Does God the Father Suffer?

Fred thinks so, and I agree, in spite of the heresy of Patripassianism:

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in the Trinity, in one God in three persons. This is a historically Christian way of talking and thinking about God. It’s a helpful and insightful metaphor. And it’s a metaphor that can be supported by several passages in the Bible. But it’s not actually a biblical metaphor. It’s something that Christians have, for many centuries, laid on top of the scriptures, but it was never something we found there in any explicit form.

Set aside all the whole Monster Manual of traditional heresies and heretical -isms, where theology often starts to get into trouble is when we elevate our metaphors about God and begin worshiping and serving those metaphors rather than worshiping and serving God.

[Read more...]

Behold a Wondrous Mystery

St. John Chrysostom (347-407)

I am posting this on Christmas Eve. Snow is falling, and I’m listening to the live broadcast of the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols from King’s College, Cambridge. I won’t be reading blogs on Christmas Day, and I’m guessing that many of you will not either. It is my Christmas tradition to post the first known Christmas sermon. A blessed Christmas to you and yours.

John “Golden Mouth” Chrysostom preached the first known Christmas sermon in AD 386 (the same year that Augustine converted to Christianity — what a year!).  In this case, the first is the best.  It both beautifully written and theologically profound. How I would have loved to have heard him deliver it!  I commend it for your reading in the next couple of days.

BEHOLD a new and wondrous mystery. My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn.  The Angels sing.  The Archangels blend their voice in harmony.  The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise.  The Seraphim exalt His glory.  All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven.  He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised.

[Read more...]

God Must Have Preferred the Roman Empire [Questions That Haunt]

Questions That Haunt Christianity

This week’s Question That Haunts comes from Judy:

I grew up in the church, though I don’t go any more. I’ve always wondered, of all times and all places, why Jesus? Why first century Palestine? I mean, if God was going to incarnate himself in just one human beings of all the billions of human beings who’ve lived, why a first century peasant carpenter. I remember Sunday school teachers giving us some answers for this when I was a kid, but I always found them unsatisfying. Do Christians believe there was something uniquely special about that time and place?

Thanks, Judy, for this question, just in time for Christmas.

It’s interesting that the comments from the original post immediately went to the question of incarnation. But that’s not really Judy’s question. (It is, however, the question of the latest #progGOD ChallengeWhy an Incarnation?) Judy’s question is theological, but it’s not a question about why there’s an incarnation, it’s a question of why God preferred that time and place for the all-important incarnation of himself. Here’s my take.

[Read more...]

Is Rob a Christian? [Questions That Haunt]

Questions That Haunt Christianity

Rob gave us a great Question that Haunts Christianity that has generated hundreds of comments:

Hey Tony. I will try to make this short… I was raised in the church, became a youth leader in my early 20s, then a worship pastor/elder, then a staff deacon at a large church. Almost three years ago, my family and I walked away, with no plans on returning to “the church.” I don’t intellectually assent to any of the things that orthodox Christians are supposed to (i.e. the Trinity, the physical resurrection of Jesus, etc.). I don’t read my Bible very often. I never pray. But, I cannot escape the cultural influence that Christianity has had upon me, and it’s very difficult for me to think outside of that framework. I also try to embody the trajectory of Jesus’ life (the way of love) in my life every day. And, I think that his way is – universally – the best way to live. Do I still have “the right” to call myself a Christian?

Rob, I appreciate your participation in the comments of the original post, and even that you let me off the hook on your own blog. Your question is the most personal one that I’ve tackled thus far, and here’s why:

[Read more...]


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X