Tag: church history

Christian Humanist Profiles 175: The Story of Creeds and Confessions

Throughout her long history, Christ’s Church has been united and divided by words. For that reason, our creeds and confessions often have mixed reputations: they are the pure apostolic tradition; they are ephemera of a political moment; they are hammers against heretics; they are manifestos for schism. These reputations reflect the complex relationship that our…

Christian Humanist Profiles 168: Quest for the Historical Apostles

After His resurrection, Jesus called His eleven remaining disciples and gave them a mission: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:19) With this Great Commission, the…

Christian Humanist Profiles 119: Saint Columban and His Rule

In 590 AD, seven years before Augustine of Canterbury would venture over to Britain, St. Columban crossed the channel the other direction to Gaul. Columban was an Irish monk, a scholar of Bangor Abbey, that great center of monastic learning. With faithful companions, he set out on a mission to spread the Irish monastic way…

Christian Humanist Profiles 108: The Mestizo Augustine

Augustine of Hippo was one of the Fathers of Western Christianity, a Doctor of the Church. No theologian was more widely revered in medieval Europe, and his thought continues to be foundational in both the Roman Catholic and Protestant traditions. But Augustine wasn’t European, and only half Roman, and his Christianity was as blended as…

Christian Humanist Profiles 98: Icons in the Western Church

The difference between Eastern and Western traditions of Christianity is made visible by many marks, but none more distinctly than the Eastern icon. Their regular visual style, following ancient and set patterns, pulls against the instinct of Western art toward originality and novelty. The responses they evoke from Eastern Christians push beyond what Western sensibilities…

Christian Humanist Profiles 89: Medieval Wisdom for Modern Christians

For a while now, there’s been in American Evangelicalism a growing sense that not all is well, that we have drifted, that we have lost touch with our world and ourselves. In our time, as in other times of instability, Jeremiahs have emerged, calling us “to ask for the old paths” (Jer. 6:16)—to seek the…

Christian Humanist Profiles 64: Augustine on the Christian Life

On August 28, 430 AD, as a Vandal army lay in siege around his beloved city, Bishop Augustine of Hippo Regius died and left Christendom a legacy. In the centuries that followed, this legacy profoundly shaped the Western Church, for he bequeathed to her large books with even larger ideas—from the depths of sin to…

Christian Humanist Profiles 60: The Story of Monasticism

For most American Evangelicals, monasticism is a closed book, little understood, and appreciated even less. Yet throughout most of Christian history, East and West, and even today, monasticism has been a prominent alternative expression of lived Christianity. Monasticism, then, isn’t really a closed book, or even a different book—it’s a chapter that we skip! In…

Christian Humanist Profiles 55: The Pastor as Public Theologian

“Feed my sheep,” Christ commanded Peter, and Peter passed on that command to others: “shepherd the flock of God that is among you … [so that] when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” The pastor’s duty is serious business, and its stakes mount to the heights of Christian eschatology.…

Stop with the Nicene Creed? A (Brief) Further Reflection on Heresy

In last week’s episode (number 31) of the podcast, one of our discussions related to doctrine and dogma had to do with the category of heresy, one that Michial and I disagreed on (as we did, if I remember right, in last year’s follow-up episode on Emergent and the New Calvinism).  As I remember both…

Hobbits, Monsters, and Augustine

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. And so he did: Bilbo Baggins, that is. However, the opening sentence of Tolkien’s story could just as easily describe another hobbit–a girl hobbit, who is now referred to be the name “Flo”. Unlike Bilbo’s hole, Flo’s hole was indeed nasty, dirty, and wet–a muddy…

St. Chad the Pedestrian

So, another week, another feast for an Anglo-Saxon saint: February 2, the Feast of St. Chad. Don’t remember Chad? Oh, surely you recall those obnoxious little flecks of paper in the hotly contested presidential election of 2000, the chads? Dimpled chads, hanging chads, swinging chads, pregnant chads: so much hinged on what amounted, materially speaking,…