Fighting Words about the Atonement

Here’s a section of Doug Pagitt Radio, which I guest-hosted on Sunday, in which I hotly debate sidekick John Musick and caller “Steve” on the subject of the atonement:

Go to the DPR YouTube channel for other segments of the show, including interviews with Randall Balmer and Miroslav Volf.

Randall Balmer and Miroslav Volf

Those two will be my guests this Sunday when I guest host Doug Pagitt Radio, from 12-2pm on AM 950 in the Twin Cities, and streamed live at

Randall Balmer

In the noon hour, I’ll be talking with Dr. Randall Balmer. Randy is professor of American religious history at Columbia University and the author of many books, including:

Randy and I will be talking about politics and religion in America today. In one segment, we’ll talk about Barack Obama’s first term, and in the other we’ll discuss the crop of potential Republican nominees. Religion is proving to be a big factor in presidential politics again this year, so it should be a great conversation.


Miroslav Volf

In the second hour, we’ll talk to Miroslav Volf, Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology at Yale Divinity School and Director of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture. Volf is the author of many books, including,

We’ll talk to Miroslav about how Christians can cohabit this country with Muslims in one segment, and in the other I’ll get his take on the atonement — about which I’ve been blogging.

Listen in this weekend, or catch it later when we post the audio and video.

“Progressive” Is the Wrong Word

Not long ago, I participated in a symposium here at Patheos which asked, “Progressive Christianity: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?”  I’ve been thinking about it since, and I’ve had some thoughts coalesce for me.

I don’t think that “progressive” is the right term for our version of Christianity.

I happen to agree with critics who claim that “progressive” is the currently acceptable word because the word “liberal” has been tarnished and is not salvageable.  (For more on that, see this.)

And, at the same time that conservatives were making “liberal” a dirty word, they were claiming the word “evangelical.”  Some, like Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren, and Randy Balmer, refuse to relinquish the term “evangelical” to the conservatives.  But I’m afraid that the tipping point has come and “evangelical” is the purview of conservatives.

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