Entries by Randall Balmer

Hearts Strangely Warmed

I deeply appreciate Sarah Lancaster’s summary of the Wesleyan tradition and its emphasis on holiness and piety within the context of community. True, as Ms. Lancaster notes, that emphasis has flagged somewhat at various times within the Wesleyan tradition—a consequence of routinization, no doubt—but the ideal remains, and it is important. When I think of […]

Is Conversion Essential?

By way of context, I sometimes refer to myself as a lower-case baptist. I was baptized by my father by full immersion in the baptismal tank at the Evangelical Free Church in Bay City, Michigan. David Gushee’s captivating account of his own spiritual pilgrimage from Roman Catholicism to the Baptist tradition curiously reverses the pathway […]

Almost Persuaded

Wes Granberg-Michaelson has presented a compelling, even winsome, case for Reformed (Calvinist) Christianity, a tradition that once shaped my theological perspective. He speaks of the emphasis on community (for infant baptism especially), the importance of confessions, the sovereignty of God, ecumenism, and the Reformed tradition’s reckoning with sin. Mr. Granberg-Michaelson, a distinguished Reformed leader himself, […]

Those Countercultural Anabaptists

I open with thanks to Michael King for reminding us of the virtues of the Anabaptist tradition. It is indeed a movement with a colorful and distinguished history, populated as it is with remarkable individuals, many of whom suffered for their convictions. Because this tradition takes its cues from the Sermon on the Mount, the […]

The Lutheran Way–Informing Both Evangelicalism and Anglicanism

Mark Ellingsen’s taxonomy of the different strains of Lutheranism is very helpful for understanding a tradition that is indeed internally diverse, and one that has long captured my interest. Martin Luther himself, of course, is a complex and, for many, a troublesome figure, especially his rhetoric about Jews. But for all his warts, Luther is […]

The Traditional Latin Mass & Reactionary Politics

I found Christina Wassell’s account of moving from “generic Protestantism” (my term) to the Roman Catholic Church very compelling, and I certainly understand the quest for liturgy. As an Episcopal priest, however, I found the following sentence a tad confusing, explaining her move from the Episcopal Church to Rome: “While we had made an intellectual […]