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Full-Text Articles in Religion

Response: Are American Christians Persecuted?, William Vance Trollinger Apr 2018

Response: Are American Christians Persecuted?, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

With an eye toward reuniting the church and the academy, this book focuses on the role that scholarship can play in making good preachers into really great preachers. This is the bridge between scholarly and popular writing that informs the sermon and makes it more powerful and meaningful for the people who regularly listen to sermons. Preachers are challenged to raise the level of their commitment to scholarship as well as overcome any pre-existing prejudices with scholarship. The preacher as scholar is the perfect way for the pulpit to respond to the challenges of a secular, post-modern world that often ...


The Bible And Creationism, Susan L. Trollinger, William Vance Trollinger Nov 2017

The Bible And Creationism, Susan L. Trollinger, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species (1859) marked a significant challenge to traditional understandings of the Bible and Christian theology. Darwin’s theory of organic evolution stood in sharp contrast with the Genesis account of creation, with its six days, separate creations of life forms, and special creation of human beings. More than this, Darwin’s ideas raised enormous theological questions about God’s role in creation (e.g., is there a role for God in organic evolution?) and about the nature of human beings (e.g., what does it mean to talk about original sin without a historic Adam ...


Righting America At The Creation Museum, Susan L. Trollinger, William Vance Trollinger Apr 2016

Righting America At The Creation Museum, Susan L. Trollinger, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

On May 28, 2007, the Creation Museum opened in Petersburg, Kentucky. Aimed at scientifically demonstrating that the universe was created less than ten thousand years ago by a Judeo-Christian god, the museum is hugely popular, attracting millions of visitors over the past eight years. Surrounded by themed topiary gardens and a petting zoo with camel rides, the site conjures up images of a religious Disneyland. Inside, visitors are met by dinosaurs at every turn and by a replica of the Garden of Eden that features the Tree of Life, the serpent, and Adam and Eve.

In Righting America at the ...


Review: 'Harold Frederic’S Social Drama And The Crisis Of 1890s Evangelical Protestant Culture', William Vance Trollinger Oct 2015

Review: 'Harold Frederic’S Social Drama And The Crisis Of 1890s Evangelical Protestant Culture', William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

Harold Frederic’s The Damnation of Theron Ware (1896) is a terrific novel. The title character is a young, naïve, poorly educated Methodist minister who — when the narrative begins — has been appointed to take the pastorate of a small-town church in upstate New York. It is within only a matter of weeks after moving to Octavius with his wife, Alice, that Theron makes the acquaintance of exotic and compelling individuals who challenge his heretofore unexamined evangelical faith. Abandoning his Methodism with impunity, Ware is soon hurtling toward his “damnation.”

Damned but not dead: At the end of the novel, Theron ...


Review: 'God's Own Party: The Making Of The Christian Right', William Vance Trollinger Oct 2015

Review: 'God's Own Party: The Making Of The Christian Right', William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

There has been no end of predictions that the demise of the Religious Right is imminent. Over the past three decades, proof of its impending collapse has included the televangelist scandals, Pat Robertson’s failure to secure the Republican presidential nomination, the election and re-election of Bill Clinton, and the emergence of “young” evangelicals who refuse to toe the Religious Right line (this one keeps popping up).

The latest version involves the notion that economically focused libertarians of the Tea Party will inevitably find themselves in heated conflict with evangelical and fundamentalist social conservatives, thus challenging the power of the ...


Managing A Merger, William Vance Trollinger Oct 2015

Managing A Merger, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

It was not the sort of place where one would expect to find the folks who produced the More-with-Less Cookbook, but the massive and hermetically sealed Opryland complex in Nashville was where 9,330 Mennonites gathered in early July for a momentous meeting. The two largest Mennonite bodies in the U.S. — the General Conference Mennonite Church (established in 1860) and the Mennonite Church (formally established in 1898, but with roots that go back much further) — voted to merge into one denomination, the Mennonite Church USA, after first finding a way to address the issue of homosexuality.


In Lockdown America: The Corruption Of Capital Punishment, William Vance Trollinger Oct 2015

In Lockdown America: The Corruption Of Capital Punishment, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

Reviews of three books:

  • Randolph Loney, A Dream of the Tattered Man: Stories from Georgia’s Death Row.
  • Austin Sarat, When the State Kills: Capital Punishment and the American Condition.
  • Mark Lewis Taylor, The Executed God: The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America.

Author's introduction: I finish this review in the shadow of Timothy McVeigh's execution. But while America's most notorious mass murderer is dead, and while the pundits continue to argue the merits and meaning of his execution, news about capital punishment just keeps coming. Next after McVeigh on the federal death list is Juan ...


Review: Stuart Banner's 'The Death Penalty: An American History', William Vance Trollinger Oct 2015

Review: Stuart Banner's 'The Death Penalty: An American History', William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

In this dispassionate but chillingly detailed survey of capital punishment, Banner, professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis, documents and explains the dramatic "changes in the arguments pro and con, in the crimes punished with death, in execution methods and rituals ... [and] in the way Americans have understood and experienced the death penalty."


Evangelicalism And Religious Pluralism In Contemporary America: Diversity Without, Diversity Within, And Maintaining The Borders, William Vance Trollinger Aug 2015

Evangelicalism And Religious Pluralism In Contemporary America: Diversity Without, Diversity Within, And Maintaining The Borders, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

Not that many people need convincing, but the 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) provides confirming evidence that evangelicalism in America is alive and well. In this survey, which involved 54,461 telephone interviews, the 76% of respondents who identified themselves as Christians were asked a follow-up question: "Do you identify as a Born Again or Evangelical Christian?" Forty-five percent answered yes. This number obviously includes a fair number of folks within "mainline" denominations and within predominately African-American churches; more surprising, perhaps, 18.9% of American Catholics identified themselves as "born again" or "evangelical." If one were to depend solely ...


Fundamentalism, William Vance Trollinger Aug 2015

Fundamentalism, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

In America fundamentalism is a movement within Protestantism that was organized immediately after World War I in opposition to "modernism," which included liberal theology primarily, and also Darwinism and secularism. A subgroup of evangelicalism, fundamentalism staunchly affirmed with evangelicals "fundamentals of the faith," including the deity of Christ, his virgin birth, his bodily resurrection, and his substitutionary atonement. What distinguishes fundamentalists from other evangelicals is their strident opposition to modernism. They are, to quote George Marsden, "militant anti-modernist evangelicals."


Is There A Center To American Religious History?, William Vance Trollinger Aug 2015

Is There A Center To American Religious History?, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

Is there a center to American religious history? Of course, this question grows out of what David Wills has referred to as “the perennial debate that always seems to hold center stage as the Big Issue in the field ... [that is,] the ongoing quarrel between those who center their stories on the culturally formative role of a dominant Protestantism and those who emphasize the countervailing forces of religious pluralism and toleration.”

As I take the question, Is there some sort of center to American religion – dominant Protestantism or otherwise – that enables us to tell the story of American religion in ...


Review: 'Hero Of The Heartland: Billy Sunday And The Transformation Of American Society, 1862-1935', William Vance Trollinger Aug 2015

Review: 'Hero Of The Heartland: Billy Sunday And The Transformation Of American Society, 1862-1935', William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

It is hard to imagine how anyone could write a boring book about the colorful evangelist Billy Sunday. Robert Martin does not disappoint. The University of Northern Iowa historian tells a lively and well-researched story about Sunday's Iowa childhood—his father's untimely death, his family's grinding poverty, his mother abandoning him to an orphanage—as well as his career as a major league baseball player, his conversion at a Chicago mission and his marriage to Helen (Nell), his remarkable success as an entrepreneurial evangelist, and his failures as a father. In all this Martin convincingly depicts Sunday ...


Protestantism And Fundamentalism, William Vance Trollinger Aug 2015

Protestantism And Fundamentalism, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

The term "fundamentalism" has been used to describe a host of religious movements across the globe that are militantly antimodernist, aggressively patriarchal, literalist in their reading of sacred texts, and assiduous in their efforts to draw boundaries between themselves and outsiders. While "Islamic fundamentalism" has received the most attention, particularly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, scholars and journalists have also applied the term to movements within such disparate traditions as Judaism, Sikhism, and Hinduism, as well as to various Christian groups. There are benefits to understanding fundamentalism as a global movement that grows out of deep-seated and intense ...


Foreword To 'Sermons From Mind And Heart: Struggling To Preach Theologically', Brad Kallenberg, William Vance Trollinger Aug 2015

Foreword To 'Sermons From Mind And Heart: Struggling To Preach Theologically', Brad Kallenberg, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

One does not flip through a car manual and mistake it for poetry. Nor does one pick up the Sunday comics and mistake them for a Physicians' Desk Reference. That is because native speakers seldom make mistakes of genre when reading ordinary English texts. Yet pick up a collection of sermons, and one may feel at a loss: What is going on here? What am I to make of these sentences? What sort of genre is this? What am I, as a reader, to expect (or not to expect) from a sermon, especially from a printed sermon? Should I expect ...


How John Nelson Darby Went Visiting: Dispensational Premillennialism In The Believers Church Tradition And The Historiography Of Fundamentalism, William Vance Trollinger Aug 2015

How John Nelson Darby Went Visiting: Dispensational Premillennialism In The Believers Church Tradition And The Historiography Of Fundamentalism, William Vance Trollinger

William Vance Trollinger Jr.

In the United States the history of John Nelson Darby's dispensational premillennialism is intimately tied up with the history of fundamentalism. It is difficult to talk about dispensational premillennialism in the believers church tradition in the twentieth century without making some reference to the fundamentalist movement. In fact, the two distinguishing marks of fundamentalist theology have been the doctrine of biblical inerrancy and the eschatological schema known as dispensationalism. It is thus rather surprising that historians have de-emphasized dispensational premillennialism in explaining the history of fundamentalism. I think that this is a mistake. But to explain why I think ...