Exorcising a whole country

Roman Catholic archbishops and exorcists met together to conduct an “Exorcismo Magno,” with the purpose of casting the demons out of the entire country of Mexico.  Read this on whether to exorcise the United States. [Read more…]

Aussie Lutherans vote not to ordain women

The Lutheran Church of Australia once again voted NOT to ordain women. [Read more…]

Greek soteriology?

I stumbled upon this post from 2012 on The Old Jamestown Church, a “Classical Anglican” blog, written by an ex-Orthodox, now Anglican, priest on the issues Westerners considering Orthodoxy would need to deal with.  I don’t want to stir anything up with my Orthodox friends and readers, but the author made an intriguing point–bolstered by a quotation from the distinguished church historian Alister McGrath–that I wanted to run past you for your thoughts.

He said that the Early Church worked out the important theological foundations of the Trinity and Christology.  But the next important question, soteriology–how we are saved–was not, at first, fully resolved in the same way.  St. Augustine did the heavy lifting, but the issue was still being worked out through the Middle Ages, culminating in the Reformation.  But the Greek churches were already going their own way, mostly rejecting Augustine’s work, and favoring a Hellenized take on the Hebrew Scriptures.  As a result, he says, Orthodox soteriology is very different from Western soteriology, whether Roman Catholic or Protestant.

Read the excerpt after the jump.  Can anyone speak to whether this analysis of church history is valid?  Are these differences exaggerated?  Is there a way any such differences can be reconciled, such as the effects of Baptism and Holy Communion?  Where does the “Finnish School” of Luther studies, which says that Luther advocated a kind of theosis consistent with Orthodoxy, fit into this debate? [Read more…]

Report from Denmark

Hej.  That’s a Danish word pronounced “hi.”  It means “hi.”  We’re really enjoying Denmark.  Yesterday I gave two lectures sponsored by the conservative theological faculty at the University of Aarhus.

My topic went something like this:  In our increasingly secularist postmodern times, the objective world has been drained of God and thus drained of meaning.  This was due not only to the science of the Enlightenment, but also to theological movements that relocated Christianity from the realm of objective truth to “the heart.”  As a result God (along with meaning) is thought of as an abstract or mystical concept or as an inner personal experience.  The physical realm of ordinary life has little religious significance, either for unbelievers or for believers.  This, however, comes at a cost.  I then argued that Lutheran spirituality can help bring back the significance of the physical realm.  I used as examples Lutheran Christology–the emphasis on God incarnate in the human being Jesus, who took the world’s evils and sufferings into Himself on the Cross; His manifestation in the water of Baptism and the bread and wine of Holy Communion; and God’s presence in ordinary human vocation. [Read more…]

Niebuhr on racism

More from Barton Swaim’s review of the Library of America’s new edition of the works of Reinhold Niebuhr, giving the theologian’s analysis of racism. [Read more…]

Christian, Christian-influenced, and anti-Christian

Ross Douthat, a Catholic columnist for the New York Times, has written about the difference between some of the various strains of orthodox Christianity and the various heresies that are still in the Christian orbit (including what he calls “Americanized Christianity”).  Then there is Christian influence, which can even be seen in people who reject Christianity.  But at some point, as we are starting to see, there is a mindset and a culture that are utterly devoid of anything Christian.  Please read his whole essay, but I quote how he finishes after the jump. [Read more…]