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

October 4, 2019

I have posted on how the Bible came to take the shape that we know, and how that precise shape varies in different parts of the Christian world. I recently came across a declaration that framed that story nicely, and which demands a “Discuss!” after it. Catholics Come Home is an evangelistic ministry that appeals to former and lapsed Catholics and seeks to draw them back into active church membership, largely through ads, television commercials, and a practically-oriented website. They… Read more

October 3, 2019

In January 2016, Donald Trump claimed that he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone and not lose supporters. With the impeachment inquiry underway, his words ring prophetic. With blatant corruption in full view, with the president turning to foreign powers to pursue his own personal gain, claiming that a coup is afoot, and labelling political opponents traitors, his critics are left wondering if there is anything he could do that would cause his supporters to… Read more

October 2, 2019

A student stopped me after class recently. She wanted to know if I listened to the Christian Feminism podcast because the latest episode mentioned me. “I realized,” she said, “that I knew Dr. Barr!” So of course I listened. It gave a good summary of the Owen Strachan and Beth Moore twitter event (if you missed it, see here and here). It was pretty critical of Strachan’s blogpost denouncing women preaching, “Divine Order in a Chaotic Age” (they really disliked… Read more

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