27 Apr 2017

Women and the Priesthood: Viewing Tradition and Scripture in Light of the Eschaton

“Tradition is not static but dynamic, not stifling but liberating. Orthodoxy is a tool, not an end…I sometimes feel that a traditionalist means one who is effectively ignorant of the tradition in its richness and complexity but who clings, neurotically and fiercely, to the conventions of several decades past.”1 “Conventionality and orthodoxy are completely different matters, and that many who boast the name of Catholic would be surprised and shocked at what the tradition actually

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29 Mar 2017

To Enter Gilead

To Enter Gilead Judges 12:5-6 For the refugees of the Syrian crisis. My infant daughter doesn’t have a word for thirst. The words she knows, we make her say. We require what she has. But when she points, panicked with need, we relent. Things were different for Ephraim. The Jordan ford was watched– there was no deliberating. To enter Gilead was pass-fail. When they couldn’t say the shibboleth, they died for it. —Commentary— In the

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22 Mar 2017

According to the Preacher

According to the preacher We spend our lives chasing the wind The circle of life is not The strong devouring the weak It’s each of us devouring himself Never getting full But getting ever emptier We spend our lives becoming Enormous windbags Work, it does a body good Building it up so there’s More to rot away after Our balloon has popped The wind knocked out of us Without empty chests We could have no

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14 Mar 2017

An Argument for Prima Scriptura

One of the great privileges of being a part of the Conciliar Post community is the opportunity to have meaningful conversations about substantive theological issues while remaining charitable toward our interlocutors. Not that we are the only website that promotes this type of dialogue. But in an era of increased incivility and rhetorical debauchery, it is a welcome relief to have a conversation rather than a shouting match. In this post, I hope to contribute

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16 Feb 2017

Round Table: The Purpose of the Local Church

Living in a post-Christian culture appears to be taking its toll on the local church. We no longer reside in small towns where people work together through the week and walk to church together on Sundays. We get in our separate cars from our separate neighbourhoods and homes, convene for an hour or two, and go home. Does this hour of the week change who we are? Does it connect us with the body of Christ?

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31 Jan 2017

The Bible in Thirty Chapters

What If… The Bible is a pretty large book. Although we might not immediately think of it as such, how many other 2,128-page1 books do you have laying around your home? Or which reader has four different versions of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare on their bookshelf? The Bible is unique, not only for its contents, but also for its construction and history. Though rightly regarded as the most important book you could ever

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12 Jan 2017

The Book of Job and the Dangers of Certainty

My idea of God is a not divine idea. It has to be shattered from time to time. – C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed. Too often, I come across fellow Christians who exude a sort of theological swagger, a sophomoric arrogance about correct beliefs and proper doctrine. Though they might not say as much, they hold themselves up as self-proclaimed arbiters of the faith. A reasonable conviction, belief, doctrine, or theology, according to the

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25 Nov 2016

Five Ways to Respond to Questions About Your Love Life This Holiday Season

The hashtag #OverheardAtThanksgivingDinner trended on Twitter recently. Of the first twelve tweets I saw, twenty-five percent mentioned vexatious comments from family members concerning one’s relationship status. It’s a universal phenomenon—you go home for the holidays, you see someone that you haven’t talked to for a few months or more, and they ostensibly voice their surprise that an attractive, young catch like yourself hasn’t made it to the altar yet. My late Grandma Louise was a

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26 Sep 2016

What Can Statistics Teach Us About Tradition?

It seems that the headnote over my last piece was more judicious than I realized at the time. Several responses—one from Ben Winter and another from Jacob Prahlow (both of whom are authors on this site)—have taken exception to one part or another of my article, with generous asides that they might have interpreted my article incorrectly. In my opinion, this is precisely what happened; I utterly agree with the theological assertions made by both of

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09 Sep 2016

On the Misuse of Christian Tradition: A Response

The proper relationship between the authority of Christian Scripture and authority of Christian Tradition avails itself to no easy answers. From a historical viewpoint, much of the early development of both remains hotly debated. From a theological perspective, centuries (and sometimes millennia) old debates continue to shape thinking and lead toward answers long before any explicit consideration of this relationship comes into focus. Yet there seem to be boundaries—a “highway of orthodoxy” if you will—which

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05 Sep 2016

On the Catholic Use of Sacred Scripture

This is a response piece to Christian McGuire’s article entitled: “On the Misuse of Sacred Scripture.” Dear Christian, As we discussed privately when I first read your piece, I agree with your basic premise that Scripture cannot stand alone as an authority without the vehicles of the Church (her liturgy, her teaching authority) and Tradition (the Fathers, the Doctors). Together, these three prongs of authority (Scripture, Tradition, and Church Magisterium) balance to form and inform a community

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29 Aug 2016

On the Misuse of Sacred Scripture

Note: This article was originally published on my personal blog. Since then, several individuals (most of whom are Catholic) have kindly mentioned to me that this essay seems rather combative and extreme at points. However, I am unable to identify much that I can genuinely recant or replace, and thus have preserved most of the text in its original form. Nevertheless, my respect for the aforementioned individuals compels me to offer my sincere apologies to anyone who may share

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18 Mar 2016

Sola Scriptura and Interpretive Paradox

In most Christian circles, the simple statement that “Christians interpret the Bible in a different way than they interpret the Constitution” would probably be largely uncontroversial. The intuitive objection to juxtaposing the documents in this way–that the Bible is the Word of God, while the Constitution is man’s words–does not directly address the interesting paradox: why do many political and theological conservatives use interpretively “liberal” language (“underlying purpose,” “culturally specific,” “not literal”) in their interpretation

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17 Mar 2016

Becoming Child-Like

As I stood in the sterile and strange new world of a hospital recovery room, having given birth less than 24-hours prior, one of my remarkable nurses walked in to check on me and my new baby. “How do you feel?” she asked. Such a simple question, but so many answers ran through my mind. Tired, sore, elated, uncertain. My answer was, “Empty.” I was not empty on an emotional level, rather empty in a

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08 Mar 2016

By the Waters of Babylon

The waters of Babylon drip from hanging gardens where All that is beautiful in the world grows down from Heaven The headwaters of the garden river from which life flowed And we sit beside them inspired to refrain from singing Hanging our harps like ripened tears on the weeping trees And cry out for the war-ravaged fatherland we so love We stroke the sweeping willow branches with a rustle Sounding like the spirit of God

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04 Mar 2016

Is Sola Scriptura Really a Disagreement?

I’ve been enjoying a collaborative book titled “Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism,” a book full of meaningful dialogue across Christian traditions. In it, Bradley Nassif offers the perspective that Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism are highly compatible. Nassif is Eastern Orthodox and appears to bear the approval of Antiochian Eastern Orthodox hierarchy (even though he does not enjoy unanimous agreement among all of the Eastern Orthodox). Within his broader argument1 for compatibility between these two

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25 Jan 2016

An Open Discussion of Difficult Theological Issues

Theology is no good if done in isolation. God is a community of Persons; so are we. As followers of Christ, we are called to engage with the content of our Tradition(s), in order to better understand why we believe the timeless truths that have been handed down in Scripture. Conciliar Post is an apt forum for just this sort of activity. As an author on this website, I do not claim to hold a

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27 Dec 2015

Allegory and Church Fathers

This article is based on notes from a lecture delivered by Dr. Robert Louis Wilken at Concordia Seminary, Saint Louis on 3 December, 2015. Gregory the Great said that the Word of God exercises the understanding of the wise, and nurses the simple. To some it speaks openly, to others it holds things in secret—leading them to loftier matters. It is a river both shallow and deep. The lamb can find footing, but the elephant

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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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27 Nov 2015

V for Vendetta and the Problem of Eisegesis

Another November 5 has come and gone, and with it contemporary culture’s annual celebration of James McTeigue’s 2005 action film V for Vendetta, which popularized the Guy Fawkes mask often associated with digital surveillance protests and the Anonymous hacking collective. And every year, I find it exceedingly fascinating that the film is embraced and celebrated by individuals across radically different political traditions. Leftists praise the rising of the common people against an oppressive, Eurocentric-fascistic hierarchy.

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