The awkward ritual of having to condemn violence by people who believe your own rhetoric about Satanic baby-killers


Every once in a while, some disturbed person absorbs the language and logic of white evangelicalism’s Satanic baby-killer fantasies and, not realizing it’s all a disingenuous game, acts on it. “Pro-life” evangelicals are then forced to condemn that person’s actions in an awkward dance that forces them to admit, at least implicitly, that they do not take their own words and arguments seriously. [Read more...]

NAE: Our politicized white theology has nothing to do with politics or race

Even White Jesus must bow down to the "highest authority" of the White Bible.

The National Association of Evangelicals invites you to bow down and worship the “highest authority.” No, not God, silly. The Bible — the “highest authority” before which even White Jesus must kneel in submission. [Read more...]

Liberation vs. tribalism


“In order to maintain a voice within the evangelical world and make progress on a single issue,” Deborah Jian Lee writes, “one must toe the conservative line on every other issue.” That’s from her new book, “Rescuing Jesus,” which has been reviewed by Dr. Virginia Ramey Mollenkott — someone whose history makes her an expert on exactly what Lee is describing there. [Read more...]

Al Mohler’s pompous piety can’t make chicken soup out of the chicken-poop argument invented to justify slavery

LEFT: Abysmally, utterly, perversely and completely wrong on the most important biblical and theological question of his day. RIGHT: Still repeating the same argument. Still wrong.

Al Mohler is not saying anything Southern Baptists haven’t said for 170 years. He is only taking their argument and altering a handful of words in five paragraphs to apply it to a new subject. By restoring his op-ed to something more like the original ca.-1845 template Mohler is copying from and re-applying we can see not just how and why Mohler’s argument is wrong. We can see how and why Mohler himself has to know that it has been wrong all along. [Read more...]

Why conversionist stories promote dishonesty

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It’s more than just the temptation to give our stories, as Burke writes, “a little stretch” with an eye to make them more compelling calls for “winning souls for Christ.” That idea — that exaggerations are acceptable because they serve this higher purpose of spreading the gospel and saving souls — is a key to the rationalization that defends the tendency toward dishonest conversion stories, but I don’t think it’s the cause of that tendency. [Read more...]

How conversionist stories promote dishonesty

Clive Rowe sings "Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat" in the 1982 revival of "Guys and Dolls."

The evangelical conversion narrative encourages — maybe even requires — exaggeration, which is to say that it encourages or requires dishonesty. It compels/induces/rewards/expects/elicits a two-fold dishonesty — one that exaggerates our wickedness prior to the moment of conversion and then exaggerates our transformation after that moment. [Read more...]

Rothko’s ‘War on Christmas’ (1950, oil on paper)


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I believe in conversion, but not in ‘conversionism’


Conversionism needs drama. It needs the stark contrast of pre-conversion wickedness and post-conversion piety. It needs the arc of redemption we sing about in my least-favorite verse of “Amazing Grace.” But most of us don’t have that kind of conversion story. In fact, John Newton himself didn’t have that kind of story. [Read more...]