Troubled Waters

The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in America and has been since around 1960 when it bypassed Methodism in this category. Riding the wave of the post-World War II evangelical boom, Southern Baptists long ago moved beyond their old confines south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Southern Baptist churches are now located in all of the fifty states. Led today by the Reverend Fred Luter, their first African-American president, Southern Baptists have become one of the most ethnically diverse and multilingual denominations in the country. Continue Reading »

A date to remember

Papal approbation being no bad thing, I was delighted to learn that Pope Francis, in a homily a few weeks ago, had suggested that his congregants learn the date of their baptisms and celebrate it—which is precisely what I have been proposing to audiences around the country this past year, when . . . . Continue Reading »

The Politics of Baptism

In the second chapter of his letter to the Galatians, Paul recounts how on a visit to Antioch he publicly rebuked Peter’s “hypocrisy” in withdrawing, under pressure from a delegation of the Jerusalem church, from table fellowship with Gentile believers. The New Testament scholar James D. G. . . . . Continue Reading »

A President in Process

It turns out, in retrospect, to have been a most ironically timed meeting. The White House Communications Office had arranged for nine representatives of the religious press—nicely balanced as to denomination and theological inclination—to meet with the President on December 17. That . . . . Continue Reading »

Baptism and Development

In the north Indian state of Bihar, there are indigenous peoples who never converted to the Hinduism of the Aryan people that conquered and settled India long ago. Some of these tribals, as they are called, exist in another century, perhaps another millennium. In one hamlet, there is a well for . . . . Continue Reading »