Dr. Gary Scott Smith's blog

America’s civil religion: Presidents and Memorial Day

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Throughout American history presidents have often used religious rhetoric for various reasons: to provide comfort and consolation, argue that God providentially directs our nation, celebrate our Christian heritage, defend democracy, hold citizens and the country accountable to transcendent standards, help accomplish their own political aims, justify America’s actions, foster traditional morality and justice, promote prayer and Bible reading, call for national and individual repentance, unite Americans, and satisfy citizens’ expectations. Read More»

The changing images of heaven and hell in the American consciousness

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Heaven and hell are in the news and on Americans’ minds a lot lately.

“Heaven Is for Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” is currently number one on The New York Times Best Seller List for nonfiction. It details a 4-year-old’s near-death experience as told to his pastor father.

“The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven: A Remarkable Account of Miracles, Angels, and Life beyond This World” describes the similar experiences of a 6-year-old after he awoke from a two-month coma caused by a car accident. Read More»

The Church & the Social Gospel

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By Dr. Gary Scott Smith and Dr. J.D. Wyneken

Should churches and individual Christians seek to help people with material problems and social needs, remedy social ills, and improve social institutions?

Throughout history many congregations, Christian organizations, and individual believers have labored to do these things. Today, however, some political conservatives denounce the “social gospel” as misguided and unbiblical and counsel Christians to avoid or leave congregations that stress social justice. Read More»