May 7, 2021

What Is the Purpose of a Christian College or University? I have been a faculty member of three Christian universities (one was called a “college” when I taught there) in succession over the past almost forty years. I have held tenured positions at two of them and now have held a named chair at one for several years. I have spoken at numerous American Christian colleges and universities and have a wide circles of acquaintances who taught or teach at… Read more

May 3, 2021

A Model for Church Discipline Recently, here, I have been advocating a return by Christians to standards of holiness that many, if not most, evangelicals have forgotten. In my experience, very few evangelical churches (and I include in that category a wide range of denominations and specific “types” of relatively conservative Protestant churches) uphold or promote any specific expectations with regard to personal conduct. In general, with many exceptions, of course (and I am not including here real fundamentalist churches),… Read more

April 30, 2021

Slip Sliding Away: Culturally Accommodated “Christianity” I recently posted here some thoughts about Christians and modesty. I expected disagreement and I got it. My purpose was to provoke thought about Christian norms. To what extent do we, American Christians especially, allow our Christianity to be shaped and re-shaped by contemporary American culture? Are we supposed to stand out rather than (just) fit in? To what extent? Whatever happened to the Christian norm of avoiding “worldliness?” Do we throw the baby… Read more

April 27, 2021

Should Christian Colleges and Universities Use Nude Models in Art Classes? This has been a lively discussion and debate within and around especially conservative Christian colleges and universities for a very long time. Recently a female student who majored in art in her undergraduate career complained that the university disallowed male nude models. She blamed that on the administration and “constituents.” I know the real reason—parents. The majority of students at all conservative Christian colleges and universities are female. It’s… Read more

April 21, 2021

Remembering “Satanic Panic” in America (1980s) One of the curses and blessings of getting old is remembering things other people don’t remember—either because they have forgotten or because they weren’t alive or because they just weren’t paying attention. I’m talking about important things, things that mattered, things that made a difference, a lasting impact. One of the strangest social, cultural, religious phenomena of my lifetime swept through North America (the U.S. and Canada) in the 1980s. It probably began quietly… Read more

April 17, 2021

Authoritative vs. Nurturant Styles of Religion Occasionally a friend (or even a stranger) sends me a book they have written and want me to read and possibly review here. Recently arrived is Embracing Prodigals: Overcoming Authoritative Religion by Embodying Jesus’ Nurturing Grace by my friend John Sanders (Cascade Books, 2020). It’s an excellent little book for individual enrichment reading or for use in a book group or church group—for discussion. According to John, “authoritative religion” is a style of religion… Read more

April 12, 2021

Who Is A “Progressive Christian” and How Is That Different from “Liberal Christian?” Recently I had a protracted discussion, almost a debate, with a publisher about the label “liberal Christian.” He said almost nobody calls himself or herself a “liberal Christian.” The new term for the same thing is “progressive Christian.” I have been reading a LOT of liberal Christian theology lately—focusing mostly on 20th and 21st century American liberal Christian theologians such as: Washington Gladden, Henry Churchill King, Harry… Read more

April 9, 2021

R.I.P. Hans Küng (1928-2021) On April 6 this year (2021) Catholic theologian Hans Küng of Switzerland died. He was 93. I call him a Catholic theologian even though the Vatican declared him not one in 1979. I have included an entire chapter about him and his theology in my The Journey of Modern Theology: From Reconstruction to Deconstruction (InterVarsity Press). There I treat him as he was called by Karl Rahner, a liberal theologian. I knew Hans Küng—for three days…. Read more

April 7, 2021

We Are Now Headed into New Territory, But Christians Before Us Have Been There First, whom do I mean by “we?” I mean American Christians, especially American Christians who are determined not to compromise with secular culture that is inimical to true, authentic Christianity. Second, whom do I mean by “Christians before us?” I mean Christians in the Roman Empire before Constantine and later Christians who walked they “narrow way” and suffered for refusing to compromise with the dominant culture… Read more

April 5, 2021

How This Blog Came to Exist and Why I Keep It Going I began this blog about ten years ago after much gentle pressure from friends. Since its inception, I have posted about 1,700 distinct essays here. Whenever I sit down to write a new blog post I think to myself “But I already wrote about that….” Yes, I have written about almost every conceivable topic—related to Christian theology. That is one reason my blog posts have decreased in frequency…. Read more

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