Who’s Afraid of the Enneagram?
Perhaps the hottest thing going in American evangelicalism is the enneagram (pron. “any-a-gram”). In the past five years, the personality typing system has exploded exponentially in popularity, as evidenced by church conferences, church retreats, popular podcasts, widely successful book sales, feature articles in magazines, and, anecdotally, many a dinner conversation with fellow evangelicals. The enneagram is a personality system of nine types, including the reformer, helper, achiever, individualist, investigator, loyalist, enthusiast, challenger, and peacemaker. To
A Reflection on the Academic Study of Religion
John Ehrett’s recent essay, “Why Millennial College Students Should Study Theology,” argues against the dominant paradigm of contemporary academic liberal arts departments. He argues that “contemporary academic society overwhelmingly filters social phenomena through three primary lenses: race, gender, and class.” This filter gives the liberal arts student a framework for “discern[ing] the hidden reasons for action underlying conduct,” which inevitably fall into the racist/sexist/classist “conceptual trifecta.” In my experience, this was the dominant paradigm at
Towards a Christian Spirituality of Work
“Follow your passion!” Rings out perhaps the most popular piece of career advice for high school and college students. Simply figure out and follow what you most love, the section of the bookstore you gravitate towards, or what gets you out of bed in the morning, and you will have a meaningful and fulfilling career. “Choose a job you love,” so the saying goes, “and you will never have to work a day in your
Whither Christian Magazines?
It is not exactly revelatory to say that the periodical industry is hurting. In the internet era, newspapers are anxious, as the old print business model—advertising revenue buttressed by inexpensive newsstand prices—is quickly being upended.1 A majority of U.S. adults now get their news on social media2, putting pressure on magazines to retain subscriber numbers and keep the doors open. Today, we now have the option to consume vast amounts of free content, coming from
The End of Protestantism | Book Review
Peter Leithart’s latest work, The End of Protestantism, is a grand book. Grand both in the sense that it is imposing and important, but also in its scope. Leithart’s purposes in writing the book are no less than to pray publicly for the unity of the church, outline a biblical theology of God’s actions to unite and renew, affirm the changes of the Reformation, critique the historical outworking of American denominationalism, outline the shifting paradigms
EpiPen and Aquinas: Arguing for a Just Price
“PHARMA GREED KILLS.” “PEOPLE OVER PROFIT” “Heather Bresch: THE FACE OF GREED” So resounds the public outrage toward Mylan Inc. and the company’s CEO Heather Bresch after having steadily increased the price of EpiPen from $100 in 2007 to $600 last May.1 Critics argue that the price to manufacture the injector has not increased during that time, that the product itself has not changed, that research and development costs cannot justify the decision, and that
How is God Sovereign?
This is the second article in a series giving an overview of two central concepts in Abraham Kuyper’s public theology. For a primer on common grace, see my article from last month. Having recently moved to New York City, I’m daily reminded of how small I am within this daunting, diverse, and driven world. Suddenly, the universe truly doesn’t revolve around me. As recently as this past spring, I was a graduate student at a
What is Common Grace?
Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was a remarkable individual. Playing the roles of pastor, theologian, journalist, and prime minister of the Netherlands, Kuyper is no doubt one of the most prolific Christians in church history. Although Kuyper’s direct lineage today represents only a small portion of Christendom (in America the denominations of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America), and though his thought remains influential primarily within Calvinist evangelicalism, I believe his thought ought
Taking Trump’s Theology Seriously
Perhaps Donald Trump’s professed Christian faith has gotten a bad rap. Back in January, the Pew Research Center found that among American presidential candidates, Republican or Democrat, Trump was seen as the least religious.1 A recent GQ article argues that Trump “sure is bad at pretending he loves Jesus.”2 Erick Erickson in a tweet quips, “The more Trump talks Christianity, the more he sounds like he took a Rosetta Stone class on speaking Christian.”3 On
Reflections on the Church Fathers: Polycarp
Perhaps the most important reason for reading dusty old books is the opportunity to enter into a world that is not your own. I have no clue what it means to live in second century Asia Minor (now Turkey), without technology or affluence or cars or literacy, with entirely different expectations of what it means to live a good life. Also, what is the weather like? Who are the political leaders? How do families and
Reflections on the Church Fathers: Ignatius of Antioch
In the first article of this series, I emphasized the importance for the Christian life of imitating moral exemplars, following the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) Top of the list for Christian moral exemplars, aside from Jesus himself, are those who were closest to him, hence my devotional exploration of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. Up next in this survey
Reflections on the Church Fathers: 1 Clement
If I’ve learned anything from college over the past four years it’s that once you begin learning something you quickly realize how little you actually know. My time here at Conciliar Post has been no different. At first starting to write for this website arguing for a particular version of Christianity, I soon learned how little I actually knew, both about my own tradition and of the traditions of others. Having been sufficiently disoriented as
Does Conciliar Post Exist?
This nerdy niche that we’ve carved out on the internet for ourselves called “Conciliar Post” is a pretty neat place. Here we tell stories about how to live as a Christian in this world, theologize about the historical distinctions between liturgical and low-church worship, write poetry about how worthy the God-Man is of our worship, and debate the schisms and skirmishes of Christianity’s past. Some of us have more professional credentials to be doing this
Church Criteria: How Should We Choose the Congregation We Attend?
When a Christian moves into a new town or city, typically one of the first things one does is look for a church. This situation commonly requires attending a number of different churches on Sunday mornings to see if the particular church fits in some way with predetermined criteria for how a church ought to be. Does the preaching proclaim the gospel? How is the music? How friendly are the people? What are the demographics
The Problem of Persuasion in Politically Polarized America
In today’s internet and social media culture, opinions are flared behind the impersonal protection of the computer screen, creating the appearance of debate and dialogue where no such reality exists. America’s increasing political polarization exploits and exacerbates this problem, resulting in an environment in which we often cling to our ideological enclaves, though sometimes peering out to have heated exchanges with those with whom we disagree. These sparring matches often serve simply to justify the
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
Round Table: What Is Christianity?
What is Christianity? That seems to be a simple question. At least until you sit down and have to precisely and concisely answer it. Is Christianity a religion? A relationship? A worldview? A movement? An institution? A set of doctrinal beliefs? A series of philosophical arguments? All of these? None of these? Some of these? This month, Conciliar Post has collected no fewer than fourteen answers to this important question of definitions. Ranging across a
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
Denomination Discombobulation: The Disorienting Effect of Protestantism and Conciliar Post
Sitting in my cushy Sunday morning chair, immediately following a fairly lengthy sermon, my Presbyterian church’s suit-clad pastor prepares the congregation for the weekly partaking of the Lord’s Supper. I think to myself, Isn’t it interesting, other congregations from other traditions on this very morning are probably kneeling or chanting or something at this point in their liturgy. And how come the pastor isn’t wearing some special clothing or collar or something? Other traditions do
Neither Substance Nor “Naked Signs”: The Lord’s Supper in Calvinist Understanding
This is meant to be a continuation of last year’s Round Table discussion on Communion In the midst of the Reformation, the so-called “Reformed” theologians beliefs concerning the Lord’s Supper charted something of a middle way between what they deemed were two extremes. On the right, the Reformed denied the Catholic and Lutheran belief that the substance of Christ’s body and blood exists in the sacrament. On the left, the Reformed also denied the followers