April 22, 2019

H. L. Mencken defined Puritanism as the “haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might be happy.” The new Puritanism seems to have it that “someone, somewhere, might be innocent.” Take the cases of Tiger Woods, Kate Smith, and Mike Pence. Woods won the Masters a week ago and his less than virtuous past (anyone remember #believeher?) did not prevent Bishop Robert Barron from both rooting for the golfer and then using Woods’ comeback to illustrate the power of redemption: “When Tiger… Read more

April 16, 2019

The fire in Paris and damage to Notre Dame is, it goes without saying, awful. The cathedral’s grandeur and intricate beauty will always be part of my first memories of Europe — I first visited in 1976 and Notre Dame means, for me, Paris. So I can well understand the feelings of loss that many are expressing around and on social media. But I am curious that so few of the remarks about the cathedral make any reference to Mary… Read more

April 11, 2019

Benedict XVI, the pope who resigned in 2014, has written an essay on the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church. It has a curious section about what the church should now do: What must be done? Perhaps we should create another Church for things to work out? Well, that experiment has already been undertaken and has already failed. Only obedience and love for our Lord Jesus Christ can point the way. So let us first try to understand… Read more

April 9, 2019

The most recent effort to overcome white supremacy and look for harmony between races is to tell whites to find their ethnic heritages. Whiteness is a construction, but ethnic identity is apparently real. An early effort at this came from Ekemini Uwan who spoke at the Sparrow Conference for women and saw listeners leave when she berated whiteness (according to the Religious News Service story): “Because we have to understand something — whiteness is wicked,” Uwan said. “It is wicked…. Read more

April 5, 2019

The gospel allies ran a successful conference, according to some observers: 1. The Gospel Coalition has to be one of the most striking examples of the Lord’s care for his church in our generation. When leaders are asked about the state of the church today, the immediate reaction is often hand-wringing and lament. But TGC represents a wave of blessing and health and vitality and spiritual hunger and theological fidelity and evangelism fostering that is a big reason for celebration…. Read more

April 3, 2019

Within a few days of each other, two authors decided to attribute to Reformed Protestants (i.e. Calvinists) the worst features of tribalism. They did so at a time when everyday brings a news story about identitarian politics leading to banning some speaker from campus, or humiliating a public figure into resignation or even to court. But with all that noise, Tim Challies and Paul Carter decide to single out Reformed Protestants as instances of offensive Christian rhetoric and behavior. For… Read more

April 1, 2019

They asked and I accepted. Christian History Institute requested an essay about John Williamson Nevin, Philip Schaff and the Mercersberg Theology and I wrote one. Mercersburg was the site of the German Reformed Church’s seminary, the institution where Nevin and Schaff taught. For a time they resisted the central trends of evangelical Protestantism in nineteenth-century America. Their reason was trying to adhere to a way of being Protestant that was closer to the Reformation than to the modernizing tendencies of… Read more

March 29, 2019

I wonder if Thabiti Anyabwile will support a resolution condemning the desecration of the Lord’s Day if I will also support a resolution condemning racism. The thought occurred to me after reading the pastor’s reaction to news that Tennessee’s legislators had refused to support a resolution condemning racism. Might it be the case that the inability to admit the obvious about our past shows itself in fresh aggravation and consternation when we see Neo-Nazis marching today? Could it be that… Read more

March 27, 2019

Jemar Tisby repeats the refrain that white evangelicals who support President Trump are hypocritical: In the 2016 presidential election, exit polling tells us, about 8 out of 10 white evangelicals who voted pulled the lever for Donald Trump. This information came as a disappointment to many and, to some, as further indication of the moral hypocrisy of white evangelicals. Those who promote “family values,” espouse equality for all people and stand for biblical ethics chose to embrace a man whose… Read more

March 25, 2019

People with Ph.D.s do not make a lot of money and the perks of teaching at a college or university rarely bestow the kind of privilege that comes with being born in a wealthy, well-connected family or the son or daughter to a powerful politician. That does not mean, though, that academics identify with the ordinary people. University life and the paces of graduate school often expose the folks headed for Ph.D.s to the dynamics and culture of elite institutions… Read more

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