17 Nov 2017

Movie Review: Calvinist

Over the past year, in the lead up to its five-hundredth anniversary, Protestants across the globe have been reminiscing and debating over the implications and ramifications of the Reformation. But another, more recent phenomenon has been receiving similar attention, at least in Reformed circles. Last September marked ten years since Collin Hansen published his now famous article, “Young, Restless, Reformed”, which chronicled the rise of so-called “new Calvinism.” Christian Century dubbed the phenomenon “Calvin’s Comeback.”

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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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20 Oct 2017

“Against the Enthusiasts”

Last month, Michael Horton, professor at Westminster Seminary (California) and host of the popular Reformed podcast, White Horse Inn, conceded defeat, so to speak, for Reformed Protestants to the Radical “enthusiasts.” Horton’s piece lamented how few American Christians are aligned with Reformed doctrine, and how many have been taken by Radical Anabaptist theology, “a utopian, revolutionary, quasi-Gnostic religion of the ‘inner light’” that—according to Horton—has come “to influence all branches of Christendom.” Anabaptists were a radical,

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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

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25 Aug 2017

We Need A Medieval Theology of Wealth

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10) I recently finished reading Marcia L. Colish’s Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition for one of my seminary courses. Coupled with other readings on medieval theology, I have come to greatly appreciate the richness and depth of medieval theology, an appreciation that

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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

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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

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28 Jun 2017

Recovering Meaningful Travel

Over the past month, Senator Ben Sasse (R- NE), recently dubbed “the most interesting man in Washington,” has created a buzz with his newly published book, The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis– and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance, mainly because it talks about more than his next reelection campaign. Among other things, the book bemoans the demise of a virtuous citizenry, a lackluster work ethic among millennials, and the shortcomings of an

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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

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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

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05 May 2017

Stay Human, My Friends

In recent years and months it has become undeniable that the foremost social issues pervading our culture involve personhood and identity. The transgender debate is the most obvious manifestation of this. But the broader, or perhaps underlying, debate of how personhood is to be defined is rapidly expanding beyond gender neutral bathrooms at Target. Indeed, even rivers are being declared ‘persons’. And it is becoming evident that technology will be interwoven into these questions, or

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07 Apr 2017

Wayne Grudem, Donald Trump, and Christian Suffering

This past election season popular evangelical theologian, Wayne Grudem, penned two controversial articles for Townhall.com, wherein he defended, inter alia, the Christian Trump vote. The article, in a style that mimics a campaign website’s policy position statements, is lengthy and not revolutionary, especially in hindsight. Yet, at the time a particular statement caught my eye. Hopefully, now that we are more than two months into a Trump administration, my analysis and humble refutation of Grudem’s

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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

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16 Feb 2017

Round Table: The Purpose of the Local Church

Living in a post-Christian culture appears to be taking its toll on the local church. We no longer reside in small towns where people work together through the week and walk to church together on Sundays. We get in our separate cars from our separate neighbourhoods and homes, convene for an hour or two, and go home. Does this hour of the week change who we are? Does it connect us with the body of Christ?

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02 Feb 2017

The Lost Art of Evangelical Weeping, Part 2

As discussed in part 1, proper expressions of suffering and grief (spiritual and physical) seem to be largely discouraged in modern evangelical churches. Unfortunately, this trend may be less of a recent phenomenon than we think. Pastor Tim Keller has bemoaned that early Reformed and Lutheran churches may bear some responsibility, despite Martin Luther’s efforts to correct the medieval church’s promotion of stoic-like endurance in the face of suffering.1 Luther argued that Christians need not earn

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07 Nov 2016

The Lost Art of Evangelical Weeping, Part 1

There is a mood and practice of forced buoyancy in American evangelical churches. In near Orwellian fashion, this frenzied gaiety tries to sanitize the church of any perceived negativity, sorrow, or grief. I have been in church services where the worship leader mounts the stage, “kicking off” the service with, “How’s everybody feeling this morning?” (implying the expectation of a positive reaction), followed by, “Oh, you can do better than that!” when the enthusiasm of

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02 Aug 2016

Why Baptists should be the first to defend religious freedom for Muslims

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has formed a diverse religious coalition to back the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, N.J., in its federal lawsuit against a planning board that denied its permit application to build a mosque last December.1 The denial followed four years of hearings and numerous modifications to the mosque design in a good faith attempt to reassure neighbors and to conform to local architectural styles. The New York Times reported in

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30 Jun 2016

Boycotting Boycotts

In April, the American Family Association (AFA) instituted a boycott of Target, in response to the retail giant’s policy to allow transgender persons access to opposite-sex bathrooms and fitting rooms, in accordance with the gender identity of “team members and guests.” Target stated that, “Everyone deserves to feel like they belong.” AFA has cited objections to this practice, calling it “misguided and reckless” and as “pos[ing] a threat to women and children” via those “predators

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