Hartford: A Reminiscence

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1975 “Hartford Appeal for Theological Affirmation.” Some of us who were signers have been quietly reminiscing about the project. One of my fellow participants wrote me about it recently, referring to “the ‘historic’(?) Hartford conclave.” Putting the “historic” in quotes with a parenthetical question mark rightly distanced the Appeal from any status as a major ecclesiastical document. The Appeal may show up in an occasional footnote these days, but its actual theological content is seldom recalled. Continue Reading »

Evangelicals and Catholics Together—Twenty Years Later

Twenty-one years ago to the month, a group of ecumenically-minded Evangelicals and Roman Catholics, led by Richard John Neuhaus and Chuck Colson, gathered together and issued the statement: “Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium (ECT).”

When Penthouse Magazine Came Calling

Someone asked me recently, now that I am retired from administrative leadership, if I plan to write my autobiography. My answer was a definite “No!” Narrating the details of my seventy-plus year pilgrimage would bore me almost as much as it would bore others. I do, however, remember a few events that might be interesting enough for public airing. One of them is the time that I turned down an invitation to appear in Penthouse magazine. Continue Reading »

While We’re At It

• Richard J. Mouw has written a wonderful book, Called to the Life of the Mind: Some Advice for Evangelical Scholars (Eerdmans, 2014). A bright young student raised in a tradition of conservative Evangelical pietism, Mouw recalls that his pastors “often viewed the intellectual life . . . . Continue Reading »

Mission Trips and the “Monolithic Other”

Short-term “mission trips” are hugely popular among American Evangelicals. Usually these trips involve lay people visiting another part of the world with the aim of helping locals and introducing them to Christianity. But recently, these trips have received a lot of criticism from those on the left, who say that many trips amount to little more than religious tourism, and from those on the right, who argue that such trips induce dependency on foreign aid in communities, rather than self-sufficiency. Continue Reading »

How to Battle for Hearts and Minds

In a forthcoming issue of First Things, I review a fine book by Michael McVicar, who teaches at Florida State University. His subject is the “Christian Reconstructionism” of the late Rousas J. Rushdoony, a perspective on Christianity and social-political-economic-legal thought and practice that makes much of the continuing relevance of Old Testament civil law—including the sanctions tied to specific laws and practices. Continue Reading »

Evangelical Liturgy, High and Low

Ever since the 1994 publication of the Evangelicals and Catholics together document (ECT), and with renewed urgency in the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate and the increased acceptance of same-sex marriage, there has been a growing affiliation between Rome and various evangelical traditions. The alliance has been based largely on the growing awareness that creedal Christian orthodoxy is in a marginal position in the public square. Despite their long history of conflict, Catholics and evangelicals have realized that they will be stronger if they face their challenges together. Continue Reading »

A Biblical Vision of Marriage

Too often, we Evangelical Protestants have harmed our public witness and failed in fidelity by proclaiming the sanctity and permanence of marriage in one sentence before highlighting the “biblical” justifications for divorce in the next. Our current moment indeed requires us to testify to the male-female nature of marriage, but it also affords an opportunity. As we commend the biblical vision of marriage to our neighbors, we must not shy from aspects of it we have been loath to behold. It’s time we Evangelicals abandon our defense of divorce and embrace a biblical defense of marriage’s permanence. Continue Reading »