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Blog Archives: March 2017

The Courage to Be Meaningful

March 29, 2017
Chris Castaldo
In his book The Courage to Be, Paul Tillich memorably divides theological periods of history into existential struggles: the fear of death marked the early centuries of the church; the late medieval and Reformation eras struggled with moral anxiety—the question of how one can stand before a holy God; and in our modern period we find ourselves wrestling with spiritual anxiety, that is, the question of life’s meaning. From a modern, secularized point of view, the question of how sinners acquire divine acceptance appears irrelevant. After all, ...

A Lenten Friday: What Separates Catholics and Protestants

March 22, 2017
Chris Castaldo
I am often asked, “What is the fundamental difference between Catholic and Protestant belief?” There are numerous ways to answer the question. Sometimes I use the following illustration. During my early twenties, I worked for a fundraising firm that conducted campaigns in Catholic parishes and diocese across the country. On one occasion I attended a black-tie affair held at the Breakers Resort on Palm Beach Island. In a gigantic dinner room sat a packed audience of wealthy potential donors. Before the bishop opened in prayer, our ...

How Is Faith Alone?

March 14, 2017
Chris Castaldo
During this year of commemorating the Reformation, we are enjoying conversation about the gospel with all sorts of people. These interactions are especially interesting among Catholic friends. But such discussions are not always easy. Consider a classic landmine on which we often step: our message that justification is by “faith alone.” From an evangelical Protestant perspective, the fact that our ultimate acceptance is grounded in Christ’s imputed righteousness, accessed by faith alone apart from human works is about as central as it gets ...

Because God Suffered

March 09, 2017
Chris Castaldo
We live in a day of suffering. A simply survey of news headlines verifies this fact. In times of suffering, grieving people often pose a challenge to any minister within earshot: “Why did God allow this evil to happen?” To answer that question, pastors often communicate a theodicy (i.e., a response that justifies belief in an all-loving and all-powerful God in spite of sin and evil). Although the existence and extent of evil is a profound mystery, the message of Christianity shines through even in darkness. According to the Bible, not even ...

The Death of Despair

March 02, 2017
Chris Castaldo
Followers of Jesus Christ, more than any other tribe, have reason not to despair. On the night of the Lord’s impending departure, however, despair was in the air. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace,” said Jesus in the Upper Room. “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Have peace. Take heart. Amid tribulation. Don’t fear or despair. Why? Because the Savior has overcome the world. But how? In the Garden, anguished drops of blood fell to the ground from Jesus’ face....