Am I an “Authentic Christian?” (I Doubt It)

Am I an “Authentic Christian?” (I Doubt It)Some people get very upset when I question the authenticity of their “Christianity.” I understand that, but I also don’t. It confuses me because I am not sure that I am authentically Christian. Let me explain.I’ll begin by referring to two very old Christian (church) songs from my childhood. One was “I’m Saved (and I Know that I Am)” and the other was “Lord I Want to Be a Christian in My Heart.” The first one well expressed my confidence that I a … [Read more...]

Why Authentic Christians Must Oppose the Death Penalty

Why Authentic Christians Must Oppose the Death PenaltyI live in a state of the United States of America where, for many people, including many self-identified Christians, capital punishment is a kind of sacrament. Of course I do not mean “true sacrament,” like baptism or the Lord’s Supper, but a sign of public virtue, an enactment of justice, a way of demonstrating the livingness of civil religion. The most common defense one hears of it is something like “The Bible says ‘An eye for an eye, a … [Read more...]

Memories of a Previous Election Stunner: Minnesota and Jesse “the Body” Ventura

Memories of a Previous Election Stunner: Minnesota and Jesse “the Body” VenturaThis 2016 election year cannot help but bring back memories of Minnesota’s election of professional wrestler-turned-politician Jesse “the Body” Ventura governor in 1998—for anyone who lived there then.The race for governor included three main candidates: St. Paul mayor Norm Coleman (Republican), Minnesota attorney general Hubert H. Humphrey III (Democrat-Farmer-Labor) and Brooklyn Park mayor Jesse Ventura (Refo … [Read more...]

American Christianity and American Politics: A Call for Calmness and Civility

American Christians and American Politics: A Call for Calmness and CivilityNever in my lifetime have I experienced the kind of harsh rhetoric being thrown around between and among equally devout Christians over political differences of opinion. Much of it happens on Facebook. Christians there (and elsewhere) are using ridicule, for example, not only to promote their own political preferences but to demean and insult those who disagree with them.This is happening increasingly from both … [Read more...]

Is Torture Ever Ethically Justifiable?

The subject of torture is a tortuous--and, to me--torturous one. Especially since "9-11-2001" it has been much discussed by politicians and philosophers and often depicted in movies and on television shows. I find torture so revolting, disgusting, that I hate even to think about it let alone watch it on the screen. Sometimes, however, it seems almost impossible to watch a dramatic movie or television show without having to see some scene of torture. Even one of my favorite "prime time drama" t … [Read more...]

My Christianity Today Article about “Freedom”

“The Bonds of Freedom”The Global Gospel Project, Christianity Today (October, 2012)Roger E. OlsonNo single word resonates with Americans and millions of others as much as “freedom.” Politicians, businesspeople, advertisers, salesmen, military leaders and recruiters—all know how to use “freedom” to attract attention and draw interest. Few words are as common and yet carry so much weight.The word is also found throughout Scripture and Christian tradition. Everyone raised in Sunday S … [Read more...]

Some Different Meanings of “Biblical Inerrancy” and a Challenge to Evangelical “Inerrantists”

Some Different Meanings of “Biblical Inerrancy” and a Challenge to Evangelical “Inerrantists”This essay follows directly on the heels of a recent one posted here entitled “Is Real Communication as Perfect “Meeting of Minds” Possible? Some Radical Questions about Words like ‘Inerrancy’.” There I argued that even passionate evangelical defenders of “biblical inerrancy” do not all mean the same thing by “inerrancy” and that the word functions largely as a shibboleth for deciding who’s “in” and w … [Read more...]