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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 »

A Church In Exile

Religion, and maybe Ebola, owned the news this week. From the confusion and public relations nightmare at the Vatican over the Synod’s Relatio, to the Caesarism of Annise Parker and the City of Housing subpoenaing sermons from pastors, it’s a been a busy week for the religion beat. Continue Reading »

The Problem of Self Loathing at Evangelical Colleges

When I was an undergraduate at an evangelical college in the Pacific Northwest, I encountered a unique imperative, “Down with the Pinecone Curtain!” For my classmates who resonated with this battle cry, the towering evergreens on campus were a metaphor for the college’s cultural isolation. While the Pinecone Curtain wasn’t exactly the Berlin Wall, my classmates’ discontent was real nonetheless. They were dissatisfied with the school’s evangelical identity, if not with evangelicalism itself. Continue Reading »

The Evangelical Academy

We were doing an interview on an NPR station, a kind of “point-counterpoint” thing. The other interviewee was a self-identified agnostic , and the topic was the rights of academic institutions to “discriminate” on the basis of religious beliefs. My dialogue partner was not overtly hostile to religion as such. Indeed he said some nice things about the school where I was president at the time. Fuller Seminary produces some excellent scholarship based on our religious convictions, he observed. But why do we hire only folks who subscribe to those convictions? Having religious beliefs is fine, he said. But for institutions to hire only faculty who subscribe to those beliefs is contrary to the principles of academic inquiry. Continue Reading »

Lutheran Evangelicals

Why is Calvinism so influential among American Evangelicals while Lutheranism is not? We might describe the statistically modal convert to Calvinism—that is, the most frequently observed kind of convert—as a person like this: A young adult, usually male. Raised in a broad though indistinct Evangelical (and sometimes nominally Catholic) home. Bright. A reader. Searching for better intellectual answers to questions about God, Jesus and the Bible. Is open to becoming a pastor. Why does this young man so much more often become a Calvinist instead a Lutheran? Continue Reading »

Song that everyone knows they don’t know

A few words before you watch this video.1. The point is obvious, and it’s been said before, but to see it in this high production value should make you at least be happy that the point is also going mainstream.2. The stunning irony of this video is that it comes from North Point Media — . . . . Continue Reading »

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