20 Oct 2020

William Temple’s Vision for a Truly Catholic Church

Anglicans and the Catholic Church There is often confusion about the meaning of the word “catholic” within the Christian religion. Used as a common adjective, the word simply means “universal.” This seems to be what the Apostles’ Creed refers to when it speaks of the “holy catholic church.” It is also the meaning that Protestants tend to prefer when they use the word. On the other hand, throughout most of church history, Christians have also

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30 Sep 2020

Freedom of Speech Round Table: Revising Our Definition of Freedom

As Christians, our relationship to freedom of speech is complicated. On the one hand, it is certainly a gift. C.S. Lewis once remarked in Mere Christianity that it’s good Christians cannot impose their views of marriage onto non-Christians, because Christians would not want Muslims to forbid drinking alcohol. In an ever-secularizing world, freedom of speech is a necessity: I have to be okay with the existence of acts of speech like “Immersion (Piss Christ)” by

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14 Aug 2020

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anglo-Catholicism: Defining a Movement and Its Continued Place in the Church

Those new to Anglicanism cannot be blamed for finding its present-day landscape overly complicated. Even for those who have been part of the tradition for years, there remains some confusion and debate about Anglicanism’s identity. Since its tumultuous formation, the Church of England has consisted of a dynamic tension between Catholic and Reformed factions which makes it what it is: at various times in her history, the Anglican Church has adapted to whichever group gained

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27 Jul 2020

How the Liturgy Saved Me: A Psychologist Discovers the Solution to a Problem He Didn’t Know He Had

Liturgy is one of those things that can divide Christians. Some think of liturgy as rote prayers for people who are religious but don’t really know the Lord. I had one person leave the Anglican church I was pastoring because she could no longer pray liturgical prayers, including the Lord’s Prayer, unless she knew she could consciously mean every word. By this, I understood that she thought her mind had to be fully engaged as

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13 May 2020

The Turbulent Life of Canada’s First Methodist Missionary

At some point in the early 1750s, travelling preachers visited the small Irish village of Drummersnave (now Drumsna), in County Leitrim. They were affiliated with an organized religious movement called Methodism, which at that point was not a denomination but rather a society that primarily sought religious renewal within the Church of England. It was characterized by strong preaching, often carried out by itinerants; the encouragement of personal piety and surrender to God; and involvement

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10 Feb 2020

The Pun That Saved Britain

For the Christians of Britain, the fifth century was a dark time. Their homeland was attacked and partially taken over by Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, non-Christian Germanic people from Continental Europe, and these aggressors behaved ruthlessly toward the Christian inhabitants of the land. They killed innocent people mercilessly, even slaughtering Christian priests at the altar, and enslaved many who, unable to survive in hiding, surrendered themselves.[1] Some believers must have been concerned about the future

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06 Feb 2019

An Introduction to Saints

A point of confusion and, sometimes, contention within the Christian religion is the role of saints in the life of the Church. In some branches of Christianity, such as Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism, saints occupy an important place, as is evidenced, among other things, by the names of their churches—St. Luke, St. George, St. Cuthbert, and so on. In some other traditions, particularly within evangelicalism and fundamentalism, the word “saint” is used rarely and with

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21 Dec 2018

Spending Advent With Bob Dylan

Advent is my favorite season of the liturgical year. It is a season of expectation, preparation, and self-reflection. The Church meditates on the mystery of the Incarnation at Christ’s first coming while considering his second coming. So we turn our attention inward where, to the best of our ability, we disclose those parts of us requiring to be handed over to the Refiner’s Fire for purgation (Mal 3:2). In Advent the reality of divine judgment

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16 Mar 2018

Keeping the “Anglican” in “Anglo-Catholic”

From its beginning, Anglicanism has struggled to establish a stable identity. Over the history of the Church of England, there have been many attempts to articulate a consistent expression of Anglicanism around a variety of movements, whether Reformed, Evangelical, or catholic in flavor. In the mid-1800s, a group at Oriel College, Oxford established a movement to restore a more catholic understanding of the faith based on the primitive and undivided Church. Members of this Oxford

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23 Oct 2017

Metaphysics, Christ, and Creation

This article is based on notes from a lecture delivered by Rowan Williams at Saint Louis University on 7 March, 2017. Metaphysics and God’s Activity Austin Farrer was possibly the greatest Anglican theologian of our time. In a 1948 series of lectures (The Glass of Vision), he brought together philosophy, devotion, and Scriptural exegesis in a remarkably beautiful way. It was something of a theological watershed. In these lectures, Farrer builds on his major work Finite

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14 Jul 2017

In Defense of the Sacrament of Confession

This is the fourth entry in the “In Defense of…” series. Be sure to check out part 1, part 2, and part 3. When my grandma was a little girl, probably six or seven years old, she went to her first confession in a Roman Catholic Church. Having to find something she did wrong, she told the priest she was guilty of committing the sin of adultery…six times! In her mind, adultery meant “disrespecting an

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15 May 2017

Webber on the Purpose of Worship

“My longing for a more satisfying worship grew as each route I took in worship led me to a dead end street. But after giving up the evangelistic approach to worship and after the unfulfilling experience of educational worship, I didn’t know what to do next. I was running out of reasons for being at church (Webber, Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail).”1 In the opening quote above, Robert Webber’s personal experiences raise a legitimate question,

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21 Apr 2017

The Heresy of Experientialism

In his post, “Does Experience Affect our Theology?” Peter Enns briefly speculates about the role of experience in the formation of theology. He concludes with this point, “We have to be willing to rethink who this God is, this God who isn’t as predictable as we might think.” This is a principle C.S. Lewis illustrates when it is said of Aslan: “He isn’t safe. But he’s good.” Christians should avoid feeling too comfortable with their

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31 Mar 2017

Honoring Marilyn McCord Adams

Many communities are mourning the passing of Marilyn McCord Adams: philosophers, theologians and Christians from all over the world benefited from her influence during her lifetime.1 We can only hope that the reach of her prolific work and profound insights continues to grow in the future. In honor of Professor McCord Adams, I would like to note some of the distinctive and inspiring aspects of her life and work. I first encountered the work of

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24 Feb 2017

In Defense of Paedocommunion

You can find my previous “In Defense of…” post on passing the collection plate here. As a deacon in a small Anglican parish in Lynchburg, Virginia, one of the highlights of my week is getting to serve Communion to those who are sojourning with us. Serving people the Blood of Christ while pronouncing, “The Blood of Christ, the Cup of Salvation” is an immense privilege. In some Anglican circles, ours included, there is no First

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21 Feb 2017

Seeking Church Unity, Part 2

The first half of this essay was previously posted here. Three Kinds of Unity Is the reconciliation of the major branches of Christianity even possible? And what can we do to make a difference? Catholics care the most about unity, and are willing to make practical accommodations for Christians from other backgrounds, such as allowing converts from other denominations like Anglicans to bring their own liturgical traditions in with them. Although they are a big

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15 Feb 2017

“The Heresy of Today Will Be the Orthodoxy of Tomorrow”

“Heresy” apparently has become the new buzzword these days within Christian circles. There are plenty of individuals trolling through blogs and social media forums, posting articles, and publicly declaring others as given over to heretical ways of theological expression.  All the while they themselves exude a confidence in their own aptitude to judge what’s what in terms of the parameters of orthodoxy. Personally, I am hearing the words “heresy” and “heretic” thrown around more these

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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

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15 Dec 2016

Seeking Church Unity, Part 1

A previous version of this post originally appeared on my own blog, Undivided Looking, where I mostly talk about physics and theology.  I have divided it into two halves for purposes of publication on Conciliar Post.  Note:  It is my custom when blogging to refer to all serious Christians by the title of “St.”, because I believe all Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit. My Own Testimony I suppose I may as well start

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13 Jun 2016

Modern Liturgical Denial and UnBiblical Anthropology

I have been reading a lot about St. Benedict these days.  I’ve been curious about him for a while now, but I am now finding the need to immerse myself in his ways and his teachings.  For one, my family and I are coming into the Anglican fold and, in the process of seeking ordination, I am going to begin studying this fall at Nashotah House Seminary.  One of the incentives for reading St. Benedict

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