29 Jul 2016

What is Common Grace?

Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) was a remarkable individual. Playing the roles of pastor, theologian, journalist, and prime minister of the Netherlands, Kuyper is no doubt one of the most prolific Christians in church history. Although Kuyper’s direct lineage today represents only a small portion of Christendom (in America the denominations of the Christian Reformed Church and the Reformed Church in America), and though his thought remains influential primarily within Calvinist evangelicalism, I believe his thought ought

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14 Jul 2016

Sports, Virtue, and the Human Person

Perhaps I am simply a hopeless Luddite, but I find myself troubled by the recent push (by ESPN and others) toward competitive video gaming—“eSports”—as existing on a level playing field with traditional sports like football and baseball. This trend seems to violate some quintessence of sport, a set of characteristics that is compromised by massive expansion of one’s definitional boundaries. I suggest that our intuitive definitions of sport—definitions which would exclude professional video gaming—are bound

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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

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07 Sep 2015

Vatican II Catholicism: Nostra Aetate §4 and the Jewish Faith

“Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures … Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel’s spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.” —Nostra Aetate (1965) Nostra aetate translates as,

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Is Protestantism a heresy?
03 Sep 2015

Is Protestantism a Heresy?

Is Protestantism a heresy? This question has recently been asked of me by a number of sincere Protestants. Well-meaning as they are, their questions have put me in a dangerous position. On the one hand, I could answer as I have addressed similar, though less pointed, questions by hearkening to my ignorance and the mercy of our gracious God. On the other, such an answer may lead those I love, among whom I count you

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31 Aug 2015

Fear, Love, and Identity in Age of Ultron

“Yeah, what kind of monster would allow a German scientist to experiment on him to protect his country?” “We’re not at war.” “They are.” And with one short exchange, Age of Ultron immediately signaled something new and powerful; at least in this one instance, the enemy is a friend. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the Captain America of another nation, a nation just as valuable as our own, a nation filled with loves, hates, fears,

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12 Aug 2015

The Procreation Problem

A Philosophically Conservative Rejoinder to What Is Marriage? What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, authored by Ryan T. Anderson, Robert George, and Sherif Girgis, is widely recommended as the foremost defense of “one man/one woman” marriage based on natural law principles. The book has undoubtedly been influential, even to the point of being cited by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito in his United States v. Windsor dissent. Significantly, the book does not rely

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22 Jul 2015

Liturgy Versus Lecture PART 1: Could the Earliest Churches Have Seriously Been So Fancy and Formal?

Much of contemporary Christianity has developed a newly inflamed affection for what they believe to be a first century pattern of Christianity: abandoning all formal or structural ecclesiology for simple house churches, which is allegedly where Christianity was supposed to remain without the hierarchical clergy getting their ugly paws on it.  It is assumed that these congregations must have been similar to the informal evangelical low churches today that gather together in someone’s living room,

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30 Apr 2015

Would Christ Have Come If Humanity Had Not Fallen?

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.

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02 Apr 2015

What Day Did Jesus Die?

“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

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06 Mar 2015

My Journey to Catholicism: Part I

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

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04 Mar 2015

Round Table: Genesis and the Origins of the Universe

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” The precise meaning of this verse—and the two chapters of “Creation Narrative” which follow in this Book of Beginnings—remains a hotly debated topic today. Consideration of Genesis 1-2 has often led to extreme responses, ranging from rejection of the Biblical text as useless hokum from an unlearned and backwards age, to overly-detailed analysis of this passage as the key to understanding all of natural science,

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Mary, Mother of God
04 Feb 2015

Why We Call Mary the Mother of God

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.

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27 Jan 2015

Round Table: Women in the Church

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

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16 Dec 2014

Round Table: Incarnation

‘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

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04 Nov 2014

A People’s History of Christianity | Book Review

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

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03 Oct 2014

Jesus of Nazareth: Baptism to Transfiguration | Book Review

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”

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01 Oct 2014

Round Table: Communion

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

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25 Jul 2014

Imagine

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

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