08 Oct 2015

The Atonement of Irenaeus

Imagine if one of the twelve disciples of Jesus had personally discipled a man whose pupil had written a short book for us, a book that explains the barest essentials of the apostles’ teaching. What a treasure it would be if we found such a book! In 1904, a priest of the Oriental Orthodox Church of Armenia uncovered exactly such a book, the Demonstration of the Preaching of the Apostles. Its author, Bishop Irenaeus of

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25 Sep 2015

Myths of the Apocrypha – Part I

Dear Protestant brothers and sisters, I have seven free gifts for you today! Hopefully you won’t mind my re-gifting them since I received these presents myself a few years ago. They’re not brand new either, but they are divine! I got my seven gifts when I learned that a long-standing idea in Protestantism turned out to be a myth. Philosopher Norman Geisler and other prominent theologians taught me that Roman Catholicism inserted several apocryphal books

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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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10 Sep 2015

Cyprian on Leprechauns, the Tooth Fairy, and Church Schisms

In AD 250, Roman Emperor Decius mandated every inhabitant of his empire to publicly sacrifice to the Roman gods in order to prove their loyalty to the empire. Refusal to sacrifice was punishable by death. Many Christians died under Decius, like the Roman Bishop Fabian, but many others chose sacrifice over martyrdom. To further his damage, Decius prevented the appointment of a successor to Fabian in Rome. When Decius departed Rome for war in the

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27 Aug 2015

The Sign of His Coming

In my first article for Conciliar Post, I admitted believing in the pre-tribulation rapture. Today I admit how rapture teachers typically abuse the Olivet Discourse, as if our Lord taught in it the “signs of the times.” Reviewing the discourse however, I hope to show how questions of eschatology can bring unity rather than division among Christians.   WHAT WE WISH THEY HAD ASKED Today we want Jesus to return in glory as the visible

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13 Aug 2015

The Destructive Kingdom of God

In my Protestant background, I heard many claims that “the kingdom of God is advancing.” Yet in my experience, very few Christians know where scripture actually defines what Jesus so often spoke about: the kingdom of God. A proper definition of the kingdom can dramatically color our experience of scripture, pointing us ultimately to the Eastern understanding of atonement, “Christus Victor.” DEFINING THE KINGDOM When I ask believers for a definition of the kingdom of

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30 Jul 2015

Strange Bedfellows: Church and State

As another presidential primary season begins to boil in the wake of a dramatic Supreme Court decision, I found it helpful to revisit Chris Casberg’s excellent article series, The Future of Christianity in America. In this article, I present five examples of church-state integration (including American), and then close with the ultimate example of stateless Christianity. CHURCH VERSUS STATE When Jesus promised to build his gathering of believers in Matthew 16:18, he did not call

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16 Jul 2015

Questioning the Role of Tradition

I ask today what the proper role of tradition is in Christian faith, including personal anecdote, key considerations, and a surprising example in which Eastern Orthodoxy recently reached across schism to embrace a decidedly Roman tradition. I married into an imperfect, but healthy family. They play the same silly games each year at Christmas. They fill our bellies with great Southern cooking every time a family member visits, and they fill our arms again with

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02 Jul 2015

My Journey into Symphonic Christianity

No Christian walks a different path, but each walks in a different manner on this one narrow path. I love the “Journey” stories here at Conciliar Post. Every testimony recounts how someone effectively turned away from this world by embracing a Christian community and tradition which has stood the test of time. Typically these journey stories tell how someone moved from one historic Christian tradition to another, thereby enabling him or her to cast off

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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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18 Jun 2015

In Defense of Nestorius

“As for Nestorius, let him be anathema . . .” – Nestorius, “The Bazaar of Hercleides” “The controversies of the past led to anathemas, bearing on persons and on formulas. The Lord’s Spirit permits us to understand better today that the divisions brought about in this way were due in large part to misunderstandings.” – Pope John Paul II in 1994 regarding the first Council of Ephesus “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go

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04 Jun 2015

Crazy Uncle Harpazo (Rapture Theology among Christian Traditions)

We who believe in a “pre-tribulation rapture” might sound like your crazy Uncle Larry, but please take a few minutes to talk with us like you do for Uncle Larry at reunions. I spent the first eight years of my faith in a die hard dispensational congregation where rapture theology was as dependable as the coffee and the altar call. No one questioned the rapture; we only marveled at it. After years of research, I’m

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