Church and State Part Four: The Reformation

This is the fourth and last installation of a series of articles in which I present my view of church history with a focus on the relationship between church and state. In my last article, I covered the middle ages. Today I cover the Reformation. Because excommunication was being used so much as a punishment inflicted by man rather than an edict given by God through man, the tide of Protestantism came about in the sixteenth century. The frustrations so many devout church members who disagreed with the corruption and abuse of the church—particularly from the papacy—fermented for many years … Continue reading “Church and State Part Four: The Reformation”

“I am not broken”: Rethinking a Christian Presentation of the Gospel

She spoke a language I could not understand. Standing a few inches taller than me, with dark hair tied up in a tight ponytail and her arms crossed, this young, bright poli sci student looked me in the eye and said, “I feel so sorry for you.” I gaped. The smile that accompanied these words signalled pity, but not, I thought to myself angrily, compassion. We stood by a table in the library hall. My apologetics team had propped up a poster with the question of the day (“Is religion poison to the world?”), and my new friend, attracted by … Continue reading ““I am not broken”: Rethinking a Christian Presentation of the Gospel”

Law: Equally Weapon and Tool

For nearly two months, there have been large waves of lawlessness and establishment in the United States. Today, then, I wanted to look at the nature of governance from a biblical perspective. From my interpretation of the Bible, I look at the law as fundamentally neutral. Christ makes a clear distinction between giving to Caesar and giving to God. Caesar is absolutely subordinate to God, but those pursuits of Caesar’s government run neither contrary to nor towards those of the Kingdom of Heaven. Pontius Pilate’s ultimate goal was to keep the peace throughout Israel; while he found no faults with … Continue reading “Law: Equally Weapon and Tool”

Augustine’s Answer to the Problem of Evil

The problem of evil, known as theodicy, has led many to doubt God’s goodness and existence. Theodicy has come up again and again throughout history, and most major theologians will deal with it at one time or another. While there are many ways thinkers have gone about answering the question, few do it as well as Augustine. Augustine lived a life afflicted by this question. He spent years not fully embracing Christ because of his doubts. While Aquinas provides a useful, and in my opinion correct, analysis of the problem, Augustine lived it. Augustine speaks of how his conscience chides … Continue reading “Augustine’s Answer to the Problem of Evil”

Church and State Part Three: Popes and Kings

Henry IV waiting outside the gates of Canossa Castle whilst ecclesiastical leaders jeer from inside the castle walls. Captions read "Henricus 4 Emperour Waiting 3 dayes upon Pope Gregory 7. Image of Antichrist." Woodcut from Acts and Monuments (1570)

This is the third installation in a series of articles in which I present my view of church history with a focus on the relationship between church and state. In my last article, I covered the caesaropapism. Today I cover the middle ages, the Holy Roman Empire, and the papacy. In my next and last installation, I will cover the reformation. By no means does this series provide a comprehensive history. This article covering the middle ages does not even mention Charlemagne, Pepin’s reforms, Wycliffe, or the Hussites. Rather, I have chosen to focus on a small number of events … Continue reading “Church and State Part Three: Popes and Kings”

Fourth of July Special

I understand that people across the nation are concerned, and it’s good to lighten the mood in abysmally dark times. So today, in celebration of the Fourth of July tomorrow, I want to highlight the good in America. For obvious reasons, the United States was never mentioned in the Bible, but the United States encompasses a lot of what Israel was intended to be. The nation of Israel was part of God’s covenant with Abraham, that He would make an innumerable nation through his servant, but the excuse presented to Pharaoh for the exodus of the Israelites was “that [God’s … Continue reading “Fourth of July Special”

On God’s Hiddenness

The existence of God is not obvious. We often feel that we ought to encounter God himself—or at least tangible, overt evidence—if he truly exists. Many ask why God does not make himself more clearly known. Could he not write a message in the sky, or speak as an answer to prayer, or come like a thunderclap to display his power? In the midst of great trial even a Christian often feels, “a door slammed in your face […] After that, silence” rather than a reassuring presence of God. [1] It is a question I sympathize deeply with. I do … Continue reading “On God’s Hiddenness”

A Manual for Catholics on How to Dialogue with Orthodox Christians

Orthodox convo

I thought I would write a fun article that, while it contains some pearls of truth, is largely meant to tease Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians. Enjoy! Many a Catholic has gone through their entire lives without knowing what the Orthodox Christian is. For some, the word “Orthodox” often should be followed with the category of “Jew!” For other Catholics, Orthodox Christians are that weird combination of far east mysticism and Christianity, complete with bearded priests in smoke filled rooms (straight from Woodstock I suspect). For still other Catholics, Orthodox Christians were just fun people to go on Crusades with … Continue reading “A Manual for Catholics on How to Dialogue with Orthodox Christians”

Church and State Part Two: Caesaropapism

This is the second installation in a series of articles in which I present my view of church history with a focus on the relationship between church and state. In my last article, I covered the early church. Today I cover Constantine and caesaropapism. In the next installation, I will cover conflicts between monarchs and popes of the middle ages. As soon as the church gained a foothold into the government through Constantine, its dynamic with the state became much more complicated. While a government could be opposed to the church, the church could still have an important and necessary … Continue reading “Church and State Part Two: Caesaropapism”

The Case for Space

There are a great many things to discuss this week, but the best thing I can talk about, somewhat like the event itself, is a brief distraction. I found the SpaceX launch to be both exhilarating and exciting. Today, then, I want to argue why humanity should pursue space travel, from a biblical perspective. An initial look at the Bible with regards to space will need clarification. Deuteronomy 4:19 warns the nation of Israel against being “lured away” by looking at the Sun and other stars. The Old Testament warns against those who place their haunches amongst the heavens, and … Continue reading “The Case for Space”