11 Oct 2017

Purgatory and the Playboy: Remembering Hugh Hefner

Purgatory and the Playboy: Remembering Hugh Hefner Two weeks ago today, Hugh Hefner died at the age of 91. Almost immediately, writers rallied to denounce (or acclaim) the fraudulent idea of his “legacy.” What he left behind him can be called a legacy only in the same sense as the aftermath of a disaster. My hope is that his life’s work, like that of the Marquis de Sade, will fade to the point that while

Daniel Hyland 0
09 Oct 2017

Assurance and Development, Part III

In my last essay, I argued that intellectual stability is dependent on unity, both according to the demands of logic and the declarations of Saint Paul. Furthermore, I concluded that mere unity is not enough; we must have unity to something, else we paper over our divides to create a hollow accord. Unity to a pre-existent set of ideas or an institution is necessary for intellectual stability. I have yet to establish which of these

Christian McGuire 0
22 Sep 2017

A Reflection on Reformation Five Hundred

As most Christians, whether Protestant or otherwise, know, the end of next month will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I hope that such a momentous occasion will not only be cause for celebration if you are a Protestant, but also for deep reflection. The onslaught of Reformation-themed books (and movies) being published this year may be an indication that such reflection will take place for many (even Catholics). But I do not hope

Timon Cline 12
20 Sep 2017

What Are Multisite Churches?

A growing phenomenon among American Churches is the multisite movement. Generally, multisite churches are Christian gatherings where a single church organization holds services at two or more geographical locations. Although you have probably seen a multisite (or two) pop up in your neighbor, few Christians know about the history, forms, and purposes of multisite churches. In fact, few church statisticians have truly begun to examine the multisite movement.1 In this article, I briefly outline the

Jacob Prahlow 1
14 Sep 2017

Assurance and Development, Part II

The road to doctrinal certainty, as I outlined in a previous essay, is fraught with false shortcuts. There are a million wrong ways to achieve peace of mind about one’s religion; nevertheless, only stability will satisfy our spiritual longings. If these inward groanings are satiable, then there must be a right way to pursue them. The trouble with each of the aforementioned approaches to certainty lies in a presupposition that was mostly foreign to Christian

Christian McGuire 1
13 Sep 2017

Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Church

Mary, Mother of God, Mother of the Church Given that yesterday the Church celebrated the memorial of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I thought that this week instead of my usual poem I would share a prayer, a traditional litany in honor of her beautiful Name. As I prepared this piece, I couldn’t help thinking that much of the prayer’s language will be unfamiliar to my Protestant brothers and sisters. It

Daniel Hyland 0
06 Sep 2017

Spaces for Dissent?

I’ve always been intrigued by the phenomenon of “Catholics in dissent”—those who claim affiliation with the Catholic Church, but aren’t shy about registering their opposition to certain more-or-less authoritative teachings. At least some commentators have argued that “in order to protect the intellectual vitality of the Church’s understanding of itself, responsible dissent is not only allowed, it is required.” As a low-level dissenter from the official doctrine of my denomination—I don’t adhere to the view

John Ehrett 1
18 Aug 2017

Personhood Series-Fasting

“Individualism is idolatry because individualism seeks to transcend humanity by making us all gods with our own interests and wants. Individualism is idolatry because it denies that we are our relationships.” -Andy Root                                                                                       

TJ Humphrey 0
14 Aug 2017

Piper and Love

Dr. John Piper’s ministry (desiringgod.org) recently re-published a sermon entitled “The God Who Commands Our Emotions,” which defends Dr. Piper’s theology of moral psychology. Having previously critiqued Dr. Piper’s beliefs on this site, I thought it would be appropriate to engage with the argumentative development found in this sermon. I will note what Dr. Piper contributes to the conversation in the sermon, and afterwards provide my initial reactions. Affections Are Emotive Dr. Piper’s teaching raises

Christian McGuire 1
09 Aug 2017

What’s the Point of the Sermon? The Proclaimed Word of God.

The Proclaimed Word of God Too often when I enter the pew on a Sunday morning, I dread the coming sermon. Like many raised in Evangelical circles, the singing and musical part of the service seems the most natural. It is easy in our modern culture to connect emotionally and spiritually to music, perhaps too easy. Yet I know that after 20 minutes or so of beautiful hymns, I will have to endure 30 to

Chad Kim 0
03 Aug 2017

Personhood Series-Fatherhood Redefined

“What is your earliest memory?” the psychologist asked me. “My earliest memory is of my father holding me in his arms at a nude beach, and he was flirting with two topless women.” “Do you remember how that made you feel?” he inquired, pen and notebook in hand. “Confused, and angry,” I said, “especially since my mother was sitting there, helplessly watching with my little brother just a few feet away on the beach.” My

TJ Humphrey 0
28 Jul 2017

On Why We Need An Evangelical Reformation

It is a peculiar irony that those who are often the most strident proponents of literal six-day creationism—and the most ardent antagonists of evolution—are what could be described as theistic evolutionists when it comes to the dogma and traditions of the Church. In this, I can only speak from my observations of my own camp (evangelical Protestantism); of which, as a pessimist, I am inclined to be the most critical the most often. Evangelicals, led

Timon Cline 7
27 Jul 2017

Benedict Optioning, Protestant-Style

I’ve been thinking a lot about Rod Dreher’s much-hyped (and bestselling) book The Benedict Option in the weeks since its publication. While I had many critiques of the book’s lament-oriented aspects, I agreed with a great deal of it—particularly Dreher’s call to focus on developing doctrine among the youth of the church. However, Dreher’s book focused primarily on Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communities’ approaches to fostering such catechesis, and largely left unanswered the question of

John Ehrett 0
26 Jul 2017

My Journey Back to Appreciating a Protestant Sermon

My previous post on the “Word of the Lord,” drew a few different comments encouraging me to expand on what I had written there. Many of them had to do with the fact that I hadn’t fully come to terms with what I wanted to say. I find that much of my writing reflects the fact that I am on a journey towards understanding, as Origen is fond of saying in his Commentary on the

Chad Kim 2
25 Jul 2017

Sola Scriptura and the Greek Old Testament

I invite those who hold to the principle of Sola Scriptura to consider what role the Greek Old Testament should play within that Sola. For those who might be unfamiliar with it, the Greek Old Testament is also called the “Septuagint.” Due to the wide impact of their work, I offer below the 1611 King James Version translators’ comments on the Septuagint, explaining why the Apostles used the Septuagint. The “Seventie” in the following quotes

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20 Jul 2017

Is Genesis A Literal Account of Creation?

Is Genesis 1 a Literal Account of Creation? Before we answer the question, it’s helpful to recall that there are two ways of understanding creation (or two “levels” of creation). Level 1) God Simultaneously Creates All Things (All that Exists) All matter is drawn forth from nothing.1 There is no part of creation that somehow comes into existence “later” or “after” the initial creative act.2 This simultaneous creation of all things is a reality expressed by

Benjamin Winter 3
17 Jul 2017

Assurance and Development, Part I

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, the exclusive claim to grace, and the baptismal nature of the Gospel. However, if you are just joining me now, don’t be daunted. Each essay is independent in its argument, since

Christian McGuire 0
14 Jul 2017

In Defense of the Sacrament of Confession

This is the fourth entry in the “In Defense of…” series. Be sure to check out part 1, part 2, and part 3. When my grandma was a little girl, probably six or seven years old, she went to her first confession in a Roman Catholic Church. Having to find something she did wrong, she told the priest she was guilty of committing the sin of adultery…six times! In her mind, adultery meant “disrespecting an

Wesley Walker 1
11 Jul 2017

Reflections on a Mega Church Experience

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Bethel Church in Redding, California. For those unfamiliar with this church, Bethel was founded in 1952 by Robert Doherty and grew steadily from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Following the call of current senior pastor Bill Johnson in 1996, Bethel underwent a time of divisiveness followed by a period of tremendous growth. Currently, Bethel has approximately 9,000 weekly attendees—easily categorizing it as a mega church—and

Jacob Prahlow 2
07 Jul 2017

Looking Inward and Upward: The Inner Life of the Church

Renowned church historian, Robert Louis Wilken, penned an essay for First Things back in 2004 entitled, “The Church as Culture.” Therein he outlines how the Church is a culture unto itself, rather than merely a mechanism for effecting change on secular culture (the world). Contra H. Richard Niebuhr, who formulated the Church’s mission as part of Christ penetrating the world as a theological idea, to Wilken, Christ is culture, “the fullness of life in the

Timon Cline 1