But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Evangelical History - Apologetic Report
Monday, 14 January 2019 13:43

The Danger of Politicized Pastors

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We often think of today’s politics as especially fractious. But at least by the 1800 presidential election, America had already adopted many of the features of its no-holds-barred campaigns. In particular, the 1800 election between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson saw vitriolic attacks on...

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Tuesday, 08 January 2019 00:59

Lamin Sanneh (1942-2019)

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Yale Divinity School has announced the death of Lamin Sanneh, one of the most influential African theologians and historians of the past half-century. He is best known for books such as Translating the Message: The Missionary Impact on Culture and (my favorite book by him) Abolitionists...

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Today’s guest post is by Benjamin J. Wetzel. Dr. Wetzel is assistant professor of history at Taylor University.  He is currently at work on a religious biography of Theodore Roosevelt (under advance contract with Oxford University Press). 

Early in the morning of January 6, 1919,...

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Collin Hansen, editorial director for TGC, is my favorite theology journalist.

For the past ten years, at the end the year, he has been seeking to identify the top ten theology stories of the previous twelve months.

Last year he wrote:

When I began compiling these annual “top theology...

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Today I am interviewing Dr. Melani McAlister, professor of American studies and international affairs at George Washington University. She is the author most recently of The Kingdom of God Has No Borders: A Global History of American Evangelicals (Oxford, 2018).

[TK] Why do you take a...

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Phillis Wheatley, the first published African American female poet and a devout Christian, died on December 5, 1784. We can’t be sure of her birthdate, because she was born in West Africa and sold into slavery by 1761. This is from her profile at the Poetry Foundation:

Recent scholarship shows...

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Wednesday, 28 November 2018 11:04

C. S. Lewis, Public Intellectual

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Alister McGrath’s C. S. Lewis: A Life comes with endorsements from Tim Keller, N. T. Wright, and perhaps most weightily given the topic, from my Baylor colleague Alan Jacobs, who calls it “a meticulously researched, insightful, fair-minded, and honest account of a...

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The core convictions of evangelicals, including the need for salvation through Christ and the mandate to share one’s faith, are becoming increasingly incomprehensible to a post-Christian American culture. No better illustration of that incomprehensibility came in the media reaction to the trag...

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November 19 is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in 1863, his most famous speech and one of the most famous in American history. He delivered the speech at the dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery, four months after the conclusion of the Civil War’s...

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Wednesday, 14 November 2018 13:45

Graduate Work in Theology or History?

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I routinely talk to students who are interested in graduate-level study of the history of Christianity. What kind of program should they pursue? It makes a big difference whether you go into a religion/theology program, or a history department. For example, Justin Taylor and I both write about...

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Monday, 05 November 2018 13:08

Five Great Books on the Puritans

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Here’s my list of five great books on the Puritans, the endlessly fascinating founders of the New England colonies. The Puritans have attracted a great deal of scholarly attention, so there are lots of excellent books not included here. I am also focusing on books written by historians, not...

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Most white southern evangelicals were at least passively proslavery prior to the Civil War. But surprising numbers of white evangelicals in the North were silent about slavery in those years, too. (The idea of a unified antislavery white North is a myth.) This passivity was exasperating to...

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Popular historian Nathaniel Philbrick, in his book Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, notes a founding father who has largely been forgotten but would have been remembered as its first great historian:

Charles Thomson was uniquely...

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In his new book, Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal, Ben Sasse mentions as an aside some advice he received on writing his dissertation for Harry (“Skip”) Stout, who serves as the Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History at Yale University:

Have a...

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Monday, 22 October 2018 14:28

A British Baptist on the Civil War and Slavery

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In 1862, a letter by John Marshman in the British Baptist missionary periodical Friend of India made quite a statement about the meaning of the American Civil War.

It may be said that the prosperity of the South has been based on the gigantic crime of holding three or four millions of human...

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Monday, 15 October 2018 14:44

8 Rules of Social Media Wisdom

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My friend and Baylor colleague Alan Jacobs explains how social media pressures us to comment on any and every issue, at maximum volume.

Going off half-cocked is now widely perceived as a virtue, and the disinclination to do so as a vice. Moreover, that poorly informed and probably...

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Sunday, 14 October 2018 14:30

Baptism in the Early Church

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Some conclusions from historian Everett Ferguson’s magisterial 975-page tome, Baptism in the Early Church: History, Theology, and Liturgy in the First Five Centuries (Eerdmans, 2009):

Is there evidence for infant baptism exist before the second part of the second century?

“T...

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Yesterday I posted on what happened when Sam Wineburg decided to investigate a dubious footnote in Howard Zinn’s bestselling American history textbook, only to discover that it was a bad game of broken telephone, as one secondary source relied upon another secondary source that relied upon...

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Monday, 08 October 2018 22:35

Ad Fontes: Why We Need to See the Receipts

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In his new book, Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone), Stanford University educator and historian Sam Wineburg has an entire chapter on Howard Zinn’s popular textbook, A People’s History of the United States, which has been in print through multiple...

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Monday, 01 October 2018 14:19

Avoiding Bogus Christian Quotes

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The internet is full of spurious quotes. Who knows what percentage of the quotes on Twitter and Facebook are not real, or not really from the person to whom they are attributed? The more prominent a historical figure is, the more bogus quotes are attributed to them. I once wrote a column for the...

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Wednesday, 26 September 2018 03:06

The Nollian Quintagram

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I know. The title of this blog post has no chance of supplanting the famous Bebbington Quadrilateral—British historian David Bebbington’s rubric of common characteristics and emphases historically shared by evangelicals (conversion, the Bible, activism, the cross).

But Mark Noll, in his...

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Monday, 24 September 2018 14:19

Were Evangelicals Really Silent about Roe v. Wade?

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It has become commonplace for historians to say that evangelicals had a muted response to the Roe v. Wadedecision, which struck down state laws against abortion in 1973. For critics, this silence makes the Christian Right’s focus on abortion more opportunistic, because (as the thinking...

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Wednesday, 19 September 2018 04:54

Lessons Learned from Fact-Checking Professor Buzzkill

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Professor Buzzkill is the internet alias for Joseph Coohill, a historian of modern Britain and Ireland with a doctorate in history from Oxford. He has a website and a podcast putting historical misconceptions and myths through the proverbial buzzsaw. One of the motivations for his...

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In America, some of the most (apparently) devout people behave in the most secular ways. This is not a new phenomenon—the great sociologist Will Herberg was one of the first to identify it in his classic book, Protestant-Catholic-Jew (1955). Polls in the 1950s already showed that...

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The claim that you are “spiritual but not religious” has reached cliche status in American culture. But in the evangelical and Reformed tradition, there is really no possibility of being “spiritual” without being regenerate. The “spiritual” state to which the...

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