What the Church Does Not Believe

This Lent has me digging through the Apostle’s Creed. Viewed in a certain direction, it not only says what we believe; it lets us in on what we do not believe. The first article of the Creed, my last column, says Christians believe in one God and this one God is the Father who made both heaven and . . . . Continue Reading »

Authority, Given and Received

When Pontius Pilate warns Jesus that he has authority over life and death, Jesus reminds him, “you would have no authority over me, unless it had been given from above” (John 19:10–11). At the end of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus assures his disciples that “all authority has been given to me in . . . . Continue Reading »

The Mystery of Eternal Love

One of the most common charges leveled against Christians in the early church was that they were atheists. They did not worship the gods of Rome and Greece, nor did they follow the mystery religions of the East. Indeed, they claimed to worship the one true God of Israel, the Creator of all that is, . . . . Continue Reading »

The Neglected God

Some years ago Nils A. Dahl wrote that God may be the “neglected factor in New Testament theology.” Destructive biblical criticism, exemplified for years in the work of the so-called Jesus Seminar, eviscerates the gospel narratives of all theological power and leaves us, at best, with a Jesus made in our own image—political agitator, cynic sage, new age guru, etc. The words of weeping Mary in John 20:13 are appropriate: “They have taken my Lord away, . . . and I don’t know where they have put him.” But the Jesus of the Gospels cannot be confined to the straitjacket of such pseudo-scholarly speculation. He bursts through those Scriptures today just as he rose bodily from the grave that first Easter morning. Continue Reading »

Trinity As Communio

In the preparatory period before Vatican II, when St. John XXIII asked all the bishops of the world to send in memoranda on the subjects most important for the Council to address, Bishop Karol Wojtyla of Krakow suggested organizing all the materials of the Council around two central topics: person and communio. Behind his logic lay contemplation of the Trinity. Continue Reading »

Knowing the Trinity

Richard of St. Victor, a 12th-century Scottish theologian, is not exactly a household name in 21st-century Christian circles. Truth to tell, I only know of him because of a curious conversation I once had with my friend, the late Richard John Neuhaus, who, as only he could, told me of a friendly discussion he’d had with Rabbi David Novak one summer about the Scotsman’s Trinitarian theology, which tried to establish by reason that God must be triune. (We talked about a lot of strange and wondrous things, up there on the cottage deck in the Ottawa Valley.) Continue Reading »