10 Jun 2019

The Apostle John in Extrabiblical Tradition

The apostle John, known to many as St. John the Evangelist, is among the most celebrated figures in Christianity. His Gospel (the Gospel of John) is likely one of the most read (if not the most read) books in the Bible, largely because it presents the message of salvation in an accessible way while at the same time reaching dizzying theological and philosophical heights. And of course, the book of Revelation, traditionally attributed to the

David Doherty 1
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
28 May 2019

The Strange Case of American Lutherans and the “Sin of Unionism”

Over the last few years, following my grandparents’ decision to downsize and move into an assisted-living community, my family has been sorting through a treasure trove of documents to piece together our ancestors’ story. As we’ve explored the letters and records left behind by our forerunners, perhaps the most prominent theme that comes through is their deep commitment to their Lutheran faith. In fact, we think they originally fled Europe in search of religious freedom

John Ehrett 0
24 May 2019

Recovering Koinonia

“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

Wesley Walker 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
10 May 2019

Why I Hardly Went to Church for Years (A Confession)

As I write this, it’s Easter evening, the end of Holy Week 2019—and last night, my wife was confirmed into the Lutheran church at our congregation’s Easter Vigil service. It’s been wonderful, after years of migrating from city to city during college and law school, to settle into the rhythms of a local church community. That recognition is a little bittersweet, though, because it reminds me of an uncomfortable truth: there was a three- to

John Ehrett 0
08 May 2019

Broken Silence: A Lament for Rachel Held Evans

God of the margins, We encounter you in the ostracized, in the liminal, on the outskirts of town. We encounter you in the pariah, the reject, the apostate. Sometimes we are the pariah, plagued by the ghosts of failed expectations. Of merciless accusations. With no consolation but your deafening silence. Sometimes we find you again. In a fellow outcast whose words spark hope. Whose vulnerability is magnetic. Whose inspiration is contagious. Their voice reverberates with

Jacob Quick 0
29 Apr 2019

L’Arche and Being Human

For the last five years, I have taught an introduction to humanities course at a local community college. Each semester I begin and end the semester with the same question, “What makes us human?” I ask students to think about a pet dog or higher primate like the gorilla. Certainly, we have some characteristics in common with other members of the animal kingdom. Yet, in spite of these similarities, our human intuition imagines that there

Jarrett Dickey 3
26 Apr 2019

The Liturgical Function of the Sermon

“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

Wesley Walker 2
22 Apr 2019

Dogmatism, Open-mindedness, and Other Intellectual Virtues and Vices

Dogmatism, Open-mindedness, and Other Intellectual Virtues and Vices This was the title of a course I had proposed for the life-long learning program at Wilfrid Laurier University last year. The healthy enrollment in the class and the lively discussions in the six-week lecture series that followed suggested a deep awareness of the need for intellectual virtues like open-mindedness, intellectual fairness, integrity of mind, intellectual courage, tolerance, and intellectual generosity. There would also seem to be

Guest Author 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
17 Apr 2019

Theology as a Second Language

What’s a good way to think about the study of theology in relation to the life of the church? There are Christian circles that hold the study of theology with great suspicion. Too many, in their estimation, strike out on the path of academic theology only to find at the end of the path a gate with a large exit sign above it; passing through, they leave their faith far behind. And anyways, even amongst

Joshua Schendel 0
15 Apr 2019

3 Reasons to Study Church History

For many Christians, especially, I think, within Protestantism, Church history is a foggy and mysterious realm somewhere beyond the borders of normal thought, beyond the more familiar lands of biblical interpretation and spiritual discipline. Occasionally, one of its more conspicuous citizens (St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, and a few others) makes an appearance in familiar territory, but in general the land and its inhabitants seem far away and shrouded in darkness. Many evidently prefer

David Doherty 0
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
01 Apr 2019

Thomas Merton and Why I Quit Facebook

About five years ago, I sat in a coffee shop reading Thomas Merton’s New Seeds of Contemplation. During the preceding weeks and months, I considered deleting my Facebook account on several occasions but never found the courage to follow through on my thoughts. I graduated from college in 2005. Somewhere around the second semester of my junior year, Facebook made its first appearance on my college campus. At that time, only users with a valid

Jarrett Dickey 2
29 Mar 2019

Anglo-Catholic Renewal: Need and Vision

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.

Wesley Walker 3
27 Mar 2019

Book Review: Irresistible

Once upon a time, there existed a version of Christianity that was irresistible. Over the years, however, errors and accretions have piled up, reducing to a shadow what was once a robust proclamation of the Good News of Jesus. But now, there’s a way that the Church can return to its roots and make the gospel great again. No, this isn’t another book about the corruptions of Catholicism that the Protestant Reformation overcame; it’s the

Jacob Prahlow 0
25 Mar 2019

On Washing, Wiping, and the Depth of Glory

Let me begin with a warning for the reader: My purpose in this post is to praise the depth of divine condescension in a way that eschews politeness. And in so doing, I’m going to talk about poop. You have been warned. My four-year-old is now daytime potty trained. This is a huge accomplishment for him and a great relief to his father and mother. Increasingly, he doesn’t even need help finishing up in the

Guest Author 0
22 Mar 2019

Ever Ancient, Ever New: An Interview With Rev. Dr. Winfield Bevins

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

Wesley Walker 0
20 Mar 2019

Holding on With a Light Grip: Paul’s ‘as if not’

I have taught a theological foundations course to mostly college freshman for a few years now. Over the course we read Thomas Aquinas’s Sermon Conference on the Apostles’ Creed. And in his section on the suffering and death of Christ, Thomas says that one of the many things we learn from the example of Christ’s passion is how to despise the things of this world. I have observed a certain amount of confusion among the

Joshua Schendel 0