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
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
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
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
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

Timon Cline 0
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

Timon Cline 0
23 Jan 2017

Can the Religious Right be Left? Christian Political Organizing in the Age of President Trump

Donald Trump has officially been sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America. For many this is a victory of a forgotten people against an elitist establishment. For the majority of Americans, however, the election of President Trump represents something far different. While fractures along racial and denominational lines within the American church are not new, the 2016 election cycle, and disagreement on President Trump himself, have uncovered new fault lines

Creighton Coleman 0
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

Timon Cline 4
04 Oct 2016

Blessed: Prosperity or Presence?

One of the most quoted scriptures is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” It is plastered all over pretty sunset pictures and inspirational posters. It is hung in our houses and on bumper stickers on our cars. It is tattooed on our bodies. It is recited by athletes as they step onto the court or field.  But how often do we hear the verses right before it? It’s

Rebecca Barrett 2
Are you hungry for God?
20 Sep 2016

The Gospel According to Taco Bell

Those who believe the good news about Jesus often seem reluctant to share it with others. Why? At the end of the world wars, everyone was excited to share the news of victory or at least the end of the war with those who didn’t yet know. Why not be excited to share the victory of the spiritual war? Perhaps the answer is because we are missing something. Perhaps what we think of as the

Charles Heyworth 0
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

Timon Cline 4
03 Mar 2016

No Longer Scandalized?

Revisiting Mark Noll in 2016 Though it’s had an outsize impact on evangelical intellectual culture, I’d never actually sat down with Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind until this past week. Centrally, Noll (himself a Reformed evangelical) argues that the rise of fundamentalism drove a lasting wedge between mainstream academic inquiry and American Protestant communities. In Noll’s telling, this cleavage led to previously fringe theological positions (six-day creationism, flood geology, strict biblical literalism)

John Ehrett 7
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,

Guest Author 0
03 Dec 2015

The False Gospel of Protestantism

This article marks the close of my bi-weekly writing at Conciliar Post. It has been a joy to contribute and discuss the faith here. I hope I have produced a coherent framework in these articles for viewing all five branches of Christianity as one common faith to be embraced and learned from across denominations and lines of tradition. In my final regular article, I have no intent to malign Protestantism since I myself continue to

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09 Nov 2015

Authority, Heresy, and Protestantism

In a recent article for Conciliar Post, Eastern Orthodox Ben Cabe hinted (though did not explicitly argue) that Protestantism as a whole is a heretical movement. Cabe argued that Protestantism is divorced from Apostolic Succession and is thus separated from the faith passed down by Christ. In order to make his case, his analysis of what is heretical hinges on Church history, tradition, and liturgy. In this past month’s issue, Christianity Today ran a cover

George Aldhizer 23
14 Sep 2015

What is the Future of the Church?

This past Wednesday night, Biola University held an event titled “The Future of the Church.” The event brought together four theologians from differing wings of Christendom to engage in both predictive and normative dialogue on, you guessed it, the future of the Church. The four speakers included Pentecostal Simon Chan of Singapore, Anglican Ephraim Radner, Catholic Thomas Rausch, and Evangelical Free Fred Sanders. In what follows in this article is something of a truncated transcript

George Aldhizer 29
01 Apr 2015

Round Table: Resurrection

This week, Western Christians celebrate Holy Week, the last days of Jesus Christ on earth before his crucifixion at the hands of Pontius Pilate, torturous suffering on a cross, and death. Of course, the story of Christ does not end there, but continues on Sunday with Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This act—the defeat of death—became the launching point of the Christian faith, the linchpin of the Gospel: God has come to earth and he

Various 5
02 Feb 2015

Grace is for Yuppies: How Reformed Theology Engages New York City

Over the past month, I’ve started work as an intern for a “big four” accounting firm in the heart of Manhattan for ten weeks, trading the small world atmosphere of my college campus in North Carolina for the rat race of New York City. I’ve moved from the sidewalk of the South where people nod and speak to passersby, to the concrete jungle where you pass by thousands of people on your morning commute. To

George Aldhizer 8
03 Sep 2014

Round Table: Christian Warfare

Every month Conciliar Post offers a Round Table discussion, bringing together various Christian voices to reflect upon an important question or topic. Today’s Round Table considers the following question: Are Christians ever justified in supporting or advocating warfare, either on their own behalf or by the nation of which they are a part? Represented in this Round Table are some fascinating perspectives, including that of a veteran of the United States Armed Forces and that

Various 16
08 Jul 2014

Round Table: Same-Sex Marriage

Having just passed the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s DOMA decision and with the Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly’s recent vote, the issue of Same-Sex Marriage remains much discussed and oft debated in our culture. To help us think more clearly about this subject, we asked the Conciliar Post team and a few guest authors to offer their thoughts on some aspects of Same-Sex Marriage in a Round Table format. Round Tables are where

Various 29