Memorial Day Reflections: Can Politics Change Culture?

By training, I am a historian. At least I like to think so. I had good teachers, and I still love the subject. I dabble in it, even professionally, and even get asked to lecture occasionally. I am also a keen observer of American political debate. I have a horse in most political races, and it is generally the one … Read More

Soul Searching Among America's Youth

Most American teens indicate that religious faith is very important in their lives. That is truly good news. In addition, they are far more influenced by the religious beliefs and practices of their parents and other adults than is commonly thought. The bad news is that religion is deprioritized and poorly understood by teens. This is the conclusion of Christian … Read More

What Should We Make of the Blogging Rage?

Kevin Maney, in a weekly technology column in the Wednesday edition (May 25) of USA Today, suggests the present growth of blogging will chill out relatively soon. His piece is actually a very funny spoof on the growing rage for blogs. Had I read Maney in March I might have hesitated to begin this business of regularly writing blogs. Maney … Read More

Cultural Hot Topics and the Pulpit

Timothy Merrill, executive editor of the magazine Homiletics, urged pastors last week to scrap their preaching plans for May 22 so they could take advantage of a historic moment. What moment was that you ask? Well, the rush to see and discuss “The Revenge of the Sith,” George Lucas’ third film in the newer version Star Wars films. Merrill noted … Read More

A Gracious Work of God in an Old Church

I am afforded the opportunity to preach and teach in churches across many denominational and ethnic lines. I get to serve new church plants, as well as older churches that have considerable history. By this calling I am allowed to see renewal from many different angles. I have drawn attention to "emergent" churches in recent weeks. Today I write about … Read More

More Reflections on Osteen

My purpose, in my several blogs on Joel Osteen, that were written over the past eleven days, was not to argue about Lutheran-Reformed hermeneutical frameworks. Nor was my purpose to deny the obvious point one reader made, namely that all of us use frameworks and thus hermeneutics is an extremely vital matter for reading and hearing the Bible correctly. That … Read More

Standing Against Homosexual Protest

A St. Paul, Minnesota, Roman Catholic priest denied communion to more than a hundred people on Sunday, May 15, saying they could not receive the sacrament because they wore rainbow-colored sashes to church to show their support for gay Catholics. The Associated Press reported, in a May 16 story, that a group called the Rainbow Sash Alliance has encouraged supporters … Read More

How Joel Osteen Has Impacted My Life

I have contributed two previous posts to this blogspot on the rising popular ministry of Houston preacher Joel Osteen. I am amazed at the interest expressed about these two entries. It has forced me to read numerous comments, both critical and supportive, and thereby rethink the whole issue several times. I find myself in agreement with certain points made by … Read More

The Issues Change But the Disputes Remain

Some of my friends embrace what I call "Reformation romanticism." This notion generally colors everything they see and do in the modern world. In this romantic spirit the modern is generally bad, while things from the sixteenth and seventeenth century are mostly good! A little reading and a great deal more honesty would help to cure most of this nonsense. … Read More

Defining Evangelicalism

Deciding on how to define evangelicalism, or how to meaningfully express that one is an evangelical, is notoriously difficult. Mark Noll has written about the scandal of losing the evangelical mind while other writers, myself included, have warned that the word refers more often than not to a subculture, not a doctrinally based movement of churches. It seems people have … Read More