Occasional Thoughts and Links of Interest

Category: Theology Page 1 of 2

Pandemic and “The Prayer of Humble Access”

Just recently, I read an essay in First Things by a Presbyterian theologian named Carl Trueman. The essay was titled “A Protestant Apocalypse?’ Trueman has been talking to protestant pastors and church leaders, and they are concerned about the long-term effects of this pandemic season. Some of them are making dire predictions and may have some reason to be concerned. 

One denominational leader said they expected perhaps a third of their churches to close in the coming months (he did not mention which denomination this was). Another predicted that as many as 30% of Protestant churchgoers may not return to church gatherings, after all, is said and done. 

“Death on the Pale Horse,” painted by the American artist Benjamin West in 1796.

People seem to have figured out that it’s much easier to do church at home. You switch on the Livestream, get an hour’s worth of uplifting music and inspirational teaching, and you don’t even have to take a shower or get dressed. 

Christmas Changes Everything

The image featured in this post is from the famous, and highly complicated, 20th-century English artist, Sir Stanley Spencer. The work is titled Travoys Arriving with Wounded at a Dressing Station at Smol, Macedonia. I first encountered this painting reading a book by a Cambridge theologian named Michael Banner. It has stuck with me ever since, and I often think of it around Christmas time because it suggests that Jesus’ birth changes everything. 

The Form of Christian Faith, Part II: Catechesis

If you missed my recent presentation for the C.S. Lewis Institute, then you can find it here. This was the second half of a two part lecture series titled, “The Form of Christian Faith,” and the focus was catechesis.

To Worship is to Bow Down

Evangelical Christians are often confused about the nature and purpose of worship. Some of the young people that I encounter hear the word and their minds go to dark, crowded rooms with a praise band performing emotionally charged songs before a swooning audience. They imagine their own role in terms of conjuring up feelings of praise and then expressing those feelings through gestures such as raised hands and closed eyes. I know from many conversations with “worship leaders” that praise bands feed off of those gestures, often interpreting them to mean that God has shown up – the “Spirit” is moving. Worship is equated almost entirely with music and emotionally-laden praise in response to it.

Faith, Humility, and Miracles: Sermon Notes on Mark 5:21-43

Introduction

I have a confession to make, and its one that an Anglican priest should probably not be making.

I tend to be very skeptical when I hear about miracles. In fact, when I hear stories about Christians being healed, I often think of TV preachers and faith healers who pretend to cast the Holy Spirit about so that people might be “slain in the Spirit.” If you have no idea what I am referring to, then follow this link

It really is a three-ring circus, and I don’t believe any of it.  However, my skepticism puts me in danger as a Christian, and if you are like me, a skeptic when it comes to miracles, then you are in danger as well. You see, Jesus is a miracle worker, and we should seek him expecting miracles to happen.

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