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Two Holidays, Two Reformations

From First Thoughts

While the broader culture celebrates Halloween at the end of this month, many Protestants will focus on Reformation Day while two days later Catholics will utter prayers as part of All Souls’ Day. It is a fitting historical tribute (or irony) that All Souls’ Day and Reformation Day occur within two days of one another with All Saints’ Day sandwiched in between. It is as though the two great reform movements of western Christianity stand as bookends to the patristic heritage. The observance of these three days reminds Christians of a common patristic heritage and the way reformation and renewal can both reshape and fracture that heritage. Continue Reading »

Women and the Culture of Evangelicalism

From First Thoughts

Last Friday the Gender Parity Project released the results of its study of the role of women among evangelical non-profit organizations. Most of the men surveyed affirmed an egalitarian stance toward women in leadership positions, but the study also found that women have barely broken the twenty percent barrier in terms of board and paid leadership positions. Such findings should not surprise. Women play complicated roles in Evangelicalism, all worked out within the framework of Protestantism’s emphasis on maximizing lay participation. Continue Reading »

Why Ecumenism is Necessary

From First Thoughts

Recent global events have highlighted the ongoing challenge of ethnic and tribal divisions. Americans have also been reminded by events in Ferguson that divisions along race and ethnic lines are just down the street. These ongoing divisions forcefully highlight the need for greater efforts at ecumenism. Continue Reading »

Ars moriendi

From First Thoughts

Despite the lower mortality rates and longer life spans of the postmodern condition, the reality of death still looms large. Globalization and the new networks of social media keep death before the mind of a global public on a daily basis. The Gothic in literature and the arts pours forth at a . . . . Continue Reading »

On Memory and Reconciliation

From First Thoughts

The pope’s apology to Pentecostals during his visit to the church pastored by Giovanni Traettino speaks to the importance of memory. As Augustine recounts in his Confessions, the memory is a vast storehouse of many chambers filled with countless images. Continue Reading »

Time to Stand Against Rome?

From Web Exclusives

A recent joint statement by a number of Italian evangelical groups indicts the Roman Catholic Church as an “imperial” church and its call for evangelicals to “unionist initiatives that are contrary to Scripture and instead renew their commitment to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world.” Continue Reading »