Early Church 6: What would Jesus Do? Become a monk: the rise of monasticism

This is the last of six lectures I gave at Christ Church in San Antonio in Sep/Oct of 2016.

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Me at Christ Church, San Antonio

In this lecture I talk about how the church handled the transition from being a persecuted church of the martyrs to being a church with imperial permission and then imperial favor.

We explore how church leaders dealt with a large influx of converts whose motives were not always entirely sincere, and the initiative of St Antony of the Desert who asked, what would Jesus do? And then, he did it, imitating Jesus of Nazareth in poverty, chastity, and obedience.

Living among the Breakage: Contextual Theology-making and ex-Muslim Christians

Dear Colleagues,

I would like to share with you all that my book Living among the Breakage: Contextual Theology-making and ex-Muslim Christians is now available for purchase. PICKWICK_Template

Here is the ‘about’ summary from the publisher page:

Around the world people are leaving Islam for Christianity in unprecedented numbers. This book seeks to look into the world of some of these converts, trying to discern the shape of their newfound faith. Why do they convert? What challenges do they face? And ultimately, what do they in their own complex and sometimes difficult circumstances claim to have understood about God that, while in Islam, they had not? In other words, what is the content of their contextual theology? In seeking to answer these questions, Miller looks into the world of an unintentional church plant in the Arab world consisting of believers from a Muslim background, visits with groups of Iranian converts in the diaspora, and examines the written testimonies of still other converts. In a world where Muslim-Christian relations are increasingly important and sometimes tendentious, this book examines the lived faith and contextual theology of people who have chosen to leave Islam and embrace Christianity.

Buy the book or read reviews at the publisher page HERE or get the Kindle version HERE.

An ordination in Haifa

One of the joys of being in higher education is hearing good news from former students. I
was very happy to hear from Elias Said, a former student of mine from when I was teaching at the seminary in Nazareth, who was ordained to the pastorate at the Haifa Assembly of God.

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Ordination of Elias Said on June 16, 2016

Here’s hoping for a fruitful ministry Elias.

Early Church 5: Discerning the New Testament Canon

The Church was born in the 4th decade AD, but not until near the end of the 4th century AD do we have a single canon of apostolic, inspired writings being used by the churches throughout Africa, Asia and Europe. Why did the Church decide a canon was needed? And how was the process carried out? These are the questions we will explore in this lecture.

Early Church 4: The Arian Controversy

One does not have to read much about Jesus to ask the simple question, what exactly is the relation of Jesus to his Father? In other words, what is the relation of God the Father to the Son of God? Are they of the same divine essence? Or similar essences? Or are they simply different? In this lecture we see how the Church of the 4th C. tackled these issues.

Early Church 3: The Rise of the Bishops

By the year 200 the polity of the church was settled and dioceses were the norm. In these dioceses a single bishop/overseer was appointed from among the elders/presbyters, and these were aided in various ways by the deacons of the churches. How do we get from the melange of forms of church government in the New Testament to a universally applied system called the monarchal episcopate so quickly? That is the question we address in lecture three.

Delivered at Christ Church in San Antonio on October 2nd.