We Must Begin Again

I often wonder if a growing number of dedicated and well-taught Christians began to live a love-directed life with their neighbors what would happen to the churches of our land? America just may not see another great awakening. (I’ve been around revival movements for four decades-plus and I have to say we seem further from anything like true revival than … Read More

The Heresy of Nationalism

Ross Douthat, in his much-discussed survey of American religion, exposes one of our most persistent and complex heresies in his final chapter, which bears the appropriate title: “The City on the Hill.” This particular heresy, which has reached across the entire social-political spectrum, is “the heresy of American nationalism” (Bad Religion, 244). Noting that “universal faiths are a relative novelty … Read More

Therapeutic Religion and the Sexual Revolution

In James Frey’s book The Final Testament of the Holy Bible (Gagosian Gallery, 2011) the controversial best-selling author gives us one of most revolutionary readings of the gospels I’ve encountered in any form of modern writing. Amazon.com describes the author and his book with these words: James Frey isn’t like other writers. He’s been called a liar. A cheat. A … Read More

The God Within Emphasis in Modern Religion

The God Within emphasis of so much modern religion is a serious challenge to orthodox Christian faith. By removing the tensions that exist between true faith and reason the distinction between the Creator and the creation is routinely denied, both subtly and intentionally. Devotees often feel complete freedom to obey their “inner promptings of Supreme Self or Highest Thought” (229). … Read More

How Gnostic Is the God-Within Movement?

Ross Douthat, as I stated last Friday, believes that modern American Christianity has been co-opted by ancient Gnostic ideas. But his argument is actually better developed than that of many pop-evangelical apologists who make the same claim but with very little clear distinction. Douthat writes: The cult of the God Within owes a debt to the ancient Gnostics, clearly, but … Read More

The God Within

“The God Within” is the title of chapter seven in Bad Religion, New York Times columnist and Catholic author Ross Douthat’s important new book. Douthat suggests that if there is a representative religious pilgrim for our time it is magazine writer-turned-memoirist Elizabeth Gilbert. If you don’t know much about Gilbert you have missed a story that is, in so many … Read More

Think and Grow Rich

The most influential book of popular theology published in the 21st century has had an amazing impact around the world. It has touched Christians in many languages and cultures and stands alone as the religious book of the decade. It has a glossy cover and a whole slew of celebrity endorsements. The book’s title: Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps … Read More

Half-Educated Evangelical Gurus

Mark Lilla, a lapsed Catholic and one of America’s leading scholars of religion, writes an interesting lamentation about what has happened in America. The shift that Lilla describes is a major theme of Ross Douthat’s book, Bad Religion. A half-century ago, an American Christian seeking assistance could have turned to the popularizing works of serious religious thinkers like Reinhold Niebuhr, … Read More

The Empty Claims of Liberal Religion

Ross Douthat titles part two of his critique of American religion: “The Age of Heresy.” He opens with a description of the work of Professors Elaine Pagels and Bart Ehrman, the latter a once-upon-a-time evangelical who graduated from Moody Bible Institute and Wheaton College seen in photo on the left, on the “lost gospels.” He refers to the two of … Read More

Sharing Life with Catholics at Acton University

I love the Acton Institute. I especially love to see over 800 people, from over 75 countries, that gather each year for Acton University in Grand Rapids. Last week was another exceptional Acton University meeting. I hope some of you will try to come in June, 2013. One of the most valuable parts of an Acton experience is to be … Read More