The Gospel For Mormons Who Reject It

A review of Starting at the Finish Line by John B. Wallace, a devout Mormon who ended up getting “burned out” by Mormon doctrine and practice.

The bulk of the book really talks about grace – the fact that Jesus came into the world to die for wicked sinners and give them the gift of eternal salvation by faith alone (not by works).  Time and time again Wallace explains how he was very works oriented in the Mormon religion.  He shows... Continue Reading

Autopsy of a Deceased Church: A Review

Thom Rainer’s book is the result of the study of 14 dying churches to see what went wrong

The most pervasive and common thread of our autopsies was that the deceased churches lived for a long time with the past as hero. They held on more tightly with each progressive year. They often clung to things of the past with desperation and fear. And when any internal or external force tried to change... Continue Reading

To the Women of America: 4 Reasons to Hate 50 Shades of Grey

Let me try to explain why you are too good for this movie

The problem with the sex portrayed in this movie, or in any trashy romance novel you find at the airport, or in many other films and TV shows, or in many actual relationships, is that it’s always self-seeking, never honest, never truthful, never trusting, and never protecting. There is no hope in it, no kindness,... Continue Reading

50 Shades of Strange

In the months building up to this movie, we need to be engaging this 50 shades of strange, asking good questions.

This is an opportunity for believers to reach out to our unbelieving friends and ask if this is really the road that we want to go down. Do we really want to be encouragers of promiscuity and abuse? Do we really believe that this is good sex? Do we want our sons and daughters to... Continue Reading

Is Christianity Inherently Undemocratic? Hierarchy and Predestination

In his well-known book Christian Faith and Modern Democracy, Robert P. Kraynak argues that Christianity is inherently illiberal and undemocratic.

Christians are therefore called to conform to Christ in their attitudes towards all persons, laying down their lives in humility and service. Any other ethical use of the doctrine of predestination is ideological and self-serving. None of this requires that Christianity is inherently liberal of course, let alone democratic. That would depend both on what... Continue Reading

Moving In and Moving On

Cohabiting couples have become more likely than in the past to break up or not transition into marriage.

First, taken with the growing body of research in this area, I think we are seeing cohabitation headed toward becoming more ambiguous than ever regarding commitment. Actually, that’s not quite right. Cohabitation seems to be moving toward being, unambiguously, a form of dating with no implications about the odds of marrying. Second, these societal changes... Continue Reading

Circular Reasoning and KJV Only-ism

When it comes to Bible translations, we are being illogical if we start with the presupposition that a certain translation is the only perfect one.

In each case the KJV Only advocate is using circular argumentation.  How?  The assumed standard is the KJV.  Why is the KJV the standard?  Why not the Geneva Bible, or the Bishop’s Bible, or the Great Bible?  Could we not choose any one of these earlier English translations and then make up page after page... Continue Reading

Marriage And Millennials

There’s something about this “death ’til we part” business that’s worth hanging in for

“This marriage thing is hard.We know everything about each other, can anticipate each other’s next sentence, and not only know exactly where the dirty socks will be thrown but when. We repeat the same fights, stick to the same guns, rebut with the same rebuttals, face the same bedheads in the morning. If monogamy equals monotonous... Continue Reading

Christian Eschatology and The Planet of the Apes

Movies can represent the intersection of eschatology with contemporary fears.

As I went around the room with my students, I asked what their home churches had taught about the ultimate things: heaven, hell, kingdom, and so on. Most of them said their churches were reluctant to say much at all, beyond generalities. Many of their churches, it seems, were fearful to talk much about eschatology... Continue Reading

Radical(ly Normal)

“You don’t have to live crazy to follow Jesus.”

All in all, this book, Radically Normal, is a helpful evangelical counterpoint to the “radical” American evangelical emphases and movements (emphases and movements which have been around for more than 30 years).  It’s well written, not too difficult to read, and provides a good remedy for those Christians who feel guilty for not being radical.  Thankfully, you... Continue Reading