02 May 2016

Anticipation

In a frenzy of thoughts and emotions I wrote the first draft to this piece.  It was written in the eye of the storm, so to speak; that time right after the panicked shuffle to the hospital and right before the final stages of labor kicks in.  There was a small window of time when all was calm and the nurses were tending to my wife and I was able to write out my thoughts.  There

TJ Humphrey 2
05 Apr 2016

What John Calvin Taught Me about the Sacraments

By Peter Schellhase I became a Calvinist in my teens. Before this, my religious understanding had been stunted by my family’s involvement in a cult-like parachurch group. Reacting to toxic fundamentalism, I found new life in the rich soil of Calvinistic theology. Yet, after almost ten years, I was still a “teenage” Calvinist. Much like Jeff Reid, I had read many modern, derivative theological works in the Reformed vein, but nothing by the great Protestant

Peter Schellhase 3
09 Mar 2016

A Calvinist Reads Calvin: Knowing God Entails Relationship

Welcome back to our ongoing series following the thoughts of John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. If you are joining the conversation for the first time, you might want to take a moment to read the first paragraph of the first post in the series. Otherwise, I hope you find the ideas as irresistible as I do. When we last looked at Calvin’s thought, we examined the relationship between knowledge of self

Jeff Reid 1
07 Mar 2016

Finding Your-Self in Communion, Part One

“We will always make lives—we are not free from that inevitability—and they will always be specific, focused, and limited. Through making them, we develop powers of agency and powers of relation, powers that can help guide others through the inevitable project of life-fashioning.”1 Individualism: Am I my brother’s keeper?  Such a question can only be answered in the affirmative. We are, in fact, our brother’s keeper. Just as Adam was given the responsibility to tame,

TJ Humphrey 0
11 Feb 2016

Religious Reasons in Public Debate: A Conversation with Karl Barth

Christianity and Democratic Dialogue: Part One Need we suspend our faith for the sake of conversation? Western Democracy has given Christians religious liberties that few throughout history have enjoyed, while also saving the Church from the shame of statecraft. Foundational to these democratic systems of government is a form of civil dialogue that seeks to include all reasonable voices in the conversation. However, secularization in the Western world has lead many, both atheistic and theistic,

Creighton Coleman 4
27 Jan 2016

A Calvinist Reads Calvin: Where Knowing Starts

Thank you for electing to read this post!1 If you are just joining this series, I would recommend reading the first part of the first post in the series. It will give you the context for my own exploration of Calvin’s Institutes and why you are invited to join me. Ironically, the selection we will be exploring deals with our basis of knowing. In the grand scheme of the book, we are beginning the first

Jeff Reid 3
13 Jan 2016

A Calvinist Reads Calvin: Of Kings, Apologetics, and Introductions

As recounted in my last post, there is real value in exploring your tradition’s response to theological questions. This being the case, I thought that I should take a dose of my own medicine. To this day, despite my Reformed leaning, I have never actually spent any serious time reading Calvin. After challenging you all to spend more time studying the theologians that have impacted your beliefs, it seemed only right that I would begin

Jeff Reid 4
06 Jan 2016

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Perseverance of the Saints

The final tenet of the Calvinist TULIP doctrinal statement is the “Perseverance of the Saints.”  This teaching contends that after having undergone a genuine conversion experience, a Christian, being regenerated by the Holy Spirit, cannot turn from the faith and forego that seal of salvific assurance, having joined the elect.  Christ stated that no one can be snatched out of the hand of God [John 10:28-29].  Since it requires irresistible grace and unconditional election for

Joseph Green 2
23 Dec 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Irresistible Grace

In my favorite scene of the Jim Carrey flick Bruce Almighty––after Bruce has been given Divine powers only to abuse them, then hit rock bottom and seek reconciliation with his girlfriend––Bruce asks God [played by Morgan Freeman]: “How do you make someone love you without affecting their free will?” To which Morgan Freeman responds, “Welcome to my world, son.  You find an answer to that, you let me know.” For the Reformed Calvinist, this problem

Joseph Green 4
02 Dec 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Limited Atonement

The Calvinist teaching of Limited Atonement is an understanding based upon a penal substitutionary model of Christ’s accomplishing salvation on the cross.  That is, salvation is understood to consist in Christ receiving God the Father’s wrath and punishment on the cross in the place of mankind, which results in a legal acquittal in the sight of the Father of people who accept this substitutionary gift.  However, since not everyone will accept this gift and be

Joseph Green 5
18 Nov 2015

Canon Considerations: Authority And The Heart Of The Discussion

Without the Bible—and more specifically, the New Testament—the Christian faith would not exist today. This is a fact that Christians of any branch would readily agree upon. But how did we get this collection of 27 New Testament books?1 How do we know that we have the correct books—that we haven’t left any out or included any spurious ones? To frame the question more poignantly, can we trust the collection of books we call the

Jeff Hart 18
09 Nov 2015

Authority, Heresy, and Protestantism

In a recent article for Conciliar Post, Eastern Orthodox Ben Cabe hinted (though did not explicitly argue) that Protestantism as a whole is a heretical movement. Cabe argued that Protestantism is divorced from Apostolic Succession and is thus separated from the faith passed down by Christ. In order to make his case, his analysis of what is heretical hinges on Church history, tradition, and liturgy. In this past month’s issue, Christianity Today ran a cover

George Aldhizer 23
28 Oct 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Total Depravity

While Tiny Tim’s song may be quite catchy, the following tiptoe through TULIP series is no light-hearted matter since, depending on how Christians respond to this Calvinist framework, our understanding of who God is and how we are saved can end up in radical opposition.  I was a five-point Calvinist from high school until my time at an Evangelical seminary, but subsequently, one-by-one I began to drop letters of the TULIP complex from my theology

Joseph Green 26
17 Aug 2015

Denomination Discombobulation: The Disorienting Effect of Protestantism and Conciliar Post

Sitting in my cushy Sunday morning chair, immediately following a fairly lengthy sermon, my Presbyterian church’s suit-clad pastor prepares the congregation for the weekly partaking of the Lord’s Supper. I think to myself, Isn’t it interesting, other congregations from other traditions on this very morning are probably kneeling or chanting or something at this point in their liturgy. And how come the pastor isn’t wearing some special clothing or collar or something? Other traditions do

George Aldhizer 26
10 Aug 2015

Call It What You Will

Though many would argue that the “worship wars” of the 1990s are over, I have found that the church persists in its usage of some linguistic weaponry from that era. In past decades, conversations about worship have polarized worshippers into opposing camps: especially “traditional” vs. “contemporary.” These terms are based primarily on expressive style in worship, largely related to music. I want to suggest that we abandon the use of these words altogether, as they

Guest Author 6
20 Jul 2015

Neither Substance Nor “Naked Signs”: The Lord’s Supper in Calvinist Understanding

This is meant to be a continuation of last year’s Round Table discussion on Communion In the midst of the Reformation, the so-called “Reformed” theologians beliefs concerning the Lord’s Supper charted something of a middle way between what they deemed were two extremes. On the right, the Reformed denied the Catholic and Lutheran belief that the substance of Christ’s body and blood exists in the sacrament. On the left, the Reformed also denied the followers

George Aldhizer 2
22 Jun 2015

Thinking About Church Unity as a Protestant: A Lot of Questions With Very Few Answers

A little over a year ago, Biola University held a significant conversation called “The Future of Protestantism,” bringing together the influential Protestant theologians Peter Leithart, Fred Sanders, and Carl Trueman. The discussion revolved around Leithart’s controversial article, “The End of Protestantism,” in which he advocated for the death of a particular brand of Protestantism that defines itself over and against Catholicism, is skeptical of liturgy and pre-Reformation interpretation of scripture, and is unwilling to acknowledge

George Aldhizer 6
08 Jun 2015

Calvinism on the Cross of Christ: The Good News of Particular Atonement

“It is Calvinism that understands the Scriptures in their natural, one would have thought, inescapable meaning; Calvinism that keeps to what they actually say; Calvinism that insists on taking seriously the biblical assertions that God saves, and that He saves those whom He has chosen to save, and that He saves them by grace without works, so that no man may boast, and that Christ is given to them as a perfect Saviour, and that

George Aldhizer 28
07 May 2015

Round Table: Baptism

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20) Since Jesus’ delivery of this Great

Various 6
27 Apr 2015

Christianity and Social Class: A Pope and Protestant Politician Engage Capitalism

In 19th century Europe, industrial capitalism was quickly reshaping economic and social relations, resulting in massive influxes of wealth to the capitalist class and leaving in its wake “the utter poverty of the masses.”1 Sociologist James Fulcher characterizes that time period as the stage of “Anarchic Capitalism,” in which those who owned the means of production faced little regulation from the state or pressure from organized labor.2 The Dutch poet Willem Bilderjdijk put the plight

George Aldhizer 5