08 Jul 2020

Discovering the Late 19th Century Arguments for Women’s Preaching and Ministry

For all of my life, I have been a part of a US Presbyterian denomination which does not ordain women to the ministry. The extent to which women are allowed to teach men in church settings, lead in formal worship, or serve in non-ordained diaconal roles varies a good deal congregation by congregation. Nevertheless, across the board, preaching in regular services and serving as an elder is possible only for men. This fact, of course,

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01 Jul 2020

Trinity Brings Unity: Hope for a Divided World

Not long ago, my parish was offering the Prayers of the People as part of our Sunday liturgy. Worshippers were free to raise their own voices and add their personal petitions to those of the Book of Common Prayer. As we did so, two seemingly different prayers arose from our midst. One prayer was for the protection of police officers and first responders. Another was for the protection of protesters and all those seeking justice

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22 Jun 2020

Al Mohler, Slavery, and the Bible

If we want to know what the Bible has to say about American chattel slavery, we’ll need to do more than type “slave” into the Bible Gateway search bar. Perhaps that is the lesson we should learn from Al Mohler’s recently surfaced denunciation of runaway slaves on Larry King Live in 1998. In that interview, Mohler contended that Harriet Tubman — and others who ran from slave owners or abetted runaways — disobeyed St. Paul’s

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10 Jun 2020

Racism and Sin

“It is the divinely imposed task of the prophet to break down the wall of our indifference by voicing the suffering and anguish of the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the oppressed of our society.” -Abraham Heschel A wound, when it is not properly treated, will fester to the point that it will suppurate. This is not only true of our physical wounds but, also, our interior wounds. Imagine a couple who begin a

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25 May 2020

Personal Prayers

Virgin Soul (Isaiah 43: 1-8) Like a virgin bride that waits for her bridegroom, my virgin soul waits for You, oh, Lord! My virgin soul waits to be impregnated with Your Word. Speak It in the recesses of my heart, my being, my virgin soul. My beloved speaks in the dark night, early morning, midday, late noon, early evening. He whispers in my ear as I embrace him in my arms:   I have created

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20 May 2020

Wasteland Christianity

Recently, Tara Isabella Burton published a great column in the New York Times opinion section on the “weird” present and future of American Christianity. She contrasts the slow decrease in religious affiliation among Americans with the increased traditionalism in the thought and actions of those Americans who remain Christian. Ms. Burton’s point ultimately consists in her recognition that many Americans find ourselves increasingly disenchanted with the social and cultural order that we inhabit—whether that discontent

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04 May 2020

The Pandemic and the Wrath of God

In dark moments, I have sometimes wondered whether, when disaster struck, I might lose my faith. Perhaps my God of unbounded kindness would fall away in the face of crisis—shown to be phantom conjured up by an over-hopeful imagination—sand leave me alone in the universe. Yet as it has turned out, the real danger was of this God morphing into a god of wrath, his face twisting into stern, unfamiliar expressions. In this midst of

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27 Apr 2020

“His Earthly Oil Lamp, Laurus”: A Theological Reflection on Eugene Vodolazkin’s Laurus

Eugene Vodolazkin’s masterful novel Laurus is a tour de force of literary imagination and theological reflection. In a style reminiscent of Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov and imbued with as much tragic conviction as Nikolai Leskov’s Cathedral Folk, Laurus stands out as a modern-day masterwork of Russian literature. The novel is full of mystical, sacramental, and eschatological imagery. Vodolazkin marries the mundane to the sacred in a beautiful tapestry of man’s fallenness and God’s redemptive plan. The main character, called at various times

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11 Mar 2020

Moral Relativity in an Ironic Place

“’Good’ and ‘bad,’ applied to them, are words without content: For it is from them that the content of these words is henceforward to be derived.” –C.S. Lewis, Abolition of Man In Abolition of Man, C.S. Lewis explains the nonsense of a subjective postmodern philosophy, wherein truth has no meaning. When one accepts that truth is a social construct rather than an objective correspondence to reality, the words ‘good’ and ‘bad’ no longer hold meaning,

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03 Feb 2020

Beauty in the Everyday: Living Aesthetically

For anyone who grew up with a religious background similar to mine (Southern Baptist with a Reformed bent), art was considered as either dangerous or irrelevant to one’s spiritual life. Imagination and experience and creativity were little regarded, while discipline and right-belief were considered the important things for spiritual thriving. But somewhere along the way someone suggested to me that truth, goodness, and beauty all go hand in hand. How, exactly, the three relate I

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06 Jan 2020

On Hierarchy

Away from my family on study retreat, I went to St. Isidore’s for the Sunday English language mass. While looking up toward the dome before the service, I caught sight of the four Evangelists, in Baroque attitudes of dramatic inspiration, pages under their poised fingers, living creatures over their shoulders. I prayed something like the following: Lord, you pour forth power and wisdom and goodness without cease According to your own mode, which is limitless,

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01 Jan 2020

Above All, the Glory of Christ: John Duns Scotus on the Incarnation

During the Christmas season, this passage from the Nicene Creed regarding our Lord Jesus Christ assumes particular significance: For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: By the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. That Jesus was incarnated (cf. John 1:14) and the means by which it happened (cf. Matthew 1:18-25) are universal Christian truths. And at first glance it also seems

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04 Nov 2019

JESUS IS KING

After so many delays that some were beginning to wonder whether JESUS IS KING or the second coming of Jesus the King would occur first, Kanye West’s ninth studio album is finally here. And it appears that everyone has an opinion about it. I’ve seen friends celebrating Kanye’s conversion as a high profile defection from the “other side” to “our side,” rushing to embrace and celebrate him as a new ally. Some think Ye is

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23 Oct 2019

Reclaiming Pascal’s Wager

Christians should consider deploying Pascal’s Wager in evangelism efforts. Evangelism is difficult today in America. Theological liberalism and moral relativism pervade academic circles, popular culture, and everyday thinking of many people, as illustrated by anthems like “You do you” and “Well, that’s my truth”. Breaking through the postmodern thicket with the Gospel’s truth is challenging; rather than fostering conversations about objective truth, Christians’ attempts to share Christ are often met with sympathy for their being

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18 Oct 2019

How to Become a Friend of God

The Scriptures are clear: “Abraham was called the friend of God” (James 2:23) … A Sunday School teacher told me once that we should read the Bible every day, and I was an intense, introverted child: I followed her advice, opening my third-grade presentation edition after my evening shower, my hair dripping dimples onto the onionskin pages. Jesus, on the cusp of his crucifixion, called the disciples friends, not servants (John 15:15). I was raised

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04 Oct 2019

Going Beyond “A Secular Age”

In this, the twenty-seventh year of my life, I find myself turning at last to Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age. As a preparation for (and procrastination from) the task at hand, I’ve spent considerable time reading many of the Reformed responses and engagements with A Secular Age. In the course of my informal survey, I noticed an apparent disconnect between Taylor and many of his readers. While several hundred pages remain before I’ll be able to

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30 Sep 2019

The Passibility of God – Part 2

In my previous article, I argued that God’s self-sacrificial Love defines the intra-Trinitarian relations. This Love was uniquely demonstrated at the cross, where the Father abandons the Son and the Son is abandoned by the Father, causing both to lose the other for the sake of their Love. Much of this comes as an apologetic response to theologians advocating “Death of God” Theology, which Jurgen Moltmann corrected to “Death in God.” ‘Death of God’ or

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27 Sep 2019

Dialogue on The Passibility of God

In an essay dated September 18, 2019, Conciliar Post guest writer Christopher Warne addresses the attribute of divine impassibility. Warne’s writing is critical of impassibility, leaning heavily on the theology of Jurgen Moltmann. The purpose of this article is to respond to Warne and briefly sketch some reasons why Christians should embrace divine impassibility as an essential attribute of God.  Warne argues almost exclusively from Moltmann and Richard Buakham’s analysis of Moltmann. The argument is

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18 Sep 2019

The Passibility of God – Part 1

Tradition has told us that God is impassable, but is this really true? Historical Theologians remind us that impassibility has more to do with Greek philosophy than Scriptures himself. Is it necessary modern Christians believe God to be impassable, or is there room for a passable God? How does a passable God cause us to newly understand intra-Trinitarian relations? In The Crucified God, Jurgen Moltmann rejects the traditional Platonic belief that God is apatheia, or impassable.

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02 Sep 2019

Round Table: The Knowability of God

The Scriptures are somewhat ambiguous about how fully God can be known by human beings. On the one hand, the Son has revealed God to be our Father and has pioneered the path of faith—offering unprecedented access through grace. Jesus teaches that the pure in heart “will see God” (Matt 5:8). Likewise in the first Johannine epistle: “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do

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