Divisiveness on Conciliar Post
We live in a divisive time. As I write these words, the outcome of America’s presidential election is uncertain (and may remain so for some time). Regardless of the result, it will leave many unsatisfied and will further foment tension. Now is a fitting time to remind ourselves that, at Conciliar Post, our mission is to facilitate meaningful dialogue across Christian traditions. This is becoming more and more difficult. The reality is that our own
Whose Side Are You On?
America is at war. Worldviews are clashing and the culture is divided. The rift penetrates even Christianity. Last week, Archbishop Wilton Gregory spoke out against recent actions of President Trump. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò then wrote a letter in support of President Trump. The left sees God on the side of justice, equality, systemic change, liberation, and progress. The right sees God on the side of law, order, hard work, family, morality, and traditional values.
Why Everyone Should Study Church History
I recently argued for the indispensability of historical learning for church leaders. Borrowing from Sir John Seeley, I suggested that history remains an essential school of churchmen. This post serves as a sort of addendum to that argument. My fuller argument—that Christians, and especially church leaders, should possess a historical mind—proceeds in two stages. The case I previously made was that history provides the only data of human experience and therefore should be the “library”
Fear This, Not That
In 2000, sociologist Barry Glassner published The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things. An updated version is expected later this year. Glassner’s thesis is that American concerns about crime, drugs, child abuse, and other issues are not founded on data but are instead the product of the scaremongering tactics mass media outlets depend upon to attract and maintain viewership. Negative stories capture more clicks, more eyeballs, and generate more conversation
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
Book Review: “Authentic Christianity: How Lutheran Theology Speaks to a Postmodern World”
Peter Leithart’s slim 2016 volume The End of Protestantism outlined a bold vision for a post-denominational Christianity, but was skimpy on theological specifics. Now, Lutheran academic Gene Edward Veith and Lutheran pastor A. Trevor Sutton have answered Leithart’s call. Their new book Authentic Christianity: How Lutheran Theology Speaks to a Postmodern World is an ambitious, audacious case for confessional Lutheranism as a universal Christian denomination (or, in their words, a “metachurch”). Veith and Sutton go
A Brave New Post-Secular World
In my final semester of law school, I had the opportunity to take a unique interdisciplinary class—“Law, Environment, and Religion: A Communion of Subjects”—taught through the law, forestry, and divinity schools. There’s a great deal I could say about this course, but one thing in particular stands out in hindsight: the way my classmates responded to its content. Almost to a person, they agreed that the course provided a uniquely valuable opportunity to discuss their
Thoughts, Prayers, and Platitudes
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action,
Still Searching for God in the “Waves”
Up until a year or so ago, I’d never even heard of Mike McHargue, better known by his online moniker “Science Mike.” McHargue, a touring speaker and co-host of the popular “The Liturgists” podcast (and erstwhile contributor to Conciliar Post), has emerged as a prominent voice in the “post-evangelical” space occupied by writers like Rachel Held Evans, Rob Bell, and David Gushee. Curious to learn more, I read through McHargue’s memoir of faith, “Finding God
Holding All Things in Common
“All who believed were together and had all things in common (Acts 2:44 NRSV).” This article is a part of a continuing series on the early Christian church as depicted in Acts 2:41-47. Past articles in the series can be found in the author’s archive. In the previous article in this series, we examined how signs and wonders in the early church were the result of the Spirit’s presence and the in-breaking of the kingdom
I Want a Solution
I Want a Solution for Charlottesville, VA I want a solution but my mind offers platitudes maybe they’re enough to seal the gap the whistling cold the difference between yesterday and today in Charlottesville where others carry thoughts like a sickness that kills them first swinging their fever in censers anointing their steps with ash walking by them I try to keep quiet and pass unseen my easy answers held out of sight like
A Reflection on Christian Patriotism
Throughout my college years I experienced a religious awakening of sorts. Having recently involved myself in a local church and young adult ministry, I was beginning to grow in my faith and see the world in a more Christian way. This development of faith, in my life, was preceded by a more robust understanding of civic life, political spaces, and politics more generally. For me, government and politics was a place for people of diverse
You Believe in Legislating Morality
If there’s one thing everyone agrees on, it’s this: “You shouldn’t use law to force your morality on others.” And if there’s one other thing everyone agrees on, it’s that the other side is always trying to do exactly that. You don’t want to use contraceptives? Fine. Just stop insisting that others avoid them as well. You want to participate in gay weddings? Fine. Just stop making cake vendors do the same. What’s going on
House of Cards: Is it good?
Netflix recently released the fifth season of the hit political drama, House of Cards. The same viewers who once broke Netflix’s streaming service upon the release of a previous season will now have the opportunity to continue following the Underwood’s pursuit of power. While there are certain parts I could do without, I am a fan of the show and think that Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright have both been brilliant throughout the series. With
Wayne Grudem, Donald Trump, and Christian Suffering
This past election season popular evangelical theologian, Wayne Grudem, penned two controversial articles for Townhall.com, wherein he defended, inter alia, the Christian Trump vote. The article, in a style that mimics a campaign website’s policy position statements, is lengthy and not revolutionary, especially in hindsight. Yet, at the time a particular statement caught my eye. Hopefully, now that we are more than two months into a Trump administration, my analysis and humble refutation of Grudem’s
Could Liberals and Conservatives Follow the Same Christ?
The Christ you follow determines how you vote. If we want political unity, we need to find our way to a single Christ. Here are four possible paths forward.
Chronicles of the King
It starts with the king Calling for a return to The God who chose the people And not the God chosen By the people for the people It is a call the people Rarely listen to and often Reject over and over Since they hear it so Infrequently, the king Usually being anti- Christ and usually Being so again. But the priests must Listen and begin to Cleanse themselves No longer pleasing the People or
The Inevitable Flagellation of Russell Moore
Though not a Southern Baptist (or Calvinist) myself, I’ve long admired the work done by Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). Moore’s ministry has coupled rigorous theology (and an unwillingness to yield to ideological pressures) with willingness to advance a holistic Christian message across traditional partisan lines. Under his leadership, the ERLC has weighed in on criminal justice reform, racial reconciliation, immigration, and respect for Muslims’ religious
Whither Christian Magazines?
It is not exactly revelatory to say that the periodical industry is hurting. In the internet era, newspapers are anxious, as the old print business model—advertising revenue buttressed by inexpensive newsstand prices—is quickly being upended.1 A majority of U.S. adults now get their news on social media2, putting pressure on magazines to retain subscriber numbers and keep the doors open. Today, we now have the option to consume vast amounts of free content, coming from
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