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Past Imperfect

David Neff

David Neff was editor in chief of Christianity Today, where he worked from 1985 until his retirement in 2013. He is also the former editor in chief of Christian History magazine, and continues to explore the intersection of history and current events in his bimonthly column, "Past Imperfect." His earlier column, "Editor's Bookshelf," ran from 2002 to 2004 and paired Neff's reviews of thought-provoking books and interviews with the authors.

The Religious Roots of ProtestSubscriber Access OnlyThe Religious Roots of Protest
How justice movements have co-opted the church’s music.
The Man Who Humanized WarSubscriber Access OnlyThe Man Who Humanized WarLeer en español
He still shapes our wartime ideals 150 years later.
What a Christian Ethic Looks Like OutsideSubscriber Access OnlyWhat a Christian Ethic Looks Like Outside
Beauty for the many: Why I side with conservationists over nature mystics.
No Such Thing as 'Other People's Problems'Subscriber Access OnlyNo Such Thing as 'Other People's Problems'
How the church can help develop a 'we' culture for the next generation.
The Best Way to Use Music in ChurchSubscriber Access OnlyThe Best Way to Use Music in ChurchLeer en español
The key to biblical worship: Let everyone sing!
Rethinking Capital PunishmentSubscriber Access OnlyRethinking Capital Punishment
The U.S. standards are far below biblical guidelines.
Biblical Adoption Is Not What You Think It IsSubscriber Access OnlyBiblical Adoption Is Not What You Think It Is
For one, it wasn't about the child, but mostly the family.
Why Don't We Find Bloodshed Repugnant Anymore?Subscriber Access OnlyWhy Don't We Find Bloodshed Repugnant Anymore?Leer en español
Yes, the early church was pro-life. But it wasn't just the death of the unborn that it opposed.
Real Martyrs Don't MurderSubscriber Access OnlyReal Martyrs Don't Murder
A new book suggests otherwise, but it is dead wrong.
Jesus' Elevator SpeechSubscriber Access OnlyJesus' Elevator Speech
Or was it his inaugural address? There's a difference.
Who Defines Doctrine?Subscriber Access OnlyWho Defines Doctrine?
Often it's not the theologians but the people. Here's why.
Misreading the MagnificatSubscriber Access OnlyMisreading the Magnificat
It's hard to find hymns that embody Scripture's sharp critique of the rich.
Downton Abbey's Real LegacySubscriber Access OnlyDownton Abbey's Real Legacy
Why we strive to preserve places rich with memory.
The Hymns That Haunt UsSubscriber Access OnlyThe Hymns That Haunt Us
A newborn atheist just can't get the church's music out of her head.
Private Faith and Public Policy: Where Obama and Santorum AgreeSubscriber Access OnlyPrivate Faith and Public Policy: Where Obama and Santorum Agree
Let's not vomit on JFK's famous church-state speech.
Subscriber Access OnlyWhy Last Saturday's Political Conclave of Evangelical Leaders Was Dangerous
Brothers and sisters, we are neither kingmakers nor powerbrokers.
Subscriber Access OnlyHow the Physical Form of a Bible Shapes Us
Will the digital Scriptures speed the decline of family spirituality once fostered by family Bibles?
Subscriber Access OnlyOur Secret African Heritage
How we can remember our big family history.
Subscriber Access OnlyCriminalizing Circumcision
We have secularized the ancient Jewish rite—but it is still inescapably religious.
Subscriber Access OnlyA Second-Coming Christian
The 'blessed hope' was the linchpin of my father's faith.
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Top Story April 1, 2015
How Not to Listen to the New Sufjan Stevens Album
How Not to Listen to the New Sufjan Stevens Album
Can we avoid turning the Brooklyn-based artist and Christian into a poster boy?
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