27 Mar 2019

Book Review: Irresistible

Once upon a time, there existed a version of Christianity that was irresistible. Over the years, however, errors and accretions have piled up, reducing to a shadow what was once a robust proclamation of the Good News of Jesus. But now, there’s a way that the Church can return to its roots and make the gospel great again. No, this isn’t another book about the corruptions of Catholicism that the Protestant Reformation overcame; it’s the

Jacob Prahlow 0
17 Jan 2018

Sermon-less Church: A Thought Experiment

“If you took away the sermon from your worship service, what sort of theology could you construct from what remains?” Sometime back, a Facebook friend shared this quote from Pastor Mark Jones and it got me thinking. What would a sermon-less church service look like? What messages and theology would it convey? Would we attend? Just how central is the sermon to Christian worship? In order to really consider this question, consider the state of

Jacob Prahlow 0
20 Sep 2017

What Are Multisite Churches?

A growing phenomenon among American Churches is the multisite movement. Generally, multisite churches are Christian gatherings where a single church organization holds services at two or more geographical locations. Although you have probably seen a multisite (or two) pop up in your neighbor, few Christians know about the history, forms, and purposes of multisite churches. In fact, few church statisticians have truly begun to examine the multisite movement.1 In this article, I briefly outline the

Jacob Prahlow 1
11 Jul 2017

Reflections on a Mega Church Experience

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending Bethel Church in Redding, California. For those unfamiliar with this church, Bethel was founded in 1952 by Robert Doherty and grew steadily from the 1960s to the early 1990s. Following the call of current senior pastor Bill Johnson in 1996, Bethel underwent a time of divisiveness followed by a period of tremendous growth. Currently, Bethel has approximately 9,000 weekly attendees—easily categorizing it as a mega church—and

Jacob Prahlow 2
17 Jan 2017

On Baptism (Part II)

This post continues my reflections on baptism, focusing on the covenantal and sacramental aspects of Christian baptism. Covenantal Theology Those beginning an exploration of historic baptismal theology will almost immediately run into the concept of covenantal theology. As commonly defined, a covenant is a formal agreement made between God and humans, typically one that only God is capable of upholding in its entirety. Christians of various stripes will interpret covenants and their implications differently, but,

Jacob Prahlow 3
05 Jan 2017

On Baptism (Part I)

Baptism has been on my mind lately, not only because there are some intriguing conversations taking place in the blogging world about baptism and American Christianity, but also because a member of my family is being baptized soon. In this two-part article, I offer some reflections on baptism, beginning in this post with the Bible and history and wrapping up with some musings on covenant and sacrament in the next. Baptism in the Acts of

Jacob Prahlow 5
29 Jan 2016

Rise Up, O Church

A challenge to churches to rise up to their calling Often a friend of mine tells the story about when his wife became a Christian, “She started reading the Bible in Genesis and began to get bogged down. I told her to skip all that and start with Matthew.” Sometimes I wonder if his wife ever got horribly confused to begin reading the story three-quarters of the way through. It would be like reading The

Johanna Byrkett 4
22 Jan 2016

Of Tribalism and Churches (Part II)

In my last post I outlined some of the contextual and doctrinal considerations surrounding my ongoing wrestling with tribalism and baptism. In today’s post, I attempt to apply these principles to my “on the ground” situation. All Things to All People? Saint Paul speaks of becoming all things to all people. Less helpful, at least for my purposes, is how far he expects us to go in order to meet people where they are. Building

Jacob Prahlow 2
03 Oct 2015

Weekly Reads {October 3}

Happy Weekend and Happy October, Dear Readers! Below is this week’s selection of theology, religion, and current events articles from around the internet. If you read a thought-provoking or well-written article that did not make this list, feel free to share the link in the comments section below. Happy reading! Conciliar Post Pope Francis Speaks to Congress, James Snapp Jr. The Gifts of Ceremony, Nicholai Stuckwisch “Grant Rest to Thy Servants” Are You Praying for

Conciliar Post Weekly Reads 1
25 Aug 2015

Courtship in Crisis | Book Review

As I thought about writing this book review, I realized that I couldn’t write it as only a typical book review. Every so often books are published that represent significant paradigmatic evolution within a culture or discourse. Courtship in Crisis: The Case For Traditional Dating by Thomas Umstattd Jr. is one such book. I feel this post could reasonably be titled “How Courtship in Crisis Has Changed The Christian Matrimonial Discourse as We Know It.”

Justin Megna 2
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

Alyssa Hall 4
16 Jul 2015

Falling Prey to Confirmation Bias

Over the past several days, I’ve been seeing a story pop up in my newsfeed claiming that a man has filed a $70-million lawsuit against two Christian publishing houses over the verses about homosexuality in the Bibles they publish. There’s only one problem: the story isn’t news. Although the Today Christian website presents the story as though it occurred this past week (without any links or references that check out, mind you), a quick Google

Jeff Hart 5
09 Jul 2015

Dating, Courtship, and What Really Matters

By Justin Megna “Date to the glory of God.” “We teach our kids to court instead of date.” “I kissed dating goodbye.” “Modern dating is broken.” “Courtship is God’s way for romance.” “Courtship is in crisis.” Such are some of the one-liners that mark the complex social arena of modern American Christians and their pursuit of romance and matrimony. For such a normal and age-old activity, finding a matrimonial partner has become a rather convoluted

Guest Author 3