As a lifelong American protestant, it has always been taught to me that the fundamental bearer of truth is the Scriptural text. If ever I had a question relating to theological matters, I was directed to the text of Scripture. I have been told all my life that reading Scripture in a daily morning devotional (followed by prayer) is constitutive of true “walking with God.” When Sunday came around, one critical aspect of discerning whether
Please remember to check out Part One of the series. “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”1 “Acquire a peaceful spirit and thousands of others around you will be saved.”2 The Great Commission is not about making converts. It is about making saints. It is not about regeneration. It is about maturation. Granted, one needs to be converted in order to become a saint (and I understand
The basic doctrines that distinguish Christianity from all other religions have, at their root, assumptions that also differentiate Catholicism from all other forms of Christianity. I have spent some time illustrating this phenomenon in the case of several dogmas—the Incarnation, the authority of Christ, and the exclusive claim to grace. However, if you are just joining me now, don’t be daunted. Each essay is independent in its argument, since each one examines a different facet
We Pray is a new children’s book from Ancient Faith Publishing. Authored by Daniel Opperwall, a Canadian theology professor, and illustrated by the Serbian husband and wife team Jelena and Marko Grbic, We Pray is a beautiful introduction to the concepts of Orthodox prayer. Wholeheartedly Eastern Orthodox in its approach, each page explores a single concept of prayer, beginning with the Trinity and ending with evangelism. Along the way, we come to understand the purpose
At the end of The Benedict Option (2017), Rod Dreher writes, “At the risk of sounding grandiose, I also want to express my gratitude for the life and work of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, who I consider the second Benedict of the Benedict Option.”1 This is not a random shout-out; the reason is pretty clear in Dreher’s introduction: “Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI foretells a world in which the church will live in small circles
In November of 2016, Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Seminary, effectively disavowed any Southern Baptist who subscribes to Calvinistic convictions or practices. Speaking at a chapel service at the seminary in which Rick Patrick, head of the Connect 3:16 group, had spoken, Patterson said, “I know there are a fair number of you who think you are a Calvinist, but understand there is a denomination which represents that view… It’s called Presbyterian.” At the outset, before
Spirits crying in the darkness that Salvation is at hand Proclaiming to the captives The day of the Lord Songs in the night cause Doors to open Chains to fall off Veils to tear down Foundations to be shaken And earthquakes Prisoners are set free And escape by Staying put and Singing along- Where else to go? There was the word of life They could not save themselves In death’s despair One calls for enlightenment
Be sure to check out Part 2 as well! “Although it is impossible to give exact statistics, the enormous numerical growth of the church in its first centuries is undeniable. This naturally leads us to ask how it achieved such growth. The answer may surprise some modern Christians, for the ancient church knew nothing of evangelistic services or revivals. To the contrary, worship centered on communion, and only baptized Christians were admitted to its celebration.
This is the fifth essay is a series focusing on the distinctives of Catholicism. I have attempted to demonstrate in the previous essays that two broadly Christian theologies, the Incarnation and the Messianic Prerogative, are distinctly Catholic in origin and nature. I have also begun outlining the parallelisms between the Christian doctrine of exclusivity and the details of the Catholic theology of exclusivity. In my third essay, I outlined Catholicism’s unique claim to salvific exclusivity.
“Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs.” 1 A recent New York Times article calls out evangelicals on their willingness to excuse scandal within their ranks. The proof case in focus was the Bill O’Reily sex allegations and subsequent firing. Katelyn Beaty, the author of the piece, laments the evangelical sympathy and loyalty expressed for O’Reily that followed. She then chastised
Everything is connected at the sub- atomic particle level in a way that I just do not understand, everything crossing and pointing and looping around but I do know the nexus, the crux, the beginning and end of every string. It’s something even the angels understand, although they have no idea why God had to be strung up for those like me all at loose ends, but he felt himself tied by apron strings to
With Donald Trump in the White House, a right-leaning Supreme Court restored to full strength, majorities in both chambers of Congress, and an overwhelming advantage in statehouses across the country, American political power is firmly in the hands of Republicans. This “revenge of the Right” has left some sociologists wondering why, despite having gained such a decisive upper hand politically, so many American evangelicals perceive themselves as threatened. This isn’t a new question, and religious
Christianity makes some bold claims: God created the universe. Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Human existence does not end at physical death. These statements all point to an important component of the Christian worldview: that which we can see, touch, and measure—the physical world—is not all that is. Reality is composed of something beyond the natural, physical material that we see all around us. Once one accepts the reality of the non-natural, an important question
Over the last few years, numerous reports have reached the West of Syrian Christians suffering at the hands of ISIS militants. While the overwhelming majority of American Christians correctly recognizes members of the Syrian church as fellow brothers and sisters in the faith, most would probably be hard-pressed to explain the unique richness of the Syrian Orthodox Christian tradition. The Syrian Orthodox Church is deeply rooted in early Christian history, and can readily trace the
Let’s face it, most of us live some sort of life online. I’ve been part of the Facebook social community for a long time, and, despite my recent lack of involvement comparatively, it’s still a major feature in my interpersonal connections. But even though people aren’t always there when they are here, sometimes they’re still here well after thay’re gone. But when Facebook reminds you to wish a happy birthday to somebody not there to
“Tradition is not static but dynamic, not stifling but liberating. Orthodoxy is a tool, not an end…I sometimes feel that a traditionalist means one who is effectively ignorant of the tradition in its richness and complexity but who clings, neurotically and fiercely, to the conventions of several decades past.”1 “Conventionality and orthodoxy are completely different matters, and that many who boast the name of Catholic would be surprised and shocked at what the tradition actually
Since my last post, I have been approached with several questions by TJ Humphrey, another author at this site. Two in particular have forced me to reconsider some details of my original argument. Therefore, rather than proceeding to biblical exegesis, I will shortly attempt to crystallize the theological positions I took one month ago in this publication. Each question will be dealt with in turn. What is the Roman Catholic definition of “the Church”?
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
I know I’m a sinner, of that I am sure I am sick to the death and I need a cure In fact I am dead and must be called forth Totally bankrupt, of less than no worth If there is no savior especially for me If there was no battle to let me go free If there was no righteousness traded for sin There would be no life I could enter in But how
A few years back I had lunch with a pastor of one of the larger churches in my town. During the course of our conversation, I described to him my weekly schedule. As the pastor of a small house church, I preach every other Sunday, teach an evening Bible study on a regular rotation, and meet individually with people during the week for discipleship. This leaves me with a lot of “free time” to be