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Blog Archives: September 2017

Preaching Gospel in Sixteenth Century Italy (and Today)

September 28, 2017
Chris Castaldo
Humans are naturally anxious. We feel abandoned and vulnerable in a world where we are destined to die. This was true in the sixteenth century as it is today. Indeed, for all our differences it’s remarkable how we share this basic human experience. To be sure, some anxieties are easily recognized. Others are more difficult to decipher. In both cases, however, we depend on God for the remedy. This too has not changed. In the face of anxiety, our ears are more keenly attuned to the voice of God, a voice that comes in a particular way: by the ...

Luther on Faith and Works

September 19, 2017
Chris Castaldo
Martin Luther is commonly portrayed as one who was strictly concerned with faith as a momentary event involving the transfer of trust, apart from a subsequent lifetime of obedient works. I would like to suggest that this caricature is inaccurate. Luther’s “Preface to the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans” was written in 1522 for inclusion in his German translation of the Bible. The preface summarizes key words in Romans, such as “justification,” “faith,” “sin,” and “law.” It then outlines the meaning of each chapter of the epistle....

The Cross and Christian Friendship

September 14, 2017
Chris Castaldo
How does Calvary shape our friendships? Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430) was among the first Christian thinkers to reflect on the meaning of friendship. For example, toward the end of City of God he writes, “There is no greater consolation than the unfeigned loyalty and mutual love of good men who are true friends” (19.8). But the gift of friendship, according to Augustine, also gives reason for anxiety. He proceeded to assert, “We become apprehensive… [that these friends] may fail us in faithfulness, turn to hate us and work us harm.” It’s ...

The Necessity of Divine Blessing

September 07, 2017
Chris Castaldo
This Sunday initiates our new preaching series on Exodus, The God Who Delivers. From the opening verses of this great book, we are reminded that divine blessing is an essential component of life. More than sentiment, such blessing is a theological act that delivers men and women from slavery and leads them into life. Think about the way we talk about divine blessing. When we say “God bless you,” the subject is always God. He is the source of blessing and its primal speaker. Divine speech caused the original creation to teem with creatures; ...