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 0
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
04 Aug 2016

The Curious Case of Ethiopian Orthodoxy

The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the third largest Christian denomination in the world, but most Western Christians know very little about their ancient roots, their miraculous success against Islam, or their peculiar traditions. This article will focus on the formative events of the EOTC. Brief comments on their later history and customs are included with recommended readings for those who want to know more.   ETHIOPIAN JUDAISM The EOTC traces its faith back to

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25 Jul 2016

The Hell of Being Unseen

“Walking in the desert one day I found the skull of a dead man lying on the ground.  As I was moving it with my stick, the skull spoke to me.  I said to it, ‘Who are you? ‘  The skull replied, ‘I was a high priest of the idols and of the pagans who dwelt in this place; but you are Macarius, the Spirit-hearer.  Whenever you take pity on those who are in torment,

TJ Humphrey 0
11 Jul 2016

Relational Personhood, Process Theology & the Trinitarian Monarchia

So, I have been a bit obsessed with the field of philosophy/theology that is commonly labeled “relational ontology” for a few years now.  Some of the secular-ish folks also like to label it as “social construction theory” whenever it is applied on a purely anthropological level.  Everyone in the field seems to define the notion of relational being somewhat differently.  For example, should the mantra be, “I love, therefore I am,” or, “I am loved,

TJ Humphrey 1
08 Apr 2016

Reflections on the Church Fathers: Ignatius of Antioch

In the first article of this series, I emphasized the importance for the Christian life of imitating moral exemplars, following the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) Top of the list for Christian moral exemplars, aside from Jesus himself, are those who were closest to him, hence my devotional exploration of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. Up next in this survey

George Aldhizer 6
29 Feb 2016

Reflections on the Church Fathers: 1 Clement

If I’ve learned anything from college over the past four years it’s that once you begin learning something you quickly realize how little you actually know. My time here at Conciliar Post has been no different. At first starting to write for this website arguing for a particular version of Christianity, I soon learned how little I actually knew, both about my own tradition and of the traditions of others. Having been sufficiently disoriented as

George Aldhizer 11
19 Feb 2016

The Sermon on the Mount and Christian Ethics

Questions of an ethical nature dominate headlines, classrooms, and pulpits across the world. In an era where formulations of morality often spring from what “feels right” rather than any sort of foundational principles, many commentators have rightly noted the necessity of carefully considered ethics.1 For contemporary Christians, ethical thought remains clouded by ongoing disagreements about from where our moral systems arise and how authoritative those sources are in a technologically advanced world of complexity and

Jacob Prahlow 4
27 Dec 2015

Allegory and Church Fathers

This article is based on notes from a lecture delivered by Dr. Robert Louis Wilken at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis on 3 December, 2015. Gregory the Great said that the Word of God exercises the understanding of the wise, and nurses the simple. To some it speaks openly, to others it holds things in secret—leading them to loftier matters. It is a river both shallow and deep. The lamb can find footing, but the elephant

Benjamin Winter 7
27 Oct 2015

The Divisive Fruit of the Reformation

This Saturday is October 31st, the day of annual celebration in which children array themselves in strange and wonderful costumes, visiting their neighbors under the cover of night to nail a list of ninety-five grievances to their front door. I am, of course, speaking of Reformation Day, the commemoration of Martin Luther’s famous protest against the excesses and errors of the Roman Catholic Church. Timothy George over at First Things wrote of the holiday, “It

Chris Casberg 5
26 Oct 2015

Sola Scriptura’s Relevance for the Modern Church

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, there arose a group of men and women that had become disillusioned by the excesses and misappropriations of the Roman Catholic church and, in a reactive movement, spawned the Reformation, and consequently, the Five Solas: sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura, sola Christus, and soli Deo gloria. While these five principles were never clearly grouped and articulated together by any one Reformer during that period of time, they have

Alyssa Hall 42
22 Oct 2015

Myths of the Apocrypha – Part II

Welcome back to “Myths of the Apocrypha!” In the previous episode, we looked at the widespread idea that Roman Catholics added several apocryphal books to their canon of scripture after the Protestant Reformation in order to support disputed doctrines against Martin Luther. As it turns out, Christians all around the world who had been separated from Rome for 500-1,000 years before the Reformation all had these seven books in their Bible canons and affirmed all

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08 Oct 2015

The Atonement of Irenaeus

Imagine if one of the twelve disciples of Jesus had personally discipled a man whose pupil had written a short book for us, a book that explains the barest essentials of the apostles’ teaching. What a treasure it would be if we found such a book! In 1904, a priest of the Oriental Orthodox Church of Armenia uncovered exactly such a book, the Demonstration of the Preaching of the Apostles. Its author, Bishop Irenaeus of

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25 Sep 2015

Myths of the Apocrypha – Part I

Dear Protestant brothers and sisters, I have seven free gifts for you today! Hopefully you won’t mind my re-gifting them since I received these presents myself a few years ago. They’re not brand new either, but they are divine! I got my seven gifts when I learned that a long-standing idea in Protestantism turned out to be a myth. Philosopher Norman Geisler and other prominent theologians taught me that Roman Catholicism inserted several apocryphal books

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07 Sep 2015

Vatican II Catholicism: Nostra Aetate §4 and the Jewish Faith

“Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures … Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.” —Nostra Aetate (1965) Nostra aetate translates as,

Benjamin Winter 1
02 Sep 2015

Homoousios and the Dignity of Children

In the days of the Nicean Council, during the Arian Christological controversy that rocked the early church, the absence of a single Greek letter made a great deal of difference. Per the formulation that later became the Nicene Creed, God the Father was understood to be of the same (homoousios) essence as God the Son, not merely similar (homoiousios). This doctrine continues to govern Christological thought today, and forms an essential component of a proper

John Ehrett 2
05 Aug 2015

Liturgy Versus Lecture – Part 2: Common Criticism of Formal Worship

In the first part of this study an investigation was made into the evidence available on what the earliest Christian worship communities were like, as opposed to a common misconception in many Western congregations that it was extemporaneous and non-liturgical; and all degraded into nominal rigidness and hierarchical corruption after the legalization of the faith under Constantine.  Having addressed this presupposition, attention will now be given to the purpose and meaning behind a seemingly antiquated

Joseph Green 2
30 Jul 2015

Strange Bedfellows: Church and State

As another presidential primary season begins to boil in the wake of a dramatic Supreme Court decision, I found it helpful to revisit Chris Casberg’s excellent article series, The Future of Christianity in America. In this article, I present five examples of church-state integration (including American), and then close with the ultimate example of stateless Christianity. CHURCH VERSUS STATE When Jesus promised to build his gathering of believers in Matthew 16:18, he did not call

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22 Jul 2015

Liturgy Versus Lecture PART 1: Could the Earliest Churches Have Seriously Been So Fancy and Formal?

Much of contemporary Christianity has developed a newly inflamed affection for what they believe to be a first century pattern of Christianity: abandoning all formal or structural ecclesiology for simple house churches, which is allegedly where Christianity was supposed to remain without the hierarchical clergy getting their ugly paws on it.  It is assumed that these congregations must have been similar to the informal evangelical low churches today that gather together in someone’s living room,

Joseph Green 16
18 Jun 2015

In Defense of Nestorius

“As for Nestorius, let him be anathema . . .” – Nestorius, “The Bazaar of Hercleides” “The controversies of the past led to anathemas, bearing on persons and on formulas. The Lord’s Spirit permits us to understand better today that the divisions brought about in this way were due in large part to misunderstandings.” – Pope John Paul II in 1994 regarding the first Council of Ephesus “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go

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