What is Christian Doctrine?

As I talked about last week,  I think that we have done ourselves a disservice by not connecting with the Christians of the past to understand why we believe what we do today. I believe that this is a malformation because of our culture today. Far too often we are looking at the next, newest, best thing to help improve our lives. We have a progressive idea that tells us the past does not hold any relevance for us today, the future is where it is at. The truth is, the only way we have ever been able to learn is by looking to the past to understand the world around us. Math works because of the work of the mathematicians of the past to make discoveries so we can understand Algebra. All the fields of science look to the past experiments of scientists to understand the field and how to move forward. Why is it that we do not do this when it comes to our theology? We like to look to people who are our contemporaries and trust that they have all the answers. We need to be able to have an understanding of the beliefs of our predecessors in order for us fully understand what we believe today.

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What Do You Think?

Yesterday I had two seperate things happen that lead to the same conclusion. First, I read this article from the New Yorker. The author points out that the Evangelical church has moved away from people thinking and considering issues of faith in favor of charasmatic leaders that emphasize “saving souls” over living with a worldview that makes sense. Of course that’s painting with a wide brush, but it makes sense. The second event was someone speaking to me about how they have never heard from a Christian to consider whether or not something was true. The combination of these two events have lead me to consider how I feel about the Church, especially the popular Evangelical and/or Non-denominational Church. I just want to get these ideas out before they fade away.

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The Heart Man Podcast

Hey everyone! I wanted to let you know that I have now launched The Heart Man Blog Podcast. You can listen to it on Spotify or below. Subscribe to get future episodes. I’m super excited to do this and can’t wait to share with you all that I’m working on.

Below are all the platforms you can find the podcast:

Chrysostom’s Devil: Demons, the Will, and Virtue in Patristic Soteriology

Ok. Of all the books that I’ve gotten and all the books I’ve read, I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as excited as I was to get this book. When I went back to school to finish my undergraduate education, on a whim I took Introduction to Spiritual Formation. The professor of that class was Dr Samantha L Miller. Over time I took more classes with her and she introduced me to “new” ways of thinking about my faith as I learned Church history and Patristic theology. Once I learned that she had a book coming out I knew I needed to get it for review. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good time to read it. So it sat on my shelf for a year until now, as it is the book I am reviewing this month. Chrysostom’s Devil was published by InterVarsity Press on March 17, 2020, and is part of the New Explorations in Theology series. Miller seeks to teach John Chrysostom’s theology, especially reguarding his demonology and soteriology and finishes by showing just how relevant this late 4th century theologian is to us today. I did my best to approach this book as I do others, but I quickly found myself feeling like I was back in the classroom.

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What is Spiritual Formation?

I’ve written on this before, but the question is coming up again. Simply put, spiritual formation is a new buzzword and perspective on the one thing the Church has been doing since the very beginning, discipleship. However, this new perspective (some may even argue an old perspective) is not the kind of discipleship that you may find in many mainline churches. The discipleship programs that I see most often involve getting you to commit to attending church weekly, go to Sunday school or join a small group, tithe (can’t forget to get our money!), and commit to personal Bible study. To me, this feels a lot like the “Gospel of Sin Management” that Dallas Willard talks about in The Divine Conspiracy. True discipleship is not about ticking the right boxes and saying “I am a disciple of Jesus.” Rather there is something different that is called for. Enter the perspective of spiritual formation.

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I Think I Made A Mistake

So the other day I was scrolling around Twitter, which I do quite a bit. I came across a tweet that I thought would be a great way to have conversation with some well meaning people.

Now I don’t hold many controversial opinions. For the most part, I think I fit in pretty well with most churches. I simply ask that people not have a blind faith, and question everything. Any way, I chose to respond to this by being open and honest because I’ve learned that I am not incredibly open about my actual beliefs. My response was

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This Cursed Blinking Line

I have been sitting here for weeks trying to think of something to write. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas. I have a bank of things ready for me to develop, but no of them are particular interesting to me at the moment. I feel cursed with this desire to say something, but have nothing to say. So I sit here and stare at this blinking line. Taunting me. Chiding me. Telling me that I am worthless since I have nothing to say. Why in the world would I start writing a blog when I have nothing to say?! There is no way that this is something I am supposed to do. God didn’t call me to write, otherwise I’d have something to write about. This cursed blinking line has become to me what the snake was to Eve. It is my distrust of God. It is my adversary in this battle for a path forward.

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Is There A Place for Me?

I remember about this time last year, I first started to get an understanding about a virus, that had made it’s way to the United States, and was incredibly contagious and had the potential of being incredibly lethal if we did not get a firm grasp on it. Today, the world looks so different. So many things have changed, and somethings haven’t. But today, I notice this growing concern I have had for months now. Maybe it had been hidden from me because of the world that has been so saturated with politics, that I simply cannot think of anything else. Maybe it’s because I work myself so hard that I cannot stop for a moment to think of anything of real substance. Maybe its because of the mounting mental health concerns that each member of my family has to deal with. Maybe it’s something more. But I’m realizing that I deeply, truly miss being in Church.

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Why Should I Pray?

“What’s the point of praying?! It never does anything!” There are times in our lives when the disciplines that we practice seem to carry no weight in our lives. We know that we should do things, like praying, because we’ve been told our entire church lives that that is what Christians do. Yet, prayer feels meaningless when life doesn’t change or we do not recieve a response. Does this mean that we should be prayering? What if it means that our expectation of prayer has been wrong all along.

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Shaped By Suffering: How Temporary Hardships Prepare Us for Our Eternal Home

I think we can all agree that 2020 was one heck of a year. Many of us had to deal with loss and suffering whether that be lifestyle changes, loss of job, or the death of family and/or friends. 2021 hasn’t started out any better with the capital riots, and the strained transition of power between Presidents. As I was looking over my bookshelf, trying to determine what books I wanted to read for this blog, one caught my eye that seemed to be a good resource for the year we just had. Shaped by Suffering: How Temporary Hardships Prepare Us for Our Eternal Home by Kenneth Boa with Jenny Abel was published, rather timely, in February of 2020 by InterVarsity Press, and completes a trilogy of books on cultivating an eternal perspective. Boa and Abel essentially take on the age-old-question, in this book, “How can a good God allow suffering?” By looking at the epistle 1 Peter, they suggest that God uses our suffering for our spiritual formation to make us more like Christ.

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