Demanding Liberty | Book Review

When religious freedom makes the news these days, controversy follows hard on its heels. Many believe that such controversy is a recent thing, a deviation from the traditional American respect for the “sacred rights of conscience,” but even a passing acquaintance with American history exposes this belief as nostalgia. Religious freedom has always been controversial. “Nothing teaches like experience,” wrote Isaac Backus in A History of New-England, “and what is true history but the experiences of those who have gone before us?” Brandon J. O’Brien’s Demanding Liberty tells the story of Backus’s decades-long fight for religious liberty in America in … Continue reading Demanding Liberty | Book Review

God Forgive Us for Being Women | Book Review

In 1924, Ruth and Elizabeth Weidman — my great-aunt and grandmother, respectively — sailed from the U.S. for China. Like many Pentecostal women, they felt God had called and empowered them to share the gospel as missionaries. Other Pentecostal women felt a similar call and empowerment to minister in the United States. This call to ministry was part and parcel of their baptism in the Holy Spirit, an empowerment for service promised by Jesus Christ in Acts 1:8 and first realized on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1–11. The apostle Peter interpreted the event of Pentecost as the fulfillment … Continue reading God Forgive Us for Being Women | Book Review

Factfulness | Book Review

Factfulness begins with a pop quiz of thirteen questions about the state of the world. Each question has three possible answers, labeled A, B, and C. For example In the last 20 years, the proportion of the world population living in extreme poverty has… A: almost doubled B: remained more or less the same C: almost halved Hans Rosling has posed questions such as this to audiences worldwide for the last two decades. Invariably, audiences perform worse than chimpanzees randomly picking bananas marked A, B, and C. There’s a tendency to audiences’ bad performances, however. They tend to assume that … Continue reading Factfulness | Book Review

Self-Interest and Social Order in Classical Liberalism | Book Review

In this book, George H. Smith asks and answers a standard question raised by critics about classical liberalism or libertarianism: “How can justice be maintained in a society if most of its members lack the social virtues essential to a free society?” (emphasis in original). The assumption underlying the critics’ question seems to be that if we act in our self-interest, as classical liberalism affirms, we will only act virtuously if “we deem voluntary interaction conducive to our own ends” or if “we fear the legal consequences of aggression.” According to the critics’ assumption, classical liberalism is little more than … Continue reading Self-Interest and Social Order in Classical Liberalism | Book Review

How to Be a Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee | Book Review

Rarely a week goes by that I don’t share a Babylon Bee story on Facebook. The Bee bills itself as “Your Trusted Source For Christian News Satire.” Given how often unaware readers mistake its stories for real news, I’m not sure trusted is the right word. But satire? Absolutely! Here are some samples. From pop culture: “Reeling From Yet Another Unnecessary Film, Fans Call For Common-Sense Star Wars Control.” From church life: “Church Ushers Rough Up First-Time Visitor Trying To Escape Without Filling Out Connection Card.” From politics: “Fox News Slams Jesus For Never Once Standing During National Anthem.” The … Continue reading How to Be a Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee | Book Review