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Chicago’s Archbishop Cupich’s Response to the Supreme Court’s Ruling

bioIn my post yesterday I referenced the response of some conservative Christian ministers and leaders to the Supreme Court ruling on marriage announced last week. A Chicago news report noted that Archbishop Blasé J. Cupich, on Sunday, July 5, urged Chicago’s Catholics to adopt “mature and serene reflections as we move forward together.” Cupich noted that the Court’s decision had “redefined civil marriage.” He also said that the Catholic Church has “an abiding concern for the dignity of gay persons.” But, he added, “It is also important to stress that the Supreme Court’s redefinition of civil marriage has no bearing on the Catholic Sacrament of Matrimony in which the marriage of man and woman is a sign of the union of Christ and the Church. In upholding our traditional concept of marriage, we are called to support those who have entered into this sacred and loving bond with God and each other.”

Can you not see the striking difference in both wording and tone in the archbishop’s response and that of stridently conservative evangelicals and Catholics in other parts

The Lord’s Supper: A Roman Catholic and Reformed Evangelical Dialog (Video)

Who should participate in the Lord’s Supper? How frequently should we observe it? What does this meal mean? What happens when we eat the bread and drink from the cup? What do Christians disagree about and what do they hold in common? These and other questions are explored in my book, Understanding Four Views of the Lord’s Supper. 51Uh-nniC6L._AA160_This volume in the Counterpoints series from Zondervan allows four contributors to make a case for the following views: • Baptist view (memorialism) • Reformed view (spiritual presence) • Lutheran view (consubstantiation) • Roman Catholic view (transubstantiation) All contributors use Scripture to present their views, and each responds to the others’ essays. This book helps readers arrive at their own conclusions. It includes resources such as a listing of statements on the Lord’s Supper from creeds and confessions, quotations from noted Christians, a resource listing of books on the Lord’s Supper, and discussion questions for each chapter to facilitate small group and classroom use.

After this book was published in 2007 I engaged with my friend Fr. Thomas Baima in a

S. Truett Cathy: RIP – What Can the Church Learn from the Same-Sex Debate?

Unknown-3Last Thursday I noted the passing of the controversial Irish Presbyterian minister, Rev. Ian Paisley. In the same Sunday newspaper (September 14) there was also mention of the passing, at the age of 93, of S. Truett Cathy. Cathy, as many will know by the mention of his name, is the founder and billionaire who built the famous restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A. The chain is known for many reasons, one of which is that it is closed on Sunday. The other, at least in the images and thoughts of millions who view the popular culture, is the amazingly funny commercials that are aired on television with cows telling us why we should “Eat More Chikin.”

Cathy opened his first restaurant in an Atlanta suburb in 1946. His boneless chicken sandwich would propel the franchise to more than 1,800 outlets in 39 states. By 2013 the company said that its annual sales topped $5 billion. The company is family-owned thus it is the Cathy family who seem poised to continue to hold to the core values that their father promoted. Cathy’s personal fortune

Divorce, Remarriage and the Insights of Deep Ecumenism

One of the enduring problems that all churches face is how to deal with the moral and ecclesial questions related to divorce and remarriage. The most obvious difficulties have ensued in the Catholic Church due to its interpretation of Matthew 19 as a prohibition against all divorce. Here Jesus very clearly speaks about divorce but the understanding of this text has presented no small problem for Christian interpretation.

Our Lord says:

When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. Large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.

Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause? He answered, “Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” They

The Divine Interpretation of Christ’s Death

twelve-thumbAs I have been working my way through writing the first draft of my book, Our Love Is Too Small, I have confessed that nothing draws us more deeply into the love of God than the death of Christ “for our sins.” I have also suggested that theories of the atonement often get in the way of our experiencing the death of Christ at the very core of our soul.

A friend suggested last week that I read a chapter in the famous A.B. Bruce book, The Training of the Twelve (1871), and see what he had to say about the death of Christ and the love of God. In a chapter titled “In Memoriam; Or, Fourth Lesson on the Doctrine of the Cross,” A.B. Bruce says:

Besides commemorating Christ’s death (“This do in remembrance of me”), the rite of the Supper is used to interpret the Lord’s death. He says the eucharist throws important light on the meaning of the solemn event. The institution of this symbolic feast was in fact the most important contribution made by

Living in Jesus Is Unity

7It is incredibly encouraging to read the moving words of Pope Francis on Christian unity that were given to a general audience last week at the Vatican.

Yesterday, I asked how Pope Francis could speak of unity with various other Christians, especially evangelicals, when the Catholic Church confesses itself to be the one, true church. Today I offer my commentary on the first major portion of the pope’s address. Here is what he said:

The image of the body helps us to understand this deep Church-Christ bond, which St. Paul has developed especially in the First Letter to the Corinthians (cf. chap. 12). First, the body brings our attention to a living reality. The Church is not a charitable, cultural or political association, but a living body, that walks and acts in history. And this body has a head, Jesus, who guides, feeds and supports it. This is a point I want to emphasize: if the head is separated from the rest of the body, the whole person cannot survive. So it is in the Church, we

My Journey (4): First Communion

I will always remember several things about the church building that I worshiped in while I was growing up in Lebanon at First Baptist Church. First, I remember that the sanctuary seemed so large to me as a child when it was actually a medium-sized church. (Baptists called this place we gathered in the auditorium, so far as I remember. I was always put off by that terminology. As I got older I became more sure as to why I found this term off-putting.) Second, I remember the Sunday, in my teen years, when our sanctuary was destroyed by fire early one Sunday morning. The fire began in an old furnace system under the choir loft. Thankfully the fire began before anyone had arrived that Lord’s Day. We worshiped in the parking lot that day. I’ll never forget it as long as I live! Third, I remember counting the lights (and tiles) in the ceiling when I was a child. I also remember trying to figure out what the few images in the building meant, what

Should the Church Gather for the Unchurched?

Marino.matt_webWhen I was in Phoenix in Arizona I met Rev. Matthew Marino. Matt is the Episcopal Canon of Arizona for Youth and Adult Ministries. He serves out of the diocesan office in Phoenix, where we met for the first time in November last year. We had a delightful time and connected very easily. 

Matt has 30 years experience leading youth ministry in a variety of contexts (rural, suburban and urban) and across the economic and ethnic continuum. He has developed a variety of training programs including the two-year Youth Ministry Apprenticeship training for full-time youth directors, curriculums for Young Life's multi-ethnic Student-Staff and volunteers, and the Remuda Ranch Center Aftercare Recovery Workbook. He has a Master’s in Educational Leadership from Arizona State University and was a member of Fuller Theological Seminary's first Urban Youth Ministry Cohort. Matt is Canon for Youth and Young Adults, leads the YMA training and a church plant team at St. Jude's, Phoenix. Matt's passion

By |February 13th, 2012|Categories: Liturgy, Sacraments, The Church|

I Am the Bread of Life

One of the most transforming passages in the whole of Scripture is John 6. I have lived here for several years. There is no way for me to adequately explain how this text has worked its way into my soul but it has and there is no mistake about the spiritual reality. 

I no longer "debate" the various ways that Christians explain the Lord's Supper. I find the entire debate unprofitable. If you ask me, "Is this Christ body and blood?" then my answer is uncategorically affirmative. If you ask me to "define" what this means and how this happens then I have no earthly idea. I also believe that you can make no sense whatsoever out of John 6 by denying that these words and Christ's intention here are related to the Eucharistic life that we share with Christ in the Bread and the Wine. 

If you want to debate this then I have no interest. If you want to share in this mystery by faith then you are quite likely to

By |February 10th, 2012|Categories: Jesus, Sacraments, The Church|

"A Bible and a Radio, But No Church"

One of the leading evangelical and ecumenical theologians of our time is Thomas C. Oden. Tom turned 80 last fall and continues to write magnificent works that serve the wider catholic community. He has provided the church with a fresh treasure of magnificent written work that will survive him by decades. You can sample something of Tom's story, a story of of how he turned away from theological liberalism in particular, in an online article that is well worth reading. 

I have had the privilege of knowing Tom for the past ten years-plus, though we are not extremely close as friends. We have served together in one specific ministry context which allowed us to talk and share several times in private. I count Tom among my Top Ten modern Christian thinkers and writers. In an aticle in Christianity Today, published in 2011, Tom wrote:

Thomas_OdenChrist promised the early church the Spirit, who came on the first

By |January 23rd, 2012|Categories: Sacraments, Social Networking, The Church|
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