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 0
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
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
30 Jun 2017

Pushing Back on Piper’s Doctrine of Love

Despite our considerable theological differences, I respect John Piper. Years before Catholicism was anything but a strange, half-pagan concept in my mind, I attended his church in Minneapolis. I was catechized and baptized there, and learned many truths from his preaching that I have never found a substantial reason to doubt, despite subjecting them to much greater scrutiny in later years. Even now, I find much to admire in his life and teaching. However, an

Christian McGuire 1
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
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
19 Jun 2017

Catholicism’s Uniquely Baptismal Theology

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, and the exclusive claim to grace. However, if you are just joining me now, don’t be daunted. Each essay is independent in its argument, since each one examines a different facet

Christian McGuire 9
http://store.ancientfaith.com/we-pray/
14 Jun 2017

We Pray (Book Review)

We Pray is a new children’s book from Ancient Faith Publishing. Authored by Daniel Opperwall, a Canadian theology professor, and illustrated by the Serbian husband and wife team Jelena and Marko Grbic, We Pray is a beautiful introduction to the concepts of Orthodox prayer. Wholeheartedly Eastern Orthodox in its approach, each page explores a single concept of prayer, beginning with the Trinity and ending with evangelism. Along the way, we come to understand the purpose

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
08 Jun 2017

The Ratzinger Option

At the end of The Benedict Option (2017), Rod Dreher writes, “At the risk of sounding grandiose, I also want to express my gratitude for the life and work of Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, who I consider the second Benedict of the Benedict Option.”1 This is not a random shout-out; the reason is pretty clear in Dreher’s introduction: “Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI foretells a world in which the church will live in small circles

Peter Schellhase 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
31 May 2017

To Those in Darkness

Spirits crying in the darkness that Salvation is at hand Proclaiming to the captives The day of the Lord Songs in the night cause Doors to open Chains to fall off Veils to tear down Foundations to be shaken And earthquakes Prisoners are set free And escape by Staying put and Singing along- Where else to go? There was the word of life They could not save themselves In death’s despair One calls for enlightenment

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 1
25 May 2017

Contemplative Missiology-Part 1: A Critique of the Missional Church Movement

Be sure to check out Part 2 as well! “Although it is impossible to give exact statistics, the enormous numerical growth of the church in its first centuries is undeniable. This naturally leads us to ask how it achieved such growth. The answer may surprise some modern Christians, for the ancient church knew nothing of evangelistic services or revivals. To the contrary, worship centered on communion, and only baptized Christians were admitted to its celebration.

TJ Humphrey 2
22 May 2017

The Only Name, Part III: The Case of Cornelius

This is the fifth essay is a series focusing on the distinctives of Catholicism. I have attempted to demonstrate in the previous essays that two broadly Christian theologies, the Incarnation and the Messianic Prerogative, are distinctly Catholic in origin and nature. I have also begun outlining the parallelisms between the Christian doctrine of exclusivity and the details of the Catholic theology of exclusivity. In my third essay, I outlined Catholicism’s unique claim to salvific exclusivity.

Christian McGuire 0
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
17 May 2017

String Theory

Everything is connected at the sub- atomic particle level in a way that I just do not understand, everything crossing and pointing and looping around but I do know the nexus, the crux, the beginning and end of every string. It’s something even the angels understand, although they have no idea why God had to be strung up for those like me all at loose ends, but he felt himself tied by apron strings to

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
16 May 2017

Evangelical Apocalypse Anxiety

With Donald Trump in the White House, a right-leaning Supreme Court restored to full strength, majorities in both chambers of Congress, and an overwhelming advantage in statehouses across the country, American political power is firmly in the hands of Republicans. This “revenge of the Right” has left some sociologists wondering why, despite having gained such a decisive upper hand politically, so many American evangelicals perceive themselves as threatened. This isn’t a new question, and religious

John Ehrett 2