Church and Society

Lesson 14: Preparing for the Pope’s Trip– Reformation

Lesson 14: Preparing for the Pope’s Trip– Reformation

Most Protestants grew up believing we were not Roman Catholics, because they worshiped Mary and did whatever the Pope told them to do. When pushed, we would insist these are just two examples of how Roman Catholics do not follow the Bible. It did not help when our friends pulled out their catechisms to look […]

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Lesson 13: Preparing for the Pope’s Trip– Church & State

Lesson 13: Preparing for the Pope’s Trip– Church & State

>Francis’ trip reminds us how much the papacy is involved in church-state relationships. He will be addressing the U.S. congress as well as the United Nations Assembly. He, undoubtedly, will be accompanied by the Vatican ambassador to the U.S. Government. A great deal of the Pope’s power developed after Constantine legitimatized the Church in the […]

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Lesson 12: Preparing for the Pope’s Visit– Curiae and Bishops

Lesson 12: Preparing for the Pope’s Visit– Curiae and Bishops

Last week, I wrote of the tension between the Pope being regarded as the first among equals and a supreme monarch. This week, I want to delve deeper into the conflict between the Roman Curiae and the College of Bishops. In order to understand what is going on with Francis, you have to understand this […]

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Lesson 11: Preparing for the Pope’s Visit– The Bishop of Rome

Lesson 11: Preparing for the Pope’s Visit– The Bishop of Rome

With Pope Francis visiting the USA from September 23 through 27, it might be well to remember a bit of the history behind the papacy. A good place to start is remembering the Church established an official clergy to check the abuse of those claiming God was speaking directly through them. Without denying the possibility […]

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Lesson 10: Community

Lesson 10: Community

From the beginning, a critical question has been who speaks for God. God relates to us primarily through words, so determining who is his spokesperson in every situation is pretty important. Sometimes God speaks through one person, the prophets being our prime examples. But an even more significant instance is proclaiming the Gospel to a […]

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Lesson 9: Tradition

Lesson 9: Tradition

My life has paralleled the growth of the modern Evangelical movement. I heard the canned introduction of so many of their spokespersons so many times, I would mouth it as they began their pitch. “I am not educated, but I know what the Bible says…” From their point of view, the Bible is God’s voice […]

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Lesson 8: Leadership

Lesson 8: Leadership

Who speaks for the church in society? If you are a Roman Catholic, you might point to the leadership, if a Lutheran the scriptures, and if a Quaker the community. Even Pope Benedict, a pretty conservative Roman Catholic, acknowledges different voices speak for God in different historical periods. He thinks it is the hierarchy’s responsibility, […]

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Lesson 7: Technology – Mobility

Lesson 7: Technology – Mobility

I was standing at a rest stop on I-95 south of Washington, watching six lanes of traffic zooming at 70 miles per hour. When I asked my wife what people who lived 100 or 200 years ago would think if they could see this, she suggested people living 50 years ago would be overwhelmed. We […]

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Lesson 6: Powers

Lesson 6: Powers

One way to understand the relationship of state and church is to look at what Paul says about Principalities and Powers. We usually dismiss this, because it employs strange words that seem to speak about ancient ideas. In the first chapter of Colossians, he speaks of Christ as “the image of the invisible God, the […]

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Lesson 5: Technology

Lesson 5: Technology

No matter how many traditional religious and ethical arguments one group makes, a second group maintains the primary function of both ethics and religion should be reducing and eliminating suffering. If technology offers us a way to do that, we should use it, they suggest.

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