13 Aug 2022

Theonomy’s Problem: Universals v. Particulars

Against my better judgment, but because it’s irresistible fun, I have written on theonomy again. This time, in a symposium for London Lyceum. My contribution is a refutation of the common theonomist claim to the New England Puritans. It is long but I still, if you can believe it, was not able to include everything I wanted to. One point that would have been out of scope for that argument is that, in a sense,

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Driver's view from a moving car
03 Aug 2022

What the Eastern Church Does Best

In a previous article, I admitted the tension of experiencing unanswered prayers for my own chronic condition, all the while rejoicing in the fact that the Church heals souls; “…for what does it profit a man if he gains his whole life while destroying his soul?” There I made the claim that God primarily heals the outer human in order to prove that He can heal the inner human, because physical healing offers little benefit

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17 Jun 2022

Tradition is the Answer to Questions We’ve Forgotten We Have

If you are a publicly confessing Christian for long enough you will likely encounter an interesting event: at some point a secular friend will ask for your prayers. It is often the same one who gets annoyed when you can’t make brunch on Sunday morning, or who was obviously uncomfortable at your church wedding. Generally the request for prayer follows a moment of immediate need: a scary medical diagnosis, or a layoff with impending financial

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25 May 2022

In Praise of the Ascension

The great Anglican priest and preacher, John Stott, once lamented that the Church had decided to speak of Jesus’ entry into heaven as the Feast of the Ascension. It would be more biblical, insisted Stott, to speak instead of the Feast of the Exaltation of Christ. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead by the Father, so too was he taken up into heaven by the Father. Both of these events testify not to

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22 Nov 2021

Evangelicalism Is Moving Backwards in Some Ways

Contemporary Westerners seem to believe, at least most of the time, that society is either driving forward into new territory or staying the same. This idea is firmly reinforced by the popular terms “progressive” and “conservative”; the progressives drag society forward, and conservatives dig their heels into the ground, hoping to keep things exactly as they are. The same idea, from what I can tell, holds true within Western evangelicalism: progressives are trying to move

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04 Oct 2021

The Hungry Heart of Eden

Perhaps one of the most overlooked passages in Scripture for Christian formation is the story of Creation. We are shaped so much and so obviously by the Fall, and the matrix of serpent-apple-temptation-nakedness resonates with our imaginations in such visceral ways, that it nearly seems genetic. As we consider, however, God’s first acts of creative goodness in Eden, we are invited to look upon a lost world, a world that will never return. That prelude

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22 Sep 2021

The Sabbath Can’t Be Secular

In his new history of Christian politics, The Two Cities, Andrew Willard Jones discerns that modern people, including Christians, erroneously divide the world up into distinct religious and secular realms. The former sits “totally outside of history” and the latter refers to what is “in time,” which is to say, devoid of the timeless, eternal, and supernatural. The religious realm intervenes in the secular only extraordinarily. Absent a miraculous event that defies the status quo,

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03 Sep 2021

Prayer

Lord, help me . . . save me from the world outside of me, trying to crush me and push me into its mold. But Lord, I have swallowed the world and it is inside of me. Save me, too, from the world within. . . . The world that burns, that eviscerates, that kills like an ever-spreading cancer. Save me from being eaten alive, emaciated, and gutted. Save me from being drowned by the

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12 Jul 2021

Orthodox Pastoral Care and Psychotherapy

If there is any subject bound to divide members within the Orthodox Church today, it is the relationship between Orthodoxy and psychotherapy. Indeed, a line could be drawn down the middle of any Church nave with members on each side intent on coming to blows. One side is bound to consist of ROCOR1 priests and laity, enthusiastic converts, and the boomer faithful; on the other stand dual vocation priest-therapists, intellectuals, and younger, seasoned faithful. Each

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18 Jun 2021

The Feminist Case Against “Inclusive Language” Liturgy: Part II

I was once involved in preparing the liturgy for an ordination service in an Episcopal diocese. During the planning process, the rector mentioned to me that he had been planning to use the “inclusive language” liturgies approved for trial use by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, and asked for my thoughts. I gently voiced my opposition which generally followed the argument I make in this article.  He and I went back and forth

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16 Jun 2021

Calvin and Theonomy

I recently wrote a critique of Theonomy over at Mere Orthodoxy. Lots of feedback came my way, some constructive, most not. What seems to have been lost on many readers is that, first and foremost, my critique was aimed at the critics. I want to take Theonomy seriously and my criticisms to push them to better explication of their ideas. Finding the majority of recent criticisms of Theonomy either unfair or unthoughtful—when it comes to

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01 Jun 2021

Methodist Circuit Riders in Old Ontario

Several times I have wondered what it would be like for aliens to learn about jazz through textbooks. If they knew anything about music theory, they could probably comprehend the basic characteristics as well as common elements like the Mixolydian mode and the triplet rhythm on the ride cymbal. With some historical study, they also might be able to understand, if only vaguely, the origins of jazz and its place in cultures around the world.

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28 Apr 2021

Book Review: Face to Face: Meeting Christ in Friend and Stranger

One Sunday last year, as I was helping set up for outdoor church, my internship supervisor passed a slim teal book called Face to Face: Meeting Christ in Friend and Stranger across the altar to me. “This is for you,” he said, “It isn’t homework.” Wells is a very well known priest, theologian, and author, especially in Anglican circles—his book on Christian ethics was the core textbook in my seminary Ethics course—but for whatever reason

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19 Mar 2021

The Feminist Case Against “Inclusive Language” Liturgy, Part 1

I was in college the first time I heard someone argue for eliminating male pronouns in reference to God. “Calling God ‘Father’ just doesn’t work for me,” my friend said, “I have a terrible relationship with my father, and I don’t want to think of God like that.” At the time, I found the argument persuasive. We know that God isn’t a man, so why do we address him like he is? I even went

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17 Mar 2021

“Keeping Wide and Kind the Bounds of Christian Fellowship”: Robert E. Speer on Christians Working Together

Like congregations working together to carry out ministries of mercy in their local areas, our writing together at Conciliar Post is a kind of cooperative Christian endeavor, based on the idea that we can all learn from the various emphases that have been cultivated by our various traditions. While often this kind of action flows naturally out of shared Christian convictions, some have attempted to explain the basis of cooperation scripturally and theologically. One such

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12 Mar 2021

Religious Liberty and the Patriarch of San Fernando

John MacArthur has created a ruckus, again. A couple of his recent sermons have seemingly disparaged both democracy and religious liberty, declaring neither to be biblical concepts, at least not strict or necessary ones. “You say, ‘Well, isn’t religious freedom important for Christianity?’” MacArthur said in a sermon on February 28th. “No, it’s meaningless. It doesn’t matter what law governments make or don’t make. They have no effect on the kingdom of God.” He went

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22 Feb 2021

Timeless Eternity Is Not Divine Frozenness

Over the last few centuries, God’s timeless eternity has not been a strongly emphasized divine attribute. For many Christians, this precept reflects a particularly troublesome Hellenistic influence, given that the Platonic tradition laid great weight on the immutability of the eternal Forms and their corresponding immunity to corruption and decay. A doctrine of timeless eternity, in the eyes of its critics, necessarily calls into question the ability of God to work in history or respond

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17 Feb 2021

Ashless Wednesday

It’s no secret that Anglicans have had a complicated relationship with Ash Wednesday. Although the practice of imposing ashes was common throughout medieval England, during the Reformation the imposition of ashes was abolished. English reformers cited concerns over the rise of popular superstitions related to the practice, and so for many centuries Anglicans marked the solemnity of the Lenten season not with ashes, but with scripture readings, penitential collects and praying the Great Litany. Not

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03 Feb 2021

What is Reformed Theology? A Review of the OUP Handbook of Reformed Theology

The year 2017 saw a flurry of publications on Protestantism, the Reformation, and its various theological traditions. Some were good. Many were merely opportunistic. The recent publication of The Oxford Handbook of Reformed Theology, edited by Michael Allen and Scott R. Swain, is not merely opportunistic. This volume is rather clearer-headed regarding its aims, organization, and content than many of those that made an appearance in the publishing frenzy of 2017. Though not opportunistic, I

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22 Jan 2021

Servant of The Holy Mighty

In 1942 the San Juan River Valley, a remote waterless, scrubby corner of South Eastern Utah was possibly the last place someone would expect to find a middle aged, Anglo-Catholic priest like Harold Baxter Liebler. The area was not a hotbed of Anglicanism, or even of Christianity. The tiny town of Bluff, Utah was little more than a trading post. There were few white settlers and no church; the Mormons had tried to evangelize the

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