The 'Battle for the Bible'

Roger Olson on "When did evangelicalism start to go wrong (right)?" The Battle for the Bible launched an evangelical heresy-hunt that reached epic proportions within just a few years.  ...  One by one, evangelical and Baptist denominations and institutions imposed inerrancy statements on their employees and faculties.  Fuller is one evangelical seminary that did not give in to the pressure, although Fuller faculty members had to publish numerous defenses of their belief in the authority of … [Read more...]

Pulpit glurge and ghost stories

"Glurge" is not unique to church, but churches tend to cultivate their own native varieties of it. Skimming through Snopes' Glurge Gallery reacquaints me with several familiar stories that I've heard many times over the years in church or at youth group campfires or retreats. Stories of angelic intervention like "26 Guards" weren't common in our kind of church (that's more of a Pentecostal thing), but I heard dozens of variations of "The Anguishing Choice" or of "The Drawbridge Keeper." Such … [Read more...]

Christian privilege invisible to privileged Christians

Jason Pitzl-Waters of The Wild Hunt writes about "Invisible Christian Privilege": To many Christians their immense privilege seems invisible. They don’t understand how much of our society panders to their unspoken power. The churches on every corner, the holidays and celebrations structured around Christian dates, the pandering of politicians, the ceremonial deism that acts as a placeholder for state-sponsored religion. Even our vernacular is colored by Christianity. ... Yet despite this, … [Read more...]

Testamints, tattoos and holy underwear

Not every "Christian T-shirt" is worn as a witnessing tool or a tribal symbol or a culture warrior's warning shot. Many of the sorts of things sometimes regarded as "witnessing tools" mainly serve a different function. They're devotional. The popular "WWJD?" bracelets, for example, are not meant primarily to be a "witness" to others, but to be a reminder to the wearer of commitments she has made and of who it is that she wants to be. The same is true for many of the T-shirts, tattoos and … [Read more...]

Witnessing tools and resentment

In a post last week -- "You might be an evangelical ..." -- I touched on some of the esoterica of the evangelical subculture. Much of that post was inside-baseball, jargon and references some readers (maybe the luckier ones) found a bit bewildering. Such as this, for example: If you think the phrase “a witnessing tool” refers to something that’s good to have rather than someone it’s bad to be, then you might be an evangelical. "What is a 'witnessing tool'?" I am asked. Well, it's a tool … [Read more...]

The Bible vs. The Facts?

I am a Christian. I'm also a Baptist and we Baptists aren't big on creeds. That's not because we necessarily disagree with the substance of those creeds, just that we don't agree with the idea that any authority should be permitted to compel or require every individual to assent to any given formulation of their faith. It's the same Baptist principle of "soul freedom" that led Baptists to fight for the separation of church and state here in America. But having made that anti-creedal Baptist … [Read more...]

Al Mohler on Adam and Eve vs. The Facts

Phil Plait just linked back to a 2009 post of his that's a favorite of mine. "I'm skeptical of denialism" discusses the important distinction between a skeptic and a denier. It's helpful to understand where Plait is coming from. He's an astronomer and the veteran of an epic battle with moon-landing deniers. Those are the folks who claim that human beings have never walked on the moon -- that the Apollo missions were a giant hoax and that Armstong, Aldrin and the rest were really filmed at a … [Read more...]

Subsidiarity and Saddleback

My frustration was showing a couple of weeks ago in a post titled: "Responsibility is differentiated, mutual and complementary, not exclusive, binary and competitive." That post consisted almost entirely of the sentence "Responsibility is differentiated, mutual and complementary; responsibility is not exclusive, binary and competitive," repeated 10 times with each repetition linking to a different longer and deeper discussion of subsidiarity, "sphere sovereignty" or some other framework … [Read more...]