Proper Passion: A Lesson from Trent

Christian passion—the fervency to pursue the purposes of Christ over our own—is an enviable quality. In fact, looking back over two millennia of church history, we recognize it to be a common trait among those who have been used by God to advance his kingdom: we can hear it in their voices, observe it in their actions, and see it in their eyes. Passion is unmistakable.

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Conversation with Francis Cardinal George & Dr. John Armstrong

It was a privilege last week to moderate the dialogue featuring Francis Cardinal George, Archbishop of Chicago, and Dr. John Armstrong, President of Act III. Our conversation centered upon the question of how Catholics and Protestants can relate to one another with Christ-centered fidelity, honestly acknowledging differences while also exploring appropriate ways to collaborate in cultural engagement. Thanks to the generosity of Act III, here is the complete video.

Questions from Former Catholics in SoCal

I have grown fond of Southern California, having visited numerous times over the last couples of years to serve churches. One reason I find SoCal so interesting is its coexistence of vibrant evangelical communities within a larger, secular liberal culture. In this way it differs from the northeast, for instance, which is simply secular, or the south, which is still generally churched.

The other reason why I like to serve in SoCali is the massive number of former Catholics who are virtually starving for pastoral care around Catholic/Protestant issues. This is true, as you’d expect, among Hispanic populations; but it’s also true among many others. These men and women have carried questions, burdens, and an existential angst in their hearts for years without opportunity to communicate them to a pastor for whom the subject is a specialty. Of all the things I do in the name of Gospel Renewal, the activity of serving this need is probably the most rewarding.

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Faithful Presence is Not Enough

Faithful presence is a helpful corrective to mistaken Christian approaches to culture. But it’s not enough. While we are faithfully present, we must faithfully fulfill the Great Commission by proclaiming the gospel. That’s what I discussed with Collin Hansen of The Gospel Coalition, responding to James Davison Hunter’s central proposal from his book, To Change the World. I also reflect on similar prospects for renewal faced by Christians in 16th century Italy prior to the Council of Trent. My review of Hunter’s book is available here.