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
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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Tuesday, 04 September 2018 14:30

The 7 Most Famous Things Luther Never Actually Said

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Some of the best Luther quotes are things he didn’t actually say or didn’t say in quite that way. Some of them capture his basic thought, while others represent things he would have disagreed with.

Alleged Luther quote #1

If I believed the world were to end tomorrow, I would still plant a...

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Monday, 27 August 2018 14:44

The New Thought Roots of the Prosperity Gospel

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Kate Bowler’s Blessed is the best history of the American prosperity gospel. Here she explains the intellectual and theological roots of the prosperity gospel in the “New Thought” movement.

New Thought represents a cluster of thinkers and metaphysical ideas that emerged in the...

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We are honored today to run a guest post by our friend and fellow historian (as well as fellow Cornhusker fan), Dr. Paul Putz (PhD, Baylor University), who specializes in twentieth-century U.S. history, especially sports, religion, and the Midwest. His dissertation, “God, Country, and...

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Monday, 20 August 2018 14:23

The Two Main Things We Need from Leaders

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The Donald Trump presidency and our recent outbreak of pastoral and denominational scandals have brought into focus how much we need both the right ideas and personal integrity from our leaders. Too often, our tendency is to think that all that matters is a leader’s ideas, or just...

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Monday, 13 August 2018 14:05

Teaching Salem Witchcraft

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One of the most provocative topics in the American History survey class is the Salem witchcraft trials. Although it was a great tragedy, the episode lends itself to wonderful discussions about historical interpretation. As Emerson Baker’s book A Storm of Witchcraft points out, the past four...

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There is no such thing as the Christian approach to history—a definitive, universally applicable method for historians to practice their craft “Christianly.” And according to Jay Green—himself a Christian and a historian—that is not necessarily a bad thing, as he...

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John Bisagno, longtime pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church, went to be with the Lord this weekend. He was known as one of the early leaders in America’s evangelical youth movement of the early 1970s. Before he became an influential evangelist and Baptist pastor, Bisagno worked as a...

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The traditional date for Ben Franklin’s famous electrical experiment with his kite is June 10, 1752. It is such a paradigmatic moment in science that there has been a lively debate about the actual date it transpired, or whether it happened at all!

Whatever the actual date of the experiment,...

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Monday, 16 July 2018 14:10

Is the Wall of Separation ‘Bad History’?

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As journalists pore over every line written and uttered by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the Los Angeles Times has highlighted a 2017 speech in which Kavanaugh said that the “wall of separation between church and state” is a metaphor based upon “bad history.”

Sep...

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