Monthly Archives: July 2014

  • Borders, Language, and Culture, Part 1

    Some years ago I stumbled upon a loud-mouthed political pundit whose criticism of the right and left sides of the aisle always revolved around his philosophy of the need for distinct national borders, a unified national language, and a particular culture. He suggested that when a nation dissolves her borders, does away with a common language and embraces multi-culturalism, that she is in a downward spiral which will eventually lead to her demise. His was a critique of America. I want to hijack his categories and apply them to the church.

    The church has defined borders, a distinct language and a peculiar culture. When these are threatened the church’s existence is threatened. The church’s existence is threatened when her borders are dissolved, her language lost, and her culture subsumed by another because she then fails to offer anything that is distinct … Read More »

  • Ecumenism

    John 17 has for a long time been a text used to encourage ecumenism within Christ’s church. And not without reason. The prayer of Jesus includes the petition: that they may be perfectly one (17:23). In some ways it is one of those things that looks really good on paper but is a little tricky to actually work out. History, of course, reinforces this reality. We need only to think of the filioque clause we have been studying in recent weeks or the protestant reformation to be reminded of the difficulties the church has faced in the pursuit of ecumenism. Shoot, we need only to look at our own denomination. We formed our denomination in 1973 when we split off of the liberal leaning United Presbyterian Church (now the PCUSA). We’re like a split of a split.

    Probably the most difficult … Read More »

  • Filioque Clause, Part 2

    My favorite songs are to and about the Holy Trinity. There is such a depth and richness to them. I think of Holy, Holy, Holy or Holy God We Praise Your Name or the Doxology we sing every week, or Gloria Patri – rich Trinitarian formulations of the One true God we worship and serve. Thinking and speaking about the Trinity has not always been easy for the church and it has not been without controversy. Like a child who grows mature and strong, so too, the church has learned about and refined their doctrine of the Holy Trinity throughout the centuries. The filioque clause is an excellent example of that.

    It’s important to keep in mind as we think about the Filioque clause that the West’s decision to add the phrase, “and the Son,” to the Creed and the East’s … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog