Writings


My Friend Dorothy Died Recently: I Think She Was A Saint [11/11/17]


Posted in Essays/Notes

My Friend Dorothy Died Recently: I Think She Was a Saint

While there is no clear equivalent in NT Greek to our word ‘saint’, the early traditions of the church developed a way of talking about particularly notable Christian leaders as ‘saints’. It became a practice of the Roman tradition of the church to name persons exemplary of the faith as saints. Such naming of persons as saints served the practical purpose of educating the laity in how to be a Christian. By the time of the Protestant Reformation, the Roman practice of naming persons as saints seemed restricted to male priests and female nuns. Except for the more episcopal traditions, in various ways the rising ‘protestants’ adopted the practice of downplaying the calling of any person a ‘saint’, except in the sense that all Christians are called to be holy and saintly.

In the dissoluting ways of Protestant practices, the words ‘saint’ and ‘saintly’ deteriorated into vagueness and controversy. Yet in hymns and other practices, references to ‘saints’ was a useful way of reminding clergy and laity that there are some distinct characteristics of Christian life other than the vacillating societal…


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The Gospel and the Mission of the Church [7-4-16]


Posted in Essays/Notes

Friends:

In the fall of 1994 I gave a lecture at Christian Theological Seminary's annual Focus on Ministry, a three-day conference for ministers. I entitled the lecture as The Gospel and the Mission of the Church: Signs of the Church's True Identity. As I reread the lecture recently, it became apparent that it is in fact a brief statement of the heart of my 2002 book, A Grammar of Christian Faith: Systematic Explorations in Christian Life and Doctrine, 2 vols., Rowman  and Littlefield. I hope readers of this website find this compact statement about the church and its theological tasks useful.

 

http://grammaroffaith.com/images/uploads/11_3_94 FOM Lecture single space.pdf

 

Peace, Joe


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How Did We Get from There to Here & Where Are We Going?


Posted in Sermons

This a sermon preached at a Vesper Service on January 29, 2015 at Epworth Villa, the retirement village in Oklahoma City to which Sarah and I moved in April 2012.

How Did We Get from There to Here

 and Where Are We Going?

1 Cor 13

 

Fifty years ago few of us who are residents here would have entertained the thought that we might someday be old enough and with bodies tired and worn enough that we would seek shelter and care in a retirement village.

My mother called the predecessors of such villages ‘old folks homes for the poor’ and vowed she would never be sent there. In 1994 in her 91st year she died in her living room on a hospital bed suffering terribly for five years and tended by fulltime nursing care. My father would die in the home two years later. No ‘old folks home’ for them!

In contrast, Sarah’s folks moved into Epworth Villa in the early 1990s and both, being well cared-for,…


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The Church as Ark of Salvation


Posted in Essays/Notes

Originally written for a seminar on this topic at Community Christian Church in Richardson, TX on 2-22-2004. Published as two essays in Encounter, two parts in 2004, appears as Chapter 4 in my On Being the Church of Jesus Christ in Tumultuous Times (Cascade Books, 2005). Previous version on this website became corrupted, hence this new posting now, 2-6-2015.

Download The Church as Ark of Salvation as a PDF


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Salvation: Mapping the Salvific Themes in Christian Faith


Posted in Essays/Notes

This essay was written as a chapter on 'salvation' in a collection of theological essays by Disciples of Christ theologians for an introductory text in theology, Chalice Introduction to Disciples Theology, ed. Peter Goodwin Heltzel (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2008) pp. 190-202. Originally posted here in 2008 and reposted on 2-6-2015 because of technical difficulties.

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