Mention in New York Times (April 29)

Mention in New York Times (April 29) April 27, 2012

Thanks to the faithful visitor to my blog who alerted me to the fact that I am mentioned in this Sunday’s (April 29, 2012) New York Times (Book Reviews) in an article entitled “Breaking Faith”–a review by Randall Balmer. Balmer uses me as one of five people who provide “evidence of the vitality of Christian thinking.” I really don’t think I deserve that, but I’ll gladly accept it (especially if it helps sell my books! 🙂

I have known Randall casually for several years. He’s the son of an Evangelical Free pastor who has struggled long and hard with his evangelical upbringing and education. (He attended Trinity College, now Trinity International University.) I think his book Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory (and the accompanying public TV series) is one of the best popular presentations of American evangelicalism I have ever read/seen. It’s a little dated now, but still very informative, entertaining, insightful and even inspiring. Every time I watch the series (I’ve shown it to many classes over the years) I tear up at certain points that transport me back to my own evangelical upbringing. (Especially the scenes from the Holiness Camp Meeting for some reason.)

I can’t recommend Randall’s books on American religion and especially evangelicalism highly enough.

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  • I think you deserve it. Congratulations and good job!

    • rogereolson

      Having slept on it, I feel guilty about the pretension revealed in my mentioning it, but this blog sort of functions as my facebook page. Because of it I pay no attention (with rare exceptions) to my facebook page and use this to tell my friends, students and acquaintances about these things. Thank you for your congrats!

  • I am cracking up at the “I am a Mormom” ads on top of your blog. 🙂

    • rogereolson

      Yes, of course, Patheos sells those ads and we bloggers have no control over what ones show up at our blogs. I wish there were some way to have that control, but those ads are what make this possible. In a way, the Mormons are financing my evangelical Christian theological musings! I wonder if that is what Jesus meant by making friends with the mammon of unrighteousness. (Seriously–I don’t think Mormons are “unrighteous” in any sense of immoral. They’re just very, very wrong theologically!)

  • jesse

    You totally deserve that, Roger. You are certainly one of my favorite Christian thinkers. Congrats!

    • rogereolson


  • Well done Roger. To this conversation I have added my own support and review – A “Call to Faith by Breaking Faith,” by Ross Douthat, NYT (

    Thank you for your *perspicuity and discernment on many of Christianity’s more vital issues [*apologies. I couldn’t resist adding another word to Douthat’s vocab of jeremiad, fissiparous, halycon, and pablum! 🙂 ]. May the Lord bless all who seek His leading in these difficult days in a confusion of faith’s maelstroms and many voices.

  • Ivan A. Rogers

    Roger said: “(Seriously–I don’t think Mormons are “unrighteous” in any sense of immoral. They’re just very, very wrong theologically!”)

    I agree! But so, too, are evangelicals “very, very wrong theologically.” For just two examples: teaching eternal conscious torture (hell), and salvation for only a fraction of humanity.

  • Scott Gay

    Merriam-Webster……..eclectic “selecting the best in various doctrines or methods”.

    Jean Sulivan…… Priest /writer known for freedom(Existential)
    Miroslav Volf…..Fuller, Yale……continuation of Moltmann(Hope)
    David James Duncan…..”God Laughs and Plays…..The River Why(Ecology)
    Doug Frank…….breaking free of the Almighty(Gentler God)…..(Open)
    Roger Olson….theological history, unity and diversity, transition(Reformed and always reforming)

    The very point of Balmer’s review of Douthat’s book is pushback against the idea of bad religion.
    Balmer gives these five as examples of good religion(evidence of vitality). Rather than a static view and laments of loss of stability, all five thinkers reflect fresh steps into the river of life.