Free Will Baptists respond to racist congregation

I want to give some credit to the National Association of Free Will Baptists for responding quickly to an eruption of ugly racism in one of its congregations. You may recall that last month the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church of Pike County, Ky., voted to ban interracial couples from joining the church or participating [Read More...]

Rick Perry determined to make evangelicals as ridiculous and unpopular as he is

Rick Perry's ridiculous ad has, appropriately, been the subject of ridicule.

“Perry Ad Attacks Gay Rights in Appeal to Iowa’s Evangelicals” says the headline from The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire site. It’s a reference to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s latest campaign ad, in which he not only “attacks gay rights,” but also attacks the separation of church and state and the religious freedom of any [Read More...]

Chuck Colson and the evangelical idea of avoiding vice by avoiding virtue

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27 (NIV) The above passage, I think, provides the key to understanding American evangelical Christianity. For American evangelicals, the emphasis is all [Read More...]

Forbidden voices

There are more of us than you think. Dianna E. Anderson: “On Why the Bible is Not Clear“ On many controversial issues, especially those concerning women, the Bible is not “clear” and it is disingenuous, unfair, and hurtful to claim so without providing explained support. … Claiming “the Bible is clear” on something is a [Read More...]

‘Broken Words’ and the freedom to ask questions


I recently listed Jonathan Dudley’s Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics along with other spiritual memoirs by younger writers challenging aspects of what they have been taught in the American evangelical subculture. “Memoir” isn’t really the right word for Dudley’s book, which is more impersonal and analytical than that implies. [Read More...]

Church bulletin announcements

The ‘homogeneous unit principle’ in action “Kentucky Church Bans Interracial Couples” A small church in Pike County, Kentucky has voted to ban interracial couples from most church activities “to promote greater unity among the church body.” Melvin Thompson, former pastor of Gulnare Freewill Baptist Church, proposed the ban after Stella Harville brought her fiance, Ticha [Read More...]

If the evangelical mainstream wants me to view the religious right as marginal, then they should do more to marginalize the religious right

Mainstream evangelicals generally do not identify with the tone and emphasis of the religious right. When people like me criticize the religious right, these mainstream evangelicals often complain that such criticisms overemphasize the influence of a vocal, but marginal, minority that does not represent the views of most evangelicals. That’s the complaint voiced here by [Read More...]

The boundaries of evangelical identity

A few more quick items on the way the “big four” issues — abortion, homosexuality, evolution, environment — create the boundaries of evangelical identity in America, determining the shape of that community far more than any doctrinal, pietistic or theological characteristic. 1. Tony Jones: “An Open Letter to Evangelical College Students“ A year from now, [Read More...]