Evangelical conservatives vs. Liturgical conservatives

Thomas Holgrave says that the old distinctions among conservative Christians have faded and that the new divide–evident among both Protestants and Catholics–is between what he calls “evangelical conservatives,” who are strong on doctrine, and “liturgical conservatives,” who seek a richer mode of worship.  He calls for an approach that would bring these two together.  There is such an approach.  It’s called LUTHERANISM! [Read more...]

“Radical” Christianity vs. regular Christianity

The latest thing in contemporary Christianity is “radical Christianity.”  From the Christian bestseller lists to programs in megachurches, Christians are being told that Jesus was “radical” and that they should give up their “middle class” “mediocrity” and start helping the poor.  But how is this different from just liberal mainline Protestantism?  And isn’t just another form of works-righteousness?  For all the talk of the “demands of the Gospel” (doesn’t that turn the Gospel into Law?), I don’t hear anything about the Gospel.  That is, Christ on the Cross atoning for sinners.  Some of these teachers are making valid criticisms of typical evangelicalism, it seems to me, but they are slipping into some of the same mistakes, just in a different key.  And it also reaches for the spectacular, minimizing ordinary life, a serious “theology of glory” rejection of vocation.  (After the jump, read an account from Christianity Today and give me your take on this.) [Read more...]

Leaving a vocation

In yesterday’s post about some cardinals complaining about Pope Benedict XVI leaving his calling, I asked about when it’s permissible to leave one’s vocation.  We didn’t really talk about that much, but I think it deserves consideration.  Set aside the question of the pope and let’s discuss this as it relates to the various vocations that Christians hold.  At what point should we leave a vocation for another one, and how do we know that we should do that?  First, let me give some preliminary thoughts. [Read more...]

A milestone in the decline of liberal Protestantism

The much-diminished National Council of Churches is closing its headquarters in New York City, a building that also housed the offices of the other major ecumenical Protestant denominations.  Leaving the building once  hailed as the “Protestant Vatican” and the “God Box,” the NCC is moving to Washington, D.C., where it will share an office with the Methodists.  Mark Tooley, writing in the American Spectator, reports on the move and includes some trenchant analysis of why liberal Protestantism has declined.  This is especially noteworthy since some ostensible evangelicals want to adopt the same strategy. [Read more...]

There is no pope

Pope Benedict’s resignation goes into effect today.  So, until the cardinals get together to elect a new one, there is no pope in office.  Canon law used to require a conclave to meet within 20 days of a pope’s resignation, but the outgoing pope changed that so that the cardinals can set the date whenever they want, and no date has been set yet.  So if the church of Rome can exist without a pope for 20 days and even longer, with the bishops and priests still doing what they do, I’m curious in what sense the office of the papacy is considered to be necessary. [Read more...]

What pastors do

Last Sunday at church, in addition to receiving Holy Communion as we do every week, we baptized a child and sent off one of our members to seminary.  Our pastor gave a sermon on the readings for the day–Jeremiah 16, Luke 13,  and Philippians 3–and tied them into all of those events.  You should read the whole sermon, but what he said about the life and calling of a pastor deserves to become a classic. [Read more...]


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