08 Jun 2019

The Necessity of Contingency, Part 3: Act and Potency

This is the third installment in the series stemming from my original post, “The Necessity of Contingency.” You can view part two here. In the last post, I discussed the ontological presupposition behind classical theism, namely, man’s dependence. The goal of this post is to establish another foundational metaphysical presupposition of classical theism which will permit fuller discussion of causality, God’s knowledge, and human freedom in a later piece. What is laid out below is

Timon Cline 0
15 May 2019

The Reformed Tradition and Human Freedom: An Overview of the Scholarship

I have been both fascinated and, it must be admitted, frustrated with the some of the discussions on Conciliar Post of so-called “Calvinism” over the past couple of years. The most recent set of discussions has been for me, I happily admit, more fascinating than frustrating. Rather than inserting myself into the middle of so fine a discussion being carried out by Timon, Jody, and John (wouldn’t want to darken their counsel, after all), I

Joshua Schendel 0
19 Apr 2019

The Necessity of Contingency, Part 2: Human Freedom

Last month I wrote a post called the “The Necessity of Contingency.” It was largely a response to an earlier post by AJ, though I also addressed some other issues surrounding the label of “Calvinism.” My basic argument, however, was that Reformed theology, properly understood, does not espouse determinism, and that the idea of real contingencies are essential to the Reformed conception of God’s sovereignty and man’s freedom.   An impromptu roundtable has emerged, which

Timon Cline 3
08 Apr 2019

Misunderstanding “Calvinism”?

I greatly appreciated reading Timon Cline’s recent piece, The Necessity of Contingency, written in response to AJ Maynard’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and the Pitfalls of Calvinism. In fact, I wish I’d read something like Timon’s piece a few years ago, during one of my more vitriolic anti-Calvinist stages. Indeed, over the last few years, I’ve come to learn (to my chagrin) that I’ve been trafficking in mischaracterizations of historic Reformed thought. In my concern to

John Ehrett 5
15 Mar 2019

The Necessity of Contingency

One of my favorite aspects of writing for Conciliar Post is the chance to engage with others of ecclesiastical traditions and theological persuasions different from my own. This requires the willingness to have my own convictions critiqued, and attempting, when able, to respond with all the charity and clarity that a sinner like myself can muster.   AJ Maynard, in his recent post, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and the Pitfalls of Calvinism, has offered another opportunity

Timon Cline 5
18 Jan 2019

“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” and the Pitfalls of Calvinism

On December 28th, Netflix dropped Charlie Brooker’s latest Black Mirror offering: Bandersnatch; an interactive choose-your-own-adventure style film focused on the “choices” of Stefan; a young up-and-coming videogame developer. Depending on how one navigates the film, different events will occur, but with every choice, Stefan runs into obstacles [Spoilers ahead]. How does Stefan navigate these obstacles? He doesn’t. You do. In doing so, you, the viewer, are escorted behind the proverbial curtain and given the power

AJ Maynard 2
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
13 Aug 2018

Activism Without Pelagianism?

I read Wesley Walker’s recent article “Activism as Pelagianism” with great interest. While I largely agree with the conclusion he draws—that the Church’s first duty is the proclamation of the Word and administration of the Sacraments—I’m not altogether convinced that churches face an either/or choice. That is to say, I’m not sure the responsibilities associated with Word and Sacrament need be juxtaposed against active engagement with the challenges of contemporary life. In particular, I submit

John Ehrett 0
03 Aug 2018

Activism as Pelagianism

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

Wesley Walker 3
23 Aug 2017

How to Tell If a Sermon is Good

Every week, millions of people around the world situate themselves in moderately uncomfortable seating and listen to someone talk at them for an extended period of time. I am, of course, referring to Christians who attend church services and listen to sermons. But how can we tell if a sermon is good? This article suggests three sets of questions for reflecting on this question.

Jacob Prahlow 2
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

Timon Cline 8
13 Feb 2017

The Poverty of Sola Scriptura

I deeply appreciate the great benefits which the Sola Scriptura mindset in Protestantism has produced. The attempt to trust Scripture alone has resulted in a widespread love for the Bible, a love which appears to me to far outshine that of the elder branches. The most devoted of Protestants spend much time every day in personal study of Scripture. They flock to group Bible studies, and it is Protestants who do the majority of translation work

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26 Jan 2017

Christianity and Truth

“What is truth?” (John 18:38) Pilate’s question from the theological gospel of Saint John is perhaps one of the Scriptures’ most relevant for our time. What is truth? It is a despairing question we ask primarily when presented with a variety of possibilities which compete for the title of “truth,” and between which we find ourselves unable to decide with surety. This was certainly Pilate’s dilemma—presented with, on the one hand, the serenity and love

Micah Carlson 4
27 Sep 2016

In Defense of My Opponents

I once heard the tale of a dark and dangerous place which often goes by the name of Internet! If the rumors are true, then that place overflows with angry attacks, countermoves, and insults without measure. Many an innocent child or a virtuous thinker has entered her realm and returned (if they return at all) with the scars and the soiled countenances of wars which should never have been fought. Brothers turn against brothers in

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09 Sep 2016

On the Misuse of Christian Tradition: A Response

The proper relationship between the authority of Christian Scripture and authority of Christian Tradition avails itself to no easy answers. From a historical viewpoint, much of the early development of both remains hotly debated. From a theological perspective, centuries (and sometimes millennia) old debates continue to shape thinking and lead toward answers long before any explicit consideration of this relationship comes into focus. Yet there seem to be boundaries—a “highway of orthodoxy” if you will—which

Jacob Prahlow 1
05 Sep 2016

On the Catholic Use of Sacred Scripture

This is a response piece to Christian McGuire’s article entitled: “On the Misuse of Sacred Scripture.” Dear Christian, As we discussed privately when I first read your piece, I agree with your basic premise that Scripture cannot stand alone as an authority without the vehicles of the Church (her liturgy, her teaching authority) and Tradition (the Fathers, the Doctors). Together, these three prongs of authority (Scripture, Tradition, and Church Magisterium) balance to form and inform a community

Benjamin Winter 4
Do You Have to be Anti-Western to be Eastern Orthodox?
23 Aug 2016

Do You Have to Be Anti-Western to Be Eastern Orthodox?

TJ Humphrey’s latest article, Why I Didn’t Convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, is making the rounds on the internet as voices on social media and elsewhere join in to echo his main critique. The enthusiasm with which this article was received is indicative of a failure on our part as Eastern Orthodox Christians in general and a failure of Eastern Orthodox Christian converts in particular. What this calls for is not a defense of Holy Orthodoxy

Benjamin Cabe 10
08 Aug 2016

Why I Didn’t Convert to Eastern Orthodoxy

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!1”  A few years ago my wife and I went to a Greek festival hosted by a Greek Orthodox Church in downtown St. Louis. As we were walking around the building trying to decide which food looked most appetizing to us, we stumbled across a bookstore right inside the doors of the church.

TJ Humphrey 77
24 Jun 2016

Conflicting Vocations and Professional Ethics — A Response to the “Buried Bodies Case”

I recently asked John Ehrett—our resident legal expert—about a fascinating podcast that discussed the ins and outs of what is known as the “Buried Bodies Case.” What follows is his response…   -Ben Winter Conflicting Vocations and Professional Ethics Among legal ethicists, few situations have received as much attention as the “buried bodies case,” a disquieting story in which the specter of a serial killer’s crimes lingered even after his conviction. The murderer in question

John Ehrett 2
17 Jun 2016

Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue on Grace: Part V (Statement of Agreement)

Thank you for persevering with us to the end of this conversation. This is the final and fifth part of a dialogue between Michael (LCMS Lutheran) and Benjamin (Roman Catholic) on the subjects of faith and works, sin and holiness, and salvation. To get caught up, read Michael’s opening statement, along with parts II, III, and IV. In this last part, we have decided to revisit the major points of the topics we have discussed,

Benjamin Winter 1