On the Virginal Conception and Birth of Christ (Advent, Christmas, and the Miraculous, Part 2)

There are some Christian beliefs that through the centuries the Church has left broadly open for debate. For example, there is no single canonical doctrine of atonement. Rather, Christians through the centuries have affirmed that while Christ did atone for our sins, we have a range of options for understanding this truth. We have remained…

Do You Believe in Miracles?

There was a time when many mainline Protestants would simply not have been open to the idea of “miracles,” or God’s direct intervention into the matrix of events in our lives. These days that seems to have changed. Many westerners today seem more willing than ever to acknowledge the existence and activity of an “unseen…

What’s your starting point?

Much mainline Christian theology in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has been a response to the problem of evil. For liberal Christian theologians of the mid-twentieth century, two world wars and the Holocaust made any strong notion of divine action unbelievable. Unlike evangelical cessationists, who believe that miracles ceased after the biblical period, liberal theologians,…

Why Aldersgate Renewal Ministries may be the most important thing going in the UMC

Last weekend I attended the national conference of Aldersgate Renewal Ministries, the charismatic renewal movement in United Methodism. If you have never attended an ARM conference, I strongly encourage you to do so. These are the most vibrant, optimistic, and powerful meetings I have ever attended among United Methodists. There is an attitude of peacefulness…