A brick building with the word "work" on the side.
20 Sep 2019

The Work of Faith

“We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers, constantly remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3 NRSV). Paul’s second missionary journey began as an excursion to revisit churches planted throughout Asia Minor on his first missionary journey (Acts 15:36). Along the way, the Spirit of God gave Paul

Jarrett Dickey 0
13 Sep 2019

Whose Testament Is It Anyway? Hearing the Authentic Voice of the Old Testament

The emergence of the academic discipline of “biblical studies” is a post-Reformation, post-Enlightenment phenomenon that developed in opposition to dogmatic theology.  Within that discipline, emphasis on the historical-critical method has caused preoccupation with either proving the historical accuracy of the text, as seen in the biblical archaeology movement, or getting “behind” the text, as seen in the quests for the Historical Jesus or Paul within Judaism. While each approach does offer some valuable insights into

Wesley Walker 3
17 Jun 2019

Acts of Baptism

As anyone even somewhat familiar with Christianity knows, various Christian denominations have different, specific approaches to baptism—that all important rite involving water and the Holy Spirit. Depending on its theological commitments, a church may expect the person being baptized to be an adult (or, at least old enough to make a conscious decision to be baptized), to be fully immersed in water (rather than sprinkled or poured upon), to be triple immersed (rather than once),

Jacob Prahlow 2
28 Sep 2018

The Discipline and Art of Lectionary Preaching

At the heart of vocational Christian ministry is the responsibility to faithfully proclaim the Gospel of Christ crucified and to administer the Sacraments of the Church. In the Anglican tradition, we depict this solemn duty at ordinations by presenting the ordinand with a copy of the Bible alongside a paten and chalice. In a liturgical settings, one tool used to more effectively preach the Gospel is the lectionary. A lectionary is a cycle of readings

Wesley Walker 0
06 Aug 2018

The Mystery of the Gospel

In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel (Ephesians 3:5-6 NRSV). Ephesians 3 opens with a brief description of Paul’s commission as an apostle of Jesus Christ. Paul begins by calling himself a

Jarrett Dickey 0
16 May 2018

The Refrain of the Kingdom

In the first book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus did and taught from the beginning until the day when he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God (Acts 1:1-3 NRSV). In music, a refrain is

Jarrett Dickey 2
30 Oct 2017

Having the Goodwill of All the People

Praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved (Acts 2:47 NRSV). This is the final article in a series of reflections on the early church as portrayed in Acts 2:41-47. The previous articles in this series are available in the author’s archives. Acts 2:41-47 paints a compelling and attractive portrait of the early Christian church. Founded on the

Jarrett Dickey 0
02 Oct 2017

Spending Time Together in the Temple

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple… (Acts 2:46a NRSV). This article is a continuation of a series of articles on Acts 2:41-47. The previous articles in this series can be found in the author’s archives. I teach classes on the Bible, world religions, and humanities at several community colleges in my area. Each semester I notice that students seem genuinely surprised when they learn about the Jewish roots of

Jarrett Dickey 0
18 Sep 2017

Assembling Day by Day

Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts (Acts 2:46 NRSV). This article continues a series of articles on the early Christian church as depicted in Acts 2:41-47. Previous articles in the series are available in the author’s archives. As discussed in the previous article in this series, the early Christian church was marked by a spirit

Jarrett Dickey 1
04 Sep 2017

Holding All Things in Common

“All who believed were together and had all things in common (Acts 2:44 NRSV).” This article is a part of a continuing series on the early Christian church as depicted in Acts 2:41-47. Past articles in the series can be found in the author’s archive. In the previous article in this series, we examined how signs and wonders in the early church were the result of the Spirit’s presence and the in-breaking of the kingdom

Jarrett Dickey 3
21 Aug 2017

Signs and Wonders

“Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles (Acts 2:43 NRSV).” Having analyzed Acts 2:42 in a four–part series of articles, this week we turn our gaze toward the subsequent verses that elaborate on the daily and weekly rhythms of the early Christian church. Acts 2:43-47 offers a briefly sublime account of the church after the day of Pentecost. The first believers shared all things in common and

Jarrett Dickey 0
07 Aug 2017

Devoted to Prayer

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42 NRSV).” This article is the fourth article in a series on the early Christian church as depicted in Acts 2:41-47. The first three articles were on the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, and the breaking of bread. Both the Renaissance humanists and the Protestant reformers were guided by a similar ethos–a return to the original sources (ad fontes).

Jarrett Dickey 0
24 Jul 2017

Devoted to the Breaking of Bread

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42 NRSV). This is the third article in a series on Acts 2:41-47. The first article can be found here, and the second article can be found here. Acts 2:41-47 offers an elegantly simple portrayal of the first Christian church. After Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, Luke tells us that the new believers were baptized

Jarrett Dickey 1
26 Jun 2017

Devoted to the Apostles’ Teaching

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42; NRSV).” Acts 2:41-47 provides us with an important window into the Jerusalem mother church, the source of all holy, catholic, and apostolic churches in the world today. Given that nearly 2,000 years have passed since the day of Pentecost, modern Christians do well whenever they re-investigate the roots of their own faith and practices. When we

Jarrett Dickey 6
03 Apr 2017

After Baptism

In January I began teaching a series of evening Bible studies on the early Christian church as depicted in the book of Acts. Each week we began by re-reading Acts 2:41-47 as the focal point of our ongoing study. Over the course of our time, we dissected the practices, rituals, structures, and leadership patterns of the early church. Most of our study was free from debate and controversy. However, when we finally came to the

Jarrett Dickey 1
06 Mar 2017

The Danger of Christian Primitivism

While writing my previous article that praised the virtues of Christian primitivism and its capacity to spark church renewal, it occurred to me that it would be appropriate to address the inherent dangers of Christian primitivism.  Simply put, Christian primitivism is an ideological viewpoint that attempts to restore Christianity to the original structures and practices of the New Testament Church because it is believed that the Church has strayed from its own foundation over the

Jarrett Dickey 8
20 Feb 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Primitivism

This article is the fourth article in a series on house church. You can find the first article about my journey to house church here. The other articles in the series are about the communal nature of house church and the liturgy of house church. Throughout the history of the Christian church, believers have often found themselves drawn back to the New Testament Church as depicted in the book of Acts and the epistles. The

Jarrett Dickey 7
14 Feb 2017

A Brief History of Communion (Part I)

Christians of all sorts partake of some form of communion. Known by different names—the Lord’s Supper, Eucharist, Holy Communion, Breaking of Bread, Mass—and taken at different frequencies—daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly—this practice involving bread and wine stands as a testament to both Christian unity as well as divisions. What do contemporary Christians believe about the Lord’s Supper? To begin answering this question, we must first look at the history of communion, beginning today with what the

Jacob Prahlow 3
13 Jan 2017

In Defense of Passing the Collection Plate

When I was in high school, I really started to get serious at my faith because of a Calvary Chapel church in my area. While as an Anglo-Catholic my faith is quite different now, I greatly appreciate my brief sojourn with Calvary Chapel. I was reminiscing about those days recently and was reminded that one of the major distinctives of Calvary Chapel churches is that they do not pass a collection plate. Instead, churchgoers are

Wesley Walker 1
06 Jan 2017

The Beauty of House Church: Communalism-Lite

My second year of theology school I took a course on Christian communalism. My instructor, Luther E. Smith, utilized a book he had written on the topic as one of the course texts. Throughout the semester we studied a variety of spiritual communities– some good, some bad, and some ugly. In the context of the course, I remember being profoundly impacted by three different expressions of Christian community– L’Arche, Koinonia Farm, and the Amish. We

Jarrett Dickey 0