Category: Church History

Why a National Denomination? 200 years of Taking Gospel Light to the Nations

In my Baptist History and Heritage classes, I am often asked whether denominations really are necessary. Students, averse to what they perceive as staid institutionalism or red-tape bureaucracy, want to categorize denominations as a generational matter and thu... Read More »

Mormonism: Joseph Smith Jr. and the False Teachings of the Latter-day Saints

In recent years “Mormonism,” or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has enjoyed increased visibility in American culture, especially since the presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney in 2012. Who are they, and what do they teach?... Read More »

Seventh-day Adventists: Saturday Worshippers Awaiting Christ’s Immanent Return

Did you have cereal for breakfast this morning? If you did, then you need to thank the Seventh-day Adventists. Their teachings led to the invention of corn flakes and, subsequently, to a revolution in what Americans eat for breakfast.... Read More »

The Restoration Movement: Christians and Disciples in Pursuit of the New Testament Church

We begin the second part of our series on American Denominationalism by examining those denominations that originated in the United States.... Read More »

Methodism: John Wesley’s Plan to Bring Christ’s Holiness to the World

What is Methodism? Methodism is a Protestant denomination that emerged within Anglicanism during the 1700s that sought to inspire a deep evangelical ethos within the Church of England. Because they originally were methodical and highly disciplined in their app... Read More »

Congregationalism: Self-Governing Churches “Gathered” Under Christ’s Rule

What is Congregationalism? In church history, the term Congregationalism refers to that form of ecclesiastical polity (or church governance) that envisions the spiritual authority of the church to reside in the local congregation. According to Congregationalis... Read More »

Like a Steersman in a Storm: The Courage of Adoniram Judson

Near the end of his life, the pioneer American missionary, Adoniram Judson (1788-1850), returned to America for the first time since he departed nearly 35 years prior. The twice–widowed Judson along with his children came in need of recuperation and rest and... Read More »

Debating Paige Patterson: 1981 Southern Baptist Inerrancy Debates with Cecil Sherman & Kenneth Chafin

Seven-score and ten years ago this very day, Abraham Lincoln arrived in a town not far from here to dedicate the cemetery and honor the men who had fallen at the Battle of Gettysburg. In his two-and-a-half-minute address, Lincoln remarked, “Now we are engage... Read More »

A Challenge to the Remnant in the American Church

By the will of the Father and the power of the Spirit, the first love of the church today is to be focused on the Son. That first love is not to be some weak sentiment but a consuming love that propels the believer to make Christ supreme in all things.... Read More »

Are Christians ever excused from teaching and obeying clear commands in the New Testament?

A forgotten, but surprisingly prescient, approach to questions regarding the necessity and future of Baptist denominational identity can be gleaned from the words of John A. Broadus (1827-1895) when he addressed the American Baptist Publication Society’s 188... Read More »