12 Oct 2018

Discovering the Church Fathers

Imagined Discoveries Take a few moments to image the following scenario: You wake up tomorrow morning to excitement on the news. Somebody has found a number of long-lost letters written by an early Church leader with close links to the apostles. The documents discuss issues such as the humanity of Jesus, the eucharist, and church governance. Christians across the world are beside themselves with intrigue: What does it say? What can it tell us about

27 Nov 2017

Protestant State of the Union (Part II)

This is the second article in a two-part series on Protestantism. The first article can be found here. When the Augustinian monk Martin Luther penned his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, it can be argued that Luther never intended to start a movement that resulted in splitting the unity of the Western Church. Given that Luther was excommunicated by the Church, I have met Lutherans who do not personally identify as “Protestant.” Luther never left the

22 Nov 2017

The Eucharist: A Brief Apologetical Discursus on John 6

This piece is less of a precise exposition, and more of a contribution to several ongoing conversations on this subject with those I love; particularly my father, who along with my mother first demonstrated to me the priestly, prophetic, and kingly role of Christians. Our Eucharistic Lord This Sunday is the Feast of Christ the King. It puts me in mind of His words to St. Faustina Kowalska, explaining to us what kind of king

13 Oct 2017

St. Clement of Rome: Gender and the Kingdom Come

“Let us wait, therefore, hour by hour for the kingdom of God with love and righteousness, since we do not know the day of God’s appearing. For the Lord himself, when he was asked by someone when his kingdom was going to come, said: ‘When two shall be one, and the outside like the inside, and the male with the female, neither male nor female.’ Now ‘the two are one’ when we speak the truth

11 Oct 2017

Purgatory and the Playboy: Remembering Hugh Hefner

Purgatory and the Playboy: Remembering Hugh Hefner Two weeks ago today, Hugh Hefner died at the age of 91. Almost immediately, writers rallied to denounce (or acclaim) the fraudulent idea of his “legacy.” What he left behind him can be called a legacy only in the same sense as the aftermath of a disaster. My hope is that his life’s work, like that of the Marquis de Sade, will fade to the point that while

Writings of the Church Fathers
01 Aug 2017

The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus

Introduction Commonly known as “The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus,” the authorship and origins of this early Christian writing remain debated. The name Mathetes (§11) is not really a name at all, but comes from the Greek term for disciple (μαθητής). Diognetus (§1), the letter’s recipient, appears to have been a fairly common name in the ancient Roman world, and the specific addressee of this letter is unknown. Some debate exists over the possibility of

20 Jul 2017

Is Genesis A Literal Account of Creation?

Is Genesis 1 a Literal Account of Creation? Before we answer the question, it’s helpful to recall that there are two ways of understanding creation (or two “levels” of creation). Level 1) God Simultaneously Creates All Things (All that Exists) All matter is drawn forth from nothing.1 There is no part of creation that somehow comes into existence “later” or “after” the initial creative act.2 This simultaneous creation of all things is a reality expressed by

22 May 2017

The Only Name, Part III: The Case of Cornelius

This is the fifth essay is a series focusing on the distinctives of Catholicism. I have attempted to demonstrate in the previous essays that two broadly Christian theologies, the Incarnation and the Messianic Prerogative, are distinctly Catholic in origin and nature. I have also begun outlining the parallelisms between the Christian doctrine of exclusivity and the details of the Catholic theology of exclusivity. In my third essay, I outlined Catholicism’s unique claim to salvific exclusivity.

01 Mar 2017

Sola Scriptura: A Clarification

Here at Conciliar Post, there have recently been a couple articles poking alleged holes in the Reformed doctrine of sola scriptura. This post should be considered less a full rebuttal of the points made in the previous posts and more of an extended comment that will hopefully act as “iron” (Prov. 27:17) for further discussion in the spirit of CP’s mission statement. If I am able to at all challenge and sharpen the positions of

27 Feb 2017

The Messianic Prerogative

This essay is the second in a series entitled “Catholicism: What You’d Expect.” The previous essay can be found here. In the first post, I lay out an argument that Christian distinctives find their fulfillment uniquely within the Catholic paradigm. I also argue that the first Christian distinctive, its incarnational theology and practice, is an ultimately Catholic attribute. This essay concerns the second distinctive which I listed: the authoritative nature of Christian theology. In all

03 Oct 2016

The Epistle of Barnabas, Part 1

Named for the companion of Paul (Acts 9:27, 11:19-30, 14), the Epistle of Barnabas is technically anonymous, and scholars continue to debate whether its author was the canonical Barnabas, another early Christian leader named Barnabas, or simply someone else. The possible dates of composition for this epistle range from the reign of Diocletian (r. 79-81 CE) to around the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 CE). Widely understood as orthodox in character, the Barnabas

Polycarp to the Philippians
14 Apr 2016

The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians

Saint Polycarp was born in the first century A.D. (c. 69) and grew in the Christian faith under the tutelage of Saint Bucolus, the Bishop of Smyrna, who ordained him to the priesthood. When Bucolois died, Polycarp succeeded him as Bishop of Smyrna. A contemporary of Saint Ignatius and Papias, Polycarp is was familiar and corresponded with both. Ignatius, in his last known letter before his martyrdom, wrote to Polycarp, exhorting Polycarp and the Smyrnaeans to fulfill their Christian duties, as clergy and laity. The witness of Polycarp’s disciple,

25 Jan 2016

An Open Discussion of Difficult Theological Issues

Theology is no good if done in isolation. God is a community of Persons; so are we. As followers of Christ, we are called to engage with the content of our Tradition(s), in order to better understand why we believe the timeless truths that have been handed down in Scripture. Conciliar Post is an apt forum for just this sort of activity. As an author on this website, I do not claim to hold a

27 Dec 2015

Allegory and Church Fathers

This article is based on notes from a lecture delivered by Dr. Robert Louis Wilken at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis on 3 December, 2015. Gregory the Great said that the Word of God exercises the understanding of the wise, and nurses the simple. To some it speaks openly, to others it holds things in secret—leading them to loftier matters. It is a river both shallow and deep. The lamb can find footing, but the elephant

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

04 Sep 2015

How To Be orthodox With A Small “o” – Part 2

In the first part of this study a discussion took place of the diaspora of Christian beliefs and practices within contemporary Christianity in the West, and the concept of independent exposition of the Scriptures in order to avoid allegiance to any group since all allegedly contain pros and cons.  It was concluded that some ultimate standard must be introduced in this confusion to avoid the complete dismantling of Christian “small ‘o’ orthodoxy.” This endeavor will

18 May 2015

Ignatius, Epistle to the Magnesians

Ignatius, the second or third bishop of Antioch in Syria, wrote seven letters on the road to Rome before being martyred under the Emperor Trajan in the early second century. In his Epistle to the Magnesians, Ignatius especially emphasizes obedience to the bishop. He also stand opposed to the “fables” of Judaism, calling it “outlandish to proclaim Jesus Christ and practice Judaism.” For Ignatius, Christianity was devoid of the complexities of Gnostic logic or Jewish-Christian

23 Jan 2015

Seminal Christian Theologians: Pseudo-Dionysius on Hierarchy

Definition and Misunderstandings The concept of hierarchy is the singular motif through which the extant Pseudo-Dionysian corpus must be understood. Denys defines hierarchy as “a sacred order, a state of understanding, and an activity approximating as closely as possible the divine.”1 This article will explore his tripartite formulation by focusing on the following questions: “What is sacred about hierarchy?”, “In what way is hierarchy a state of understanding?”, and “How does hierarchic activity approximate as