Archive for July, 2011

Leroy Huizenga, a professor of Biblical studies at Wheaton College, explains why he would have “flunked” the apostle Paul.

Christianity Today has a feature on the current trends of urban Christians, focusing on their spirituality and charitable acts.

Treading Grain reprints a post from archbishop Peter Jensen, who discusses the characteristics of the glory of God.

The Gospel Coalition explores the reasons why youth stay in the church after they’ve entered adulthood. Their primary reason? Because they were converted.


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One of the great Christian and anglican leaders of our time, John W. Stott, is dead. Christianity Today, Anglicans Down Under, Anglicans Ablaze, The Christian Post, and Timothy Dalrymple have tributes.

Jewish Ideas Daily has an interesting article on current trends in Biblical archaeology.

Matt Kennedy, over at the blog Stand Firm, offers 13 questions you should never ask your pastor…unless you want him to retire early.


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Make sure you spend some time with part one of Jordan Hillebert’s exploration of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book “Ethics.”

Jesuit priest James V. Schall writes about the tension between humanity’s desire to worship a “comprehensible god” and the “invisible and unseen God” of the Bible.

The blog Her.meneutics has a powerful post on one woman’s struggle growing up with a father addicted to pornography.

S. Michael Craven, over at the Christian Post, asks “Are Christians contributing to unbelief?

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First, make sure you familiarize yourself with Matthew Brench’s work in creating an alternative lectionary. Brench has performed some real yeoman’s work putting this together for the church, and it stands as a very valuable tool for our spiritual formation.

Timothy Gombis argues in Christianity Today that the evangelical makeover of the apostle Paul distorts the New Testament reality.

The blog Stand to Reason reflects on the idea that our suffering glorifies God.

The blog Creedal Christian argues that Anglicanism is he purest expression of Catholicism in the West. Contrast this post to the post from Fr. James Arcadi, here on the Block.

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Q. What is a lectionary?
A. See my preview post from last week.

Q. Why “alternative” lectionary?
A. Ah, there’s the big question.  Depending upon which edition of the Book of Common Prayer your parish uses, you may be using (or encouraged to use) one of several different lectionaries associated with the Daily Office over the course of Anglican history.  Why some nearly-finished seminary student should think himself worthy of creating yet another lectionary on his own is nearly unfathomable.  The reason for creating this lectionary is not to compete with the traditional and official lectionaries of the Church, but to provide an alternative for those with a certain need.

Q. Okay Mr. Smartypants, for whom didst thou make this lectionary anyway?
A. I have to admit, I originally designed this lectionary for myself.  But as I told more people about what I was doing, I found that a number of people were interested in checking it out, and maybe even trying it out.  Basically, this lectionary is for:

  1. those who seek a rigorous habit of reading the Bible every day;
  2. those who intentionally want to read the whole Bible every year without having to ignore the liturgical calendar;
  3. those who want to get more historical, spiritual, and literary context around the Bible by reading the Apocrypha and the Apostolic Fathers;
  4. anyone who is interested in trying something new!

Q. Isn’t this still competing with the traditional/official lectionaries if I use this instead?
A. I suppose different people may well have different attitudes about this.  Perhaps the greatest argument for sticking with the Book of Common Prayer‘s lectionary is the fact that there are more people reading the same things as you are.  On the other hand, one might point out that 1) there are different BCP lectionaries out there anyway, and 2) even if the lectionaries differ, the content is still the same Bible.  Following this line of thought, I believe it’s worth noting that different people have different spiritual needs; some are in need of more focused and topical Bible reading, and others are in need of more broad and exhaustive Bible reading.  This lectionary is for that latter category of people.

Q. Awesome, you have me convinced!  Where can I get a copy of this lectionary?
A. The author, Matthew Brench, is publicly sharing the lectionary from his Google account temporarily.  However, it will soon be made available on the Center for Theology website; keep an eye out for it!

Q.  Is there “how-to” document, giving me more information on how to use this lectionary?
A. Yes, the author’s blog has the basic introduction guide, which may also be posted on the Center for Theology website.

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First, be sure to read Jordan Hillebert’s reflection on “rediscovering” the book “Ethics” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Cultural commentator Bill Muehlenberg offers a spiritual reflection on the massacre in Norway.

The Guardian has a post asking the question “What can science fiction tell us about God?

Robin G. Gordon, over at Anglicans Ablaze, offers a bullet-point list of precepts concerning the historical moorings of Anglicanism.  Do you agree with Gordon?

John P. Richardson, over at The Ugley Vicar, asks “Why are Archdeacons priests?” Good question.

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This is the first post in a multi-part series[1] on why Anglicans should consider themselves Catholic and Protestant.[2]

Growing up in Southern California I ran into a lot of kids who were culturally Roman Catholic. I can recall one brief conversation with a fellow in high school who specifically, and firmly, informed me that he was, “Catholic, not Christian.” Since my interlocutor was large and scary-looking and I was small and puny-looking, I didn’t challenge him on the deficiency in his ecclesiology. I am sure there are plenty of more theologically astute Roman Catholics whose hands slap their foreheads when they hear such an inaccurate delineation, as if Protestants were the only ones who were properly able to use the term “Christian.”

On the other side of this coin, however, is the question of whether only those Christians who claim allegiance to the Pope get to label themselves as “Catholic.” In American parlance, “Catholic” is almost universally used to describe those in the Roman Catholic Church (the Roman Catholics even have both Catholic.org and Catholic.com!) The question I want to pursue is ought Anglicans to think that the Roman Catholic Church has the sole ownership of the term “Catholic”?

In the Anglican tradition there is a revered theological principle, lex orandi, lex credendi, roughly, “the law of prayer is the law of belief.” Anglicans like to say that they do not have a rigid set of theological maxims like Presbyterians, Lutherans, or other Reformed folk coming out of the sixteenth-century Reformation (like the Westminster Confession of Faith, Westminster Catechism, the Augsburg Confession). Nor do Anglicans have an official teaching office like the Roman Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  Rather, Anglicans point to their worship as the most accurate statement of their theology. How do we pray and what do we pray, what do we say in the liturgy, what do we do in the liturgy, that is what indicates what we believe.[3]

Now, what is a key component of Anglican worship, specifically the Sunday morning Eucharist service? The Nicene Creed. No controversy there, right? This summation of the faith has been employed in Christian worship since its composition. But there is a line in the Creed that gives us cause for pause in this discussion: “We believe in One Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.”

There it is, quite simply, Anglicans believe in the Catholic Church.

Some of you grammarians out there will point to the fact that at times the initial “c” in the word “catholic” is not capitalized (like in Rite II of the 1979 BCP), thus we can understand it to mean something generic like “universal.” Unfortunately, this will not do, as most, and definitely the earliest, Anglican prayer books do in fact capitalize the “C” (see 1549, 1552, 1662, and Rite I 1979).

So, Anglicans can’t give Rome “capital ‘C’ Catholic” and keep “lower case ‘c’ catholic” for ourselves. Nope, we have to share “capital ‘C’ Catholic.” If Anglicans think that what they say in the liturgy is indeed what they believe, then we Anglicans ought to believe in the Catholic Church.

In the next installment I will look more closely at the grounds on which we can share this term.[4]

[1] I don’t know how long, I haven’t thought it all through yet.

[2] This might be fairly speculative, I’m kinda trying these ideas out, so comments are appreciated!

[3] This is one reason why revising or composing a Prayer Book is no small task.

[4] At least I think I’m going to do this.

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