19 Sep 2018

Between Defiance and Despair

I have often said that the sole cause of man’s unhappiness is that he does not know how to stay quietly in his room. —Blaise Pascal Quietude. Calm. Collected. Consistency. These are not the buzzwords of our culture of revolution. If they make it on to the radar, it is as unwanted intruders. To use one’s voice is a virtue; to remain silent, a vice. To be calm is thought to be apathetic at best,

Joshua Schendel 0
13 Aug 2018

Activism Without Pelagianism?

I read Wesley Walker’s recent article “Activism as Pelagianism” with great interest. While I largely agree with the conclusion he draws—that the Church’s first duty is the proclamation of the Word and administration of the Sacraments—I’m not altogether convinced that churches face an either/or choice. That is to say, I’m not sure the responsibilities associated with Word and Sacrament need be juxtaposed against active engagement with the challenges of contemporary life. In particular, I submit

John Ehrett 0
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
19 Jun 2018

Four Years of Conciliar Post

Friends, This past weekend, Conciliar Post celebrated its fourth year of promoting dialogue across Christian traditions. In an era of increased incivility, tribalism, and negativity, the Conciliar Post community remains committed to thoughtful and charitable dialogue, even—especially—when it comes to controversial issues. During the past year, our writers have tackled such issues as divine immutability and impassibility, the 500 year anniversary of the Reformation, Trump and false prophecy, barrenness, post-secularism, doubt, the Passion, the growth

Conciliar Post News 0
06 Jun 2018

Struggling to Discern God’s Will

Our lives are often guided by the questions we ask. Great inventors are driven by the impulse to build a better world. Explorers ask what lies beyond the edges of their map. Great philosophers question and question until they find a satisfactory answer. The curiosity of children leads them to wonder “why?” without end. A question that has dominated my own life is, “How do I know what God’s will is?” I’ve asked this question—in

Jacob Prahlow 2
04 Apr 2018

Is Doubt A Good Thing?

Considered generally, doubt is beneficial to human beings. While we all begin life in a state of ignorance—relying upon the care and concern of others to survive—too many of us eventually enter a state of arrogance. Neither position is desirable, but these are the two ends of the spectrum of knowledge spectrum toward which we gravitate. Christians who see pride as the root of all sin are inclined to value doubt when it counteracts pride.

Benjamin Winter 0
02 Apr 2018

Round Table: Can We Be Certain Of Our Salvation?

Throughout church history, the question, “Can we be certain of our salvation?,” has troubled many believers. This question naturally arises because different Christian traditions have divergent teachings on the nature of salvation itself. How one is saved and whether or not this salvation can be subsequently lost are the subject of much discussion between believers. One noteworthy response to these questions from church history was the development of the so-called “Protestant work ethic.” This idea

Various 1
13 Nov 2017

Protestant State of the Union (Part I)

On October 31, 2017, Protestants around the world celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The occasion created an opportunity to reflect on the many notable contributions of the Protestant Reformation to world history. The many benefits of the Reformation are undeniable–literacy, religious freedom, individual rights, the value of the human conscience, vernacular worship, the five solas, and many others.1 This year, as Protestants celebrate their heritage, I propose that we also stop for

Jarrett Dickey 0
02 Nov 2017

The Word and the Text

The Word and the Text: Allegorical Exegesis and the Christological Ontology of Scripture in the Middle Ages Factum audivimus; mysterium requiramus. “We have heard the deed; let us seek the mystery.” So says Augustine in his tractates on the Gospel of John. Sentiments such as this were the bedrock of Medieval hermeneutics regarding Scripture. The mystical interpretation of Scripture, particularly allegory, had been bequeathed to the theologians and scholars of the middle ages by giants

Guest Author 0
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
18 Oct 2017

Luther’s First Good Work

In the opening section of “A Treatise on Good Works,” Martin Luther declares: “The first and highest, the most precious of all good works is faith in Jesus Christ.”1 Luther was not an ethicist as such, but his claim, if true, has wide-ranging implications for anyone in pursuit of the “good life”—that end toward which ethics is aimed. Such a bold idea warrants justification. What could this statement possibly mean? How is faith a work

Guest Author 0
08 Aug 2017

Art and Its Justifications

Over the last few months, there’ve been more than a few controversies about art. For instance: the National Endowment for the Arts has found itself on the budgetary chopping block; white artist Dana Schutz’s painting of murdered black teen Emmitt Till has been denounced as exploitative; Netflix’s suicide-themed drama “13 Reasons Why” has been called an irresponsible and dangerous work; a standoff between sculptures on Wall Street has raised questions about artistic integrity. These brouhahas

John Ehrett 0
10 Jul 2017

Devoted to Fellowship

“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42 NRSV).” (This is the second article in a series on Acts 2:41-47. The first article can be found here.) The verses immediately following Peter’s Pentecost sermon in Acts 2 offer an important look into the practices and structures of the first Christian church. Many of these early practices continue to be the bedrock of Christian worship

Jarrett Dickey 0
16 Jun 2017

Three Years of Conciliar Post

“God is a God not of disorder but of peace.” (1 Cor 14:33) Dear Friends, It has been a banner year for Conciliar Post. We have composed a new “About” page that updates our mission and looks ahead to the future. We have revised and simplified our leadership structure. We have added an SSL security certificate, and are now backing up the website daily. We would also like to share some encouraging statistics: As of today,

Conciliar Post News 2
17 Apr 2017

The Beauty of Bi-Vocational Ministry

A few years back I had lunch with a pastor of one of the larger churches in my town. During the course of our conversation, I described to him my weekly schedule. As the pastor of a small house church, I preach every other Sunday, teach an evening Bible study on a regular rotation, and meet individually with people during the week for discipleship. This leaves me with a lot of “free time” to be

Jarrett Dickey 1
20 Mar 2017

Coffee Shop Ministry

“I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation.”–John Wesley, Journal As an adjunct lecturer at several local colleges and the pastor of a small house church, I have been given the gift of a flexible schedule. My pastoral duties

Jarrett Dickey 1
14 Mar 2017

An Argument for Prima Scriptura

One of the great privileges of being a part of the Conciliar Post community is the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about substantive theological issues while remaining charitable toward our interlocutors. Not that we are the only website that promotes this type of dialogue. But in an era of increased incivility and rhetorical debauchery, it is a welcome relief to have a conversation rather than a shouting match. In this post, I hope to contribute

Jacob Prahlow 18
25 Jan 2017

St Xenia’s Day

For the past few years, I’ve marked St Xenia’s Day by writing about a topic that has become dear to my heart: miscarriage. Although my family has been through the pain of miscarriage several times, the first stillbirth I was close to in physical proximity was named Xenia, the daughter of close friends. Of our named lost infants, the first, Kaylee Dawn, was born before we knew anything about saints and their celebrations; and the

Kenneth O'Shaughnessy 0
24 Jan 2017

We Need More Bart Campolos

“Even as faith endures in our secular age, believing doesn’t come easy. Faith is fraught; confession is haunted by an inescapable sense of contestability. We don’t believe instead of doubting; we believe while doubting. We’re all Thomas now.” – Charles Taylor Is the contemporary North American church in decline? If you do a casual search of the Internet or glance the titles of Christian publications over the past year, you will find a number of

Guest Author 1
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