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

January 25, 2021

My Deep Disappointment with Franklin Graham According to news reports, after the vote by the House of Representatives to impeach Trump, evangelical leader Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, compared the Republican members of Congress who voted to impeach to Judas, betrayer of Christ. I am not alone among evangelicals when I criticize Graham for this. First, on a practical note, comparing those ten Republican members of Congress with Christ-betrayers contributes to the danger they find themselves in. Most of… Read more

January 20, 2021

What Is “The Church?” Of course this question—What Is the Church?—is far too “big” for a blog essay to answer. Here is why I am asking this question now, in this forum, and attempting to answer it—however partially. Over the past few years I have heard and read many people publicly referring to “the American church” or “the Baptist church” or “the evangelical church.” These are misuses of the word “church.” I think journalists are especially guilty of this misuse… Read more

January 16, 2021

Is “Liberal Christianity” Authentic Christianity? A few weeks ago I invited you to join me in reading A Theology for the Twenty-first Century by theologian Douglas Ottati (Eerdmans, 2020). I don’t know how many, if any, took up my invitation, but I plunged on perhaps alone and finished the 749 page volume today. Why? Because it’s there. For me, reading a massive theological tome of this quality and substance is like others climbing Mount Everest. It’s there and calls and… Read more

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