The Bible Cause at 200

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Which version of the Bible to read is an argument too precious for many who no longer read—anything! The renaissance of biblical learning at the Reformation was accompanied by the founding of schools and instruction in basic literacy. Such is increasingly our task once again. Continue Reading »

The One Really Interesting Story

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The Book of Acts opens with two events of great salvation-historical importance: the going up of Jesus from earth into heaven (the Ascension), and the coming down of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples (Pentecost). Both events are commemorated by Christians in this season of the year. Jesus’s resurrection from the dead inaugurated God’s new beginning, which the New Testament calls “the last days.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Francis: A Springtime Saint

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He shone in his days as a morning star in the midst of the clouds.~Pope Gregory IX at the canonization of St. Francis of Assisi (1228) There lived in the town of Assisi a man whose name was Francis. . . . In him we can contemplate the excess of God’s mercy: he brought the good news of peace and . . . . Continue Reading »

Puritans on the Potomac

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On a late November evening in 1867, two years after the end of the American Civil War, Celestia Ferris, chief washer-woman at the Bureau of Engraving, organized a prayer meeting not far from the U. S. Capitol. She was joined by a circle of earnest Christians, mostly of the Baptist persuasion, who . . . . Continue Reading »

Reading the Psalms with the Reformers

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In the fourth century, St. Athanasius wrote a letter to a certain Marcellinus, who was likely a deacon in the church in Alexandria. During a long illness, Marcellinus had turned to the study of the Bible and was especially drawn to the Book of Psalms, striving “to comprehend the meaning contained . . . . Continue Reading »

In Honor of an Uppity Nun

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On one of my first visits to Rome some years ago, I stepped into an elevator on my way to a meeting in the Vatican. I was greeted by a friendly cleric. “Where are you from?” he asked. “Birmingham, Alabama,” I replied. “Oh,” he said in a hushed tone, “do you know Mother Angelica?” I . . . . Continue Reading »

Erasmus Before the Storm

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Five hundred years ago this year, in February and March of 1516, a Swiss-German printer in Basel named Johann Froben published a volume of some 1,000 pages titled Novum Instrumentum Omne, “the whole New Testament.” This was the first officially published edition of the Greek New Testament, and . . . . Continue Reading »

Social Sins in Lent

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The season of Lent is a time of meditation and self-denial, as Christians join with Jesus in his journey toward the cross. Most often, the penitential disciplines of Lent focus on personal sins of greed and indulgence, with an emphasis on abstaining from some private luxuries and exercising a . . . . Continue Reading »

Justice Scalia on Funeral Sermons

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When Jessica Mitford first published The American Way of Death in 1963, she unleashed a broadside against the entire funeral industry in this country. She criticized the way funerals were done in America, including cosmetic excrescences and high expenses stemming from the greed of morticians. Some . . . . Continue Reading »