Just the Facts

A once popular program, in the days of black and white television, was a detective show called Dragnet. The famous sargeant on the program had a simple line that he used all the time to interrogate people: "Just the facts, Mam, just the facts." I have thought about how often we think that truth is simply getting the facts right. … Read More

Recommending a Systematic Theology Book

This morning I wrote an email to a very good friend who had written to ask me to recommend a systemtic theology book for a resource section that will appear in a booklet he recently wrote that will be published by a national ministry. I wrote the following letter: Dear Brother: I have been thinking a bit further re: systematic … Read More

The Loss of a Champion for Church Renewal

Dr. James Heidinger, the president of Good News, a renewal ministry in the United Methodist Church, wrote the following note this evening to members of the Association for Church Renewal (ACR), a group related to mainline Protestant renewal ministries: Our dear friend and colleague in renewal, Diane Knippers, died this afternoon a little before 2 p.m. She had been failing … Read More

Twinkies or Broccoli

Martin Marty, the well-known Lutheran religious historian, has been a student of American religious culture for a lifetime. I sat down with Martin Marty last year for a forthcoming Reformation & Revival Journal interview. To say that he is a fascinating person would be an understatement. His insights are many and sometimes complex. In a recent Chicago Tribune interview with … Read More

The Apocalypse on NBC

"Revelations," a new NBC mini-series, was launched last week to much fanfare. The jury is out about the ratings for the first episode but the themes developed were entirely predictable; e.g., sacred vs. secular, believer against skeptic, and good vs. evil (Satan). Seeking to capture the interest in religion demonstrated by the success of the "Left Behind" books, and the … Read More

Downfall: The End of Hitler's Life

Downfall is a haunting and chilling movie. I left the theatre with an impression that I rarely have after viewing a two and a half hour movie. Starring Swiss actor Bruno Ganz (Wings of Desire, 1989) as Adolph Hitler, this powerful movie offers an insider’s view of the last ten days of the life of the infamous Hitler, and his … Read More

Why Liberals Don't Get It

Everytime I engage the more liberal parts of the Christian Church I am amazed at how clueless these folks really are about true evangelism. I suppose I should not be amazed. Afterall, if you don’t have a gospel that takes sin and the fall seriously, and grace biblically, along with an objective/subjective redemption accomplished by the historic Christ and the … Read More

Avoiding Ideology

Tomorrow morning I drive to Dubuque, Iowa. I will share in a special evening, at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, where a number of us will honor the life and work of Dr. Donald Bloesch, one of the greatest evangelical theologians of our time. Bloesch is not widely known to ordinary folks but he is profoundly respected within the … Read More

The Problem of Dullness

Is it me or do you find many Christians spiritually dull these days? Again and again, I leave churches of all kinds and wonder to myself, "How can so many people listen to the mystery of the gospel preached with no seeming interest, or at least very little interest?" It is not that I look for tears, or warm facial … Read More

Show Me Your Glory

I have resisted composing blogs for almost a year. While many friends continued to tell me that I must enter the "brave new world," I declined their suggestions regularly. Friends not only urged me, they bugged me frankly, to begin. Journaling seems so private, so simple, so intensely useful, if done well. My friends kept saying, "Write your journal thoughts." … Read More