Sacrament Theology

Strong Magic Takes Blood

Prolegomena 1. “You’re a pastor,” my new friend says as we sit down, “and you’re a massage therapist. How does that work?” To her, Christianity implies stuffy ideology, a disregard of the physical. A Christian massage therapist is an oddity; a pastor massage therapist is nearly a contradiction in terms. I understand her incredulity; in […]

Read more

Baptism Impasse: Baptists vs. Presbyterians

Is Christian baptism given to believers only or to believers and their children? That’s the question that must be answered—but only if you’re Baptist or Presbyterian. That’s how the question is framed between these two denominations in this dispute, and it’s along these lines the debate unfolds as each side has their biblical verses and […]

Read more

God, Gift, Sacrament

Salvation is a gift. The righteousness of justification (Romans 5:17) and eternal life (Romans 6:23) are gifts freely offered. According to Risto Saarinen (God and the Gift), “God is directly called the giver 104 times [in Scripture], of which 42 are in John’s Gospel and John’s Letters. In addition to these, the so-called divine passive […]

Read more

One Body and One Loaf: Eucharistic Unity Through the Theology of St. Bonaventure

I have many Roman Catholic friends. Leading from my time at Saint Louis University and continuing through various scholarly engagements I often get an opportunity to discuss history and theology with Roman Catholics who are very well educated in their tradition and practice, some of whom are leading scholars in their fields. In these conversations […]

Read more

Fattening Our Suffering

In his post asking Ought we Anoint the Dying? Peter Leithart makes an excellent and important point about our suffering as members of Christ. However, he only parenthetically mentions that the verb in question in James 5 is not chrio but aleipho. By assuming that these words are interchangeable, I think he misses an important aspect of what is accomplished […]

Read more

Jesus Eats First

At the church I pastor, we have four servers who distribute the communion elements to the congregation, and I distribute the elements to those in the foyer and nursery. The servers and I do not partake of the bread and wine until the congregation is served first. As this has developed, the servers eat while […]

Read more

Machiavellian Politics and the Idol Ceremony

Shakespeare wrote two tetrologies of English history, patriotically celebrating the Tudor monarchy by recounting its chaotic prehistory. Read in chronological order, Shakespeare’s English histories trace the depressing collapse of medieval politics, from the ineffectual but dignified medieval kingdom of Richard II, through the usurpation of Henry Bolingbroke, later Henry IV, the reign of Henry V, […]

Read more