March 2, 2021

A Parable/Greek Tragedy There was a large, extended family most of whose members were (and many are) intensely interested in health food and alternative medicine. Their underlying interest was health. But this family (and most of their friends) were intensely interested in organic foods, alternative “medicines” and “healthy living”—in a fairly extreme way that marked them off from most other people around them. The children were not allowed to eat many ordinary foods and were sent to school with “special… Read more

February 27, 2021

American Evangelical Christianity: A Failed Movement? I grew up in the “thick” of American evangelical Christianity and have served as a theologian in it for about forty years. My uncle was on the national board of the National Association of Evangelical (NAE). My parents were evangelical pastors; many of my close relatives were evangelical evangelists, ministers, missionaries, denominational leaders. I well remember standing on a downtown sidewalk of our Midwestern city feeling proud to see my father marching together with… Read more

February 24, 2021

Having Said That…There Are Times When We Modern Christians Must Say Tradition Was Wrong In my immediately preceding blog post I argued that modern Christians ought not to throw out long-held Christian beliefs just because they not longer seem suitable to modern cultural sensitivities. I gave some examples. Here I want to return to something I wrote about years ago—“postconservative theology.” People misunderstood my meaning even though I explained it very clearly. “Conservative theology” CAN hold too rigidly to tradition…. Read more

February 20, 2021

When May Contemporary Christians Diverge from Traditional Christianity? I am a historical theologian who specializes in studying and teaching about “traditional Christianity” and its alternatives—especially so-called “heresies” that arose within Christian circles but were sidelined and excluded by the leaders of Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant churches. I have done this work for forty plus years in four American universities. I have written and published about twenty books (either solely or with one other author) and more articles and chapters in… Read more

February 17, 2021

Hitler’s “Trial” and His Successful Denials… I recently watched a fascinating documentary (on Youtube) that informed me (convincingly) about some matters related to Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany that I did not know before. I thought I knew everything, but this report came as a surprise to me. Here is the information dramatically shared and reenacted in the documentary: When Hitler was coming to power as Chancellor of Germany a German state prosecutor filed some kind of charge… Read more

February 14, 2021

Truth Is Truth—Whatever Its Source May Be (Thoughts about Christian Thinkers Who Sin) I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked about a certain famous Christian apologist-speaker and writer who died recently. After his death he was accused of living an extremely immoral and possibly illegal/abusive secret life. This reminds me of the earlier questions I received about John Howard Yoder who was accused by several female former students of sexually harassing them. It also reminds me of Paul… Read more

February 9, 2021

Church Shopping I’ve always been told and thought that “church shopping” is bad. But why? Yes, okay, it’s bad if it’s rooted in a consumerist mindset that says “I’m looking for a church in the same way I look for a good nail spa or gym. I want the one (church, spa, gym, whatever) that serves me and my needs and doesn’t cost very much.” Unfortunately, I’m sure there are people who shop for a church with that mindset. However,… Read more

February 4, 2021

God Does Not Have a Peculiar Divine Logic Recently I wrote a chapter about Calvinism for an edited book (to be published sometime this year). I was invited to write it by the editors and for that I thank them. In the chapter I noted that Calvinist pastor, theologian and author Edwin H. Palmer admitted in his little classic The Five Points of Calvinism that at least some of what Calvinism teaches is “illogical, ridiculous, nonsensical, and foolish.” (85) “The… Read more

January 31, 2021

Did Jonathan Edwards Undermine Calvinism? Jonathan Edwards, perhaps the greatest Puritan theologian and a passionate Calvinist, “speaks today” through Calvinist leaders like John Piper even though he has been dead for hundreds of years. Edwards was born in Massachusetts in 1703 (the same year John Wesley was born in England) and died in New Jersey in 1758—just after becoming president of the College of New Jersey now known as Princeton University. He died tragically from a smallpox vaccination. Anyone who… Read more

January 27, 2021

On Not Making a Religion of Politics My observation is that many Americans are making a religion out of politics. That is, they are putting into political activism, even if only on social media, the passion that should be reserved for religion. To be even clearer and more specific, for many people, many Christians included, what Paul Tillich called “ultimate concern” is being invested in political commitments and endeavors. This is a kind of idolatry. Again, to paraphrase Tillich, only… Read more

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