Monthly Archives: June 2014

  • Filioque – “And the Son”, Part 1

    With the Nicene Creed we confess concerning the Holy Spirit that “we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son…” It all seems innocuous enough, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t believe that? What if I told you that it was the words at the end there, “and the Son,” that lead to the greatest schism the church has ever experienced? In fact, it was over those three little words, “and the Son,” filioque in Latin (pronounced either fil-e-o-kwhey or fil-e-o-kwa), that the church split into Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox. Hence, these words and the ensuing controversy are famously referred to as the filioque clause. The West embraced the clause and the East rejected. Why bring it up here? For a couple reasons. First, because I am reading a book … Read More »

  • Presbyterianism, part 5

    Last week, all four of our pastors went to Houston for our annual General Assembly (GA). General Assembly is the worldwide gathering of our church and the place where we do denominational business. Much of the business is bureaucratic necessities that need no mention here. But there were a few items before us at the denominational level that are worth making known to you.

    One issue that has come up in recent years and again this year is the request of some in the denomination for clarification concerning the role of women in the church, specifically on providing safe guards when ordained men come in from other denominations that allow for women elders.

    A major issue that has come up this year is the need to safeguard and protect the children of the church. Everyone knows about the scandal in the Roman … Read More »

  • Trinity Sunday

    My heart is heavy about this Sunday. Across America Christians will gather for worship and be met with motorcycles and hot rods. They will honor fathers and hear sermons about something related to Father’s Day. In a word, for many Christians across America today will be a day in which the worship of God is shaped more by the cultural calendar than the church calendar. And this is where it gets particularly troubling. Today is Trinity Sunday. Today is the day on the church calendar when we pause to remember in a very pointed way our God who exists in Triunity.

    On Trinity Sunday millions of Christians across the world will recite the Athanasian Creed. We are Christians and our faith extends beyond our seas so we will join them. The Athanasian Creed was not written by Athanasius, though it bears … Read More »

  • Presbyterianism, Part 4

    Thus far we have surveyed the three major forms of church polity other than our own: Erastianism, Congregationalism, Episcopalianism. Erastianism and Episcopalianism represented a hierarchical approach to church polity, with the authority of the local church residing somewhere outside of itself. Congregationalism, on the other hand, vests the local church with all and absolute authority, with no authority anywhere outside of the local congregation.

    This week we come to our own polity. In some ways, as we will see in the weeks to come, Presbyterian polity is a hybrid of these three. There are some hints of hierarchy, with a real authority outside of the local congregation to which the church can appeal and there is real authority in the local church possessed by the elders as representatives of the congregation.

    Sketching the grammar, it will be helpful to note that Presbyterianism … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog