According to church historian Carter Lindberg, that’s how German Lutherans in the early 18th century thought of Philipp Jakob Spener: second only to Martin Luther himself. Born this day in 1635, Spener is less remembered nowadays, but played a prominent role in renewing early modern Protestantism, as a popular preacher and writer and the founding … More A New Book about “The Second Greatest Lutheran Theologian”
Reading my friend Beth Allison Barr’s response to 9Marks editor Jonathan Leeman this morning at The Anxious Bench, I found it hard to avoid her conclusion: Complementarianism is a small world. But Christianity is a big world, far more diverse, complicated, and interesting than what you’ll find in the center of the Venn diagram where … More It’s a Big, Big Christian World
If only because it means that I can do more than talk about Charles Lindbergh, I’m happy to announce that I’ll be teaching a four-week adult class on an even more contentious topic: the meaning of the word “evangelical.” Even better, it’s being taught at the church I attended for fifteen years: Salem Covenant in … More My Upcoming Adult Class on Evangelicalism
For several years now, Harold Heie has been engaged in one of the more noble initiatives on the Internet, an online project he calls Respectful Conversation. A former Christian college professor and administrator, Heie found himself appalled at the sad state of public discourse in contemporary society, including the realm of politics, the media, and … More How Do Pietists “Follow Jesus”?
It was a year ago now that the annual meeting of my home denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, voted to oust First Covenant Church of Minneapolis, its senior pastor, and another ordained pastor for their affirmation and blessing of LGBTQ participation in the church. “As a Pietist,” I wrote after the annual meeting in Omaha, … More “Generous, Humble, and Free”: A Pietist Vision for the Church
Over the weekend, it seemed like virtually every Christian college professor in my social media feed was reading “The Evangelical Mind,” an essay by theologian Adam Kotsko, who was raised in a conservative evangelical home, by parents who were in many ways at the vanguard of the movement. The more I have reflected on my … More Am I an Evangelical?
It gives me absolutely no satisfaction to know that my most-read post so far of 2019 was one explaining for a broader audience the debate over human sexuality in my home denomination. I wrote it in advance of the Evangelical Covenant Church’s annual meeting last June in Omaha. Then on the other side of that … More Another Congregation Leaves the Covenant Church
After spending quite a bit of time in various pulpits last year, I’ve had a nice long break from writing sermons. But that’ll end soon: in addition to a Bethel Chapel talk coming up on November 8th, I’ll be preaching and teaching this Sunday, October 27th, at First Covenant Church in St. Paul, MN. They’ll … More Preaching and Teaching This Reformation Sunday
Now that I’ve met all of my fall classes at least once, I can start to think ahead to my chances to teach and speak off campus. Here’s what currently on my speaking schedule for 2019-2020: October 2, 2019 I’ll be flying out to San Diego to give a talk on the purpose of general … More My Speaking Schedule for 2019-2020
Today is the first day of fall classes at Bethel University. So before I get too caught up in the details of particular courses, I want to take some time this week to step back and reflect on our larger mission and identity. Let’s start with the tag line that now shows up on Bethel … More What It Means to Educate “For God’s Glory and Neighbors’ Good”