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Jonathan Merritt
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Entries by Jonathan Merritt

Jesus, Forgiveness and Dylann Roof

(4) Comments | Posted June 23, 2015 | 10:41 AM

This blog first appeared on Religion News Service.

Nadine Collier, daughter of one of Dylann Roof's nine alleged victims, has one message for the suspected killer: "I forgive you." The 21-year-old Roof is charged with the violent slaying that occurred at the Emmanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C.

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Evangelicals' Claims of Conservative Supremacy Are Overstated

(489) Comments | Posted May 14, 2015 | 12:56 PM

NEW YORK (RNS) "The collapse of the Protestant mainline has been swift, steady, and self-inflicted," Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler wrote in 2008.

Mohler's views align with those of many other evangelical leaders - including his Southern Baptist colleague Russell Moore just this week -- that essentially...

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New York Times Columnist David Brooks Explores Sin, Virtue In New Book 'The Road to Character'

(119) Comments | Posted May 2, 2015 | 9:08 AM

NEW YORK (RNS) New York Times columnist David Brooks is the most unconventional of conservatives — the kind of traditionalist who has crossover appeal to liberals and progressives. They may not always agree with him, but nearly everyone wants to know his take on things.

Brooks’ new book, “The Road...

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Latino Evangelicals Call For An End To The Death Penalty

(11) Comments | Posted March 30, 2015 | 5:25 PM

(RNS) A leading group of Latino evangelicals has called for an end to state-sanctioned capital punishment, the first national association of evangelicals to do so.

In a unanimous vote Friday (March 27), the National Latino Evangelical Coalition urged its 3,000 member congregations to end capital punishment across the country.


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Rachel Held Evans Defends Leaving Evangelicals For Episcopalians

(239) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 6:48 PM

(RNS) Rachel Held Evans has grown into a powerful voice in American Christianity, first as the author of “Evolving in Monkey Town” and later with the New York Times best-seller “A Year of Biblical Womanhood.” Those who follow her writings often note that her thinking has become increasingly progressive, especially...

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White Christians Are Now A Minority In 19 American States -- Including Some Parts Of The Bible Belt

(433) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 4:42 PM

(RNS) The notion of America as a mostly white, mostly Christian country is rapidly becoming a fact for the history books.

“The U.S. religious landscape is undergoing a dramatic transformation that is fundamentally reshaping American politics and culture,” said Dan Cox, research director for Public Religion Research Institute.

Last week,...

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Fiery Colonial Preacher Jonathan Edwards' Collected Works Now Available Online

(5) Comments | Posted February 4, 2015 | 10:32 AM

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (RNS) The collected works of Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century preacher and one of America’s most famous theologians, are now available for download thanks to Logos Bible Software. But for those who don’t want to cough up $1,289.95 to purchase them, there’s good news: The Jonathan Edwards Center...

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Christian Writer Margaret Feinberg On Surviving Cancer And Learning To Be Joyous

(1) Comments | Posted January 18, 2015 | 8:24 AM

(RNS) Vertigo. Anemia. Depression. Receding gums. Early menopause. A double mastectomy.

These are just a few of the many terrors that Margaret Feinberg hid from the public after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis in 2013 before age 40. While the popular Christian author’s books have sold nearly a million copies...

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If The Supreme Court Legalizes Gay Marriage In 2015, How Will Evangelicals Respond?

(1151) Comments | Posted January 17, 2015 | 8:31 AM

(RNS) Ten years after Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian Americans can be wed in 35 states and the District of Columbia (Florida will boost that number to 36, starting Tuesday). This year, the Supreme Court may put an end to the skirmish by...

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Conservative Pastors Vow Not To Perform Civil Marriages At All -- Gay Or Straight

(188) Comments | Posted November 25, 2014 | 11:59 AM

(RNS) What’s the surest way conservative pastors can avoid any government mandate to perform same-sex marriages? According to one prominent religious journal and a growing number of ministers, the answer is not to perform any civil marriages at all.

First Things, a conservative religious publication, has launched a movement encouraging...

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Evangelical Ethicist David Gushee Is Now Pro-LGBT. Here's Why It Matters.

(42) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 3:58 PM

NEW YORK (RNS) At a moment when American churches and politicians are warring over gay rights and same-sex marriage, each side needs every soldier it can muster. Conservatives are about to learn that one of America’s leading evangelical ethicists is defecting to the opposition.

David Gushee, a professor of Christian...

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Bart Campolo, Humanist Chaplain, On The Moment He 'Came Out' Humanist To His Famous Evangelical Father

(115) Comments | Posted October 6, 2014 | 4:14 PM

(RNS) Bart Campolo decided he was no longer a Christian after being injured in a bike accident in 2011. But he waited until last Thanksgiving to break the news to his father, Tony, an influential evangelical leader and author who is famous for having been a spiritual adviser to former...

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Younger Christians Less Supportive Of Death Penalty, Poll

(179) Comments | Posted January 18, 2014 | 9:28 AM

(RNS) One day after the state of Ohio executed a man for murder (Jan. 16), a new poll shows younger Christians are not as supportive of the death penalty as older members of their faith.

When asked if they agreed that “the government should have the option to execute the...

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Is Gratitude Good for Body and Soul?

(4) Comments | Posted January 14, 2013 | 12:20 PM

As recent events prove yet again, the modern world is chaotic and harsh. It's a place where depressed young adults live-tweet their own suicides, and gainful employment seems even harder to come by than civil public discourse. Though we may attempt to escape -- perhaps into the arms of Honey...

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Lessons (Not) Learned from the Most Negative Election in U.S. History

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 2:27 PM

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning, we learned that President Barack Obama would remain the leader of the free world. But his victory came at a price. He and Governor Mitt Romney now have the honor of participating in the most negative election in United States history.

"The campaign...

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Dear Angry Evangelical, Have You Prayed for Your President Today?

(28) Comments | Posted November 7, 2012 | 10:37 AM

The polls have closed and the results are in. Barack Obama will remain the President of the United States for four more years. Many conservative Christians must now decide how to respond. Some will undoubtedly vent their disappointment and frustration, as Twitter feeds aplenty already show. But I wonder if...

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Religious Right Turns 33: What Have We Learned?

(29) Comments | Posted June 15, 2012 | 10:53 AM

Many historians say the modern religious right was birthed in June of 1979. That was the month when the Rev. Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority, an organization tasked with saving the American public from the threat of moral decline. Not coincidentally, Concerned Women for America was formed the same...

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Evangelical Silence On Mitt Romney's Mormonism Is Unexpected (Analysis)

(727) Comments | Posted June 12, 2012 | 8:30 AM

(RNS) Now that Mitt Romney has sewn up the Republican nomination, the GOP can move beyond a tumultuous primary season. But for some of Romney's fellow Mormons, there's still some anxiety in the air.

"For Mormons, this is a potentially volatile moment. They are deeply proud that their faith's most...

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7 Reasons Christians Should Change Their Political Tune

(62) Comments | Posted June 8, 2012 | 11:08 AM

Aristotle is credited with saying, "Change in all things is sweet." And perhaps no change of late is as sweet as that among young Christians in the public square. While the last several decades of Christian engagement have often been marked by partisan tactics and a polemical tone, a new...

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Richard Land and Southern Baptists' Race Problem

(11) Comments | Posted April 18, 2012 | 5:32 PM

The Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) political spokesperson Richard Land recently incited controversy with comments regarding the Trayvon Martin case. On his March 31 radio show, he called African-American leaders such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton "race mongers" and "racial ambulance chasers" who are politicizing Trayvon's...

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