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
22 Jun 2017

Contemplative Missiology, Part 2: The Power of Contemplative Transformation

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

TJ Humphrey 4
20 Jun 2017

Charles Taylor and “The Witch”

Last year, a curious little horror movie made something of a splash in the indie scene. The Witch: A New England Folktale follows an early American Puritan family’s descent into wilderness madness after their banishment from their community. As the story progresses, it becomes less and less clear whether the misfortunes that befall them are of their doing, or are the work of actual demonic forces. The Witch, with its surreal interludes and conclusion, was

John Ehrett 1
02 Jun 2017

Southern Baptist Revisionist History

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

Timon Cline 5
01 Jun 2017

Importance of the 3rd Old Testament

To my surprise, skeptics who attack the Bible do not normally focus on inconsistencies between New Testament quotations and their Old Testament sources. No matter which Scripture translation you prefer, try opening your New Testament to a quotation. If you flip back to the Old Testament source of that quote, odds are strong that they will not match. If asked about those differences, we should have an answer. I submit that there were three perfect

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18 May 2017

Throwing Grace to the Dogs

“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

Timon Cline 3
04 May 2017

A Short Introduction to the Syrian Orthodox Church

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

John Ehrett 2
10 Apr 2017

World Christianity or Global Christianity?

As part of my ongoing quest to develop a more systematized theological background, I recently completed the coursework to earn a certificate in theology and ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. Among my theologically conservative friends, I caught some flak for this choice: traditionally affiliated with the Presbyterian Church–USA (PCUSA), Princeton Seminary has long been accused of heterodox theological liberalism. Indeed, such institutional trends impelled then-professor J. Gresham Machen to found Westminster Theological Seminary in 1929.

John Ehrett 1
04 Apr 2017

Exploits of the Apostle Thomas in India

Though we would not meet until many years later, my wife and I both enjoyed the good fortune of having college roommates from India who became our closest friends. My roommate came from a Hindu family, and my wife’s roommate from a Christian family. It was through her that I first heard of “Saint Thomas Christians”—the Christians of Southern India, who trace their faith all the way back to the Apostle Thomas himself. It’s my

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28 Mar 2017

A Proposal for Approaching Theology Historically

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to present a paper at a regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. There is nothing quite like the amassed scholarship of these conferences, the gathering of minds eager to pursue knowledge and discuss the finer points of theology, biblical interpretation, and Christian praxis. Of course, it would not truly be a meeting of evangelicals (evangelicals gathered at a Southern Baptist seminary, to wit) without some disagreement over

Jacob Prahlow 2
01 Mar 2017

Sola Scriptura: A Clarification

Here at Conciliar Post, there have recently been a couple articles poking alleged holes in the Reformed doctrine of sola scriptura. This post should be considered less a full rebuttal of the points made in the previous posts and more of an extended comment that will hopefully act as “iron” (Prov. 27:17) for further discussion in the spirit of CP’s mission statement. If I am able to at all challenge and sharpen the positions of

Timon Cline 8
27 Feb 2017

The Messianic Prerogative

This essay is the second in a series entitled “Catholicism: What You’d Expect.” The previous essay can be found here. In the first post, I lay out an argument that Christian distinctives find their fulfillment uniquely within the Catholic paradigm. I also argue that the first Christian distinctive, its incarnational theology and practice, is an ultimately Catholic attribute. This essay concerns the second distinctive which I listed: the authoritative nature of Christian theology. In all

Christian McGuire 2
13 Feb 2017

The Poverty of Sola Scriptura

I deeply appreciate the great benefits which the Sola Scriptura mindset in Protestantism has produced. The attempt to trust Scripture alone has resulted in a widespread love for the Bible, a love which appears to me to far outshine that of the elder branches. The most devoted of Protestants spend much time every day in personal study of Scripture. They flock to group Bible studies, and it is Protestants who do the majority of translation work

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28 Nov 2016

Books Removed from the New Testament?

A friend recently asked if any books had been removed from the New Testament. Such questions often come from an intent to discredit the Bible, but she sincerely wondered. For example, some skeptics point to the Gospel of Judas as a removed book. National Geographic published the first English translation of it in 2006. This gospel mostly offers conversations between Jesus and Judas. In it, Jesus praises Judas as His wisest disciple and commends him because Judas would sacrifice the man

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26 Oct 2016

A Random Musing on an Inapplicable Moment in History

To the relief of readers and editors, today’s article is not about the election bid of businessman Donald J. Trump. There’s no longer any reason to discuss that, given that its current state of acrid evanescence is more analogous to a cloud of rapidly dispersing canine flatulence than a real presidential campaign. I would instead like to revisit an episode of early church history: the 3rd century persecution under the Roman emperor Decius and the

Chris Casberg 11
11 Oct 2016

What Andy Stanley Should’ve Said About the Bible

If you’ve been following the evangelical press lately, you’ve probably encountered the latest brouhaha over biblical inerrancy. As part of a sermon series entitled Who Needs God?, well-known pastor Andy Stanley took aim at the idea that appeals to biblical authority could be the foundation for a successful apologetic approach. In other words, Stanley is saying that it doesn’t work to tell people that “the Bible says so” about a particular topic, and assume that

John Ehrett 1
22 Sep 2016

(A Brief Synopsis) What I have been given in the Church: The Protection and Shelter of the Saints ~ Part I: The Mother of God

This icon is called the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God Note: While I am new to Conciliar Post, I am here because of their commitment to dialogue between Christian traditions (Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant) with respect and Christian love.  While I could write (and perhaps will later) on why I think this is the best way, suffice for now to say what I see my writing, including this series, to be about: to

Elizabeth Roosje 2
09 Sep 2016

On the Misuse of Christian Tradition: A Response

The proper relationship between the authority of Christian Scripture and authority of Christian Tradition avails itself to no easy answers. From a historical viewpoint, much of the early development of both remains hotly debated. From a theological perspective, centuries (and sometimes millennia) old debates continue to shape thinking and lead toward answers long before any explicit consideration of this relationship comes into focus. Yet there seem to be boundaries—a “highway of orthodoxy” if you will—which

Jacob Prahlow 0
05 Sep 2016

On the Catholic Use of Sacred Scripture

This is a response piece to Christian McGuire’s article entitled: “On the Misuse of Sacred Scripture.” Dear Christian, As we discussed privately when I first read your piece, I agree with your basic premise that Scripture cannot stand alone as an authority without the vehicles of the Church (her liturgy, her teaching authority) and Tradition (the Fathers, the Doctors). Together, these three prongs of authority (Scripture, Tradition, and Church Magisterium) balance to form and inform a community

Benjamin Winter 4
04 Aug 2016

The Curious Case of Ethiopian Orthodoxy

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the third largest Christian denomination in the world, but most Western Christians know very little about their ancient roots, their miraculous success against Islam, or their peculiar traditions. This article will focus on the formative events of the EOTC. Brief comments on their later history and customs are included with recommended readings for those who want to know more.   ETHIOPIAN JUDAISM The EOTC traces its faith back to

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