The Reformation Role Reversal

Five hundred years ago, Martin Luther’s skilled use of media propelled the reformation of the church. Luther exploited printing technology not merely as a way to disseminate his writing, but to project his view of the gospel through graphic design. The explosion of pamphlets, theological treatises, and translations of the Bible used images as well... Continue Reading →


The Conflicted 500th Year

October will mark the fifth century since Martin Luther started a debate about the pope’s authority. Luther split Europe by questioning Rome’s power over a person’s spiritual life, control of information, and misuse of money. Limiting Rome’s authority helped remove the institution from the relationship between the individual and Jesus Christ. Yet as I observe... Continue Reading →

Tough Questions at Chico Grace Brethren

Our nation seems more divided than ever on moral and spiritual issues. The different tribes watch comfortable cable channels, subscribe to congenial blogs, or lob incendiary posts at other tribes on social media. Each group is trying to control the script—evangelicals included.There are fewer places where the tribes even live side by side. A New... Continue Reading →

Hope in the Pharisee’s Spiral

by Matthew Raley In 2012, I got a lengthy email from a well-known pastor endorsing Newt Gingrich for the Republican nomination. Gingrich was peaking at that moment and the pastor argued that evangelicals should consolidate behind him. This was the man to deliver victories in the culture wars. The email was lengthy because the pastor... Continue Reading →

Amy Grant, Entertainment, and Worship

by Matthew Raley After the North State Symphony's show with Amy Grant in Redding last week, conductor Kyle Pickett button-holed me for a discussion. Grant had sung "El Shaddai" near the end of the show, getting predictably warm-hearted applause. And the predictability was at the core of Kyle's question. "Is that kind of response real... Continue Reading →

Vertigo: The Ink-Blot Problem

by Matthew Raley Interpreting art has always been a problem. Can a painting have a theme? When does a novelist cross the line between portraying wrong actions and endorsing them? Can you be morally or spiritually corrupted by listening to a song? These questions are more emotional when they involve cinema, partly because of its... Continue Reading →

The Empty Tomb and the Empty Easter

by Matthew Raley For American evangelicals, the resurrection of Jesus Christ seems to have become a tall tale. We retell the story with gusto, but by Easter afternoon the resurrection fades to legend. Evangelicals historically saw Christ's rising from the dead as the volcanic core of the Christian life. He conquered death not just by... Continue Reading →

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