22 Apr 2016

Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue on Grace: Part III (Sin and Holiness)

In Part I of this exchange between myself (Catholic) and Michael (Lutheran), Michael outlined Lutheran views on grace and faith. Parts II, III, and IV are “question-and-answer” sessions where Michael and I debate the exact implications of his statements from Part I. We hope that others will find the information helpful, and that our dialogue can serve as a model for inquiry into the issues that, sadly, divide Christians across denominations. Whether or not we

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25 Feb 2016

Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue on Grace: Part II (Faith and Works)

In Part I of this exchange between myself (Catholic) and Michael (Lutheran), Michael outlined Lutheran views on grace and faith. Parts II, III, and IV are “question-and-answer” sessions where Michael and I debate the exact implications of his statements from Part I. Although such a format is new to Conciliar Post, Michael and I hope that others will find the information helpful, and that our dialogue can serve as a model for inquiry into the

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01 Feb 2016

Does Conciliar Post Exist?

This nerdy niche that we’ve carved out on the internet for ourselves called “Conciliar Post” is a pretty neat place. Here we tell stories about how to live as a Christian in this world, theologize about the historical distinctions between liturgical and low-church worship, write poetry about how worthy the God-Man is of our worship, and debate the schisms and skirmishes of Christianity’s past. Some of us have more professional credentials to be doing this

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04 Jan 2016

Church Criteria: How Should We Choose the Congregation We Attend?

When a Christian moves into a new town or city, typically one of the first things one does is look for a church. This situation commonly requires attending a number of different churches on Sunday mornings to see if the particular church fits in some way with predetermined criteria for how a church ought to be. Does the preaching proclaim the gospel? How is the music? How friendly are the people? What are the demographics

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30 Nov 2015

Catholic-Lutheran Dialogue on Grace: Part I

Recently, I completed a series of articles on the Catholic understanding of grace (find parts one, two, and three at these links). At the same time, I was working on a series of articles documenting my journey to Catholicism. After the second installment of that series, I received excellent feedback from an individual named Michael. Although we did not know each other before this exchange, Conciliar Post provided a forum for us to connect, and

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19 Nov 2015

Myths of the Apocrypha – Part III

Welcome back to the third and final “Myths of the Apocrypha!” In the first article, we asked whether Roman Catholics inserted seven “apocrypha” books into their canon to disprove Martin Luther. In the second, we asked whether early Christians rejected those same books for containing false teachings. Today, we ask the big question: “Did Jesus and His apostles quote any of these seven books?”   Myth #1: Roman Catholics inserted “apocrypha” books into their canon

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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

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05 Nov 2015

For the Love of Greek

The Spanish audience burst to life! I was in the jewel of Honduras, the island of Roatan. For this violent and impoverished nation, Roatan seems like the equivalent of America. The rampant crime and poverty of Roatan pales in comparison to that of its mainland nation. About 35% of Roatan’s residents speak English at home like Americans, and American cruise ships frequent the island’s harbors with wealthy tourists ready to spend money and enjoy the

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14 Sep 2015

What is the Future of the Church?

This past Wednesday night, Biola University held an event titled “The Future of the Church.” The event brought together four theologians from differing wings of Christendom to engage in both predictive and normative dialogue on, you guessed it, the future of the Church. The four speakers included Pentecostal Simon Chan of Singapore, Anglican Ephraim Radner, Catholic Thomas Rausch, and Evangelical Free Fred Sanders. In what follows in this article is something of a truncated transcript

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10 Sep 2015

Cyprian on Leprechauns, the Tooth Fairy, and Church Schisms

In AD 250, Roman Emperor Decius mandated every inhabitant of his empire to publicly sacrifice to the Roman gods in order to prove their loyalty to the empire. Refusal to sacrifice was punishable by death. Many Christians died under Decius, like the Roman Bishop Fabian, but many others chose sacrifice over martyrdom. To further his damage, Decius prevented the appointment of a successor to Fabian in Rome. When Decius departed Rome for war in the

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04 Sep 2015

How To Be orthodox With A Small “o” – Part 2

In the first part of this study a discussion took place of the diaspora of Christian beliefs and practices within contemporary Christianity in the West, and the concept of independent exposition of the Scriptures in order to avoid allegiance to any group since all allegedly contain pros and cons.  It was concluded that some ultimate standard must be introduced in this confusion to avoid the complete dismantling of Christian “small ‘o’ orthodoxy.” This endeavor will

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Is Protestantism a heresy?
03 Sep 2015

Is Protestantism a Heresy?

Is Protestantism a heresy? This question has recently been asked of me by a number of sincere Protestants. Well-meaning as they are, their questions have put me in a dangerous position. On the one hand, I could answer as I have addressed similar, though less pointed, questions by hearkening to my ignorance and the mercy of our gracious God. On the other, such an answer may lead those I love, among whom I count you

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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

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02 Jul 2015

My Journey into Symphonic Christianity

No Christian walks a different path, but each walks in a different manner on this one narrow path. I love the “Journey” stories here at Conciliar Post. Every testimony recounts how someone effectively turned away from this world by embracing a Christian community and tradition which has stood the test of time. Typically these journey stories tell how someone moved from one historic Christian tradition to another, thereby enabling him or her to cast off

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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

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16 Jun 2015

How Now Shall We Speak?

One year ago today Conciliar Post launched. My first post as Managing Editor was titled, “How Then Shall We Speak”, a not-so-subtle tribute to the late great Francis Schaeffer’s classic book on Christian engagement with culture, How Should We Then Live. This post laid out – in general terms – the type of dialogue that we wanted to pursue through the Conciliar Post project, namely, civil and informed dialogue that thoughtfully and faithfully listens before

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16 Mar 2015

Sects Positions: Sex, Celibacy, and Marriage

In the last article in this series, we attempted to give an introduction and summary of the Mormon worldview through the doctrine of “eternal progression,” the age-long process through which we all move from intelligences to spirit children to mortal bodies to exalted Godhood in eternal marriage. It is within this final stage of eternal progression that we will be camping out in for a while, seeking to understand how “celestial marriage” functions within Mormon

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02 Mar 2015

Sects Positions: How God Became God

“What kind of being is God? Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen Him, heard Him, or communed with Him? Here is the question that will, peradventure, from this time henceforth occupy your attention.”1 Thus begins the King Follett Discourse, one of the most famous sermons delivered by Joseph Smith, the Prophet and first president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Over the course of this article and

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20 Jan 2015

The Religious Atheists: Community, Ritual, and Dogma in a Secular Age

The Sunday Assembly is an odd bird, exhibiting something of a contradiction in its very existence-”free thinking,” and yet congregational, “scientific” and yet worshipful, “non-doctrinal” yet “We are born from nothing.” The Sunday Assembly represents an attempt to plunder the goods of institutionalized religion while still attempting to stay outside of it. Despite its best efforts, this article will argue that the Sunday Assembly does indeed represent institutionalized religion within the three points of community, ritual, and dogma. Unfortunately, the “celebration” of the Sunday Assembly appears empty, resulting in an unfortunate parody of the riches of the real Body of Christ. Reflecting on the existence of the Sunday Assembly, like eating tofu and yearning for filet mignon, should have Christians rejoice in the good news in the true assembly.

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06 Aug 2014

Round Table: Christian Unity

A central task of Conciliar Post involves the gathering together of Christians from various traditions in order to reflect upon important issues. As author Stephen Sutherland reminded us in a post a few weeks ago, however, we must understand the purpose and appropriate use of ecumenism: “If good rules make for good neighbors and housemates, maybe a clearer understanding of what it means to be ecumenical can do the same here.” The topic of this

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