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The Real St. Patrick

Memorializing the Civil War
Every May we're reminded of the war that split our country, but the Christian stories of that struggle remain buried. Here are some facts you probably didn't know.

Why "Easter"?

Christmas Traditions
Unearthing the origins of Yuletide customs.

The Real Saint Nicholas
The story of Santa Claus's namesake.

Let Me Count the Days
Cracking the mystery around a popular carol.

Theology in Tune
Christmas carols evoke warm memories, but the concepts they communicate were refined in often fiery debates.

Raising Cane
The origins of the candy cane.

Happy(?) Advent
The time before Christmas hasn't always been a celebration.

Dying to be Faithful
Persecution brought out the best and worst in the early Christians.

Tough Love for a Stubborn Church
Thirty years after Paul wrote to the Corinthians, Clement gave them another lesson in humility.

Meet St. Francis

Festival of Fears
What do Celtic festivals, All Saint's Days, and Halloween celebrations have in common?

Whence Comes My Deliverance?
Before his conversion John Newton lived—by Amazing Grace.

Ignatius of Antioch: Advice from a Martyr

Dr. Luther's Tribulation
Feelings of God's absence didn't plague only Mother Teresa.

Church Fathers for Evangelicals
Bryan Litfin, author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers, says that we need to reclaim our spiritual heritage.

Brave New Bookshelf
I've got Richard Baxter in my briefcase.

Married to the Empire
Together, Emperor Justinian I and Empress Theodora I transformed the Byzantine landscape.

The Extreme Christian: Antony of Egypt

Benedict's 12-step Guide to Humility

Historian Ahead of His Time
Andrew Walls may be the most important person you don't know.

Praying by the Book
Historian Eamon Duffy's latest work sheds light on medieval prayer practices—and may prompt us to think again about our own.

Glad Tidings of Salvation
Historian John Wolffe reveals evangelicals' explosive impact during the age of reform (1790s-1840s).

The Most Celebrated Easter Sermon

An Early Christian Eucharist

A Singing Faith
Billy Graham's songleader looks back on the groundbreaking 1948 Youth for Christ songbook—a memorable combination of beloved traditional hymns and contemporary praise songs for the post-war generation.

How the Early Christians Worshipped

How We All Think Like Augustine
Take a mind-blowing journey with the great philosopher-saint in this audio course from the Teaching Company.

A Complicated, Consequential Leader
Michael Kazin's recent biography of Williams Jennings Bryan introduces the 'Great Commoner' to a new generation.

A Politician Explains the Faith
One hundred fifty years before C. S. Lewis, William Wilberforce wrote the Mere Christianity of his time.

The Baby Who Rocked the World

Grateful to the Dead: The Diary of Christian History Professor
#4: "I laughed, I cried, I changed"

Indian Pentecost
How a "Holy Ghost revival" among child widows in India became an international sensation and a local wellspring of Christian outreach.

Grateful to the Dead: The Diary of Christian History Professor
#1: Emergents, Meet Saints!

Grateful to the Dead: The Diary of Christian History Professor
#2: "All things to all men" or "Be ye separate"?

From Stealing Bases to Saving Souls
Two recent books give unconventional glimpses into Chicago ballplayer-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday's unconventional career.

Preaching Augustine
The Christian Classics Ethereal Library came to my rescue in a homiletical emergency.

Victorian Skeptics on the Road to Damascus
Former atheist Antony Flew's admission of the existence of God shocked believers and skeptics alike, but such a turnaround is far from unique. In the 19th century, many leading intellectuals who had once lost their faith ended up reconverting.

In Search of the Real Balian
In Kingdom of Heaven, Sir Ridley Scott turns Balian of Ibelin into an agnostic, but what do we know of the Balian of history?

'Hymn for Easter Day'
Charles Wesley's 'Christ the Lord Is Risen Today' brings alleluia's historical significance to modern audiences.

The Rise of the Evangelicals
Evangelicalism was once a tiny reform movement, one that was amazingly successful, says Mark Noll.

One Last Gotham Visit for Billy Graham
The evangelist's upcoming New York crusade recalls his historic confrontation with segregation, fundamentalism, and mainline theology nearly 50 years ago.

When Theology Comes Alive
Living theology: that's what the 17th-century Pietists wanted to see. And so they invented church history.

5 Christian History Books for the Beach
Christian History & Biography staff suggest books for your summer reading list.

Tsunami Catastrophe: "Let My Heart Be Broken…"
World Vision has changed much over the years, but the vision and compassion of its founder, Bob Pierce, continues to give it heart and soul.

Football's Pious Pioneer
Amos Alonzo Stagg instilled in football Christian values that remain apparent today.

Losing Jesus' Language
The Assyrians, Iraq's main Christian population, struggle to keep their heritage and their ancient language.

The Jewishness of the Nicene Creed
It was the Bible, not Greek philosophy, that shaped the theology of the Nicene bishops.

Still Fighting Over Nicaea
The Anglican Communion dusts off and debates some of the Council of Nicaea's forgotten canons.

Dostoyevsky's Disregarded Prophecy
The famous Russian author shows us what's to fear in a world without God.

Grateful to the Dead: The Diary of Christian History Professor
#3: Sharing Stories from the Heart

Where Wesley's Followers Went Awry
Three new books by scholars of American Methodism explain why Methodists flourished in the 19th century and faltered in the 20th.

Liberating Faith
When Korea threw off Japanese rule in 1945, it was as much a victory for the church as for the nation.

Signs of the Reformation's Success?
Reformation scholar Timothy George discusses Pope John Paul II's historical significance and this 'momentous' era of Catholic-evangelical dialogue.

Think TV
A PBS special personalizes the questions of God, morality, miracles, and the afterlife in the lives of C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud.

Romanticism Gone to Seed—Part II
Have the holiness and Pentecostal movements really been "hyper-vertical" and "anti-domestic"?

The Friends of The Christ of The Passion
Popular interest in the person of Jesus is widening to include his closest friends. But who were these people, really?

The Roots of Pentecostal Scandal: Romanticism Gone to Seed
The sexual stumblings of prominent ministers point to a hidden flaw in Pentecostal spirituality.

Cockroaches and the Nicene Creed
To an accompaniment of whale songs, the worshippers glory in God's creation; there's no service quite like the annual blessing of the animals at St. John the Divine.

Courting the Catholic Voter
A new book tells the fascinating story of how America's Catholics decided past elections.

The Politicians' Patron
As the Roman Catholic "patron saint of politicians," Thomas More is not quite a model for all seasons.

The Vanishing Act of the Church in Turkey
A church worn down by Christian rivalry and Islamic jihad hangs on in the land of Nicea and Ephesus.

Now That You've Got Political Power, What Are You Going to Do with It?
History offers warning and hope for our modern-day Christian populism.

The Lord of the Rings, The Passion of the Christ, and the Highway of Holiness
Has God been "re-routing" us through popular movies, books, and cultural events?

I Was in Prison and You Abused Me
What would Jesus do at Abu Ghraib?

Do Nigerian Miracle Ministries Discredit the Faith?
The spiritual dynamism of West African Christianity is now well known even in the West. Do credulity-stretching, highly publicized miracles discredit what God is doing in that region?

Is Christianity Oppressive to Women?
Sometimes our Christian heritage must be overcome, not celebrated.

"St. Mugg" and the Wrestling Prophets
A modern British journalist gives us timely words from yesterday's sinner-saints.

The Ageless Drama of the Passion
Watching Gibson's film, we are transported 600 years back in time to a medieval art form.

Rediscovering the Language Jesus Spoke
Millions of Americans have spent two hours listening to the characters in Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ speaking in an exotic, unfamiliar tongue. Yet not all find Aramaic so alien.

Should We Fight for "Under God"?
The right approach to these two little words may not be obvious.

To Spank or Not To Spank?
A 6th-century abbot and a group of 17th-century Calvinist "divines" weigh in on the issue

For All the Saints
A new book reminds us to get our heads and hearts together, in the company of the "cloud of witnesses."

The Pagan-Buster
How a brilliant monk laid the groundwork for Christian Europe.

Hey, John Kerry, WWFFD?
"What Would the Founding Fathers Do" about the application of Christian principles to American politics? A few cautionary words.

"Knock, knock." "Who's there?" "The Amish."
UPN's "Amish In the City" shows us our modern selves in a mirror that is positively medieval.

The Prohibition of Gay Marriage
We can learn from the defeat of American Christian activism's greatest legislative victory.

Top Ten Stories of 2003 … with a Christian History Twist
Here is our review of "the Christian history that made the stories that made the news."

Would You Like to Super-Size Your Ministry?
Joan Kroc's $1.5 billion bequest to the Salvation Army promises to boost its admirable outreach, but history suggests new challenges and temptations lie ahead.

When God—or Allah—Is in the Details
What do Islamic "sharia" law and the colonial Massachusetts' Puritan experiment have in common?

Resolutions Worth Keeping
The Origins of New Years' Resolutions, and One Famous List

The Blood-and-Fire Mission of the Salvation Army
Where did this tuba-playing, kettle-wielding social force come from, and what's it all about?

Just a Closer Walk … with the Historical Jesus
Mel Gibson's movie raises again the question: How much can we know historically about Jesus' life and times?

Why some Jews fear The Passion
Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ gives Christians the chance to disavow a shameful history of anti-Semitism.

One Nation Under Secularism
France's peculiar aversion to public religiosity is rooted in a sordid history of sectarian violence.

A Problematic Partnership?
Would the Spanish friars of California's historic missions have lobbied for the separation of church and state?

The Doctrine Doctor
JaroslavPelikan has written a history of the Christian tradition on a scale no one else has attempted in the twentieth century.

Is Speaking Truth a Hate Crime?
New hate law bills highlight the need for peaceful yet critical Christian witness. A 12th-century abbot leads the way.

Gutenberg: A God's-Eye View
The rise, fall, and redemption of the Father of the Information Age.

Revisiting the Pagan Olympic Games
New scholarship on the ancient Olympics reminds Christians why Emperor Theodosius outlawed the event so many centuries ago.

The "assumed" fate of Jesus' mother
Or, "What's 'up' with the Feast of the Assumption"?

A Tragic Anniversary
10 years ago this Wednesday, on April 7, 1994, the newly Christianized African nation of Rwanda erupted into unprecedented ethnic slaughter. Where was the church then? And how can it help Rwandans recover today?

Why does Easter's date wander?

Mel Gibson's Next Act: "The Man of the Passion"?
Thousands want Mel to make his next movie about a famous medieval friar.

St. Mugg's Wrestling Prophets, Part II: The "Weird Little Dane"
How a struggling soul built a bridge to Christ for those caught in the world's snares.

How Will It All End?
Left Behind is neither the first nor the last word on "last things."

Let Us Not Set Asunder
The threat of gay marriage challenges Christians to defend older, better definitions of marriage. But what are those definitions, and how did they develop?

The Next Pope: An African?
Sixty-four years ago, the Roman Catholic Church consecrated its first black African bishop. Is it time now for the next step?

Thanksgiving in the Midst of Fear
Seriously ill in the days of the Black Plague, poet John Donne still celebrated God's goodness

When World Leaders Pray, Part II
Tony Blair's spin-doctors worried when he recently "outed" himself as a Christian. But what impact has Christianity really had on our leaders?

The Day the Ransoming Began
A gripping new book details the first American missionary hostage crisis, over 100 years ago.

Got Your "Spiritual Director" Yet?
The roots of a resurgent practice, plus 14 books for further study.

When World Leaders Pray
Some observers are upset with Tony Blair's recent public avowal of faith. But what impact has Christianity really had on our leaders?

Iraqi Christians' Path of Persecution
Not heresy hunters, nor Islamic purges, nor even Mongol hordes could wipe Christianity from Iraq.

Top Ten Reasons to Read Christian History
War's reports deluge us every hour. Why should we read the "old news" of Christian history?

How Can War Be Christian?
Augustine's "just war" theory has guided the church through many conflicts.

Saint J. R. R. the Evangelist
Tolkien wanted his Lord of the Rings to echo the "Lord of Lords"—but do we have ears to hear?

The Ancient Rise and Recent Fall of Tithing
Is yet another time-honored Christian practice fading from view?

The African Lion Roars in the Western Church
Anglican liberals are fretting, conservatives rejoicing, and all are scrambling to their history books: whence this new evangelical force on the world scene?

How John Wesley Changed America
Why should Wesley's 300th birthday be a red-letter day on this side of the ocean?

Did Eric Rudolph Act in a "Tradition of Christian Terror"?
A historian considers the evidence of the Crusades and the Inquisition.

From Beer to Bibles to VBS
How America got its favorite summer tradition.

Medical Missions' African Legacy
For generations, missionary doctors have healed body and soul in Africa.

European Christianity's "Failure to Thrive"
Why Christendom, born with an imperial bang, is now fading away in an irrelevant whimper.

Where Have All the Classics Gone?
These days it's a triumph when a movie is simply inoffensive. But we can do better than that!

Finding God in a Box
Have archaeological discoveries like the James ossuary served or obscured the quest to verify the Bible?

The Christian DNA of Modern Genetics
Though open to frightening ethical abuse, genetics has been a Christian vocation since Gregor Mendel did his famous pea-plant experiments in the mid-nineteenth century.

Sex, Politics, and the Bible
Some words just don't mean what they used to.

Caveat Gyrator (Elvis Priestly, Part II)
So you've got an evangelistic pop-culture act ready for prime time. Here's a historical pause for reflection.

From Oratorios to Elvis
Pop culture has been coming to a church near you for hundreds of years.

Iraq's Christians Caught in the Middle, Again
If the looming war breaks out, 350,000 Iraqi Christians will be caught in a West-East conflict eerily similar to 4th-century events.

Heresy, Salvation, and Jack the Ripper
Why heresy trials will have to do, until something better comes along.

Hajj, Feasts, and Pilgrimage
Why Muslims, Jews, and Christians still yearn for their holy places.

Play Me That Hot Puritan Love Song
A little-read book of the Bible reminds us of the astonishing intimacy we enjoy with Christ

300-Year-Old Man Returns to Lead His Church
Evangelicals need this grandfather figure more than ever.

The Palestinian Christians: Strangers in a Familiar Land
They've called the Holy Land home for centuries, but they've never actually governed themselves.

J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis: A Legendary Friendship
A new book reveals how these two famous friends conspired to bring myth and legend—and Truth—to modern readers.

College Sports: Prodigal Son of "Muscular Christianity"
In the wake of a basketball scandal at a prominent Christian university, we take time to remember the Christian roots of college athletics.

Liberia's Troubled Past—And Present
The nation's history explains why the current conflict succumbs to, yet simultaneously transcends, the stereotype of African tribal wars.

Top Ten Christian History 'Starter Books'
Get rooted in the Christian past with these riveting reads.

Missionary Tales from the Iraqi Front
The modern Anglican mission to Iraq met with initial success, but its story sounds a cautionary note.

The Goodness of Good Friday
An unhappy celebration—isn't that an oxymoron?

Top Ten Entry Points to Christian History
Some enjoyable ways to get the most out of the work of church historians.

Evangelicalism's Decades of Fire
New historical survey highlights twentieth-century evangelicalism's impassioned middle decades.

The Congo's African American Livingstone
Not your typical African missionary story.

Standing Alone for Unity
The attempt to bring European Christians together forced one reformer, Caspar Schwenckfeld, straight to the fringe.

9/11, History, and the True Story
Wartime authors J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis help put 9/11 in perspective.

No Sex [Before Marriage], Please … We're Christian
Miss America preaches a 2000-year-old message.

The King Is Coming, Eventually
What if you announced the rapture, but God didn't show up?

Timeline of the Spirit-gifted
Before Moody, Finney, Edwards, and Mather came a long line of Catholic and Orthodox believers reputed to enjoy "the promise of the Father."

Do Non-Charismatics 'Do' Holy Spirit Baptism?
Ask D. L. Moody, Charles G. Finney, Jonathan Edwards, or Cotton Mather.

An "Ordinary Saint" in Wartime
William Wilberforce saw two long charitable campaigns through, even in war's distracting shadow

"Tell Billy Graham: 'The Jesus People love him.'"
How evangelism's senior statesman helped the hippies "tune in, turn on to God." Part II of the story of Billy Graham and the origins of Christian youth culture.

Dig that Billy Graham Cat!
How the grand old man of evangelism helped create Christian youth culture in the zoot-suit era.

From Swamped Creatures to Separated Brethren
Non-Catholics' spiritual status improved dramatically from Unam Sanctam to Vatican II, but where are we now?

Just War, Just Nation?
World War II preacher points America back to the nation's soul.

Captive Christians
Views from inside Roman, English, and German prisons give a sense of how kidnapped 5775 might feel.

Of Church, State, and Taxes
If you want to know what the establishment of religion looks like, check out church history, not American tax law.

Christ, Culture, andHistory
Is the "main character" in the church's story God, transforming faith, or an inspired yet wayward community?

Easter Eloquence
The holiday has inspired great words from some of history's greatest preachers.

The Other Holy Day
In the rush toward Good Friday and Easter, don't forget Maundy Thursday.

The Politics of Patrick
In the field of Irish history, every turn of phrase hints at the author's spin.

Don't Touch That Dial
Could a bitter debate among religious broadcasters really cause a "full-scale split in evangelicalism"?

Between Extremes
Church leaders tried repeatedly to distance themselves from one side of the grace-free will debate, but they usually ended up exactly where they didn't want to be: the middle.

Severe Success
Bernard of Clairvaux was a tough act to follow—yet thousands of Christians walked his path.

Coming to America
Commentators who call proposed INS policies an unprecedented invasion of privacy forget what foreign visitors were asked 80 years ago, and why.

When Pacifists Attack
350 years ago, George Fox launched a powerful, peace-loving movement with an assault on established Christianity.

Long Ago, Far Away
Those who seek to define the separation of church and state should also consider the separation of 2002 and 1789.

Legacy of an Ancient Pact
Why do Christians still chafe under restrictions in some Muslim nations? It all started with Umar.

Big Church Revival
Christian gyms and shopping malls may be new, but full-service megachurches are positively medieval.

Phantom Saints
Juan Diego could soon join a long line of pious, exemplary, and quite possibly imaginary Catholic heroes.

Final Solution, Part II
The Nazis planned to obliterate Christianity, too, according to newly published Nuremberg documents.

Tell Me a Story
The most helpful church history scholarship is both broad and narrative.

State of the Fragmentation
If "society" denotes a group with mutual interests and common culture, the American Society of Church History almost doesn't qualify.

Spurgeon's Epiphany
The event he recounted more than 280 times in his sermons first occurred on January 6, 1850.

The Cremation Question
Firm belief in resurrection hasn't kept Christians from caring—and arguing—about what happens to the bodies of the dead.

Citius, Altius, Sanctus
The modern Olympics, though hardly Christian, hail from an era when athleticism was next to godliness.

Zion Haste
Does the passion of a few nineteenth-century Chicagoans still influence American policy in the Middle East?

Alternative Religions
Many non- and semi-Christian groups laid claim to the West, but none more successfully than the Mormons.

Advent: Close Encounters of a Liturgical Kind
'Tis the season when even the free-ranging revivalist pulls up a chair to the table of historic liturgy.

No Humbug
"A Christmas Carol" remains the quintessential holiday story, but why?

I'm Dreaming of a Victorian Christmas
An ageless story reminds us of the values the Victorians can still teach us.

How the Early Church Saw Heaven
The first Christians had very specific ideas about who they would meet in the afterlife.

A Protestant Bishop Speaks Out on the Stakes of Public Education
Why concerned parents should read the 17th-century Moravian educational reformer Jan Amos Comenius.

Spurgeon on Jabez
What history's most prolific preacher said, in 1871, about the Prayer of Jabez.

Divvying up the Most Sacred Place
Emotions have historically run high as Christians have staked their claims to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

History in a Flash
A new CD-ROM offers quick access to the facts of church history, plus interactive quizzes.

Moving Targets
Evangelizing on-the-go Americans only seems harder than it used to be.

The Profligate Provocateur
In the twelfth century, an intellectual challenge to church authority proved much more dangerous than a sex scandal.

What Luther Said
When Martin Luther stood up for his ideas at the Diet of Worms, did he really say, "Here I stand"?

National Makeover
Washington's struggle to sell the American image overseas illustrates how sharply today's reality differs from seventeenth-century ideals.

"He Does Not War"
In the Anabaptist tradition, a Christian must never fight back.

The House That Jack Built
C.S. Lewis and six of his literary friends open their doors to students and researchers at Wheaton College's impressive new Wade Center facility.

Raiders of the Lost R
Documentary on "School" skips religious history, giving a skewed account of American education.

Forget "Normal"
C.S. Lewis's warning against panic during World War II resonates in our new crisis.

Apocalypse Not
As speculations mount regarding the significance of recent events in God's plan for the end of the world, voices from the past urge restraint.

War: A Muslim Perspective
Muslim response to the Crusades showed jihad in action, and while the grievances have changed, the rhetoric still echoes.

Where Are the Women?
The Christian tradition includes few female history-writers but plenty of female history-makers.

Eat, Drink, and Relax
Think the Pilgrims would frown on today's football-tossing, turkey-gobbling Thanksgiving festivities? Maybe not.

God Bless, More or Less
Irving Berlin's anthem captures America.

Rivers of Life
In Africa, survival depends on open waterways. Missionary explorer David Livingstone believed that salvation did, too.

Intro to the Inklings
Meet C.S. Lewis's coterie of close friends and sharp critics.

How Not to Read Dante
The Divine Comedy is so much more than the sum of its puzzling images and pesky footnotes.

If My People Will Pray
Patriotic prayer has a long history in this country, but not quite the type of history the National Day of Prayer Task Force tends to promote

Christian Education for All
Before Sunday school became the instructional hour for believers' children, it was an edgy, faith-based social-service movement in the slums of eighteenth-century England. And the public loved it.

The Sport of Saints?
Long before March Madness, basketball was invented by a man who sought "To win men for the Master through the gym."

Digging in China
Christianity has a long history in China, but much of it lies buried by time, dirt, and false assumptions.

Endangered History
The National Trust's list of imperiled places gives unnoticed gems a chance to shine.

The Communion Test
How a "Humble Inquiry" into the nature of the church cost Jonathan Edwards his job.

If they figured out a way to meet, Bill Hybels and fourth-century preaching star John Chrysostom would have a lot to talk about.

Visiting the Other Side
The Israelites spent time on both sides of the Jordan. Now tourists can, too.

Beyond Pearl Harbor
How God caught up with the man who led Japan's surprise attack.

Deep and Wide
A dive into Reformation imagery yields striking new insights, while a drive-by church history overview largely disappoints.

Shelling the Salvation Army
If William Booth's church could handle sticks and stones in the 1880s, it should withstand the recent barrage of hateful words.

Historical Hogwash
Two books—one new, one newly reissued—debunk false claims about the "real" Jesus.

Ghosts of the Temple
Soon after Jerusalem fell, the Roman Colosseum went up. Coincidence?

1,700 Years of Faith
Through centuries of warfare and persecution, Armenian Christians have clung to one thing—the oldest national church in the world.

This Is Your Life
Evangelicals may not remember their fundamentalist heritage, but that doesn't mean it isn't there—or that it isn't valuable.

Singing the Old, Old Story
Today's churches have a wealth of tradition in their hymnals—if only they'd open them.

The Radical Kirk
The Church of Scotland may be in for some major changes soon—but major change is nothing new for this 450-year-old institution.

Marching to Zion
The origin of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is a story of slow, steady separation.

Innovating with the Flow
By combining some of the best religious ideas of their day into a cohesive movement, John and Charles Wesley became just the pioneers England was looking for.

Dangerous Myth-conceptions
These six claims that undermine the church are so common they seem convincing—until you look at the facts.

Christmas Kettles
The history behind a Yuletide institution.

O, Christmas Tree
A truly "traditional" tree would be unrecognizable–and flammable.

Christmas Countdown
When does the holiday season really start?

Explaining the Ineffable
In Heaven Below, a former Pentecostal argues that his ancestors were neither as outlandish as they seemed nor as otherwordly as they wish to seem.

Eyewitness to a Massacre
The bloodbath that started on August 24, 1572, left thousands of corpses and dozens of disturbing questions.

Communion, Continued
Much confusion resulted from (and contributed to) last week's quick overview of a variety of Communion practices. Here's more information on Catholic and Orthodox traditions, as well as other reader feedback.

Divided by Communion
What a church does in remembrance of Christ says a lot about its history and identity.

Thrills, Chills, Architecture?
The most exciting adventure at St. Paul's Cathedral would be a time-traveling jaunt through its history.

Mutiny and Redemption
The men who seized the Bounty nearly destroyed themselves while trying to create an earthly paradise. Then one of them discovered the Bible.

Book Notes
A quick look at recent history-themed tomes, travel guides, and a timeline.

A Primer on Paul
A new documentary for The History Channel explores the apostle's tumultuous life and fantastic legacy—without skepticism.

Image Is Everything
A quick overview of iconoclasm, from the early church to the Taliban.

Olympia Revisited
Tracing Christian roots in the Olympics.

Weighty Matters
Gwen Shamblin, founder of the Weigh Down diet, has already been compared to the desert monks because her ideas link physical hunger and spiritual hunger. Now she can be compared to another early church figure, Arius, because her Christology is getting her

In Errancy
A historian's look at Byzantine lists reveals the workings of the Eastern mind and a new way to study religion in culture.

"Kill Them All"
The medieval church was deadly serious about heretics like the Cathars. Author Stephen O'Shea, on the other hand, is only too kind.

Case of the Missing Relic
A piece of the true cross has been stolen in Toronto—but how did it get there in the first place?

General Revelations
Everything you know about Civil War legends Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant is wrong. At least that's what some new scholarship is suggesting.

The Saga of St. Chad
If anyone should be named patron saint of botched elections, ironically, it's Chad.

Accidental Radical
Jan Hus's ideas were so sound, it's amazing they were ever considered revolutionary.

A Book of Books
I enjoyed William and Randy Petersen's 100 Christian Books That Changed the Century, but I would have picked a slightly different list.

Asking the Wrong Questions
An exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls sheds some light on the manuscripts and their origins, but too many scholars blur the line between fact and theory.

Glorified Gore
Gladiator sets the tone in Rome pretty accurately but stumbles on lots of historical details.

Maniac or Martyr?
John Brown was a man you either loved or hated, feared or followed.

Donne on Death
A new edition of some of Donne's prose work is a useful companion to a volume of his poetry, while a "mildly modernized" version of his sonnets and sermons sets my teeth on edge.

Heaven Can't Wait

Forgive and Remember

Modernism's Moses
"The question," conservative J. Gresham Machen once said of Harry Emerson Fosdick, "is not whether Dr. Fosdick is winning men, but whether the thing he is winning them to is Christianity."

The Man They Made a Monkey
How "The Great Commoner," William Jennings Bryan, won a battle but lost a war.

Camp Fire

For Better or Worse

Like Father, Like Son
A look at the Mathers—three generations of ministers who maintained a virtual dynasty over New England Puritanism for nearly a century.

Agent of Grace
A new film on the final years and martyrdom of Dietrich Bonhoeffer gives a meaningful portrait of the theologian in action.

Revive Us Again
Two very different books, History of the Pentecostal Revival in Chile and The Awakening: One Man's Battle with Darkness, show God's power at work in very different ways.

How the Other Half Lived
Women in Scripture and Noble Daughters rediscover women of the Bible and the Middle Ages, then partially shroud them in feminist ideology.

History for History-Phobes
For anyone who gets a headache just thinking about the church's past, Christian History Made Easy may be the cure.

New Stabs at Old Wounds

For Better or Worse
The Anglican Church's struggle with divorce is nothing new—just consider King Henry VIII.

Out With the Old?
Cardinals are supposed to retire at age 80, but popes are popes for life—except Celestine V.

Roman, Lend Me Your Ear

Christians in the Cause
Stamp of Glory, a novel by Tim Stafford, gives Christian abolitionists their due.

The Caged Bird Wrote
Phillis Wheatley's life would make for a fairly depressing TV miniseries, but her inner strength and contributions to African American literature shouldn't be overlooked.

A Cave of One's Own
The story of Thecla highlights the difficulty of reporting on early female monastics.

Festive Flora
Why holly and not hyacinth, poinsettias and not peonies? Learn the legends behind your favorite holiday plants.

Peace on Earth?
Christmas Carols and the Civil War.

Why December 25?
For the church's first three centuries, Christmas wasn't in December—or on the calendar at all.

1 Book Everyone Should Buy
131 Christians Everyone Should Know is like a super-concentrated, portable version of Christian History—which isn't surprising, considering that we wrote it.

Soviets, Schism, and Sabotage

Sacrifice at Sea
The untold story of a true Titanic hero.

Colonial Soul
Relations between American Indians and European settlers were often grim, but these Christian historical novels find a few hopeful stories.

Dietrich's Friend Eberhard
Most of what we know about Dietrich Bonhoeffer came from the pen of his closest confidant, Eberhard Bethge.

Coming Soon to a Bookshelf Near You
History volumes made a good showing in the annual Christianity Today book awards.

Give Peace a Chance

When Is Easter This Year?

Robert Webber's Ancient-Future Legacy
He reminded evangelicals that "the road to the future runs through the past."

Food for the Soul?
Though Lent is supposed to be about the heart, not the stomach, the season is famous for provoking culinary creativity.

The Ten Commandments, How Deep Our Debt
The words of the Decalogue run like a river through not only the church but also English and American history.

Can Anything Good Come Out of New England?
Evangelical revival in the land of the liberal Brahmins may not be as historically odd as we suppose.

Thanks, Da Vinci Code …
… for sending us back to Christianity's "founding fathers"—and the Bible we share with them.

Good News to the Jew First
Critics of The Passion of Christ assume the story embodies an anti-Semitic message. But does it?

Breaking The Da Vinci Code
So the divine Jesus and infallible Word emerged out of a fourth-century power-play? Get real.

John Paul II's "Canonization Cannon"
Why and how this pope has made over 470 saints.

Not a Mercy but a Sin
The modern push for euthanasia is a push against a two-millenniums-old Christian tradition.

Learning From the Other 9/11
Words kill. So teachers, watch what you say.

Breaking Down the Faith/Learning Wall
How the history of Christians in higher education has stacked the deck against Robert Sloan's "new Baylor."

History Is Not Bunk
We've got to break free of our historical amnesia

Compassionate in War, Christian in Vision
The man behind the Geneva Conventions knew the heights of success and the depths of failure.

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas
Celebrating Christ's birth with saints of the faith during the actual Christmas season.

"The Bible Alone"? Not for John Calvin!
When we seek answers to churchly and societal issues in the Bible alone, citing the Reformation principle of sola scriptura,we are actually contradicting the Reformers.

A glimpse inside the world of "holiness testimony," through the story of an ex-slave woman evangelist.

Holy America, Phoebe!
It swept across church lines, transforming America's urban landscape with its rescue missions and storefront churches. Yet today, the "holiness movement" and its charismatic woman leader are all but forgotten.

How to Pray for Our Troops
This Veteran's Day, let's commend our men and women of the services to the God who brings good even from the most evil circumstances.

Getting the Word Out
An exhibit at the Huntington Library shows how Bibles big and small gave power to the people.

The Beginning of Lent

Ignore History at Your Own Peril
UPI religion columnist decries the shallow Christianity of those who neglect the past.

Mapping the Christians of the Middle East
If you've been unable to sort out just who the Christians of the Middle East are, this book is for you.

The Man Behind the Missions
A. T. Pierson who? Dana Robert's biography sheds light on a forgotten ancestor of the modern evangelical missionary movement.

Reformation Reoriented
Mark Noll and Carolyn Nystrom evaluate the Catholic/evangelical detente in Is the Reformation Over?

Blessing the Church with its History
Douglas Sweeney argues for an evangelical movement that welcomes diversity and repents of its blind spots.

Thomas à Kempis: "What Good Is Knowledge Without Fear of God?"

How We Worship
An ambitious new book takes us into the diverse world of Christian worship practices from the early church to today.

Christians and Muslims: Divided by History
A timely book traces the story behind today's conflicts

How Not To Be a Heretic
'Heresies and How to Avoid Them' reveals the modern dangers of ancient theological debates.

Hidden in Plain Sight
The picture changes when scholars start to notice religious women.

Positively Protestant
Lets uncover the original meaning of the word.

Out of Africa
Thomas Oden reminds us of classical Christianity's debt to Africa.

Polycarp Of Smyrna
The Unforgettable Martyrdom

Mere Christianity in the Apostles' Creed
A new documentary emphasizes the creed's biblical origins.

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