Did I Belong to a Cult? The Story (in Brief) of My Spiritual Journey…

Did I Belong to a Cult? The Story (in Brief) of My Spiritual Journey (Or How I Survived Spiritual Abuse but Still Bear the Scars)One of the subjects I touch on here frequently (and one of my reasons for having this blog) is “cults.” We don’t hear as much about the issue as some years ago—especially from the late 1970s through the 1990s. That was the era when “cults” became a favorite topic in the media due to mass suicides and deaths in fringe religious movements and communes. Many of us reme … [Read more...]

Announcing My Newest Book: Counterfeit Christianity…

Announcing My Newest Book: Counterfeit Christianity: The Persistence of Errors in the ChurchA couple years ago I was approached by a requisitions editor at Abingdon Press (the United Methodist Publishing House) to write a book about heresies. I never knew the publisher’s exact motive, but I suspect it is part of a general concern among many (including some bishops I know) in the United Methodist Church to turn around the denomination’s “theological pluralism” and renew at least a general sens … [Read more...]

A Major Problem I See with American Culture Today

A Major Problem I See with American Culture TodayWe (America) claim to be a pluralistic society; we celebrate “otherness.” Of course there are individuals and subcultures that strongly oppose pluralism and want to impose their worldview, form of life, on everyone. In fact, that is exactly the problem I see and here decry.We pretend to be pluralistic when, in fact, we are not. Sure, in the grassroots, pluralism abounds. In public spaces, however, the two values that are expected of eve … [Read more...]

Reconsidering My Statements about Pope Francis

Reconsidering My Statement about Pope FrancisWhen the cardinals of the Catholic Church elected a pope to replace retiring Benedict XVI I said here that I was uninterested and didn’t care. The reason was simple: Not that I have anything in particular against Catholics or the Catholic Church but that, as a Baptist, the pope does not speak for me. Some Protestants, including a few Baptists, have begun in the last few years (since they became enamored with John Paul II) to look to the pope as a k … [Read more...]

Stretching the Evangelical Tent Right and Not Left

Stretching the Evangelical Tent Right and Not LeftI’ve long advocated a “big tent” view of “evangelical Christianity”—here and in my published writings. My tendency has long been to accept as authentically evangelical any Christian who claims to be evangelical and who fits the basic profile generally accepted by evangelical historians of the movement: George Marsden, Donald W. Dayton, Mark Noll, David Bebbington, Randall Balmer, et al.Some people naturally want to know why it matters. Who … [Read more...]

An Oldie But Goodie: Nationalism Distinguished from Patriotism

I rarely repeat posts here, but I think this old one (2011) is worth posting again.I’ve become increasingly concerned that many American Christians (and perhaps especially evangelicals) confuse patriotism with nationalism to the extent that idolatry lurks close by.Patriotism is love for one’s country without blinders about its flaws and defects.  Patriotism seeks to actualize the highest and best ideals of one’s country which can sometimes look like disloyalty to nationalists.  Nationa … [Read more...]

Must Gays Be Offended?

Must Gays Be Offended?One reader of this blog, whose opinions expressed here I usually find constructive and helpful (even when I don’t agree) suggested in her comment that refusing to refer to civil unions as marriages is offensive to gay persons. I understand this challenge, but, at the same time, think that persons should not be offended if others, driven by conscience and/or religious conviction, call their unions “civil unions” rather than marriages.Gays need to recognize that conse … [Read more...]