In Honor of David Steinmetz

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David Curtis Steinmetz, one of the leading church historians of our time, died this past November at age 79 on Thanksgiving evening. He spent most of his distinguished academic career at Duke Divinity School, where he was the Ragan Kerns Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the History of . . . . Continue Reading »

First Buds of the Church

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Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are over now, but the melodies linger on—not only for those who observe the full twelve days of Christmastide, but also for others for whom the season has been mostly about lots of good food, good cheer, and the feel-good sentimentality of “God's in his heaven, . . . . Continue Reading »

Bonhoeffer's Last Advent

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One year before Dietrich Bonhoeffer was executed by the Nazis on the morning of April 9, 1945, he wrote from prison to his friend Eberhard Bethge: “What keeps gnawing at me is the question, ‘What is Christianity, or who is Christ actually for us today?’” To that question we must now pose . . . . Continue Reading »

After Dinner, a Beheading

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November 2015 will be remembered as the month in which the world woke up. The year began with the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris on January 7 and 8, an atrocity which drew millions to the streets of the French capital to stand in solidarity on behalf of civil liberty and freedom of speech. Militant . . . . Continue Reading »

Thin Places

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Several years ago, my son Christian and I, along with our friend David from Brazil, made a pilgrimage to Skellig Michael. Skellig is the Irish word for “rock,” and Skellig Michael is a rocky mountain island jutting 700 feet out of the icy waters of the North Atlantic, just off the coast of County Kerry in western Ireland.

America's First Baptist President

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Warren Gamaliel Harding was the first Baptist to serve as President of the United States and the only Baptist president—thus far—to be a Republican. Neither Baptists nor Republicans are particularly proud of that fact these days, as Harding is generally ranked dead last among the nation’s . . . . Continue Reading »

The Mystery of Eternal Love

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One of the most common charges leveled against Christians in the early church was that they were atheists. They did not worship the gods of Rome and Greece, nor did they follow the mystery religions of the East. Indeed, they claimed to worship the one true God of Israel, the Creator of all that is, . . . . Continue Reading »

Theology Worth Smuggling

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When Harvey Cox was a student minister in Berlin in 1962, one year after the erection of the Wall, he was able to travel back and forth between East and West because he held an American passport. He thus became a courier for pastors and Christian laypeople on both sides of that divide and was . . . . Continue Reading »

A Franciscan Moment

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Evangelicalism is best understood as a renewal movement within the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church. Across time, evangelicals have drawn deeply from four wells of Christian wisdom: the christological and trinitarian faith of the undivided church prior to 1054; the Protestant Reformation, . . . . Continue Reading »

God and Donald Trump

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The closest I have ever come to meeting Donald John Trump was during a visit to Manhattan when I took the elevator to the top of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, a 68-story building with an 80-foot waterfall. As I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican, I offer no comments on the political earthquake . . . . Continue Reading »