October 18, 2019

I need to declare an interest in what follows. I am writing here about a new book called Voices of the Voiceless: Religion, Communism and the Keston Archive, edited by Julie deGraffenried and Zoe Knox, published by Baylor University Press. I teach at Baylor, where Julie is a colleague of mine in the History Department. Having said that … I am describing the book because it addresses such a critical topic in modern Christian history, and it does so through… Read more

October 17, 2019

He was the first student to ever visit my office. I wasn’t expecting him to visit. In fact, I wasn’t expecting anybody to visit. I wasn’t holding official office hours that day. My office was nearly impossible to find, set apart from the main corridor and hidden in the back corner of the building. And I was a new professor, only a few weeks into my teaching career. The students barely knew me, and I barely knew them—or anything, for… Read more

October 16, 2019

Last week I got an unusual opportunity to live out the tagline of The Anxious Bench: “The Relevance of Religious History for Today.” A colleague asked me to guest lead a discussion in his education department graduate course “Foundations and History of Higher Education.” I have lots of experience using religious history to train graduate students—who plan to go on to be historians like me! It was fascinating to instead use religious history to train graduate students who plan to… Read more

October 15, 2019

For the second year in a row, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize is an African Pentecostal: Abiy Ahmed, prime minister of Ethiopia. What’s the history of Pentecostalism in Ethiopia, and is it related to evangelicalism? Chris did some research. Read more

October 14, 2019

I deeply respect my friends who are Biblical literalists, but I do have some quarrels with their approach. Above all, we need to be careful about defining the exact limits and boundaries of the Bible and the books it contains, which is not as obvious as we might think. I’ll illustrate this point by adapting and expanding a couple of columns that I published at this site several years ago. When we say that the Bible is the Word of… Read more

October 11, 2019

Aristion was a prestigious and influential figure in the early church, about whom we know very little. But what we do know has some far-reaching implications for early attitudes to the making of the gospels, and the authority of scripture. Most of what we know about Aristion comes from the early/mid second century writer Papias of Hierapolis, whose work survives only in small fragments. Hierapolis was a critical center of the peimitive church, located in what is now south western… Read more

October 9, 2019

81% of American evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. 81%! For many observers of American religion and politics, this is baffling. How could these conservative, Bible-believing Protestants lend their support to a foul-mouthed, twice-divorced philanderer and slanderer? My hunch is that many of the pundits who remark on this phenomenon are not actually all that baffled. They probably expect evangelicals to be hypocrites. Moreover, most of those pundits have been upset with evangelical voting patterns for decades. They were also irate… Read more

October 9, 2019

A radical political style resurfaces on the evangelical left in its challenge of Trump Read more

October 8, 2019

Reading Harry Potter with his kids has got Chris thinking that history can be almost magical. Read more

October 7, 2019

Permit me to heartily recommend two scholarly books hot of the press. The first is a companion to that ubiquitous medieval and early-modern institution known as a “confraternity”—lay spiritual clubs or societies, if you will. Recent decades have witnessed an upsurge of scholarship on the topic, so the time is ripe for a guidebook that synthesizes recent work and suggests new areas of inquiry. Herewith the details: Konrad Eisenbichler, ed., A Companion to Medieval and Early Modern Confraternities (Brill Companions… Read more

Follow Us!

Browse Our Archives