Ransomed the Captives

Last week, the U.S. experienced the horiffic tragedy of the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. It was a grevious day for for many Americans, but especially for the family, friends, and fellow parishioners of the victims. The media has been helpful in some ways and unhelpful in other ways. One…

Defending Orthodoxy

One of my favorite early Christian leaders is Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon, a city in modern-day France. Tradition indicates that Irenaeus was a “spiritual grandson” of John the Evangelist. It is beleived that Irenaeus was born around 130 CE in Smyrna (modern-day Turkey) and trained under the leadership of Polycarp, bishop of Lyon, who was…

History on the Side

As you might notice, the title of my blog is Jesus at the Center. However, it occurred to me this week that I am rarely writing specifically about Jesus. I largely attribute that to a change in my interests and foci in the writing. When I began this blog, I wanted to focus primarily on…

A Great Story without a Happy Ending

This post is an incredible story that ends with a less-than-happy ending. This is a story that many people do not know, but it truly worth retelling. This is the third post in a series looking at Christian leaders who did not give up in the midst of significant challenges. The person of interest in…

Easter Origins

This is a brief bonus post. Next week, I will focus on Saint Boniface and his mission to Germany. But today while I am still thinking about the Anglo-Saxons I want to briefly talk about Easter. One of the things that people see as either a strength or flaw of Pope Gregory I and Augustine…

The First Anglicans

Anglican |an•gli•can| adj. or n. Of, relating to, or denoting the Church of England or any Church in communion with it. A member of any of the Anglican Churches. Origin: Early 17th century: from medieval Latin Anglicanus (its adoption suggested by Anglicana ecclesia ‘the English church’ in the Magna Carta), from Anglicus, from Angli. — Oxford…

What if St. Patrick Had Given Up?

So often throughout church history, we highlight the stories of great successes, but we don’t always highlight the stories of great failure—unless we want to paint someone in a bad light. We do tell stories of great triumphs in the midst of great challenges and these make incredible stories! I have been thinking about some…

Scattered?

Have you ever read the story of the Tower of Babel and been utterly confused? You should have been—it’s a confusing story. You can find it in Genesis 11:1–9 and I would encourage you to read it and think about each and every verse you come across. Here’s a quick reminder… The whole world had…

Mutuality & Authority

I am currently working on a research project highlighting the similarities and differences between the early Methodist Episcopal Church and the modern multisite church planting movement. I actually believe the models share a great deal of similarities, but they do have distinct differences. One of the reasons that they both share significant similarities are due…

Giving Up Pacifism

In a post I made a few months ago I mentioned that I would eventually be looking at: “Mainstream Christianity’s move away from pacifism.” Unfortunately, this was a poor choice of wording, because mainstream Christianity has never fully embraced pacifism since the apostolic period prior to Constantine’s acquisition of Christianity. In this post, I want to…

Jesus Descended Where?

Have you ever spoken the following words? I believe… and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Born of the Virgin Mary, Suffered under Pontius Pilate, Was crucified, dead, and buried: He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead; He ascended into…

Jesus: Single or Married?

Was Jesus married? This is a question that puzzles many people and has for many centuries. Stories such as The Da Vinci Code create a narrative that imply that Jesus could have been married. However, we can’t find any passages of Scripture that seem to indicate that Jesus was married. I believe it is a…