17 Jan 2017

On Baptism (Part II)

This post continues my reflections on baptism, focusing on the covenantal and sacramental aspects of Christian baptism. Covenantal Theology Those beginning an exploration of historic baptismal theology will almost immediately run into the concept of covenantal theology. As commonly defined, a covenant is a formal agreement made between God and humans, typically one that only God is capable of upholding in its entirety. Christians of various stripes will interpret covenants and their implications differently, but,

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05 Jan 2017

On Baptism (Part I)

Baptism has been on my mind lately, not only because there are some intriguing conversations taking place in the blogging world about baptism and American Christianity, but also because a member of my family is being baptized soon. In this two-part article, I offer some reflections on baptism, beginning in this post with the Bible and history and wrapping up with some musings on covenant and sacrament in the next. Baptism in the Acts of

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09 Sep 2016

On the Misuse of Christian Tradition: A Response

The proper relationship between the authority of Christian Scripture and authority of Christian Tradition avails itself to no easy answers. From a historical viewpoint, much of the early development of both remains hotly debated. From a theological perspective, centuries (and sometimes millennia) old debates continue to shape thinking and lead toward answers long before any explicit consideration of this relationship comes into focus. Yet there seem to be boundaries—a “highway of orthodoxy” if you will—which

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19 Feb 2016

The Sermon on the Mount and Christian Ethics

Questions of an ethical nature dominate headlines, classrooms, and pulpits across the world. In an era where formulations of morality often spring from what “feels right” rather than any sort of foundational principles, many commentators have rightly noted the necessity of carefully considered ethics.1 For contemporary Christians, ethical thought remains clouded by ongoing disagreements about from where our moral systems arise and how authoritative those sources are in a technologically advanced world of complexity and

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22 Jan 2016

Of Tribalism and Churches (Part II)

In my last post I outlined some of the contextual and doctrinal considerations surrounding my ongoing wrestling with tribalism and baptism. In today’s post, I attempt to apply these principles to my “on the ground” situation. All Things to All People? Saint Paul speaks of becoming all things to all people. Less helpful, at least for my purposes, is how far he expects us to go in order to meet people where they are. Building

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08 Jan 2016

Of Tribalism and Churches (Part I)

Recently I have been thinking about the topic of tribalism. By tribalism I mean adapting one’s behavior and thinking to accord with the group of people with which we are associated. I have been thinking a lot about this issue not because I am thinking about becoming a St. Louis Cardinals fan (my fellow Cubs fans will be happy to hear). Rather I have been thinking about tribalism in the context of baptism and the

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Different Christmas Traditions
25 Dec 2015

Christmas Traditions | Round Table

Christmas is a wonderful time of year, filled with family, food, and festivities. While almost all Christians agree that Christmas is an especially important time of year for the commemoration of Jesus’ birth, not all Christians concur on how to best celebrate the nativity of the Lord. This month’s Round Table reflects on how different traditions celebrate Christmas. As you read this Round Table, we encourage you to reflect not only on what you do

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24 Dec 2015

On the Advent of Christ

“God has ventured all in Jesus Christ to save us….” –Oswald Chambers Tomorrow Christians around the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, Messiah of Israel, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Savior of Creation, Son of God, Logos Incarnate, God-become-man. This advent—arrival—and incarnation of the Christ has rightly fostered much contemplation from Christians over the centuries. Ranging from nativity accounts to creeds, and from hymns to Charlie Brown Christmas performances, Christians throughout the

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11 Dec 2015

Gospel of the Lord | Book Review

Gospel Studies exists as a relatively neglected field that has long taken a back seat to the study of the Historical Jesus or perspectives on Paul. Yet—argues Michael F. Bird—this realm of study stands ripe with opportunities for research and theological growth. To begin addressing the historical problem of how the life and teachings of Jesus became the fourfold gospel accounts of the New Testament, Bird offers The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early

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05 Dec 2015

Weekly Reads {December 5}

Happy Weekend and Happy December, Dear Readers! Below is this week’s selection of theology, religion, and current events articles from around the internet. If you read a thought-provoking or well-written article that did not make this list, feel free to share the link in the comments section below. Happy reading! Conciliar Post Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue on Grace: Part I by Benjamin Winter Remember Lot’s Wife by Kenneth O’Shaughnessy An Ex-Calvinists Tiptoe Through TULIP: Limited Atonement by

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26 Nov 2015

In a Land with Much for Which to Be Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving, dear American readers! Today marks the day when we pause to take time away from our busy schedules to spend time with family, stuff ourselves with choice foods and rich drinks, watch copious amounts of football, and offer thanks to our Creator for His bountiful gifts. Meister Eckhart once said that “if the only prayer you ever say is thank you, it will be enough,” and today we stop to offer thanksgiving for

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25 Nov 2015

Round Table: After Death

Living in a fallen world such as we do, death unfortunately remains a fact of life. We have all experienced the loss of loved ones, all struggled with the spectre of death. But what happens when people die? Do they go to heaven? Hell? Purgatory? Limbo? Furthermore, do all dogs really go to heaven, or is that merely the childhood fantasy relegated to the dumpster of bad theology? This month’s Round Table discussion reflects on

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30 Oct 2015

Round Table: Martin Luther

498 years ago tomorrow, a young Augustinian monk who taught at the University of Wittenberg nailed ninety-five theses on “The Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Though seemingly innocuous as the time, this event has since been hailed as the start of the Protestant Reformation, a theological shake up in the Western Church that has changed the face of Christianity and Western civilization. In response to the

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02 Oct 2015

Musings on the Sacred Science

Theology is important. Good theology is even more important. Everyone is called to “do” theology.1 These are guiding principles here at Conciliar Post, where we seek to thoughtfully, faithfully, and charitably discuss issues of theological importance on a regular basis. Of course, to merely say (or write) that theology holds a place of value is not the same as actually living out one’s faith while seeking understanding.2 Too many times in my own life it

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18 Sep 2015

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

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23 Jul 2015

Did God Really Command Genocide? | Book Review

Any contemporary reader of the Bible will be struck by the seeming divide between the God of Jesus Christ and the God who commands the destruction of whole nations and the obliteration of Canaanites during Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land. While many Christians simply don’t think about the possible difficulties of a loving God commanding genocide, that has not stopped critics of Christianity—especially the New Atheists—from using portions of Deuteronomy, Joshua, and Judges as

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26 Jun 2015

Round Table: Eschatology

Human beings have long been interested in discerning what the future holds. Throughout recorded human history, people have sought to understand “the End” and what that event entails. Some worldviews adopt an attitude of pessimism regarding the end of the things, theorizing the utter destruction of planet earth by nature or humanity. Other perspectives take a more positive approach, trusting that the ills of the world will be remedied before life ceases on planet earth.

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16 Jun 2015

How Now Shall We Speak?

One year ago today Conciliar Post launched. My first post as Managing Editor was titled, “How Then Shall We Speak”, a not-so-subtle tribute to the late great Francis Schaeffer’s classic book on Christian engagement with culture, How Should We Then Live. This post laid out – in general terms – the type of dialogue that we wanted to pursue through the Conciliar Post project, namely, civil and informed dialogue that thoughtfully and faithfully listens before

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28 May 2015

Discerning Division, Undertaking Unity

If you drive through any appreciable stretch of the United States, you are bound to come across churches. In some sparse locales, these places of worship are few and far between, much like the dwellings of those who attend them. In other places, churches abound, with nearly every street seeming to possess its own house of God. When my wife and I lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, one of our favorite pastimes was driving through

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30 Apr 2015

Would Christ Have Come If Humanity Had Not Fallen?

A common criticism of medieval Christianity theology centers on the practice of speculative theology, often defined as the asking of seemingly obscure questions which have little bearing (or none at all) upon the vicissitudes of human life or Christian faith. This article considers the value of speculative theology by reflecting on the question of whether or not Christ would have become incarnate if humanity had not fallen into sin.

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