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Our Slippery Slopes

From First Thoughts

Most of my arguments with defenders of the legalization same-sex marriages have been friendly ones. I have some strong views on the subject, based on my adherence to what I believe is the Bible’s teachings on the subject. But I also care deeply about preserving a pluralistic social order, where individuals and groups have the opportunity to live out their deepest convictions—however disagreeable to people like me—within a framework of a shared commitment to the common good. So, many of my arguments on this particular subject have been efforts on my part to get clear about what the expansion of the concept of marriage to include same-sex unions will mean for the social fabric. Continue Reading »

Mormon Catholicism

From the May 2014 Print Edition

Mormon Christianity: What Other Christians Can Learn from the Latter-day Saintsby stephen h. webboxford, 232 pages, $27.95In the Evangelical world in which I was raised, “Mormon Christianity” would have been treated as an oxymoron. The Latter-day Saints were a ­devious cult who . . . . Continue Reading »

On Not Being “Prophetic”

From Web Exclusives

Frequently I am invited to add my name as an endorser of a position paper on some topic of public concern. And when I decide not to sign it, it often has to do with my impression that the group making the declaration is trying too hard to be “prophetic.”. . .  Continue Reading »

Halloween and the Power of Evil

From Web Exclusives

There are big banners hanging over the streets of our local business district, announcing a “Spooktacular” celebration on Halloween. I wonder whether the local Evangelicals”there are three congregations of them in the town”will boycott the participating stores. There is much evangelical opposition to Halloween these days… . Continue Reading »

What I Learned From Robert Bellah

From Web Exclusives

I learned much from the late Robert Bellah. His widely discussed (and widely criticized) 1967 essay on civil religion chastened me for my habit of issuing unnuanced condemnations of civil religion as such. And Habits of the Heart, written by team of scholars led by Bellah and published in 1985, has been a continuing resource for me on a variety of subjects”especially worship… . Continue Reading »

Surveillance Technologies and Bible Prophecy

From Web Exclusives

I try not to get caught up in the all-too-popular sport of Pat Robertson-bashing. For one thing, in the few times I have been with the Evangelical leader”one of those times for a leisurely luncheon meeting in his office at Regent Univeristy”I have found him to be an engaging and gracious conversationalist… . Continue Reading »

Young and Irresponsible

From Web Exclusives

A couple of years ago Richard disliked something I had written and chided me for it in “The Public Square.” He began: “Richard J. Mouw and I have been friends since we were both young and irresponsible.” There was more than a little hint there that he thought that at least . . . . Continue Reading »

Surprised by Calvin

From the March 2009 Print Edition

In his Letters to Malcolm, C.S. Lewis reminds his fictitious friend about an argument the two of them once had in Edinburgh—an encounter, Lewis remembers, where “we nearly came to blows.” Their heated argument was about the relation between our ordinary experiences of pleasure and the kind of . . . . Continue Reading »

Babel Undone

From the May 1998 Print Edition

A few decades ago I published a short piece in Christianity Today about something I had observed on a Chicago expressway. I had been following a car that exhibited a Playboy bunny decal in its rear window; then as I went to pass the car I also noticed a plastic statue of Mary on . . . . Continue Reading »