Is “Evangelical” Now a Purely Political Term?

It’s been a long time since the word “evangelical” meant anything specific in common currency. Back in 1971, long before it became a focus of pollsters like Gallup,1 when it was a word used almost exclusively by conservative Protestants, D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones lamented how slippery the term had become even by then in his now-famous lecture, “What Is An Evangelical?”2 A few years ago, Jonathan Merritt wrote: The religious historian George Marsden once quipped that … Continue reading

You Think Politics is Brutal Now?

I would be very interested to know what the weather was like in Washington, DC on Thursday, May 22, 1856. It had been an unusually long winter across the Midwest and Eastern seaboard of the United States that year. The capital itself had seen remarkably cold temperatures and above-average snowfall, followed by cold rains lasting well into May. Then, on May 23, a brief heatwave pushed temperatures into mid-90s Fahrenheit in New York City, but … Continue reading

Why Johnny Can’t Confess (What He Believes)

For most of the 20th century, American evangelicals became increasingly out-of-touch with something that served as one of the most important sources of theological cohesiveness for the previous 1,700 years: the historic creeds. Many Bible-believing Christians still seem to be spiritually allergic to them. There were a variety of reasons for this trend, and in virtually all cases the intentions were good. If only the results had been as good as those intentions. In 1955, … Continue reading

“An Evangelical Walks into a Bar…”

In 1980 I was a newlywed working as a bank coin teller. There were a lot of silver coins in circulation back then, and the price of silver was skyrocketing toward an all-time high. At one point I sold roll of silver dimes (face value: $5.00) to a coin dealer across from the train station near my home for $35.00. If I had waited a few months, I could have sold it for $100.00. One … Continue reading

The End of Forgiveness

In the wake of yet another horrific mass shooting, this time at a church in Texas, a journalist posed a question to me and several other of her Facebook friends who are engaged in one or another type of Christian ministry: “How do you balance forgiveness and anger after a tragedy like this weekend’s Texas shooting? Where does ‘turn the other cheek’ end and righteous anger for change begin?” I don’t know how effectively, for … Continue reading

A New Hymn for Progressive Churches

It’s never too late to add a new hymn to our hymnals. And what better way to do it by updating an old melody with lyrics suited to the present socio-political realities that each of us face each and every day? With that in mind, we’ve taken a classic tune that just about everybody knows and reinterpreted it for a generation that has little use for such concepts as sin, grace, and redemption. So, in … Continue reading