02 Nov 2017

The Word and the Text

The Word and the Text: Allegorical Exegesis and the Christological Ontology of Scripture in the Middle Ages Factum audivimus; mysterium requiramus. “We have heard the deed; let us seek the mystery.” So says Augustine in his tractates on the Gospel of John. Sentiments such as this were the bedrock of Medieval hermeneutics regarding Scripture. The mystical interpretation of Scripture, particularly allegory, had been bequeathed to the theologians and scholars of the middle ages by giants

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27 Oct 2017

Before Fall

by Cameron Brooks   On an early September morning I hear Fall whispering. Rushing out the front door I catch its thin voice in an unexpected breeze, faint, crisp, foreign to my bare skin, which is leathered and browned from four months of sun and sand and runs along the river behind our home. I pause in the paved lot to listen closer. As I lean into the breeze, I remember how my world has

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26 Oct 2017

Round Table: Interpretation of Scripture

Introduction Christian life flows forth from the nourishing Word of God. Each generation encounters the sacred text, and responds in love to the divine laws written therein. And yet, the interpretation of Scripture is a topic that oftentimes divides more than it unites. The complexity of the text dictates that we may not all think the same way; yet, in line with our mission to promote meaningful dialogue across Christian traditions, we asked our authors

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24 Oct 2017

The Cross as Template: Kenosis, Justification, and the Cruciform Life

When I was a graduate student at a Lutheran seminary I was enamored with the thought of Cyril of Alexandria. His concern for the unity of the person of Christ influenced me greatly, and I developed a trajectory of thinking that was different than most of my fellow students. This made me feel like a bit of an odd duck, as the conversation at the seminary tended to be hyper-focused on justification. Being Lutherans, rock-ribbed

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18 Oct 2017

Luther’s First Good Work

In the opening section of “A Treatise on Good Works,” Martin Luther declares: “The first and highest, the most precious of all good works is faith in Jesus Christ.”1 Luther was not an ethicist as such, but his claim, if true, has wide-ranging implications for anyone in pursuit of the “good life”—that end toward which ethics is aimed. Such a bold idea warrants justification. What could this statement possibly mean? How is faith a work

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10 Feb 2017

Modern Witness

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13).1 One of my favorite operas is called the Dialogues of the Carmelites, which was composed by Francis Poulenc. The opera is an adaptation of a true life story of the Martyrs of Compiègne, members of a Roman Catholic order of nuns who were killed during the French Revolution of the late 18th Century. The story follows a young

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24 Jan 2017

We Need More Bart Campolos

“Even as faith endures in our secular age, believing doesn’t come easy. Faith is fraught; confession is haunted by an inescapable sense of contestability. We don’t believe instead of doubting; we believe while doubting. We’re all Thomas now.” – Charles Taylor Is the contemporary North American church in decline? If you do a casual search of the Internet or glance the titles of Christian publications over the past year, you will find a number of

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15 Nov 2016

Encountering Aslan in the Wild

The first time I met a lion in the flesh was on a playground in suburban Nashville. I must have been only five or six years old when the enormous golden cougar peered out from its perch on the edge of the little park, its lithe, muscular body stretching out behind its curious face. Next to it was another feline comrade, an exotic, ebony-black wildcat, lying gracefully alongside the more familiar mountain lion. As would

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12 Jul 2016

Augustine, Education, and the Pitfalls of Academia

Over the past three or four years I have had a few, percolating thoughts on theological training and education. Or, more particularly, thoughts on my experiences at various institutions and on my reading of so-called ‘academic’ literature. A couple of months ago I was asked by a professor why I was so cynical about ‘the academy’ and ‘academics’. My reply to him was convoluted enough that I thought I should attempt to write a little

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26 May 2016

On the Virtue of Classical Happiness

The recent article “Why Happiness is Not a Choice” here at Conciliar Post sparked guest author, Andrew Shustov, to pen a rebuttal in hopes of clarifying the meaning of happiness and its place in our lives. —CP Editors   “The earth teaches us…because it resists us. Man discovers himself when he measures himself against the obstacle.”1 “Something, I know not what, lent this night a savor of Christmas. We told stories, we joked, we sang

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17 May 2016

Round Table: Do Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God?

Do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? This is a question which has received much attention in recent years, with numerous theologians and cultural commentators weighing in on what has become a hotly contested debate. And rightly so, for as Christian and Islamic civilizations clash, a clarification of the foundations of each worldview remains necessary for understanding each religion and what is at stake. Yet the question of this month’s Round Table discussion does

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20 Jan 2016

I’m Not Afraid by Lee Ann Mancini — Book Review

I’m Not Afraid! published by GLM Publishing is the latest addition to a series of books (The Sea Kids series) written by Lee Ann Mancini and illustrated by Dan Sharp. Like the previous books, the pictures are fun and the story based in biblical principles. Where the previous books encouraged the kids to look for a hidden fish on each page, this book has a hidden Bible illustration. Because of this, the book caters to a number of

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07 Dec 2015

“Fear Not,” Or, How I Learned to Love the Book of Revelation

By Blake Hartung The last book of the Bible, the Revelation (or Apocalypse) of John, has been a consistent source of mystery and bewilderment for Christians since its composition in the last decade of the first century. This is of course, shouldn’t be too surprising; we are, after all, talking about the book that has given us such bizarre tableaux as a pregnant woman clothed in the sun pursued by a dragon, four colorful horsemen,

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25 Nov 2015

Round Table: After Death

Living in a fallen world such as we do, death unfortunately remains a fact of life. We have all experienced the loss of loved ones, all struggled with the spectre of death. But what happens when people die? Do they go to heaven? Hell? Purgatory? Limbo? Furthermore, do all dogs really go to heaven, or is that merely the childhood fantasy relegated to the dumpster of bad theology? This month’s Round Table discussion reflects on

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14 Nov 2015

The Adventures of the Sea Kids (Book Giveaways)

The Adventures of the Sea Kids is a children’s book series that features Christian themes alongside fun (and fishy!) illustrations. To date, there are three books in there series: Fast Freddy, What a Bragger, and forthcoming I’m Not Afraid. The books are full-color, fully illustrated, fish-tales about a school of kids (fish) who learn not to discriminate (Fast Freddy) or gasconade (What a Bragger). The books also incorporate a hidden fish symbol for children to search for on each page. We

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28 Sep 2015

Pope Francis Speaks to Congress

Last week the leader of the Roman Catholic Church, Francis, delivered a speech to the U.S. Congress. For my friends who are too busy to read the whole speech but who might be interested to know the gist of it, I have prepared this summary. None of this should be considered a quotation – just the gist of what was said. Thanks for letting me speak here. It’s good to be in the Western Hemisphere

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10 Aug 2015

Call It What You Will

Though many would argue that the “worship wars” of the 1990s are over, I have found that the church persists in its usage of some linguistic weaponry from that era. In past decades, conversations about worship have polarized worshippers into opposing camps: especially “traditional” vs. “contemporary.” These terms are based primarily on expressive style in worship, largely related to music. I want to suggest that we abandon the use of these words altogether, as they

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09 Jul 2015

Dating, Courtship, and What Really Matters

By Justin Megna “Date to the glory of God.” “We teach our kids to court instead of date.” “I kissed dating goodbye.” “Modern dating is broken.” “Courtship is God’s way for romance.” “Courtship is in crisis.” Such are some of the one-liners that mark the complex social arena of modern American Christians and their pursuit of romance and matrimony. For such a normal and age-old activity, finding a matrimonial partner has become a rather convoluted

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07 May 2015

Round Table: Baptism

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Since Jesus’ delivery of this Great

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21 Apr 2015

Unique Characteristics of Eastern Orthodox Spirituality (Part II)

Having discussed these differences between Eastern and Western forms of spirituality in general terms in my last post, let us turn now to some of the defining characteristics in Eastern Christian spirituality. I think you will recognize all or most of them, although this is not a complete listing of all the characteristics! Deification / Theosis What lies at the foundation of Eastern Christian spirituality? Its essential theological foundation is the idea of deification or

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