14 Apr 2021

The New Testament in Order

Begin reading through the New Testament and, in addition to the grand story, you will eventually notice a few things. For one thing, the story of Jesus gets repeated four times, then you hear the story of the early church, and then you begin to read letters that don’t seem to be in any sort of coherent order. Why is the New Testament organized how it is, and not some other way? Why is the

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05 Mar 2021

“I Have to Make a Faith Act”: The Story Behind the Letter From a Birmingham Jail

Image credit: Jim Forest, https://www.flickr.com/photos/jimforest/12219184015 It is April, 1963, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), founded and led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is out of funds. [1] Not only is money scarce, it seems like support for the movement among supporters is faltering. In Montgomery, several years prior, tens of thousands had participated in the bus boycott and other actions for over a year, despite bombings, physical attacks, and harassment

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31 Aug 2020

DOROTHY AND JACK | Book Review

One reads history, either because of a fascination with prior events, or to learn something of human nature. In Gina Dalfonzo’s latest book, Dorothy and Jack, both readings are richly rewarded. It is a book which adds insight into the lives of both Dorothy Sayers and C.S. Lewis—examining the importance of friendship and providing a call to reconsider male and female friendships in the life of the church. The reader engages these questions as Dorothy

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20 Jul 2020

Why the Historian Is Indispensable to Christianity

If the average Christian were asked to identify the essential roles in Christianity and pre-Christian Judaism, he or she would probably name the pastor, the apostle, the prophet, the priest, and perhaps also the king. Depending on the person’s denominational affiliation, he or she might mention the pope or the musician or the nun. Few members of any denomination, I think, would mention the historian—a figure lamentably seen by many as merely providing additional support

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08 May 2020

Contextual Theology, part II

In Part I of this two-part series on contextual theology, I set about addressing the question: What is the primary context, the fundamental context, of Christian theology? Because the Triune God is the object of theology, I argued, the context of the study of God must first, i.e. fundamentally, be God (for God is, to speak improperly, his own context). Because the Triune God is essentially communicative, there is the possibility for creatures to be

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Ohio State Library Stacks
13 Nov 2019

What We’ve Been Reading: Fall 2019

Here at Conciliar Post, many of our authors are avid readers. Below are some of the books we’ve been reading in 2019 along with a short review for each one. Feel free to join the conversation and offer your recommended readings. John Ehrett, Lutheran Restoring the Soul of the University: Unifying Christian Higher Education in a Fragmented Age (Perry L. Glanzer, Nathan F. Alleman & Todd C. Ream) The authors—professors at Christian universities—lay out a

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21 Oct 2019

Don’t Kick the KJV

Over the last few years, there’s been a spate of critiques in the evangelical world (most noticeably, in my assessment, from the broadly Reformed camp) of the continuing use by Christians of the King James Version—the venerable biblical translation that the West has known and loved since its first publication. Perhaps the best example of this line of criticism is Mark Ward’s book Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible—a comprehensive polemic

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26 Aug 2019

High-Church Christianity, Evangelicalism, and the Snob Problem

One of the most familiar themes here at Conciliar Post is an appreciation for the historic insights and worship practices of the two-millennia-old Church. Since the site has been online, the majority of contributors and editors have hailed from liturgical backgrounds—whether Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, or something else altogether. And the blogosphere at large is filled with accounts of young Christians transitioning from the evangelical or nondenominational church experiences of their upbringings into high-church traditions.

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03 Aug 2019

The School of Churchmen

Back in April (2019), David Doherty gave three reasons to study church history. His case was, in brief, that church history teaches us how to live well, inspires us to do so, and is ultimately an act of love for the Church. I wholeheartedly affirm David’s reasons. I would add at the outset that the confidence provided by the discipline is especially desirable.  R.G. Collingwood, the polymathic philosopher of history, and himself a committed Anglican,

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14 Jan 2019

In Defense of Hymnals

When my wife and I first started attending our church, one thing in particular really stood out to me. Our church doesn’t print the texts of hymns or the elements of the liturgy in a bulletin handed to us on the way in. Instead, just like in the “olden days” we use real hymnals—heavy, leather-bound copies of the Lutheran Service Book nestled in each pew. This was unfamiliar to me, and took a bit of

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09 Jan 2019

Theological Education – Why?

Theology “Then and Now” More than four years ago, I published my first essay on Conciliar Post. It laid out what I consider to be the first principles of theological reasoning, but it also noted that—like all of us—I am still “on the way.” I stand behind these principles: the centrality of Christ, the contingency of created order, the need for grace, and the soul’s ascent to God. I also stand behind the fact that

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04 Sep 2018

John Muir and Biblical Literacy

John Muir’s A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf chronicles his journey, oftentimes on foot, from Indiana to Florida and finally to Cuba. His adventure begins on September 1, 1867 when he departs Indianapolis by train for Jeffersonville, Indiana on the banks of the Ohio River. The next day he crosses the Ohio River and begins walking south from Louisville with minimal provisions and an interest in collecting local plants. In his journal, Muir says, “I

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21 May 2018

Visiting D.C.’s Museum of the Bible

To take certain commentators’ reports at face value, the Museum of the Bible in downtown Washington, D.C. is just one small step removed from Ken Ham’s Creation Museum and Ark Encounter—an expressly sectarian environment cloaked in pseudo-neutrality. At least, that’s the line peddled by Candida Moss and Joel Baden, longtime critics of the project and authors of “Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby.” Echoing Moss and Baden, Vox writer Tara Isabella Burton similarly

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27 Apr 2018

Scripture as “Language” and MLK50

Michael Oakeshott (1901-1990) was an English philosopher of history and an essayist who has always been considered “a bit outside the mainstream of the conservative movement.” It has been said that he was a thinker who went beyond politics. While he remains little discussed by modern conservatives, his writings, particularly on the nature of historical inquiry, remain prescient. Oakeshott may also offer guidance for issues now facing American Christianity, specifically the discussion surrounding the recent

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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

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26 May 2017

Remembering Well: Confederate Monuments and the Ethics of Memory

What does it mean to remember well? To remember ethically? These questions are as engaging as they are rare. How often do we think about the ethics of memory? Our default assumption is to portray memory as an objective recollection of details, but that’s a misrepresentation. Memory is a value-laden, subjective, interpretive engagement with the past. History and memory are never objective affairs, but are imbued with significance that has a direct influence on our

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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

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03 Feb 2017

Deliver Us From Evil

January 27th was International Holocaust Remembrance Day. For the first time, the White House released a statement to the press which mentioned neither anti-Semitism nor Jews. Why would the US Government issue a statement on such a day that fails to mention the victims of one of the most grotesque human evils in recent history? Thankfully, Reince Priebus, President Donald Trump’s White House chief of staff, answered the question for us: “If we could wipe

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06 Sep 2016

Dear White Christians, It’s Time for Us to Listen

Saying that the last few months in America have been horrific and tragic is an understatement. America is, once again, confronted with the needless deaths of innocent people. The racial tensions in America have been laid bare for all to see again, whether we acknowledge them or not. But where do we go from here? I want to say what so many have already said before, and are still saying today, but is all too

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26 Aug 2016

How is God Sovereign?

This is the second article in a series giving an overview of two central concepts in Abraham Kuyper’s public theology. For a primer on common grace, see my article from last month. Having recently moved to New York City, I’m daily reminded of how small I am within this daunting, diverse, and driven world. Suddenly, the universe truly doesn’t revolve around me. As recently as this past spring, I was a graduate student at a

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