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Blog Archives: September 2018

Preaching and Prayer

September 27, 2018
Chris Castaldo
Augustine of Hippo (354-430)—famous bishop, pastor, theologian, and philosopher—was a superlative preacher. In On Christian Teaching, he shares with his brother pastors his meditations on the sacred art. This famous pastoral manual remains worthy of sustained study, the fourth chapter containing Augustine’s most developed understanding of preaching. This extract contains words that may find an abiding place in the heart of the pastor, as Augustine calls for prayer before preaching, a turning to God before turning to the congregation. The ...

Coram Deo & the Fourth Wall

September 19, 2018
Chris Castaldo
The term coram Deo (before the sight of God) has been used for millennia as a way to remind God’s people to live worthy of our calling. Unfortunately, instead of seeing the glory of the invisible God, our eyes tend to fall upon a thousand instances of sin and brokenness—our own and that of the world. We therefore wonder: how can we recognize more of God’s empowering presence? I think the following illustration may help. Years ago, when I studied acting at the HB Studio in Manhattan, I learned Uta Hagen’s concept of the “fourth wall.” Simply ...

The Heartbeat of Apologetics

September 13, 2018
Chris Castaldo
Brought up a pagan and a student of secular philosophy, Justin Martyr (c. 100 – 165) showed that his conversion was sound by risking his life to defend the faith. Indeed, he was ultimately loyal unto death—hence, the name “Martyr.” In this selection from his First Apology, written around 155, he speaks of the need for integrity in both speaker and hearer. On that basis, he stands before the emperor and his non-Christian advisors, making his case for Christianity on its merits, without regard or recourse to external pressure, personal gain, ...

The Courage to Profess Christ

September 06, 2018
Chris Castaldo
Pope Leo X was incensed that Martin Luther (1483 – 1546) had refused to face an excommunication trial in Rome. Luther had, instead, appealed his case to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. The emperor agreed to accept the case, but then, in the winter of 1520-21, he wavered under threats from Rome. Luther’s protector, Frederick the Wise, was determined that Charles take the case, but he wanted to double-check with Luther before urging the emperor to defy the Pope. Luther’s response was unequivocal, a model to all compelled to perilously stand in ...