27 Jan 2020

Universal Salvation and the Loss of the Law

In my last article for Conciliar Post, I argued that teaching universal salvation from the pulpit—irrespective of whether one is convinced by the view—would likely have a negative effect on the spiritual well-being of most modern churchgoers. That would happen, I argued, because the logic of sin as harmful in itself to human flourishing has largely been forgotten. Over email following publication of that piece, a fellow CP contributor questioned whether, in making such an

John Ehrett 1
Bust of Dietrich Bonhoeffer
22 Jan 2020

Bonhoeffer’s Cheap Grace

Cheap grace is the deadly enemy of our Church. We are fighting to-day for costly grace (The Cost of Discipleship, 43). The opening chapter of The Cost of Discipleship features Dietrich Bonhoeffer in some of his best form as a writer. His use of paradox, irony, hyperbole, exaggeration, and sarcasm makes this one of the wittiest criticisms of popular Christian theology ever written. It also can make it hard to understand and follow for the

Jarrett Dickey 0
20 Jan 2020

A Zone of Silence: New Year’s Resolutions, Social Media, and the Intellectual Life

“New Year’s resolutions go in one year and out the other,” so the old adage goes. Given that this piece is running in late January, it is safe to assume countless New Year’s resolutions have been broken. My “resolution,” though I would hardly give it such an official status, was to evaluate my habits of social media use. For years, I labored under the rather Gnostic assumption that the thousands of disembodied interactions we have

Wesley Walker 0
08 Jan 2020

Jürgen Moltmann’s Unique Theology: A Critique

Christopher Warne has recently given us something to think about in his first and second takes on Moltmann’s challenge to the doctrine of God’s impassibility. There were many things that caught my eye over these two posts. Here is one. Warne claims that, on the point of God’s impassibility at least, Moltmann comes to “a unique conclusion, that he “rejects the traditional doctrine,” that he “takes a new approach,” that he “makes a unique statement,”

Joshua Schendel 1
06 Jan 2020

On Hierarchy

Away from my family on study retreat, I went to St. Isidore’s for the Sunday English language mass. While looking up toward the dome before the service, I caught sight of the four Evangelists, in Baroque attitudes of dramatic inspiration, pages under their poised fingers, living creatures over their shoulders. I prayed something like the following: Lord, you pour forth power and wisdom and goodness without cease According to your own mode, which is limitless,

Guest Author 0
01 Jan 2020

Above All, the Glory of Christ: John Duns Scotus on the Incarnation

During the Christmas season, this passage from the Nicene Creed regarding our Lord Jesus Christ assumes particular significance: For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: By the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man. That Jesus was incarnated (cf. John 1:14) and the means by which it happened (cf. Matthew 1:18-25) are universal Christian truths. And at first glance it also seems

Guest Author 0
16 Dec 2019

Is Teaching Universal Salvation Pastoral Malpractice?

There’s been plenty of chatter in the theological blogosphere over David Bentley Hart’s provocative new book That All Shall Be Saved: Heaven, Hell, and Universal Salvation, which argues forcefully that for God to be truly God, all things must ultimately be reconciled to Him. Much can be—and has been—said already about the merits of Hart’s argument (my own review is coming out in Ad Fontes in a few weeks). But as I’ve reflected on the

John Ehrett 1
Image of a Bible on a shelf.
13 Dec 2019

The Bible Project

About three years ago I was scrolling through my YouTube recommendations feed, looking for new and interesting videos. Since I regularly view biblical and theological content, my feed often contains helpful resources (along with videos on college football or live music). As I scrolled, one particular video thumbnail caught my attention. The thumbnail contained an aesthetically pleasing animated image of Job. I clicked on the video and had my first exposure to The Bible Project.

Jarrett Dickey 1
05 Dec 2019

Endgame and the End

With the arrival of Disney+, my family and I have been binging Marvel’s Infinity Saga films, beginning with Iron Man and culminating in last year’s mega-blockbuster Avengers: Endgame. I only saw it once in the theater and while I immediately formed a positive opinion of the capstone movie (up to this point) of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I typically try to reserve final judgement of a film until I have watched it at least twice.

Jacob Prahlow 0
02 Dec 2019

Ken Ham, Richard Dawkins, and Me

Ken Ham and I are tight. By that, I mean that I’ve never met him, but I’ve seen him speak multiple times, read a lot of what he’s written, and I’ve visited him (well, I went to the Creation Museum several times). Maybe I’m more of a Ken Ham stalker than anything else. Regardless, over my formative years I became rather familiar with his brand of Young Earth Creationism (YEC)1 in the Christian elementary and

David Justice 1
29 Nov 2019

John Dupré, Human Nature and the Limits of Science: A Review

John Dupré was, at the time of this book’s writing, a philosopher of science at Stanford University (now at the University of Exeter) and was part of the so-called Stanford School of the philosophy of science. This book targets ‘imperialistic scientism,’ which Dupré defines as “the tendency for a successful scientific idea to be applied far beyond its original home, and generally with decreasing success the more its application is expanded” (16). Thesis The thesis

Joshua Schendel 0
22 Nov 2019

Coming Apart in the Southern Baptist Convention

Earlier this month, eight bishops in the United Methodist Church—the largest mainline Protestant denomination in the country—called for a denominational split. The statement from the bishops laments the “brokenness” of United Methodism. Per the authors of the statement, the animating issues relate to LGBTQ+-identifying clergy, the performance of same-gender weddings, and broader questions of human sexuality and gender. Paradoxically, the bishops place a positive spin on the whole ordeal, calling for multiple “expressions” of the

Timon Cline 0
11 Nov 2019

Review of ‘The Devil’s Music’ by Randall J. Stephens

Randall J. Stephens. The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ‘n’ Roll. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018. 337 pp. Hbk. ISBN 9780674980846.   Introduction Last year saw the publication of two landmark books about Christians and rock music: Gregory Alan Thornbury’s Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music? Larry Norman and the Perils of Christian Rock (New York: Convergent) and Randall J. Stephens’s The Devil’s Music. The works complement

David Doherty 0
08 Nov 2019

Revelatory Crucicentricity: 1 Samuel 16 and 1 Kings 19 as Kenotic Patterns

One argument against patristic ways of reading Scripture is that doing so somehow diminishes the unique witness of the Old Testament to Yahweh’s salvific acts in Israel’s history (a topic I’ve written about here). In our desire to see Christ in all of Scripture, we—like the Fathers—might read in a way that minimizes the event or the literary presentation of the event by ignoring the original context, thereby superimposing a Christian hermeneutic onto a pre-Christian

Wesley Walker 3
01 Nov 2019

Why We Still Need the Theology of Martin Luther King Jr. Today

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. contained within himself many identities. King was a scholar, prophet, civil rights leader, advocate for peace,1 and—above all—a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, King was also a plagiarist and philanderer, who was often depressed by his own personal failings and the failings of the movement for which he became a symbol.2 When we recall King’s life and work we must—in true Kingian fashion—hold both his

David Justice 2
28 Oct 2019

Hamilton as a Catholic Allegory

I will admit that I am late to the party. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton has been a cultural craze since its debut in early 2015. At the time, I was still a poor graduate student. Only recently were my wife and I able to see the show in Chicago. As we entered, my wife was more excited to see the show than I, but as we left, I was the one charged with energy. From reviews,

Guest Author 0
25 Oct 2019

Why Everyone Should Study Church History

I recently argued for the indispensability of historical learning for church leaders. Borrowing from Sir John Seeley, I suggested that history remains an essential school of churchmen. This post serves as a sort of addendum to that argument. My fuller argument—that Christians, and especially church leaders, should possess a historical mind—proceeds in two stages. The case I previously made was that history provides the only data of human experience and therefore should be the “library”

Timon Cline 0
23 Oct 2019

Reclaiming Pascal’s Wager

Christians should consider deploying Pascal’s Wager in evangelism efforts. Evangelism is difficult today in America. Theological liberalism and moral relativism pervade academic circles, popular culture, and everyday thinking of many people, as illustrated by anthems like “You do you” and “Well, that’s my truth”. Breaking through the postmodern thicket with the Gospel’s truth is challenging; rather than fostering conversations about objective truth, Christians’ attempts to share Christ are often met with sympathy for their being

Guest Author 3
21 Oct 2019

Don’t Kick the KJV

Over the last few years, there’s been a spate of critiques in the evangelical world (most noticeably, in my assessment, from the broadly Reformed camp) of the continuing use by Christians of the King James Version—the venerable biblical translation that the West has known and loved since its first publication. Perhaps the best example of this line of criticism is Mark Ward’s book Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible—a comprehensive polemic

John Ehrett 2
18 Oct 2019

How to Become a Friend of God

The Scriptures are clear: “Abraham was called the friend of God” (James 2:23) … A Sunday School teacher told me once that we should read the Bible every day, and I was an intense, introverted child: I followed her advice, opening my third-grade presentation edition after my evening shower, my hair dripping dimples onto the onionskin pages. Jesus, on the cusp of his crucifixion, called the disciples friends, not servants (John 15:15). I was raised

Guest Author 0