21 Aug 2017

Signs and Wonders

“Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles (Acts 2:43 NRSV).” Having analyzed Acts 2:42 in a four–part series of articles, this week we turn our gaze toward the subsequent verses that elaborate on the daily and weekly rhythms of the early Christian church. Acts 2:43-47 offers a briefly sublime account of the church after the day of Pentecost. The first believers shared all things in common and

Jarrett Dickey 0
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
11 Aug 2017

Doubt Your Doubt

Doubt is, to some extent, built into our nature. Many people find themselves going through crises of faith at different points in their lives. Some doubts are more intellectual in nature, a failure to connect faith and reason well. Still, others doubt in a raw and emotional way. In my own experience, nothing makes me doubt my faith more than the suffering of children. It’s so visceral for me that I can’t even formulate it

Wesley Walker 0
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
07 Aug 2017

Devoted to Prayer

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42 NRSV).” This article is the fourth article in a series on the early Christian church as depicted in Acts 2:41-47. The first three articles were on the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, and the breaking of bread. Both the Renaissance humanists and the Protestant reformers were guided by a similar ethos–a return to the original sources (ad fontes).

Jarrett Dickey 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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24 Jul 2017

Devoted to the Breaking of Bread

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42 NRSV). This is the third article in a series on Acts 2:41-47. The first article can be found here, and the second article can be found here. Acts 2:41-47 offers an elegantly simple portrayal of the first Christian church. After Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, Luke tells us that the new believers were baptized

Jarrett Dickey 1
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
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
12 Jul 2017

Troublesome Trinitarianism

Note: Any time one writes about Trinity-related issues, they’re treading into dangerous theological territory. Accordingly, where I’ve overlooked important distinctions or overstepped my bounds, I welcome correction from those more rigorously trained than me. The recent film adaptation of The Shack put debates about the doctrine of the Trinity back on the public radar. Longtime critics of author William Paul Young drew fresh ammunition from his new volume Lies We Believe About God, a nonfiction

John Ehrett 7
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
10 Jul 2017

Devoted to Fellowship

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42 NRSV).” (This is the second article in a series on Acts 2:41-47. The first article can be found here.) The verses immediately following Peter’s Pentecost sermon in Acts 2 offer an important look into the practices and structures of the first Christian church. Many of these early practices continue to be the bedrock of Christian worship

Jarrett Dickey 0
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
06 Jul 2017

Personhood Series-Detachment, the Saints, and Relational Ontology

The introduction to the series can be found here. “By detachment we strive to give our whole self to God, that all our willing, loving and desiring may be in him.”1                                                                                         

TJ Humphrey 2
29 Jun 2017

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make me a Match…: St. Phanourios and the long wished for Husband

This is the continuation of my essay series on St. Phanourios.  You can read part 1 here 1 and part 2 here 2. Last time, I wrote about how St. Phanourios helped me through a series of personal crises that, as they often do, all spilled out at once. I was jobless, looking for work, had run out of money, and my health was crumbling, with a 50/50 chance of having cancer.  St. Phanourios’ prayers

Elizabeth Roosje 4
27 Jun 2017

What do we mean in Church when we say, “This is the Word of the Lord”?

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

Chad Kim 7
26 Jun 2017

Devoted to the Apostles’ Teaching

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42; NRSV).” Acts 2:41-47 provides us with an important window into the Jerusalem mother church, the source of all holy, catholic, and apostolic churches in the world today. Given that nearly 2,000 years have passed since the day of Pentecost, modern Christians do well whenever they re-investigate the roots of their own faith and practices. When we

Jarrett Dickey 6