June 7, 2019

Just when Sohrab Ahmari’s take down of David French-ism has almost expired, Jared Wilson decides to trot out the old canard that Calvinists are mean. This is a meme that the leaders of and writers for The Gospel Coalition (also known as Big Green Letters) have used many times to distinguish themselves from Reformed Protestants who are more particular about Reformed ministry and church life than the assemblage of Baptists and Presbyterians who really really like Jonathan Edwards. On the… Read more

June 4, 2019

In 1977 the magazine, Christianity Today, the flagship publication for movement evangelicalism, relocated from Washington, D.C. to Wheaton, IL. In a story about Wheaton in the New York Times, the move was not what some of the magazine’s founders had in mind: The most important newcomer in recent years was Christianity Today, a conservative and literate weekly that had been based in Washington. When executives decided to move here in 1977, there was some talk of getting out of the… Read more

May 30, 2019

The essay at First Things by Sohrab Ahmari against National Review’s David French may be way too far into the weeds of political conservatism for many evangelical Protestants since both magazine’s draw many readers from the conservative movement and Roman Catholicism, spheres where born-again Protestants are not prevalent. (Indeed, the ties between post-World War II political conservatism and Roman Catholicism remain strong even if not always obvious.) What may interest Protestant readers, even Reformed ones, is that David French, an… Read more

May 28, 2019

In light of last night’s first game in the Stanley Cup between Boston and St. Louis, Chris Gehrz wonders if rule changes in hockey that reduce (or abolish) fighting might be applicable to a kinder, gentler version of evangelical Protestantism: In the NHL and its associated minor and junior leagues, fights do carry a major penalty of five minutes, but that has almost no impact on the game. In most cases, there’s no power play advantage, since both teams lose… Read more

May 24, 2019

From a review of Michael Kazin’s War against War: The American Fight for Peace: Kazin even offers a counterfactual perspective on the outcome of World War I without U.S. intervention. The war would have continued, and it might have been 1919 or 1920 before civilian pressure forced Europe’s leaders to the negotiating table. The result would have been a more moderate peace settlement, rather than the dictated arrangement reached at Versailles. Both the circumstances that bankrupted the Weimar Republic and… Read more

May 22, 2019

If you follow discussions among Roman Catholics you may know that ever since Vatican II the church has had some trouble deciding whether that council modernized the church or simply restated old truths in newer and pastorally sensitive ways. This debate revolves around the so-called hermeneutic of continuity that Pope Benedict XVI asserted in order, precisely, to try to clarify the relationship of the post-conciliar church to the pre-conciliar version. On the other side have been those associated derogatorily with… Read more

May 16, 2019

Rod Dreher is not the only one to wonder about the meaning of reactions to Rachel Held Evans’ death. For Christianity Today to post an essay of critical appreciation only to remove it after fans sent lots of flack to the magazine’s editors suggests Evans’ reputation may have owed more celebrity than to a firm contribution within evangelical or mainline Protestantism. (For some background on these developments see this.) Even so, the outpouring of praise for Evans, clearly understandable in… Read more

May 14, 2019

Jemar Tisby has a new book out contending that the history of the church’s complicity in racism means evangelicals can no longer act as if they do not know about the problem. At the beginning he says his book is “about revealing racism.” “It pulls back the curtain on the ways American Christians have collaborated with racism for centuries” (15). By the end of the book he concludes: Countless Christians have ignored, obscured, or misunderstood this history. But the excuses… Read more

May 10, 2019

More people enter the conservation room about the ties between conservative Presbyterian theology and anti-semitism and white nationalism. Ivan Strenski, who teaches religion at UC Riverside, recently wrote: In their confidence of Christian success at displacing Jews from their role as Chosen People, the Earnest family’s Orthodox Presbyterians are not special. They line up predictably with a two millennia-long line of Christian apologists. This line of Christian theologians essentially shares the same view of the supersessionist course of salvation history… Read more

May 7, 2019

Some journalists who want to report on the connections between the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the shooting at the synagogue in Poway, California last weekend may be surprised to learn about this recommendation of J. Gresham Machen’s diatribe against theological liberalism by a Jewish American: We’ve spent quite a bit of time in recent years debating who’s a Jew, but we’ve neglected to ask the thornier question: namely, what is Judaism? It’s a question that belongs with theologians, a scholastic… Read more

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