A common criticism of medieval Christianity theology centers on the practice of speculative theology, often defined as the asking of seemingly obscure questions which have little bearing (or none at all) upon the vicissitudes of human life or Christian faith. This article considers the value of speculative theology by reflecting on the question of whether or not Christ would have become incarnate if humanity had not fallen into sin.
“When students are first introduced to the historical, as opposed to a devotional, study of the Bible, one of the first things they are forced to grapple with is that the biblical text, whether Old Testament or New Testament, is chock full of discrepancies, many of them irreconcilable…. In some cases seemingly trivial points of difference can actually have an enormous significance for the interpretation of a book or the reconstruction of the history of
Although this is a very personal story, it is my prayer that anyone reading it will find something that speaks to the human experience of God, and of life itself.1 Let us begin this and every endeavor with thankfulness to the Lord, and a firm desire to advance in love toward others. Regardless of where you find yourself on the journey through life, this journey is invariably and inevitably spiritual. Humanity was made by and
Every worldview must address—either implicitly or explicitly—certain questions about the universe. These include such big questions as “Is there a God?”, “What is reality?”, “What happens after we die?”, and “How did reality come into existence?” These are the inquiries of all minds and the answers to these questions deeply influence who we are and how we view the world. The topic of this month’s Round Table discussion centers on this last question, how the stuff
The title “Mother of God” is given to Mary in both the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) Churches. Used by early Christian writers such as Origen, Athanasius, and Augustine, the title seems to have been well established and widely accepted prior to its formal proclamation in the 5th century. This title is important. “Mother of God” carries with it the full weight of Jesus Christ’s deity.
Few experiences are as formative as those which we repeat on a regular basis. Routines, habits, and liturgies: they all influence who we are, how we live, and the narratives we inhabit. As important as what we do is who we do it with. Human life comes filled with relationships, our interactions with other human beings, people who impact us as we in turn influence them. For Christians, this means that a formative part of
‘Tis the Christmas season. Our music, parties, concerts and plays, nativity scenes, lights, eggnog, and (if you’re lucky enough) snow tell us that Christmas comes swiftly. Gifts are being purchased. Plans to see family are being finalized. The busyness and joys of the Christmas season are pervasive, even for those who don’t celebrate Christmas. But why do we celebrate Christmas? The “Christmas Wars” rightfully remind us the real reason for the season: the birth of
While much of the field of the History of Christianity (and indeed, history in general) focuses on the great people and ideas of the tradition or period being studied, the genre of “people’s history” seeks to raise awareness of the ways in which ordinary people have lived throughout time and space. Admirable as this project sounds, it is not without its problems. In my experience, many “people’s histories” tend to make significant assumptions concerning the
Part of a three book series on the Historical Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism to the Transfiguration (Image, 2007) begins Joseph Ratzinger’s examination of the life and teaching of the founder of Christianity.† In this book Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) engages the major moments and messages from Jesus’ ministry, combining historical, literary, and theological insights into a masterful work not only on the “Historical Jesus” of scholarship, but also on the “Living Jesus”
Perhaps no facet of Christian theology is more important and more often debated than understandings of Communion. Instituted by the Lord Jesus the night before his death, the practice of communing with fellow Christians using bread and wine (or, in some early Christian communities, cheese and wine) reaches back to the earliest Jesus Movement and continues to form and define Christians today. In order to demonstrate both the unity and diversity of Christian perspectives on
At times, I feel within me a burning conviction of the truth of something that is at once more difficult to put into words than the doctrines of my Christian faith yet as clear as crystal to my soul and my seat of “knowing.” When I feel this way, it is time to sit down in front of pen and paper and muddle through until I can capture a solid thought from the elusive world