifying fundamentalism (or someone as a fundamentalist). Then I’ll go on to give historical-theological justification for the criteria. Readers who are not interested in the (admittedly rather lengthy and detailed) historical-theological justification can stop reading whenever they wish. (However, I warn them that if they comment on my criteria critically I will probably tel … [Read more...]

Deconstructing “Evangelicalism”

Deconstructing “Evangelicalism”Recently I had the privilege of hearing George Marsden speak. Marsden is widely considered the “dean” of evangelical historians. That is, he practically pioneered and led in the study of the history of the evangelical movement. He taught at Calvin College, Duke Divinity School and retired from the University of Notre Dame (where Mark Noll succeeded him). Marsden helped many of us, in our callow years as budding evangelical scholars, distinguish between “evange … [Read more...]

Why Can’t We Just Call Ourselves “Christians?”

Why Can’t We Just Call Ourselves “Christians?”Whenever I ask my students, most of them in their twenties, what they think of the label “evangelical”—which I still wear but with some embarrassment—many of them say “Why can’t we just call ourselves ‘Christians’?” This seems to be the consensus among non-fundamentalist, relatively conservative, youngish Americans: “Let’s do away with all labels except ‘Christian’.”That’s so attractive to me, too. I wish it could be so. But I tell them it’s t … [Read more...]

It’s Time for the United States to Have a Woman President

Isn't it past time for the United States to have a female president? I think so, but I am not here endorsing any specific candidate.During my lifetime there have been many women leaders in government who would have made excellent presidents. Some of them were candidates but did not receive their party's nomination. I think Maine senator Margaret Chase Smith would have made a good president. Imagine if she had been elected in 1964 instead of the man who won the election. Surely Shirley … [Read more...]

Review of The Future of Evangelicalism in America: The Definitive Scholarly Examination of Contemporary American Evangelicalism

Review of The Future of Evangelicalism in America: The Definitive Scholarly Examination of Contemporary American EvangelicalismIt’s been a long time coming and way overdue when it finally arrived. A week ago I received my complimentary copy of The Future of Evangelicalism in America edited by Candy Gunther Brown and Mark Silk and published by Columbia University Press (2016). I wrote my chapter entitled “The Emerging Divide in Evangelical Theology” (pp. 92-123) in 2012! The editors are not to … [Read more...]

Does God Still Speak….?

Does God Still “Speak” to Individuals and Groups?This is a question rarely pondered or discussed by mainstream theologians. And “ordinary Christians” hold different opinions about it. I suspect most theologians and most ordinary Christians would prefer not to examine it in too much detail. The question, if taken seriously, opens a can of worms.When I was a Pentecostal Christian—from birth until about age 25—I believed, together with all Pentecostals, that God does speak today. Historicall … [Read more...]

Second Maston Lecture: “The Kingdom of God…America”

“The Kingdom of God as Critical Principle for Christian Social Ethics: AmericaThe Maston Lectures, East Texas Baptist UniversityApril, 2016Roger E. Olson“That action is right which fits the shape of the Kingdom to come.” John Howard YoderIn my first lecture of this series I explained what I mean by a “critical principle.” Here I use it as an ethical concept: a litmus test for what is morally-ethically acceptable and what is not. It seems self-evident to me that followers of Je … [Read more...]