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 Justice-Forward Salvation Army
The Justice-Forward Salvation ArmySubscriber Access Only
Combined with evangelism, it's a heady combination.
Hudson Taylor and the Power of Gentleness
Hudson Taylor and the Power of GentlenessSubscriber Access Only
How the missionary to China responded when his charges were murdered.
Español
Preacher with a Paintbrush
Preacher with a PaintbrushSubscriber Access Only
The first acclaimed black artist shared the gospel without saying a word.
The Religious Roots of Protest
The Religious Roots of ProtestSubscriber Access Only
How justice movements have co-opted the church’s music.
The Man Who Humanized War
The Man Who Humanized WarSubscriber Access Only
He still shapes our wartime ideals 150 years later.
Español
What a Christian Ethic Looks Like Outside
What a Christian Ethic Looks Like OutsideSubscriber Access Only
Beauty for the many: Why I side with conservationists over nature mystics.
No Such Thing as 'Other People's Problems'
No Such Thing as 'Other People's Problems'Subscriber Access Only
How the church can help develop a 'we' culture for the next generation.
The Best Way to Use Music in Church
The Best Way to Use Music in ChurchSubscriber Access Only
The key to biblical worship: Let everyone sing!
Español
Rethinking Capital Punishment
Rethinking Capital PunishmentSubscriber Access Only
The U.S. standards are far below biblical guidelines.
Biblical Adoption Is Not What You Think It Is
Biblical Adoption Is Not What You Think It IsSubscriber Access Only
For one, it wasn't about the child, but mostly the family.
Why Don't We Find Bloodshed Repugnant Anymore?
Why Don't We Find Bloodshed Repugnant Anymore?Subscriber Access Only
Yes, the early church was pro-life. But it wasn't just the death of the unborn that it opposed.
Español
Real Martyrs Don't Murder
Real Martyrs Don't MurderSubscriber Access Only
A new book suggests otherwise, but it is dead wrong.
Jesus' Elevator Speech
Jesus' Elevator SpeechSubscriber Access Only
Or was it his inaugural address? There's a difference.
Who Defines Doctrine?
Who Defines Doctrine?Subscriber Access Only
Often it's not the theologians but the people. Here's why.
Misreading the Magnificat
Misreading the MagnificatSubscriber Access Only
It's hard to find hymns that embody Scripture's sharp critique of the rich.
Downton Abbey's Real Legacy
Downton Abbey's Real LegacySubscriber Access Only
Why we strive to preserve places rich with memory.
The Hymns That Haunt Us
The Hymns That Haunt UsSubscriber Access Only
A newborn atheist just can't get the church's music out of her head.
Private Faith and Public Policy: Where Obama and Santorum Agree
Private Faith and Public Policy: Where Obama and Santorum AgreeSubscriber Access Only
Let's not vomit on JFK's famous church-state speech.
Kingmakers and Powerbrokers
Why Last Saturday's Political Conclave of Evangelical Leaders Was DangerousSubscriber Access Only
Brothers and sisters, we are neither kingmakers nor powerbrokers.
How the Physical Form of a Bible Shapes Us
How the Physical Form of a Bible Shapes Us Subscriber Access Only
Will the digital Scriptures speed the decline of family spirituality once fostered by family Bibles?

Top Story July 4, 2020

Hashtags Hit Too Close to Home
Hashtags Hit Too Close to Home
Racism in America is a white person's sin issue that can only be resolved by white America.

CT Bookstore


Enter The Vault

Vault

Browse our Full Library of online archives, including past issues of CT magazine. Access the Archives