15 Jun 2017

In Defense of Invoking the Saints

This is the third in my “In Defense of” series. Be sure to check out parts one and two! Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus Christ. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. At my ordination to the priesthood, there was a beautiful litany led by

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19 May 2017

Permuting Atonement Theories: Leviticus 16 as a Typological Foreshadowing

In modern Western theology, we like to think in categories. While these are generally helpful, they can also cause polarization and controversy: Calvinism vs. Arminianism, Dispensationalism vs. Covenant Theology, Complementarianism vs. Egalitarianism, Young Earth Creationism vs. Evolutionary Creationism, and the list could go on. While useful and necessary, it’s worth reminding ourselves that the original writers of the biblical text and their immediate audiences would be strangers to many of these labels. Instead of falling

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21 Apr 2017

The Heresy of Experientialism

In his post, “Does Experience Affect our Theology?” Peter Enns briefly speculates about the role of experience in the formation of theology. He concludes with this point, “We have to be willing to rethink who this God is, this God who isn’t as predictable as we might think.” This is a principle C.S. Lewis illustrates when it is said of Aslan: “He isn’t safe. But he’s good.” Christians should avoid feeling too comfortable with their

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24 Mar 2017

“I Will Betroth You to Me in Lovingkindness”: God’s Hesed in the Book of Hosea as an Apologetic Tool

According to Richard Dawkins: The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.1 One example he finds grievous is the jealousy of God in the Old Testament, which he attributes to insecurity.2 The caricature Dawkins’ describes is a deified infant, violently

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24 Feb 2017

In Defense of Paedocommunion

You can find my previous “In Defense of…” post on passing the collection plate here. As a deacon in a small Anglican parish in Lynchburg, Virginia, one of the highlights of my week is getting to serve Communion to those who are sojourning with us. Serving people the Blood of Christ while pronouncing, “The Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation” is an immense privilege. In some Anglican circles, ours included, there is no First

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13 Jan 2017

In Defense of Passing the Collection Plate

When I was in high school, I really started to get serious at my faith because of a Calvary Chapel church in my area. While as an Anglo-Catholic my faith is quite different now, I greatly appreciate my brief sojourn with Calvary Chapel. I was reminiscing about those days recently and was reminded that one of the major distinctives of Calvary Chapel churches is that they do not pass a collection plate. Instead, churchgoers are

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02 Dec 2016

Why Liturgy?

The crowd enthusiastically chanted, “TEN! NINE! EIGHT!” “SEVEN! SIX! FIVE! FOUR!” The smoke from the smoke machine filled the auditorium as the strobe light flickered with increasing intensity, and the giant screen above the center of the stage continued the countdown. “THREE! TWO! ONE!” Everyone immediately erupted in a glorious uproar as five hipsters ran onto the stage and began playing loud music with ripping guitar solos, cool sound effects, and a light show that

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helluniversalism
10 Nov 2016

Round Table: Hell and Universalism

If “God so loved the world” (John 3:16) and “desires that all be saved” (2 Tim 2:4), how are Christians to make sense of hell? Is hell undoubtedly eternal (as passages like Matt 25:41 suggest), or is it possible that God’s Love will eventually conquer even the staunchest of resisting wills? Finally, what is the role of doctrine about hell in living the Christian life, in training new Christians, or in proclaiming the Gospel?  Today

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04 Nov 2016

Anselm’s Ontological Argument for Universalism?

For my monthly contribution, I want to engage in an interesting thought experiment. Let me start off with the caveat that I am not, at this moment, a Universalist. In the upcoming November Round Table on Hell and universalism, I will described myself as a “Hopefulist” in the sense that I desperately want it to be true that God eventually saves everyone in the end, but I cannot definitively prove that this is the case.

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07 Oct 2016

Anglicanism: Catholic, Evangelical, or Both?

When someone who was raised in an Evangelical Protestant setting goes to an Anglican church, it might seem very Catholic. There’s a crucifix with Jesus’ body hanging on the cross, the altar is at the center, and the pulpit is off to the side. There may be icons and a rail to kneel at for Communion. If they stay for the Mass, they might see something that very closely parallels a Roman Catholic service. The

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12 Sep 2016

Living to Fight No More Forever: How Pro-Euthanasia Rhetoric Parallels Jim Jones’

On June 17, 2016, Bill C-14 was made law by the Canadian government. The bill, which focused on physician-assisted “death with dignity,” was made possible by the Canadian Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Carter v. Canada, which overturned the ban on euthanasia. Other nations and states who legally endorse this sort of behavior include Belgium, the Netherlands, Montana, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington. In America, the issue has been gaining traction in popular culture throughout the

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suffering round table
02 Sep 2016

Round Table: Suffering

“Why does God permit human beings to suffer and die?” There is no simple or easy answer to this question. Perhaps the best response is to pray, with Jesus Christ: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Our Lord experienced the groaning of creation (Rom 8:22). He shed immortality and impassibility to take the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), to identify

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12 Aug 2016

It’s Time to Stop Treating “Religion” Like a Bad Word

Earlier this week, Relevant Magazine posted an article titled, “Entertainment, Modern Worship and What God Really Desires.” In it, author Jesse Carey praises contemporary church bands like Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Planetshakers, Desperation, and others. While he does acknowledge some issues with the trajectory of modern “worship,” he affirms its usefulness and encourages readers, “Just because something has elements associated with ‘entertainment,’ doesn’t disqualify it from being worshipful. Game fans have reported weeping in response to

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15 Jul 2016

“Here I Am”: An Old Testament Theology of Call

Exodus 3-4 is one of the most breathtaking passages in the Bible. God calls to Moses from a burning bush. Moses’ initial response assumes a submissive posture, “Here I am” (the Hebrew word is hineni). However, upon hearing God’s request that he go to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from slavery to Pharaoh, Moses doubts God’s choice. Even after seeing multiple miraculous signs from God confirming the call, Moses makes excuses for himself, “Pardon your

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28 Jun 2016

The Crisis in the Architecture of the Modern Megachurch and How to Fix It

Cookie-cutter houses and generic shopping centers are peppered across the fantastically unremarkable and uniform American suburbia. An appreciation of truly beautiful architecture has been jettisoned for the functionality demanded by a consumeristic culture. Alain de Botton, in his book The Architecture of Happiness, explains that “Bad architecture is in the end as much a failure of psychology as of design. It is an example expressed through the materials of the same tendencies to not understand

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21 Jun 2016

Genesis 1 as a Model for Cultural Engagement

The debate about what to do with Genesis 1 is divisive. Many prominent Young Earth Creationists stake the entire truth value of the Gospel on whether or not the passage is describing a literal history, while those who identify as theistic evolutionists can be accused of playing “fast and loose” with the text. No matter what position one takes, understanding the background of this text is a pre-requisite to understanding its message. When Genesis 1

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