03 Dec 2015

The False Gospel of Protestantism

This article marks the close of my bi-weekly writing at Conciliar Post. It has been a joy to contribute and discuss the faith here. I hope I have produced a coherent framework in these articles for viewing all five branches of Christianity as one common faith to be embraced and learned from across denominations and lines of tradition. In my final regular article, I have no intent to malign Protestantism since I myself continue to

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02 Dec 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Limited Atonement

The Calvinist teaching of Limited Atonement is an understanding based upon a penal substitutionary model of Christ’s accomplishing salvation on the cross.  That is, salvation is understood to consist in Christ receiving God the Father’s wrath and punishment on the cross in the place of mankind, which results in a legal acquittal in the sight of the Father of people who accept this substitutionary gift.  However, since not everyone will accept this gift and be

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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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11 Nov 2015

An Ex-Calvinist’s Tiptoe Through TULIP – Unconditional Election

I have many thoughts and explanations to put forth on this topic so I will get right to it. THE DOCTRINE OF UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION I cite John Calvin to articulate what Reformed Christians refer to as “Unconditional Election” today: In conformity, therefore, to the clear doctrine of the Scripture, we assert, that by an eternal and immutable counsel, God has once for all determined, both whom he would admit to salvation, and whom he would

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02 Nov 2015

Prayer for the Dead: Spooky or Saintly?

Souls, Death, and Things In-Between Another Halloween has come and gone. If you are like me, then you probably see All Hallows’ Eve as a time to ponder humanity’s cross-cultural fascination with morbidity. Why do so many adorn their homes with images of the ghoulish and ghastly, from crisscrossing cobwebs to uncanny cauldrons filled with potent potions? Why do we watch scary movies, perk up our ears at stories of the paranormal, and attend (or

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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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30 Sep 2015

“Grant Rest To Thy Servants” – Are You Praying For Dead People?

A seemingly less discussed source of controversy within Christendom is the topic of prayers for the departed.  In fact, I had never even heard of such a practice until more recent years.  I believe that this is primarily due to a gaping paradigmatic difference in the understanding of soteriology [doctrines of salvation] from East to West that eventually led to the dispensing of this historically Christian practice from the memory of contemporary low-church Western traditions.

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22 Sep 2015

She and the Man

Christ in the House of Simon Dieric Bouts the Elder 1440s Oil on wood, 40,5 x 61 cm Staatliche Museen, Berlin She didn’t know she had faith. She didn’t wonder how much she believed. She didn’t come looking for forgiveness. She didn’t think about her sin. She knew there was a man at Simon’s house. She knew this man really, truly loved, was love. She knew what she got and gave with men was not.

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06 Aug 2015

Neglected Doctrines Surrounding Conversion

Just looking at the church in mainstream America, something is deathly wrong. The conversion experience is centered on meeting the needs of the seeker and God is touted to the lost as a panacea for hell, unhappiness, loneliness, and dissatisfaction-almost like a magic pill guaranteed to give you a better life. Certainly following Biblical principles will often have pleasant results- improved relationships with others, freedom from debt, peace in Christ-however, when we center salvation around

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11 Jun 2015

Jesus and the Law

Part I of II “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be

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08 Jun 2015

Calvinism on the Cross of Christ: The Good News of Particular Atonement

“It is Calvinism that understands the Scriptures in their natural, one would have thought, inescapable meaning; Calvinism that keeps to what they actually say; Calvinism that insists on taking seriously the biblical assertions that God saves, and that He saves those whom He has chosen to save, and that He saves them by grace without works, so that no man may boast, and that Christ is given to them as a perfect Saviour, and that

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30 Apr 2015

Would Christ Have Come If Humanity Had Not Fallen?

A common criticism of medieval Christianity theology centers on the practice of speculative theology, often defined as the asking of seemingly obscure questions which have little bearing (or none at all) upon the vicissitudes of human life or Christian faith. This article considers the value of speculative theology by reflecting on the question of whether or not Christ would have become incarnate if humanity had not fallen into sin.

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29 Apr 2015

Saved or Unsaved? Rethinking the “Only Two Kinds of People In the World” Mindset

In American contemporary Christian culture the word “saved” gets thrown around quite often; so often in fact that the concept of salvation to which it refers seems to have become minimized to refer solely to the moment of one’s mental conversion to Christianity.  The term has become overused within a fixed paradigm with very limited vocabulary in which a preaching individual presents the gospel or lays out the plan of salvation, to the point that

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29 Jan 2015

The Orthodox Church and Ecology

“To commit a crime against the natural world is a sin.” – Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew1 His All-Holiness Archbishop of Constantinople and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew uttered these words on November 8, 1997 at Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church in Santa Barbara, California. This statement came as a shock to many in the media having never heard such bold environmentalist language from a religious leader, much less a Christian one. It is common in our Protestant-dominated culture to

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