This conversation between Paul and Jason is inspired by Paul’s essay The Mystery Revealed. The conversation explores legitimate and illegitimate understandings of the mystery of Christ and focuses largely on pagan understandings of the “idol” and the contrast of the “Image of God” as described by Genesis 1. As the conversation unfolds, what emerges is an understanding of loving God and loving neighbor as self as a restoration of the image of God and a correction of perverse notions of God which are more pagan than Christian.
Paul and Frank continue their conversation on house church. Topics covered in this episode include what to call “house church,” confession, disciplinary action, and integrated learning.
Paul and Jonathan Totty discuss the life of Søren Kierkegaard.
Jonathan and Catie Totty visit and discuss mysticism within Eastern Orthodoxy, specifically Vladimir Lossky, and their baby joins the dialog.
Paul and Frank begin a conversation about house church.
Ryan, in an unusual move, combines Pauline theology and the Book of Revelation with the peaceable living of agrarianism.
He talks about Wendell Berry’s agrarian pacifism, it’s a sort of rooted peaceableness. In my mind, I can’t imagine anything more peaceable than rooting oneself on a piece of land, committing oneself and one’s family to live in tune with that place and embodying the gospel by your peaceable existence on that land and in that community. I can’t imagine anything less violent than saying, “I’m going to reject what the world says I should be doing in terms of pursuing all of these economic goals,” rejecting that whole system and instead saying, “I’m going to root myself here and I’m going to take my life from this land.” That’s how I connect the way I think about creation care and agrarianism and how, at its core, is concerned with a kind of patient peaceableness that I think the gospel calls us to. So, we can talk about peace all day, but at the end of the day if we’re still getting our food from an industrial system that destroys God’s creation and depends upon oil, then we’re still benefiting from other people committing acts of violence.
Paul interviews Michael Householder, who practices a very different “church growth” system than what we normally see in consumer-oriented mega-churches.
Paul and Frank continue their discussion on the meaning, origin and practice of communion. This episode covers the purpose of the Levitical sacrifices and the significance blood, more readings from the Didache, whether communion and the assembly should be open or closed, and a little more detail on the way thanksgiving offerings were practiced.
For Further Learning:
- Getting Political
- Rediscovering Communion – Part I
Paul and Jonathan Totty have a conversation about the state of the restoration movement.
Paul: To my mind, this is the pernicious influence that we’re combatting: Donald McGavran church-growth philosophy which flows with American utilitarianism, pragmatism, and consumerism to produce the model of the mega-church as the goal which is pervasive—and I don’t mean just the big churches, but even in the little churches, the mega-church is just the goal. Is that your perception?
John: Yes, even in smaller congregations in smaller communities, Instead of thinking in terms of how do we best serve the community, how do we grow spiritually,and how do we grow deeper in our knowledge of the Word, the emphasis is still on how we grow numerically.
Paul: Right, and how you grow numerically is not through a scholarly engagement with the Old Testament, but a kind of concealed light treatment—a kind of “gospel-light.” But the whole trend in preaching is toward a kind of spectacle and production—as is the music—all bent upon delivering a product.
Paul and Frank start a conversation about a Biblical understanding of communion and what it may mean to restore Biblical practice today.
Resources from the conversation:
- Alexander Campbell, The Christian Baptist, “On the Breaking of Bread”
For further reading:
- Lindsay, Dennis R. “Todah and Eucharist: The Celebration of the Lord’s Supper as a ‘Thank Offering’ in the Early Church.” Restoration Quarterly 39 (1997): 83–100.
- Gese, Hartmut. “The Origin of the Lord’s Supper,” In Essays on Biblical Theology. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1981.
- Hicks, John Mark. “Churches of Christ and the Lord’s Supper: Twentieth-Century Perspectives.” Stone-Campbell Journal 13 (2010): 163-176.
- Hicks, John Mark. Come to the Table: Revisioning the Lord’s Supper. Orange, CA: Leafwood Publishers, 2002.
- Thurian, Max. The Mystery of the Eucharist. American ed. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1981.