20 Oct 2018

Dialogue on Church History and Tradition

Over the past few years, Timon and myself (Ben Winter) have engaged in fruitful discussion—via the “comments” section on Conciliar Post—about church history and the authority of tradition. Recently, Timon stated that many of the questions we worked through “are very common . . .from both Catholic friends and fellow protestants.” In light of that, we have decided to reprise our debate. Our goal is to further expand ecumenical dialogue, while learning something new in

Timon Cline 0
05 Jul 2018

Orthodoxy and Relevance

Christians have long talked about life as a journey, whether as runners or pilgrims or travelers or something else. Journeys tend to involve forks in the road, decisions to make, and obstacles to overcome. Sometimes, the decisions of this journey are between light and darkness, holiness and sin, redemption and backsliding. In these instances, the follower of Christ is called to choose the path of faithfulness. Other times, however, the decisions we make along the

Jacob Prahlow 2
22 Jun 2018

Modern Erasmian

Long before the Protestant Reformation, cries for church “reformation” could be heard throughout Christendom. Heiko Oberman posits that in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries the word was as ubiquitous and malleable as “democracy” is today.1 Thus, reform efforts took many different shapes, ranging from attempts to return to first principles to viewpoints with messianic expectations for society. First the Waldensians and Albigensians, and later the mendicant orders, vigorously pursued apostolic poverty as a fuller realization

Timon Cline 2
15 Jun 2018

Power Perfected in Weakness: Luther on Politics and the Church

During the terror of the Third Reich, Martin Luther, the “German prophet,” was widely misappropriated for the ends of Hitler’s tyrannical national socialism and anti-Semitism. To be sure, Luther’s often bombastic rhetoric supplied plenty of ammunition that did not always require alteration to arouse its desired effect. The anti-Semitic legacy of Luther’s later commentary (e.g. On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)) is, unfortunately, perhaps the best-known element of his life. In a sense, the

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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
30 Mar 2018

The Clash of Generations and the Spirit of Holy Week

In 1996, Samuel P. Huntington published his work The Clash of Civilizations, an assessment of the post-War order, and famously predicted: “In the emerging era, clashes of civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace, and an international order based on civilizations is the surest safeguard against world war.”1 Huntington’s prediction may hold true, and in many ways has proven prescient, but economists and historians have recently begun speaking of a more pressing issue than

Timon Cline 0
02 Mar 2018

Max Weber and Assurance

The relationship between Western Christianity and capitalism has occupied observers of the West for a couple of centuries now. Without a doubt there is an inextricable link between the two; many would argue there is a codependence. Others emphatically attribute the power of the West to the power of moral foundations of Christianity, specifically Protestantism.1 Over the past five hundred years, the “[W]estern model of industrial production and mass consumption left all alternative models of

Timon Cline 0
18 Dec 2017

Luther’s Human Sides

Opinions of Martin Luther tend toward extremes. One side will lionize him, mentioning few (if any) of his problems, while the other will oversimplify him as an anti-Semitic heretic. Two of Martin Luther’s contemporaries wrote biographies of him, first Philip Melanchthon, and then Johannes Cochlaeus in response to Melanchthon’s account. Melanchthon sang Luther’s praises, while Cochlaeus painted him as a perverted rebel. “Luther’s Lives,” published in 2003, contains both of those biographies. Despite opposite choices

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15 Dec 2017

God, James Dolezal, and the boy who cried ‘Scholasticism!’

It’s finals season, which means for every procrastinating graduate student like myself, that it’s time to find other things to devote attention to other than studying for finals. Accordingly, instead of studying for my evidence exam I have found welcome distraction in the budding theological debate over the doctrine of God taking place in Reformed and evangelical circles. Ironically, this past spring when I should have been studying for my doctrine of God final I

Timon Cline 0
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

Jarrett Dickey 4
17 Nov 2017

Movie Review: Calvinist

Over the past year, in the lead up to its five-hundredth anniversary, Protestants across the globe have been reminiscing and debating over the implications and ramifications of the Reformation. But another, more recent phenomenon has been receiving similar attention, at least in Reformed circles. Last September marked ten years since Collin Hansen published his now famous article, “Young, Restless, Reformed”, which chronicled the rise of so-called “new Calvinism.” Christian Century dubbed the phenomenon “Calvin’s Comeback.”

Timon Cline 3
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
03 Nov 2017

In Defense of Baptismal Regeneration

This is the 5th post in a series titled “In Defense of.” Check out part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.  Baptismal regeneration is the process through which the Holy Spirit makes the recipient of the sacrament of baptism a new creation by forming a covenant. whereby . This is different from conversion, where someone repents of their sins and has faith in God (i.e. the thief on the cross next to Jesus).

Wesley Walker 2
20 Oct 2017

“Against the Enthusiasts”

Last month, Michael Horton, professor at Westminster Seminary (California) and host of the popular Reformed podcast, White Horse Inn, conceded defeat, so to speak, for Reformed Protestants to the Radical “enthusiasts.” Horton’s piece lamented how few American Christians are aligned with Reformed doctrine, and how many have been taken by Radical Anabaptist theology, “a utopian, revolutionary, quasi-Gnostic religion of the ‘inner light’” that—according to Horton—has come “to influence all branches of Christendom.” Anabaptists were a radical,

Timon Cline 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
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

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08 Sep 2017

Simul Iustus et Peccator: An Impetus for Sanctification from Martin Luther

This year is the 500th year anniversary of the Reformation. As a result, I’ve been spending some time reading and reflecting on a somewhat controversial yet colossally important figure I had previously neglected: Martin Luther. In my experience, Luther has been read by his critics as holding a laissez-faire attitude towards sin that is functionally antinomian. Often, they misquote his infamous motto, “Sin boldly” (which is much more descriptive than prescriptive and is meant to

Wesley Walker 1
06 Mar 2017

The Danger of Christian Primitivism

While writing my previous article that praised the virtues of Christian primitivism and its capacity to spark church renewal, it occurred to me that it would be appropriate to address the inherent dangers of Christian primitivism.  Simply put, Christian primitivism is an ideological viewpoint that attempts to restore Christianity to the original structures and practices of the New Testament Church because it is believed that the Church has strayed from its own foundation over the

Jarrett Dickey 8
01 Mar 2017

Sola Scriptura: A Clarification

Here at Conciliar Post, there have recently been a couple articles poking alleged holes in the Reformed doctrine of sola scriptura. This post should be considered less a full rebuttal of the points made in the previous posts and more of an extended comment that will hopefully act as “iron” (Prov. 27:17) for further discussion in the spirit of CP’s mission statement. If I am able to at all challenge and sharpen the positions of

Timon Cline 8
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

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