10 Jun 2019

The Apostle John in Extrabiblical Tradition

The apostle John, known to many as St. John the Evangelist, is among the most celebrated figures in Christianity. His Gospel (the Gospel of John) is likely one of the most read (if not the most read) books in the Bible, largely because it presents the message of salvation in an accessible way while at the same time reaching dizzying theological and philosophical heights. And of course, the book of Revelation, traditionally attributed to the

David Doherty 1
15 Apr 2019

3 Reasons to Study Church History

For many Christians, especially, I think, within Protestantism, Church history is a foggy and mysterious realm somewhere beyond the borders of normal thought, beyond the more familiar lands of biblical interpretation and spiritual discipline. Occasionally, one of its more conspicuous citizens (St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, and a few others) makes an appearance in familiar territory, but in general the land and its inhabitants seem far away and shrouded in darkness. Many evidently prefer

David Doherty 0
21 Nov 2018

A Protestant Thinks about the Blessed Virgin Mary

Talking about Mary can feel dangerous, especially if you are a Protestant who adheres to Protestant orthodoxy. Sure, we sing about Mary at Christmas, feel her pain on Good Friday, and maybe even read a little about her in the gospels. But for most American Protestants, almost any other interaction with Mary is borderline Catholic. So we don’t talk about Mary, we don’t engage with Mary, and we don’t think about Mary. Life seems easier

Jacob Prahlow 2
27 Jun 2018

Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken (Part 2)

In the first part of this two part series on Psalm 46, I suggested that there are three strata of imagery in the psalm. The ‘city of God’ is a lush garden, providing for those inside her walls sustenance and shelter, calm and quiet, against all the wilds of life outside her walls. The city of God is, furthermore, protected against the judgement of God. The purging of evil involves God’s de-creative acts; yet for

Joshua Schendel 0
11 Apr 2018

The Non-Denominational Reformation

Every 500 years or so in the history of the Christian church, a significant restructuring seems to take place. Around the year 500, a church council at Chalcedon published what most of Christendom calls the clearest explanation of orthodox Christology: Christ is one person with two natures. However, large swaths of Christians—the Oriental Orthodox (such as the Coptic, Syrian, and Ethiopian churches) and the Church of the East—found the Chalcedon Definition lacking. And so the

Jacob Prahlow 0
22 Sep 2017

A Reflection on Reformation Five Hundred

As most Christians, whether Protestant or otherwise, know, the end of next month will mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. I hope that such a momentous occasion will not only be cause for celebration if you are a Protestant, but also for deep reflection. The onslaught of Reformation-themed books (and movies) being published this year may be an indication that such reflection will take place for many (even Catholics). But I do not hope

Timon Cline 12
07 Jul 2017

Looking Inward and Upward: The Inner Life of the Church

Renowned church historian, Robert Louis Wilken, penned an essay for First Things back in 2004 entitled, “The Church as Culture.” Therein he outlines how the Church is a culture unto itself, rather than merely a mechanism for effecting change on secular culture (the world). Contra H. Richard Niebuhr, who formulated the Church’s mission as part of Christ penetrating the world as a theological idea, to Wilken, Christ is culture, “the fullness of life in the

Timon Cline 1
28 Mar 2017

A Proposal for Approaching Theology Historically

A few weeks ago, I was privileged to present a paper at a regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. There is nothing quite like the amassed scholarship of these conferences, the gathering of minds eager to pursue knowledge and discuss the finer points of theology, biblical interpretation, and Christian praxis. Of course, it would not truly be a meeting of evangelicals (evangelicals gathered at a Southern Baptist seminary, to wit) without some disagreement over

Jacob Prahlow 2
28 Feb 2017

A Brief History of Communion (Part II)

This article continues the overview of the history of communion begun here. This post considers the history of communion from the medieval period until today. The Medieval Church During the medieval period, the Church began to use a common liturgy for Eucharistic celebration, with prescribed texts and traditions for services and practice. Some differences emerged between the Eastern and Western branches of Christianity, differences which were formalized following the Great Schism of 1054 CE.1 In

Jacob Prahlow 6
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
09 Sep 2016

On the Misuse of Christian Tradition: A Response

The proper relationship between the authority of Christian Scripture and authority of Christian Tradition avails itself to no easy answers. From a historical viewpoint, much of the early development of both remains hotly debated. From a theological perspective, centuries (and sometimes millennia) old debates continue to shape thinking and lead toward answers long before any explicit consideration of this relationship comes into focus. Yet there seem to be boundaries—a “highway of orthodoxy” if you will—which

Jacob Prahlow 1
02 Aug 2016

Why Baptists should be the first to defend religious freedom for Muslims

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has formed a diverse religious coalition to back the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, N.J., in its federal lawsuit against a planning board that denied its permit application to build a mosque last December.1 The denial followed four years of hearings and numerous modifications to the mosque design in a good faith attempt to reassure neighbors and to conform to local architectural styles. The New York Times reported in

Timon Cline 4
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

Benjamin Winter 23
30 Oct 2015

Round Table: Martin Luther

498 years ago tomorrow, a young Augustinian monk who taught at the University of Wittenberg nailed ninety-five theses on “The Power and Efficacy of Indulgences” to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. Though seemingly innocuous as the time, this event has since been hailed as the start of the Protestant Reformation, a theological shake up in the Western Church that has changed the face of Christianity and Western civilization. In response to the

Various 2
29 Sep 2015

The Gift of Ceremony

The way a congregation worships is very important. It is part of their identity and serves as a public demonstration of their beliefs. The use of liturgical rites and ceremonies is one of the means by which a church makes a confession of faith, both to their members and the greater public, and it makes sense that differences in practice can fuel dissent and controversy. However, even while these rites and ceremonies set congregations apart

Nicholai Stuckwisch 0
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

Joseph Green 1
19 Aug 2015

How To Be orthodox With A Small “o” – Part 1

About six months ago I took part in a conversation with a dear Protestant friend and mentor of mine, who likes to give me a hard time about being Orthodox – as she does with believers from any tradition – for the sake of light-hearted controversy.  She was saying that, when it comes to beliefs and doctrine, what is important is that one be orthodox – with a small ‘o.’ I completely agree with her

Joseph Green 22
28 May 2015

Discerning Division, Undertaking Unity

If you drive through any appreciable stretch of the United States, you are bound to come across churches. In some sparse locales, these places of worship are few and far between, much like the dwellings of those who attend them. In other places, churches abound, with nearly every street seeming to possess its own house of God. When my wife and I lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, one of our favorite pastimes was driving through

Jacob Prahlow 1
19 Mar 2015

Ancient Christian Worship | Book Review

There are few times in history so important and yet so obscure as the years following the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, when the movement bearing his name transformed from a band of several dozen followers hiding in terror into an international community that would shape the subsequent history of the world. Despite the paucity of evidence from this period, historians and theologians alike continually return to the earliest years of the Jesus

Jacob Prahlow 1
20 Feb 2015

Thinking with the Early Middle Ages

“When the thinker thinks rightly, he follows God step by step; he does not follow his own vain fallacy.”1 Studying the Middle Ages is a complex process, not only for the plethora of information one must process in order to have a halfway-informed perspective into the period, but also for the multitude of ways in which contemporary—modern and postmodern—attitudes that illuminate Christian opinions of this important period of Christian history. One need look no further

Jacob Prahlow 3