15 Feb 2019

Althusius, Symbiotic Man, and Reliving the Sixteenth Century

Introduction Back in December, historian Niall Ferguson gave a lecture in which he drew an analogy between today’s political polarization and the religious polarization of the post-Reformation sixteenth century, which as we know, led to a hundred-year decimation of Europe and culminated in the Thirty Years’ War. Ferguson’s analysis suffers from an overly materialistic focus, as secular historians are wont to employ, and fails to give due regard to theological motivations. This is forgivable since

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21 Jan 2019

Book Review: Natural Law: A Brief Introduction and Biblical Defense

David Haines and Andrew Fulford, Natural Law: A Brief Introduction and Biblical Defense (Davenant Trust, 2017), 142 pp. Introduction A recent book by David Haines and Andrew Fulford, and published by the Davenant Institute, called, Natural Law: A Brief Introduction and Biblical Defense, seeks to acquaint Protestants with the natural law tradition as it was received and developed by the Magisterial Reformers of the sixteenth century and the Reformed orthodox of the seventeenth century. Natural

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17 Dec 2018

Sola Fide and Justification According to Works

I recently reread one of Matthew Bryan’s posts from December 2015 titled, “The False Gospel of Protestantism.” While I was reading it, I was struck first with regret that Matt does not write as regularly for CP anymore. I have always enjoyed his articles (although I almost always disagree with his position) and profit from engaging with him in the comments section. For being a “post-Protestant,” he certainly embodies what I consider to be a

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12 Dec 2018

Reformed Catholicity: A Review

Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation, by Michael Allen and Scott R. Swain Importance of the book Michael Allen and Scott Swain have written (and Baker Academic has published) an important book. Let me highlight three reasons for its importance. First, they are seeking to recover and reappropriate what was an essential Protestant polemical claim early on, that Protestants are heirs of the catholic tradition. In a time when being

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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

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15 Oct 2018

Who’s Afraid of the Enneagram?

Perhaps the hottest thing going in American evangelicalism is the enneagram (pron. “any-a-gram”). In the past five years, the personality typing system has exploded exponentially in popularity, as evidenced by church conferences, church retreats, popular podcasts, widely successful book sales, feature articles in magazines, and, anecdotally, many a dinner conversation with fellow evangelicals. The enneagram is a personality system of nine types, including the reformer, helper, achiever, individualist, investigator, loyalist, enthusiast, challenger, and peacemaker. To

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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

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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

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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.”

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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

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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,

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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

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01 Mar 2017

Sola Scriptura: A Clarification

Here at Conciliar Post, there have recently been a couple articles poking alleged holes in the Reformed doctrine of sola scriptura. This post should be considered less a full rebuttal of the points made in the previous posts and more of an extended comment that will hopefully act as “iron” (Prov. 27:17) for further discussion in the spirit of CP’s mission statement. If I am able to at all challenge and sharpen the positions of

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16 Feb 2017

Round Table: The Purpose of the Local Church

Living in a post-Christian culture appears to be taking its toll on the local church. We no longer reside in small towns where people work together through the week and walk to church together on Sundays. We get in our separate cars from our separate neighbourhoods and homes, convene for an hour or two, and go home. Does this hour of the week change who we are? Does it connect us with the body of Christ?

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07 Nov 2016

The Lost Art of Evangelical Weeping, Part 1

There is a mood and practice of forced buoyancy in American evangelical churches. In near Orwellian fashion, this frenzied gaiety tries to sanitize the church of any perceived negativity, sorrow, or grief. I have been in church services where the worship leader mounts the stage, “kicking off” the service with, “How’s everybody feeling this morning?” (implying the expectation of a positive reaction), followed by, “Oh, you can do better than that!” when the enthusiasm of

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18 Oct 2016

Reflections on Unity

“I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or

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suffering round table
02 Sep 2016

Round Table: Suffering

“Why does God permit human beings to suffer and die?” There is no simple or easy answer to this question. Perhaps the best response is to pray, with Jesus Christ: “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). Our Lord experienced the groaning of creation (Rom 8:22). He shed immortality and impassibility to take the form of a servant (Phil 2:7), to identify

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26 Aug 2016

How is God Sovereign?

This is the second article in a series giving an overview of two central concepts in Abraham Kuyper’s public theology. For a primer on common grace, see my article from last month. Having recently moved to New York City, I’m daily reminded of how small I am within this daunting, diverse, and driven world. Suddenly, the universe truly doesn’t revolve around me. As recently as this past spring, I was a graduate student at a

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01 Aug 2016

And the greatest of these is… Faith?

Invariably, soteriological discussions will surface the concept of “true faith”—generally sooner rather than later. Why does James say that we are justified by works and not by faith alone, even though Paul writes that we are justified by faith? Because James wasn’t talking about “true faith.” Why do some people fall away after professing faith in Christ? Theirs was not “true faith.” But what does this term really mean? This question plagued me as a

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29 Jul 2016

What is Common Grace?

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was a remarkable individual. Playing the roles of pastor, theologian, journalist, and prime minister of the Netherlands, Kuyper is no doubt one of the most prolific Christians in church history. Although Kuyper’s direct lineage today represents only a small portion of Christendom (in America the denominations of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America), and though his thought remains influential primarily within Calvinist evangelicalism, I believe his thought ought

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