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
Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

In observance of Constitution Day, I am posting an editorial I wrote for the Wall Street Journalin May. It draws from my recent religious biography of Franklin, published by Yale University Press.

The text of the unamended Constitution is notably...

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

In today’s post I am interviewing Lincoln A. Mullen about his new book, The Chance of Salvation: A History of Conversion in America (Harvard University Press). Mullen is assistant professor of history and art history at George Mason University....

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Thursday, 07 September 2017 10:17

Is the Term ‘Evangelical’ Redeemable?

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

Before the 2016 election, I was comfortable with using the term “evangelical” for people like me, in spite of the problems with it. Now I am not so sure. The reason is that, whatever its historic value, the word “evangelical” in America has become...

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

Like many Americans, we are grieved by recent events in Charlottesville. The white supremacist rally there showed that overt racism is alive and well in America, and that it can turn violent and murderous. As Christian scholars of American history,...

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Monday, 21 August 2017 10:06

How To Survive Graduate School

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

As a new semester begins, it is a good time to reflect on the practices that students - particularly graduate students and seminarians - need to survive and even thrive. Graduate programs are designed to make you part of a guild of practitioners or professionals, and...

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Monday, 07 August 2017 10:25

The One Must-Read Book for Reformation 500

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

I was recently asked about the one book I would recommend for churchgoers to learn about the history and ongoing relevance of the Reformation. As the actual 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation approaches in October, many churches and pastors may be...

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

In late 1954, Martin Luther King had just been installed as the pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. He preached a sermon on Romans 12:2: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may...

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Sunday, 23 July 2017 10:14

A Brief History of the Altar Call

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

By the mid-20th century, altar calls had become a staple of evangelical and Baptist life in America, especially in the South. Many evangelical and Reformed-leaning churches in recent years have stopped doing altar calls, for a variety of reasons. Critics of altar calls...

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Written by: Justin Taylor

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Iain Murray is 86 years old. Sixty years ago today, along with Jack Cullum and Sidney Norton, officially founded Banner of Truth, the Reformed-evangelical publisher that began out of Westminster Chapel in London in 1957. It is headquartered today in...

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Written by: Justin Taylor

We are pleased to run this guest post by Dr. Miles Smith IV, assistant professor of history at Regent University and a historian of the South and Atlantic world, specializing in the Nineteenth Century United States. You can follow him on Twitter at @I...

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

The election of Donald Trump has elicited a great deal of frustration and dismay among non-Trumpian evangelicals. Some have suggested that the “court evangelicals” who unapologetically support Trump will drive many anti-Trump evangelicals into the fold of the...

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Written by: Justin Taylor

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On July 18, 1957, the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama--Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.--gave a public prayer at Madison Square Garden as part of the long-running Billy Graham evangelistic campaign.

In an earlier interview with...

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

Critics of the pro-life movement argue that it was a phenomenon that emerged as a reaction beginning in the early 1970s, when some states began liberalizing abortion laws. The pro-life movement really got off the ground, the story goes, when the Supreme Court stepped in...

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Written by: Justin Taylor

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By 1901, the pro-baseball-player-turned-revivalist Billy Sunday was popular enough that construction of large wood tabernacles would begin to be constructed months in advance of his revival. They were large enough to hold up to 10 percent of a population in a...

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Thursday, 06 July 2017 20:38

What Is Revisionist History?

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Written by: Justin Taylor

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Malcolm Gladwell has a podcast called Revisionist History.

In general nomenclature, “revisionist history” usually has a pejorative term. But this not the case for historians. As the great Civil War historian James McPherson of Princeton once wrote,...

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Written by: Justin Taylor

This October I will be co-leading a PhD seminar at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on the history of fundamentalism and evangelicalism. Nathan Finn, dean of the School of Theology and Missions and Professor of Christian Thought and Tradition at Union University,...

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

I recently sat down with my Evangelical History co-blogger Justin Taylor to discuss my new biography, Benjamin Franklin: The Religious Life of a Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2017).

We talked about many topics related to Franklin, including his evangelical sister,...

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Monday, 26 June 2017 10:38

The Future of Christian Higher Education

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Written by: Thomas S. Kidd

I recently had the opportunity to speak at a Baylor conference on Christian higher education. I used the story of Ben Franklin and George Whitefield’s debate about the purposes of Franklin’s “Academy of Philadelphia” (see my post on this topic here)...

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Written by:Thomas S. Kidd

My family and I recently returned from our first trip to Israel. We went with a group led by pastors from our church, Highland Baptist in Waco. As with so many who have gone to Israel, we found the trip to be spiritually invigorating and challenging. Seeing the...

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Written by:Justin Taylor

image The short classic The Life of God in the Soul of Man originated as a private letter of spiritual counsel to a friend, but Henry Scougal (b. 1650) allowed it to be published a year before he died in 1678 at the age of 27.

Sixty-eight years later, in the spring of...

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Written by:Thomas S. Kidd

We think of George Whitefield primarily as a preacher, but hymns were central to his vision of godly devotion and practice. Indeed, he and his associates became notorious for singing too much. One group of critics wrote in 1745 that “We think the practice of singing...

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Written by:Justin Taylor

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Mildred Jeter of Central Point, Virginia, was only 16 years old when she became pregnant for the first time. Her child, Sidney, was born on January 27, 1957.

In June of 1958, now age 18, she discovered she was pregnant again. This time the father was 22-year-old...

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Written by:Thomas S. Kidd

When the Allies at long last launched the invasion of France in 1944, President Roosevelt explained D-Day in religious terms. Indeed, he did so not in a speech, but in a prayer for the soldiers and the nation. The prayer is the epitome of all that is good, and all that is...

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Written by:Justin Taylor

Here is an interesting evangelical cultural artifact from sixty years ago, when Rachel Saint (1914-1994)--missionary to Ecuador--appeared on the NBC television show “This Is Your Life.” The set-up for the program was that host Ralph Edwards would surprise his...

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Written by:Thomas S. Kidd

On June 1, 1925, the Supreme Court issued one of its most important rulings ever on education and religious liberty. In its unanimous decision in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, the Supreme Court struck down one of the most obnoxious state laws in American history, a 1922...

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