20 Oct 2018

Dialogue on Church History and Tradition

Over the past few years, Timon and myself (Ben Winter) have engaged in fruitful discussion—via the “comments” section on Conciliar Post—about church history and the authority of tradition. Recently, Timon stated that many of the questions we worked through “are very common . . .from both Catholic friends and fellow protestants.” In light of that, we have decided to reprise our debate. Our goal is to further expand ecumenical dialogue, while learning something new in

Timon Cline 0
24 Sep 2018

Book Review: Puritanism and Natural Theology

Wallace Marshall, Puritanism and Natural Theology (Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2016), 144pp. H.L. Mencken once famously defined Puritanism as that “haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy!” Thanks to the work of Perry Miller and Leland Ryken, among others, the caricature of Puritans as “gloomy, obscurantist foes of science, merriment, progress, and learning” has been debunked (2). The popular-level image of Puritans always did owe more to Arthur Miller and Nathaniel Hawthorne than it

Timon Cline 2
22 Jun 2018

Modern Erasmian

Long before the Protestant Reformation, cries for church “reformation” could be heard throughout Christendom. Heiko Oberman posits that in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the word was as ubiquitous and malleable as “democracy” is today.1 Thus, reform efforts took many different shapes, ranging from attempts to return to first principles to viewpoints with messianic expectations for society. First the Waldensians and Albigensians, and later the mendicant orders, vigorously pursued apostolic poverty as a fuller realization

Timon Cline 2
15 Jun 2018

Power Perfected in Weakness: Luther on Politics and the Church

During the terror of the Third Reich, Martin Luther, the “German prophet,” was widely misappropriated for the ends of Hitler’s tyrannical national socialism and anti-Semitism. To be sure, Luther’s often bombastic rhetoric supplied plenty of ammunition that did not always require alteration to arouse its desired effect. The anti-Semitic legacy of Luther’s later commentary (e.g. On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)) is, unfortunately, perhaps the best-known element of his life. In a sense, the

Timon Cline 0
25 May 2018

The YRRM and the Separateness of the Church

The New Calvinists of the Young, Restless, Reformed Movement (YYRM) burst into the public consciousness with Colin Hansen’s 2006 Christianity Today article and follow up book.1 I have recounted some of that history before and will not do so again at length here. In short, the YRRM was essentially a recovery of the doctrines of grace, sovereignty of God, and Calvinist soteriology (i.e. TULIP), predominately by evangelical Baptists. Since its inception, the YRRM has been frequently

Timon Cline 0
27 Apr 2018

Scripture as “Language” and MLK50

Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990) was an English philosopher of history and an essayist who has always been considered “a bit outside the mainstream of the conservative movement.” It has been said that he was a thinker who went beyond politics. While he remains little discussed by modern conservatives, his writings, particularly on the nature of historical inquiry, remain prescient. Oakeshott may also offer guidance for issues now facing American Christianity, specifically the discussion surrounding the recent

Timon Cline 3
30 Mar 2018

The Clash of Generations and the Spirit of Holy Week

In 1996, Samuel P. Huntington published his work The Clash of Civilizations, an assessment of the post-War order, and famously predicted: “In the emerging era, clashes of civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace, and an international order based on civilizations is the surest safeguard against world war.”1 Huntington’s prediction may hold true, and in many ways has proven prescient, but economists and historians have recently begun speaking of a more pressing issue than

Timon Cline 0
02 Mar 2018

Max Weber and Assurance

The relationship between Western Christianity and capitalism has occupied observers of the West for a couple of centuries now. Without a doubt there is an inextricable link between the two; many would argue there is a codependence. Others emphatically attribute the power of the West to the power of moral foundations of Christianity, specifically Protestantism.1 Over the past five hundred years, the “[W]estern model of industrial production and mass consumption left all alternative models of

Timon Cline 0
02 Feb 2018

The Enduring Relevance of Reinhold Niebuhr

Once Reinhold Niebuhr entered the spotlight he never left it, even posthumously. This is so if only because so many continue to lament his absence and long for someone to fill the void. This past year, a new documentary was released chronicling his life and influence. It featured both his most ardent disciples and strongest critics, all of whom seemed to love him. Niebuhr has puzzled even some of his biggest fans, which includes everyone

Timon Cline 0
15 Dec 2017

God, James Dolezal, and the boy who cried ‘Scholasticism!’

It’s finals season, which means for every procrastinating graduate student like myself, that it’s time to find other things to devote attention to other than studying for finals. Accordingly, instead of studying for my evidence exam I have found welcome distraction in the budding theological debate over the doctrine of God taking place in Reformed and evangelical circles. Ironically, this past spring when I should have been studying for my doctrine of God final I

Timon Cline 0
17 Nov 2017

Movie Review: Calvinist

Over the past year, in the lead up to its five-hundredth anniversary, Protestants across the globe have been reminiscing and debating over the implications and ramifications of the Reformation. But another, more recent phenomenon has been receiving similar attention, at least in Reformed circles. Last September marked ten years since Collin Hansen published his now famous article, “Young, Restless, Reformed”, which chronicled the rise of so-called “new Calvinism.” Christian Century dubbed the phenomenon “Calvin’s Comeback.”

Timon Cline 3
26 Oct 2017

Round Table: Interpretation of Scripture

Introduction Christian life flows forth from the nourishing Word of God. Each generation encounters the sacred text, and responds in love to the divine laws written therein. And yet, the interpretation of Scripture is a topic that oftentimes divides more than it unites. The complexity of the text dictates that we may not all think the same way; yet, in line with our mission to promote meaningful dialogue across Christian traditions, we asked our authors

Timon Cline 1
20 Oct 2017

“Against the Enthusiasts”

Last month, Michael Horton, professor at Westminster Seminary (California) and host of the popular Reformed podcast, White Horse Inn, conceded defeat, so to speak, for Reformed Protestants to the Radical “enthusiasts.” Horton’s piece lamented how few American Christians are aligned with Reformed doctrine, and how many have been taken by Radical Anabaptist theology, “a utopian, revolutionary, quasi-Gnostic religion of the ‘inner light’” that—according to Horton—has come “to influence all branches of Christendom.” Anabaptists were a radical,

Timon Cline 0
22 Sep 2017

A Reflection on Reformation Five Hundred

As most Christians, whether Protestant or otherwise, know, the end of next month will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I hope that such a momentous occasion will not only be cause for celebration if you are a Protestant, but also for deep reflection. The onslaught of Reformation-themed books (and movies) being published this year may be an indication that such reflection will take place for many (even Catholics). But I do not hope

Timon Cline 12
25 Aug 2017

We Need A Medieval Theology of Wealth

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10) I recently finished reading Marcia L. Colish’s Medieval Foundations of the Western Intellectual Tradition for one of my seminary courses. Coupled with other readings on medieval theology, I have come to greatly appreciate the richness and depth of medieval theology, an appreciation that

Timon Cline 1
28 Jul 2017

On Why We Need An Evangelical Reformation

It is a peculiar irony that those who are often the most strident proponents of literal six-day creationism—and the most ardent antagonists of evolution—are what could be described as theistic evolutionists when it comes to the dogma and traditions of the Church. In this, I can only speak from my observations of my own camp (evangelical Protestantism); of which, as a pessimist, I am inclined to be the most critical the most often. Evangelicals, led

Timon Cline 7
07 Jul 2017

Looking Inward and Upward: The Inner Life of the Church

Renowned church historian, Robert Louis Wilken, penned an essay for First Things back in 2004 entitled, “The Church as Culture.” Therein he outlines how the Church is a culture unto itself, rather than merely a mechanism for effecting change on secular culture (the world). Contra H. Richard Niebuhr, who formulated the Church’s mission as part of Christ penetrating the world as a theological idea, to Wilken, Christ is culture, “the fullness of life in the

Timon Cline 1
28 Jun 2017

Recovering Meaningful Travel

Over the past month, Senator Ben Sasse (R- NE), recently dubbed “the most interesting man in Washington,” has created a buzz with his newly published book, The Vanishing American Adult: Our Coming-of-Age Crisis– and How to Rebuild a Culture of Self-Reliance, mainly because it talks about more than his next reelection campaign. Among other things, the book bemoans the demise of a virtuous citizenry, a lackluster work ethic among millennials, and the shortcomings of an

Timon Cline 0
02 Jun 2017

Southern Baptist Revisionist History

In November of 2016, Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Seminary, effectively disavowed any Southern Baptist who subscribes to Calvinistic convictions or practices. Speaking at a chapel service at the seminary in which Rick Patrick, head of the Connect 3:16 group, had spoken, Patterson said, “I know there are a fair number of you who think you are a Calvinist, but understand there is a denomination which represents that view… It’s called Presbyterian.” At the outset, before

Timon Cline 5
18 May 2017

Throwing Grace to the Dogs

“Costly grace is the sanctuary of God; it has to be protected from the world, and not thrown to the dogs.” 1 A recent New York Times article calls out evangelicals on their willingness to excuse scandal within their ranks. The proof case in focus was the Bill O’Reily sex allegations and subsequent firing. Katelyn Beaty, the author of the piece, laments the evangelical sympathy and loyalty expressed for O’Reily that followed. She then chastised

Timon Cline 3