A new generation of evangelical scholars are challenging the idea that sinners are doomed to eternal torment—but traditionalists are pushing back.
CHR Comment: An extensive article describing traditional, annihilationist, and universalist views that are discussed in British and American Evangelicalism. The traditional view is associated with Augustine, the annihilationist view with Irenaeus, and the universalist view with Origen. The article likewise cites polling about the declining popularity of the doctrine of hell.
Source: The Campaign to Eliminate Hell
Assaults on churches by right-wing Jews, a new phenomenon, raise concern about movement’s increasingly aggressive tactics.
CHR Comment: The Church of the Multiplication is built over an ancient site associated with Jesus’ miracle of multiplying bread and fish to feed hungry crowds. It is the third church burned by Jewish terrorists who, spurred on by some rabbis, regard Christians as idolaters that must be driven from the Holy Land. According to the National Geographic article, young Jewish terrorists are adopting tactics against Christians that Jews and Muslims have used against one another for many years.
Source: Jewish Extremists’ Attacks Rattle Christians in Holy Land
From astronomy to religion, the year’s shortest day brings enduring mysteries.
CHR Comment: National Geographic briefly describes two theories about the relationship between the winter solstice and the date of Christmas. A prevailing view is that Christians chose December 25 as the date to celebrate Jesus’ birth to offer a Christian alternative to celebrating the pagan Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun) holiday that was timed with the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. A more common Christian explanation is that the day was chosen since it is nine months after the day when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would miraculously have a child who would be the Savior (Annunciation Day, March 25; Luke 1:26-37).
Source: Everything You Need to Know About the Winter Solstice
Millions of pilgrims walk for days to celebrate the Feast of Guadalupe.
CHR Comment: Devotees process to the festival caring objects of devotion and specific prayer requests with hope for healing and other blessings. On December 12, 1531, a Mexican man reported the visitation of the Virgin Mary to him, which became the basis for the annual festival. The article includes fine photography by a national Geographic correspondent.
Source: Photos Reveal Mexico’s Colorful Virgin Mary Festival
A National Geographic film takes an even-handed approach to the story of Thanksgiving.
CHR Comment: The film should be interesting. The article fails to mentions some important features of the history, such as the way some Indians looked to the Europeans as potential allies against other Indians as well as the role of disease, which was the primary cause of the decimation of the Indian population. Jered Diamond’s “Guns, Germs, and Steel” helps explain the role of disease especially well. I hope the film likewise describes the Puritanism of the Pilgrims, understanding them as Christians. The second article linked below refers to a documentary in PBS’s American Experience series, which is also about the Pilgrims.
Source: Voices: Telling the true story of Thanksgiving
Pilgrim Double Feature
Apparitions of the Virgin Mary, inspiring wonder and devotion among millions, have been tracked for centuries.
CHR Comment: A fantastic visual exploration of popular Roman Catholic piety. The infographic charts show how the number of sightings has increased in modern times, perhaps due to better recording and reporting. This illustrates how important new revelations are to Roman Catholics. I will add a link to this on the maps page of Church History Review.
Source: 500 Years of Virgin Mary Sightings in One Map
This article illustrates how the Byzantines responded to the Islamic invasions. Looking forward to learning more about the art used in these underground chapels.
Massive Underground City Found in Cappadocia Region of Turkey.