21 Nov 2018

A Protestant Thinks about the Blessed Virgin Mary

Talking about Mary can feel dangerous, especially if you are a Protestant who adheres to Protestant orthodoxy. Sure, we sing about Mary at Christmas, feel her pain on Good Friday, and maybe even read a little about her in the gospels. But for most American Protestants, almost any other interaction with Mary is borderline Catholic. So we don’t talk about Mary, we don’t engage with Mary, and we don’t think about Mary. Life seems easier

Jacob Prahlow 2
16 Mar 2018

Keeping the “Anglican” in “Anglo-Catholic”

From its beginning, Anglicanism has struggled to establish a stable identity. Over the history of the Church of England, there have been many attempts to articulate a consistent expression of Anglicanism around a variety of movements, whether Reformed, Evangelical, or catholic in flavor. In the mid-1800s, a group at Oriel College, Oxford established a movement to restore a more catholic understanding of the faith based on the primitive and undivided Church. Members of this Oxford

Wesley Walker 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
28 Jul 2017

On Why We Need An Evangelical Reformation

It is a peculiar irony that those who are often the most strident proponents of literal six-day creationism—and the most ardent antagonists of evolution—are what could be described as theistic evolutionists when it comes to the dogma and traditions of the Church. In this, I can only speak from my observations of my own camp (evangelical Protestantism); of which, as a pessimist, I am inclined to be the most critical the most often. Evangelicals, led

Timon Cline 7
27 Jul 2017

Benedict Optioning, Protestant-Style

I’ve been thinking a lot about Rod Dreher’s much-hyped (and bestselling) book The Benedict Option in the weeks since its publication. While I had many critiques of the book’s lament-oriented aspects, I agreed with a great deal of it—particularly Dreher’s call to focus on developing doctrine among the youth of the church. However, Dreher’s book focused primarily on Catholic and Eastern Orthodox communities’ approaches to fostering such catechesis, and largely left unanswered the question of

John Ehrett 0
14 Jul 2017

In Defense of the Sacrament of Confession

This is the fourth entry in the “In Defense of…” series. Be sure to check out part 1, part 2, and part 3. When my grandma was a little girl, probably six or seven years old, she went to her first confession in a Roman Catholic Church. Having to find something she did wrong, she told the priest she was guilty of committing the sin of adultery…six times! In her mind, adultery meant “disrespecting an

Wesley Walker 1
21 Feb 2017

Seeking Church Unity, Part 2

The first half of this essay was previously posted here. Three Kinds of Unity Is the reconciliation of the major branches of Christianity even possible? And what can we do to make a difference? Catholics care the most about unity, and are willing to make practical accommodations for Christians from other backgrounds, such as allowing converts from other denominations like Anglicans to bring their own liturgical traditions in with them. Although they are a big

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15 Dec 2016

Seeking Church Unity, Part 1

A previous version of this post originally appeared on my own blog, Undivided Looking, where I mostly talk about physics and theology.  I have divided it into two halves for purposes of publication on Conciliar Post.  Note:  It is my custom when blogging to refer to all serious Christians by the title of “St.”, because I believe all Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit. My Own Testimony I suppose I may as well start

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21 Oct 2016

The End of Protestantism | Book Review

Peter Leithart’s latest work, The End of Protestantism, is a grand book. Grand both in the sense that it is imposing and important, but also in its scope. Leithart’s purposes in writing the book are no less than to pray publicly for the unity of the church, outline a biblical theology of God’s actions to unite and renew, affirm the changes of the Reformation, critique the historical outworking of American denominationalism, outline the shifting paradigms

George Aldhizer 13
07 Oct 2016

Anglicanism: Catholic, Evangelical, or Both?

When someone who was raised in an Evangelical Protestant setting goes to an Anglican church, it might seem very Catholic. There’s a crucifix with Jesus’ body hanging on the cross, the altar is at the center, and the pulpit is off to the side. There may be icons and a rail to kneel at for Communion. If they stay for the Mass, they might see something that very closely parallels a Roman Catholic service. The

Wesley Walker 1
12 Aug 2016

It’s Time to Stop Treating “Religion” Like a Bad Word

Earlier this week, Relevant Magazine posted an article titled, “Entertainment, Modern Worship and What God Really Desires.” In it, author Jesse Carey praises contemporary church bands like Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Planetshakers, Desperation, and others. While he does acknowledge some issues with the trajectory of modern “worship,” he affirms its usefulness and encourages readers, “Just because something has elements associated with ‘entertainment,’ doesn’t disqualify it from being worshipful. Game fans have reported weeping in response to

Wesley Walker 2
10 Jun 2016

What the Benedict Option Gets Wrong

Though you may never have heard of it, the Benedict Option is an increasingly influential idea within theologically conservative circles. For more backdrop, see this article by Conciliar Post author Chris Casberg. Inspired by the closing pages of Alasdair MacIntyre’s influential 1989 book After Virtue, the modern Benedict Option proposes a strategic withdrawal from the project of secular governance, and a reorientation towards localism and community. In the view of its proponents, mass culture has

John Ehrett 1
03 Mar 2016

No Longer Scandalized?

Revisiting Mark Noll in 2016 Though it’s had an outsize impact on evangelical intellectual culture, I’d never actually sat down with Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind until this past week. Centrally, Noll (himself a Reformed evangelical) argues that the rise of fundamentalism drove a lasting wedge between mainstream academic inquiry and American Protestant communities. In Noll’s telling, this cleavage led to previously fringe theological positions (six-day creationism, flood geology, strict biblical literalism)

John Ehrett 7
04 Feb 2016

Mark Driscoll’s Golden Parachute

Or, Why Denominations Matter Among those Americans who felt the brunt of the 2008 financial crisis, many were infuriated when the Wall Street bankers involved–many of whom had engaged in high-risk trading behaviors–faced virtually no consequences. Instead, many walked away with multimillion-dollar “golden parachutes” and cycled into new professional pursuits. The message sent was intolerable to many victims of the crash: within the financial sector’s privileged caste, reckless and dubiously-legal behavior does indeed pay off

John Ehrett 6
03 Dec 2015

The False Gospel of Protestantism

This article marks the close of my bi-weekly writing at Conciliar Post. It has been a joy to contribute and discuss the faith here. I hope I have produced a coherent framework in these articles for viewing all five branches of Christianity as one common faith to be embraced and learned from across denominations and lines of tradition. In my final regular article, I have no intent to malign Protestantism since I myself continue to

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09 Nov 2015

Authority, Heresy, and Protestantism

In a recent article for Conciliar Post, Eastern Orthodox Ben Cabe hinted (though did not explicitly argue) that Protestantism as a whole is a heretical movement. Cabe argued that Protestantism is divorced from Apostolic Succession and is thus separated from the faith passed down by Christ. In order to make his case, his analysis of what is heretical hinges on Church history, tradition, and liturgy. In this past month’s issue, Christianity Today ran a cover

George Aldhizer 23
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

Various 2
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

Benjamin Cabe 36
29 Jul 2015

The Transformative Power of Paradox

As a theologically-minded young catechumen, on the cusp of being confirmed into the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, few doctrines troubled me more than those surrounding the sacrament of communion. How could the Body and Blood of Christ be present “in, with, and under” the sacramental elements? How could the consecration of the elements, an act of human will, result in such a transformation? Years of soul-searching followed, which led me all the way from

John Ehrett 5
14 Mar 2015

Weekly Reads (March 14)

Happy weekend, dear readers! Here is a round-up of different religion, theology, and current events articles from our own authors and across the internet. The following articles do not necessarily reflect the views or mission of Conciliar Post. These articles have been selected based on their prevalence across popular blogs and social media and their relevance to current events. We invite you to engage in friendly and positive discussion about these articles. If you read

Laura Norris 1