The Bible is clearly ambiguous, but not that kind of ambiguous


The problem is not that the Bible is lacking in clear, definitive, categorical statements. The problem is that the Bible offers too many of them and they do not all agree. [Read more...]

The Bible used to get a lot of things wrong

"You shall proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you ..."

If those early Southern Baptists were wrong about slavery, then they were wrong about the Bible — wrong about how to read the Bible. They were wrong about slavery because they were wrong about how to read the Bible. Contemporary white evangelicals want to retain the same approach to reading the Bible, but not the same conclusions about slavery. That doesn’t work. [Read more...]

If your ministry involves ‘restoring’ an unjust illusion of ‘peace,’ then your ministry is a lie

The BGEA;s rapid response team headed to Ferguson "to minister to police" about a month after the group's first annual "National Law Enforcement Retreat."

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s “rapid response team” was invited by members of the Ferguson police department “to minister to police.” The BGEA team says it’s helping to “restore peace” to Ferguson, by which it means it’s helping to calm people down, to get them to stop protesting and go back to accepting things the way they are. [Read more...]

Most Americans believe in the Virgin Birth — and that torture is cool


A new survey finds that 73 percent of Americans say they believe Jesus was born to a virgin, because that’s what the Bible says, and these Americans believe the Bible is the Holy Word of God. Another new survey finds that two thirds of American Christians approve of torture. Because, apparently, American Christians don’t give a withered fig about what the Bible has to say. [Read more...]

Torture poll demonstrates, quantifies depravity of ‘pro-life’ white evangelicalism

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What is the one common trait uniting all of that 69 percent of white evangelicals applauding CIA torture? They’re “pro-life,” of course. That means they have the moral high ground. It’s what makes them morally superior to everyone else. Just ask them, they’ll tell you. [Read more...]

Ignorant Christians need to STFU about ‘the poor you will always have with you’ until they can be bothered to understand what Jesus actually said

I took this picture in Bethany in 1990, not far from Martha and Mary's house. (Or, at least, not far from where Constantine's mom thought Martha and Mary lived.)

“Do not show ill will toward the needy and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.” Rick Perry didn’t mean to quote that passage from the Jubilee laws in Deuteronomy, but like far too many ignorant Christians, that’s just what he did. [Read more...]

Commies and papists and whiskey, but not civil rights


John Fea plucks an odd nugget of history out of Molly Worthen’s Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in American Evangelicalism: The Resolutions of the National Association of Evangelicals’ Commission on Evangelical Action, organized early in the NAE’s history, give some measure of what “social action” meant to mainstream evangelical leaders in the early 1960s. [Read More...]

A really big wheel of cheese, Southern Baptists, the Bible, and slavery


In 1802, John Leland created the 1,234-pound Cheshire Mammoth Cheese and personally transported it 500 miles, by sleigh. But a few years earlier, in 1789, Leland attempted something even more audacious — he prompted the Baptists of Virginia to consider Jubilee, immediate emancipation, and a declaration that slavery was “contrary to the word of God.” [Read more...]