“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” -Acts 2:42 (RSV) According to Acts 2:42, the primitive church dedicated itself to four practices: apostolic teaching, fellowship (koinonia), breaking of bread (Eucharist), and prayer. In some way or another, most Christian traditions maintain these practices despite disagreements concerning their meaning and shape. Yet, of the four, koinonia is the least understood. Is it a mutual association
“I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.” -Richard Baxter The purpose of the sermon is frequently ill-defined. Without a clear objective, sermons can easily become chaotic and even counter-productive. While I am writing from a specifically Anglican perspective, much of this critique of modern sermons and proposal for rectifying the problem can be applied more broadly. The problem of sermonic mercuriality must be properly diagnosed and
In the early 1830s, the British Parliament infringed on the Church’s ecclesial authority through the Whig party’s Church Temporalities Act (1833). This legislation attacked the Church of Ireland through restructuring, and ultimately decreased the number of bishoprics. These governmental oversteps served as a catalyst for John Keble’s sermon “National Apostasy,” preached at St. Mary’s, Oxford, where he urged his fellow clergymen to submit to the Church rather than the state—particularly where the state was misguided.
I had the privilege to sit down with Rev. Dr. Winfield Bevins to discuss his new book Ever Ancient, Ever New. He is the Director of Church Planting at Asbury Theological Seminary. He frequently speaks at conferences on a variety of topics and is a regular adjunct professor at several seminaries. As an author, one of his passions is to help others connect to the roots of the Christian faith for spiritual formation and mission. His latest book, Ever Ancient
In 1996, the independent Scottish band Belle & Sebastian released their second full-length album, If You’re Feeling Sinister. More than twenty years later, Sinister is still revered as one of the greatest albums of the 90’s—ranking alongside notable alternative rock acts such as Beck, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead, and Nirvana. While the aforementioned bands were known for their use of heavily distorted electric guitars, Belle and Sebastian crafted a gentler tone, reminiscent of 60’s era folk-rock
“The only second century Christian who understood Paul was Marcion, and he misunderstood him.” -Franz Overbeck Over the summer, I met a man at a conference for homeschool families who had some books in Hebrew. I assumed he was a seminary student, so I engaged him in conversation, asking him what books he was carrying. His response startled me some: “My family and I have decided to keep Torah.” For whatever reason, this is an
Advent is my favorite season of the liturgical year. It is a season of expectation, preparation, and self-reflection. The Church meditates on the mystery of the Incarnation at Christ’s first coming while considering his second coming. So we turn our attention inward where, to the best of our ability, we disclose those parts of us requiring to be handed over to the Refiner’s Fire for purgation (Mal 3:2). In Advent the reality of divine judgment
Towards the end of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s life, he became disenchanted by all the hypocrisy he saw in the Danish state church. Apparently it got to the point where, instead of attending Mass on Sundays, he would sit outside at a cafe across the street from his parish and read the newspaper so that everyone walking to church could see him. This story, whether apocryphal or real, resonates with many of us who were raised
Here at Conciliar Post, many of us are avid readers, both within and without our varied vocations. These are just a few of the good books we’ve been reading lately! Jeff Hart, Presbyterian Disruptive Witness: Speaking Truth in a Distracted Age (Alan Noble) If you’ve ever wondered why it is so difficult to live out and share your faith in our modern context, you will benefit from reading Disruptive Witness. Drawing on the work of
“The flood continued forty days on the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth.” -Genesis 7:17 (NRSV) Recently, I had occasion to complain to a friend about the elasticity of the word “literal” when wielded in discussions concerning hermeneutics. The word is frequently used as a placeholder for vapid personal interpretations derived in absentia of authorial intent, historical context, and the traditions of the Church.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 (RSV) As an Anglican priest, I am often reminded by my Baptist friends that members of the Church are part of the “universal priesthood of believers.” I have no serious qualms with this terminology but I also
At the heart of vocational Christian ministry is the responsibility to faithfully proclaim the Gospel of Christ crucified and to administer the Sacraments of the Church. In the Anglican tradition, we depict this solemn duty at ordinations by presenting the ordinand with a copy of the Bible alongside a paten and chalice. In a liturgical settings, one tool used to more effectively preach the Gospel is the lectionary. A lectionary is a cycle of readings
American Christianity has become largely activist in nature. Just recently, the Episcopal Church’s General Convention was discussing whether or not to change the gendered language of the Book of Common Prayer. The Wild Goose Conference, a staple to the post-Christian left, recently hosted theologically progressive voices like Jen Hatmaker, Roger Wosley, and “Christian-Atheist” Frank Schaeffer complete with break-out sessions like “Reproductive Justice is_______: Moving Beyond the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life Binary” which ended up being a radically pro-abortion
Father in Heaven! That which we in the company of other people, especially in the throng of humanity, have such difficulty learning, and which, if we have learned it elsewhere, is so easily forgotten in the company of other people—what it is to be a human being and what, from a godly standpoint, is the requirement for being a human being—would that we might learn it, or, if it has been forgotten, that we might
In Leviticus 10:1-2, Levitical priests Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, offered God “strange” fire on the Lord’s altars. As a result of their unholy offering, the fire consumed them. Pastor John MacArthur uses this story in his book Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship to launch a broad critique of charismatic worship. While the scope of his cessationist argument goes too far for comfort, this story reminds
Yesterday was Ascension Day, which means the Church’s fifty-day Easter celebration is nearing its end. Before we leave it behind for this liturgical year completely, let’s reflect on it one last time. If there is indeed a God, the next logical question is whether that God is knowable to us. And if he is knowable, does he care about us? The Christian tradition provides concrete answers to these questions. He is knowable, “he has spoken
From its beginning, Anglicanism has struggled to establish a stable identity. Over the history of the Church of England, there have been many attempts to articulate a consistent expression of Anglicanism around a variety of movements, whether Reformed, Evangelical, or catholic in flavor. In the mid-1800s, a group at Oriel College, Oxford established a movement to restore a more catholic understanding of the faith based on the primitive and undivided Church. Members of this Oxford
C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was used a few months ago to defend Eugene Peterson’s recent public discussion of openness to performing LGBT weddings (which has subsequently been retracted). Given Lewis’ stature as a giant of the faith, it is unsurprising that both liberal and conservative Christians claim him as a champion of their ideals. This raises an interesting question: would Lewis’ underlying philosophy and theology lead him onto the same
Man of Sorrows: The Messianic Secret and The Relationship Between The Gospel of Saint Mark and The Odyssey
“I am a man who’s had his share of sorrows.”-Odysseus (XIX, 130) “He was despised and rejected–a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” Isaiah 53.3a ‘Man of Sorrows,’ what a name For the Son of God who came Ruined sinners to reclaim! Hallelujah! what a Savior! Bearing shame and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood; Sealed my pardon with His blood; Hallelujah! what a Savior! Guilty, vile, and helpless, we, Spotless Lamb
This is the 5th post in a series titled “In Defense of.” Check out part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4. Baptismal regeneration is the process through which the Holy Spirit makes the recipient of the sacrament of baptism a new creation by forming a covenant. whereby . This is different from conversion, where someone repents of their sins and has faith in God (i.e. the thief on the cross next to Jesus).