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

From Web Exclusives

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 »

Ghosts of Walnut Street Bridge

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On a sweltering summer afternoon in July 1998, my friend and Beeson colleague Robert Smith Jr. and I drove from Birmingham to Chattanooga, where we planned to meet the next day with local pastors and church leaders. The next morning we arose at five o’clock to take a walk around the city before . . . . Continue Reading »

Mournful Broken Hearts

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Dylann Storm Roof, whose birthday is April 3, had just barely turned twenty-one. Twenty-one used to be the age of legal majority in America—the age at which society allowed one to vote, enter into a contract with someone else, get married without parental consent, drive a car, go to war. “I'm . . . . Continue Reading »

Gimmicks and God

From Web Exclusives

I have a confession to make. In my former life as a Baptist youth evangelist, I did some things of which I am not now particularly proud. For example, on one occasion I dressed up like the devil and went to the local high school, where I told the students just arriving for class that day not to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Neglected God

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Some years ago Nils A. Dahl wrote that God may be the “neglected factor in New Testament theology.” Destructive biblical criticism, exemplified for years in the work of the so-called Jesus Seminar, eviscerates the gospel narratives of all theological power and leaves us, at best, with a Jesus made in our own image—political agitator, cynic sage, new age guru, etc. The words of weeping Mary in John 20:13 are appropriate: “They have taken my Lord away, . . . and I don’t know where they have put him.” But the Jesus of the Gospels cannot be confined to the straitjacket of such pseudo-scholarly speculation. He bursts through those Scriptures today just as he rose bodily from the grave that first Easter morning. Continue Reading »