Lent: A Time for Conversion and Preparation

From the beginning it seems that Lent was a time for penitence. This word penitence troubles some evangelicals because they are reminded of the errors and bad teaching of the sixteenth century Catholic opponents of the Reformers. But the word penitence comes from the Latin word paenitentia, which referred to an attitude of repentance. Repentance, from the Greek word metanoia … Read More

Lent and the Development of the Catechumenate

I sometimes am drawn into discussion about immediate baptism. Based on several accounts we have in the New Testament some Christians believe that as soon as a person professes faith in Jesus Christ they should be immediately baptized. Some traditions even insist that this be done so that a person who has believed will be sealed with the baptismal water … Read More

Lent

The season of Lent ends during Holy Week. The word lent comes from Middle English and means “springtime.” In the church this period is the forty-day time before Easter, or a period of preparation to celebrate Easter. It ends with the Easter Vigil. Early in the development of this ancient tradition fasting became a part of Lent. This may have … Read More

Holy Week

Traditionally Holy Week is the week before Easter Sunday. It is also called the “Great Week” in the Eastern Churches. It includes the last days of Lent and the first days of what is commonly called the Easter Triduum. (The Triduum comes from the Latin for the “three-day period” which is the three-day celebration of the most solemn mysteries of … Read More

Storm: A Deeply Probing Film

Storm, the winner of the Amnesty International Film Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2009, is one of the finest independent foreign films I have seen in some time. It is superb for narrative story-telling which, to me, is the key to a truly great film. Hannah Maynard (Kerry Fox) is a prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal … Read More

Christians and the New World Order

Conspiracy theories abound in America. Though the mainstream media pays little or no attention to these theories, or to the figures who personally promote them, the theories are there and the people who promote them are armed and very aggressive. Most of these theorists proclaim to be Christians, a claim that is dubious in almost every serious sense of the … Read More

Confessing the Faith Faithfully

It should be apparent, if you have read my previous three posts, that confessing the faith is important business. It is not to be taken lightly by the individual or the church. Jaroslav Pelikan, in his magnum opus five volume work, The Christian Tradition, says in volume one that Christian doctrine is "what the church of Jesus Christ believes, teaches … Read More

The Imperative of Creed and Confession

With only small variations the ancient formulas of the seven ecumenical councils of the undivided church, in both the East and the West, agreed that real, saving faith was to begin with the creed of faith. The creed was not an end in itself, as if saying words made one a true Christian, but the church universally believed that the … Read More

What Place Does the Creed Have in Our Salvation?

Does confessing the Christian faith and saying openly that you believe the creed make you a Christian? The simple answer, of course, is no. But I urge you to think about this question differently. The question is not: "How much do I have to understand and believe to be saved?" The question must be framed by a text like Romans … Read More

The Importance of Creeds and Confessions to the Church

Creeds and confessions of faith have their origin in the earliest expressions of the Christian faith. They are not foreign to the Bible, as some fundamentalists and evangelicals have been prone to suggest. Their origin, said the late Jaroslav Pelikan was "in a twofold Christian imperative, to believe and to confess what one believes" (Credo, 35). The term creed comes … Read More