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Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 | 2 comments

The Nicene Creed: “…who spoke by the prophets.”

The Nicene Creed: “…who spoke by the prophets.”

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series Next post >>   “…who spoke by the prophets.”   Semi-Arian, Pneumatomachian, Spirit fighters. These titles designate a heretical sect that emerged in the fourth-century whose followers denied the divinity of the Spirit. As Alex outlined in his introductory post, the Nicene Creed underwent a two-part development, the first in 325 and the second in 381. One of the important developments of the Creed in 381 regards the proclamation about the Holy Spirit: 325: And in the Holy Ghost. 381: And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father [and the Son]; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. As can be seen, the 381 additions emphasizes the full divinity of the Holy Spirit as the third-person of the Trinity. But why the addition of “who spoke by the prophets?” In 379, Gregory of Nazianzus was...

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Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 | 3 comments

The Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God…”

The Nicene Creed: “We believe in one God…”

**This post is part of a series reflecting on the Nicene Creed** << Previous post View series Next post >>   We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. The catalyst for the Nicene Creed, as Alex detailed in his introductory post, was the question: WHO IS THE SON OF GOD? To enter into this historical discussion is to wade into a truly complicated and often descriptively oversimplified discussion of the Christological debate in the early Church.[1] The central question revolved around the issue of the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God—was the Son a divine soul embedded within a human body? a moral exemplar, the best of what it is to be human but not divine? a divine person who only appeared to be human, but was not? To begin the creed with the affirmation of one God, Father, and Creator, might appear at first glance to be concerned with something other...

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Posted by on Dec 6, 2014 | 8 comments

Are there really “different ways” of interpreting the Bible?

Are there really “different ways” of interpreting the Bible?

I want to make an observation about many (not all) of the contemporary controversies surrounding biblical interpretation. I don’t mean historical debates (such as when Paul wrote Galatians or whether John the Baptist was Essene), I mean the application end: what to conclude from the Bible about how Christians should live their lives. When we say “there are different ways of interpreting the Bible” we often imagine that these alternatives sit alongside one another, like flavours of ice-cream or paths at a fork in the road. We frame the debate in terms of “whether the Bible says X or Y” about a certain topic. But this way of picturing different interpretations of the Bible doesn’t capture what goes on for the majority of hot topics in today’s Christian world. Consider this list: Should women be silent in church? Did creation take six literal days? Is there such a place as hell? Is Jesus really God? Is church leadership only for men? Is homosexual marriage sinful? Should women wear head...

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Posted by on Mar 27, 2014 | 5 comments

Two Voices Calling: Tradition and Atheism

Two Voices Calling: Tradition and Atheism

There are two major intellectual motifs I encounter at seminaries and theological institutions: engaging more with the tradition and becoming an atheist. When faced with the cacophony of voices that represent theology’s history, students often find themselves down roads they never thought they’d travel. Sometimes the dissonance leads them to Catholicism or Orthodoxy, other times it leads them to sultry post-Christian philosophers writing on the topics of Being, beauty, and the Other. Thus, many young theologians and biblical scholars sit somewhere between committed faith and an orientation toward nothingness, peering at once into both. They hear a call from two  voices: one is an ancient tradition with liturgy, rituals, and a robust theology that demands both intellectual rigor and radical faith; the other is an atheism that finds despair a normal orientation toward the world, and yet, balanced with a sort of hopeful hopelessness grounded on beauty and love. These young scholars are a Janus, one face seeking a glimpse of the divine, the other peering into the void....

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Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 | 2 comments

On Forgetting Our Many Horizons

On Forgetting Our Many Horizons

Sometimes Christians run the danger of creating too much of an epistemological gap between the “us” (Christian) and the “them” (secular). This danger is often done as a reaction to belonging to an intellectual culture that seeks to deny all mystery for the sake of clarity. To name the danger is to say that sometimes we deny what we share in our humanity when we try to make room for the divine in our midst. I want to argue that we see this not just in radical fundamentalist arguments that deny the intellectual pursuit in matters of faith, but also in intelligent arguments, say, about apologetics. This past week Many Horizons has posed and offered responses to the question “Is Apologetics Dead?” As Lance highlighted, the journey to faith cannot be understood simply as a logical progression. There are elements of encountering God that can be understood only experientially. These are aspects that fall outside of the intellect and fit best in Marion’s concept of “over-saturated phenomena.” These phenomena,...

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