A Prayer for the Czar?

In one of our all-time favorite films, Fiddler on the Roof, the Jewish citizens of the fictional Russian shtetl of Anatevka ask the rabbi if there is a prayer for the Czar. With a twinkle in his eye, he assures them there certainly is, and then goes on to cite the prayer for his listeners. “May God bless the Czar and keep him – far from us!” Living in Illinois, we sometimes think that might … Continue reading

What is Truth?

In John 19:38 Pilate responds to Jesus when he quips, “What is truth?” It was more of a commentary on the problem of language in that day than on the claims of Jesus. The very definition of “truth” in Greco-Roman culture was elusive and contradictory. For the common people, all truth claims were regarded as equally true. For philosophers, all truth claims were equally false. For politicians, all truth claims were equally useful. When Jesus … Continue reading

How to Pray for a President

I think David Platt did just fine when President Trump showed up at McClean Bible Church and sat through the service. Platt brought him on stage and prayed for him. He showed us to the proper way to engage in prayer with our political leaders. I’ll get to how not to do it in a minute. On MBC website Platt explained what happened: At the end of my sermon at the 1:00 worship gathering, I … Continue reading

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

Wild in the Streets

In 1968, the film Wild in the Streets  was released.  The premise was a simple and a somewhat satirical jab at the burgeoning “anti-establishment,” counter-cultural revolution that was rampant at the time.  A senator, played by Hal Holbrook, and Max Frost, a 22 year old rock star played by Christopher Jones, make common cause with a view to securing the youth vote.  Max, already a budding revolutionary, points out that 52% of the US population … Continue reading