11 May 2022

Couples and Convention

Quick: what are the names of the popular members of the royal family who will one day serve as King and Queen of the United Kingdom? Now, what are the names of the famous married couple whose Depression-era gang became the scourge of the FBI? And finally, what are the names of the husband-and-wife pop duo that was so popular in the 60s and 70s that they go by their first names even to this

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09 May 2022

In Defense of the New Perspective on Paul (Part 3)

Unfortunately, Cara explains that the rest of his article will focus on works-righteousness, and that he will not undertake an examination of Old Testament covenantal nomism. It is unclear why he chooses to do this, but to ignore the entire basis for NPP soteriology (and Cara explicitly admits that covenantal nomism is the basis from which NPP theology develops) is argumentative malpractice. Cara cites only extra-Biblical Jewish texts in an attempt to show that at

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06 May 2022

In Defense of the New Perspective on Paul (Part 2)

To recap, Cara concludes that, in NPP soteriology, “Justification is no longer a once-for-all declaration that by grace alone God declares sinners to be righteous in his sight based on the work of Christ alone through the instrument of faith alone.” In stating this, Cara betrays a belief that justification is God stating that sinners are righteous even when we are not, because of Jesus’ work. The NPP belief is that justification is God stating

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25 Apr 2022

In Defense of the New Perspective on Paul (Part 1)

I am by no means an expert—in fact, I’m probably not even “well-versed”—in the New Perspective on Paul and the various views that fall under that umbrella. My education on the NPP came experientially, as I began to sense a disconnect between what my Lutheran upbringing taught me and what Scripture says, especially the gospels. I came to see that the version of Lutheran salvific theology I was raised to believe was not in the

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13 Apr 2022

The Message of Mary of Magdala

People across the Christian West will celebrate Easter this coming Sunday. Which means, per usual, publications are offering their usual spate of think pieces about what really happened nearly thousand years with Jesus of Nazareth in Jerusalem. My favorite (read: most snarkily consumed) of these pieces are those which provide some sort of alternative reading of Mary Magdalene’s role among Jesus’ followers. Whether Mary was an important follower cast aside by the patriarchy or some

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16 Mar 2022

When Jesus Got Married

I love weddings. The joy. The joining of lives. Bringing together family and friends. The celebration. There’s just something good about weddings. In this article, I want to talk about a historic wedding that is rarely discussed but of tremendous importance. I want to talk about when Jesus got married. Now, before you dismiss me as a poor surrogate for Dan Brown, hear me out. I genuinely think that the text of the canonical New

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16 Feb 2022

The Phoebe Problem

Messages. They’re all around us. In our technology- and logistics-saturated world, we’re constantly overwhelmed with messages. Every day, I get messages via email, text, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and TikTok. Then I go to work, where I field a few phone calls, go get the mail, and open the door for the UPS, FedEx, and Amazon drivers whom we see enough to know by name. And this is our world. We’re constantly receiving messages. In

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19 Jan 2022

The Return of the King (Part 6)

This post is the conclusion to a series exploring God’s Story: God’s Story (Part 1) | Another One Bites the Dust (Part 2) | The Long Pause (Part 3) | It Is Time (Part 4) | The Already and Not Yet (Part 5) The image above is a fresco from Etrurio, Italy. Painted during the Renaissance and later covered up, this tremendous piece of art was discovered at a winery and restored only a few

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15 Dec 2021

The Already and the Not Yet (Part 5)

This post is part of a series exploring God’s Story: God’s Story (Part 1) | Another One Bites the Dust (Part 2) | The Long Pause (Part 3) | It Is Time (Part 4) In 1883, architect Antoni Gaudi began work on a building project in Barcelona, Spain. His task: to build a cathedral called the Sagrada Familia. Gaudi dedicated his life to the project, but by the time he died in 1926, the church

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10 Nov 2021

It Is Time (Part 4)

This post is part of a series exploring God’s Story: God’s Story (Part 1) | Another One Bites the Dust (Part 2) | The Long Pause (Part 3) Perhaps the consummate Disney movie of my youth was The Lion King. You know the story, the masterful animated retelling of Hamlet accompanied by the sonorous tunes of Elton John. For a film of many memorable moments, one of my favorites has always been right at the end,

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27 Oct 2021

In Praise of the English Bible

In the Anglican Book of Homilies, the first sermon is entitled, A Fruitful Exhortation to the Reading and Knowledge of Holy Scripture. It begins with simplicity, clarity and power: “Unto a Christian man, there can be nothing either more necessary or profitable than the knowledge of Holy Scripture, forasmuch as in it is contained God’s true Word, setting forth his glory and also man’s duty.” I’ve been reflecting on these words as we approach the

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04 Oct 2021

The Hungry Heart of Eden

Perhaps one of the most overlooked passages in Scripture for Christian formation is the story of Creation. We are shaped so much and so obviously by the Fall, and the matrix of serpent-apple-temptation-nakedness resonates with our imaginations in such visceral ways, that it nearly seems genetic. As we consider, however, God’s first acts of creative goodness in Eden, we are invited to look upon a lost world, a world that will never return. That prelude

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15 Sep 2021

The Long Pause (Part 3)

This post is part of a series exploring God’s Story: God’s Story (Part 1) | Another One Bites the Dust (Part 2) Most of us don’t like waiting. Like, not even a little bit. Like, if this webpage took more than a few seconds to load, you were probably already thinking about moving on to something else. Why wait a few seconds when we have places to be and things to do? Our whole culture

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02 Jun 2021

Keep Scholasticism in the Schools

He was in Logick a great Critick Profoundly skill’d in Analytick. He could distinguish, and divide A Hair ’twixt South and South-west side: On either which he would dispute, Confute, change hands, and still confute. – Samuel Butler The title of this post is purposefully ambiguous. I could mean by it that contemporary academic theology—theology done in universities, seminaries, divinity schools—suffers from a neglect of scholastic theology, as it was developed and practiced in the

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17 May 2021

Is God Patient (Part 2)

  An introduction to this series can be found at conciliarpost.com/theology-spirituality/is-god-patient/1   Wordplay  The English root word of “patience” is patient, which has two meanings in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:  Entry One: “1. Bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint, 2. manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain, 3. not hasty or impetuous, 4. steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity, or 5. able or willing to bear.”    To begin with, I was hoping for a

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14 Apr 2021

The New Testament in Order

Begin reading through the New Testament and, in addition to the grand story, you will eventually notice a few things. For one thing, the story of Jesus gets repeated four times, then you hear the story of the early church, and then you begin to read letters that don’t seem to be in any sort of coherent order. Why is the New Testament organized how it is, and not some other way? Why is the

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11 Sep 2020

Ruth as Hero: Responding to David Justice’s ‘Ruth: Model Minority’

The book of Ruth is the Bible’s only bucolic idyll and, as the great Hebrew scholar Robert Alter says, “one of the few truly successful stories in any literature that concentrates almost exclusively on good people.” It is, he concludes, “one of literature’s most touching stories with a happy ending” (vol. 3, 621, 624). Yet, despite its apparent superficiality, the book is deep, complex, and difficult. The most jarring moment is when Naomi advises her

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21 Aug 2020

Ruth: The Model Minority?

The story of Ruth is well known in Western culture even outside of Christian circles. Ruth’s pledge of loyalty—“Where you go, I will go; where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die, I will die there will I be buried.”1—is eloquent and memorable for its passion and fierce loyalty. I have been familiar with this story for some time, but recently re-read it

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A large suburban house with professional landscaping
19 Aug 2020

The Pandemic and the Experience of Vanity

The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,     vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What do people gain from all the toil     at which they toil under the sun? A generation goes, and a generation comes,     but the earth remains forever. (Ecclesiastes 1:1-4 NRSV) A month or two ago, I was speaking with a friend about the extra personal time I gain working at home.

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07 Aug 2020

What’s Worse Than the Devil You Know?

One of my favorite movie characters is Gus Portokalos, the patriarch in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Gus’s defining characteristic is his extreme devotion to his homeland, which is summed up in his famous line: “There are two kinds of people in this world: Greeks, and everyone else who wish they was Greek.” I love this joke because it perfectly encapsulates one of the essential characteristics of the human condition: we view the world as

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