19 May 2016

Why the World Revolves around Marriage and Romance in Modern Civilization—and How This has Euthanized All Other Relations

The title of this article indicates a premise to which I have given much thought in recent times. Everywhere one turns in modern culture—from every film, story, show, or advertisement produced by our media, to the billboards on the highway, to the “Single and over 40?” signs stuck in the ground down the road from my place, to the sermons, marriage seminars, or dating and purity rallies of Church and youth group culture, to the

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02 Mar 2016

The Pervasive Struggle of Loneliness

We live in a world that has been so radically developed by technology that we can interact with those on the other side of the globe in an instant.  Our cultures have become so amalgamated through the globalizing effect of this technology within the realms of pop culture, social media, consumerist marketing, and the like, that we are able to find much common ground with those who are in a totally different cultural and geographical

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17 Feb 2016

Judge Not: The Balance of Mercy and Intolerance

In recent times the Lord has increasingly brought to my attention my problem with judging others. It is so very easy to look at the faults and struggles of others and see them as infinitely worse than my own shortcomings. In reading the words of the Church Fathers this seems to be the greatest struggle of the Christian life: to increase in mercy to the extent that we cannot hold anything against our neighbor, seeing

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03 Feb 2016

On the Boringness of Church Services

Perhaps the greatest excuse given for a Christian’s lack of regular Church attendance and involvement, which I have often heard as an aversion to the liturgical richness of the Orthodox Church, is the repetitive and abysmally boring nature of the services. Why is it that liturgy and repeated traditions are such a difficult obstacle for so many, especially in the modernized West? Why are we made to feel restless and obligated to attend, rather than

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20 Jan 2016

A Contemplation of Male-To-Male Relationships

This article is an effort to express some thoughts and observations of Christian and non-Christian attitudes towards the way in which men in our culture interact with one another, what is deemed appropriate in these relations, and why some men may struggle with gender or sexual identity within the faith – especially in light of the homosexual agenda in our society and its promotion in some more liberal confessions.  As a male, I will focus

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06 Jan 2016

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Perseverance of the Saints

The final tenet of the Calvinist TULIP doctrinal statement is the “Perseverance of the Saints.”  This teaching contends that after having undergone a genuine conversion experience, a Christian, being regenerated by the Holy Spirit, cannot turn from the faith and forego that seal of salvific assurance, having joined the elect.  Christ stated that no one can be snatched out of the hand of God [John 10:28-29].  Since it requires irresistible grace and unconditional election for

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23 Dec 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Irresistible Grace

In my favorite scene of the Jim Carrey flick Bruce Almighty––after Bruce has been given Divine powers only to abuse them, then hit rock bottom and seek reconciliation with his girlfriend––Bruce asks God [played by Morgan Freeman]: “How do you make someone love you without affecting their free will?” To which Morgan Freeman responds, “Welcome to my world, son.  You find an answer to that, you let me know.” For the Reformed Calvinist, this problem

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02 Dec 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Limited Atonement

The Calvinist teaching of Limited Atonement is an understanding based upon a penal substitutionary model of Christ’s accomplishing salvation on the cross.  That is, salvation is understood to consist in Christ receiving God the Father’s wrath and punishment on the cross in the place of mankind, which results in a legal acquittal in the sight of the Father of people who accept this substitutionary gift.  However, since not everyone will accept this gift and be

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11 Nov 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Unconditional Election

I have many thoughts and explanations to put forth on this topic so I will get right to it. THE DOCTRINE OF UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION I cite John Calvin to articulate what Reformed Christians refer to as “Unconditional Election” today: In conformity, therefore, to the clear doctrine of the Scripture, we assert, that by an eternal and immutable counsel, God has once for all determined, both whom he would admit to salvation, and whom he would

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28 Oct 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Total Depravity

While Tiny Tim’s song may be quite catchy, the following tiptoe through TULIP series is no light-hearted matter since, depending on how Christians respond to this Calvinist framework, our understanding of who God is and how we are saved can end up in radical opposition.  I was a five-point Calvinist from high school until my time at an Evangelical seminary, but subsequently, one-by-one I began to drop letters of the TULIP complex from my theology

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14 Oct 2015

Flash Flood Fiasco and the Virtue of Detachment

The cover photo of this article depicts a highway, near my house, running through a farm that is now an eight-foot lake.  In my region of South Carolina last week we received around 16 inches of rain in two days, 24 inches in the course of a week.  Across the state there have been at least a dozen deaths, 19 dam breaches, hundreds of swift water rescues, and over 1000 people are now in shelters.

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30 Sep 2015

“Grant Rest To Thy Servants” – Are You Praying For Dead People?

A seemingly less discussed source of controversy within Christendom is the topic of prayers for the departed.  In fact, I had never even heard of such a practice until more recent years.  I believe that this is primarily due to a gaping paradigmatic difference in the understanding of soteriology [doctrines of salvation] from East to West that eventually led to the dispensing of this historically Christian practice from the memory of contemporary low-church Western traditions.

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16 Sep 2015

Is It Unethical To Construct Outrageously Elaborate Places of Worship?

The cover image for this article is from my recent pilgrimage to the cathedral-infested country of Poland, where I attended an Orthodox young adult conference, and it depicts the largest Orthodox church in the country of Poland; complete with a bell tower that could possibly compete with the Washington Monument.  I of course exaggerate, but it was a difficult process for me to come to terms with the lavish and ornate presence of the ancient

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04 Sep 2015

How To Be orthodox With A Small “o” – Part 2

In the first part of this study a discussion took place of the diaspora of Christian beliefs and practices within contemporary Christianity in the West, and the concept of independent exposition of the Scriptures in order to avoid allegiance to any group since all allegedly contain pros and cons.  It was concluded that some ultimate standard must be introduced in this confusion to avoid the complete dismantling of Christian “small ‘o’ orthodoxy.” This endeavor will

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19 Aug 2015

How To Be orthodox With A Small “o” – Part 1

About six months ago I took part in a conversation with a dear Protestant friend and mentor of mine, who likes to give me a hard time about being Orthodox – as she does with believers from any tradition – for the sake of light-hearted controversy.  She was saying that, when it comes to beliefs and doctrine, what is important is that one be orthodox – with a small ‘o.’ I completely agree with her

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05 Aug 2015

Liturgy Versus Lecture – Part 2: Common Criticism of Formal Worship

In the first part of this study an investigation was made into the evidence available on what the earliest Christian worship communities were like, as opposed to a common misconception in many Western congregations that it was extemporaneous and non-liturgical; and all degraded into nominal rigidness and hierarchical corruption after the legalization of the faith under Constantine.  Having addressed this presupposition, attention will now be given to the purpose and meaning behind a seemingly antiquated

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22 Jul 2015

Liturgy Versus Lecture PART 1: Could the Earliest Churches Have Seriously Been So Fancy and Formal?

Much of contemporary Christianity has developed a newly inflamed affection for what they believe to be a first century pattern of Christianity: abandoning all formal or structural ecclesiology for simple house churches, which is allegedly where Christianity was supposed to remain without the hierarchical clergy getting their ugly paws on it.  It is assumed that these congregations must have been similar to the informal evangelical low churches today that gather together in someone’s living room,

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10 Jun 2015

The Anthropology of The Avengers: Age of Ultron

This article is not so much a film critique as it is an attempt to extract some ultimate meaning from this popular flick.  I do not attend the theatre as often as I would like or can afford, but when I do I find myself constantly trying to perceive applicability to real life from what I see on screen.  I am fascinated and beguiled by the world of visual narrative, and I believe we are

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27 May 2015

Scripted: The “What Is God’s Will For My Life?” Frustration

How does one know if they are following God’s will for their life? How can one discern his will for them? Is there a planned route for each individual that God really hopes they will follow – and we had better be careful that we don’t accidentally miss it – or is everything in life already pre-rigged by him and no matter what we do in life we are still in “God’s will” since it

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14 May 2015

Mary: The Subjective Execution of the Objective Work of Christ

The figure of Mary in the Christian faith is quite controversial today.  It seems, however, that the role she plays has been quite confused by both those who do and do not reverence her in their respective traditions. Further, these two parties often falsely accuse one another with regard to Mary due to great historical and linguistic misunderstandings and variances.  The Christian faith has, however, given Mary a significant place of endearment in its structure

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