June 1, 2021

Chris argues that Christian higher education is vocational: not because it prepares students for particular careers, but because it helps them to hear their calling. Read more

May 31, 2021

Last week, a friend of mine recounted her experience working as a physician in New York City during the deadly first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This friend also happens to be a military veteran who deployed to Iraq in the early 2000s, and so I was intrigued to hear her description of serving as a frontline healthcare worker in March and April 2020. It was like a war, she said. For nearly two months straight, she witnessed unrelenting death,… Read more

May 28, 2021

A story in the New York Times just addressed one of the most significant developments in the modern world. The article, by Damien Cave, Emma Bubola and Choe Sang-Hun, was entitled “Long Slide Looms for World Population, With Sweeping Ramifications” (May 22). It took a well known phenomenon of the past half century, namely the dramatic collapse of fertility rates in Europe and other highly developed nations, and showed how those trends have now spread to large parts of the… Read more

May 27, 2021

PBS recently aired an American Experience documentary about the life of Billy Graham. The subject of Graham is a tender one for me. I attended two Billy Graham crusades, one as a high school student in Rochester, New York, one as a seminarian in Louisville, Kentucky. At the first, Graham’s invitation drew me forward, and I reaffirmed my commitment to follow Jesus Christ. If Graham returned to earth, I’d probably come forward again. For a young white American evangelical, Billy Graham… Read more

May 26, 2021

I am weirdly interested in who becomes the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) next month. Weirdly, because I have never been a Southern Baptist. But before joining an Anglican church last year, I belonged to other evangelical Baptist or Baptistic churches for my entire adult life. The evangelical Baptist world has been central to my spiritual formation, and I take a personal interest in its development. So I read with interest a forum hosted by the Council… Read more

May 25, 2021

It will sound strange coming from a Christian historian writing at Patheos’ Evangelical channel, but… there are times I feel like an atheist. Not the kind of disbeliever who places their faith in the certainty of God’s nonexistence. The kind of atheist I described in the first chapter of my 2017 book with Mark Pattie: If “fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God’” (Ps 14:1), I’d hate to hear what the psalmist would say of me, who readily… Read more

May 24, 2021

Sometimes I post blogs because I have things to share, and on occasion, I am genuinely in search of information. Today, I am looking for advice on colonial and Revolutionary War era American history, and religion. As I remarked recently, my current book project concerns Psalm 91, which has been phenomenally influential through Christian (and Jewish) history, and particularly in visual representations. The most powerful and enduring theme involves verse 13, which in the King James reads “Thou shalt tread… Read more

May 21, 2021

My present book project is easy enough to describe. I am writing a “biography” of a Biblical text, namely Psalm 91, tracing the origins and development of the text, and its impact through history, for both Jews and Christians. Writing such a biography is nothing like a new idea of itself – witness the fine Princeton series of Lives of Great Religious Books – but this particular psalm has a special claim to rank as one of the most significant… Read more

May 20, 2021

Today’s Anxious Bench post is written by two of my colleagues at Calvin University, Elisha Marr, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of Gender Studies, and Emily Helder, Associate Professor of Psychology. They are co-editors of the Routledge Handbook of Adoption and hosts of the recently launched podcast Adoption Roundtable (available on Youtube, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify). Follow their work at the Adoption Roundtable newsletter at emilyhelder.com.  Bethany Christian Services, a large faith-based adoption and social service agency, has become the latest… Read more

May 19, 2021

Today’s post is a guest contribution from Dr. Nadya Williams, a professor of history at the University of West Georgia who is also my spouse and intellectual confidante.  Nadya’s specialty is ancient history, but today’s post focuses not on the ancient Greek and Roman Mediterranean world but on the early 20th-century events that set the stage for the current crisis in Israel – a country where Nadya spent five years of her childhood.   In April of 1991, less than… Read more

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