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 »

Modern Man [1]

Just to keep things interesting, I’m posting my response to JMR on the front page here. I thank him for his engagement on this issue, even if he is actually wrong about a lot of things.I think the heart of our disagreement is the Bible and how to read it.I think that’s unquestionably . . . . Continue Reading »

An Interview with the Devil Himself

In his current Evangel bio, Frank Turk lists one of his pastimes as “internet mayhem.” As evidenced by the current offense taken to him by Mark Olsen and various commenters at Evangel, he obviously hasn’t lost his spiritual gift in that matter. However, as he read through . . . . Continue Reading »

Is Jesus a Democrat or a Republican?

It’s stupid to even entertain the question. But every time I see it posed, it isn’t for getting people to focus on issues instead of remaining blind devotees to political parties. Intentional or not, it often serves as a way to distract people from important issues that do deserve our . . . . Continue Reading »