“My identity is founded in who I am in Christ”

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, the head of the Church of England, recently learned that his father was not really his father, that he was the product of an affair between his mother and Winston Churchill’s private secretary.  What’s notable, though, says Eric Metaxis in a Breakpoint commentary, is how Welby took this potentially traumatic news.

[Read more…]

An Islamist’s vision of Jesus

We have been blogging about Muslims converting to Christianity, often because they have had a vision of Jesus.  After the jump is an account of a specific Islamist, who had been plotting against a former Muslim who had become a Christian pastor.  The story lacks specifics–the full names, the place–so it might be questioned (though perhaps such vagueness is necessary to protect those mentioned).  It is clearly from a charismatic perspective.  I’m most interested in the details of the vision and of how, again, like the visions in Acts, it leads him to the Bible, so that his conversion is by the Word, rather than by the vision. [Read more…]

“Is God Dead?” 50 years–and 439 years–later

This month 50 years ago, in 1966, Time Magazine featured its cover-story entitled “Is God Dead?” The article was about the “Christian atheists,” such as Thomas J. J. Altizer, of the theology faculty at Emory, who argued that the traditional deity is no longer relevant to the modern age and that we need to find new modes of spirituality for a new era.

Leigh Eric Schmidt has written a perceptive article on the impact of that cover story and of the theological fad that it discussed.  He says that it contributed to the rise of evangelicalism, as people sought a more robust understanding of God than was being taught in liberal seminaries.  Mainline Protestantism once exerted genuine cultural leadership and the public was attentive to its theological scholarship.  (Time also had cover stories on Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr.)  But Schmidt observes that the “Is God Dead?” story was mainline Protestantism’s last hurrah.

So, fifty years later, God is not dead.  Altizer is not dead either, hanging on at 88.  Time is also hanging on, despite big drops in circulation and the competition of the internet.  Mainline liberal Protestantism has also been dwindling in numbers and relevance, though you wouldn’t know that from academic religion departments.

After the jump, though, I offer a passage from the Formula of Concord, Article VIII, on the person of Christ, which discusses the death of God in a completely different way.  It takes up the controversy at the time of whether we can say that “God died on the Cross.”  Zwingli and others said that only the human nature of Christ suffered and died, and that we cannot ascribe such limitations to God (scriptural language to the contrary being merely a figure of speech).  But Luther insisted that because of the incarnation and the communication of the attributes of Christ’s two natures, it is true that the Son of God, the second Person of the Trinity, did suffer and die.  Otherwise, another human death could not help us.  We can indeed say that God died on the Cross.  But then He rose again. [Read more…]

The Resurrection as the Christian word for defiance

Remember that it’s still Easter!

The pastor of an inner city London church in a rough, drug-ridden neighborhood tells how the Resurrection of Christ enables us to “push back against the darkness.” [Read more…]

The 49 days of Easter

The somber season of Lent seems to last forever (40 days, not counting the six Sundays), but the joyful season of Easter lasts even longer (49 days).  Eastertide, or the Easter Season commemorates the 40 days that the risen Christ remained on earth:

He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. (Acts 1:3)

Then comes His ascension, also considered part of Easter, and a total of nine more days when He is at the right hand of the Father.  The fiftieth day after His resurrection is Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon His Church, beginning a new season, the time of the Church.   [Read more…]

“Can there be any day but this?”


Easter
by George Herbert
    RISE heart ;  thy Lord is risen.  Sing his praise
Without delayes,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise :
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more just.Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long :
Or since all music is but three parts vied,
And multiplied ;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

I got me flowers to straw thy way ;
I got me boughs off many a tree :
But thou wast up by break of day,
And brought’st thy sweets along with thee.
Engraving
The Sunne arising in the East,
Though he give light, and th’ East perfume ;
If they should offer to contest
With thy arising, they presume.

Can there be any day but this,
Though many sunnes to shine endeavour ?
We count three hundred, but we misse :
There is but one, and that one ever.

Source: George Herbert. Easter.


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