On Trinity Sunday the church confesses her faith using the Athanasian creed. Ok, some churches do. Full disclosure: not many churches use the Athanasian creed any more. In fact, some Christians have never heard of nor read the Athanasian creed (which is, by the way, like an American never reading or hearing of the constitution, but I digress). The reason? If you are reading this before worship, you will see in just a minute; if reading this after worship, you now know why. The Athanasian creed is bulkier and more cumbersome than its ecumenical counterparts. In a word, it takes more effort and work for a congregation to get through together. The marginalization of this creed is unfortunate. It is a fantastic document, one that Luther regarded as “the most important and glorious composition since the days of the apostles,” … Read More »
Pentecost means “fiftieth day” and is the church’s celebration of the day when the eleven apostles and others were given the Holy Spirit, fifty days after Jesus’ resurrection. Sometimes Pentecost is referred to as the birthdate of the church. While admittedly a bit trite and even cheesy, this does get at something important. Pentecost is ecclesiological in its focus. That is, Pentecost is primarily a day for us to celebrate the church as a corporate community. This is really interesting, at least to me, because in the past whenever I thought of Pentecost, I had always thought of the Holy Spirit or of the personal ministry of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life or of a Pentecostal believer who talked about the ministry of the Holy Spirit. But after becoming reformed I came to understand that the Holy Spirit’s … Read More »
This sixth Sunday of Easter we continue looking into the resurrection. In the previous essay it was established that the Apostle Paul was a skeptic who changed his life because he claimed to have experienced the risen Jesus. This week we look at two facts: that skeptical James, brother of Jesus, was suddenly changed, and the empty tomb.
In the book, The Brother of Jesus: The Dramatic Story & Meaning of the First Archaeological Link to Jesus & His Family, Shanks and Witherington discuss the archaeological discovery of an ossuary (bone box) dating back to the first century with the following inscription “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus”. James, a monumental figure in the first centuries of Christianity, was the first head of the church in Jerusalem and he was a faithful, Torah-observing Jew.
The data we have for James … Read More »