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Author Philip Jenkins

Philip Jenkins is distinguished professor of history at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and serves as co-director for the program on historical studies of religion in the Institute for Studies of Religion. He is the author of numerous books, including “The Great and Holy War: How WWI Became a Religious Crusade.”

Hollywood normally does a poor job of portraying religion or comprehending regular religious practice, especially when it comes to Christianity. Why don’t they try to understand the culture? […] Read More

I criticized in a recent column the idea that Christians should not cooperate with the criminal justice system to the point that churches refuse to call police. That does not mean that churches should accept every aspect of contemporary ideas of crime and punishment, as they assuredly have so much that is useful and innovative […] Read More

I recently published a piece in The Christian Century on what I called the “Baptist Exception.” Unlike virtually all Christian churches and denominations, Baptists are not witnessing a fundamental shift of numbers to the global south. Instead, they remain heavily concentrated in North America. As I think through possible reasons for this fact, I am […] Read More

President Trump complained earlier this year about the media’s failure to pay due attention to Islamist terrorist attacks, and the administration offered a specific list of such events. In some cases, his complaint was unfair, but the list did include many overseas attacks known only to experts and largely ignored by media. In turn, critics […] Read More

Whatever might drive them to move, migrants carry their religions with them. Yet the religions they bring to their new lands do not remain unchanged. The fact of movement itself is a powerful dynamic force in religious change, and this is nowhere more obvious than in the United States. In his classic book, “The Uprooted” […] Read More

Religion and immigration have been much in the news of late. This actually gets to a lot of work I have been doing recently about how religions move and spread – in this case, mainly Christianity. We regularly hear accounts of Christian missions from the global south to the north, for instance of African or […] Read More

What are the most significant changes and megatrends that have occurred in the U.S. since the mid-1970s? If you imagine someone time traveling between the eras, what would strike them? What was not tolerated then but is quite normal and accepted today? Conversely, what did people then do without comment that today could get you […] Read More

The Last Crusade?

Whatever happened to America’s crusades? Once upon a time, crusades were an integral part of American rhetoric, indicating a noble or righteous struggle inspired by higher motives. All sorts of political causes were “crusades,” not to mention the overtly military ones. You actually could write an excellent history of American religion and reform through the […] Read More

Does the Bible speak? If so, how? An oft-told tale of the Spanish conquest of the Americas tells of the Inca ruler Atahualpa. When he met the conquistadors in 1532, some Catholic priests reputedly gave him a Bible, telling him it contained the word of God. Atahualpa put the book to his ear, but hearing […] Read More

Kevin M. Kruse has a new book called “One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America.” It’s a scholarly and well-researched work on a significant topic, but its assertions have been misinterpreted by several reviewers. Don’t blame the book, blame the reviewer. Kruse, a Princeton University history professor, argues that much of what […] Read More