April 1, 2019

Just suppose you had to choose the single motion picture that dealt most seriously and challengingly with theological matters: what might it be? Offhand I can think of a dozen or so possible answers from various countries, and probably most cinema-literate people would agree on at least a common short-list. But few such lists would include one example of an American film that really should demand our attention and, I would argue, our profound respect, and that is the 1936… Read more

March 29, 2019

The idea for this post came from my genuine surprise at reading a passage by Winston Churchill. It made me reflect on some aspects of what we might describe as the “forgotten history” of Islam and its relations with the West, a point I raised in a recent post. In 1899, Churchill expressed grave concern about the “militant and proselytizing faith” of Islam. To put this in context, he actually wrote, Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence… Read more

March 28, 2019

  Many journalists and scholars snickered a bit last year when President Russell M. Nelson announced that God no longer wanted the members of his church to call themselves Mormons. Instead, they were to use the really long full name: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They were to call themselves “members of The Church of Jesus Christ” or at least “Latter-day Saints.” The snickering was in part because the church recently spent quite a bit of money… Read more

March 27, 2019

The second in a two-part series on Christabel Pankhurst, a fundamentalist feminist Read more

March 26, 2019

Why should scholars take the time to blog or podcast, knowing that they’re likely to reach only small audiences? Can such public engagement actually enhance teaching and scholarship? Read more

March 25, 2019

The New York Times recently profiled Jonathan Cahn, celebrity New Jersey pastor who interprets the Bible to explain—nay, predict—signs of the times. As the Times report notes, Cahn contends that the Bible predicted Donald Trump would be appointed by God, our current president prefigured by his ancient warrior-king predecessor Jehu, who, Cahn says, “also sought to drain the swamp.” Cahn writes books and preaches at the Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, New Jersey. He was converted from Judaism to Christianity, by way of inspiration from Nostradamus… Read more

March 22, 2019

However strange this may sound, I am ever more struck by the central and continuing role of religious rhetoric in contemporary US politics, and especially from liberals and progressives. But surely, you say, a modern political leader might use conventional religious language, especially at times of catastrophe – sending thoughts and prayers – but when does modern day political debate explicitly draw on complex or demanding  theology? Well, it may not sound religious, in the sense of invoking Christ or… Read more

March 21, 2019

Today we welcome Mary Li Ma to the Anxious Bench. A research scholar, mission consultant, social scientist, and justice advocate, Mary has been working to bring attention to the problem of abuse within Chinese churches. She has a PhD in sociology from Cornell University and is author Surviving the State, Remaking the Church and The Chinese Exodus. Mary works extensively on issues of social justice and Christian mission in China, and writes for both public and Christian media in the… Read more

March 20, 2019

I usually never read comments on my blogs, much less respond to them. But one recently caught my eye. It was posted on a twitter thread following a tweet by Katelyn Beaty about my last AB article posted by Scot McKnight on Jesus Creed (sorry, the social media world can be a confusing place…). This is what it says: “Women need to learn theology. Way way way too much eisigetic “teaching” today. Elizabeth Elliot witnessed and survived so, so much… Read more

March 19, 2019

What should we make of the atrocities committed by American soldiers against Japanese, Italian, and German prisoners during World War II? Chris considers how even “good” wars corrode the human soul. Read more

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