Posts Tagged ‘theology’

I’ve been in conversations with my Protestant friends lately, particular one young evangelical I love.  I’ve been trying to get them to read the Bible.  Does that sound funny?  It strikes me as being not a little ironic, for the Catholic mom to be urging young Evangelicals to read the Bible.  They all own one…I’m just not sure how much actual reading goes on.  If you don’t count the apps that send a little out-of-context verses to their phone or the daily Scripture passage widget on their high-tech church websites (because we are evangelizing through the media, you know), I’m not sure they actually ever read the Bible. 

So, here we have Christians who genuinely love Jesus, profess a great faith, who ardently defend sola scriptura, and who do not read the Bible

So what is forming the faith of these youngsters?  What understanding do they have of their beliefs?  of Christianity and their own particular denomination / sect / bible church?  Well, where they are getting their religious beliefs from seem to be mostly two-fold:

  1. Church services which are a lengthy sermon (usually not much theology there) and worship music
  2. Contemporary Christian Music and … uh…more worship music

So the majority of the doctrinal teaching for many Protestant youth (and most Evangelical kids) is — as far as I can tell — worship music.   And today’s worship music either lacks doctrine or (in a surprising number of instances) contains bad doctrine.  There, I said it.  Modern Christian worship music is bad theology.  I used to think it was sort of repetitious and bland, saccharine and, um..repetitious.  Then I began to think more deeply about it and realized that actually, the music oftens conveys a bad theology.  It’s leading our Christian youth and young people down a bad path.  (I know I’ve promised the post about the dangers of the rising popular Christian music industry a gazillion times.  This is still not that post.  Sorry!)

The above tirade is my rambling way of introducing the real subject of this post, which is that our protesting Protestant brethren are still trying to bring Catholic practices into their Protestant lives.  It’s funny really. 

Here are three articles in this month’s Christianity Today:

Practically Theological
How churches are teaching doctrine—and finding eager participants.
Sarah Pulliam Bailey | posted 3/15/2010 09:33AM

The Lost Art Of Catechesis
It’s a tried and true way of teaching, among other things, Christian doctrine.
J. I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett | posted 3/12/2010 10:31AM

The Mind Under Grace
Why a heady dose of doctrine is crucial to spiritual formation.
Darren C. Marks | posted 3/12/2010 10:30AM

Although I’m being facetitious in my introductory comments, I want to make sure that I make it clear that I am actually very relieved to see that CT is tackling the problem of the lack of doctrinal teaching among Protestant Christians, particularly in the Evangelical movement.  I actually know one Christian young man who does not seem to understand that we believe in a Triune God.  Yes, yes, we need to love God, we need to burn for Him.  But we also need to know God.  Faith AND Reason.  If I hear one more time, “isn’t it really all about loving Jesus?” or “let’s not get hung up on non-salvation issues” or “it’s about Jesus NOT religion“, I’m going to throw my copy of the Catechism at their head.  All that love and fervor, yet no real understanding of the credos of their faith just leads to heresies and Joel Osteen. 

Yeah, I know — Go work on my big post I keep promising.  Meh.


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Looks to be a fantastic school this year too.  Pray that it will work out and I will get to attend.

Here’s the promo on the Acton Institute‘s webpage:

2010 Acton University – June 15-18, 2010

Acton University is a unique, four-day exploration of the intellectual foundations of a free society. Guided by a distinguished, international faculty, Acton University is an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and integrate rigorous philosophy, Christian theology and sound economics.

At Acton University, you will:

Build your own curriculum. Choose from more than fifty courses ranging from the theological and philosophical, to the policy-oriented and practical.

Learn from world-class faculty. Meet leading authorities on economics, theology, public policy, globalization, the environment, and other disciplines.

Network. Interact with people from diverse backgrounds who share a concern about issues at the heart of faith and freedom.

Equip yourself to engage in the debate. Better articulate your understanding of the Judeo-Christian view of liberty and morality and its application in a free and virtuous society.

<!– Download a printable pdf fact sheet for the conference here.
–>Contact Kara Eagle at (616)454-3080 or keagle@acton.org

Lecturers will include Rev. Raymond de Souza, Dr. Samuel Gregg, Dr. Daniel Mahoney and Rev. Paul Hartmann. 

Visit the Acton Institute website for more information.

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Over at Fallible Blogma (Is that the most clever pun ever?), Matt Warner is presenting Catholic Speaker Month all this October.   Matt asked Catholic bloggers to feature a Catholic Speaker in a post on their weblog.  What a great way to get to know the men and women who are out there teaching, inspiring, witnessing and evangelizing, and I am thankful that Matt at Fallible Blogma is putting this together.  You can see the list of speakers and their “interviewers” here

Although I heard about it late in the month from AmP, I was thrilled to be able to have as my speaker, the biblical scholar Prof. Michael Barber of John Paul the Great University.  (Some of you already know my feelings about Prof. Barber [and let’s not forget Brant Pitre!].)  Michael is a respected biblical scholar, one of several young, on-fire Catholic Biblical theologians, whose work is important not only to we Catholics, but in the wider Christian scholarly circles because of ecumenical aspects as well. 

To get a sense of Michael personally, all one has to do is  watch  his charming videos of Reflections on the Sunday Liturgy of the Word and you can just tell that he’s a really good man.  But if you  do not know who he is, or read his books, or listen to his radio show, Reasons for Faith or follow his postings on The Sacred Page (formerly Singing in the Reign), then this is a great opportunity for us to get to know him.    Because of the lateness of my participation in Catholic Speaker Month event, I did not actually interview Michael.   But I have read carefully through his entire weblog and I slept in a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I therefore give you…

My (Imaginary) Interview with Biblical Scholar, Michael Barber**

**totally made up of quotes, snippets and assumptions pieced together from Michael’s weblog


Michael Barber, clean shaven Professor of Biblical Studies

LuceMichael:  Hi!

Michael Barber:  Hi!

LM:  Hey, thanks for agreeing to this imaginary interview. 

MB:  It’s no problem at all.

LM:  Happy belated birthday!

MB:  Oh—thanks.

LM:  So uh…tell my readers a bit about yourself.

MB:  Certainly.

I am the Professor of Theology, Scripture and Catholic Thought at John Paul the Great Catholic University in San Diego. I am finishing up a Ph.D. in Theology at Fuller in Pasadena, CA. I received my B. A. in Theology and Philosophy from Azusa Pacific University and a M. A. in Theology from Franciscan University. I have written two books, “Singing in the Reign: The Psalms and the Liturgy of God’s Kingdom” and, a brand new book, “Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation and Applying Its Lessons Today. I recently began a new weekly radio show, Reasons for Faith Live, which is heard on EWTN’s Radio Network every Friday at 11am Pacific Coast Time. In addition, I am a Research Fellow for the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology (see links). I also lead Bible studies at the Sacred Heart Chapel in Covina, CA. Many of them have been recorded and are available on CD @ saintjoe.com.  source 

LM:  Uh….your answer seems a bit out-of-date.

MB:  Hmmm?

LM:  Nevermind.  Let’s move on.  First off, let me say that I love your radio show, Reasons for Faith–which I should mention you’ve actually been doing for a few years now.

MB: Thank you!  I really enjoy doing it.

LM:  I can tell.  I also love your videos on the Sunday Liturgy of the Word.  They are on my ‘must-do’ list every week before Sunday.

MB:  Ah, thanks again.  I have a lot of fun doing those, too.  The hardest work belongs to the student producer Nate Sjogren. He’s just a Sophomore, but he’s really an amazingly talented student. And he’s got the fiery enthusiasm of a new convert–he came into the Catholic Church at this year’s Easter Vigil!   source

LM:  That’s awesome!  I agree he does a bang-up job.  I really like the artwork you guys always show in the videos.  I wonder where you keep finding the right art.

MB:  We try for that whole “cover of Scott Hahn’s books” look.  source

2 out of 3 biblical scholars think that Dr. Hahn's book covers have nice artwork.


LM:  I notice that your reflections often sound like homilies.  Along with the biblical explanations and context you provide, you usually give a “going forth” message,  and you seem to relish the transformational dimensions of your talks.  Any particular reason for that?

MB:  I’m not sure.  One of my uncles is a priest though.

LM:  Ever think about being a priest yourself?

MB:  I have wanted to be a biblical theologian since I was a kid. 

LM:  That had to have stumped your guidance counselor.  How on earth did you decide that– as a kid no less? 

MB:  When I was a young teenager I was first exposed to a lecture given by Dr. Hahn–it literally changed my life. I was immediately hooked on Scripture. I must have been around 13 or so and I was hooked. I told my dad I wanted to major in Theology, get my Ph.D. and become a professor. I’ve been on that track ever since.     


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**Update, apologies and ‘humiliations galore’ **

Ever have one of those moments when you realize you made a huge public mistake and it’s out there for the world to see?  The kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night with terror and humiliation? 

…welcome to my world.  Without taking anything away from what I wrote below, uh…I should let you know now that it was actually Brant Pitre (note: if you are or know Brant Pitre, please mouse-over) who wrote the blog entry that I linked to below.  If any  of you ever see Brant Pitre…who I am sure is just as lovely, smart, humble and forgiving a person as one could ask for….uh….tell him I was blogging on little-to no-sleep.  Explain to him that I’m rather dorky.  (Hey Disciple, you can handle that explanation for me!)  I’d delete the evidence but I see that not only have people read it, but someone got here via The Sacred Page.  /weeps

Brant Pitre, whereever you are, I owe you a room temperature Guinness.   And I am very very sorry for my carelessness.

Thus ends my blogging experiment.   /dies of acute embarrassment.**


I don’t know if you’ve ever had a chance to read or listen to Michael Barber.  (I hear Brant Pitre is pretty great too!)  He’s a protegé of Dr. Scott Hahn, one of my favorite theologians and truly a great ambassador for Christ.   (I think Brant Pitre is too!)  Prof. Barber is a lot like him, but a young version.  He’s full of joy, wisdom, commonsense and completely committed to the Church and teachings.  Oh..and he’s smart.  Like…scary smart.   (He’s got nothing on that Brant Pitre though!)   Yet, as with his former teacher Dr. Hahn, his intelligence is not off-putting or intimidating.  He has a warm, lovely personality, which shines through in the Sunday liturgy videos he posts every week on his website (with help from some very creative students) and the Vimeo channel for John Paul the Great Catholic University.   Be sure to read his accompanying reflections that expand on the video, posted on The Sacred Page weblog.  (I hear that Brant Pitre is just as forgiving a person as you could find!)

But unlike the case with Dr. Hahn, not everyone who reads Catholic materials (blogs, books, periodicals) is familiar with Prof. Barber (or that cute Brant Pitre!)  And I want to change that.  I decided to write all that as a way of linking a post he that awesome Brant Pitre made on his weblog.  It is full of his Brant Pitre-kinda usual enthusiasm, unabashed love of the Church and intellectual honesty.  The topic?  Why B.C. / A.D. should not be replaced with C.E. and B.C.E….whatever the heck those are supposed to mean.  :-P

Should Christians Abandon B.C./A.D.?

Brant Pitre rocks! 

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