Thursday, January 1, 2015

Vows for Now: Poverty, Chastity, and Obdeience in the 21st Century

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Happy New Year Everyone!

As a gift to my readers, I want you to enjoy our latest release for FREE!  Click the link below to download Vows for Now and get your ascetic mojo on for the New Year!  For a very limited time(Offer ends January 5)! 

You DO NOT have to have a Kindle to download! The Kindle App can easily be installed on your smartphone or tablet.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

In Defense of December 25th

Originally posted in December of 2012
In the last several decades, much to do has been made of the Pagan origins of Christmas, which I hope to prove to you could be no further from the truth.  Arm-chair theologians who carelessly abstract their claims from hearsay and various Internet sites, often ignoring the primary resources and/or their proper contexts, often wrongly conclude that the advent of Constantine brought about the demise of the one true apostolic church, the introduction of pagan idolatry into the church, and the idolatrous celebration of Christmas.

Although many of the practices of our modern Christmas celebration do include pagan activities, which later crept into the holy day as a result of the Western Church's attempt to Christianize its pagan contemporaries, it is naive to think that the early church embraced these as part of their celebration of the nativity.  The earliest mention of the date for Christmas came circa 200 while the earliest documented celebrations came between 250-300 A.D., a period when persecuted Christians were intentionally distancing themselves from their pagan roots, not trying to mingle with them via syncretism.  
The earliest record supporting the 25th of December as the birth of Jesus was written in the early third century by Hippolytus in his commentary on Daniel 4:23.  He states: "The first coming of our Lord, that in the flesh, in which he was born at Bethlehem, took place eight days before the Kalends of January, a Wednesday, in the forty-second year of the reign of Augustus, 5500 years from Adam."   Hippolytus' date for the nativity was Wednesday, December 25th, 5 BCE.  Even before Hippolytus, Clement of Alexandria who lived from 150-215 CE, wrote that "...there are those who have not only determined the year of our Lord's birth, but also the day; and they say that it took the twenty-fifth day of Pachom."  Another early mention of Jesus' birthday came in the mid-300's from a Roman Almanac that lists the death dates of various bishops and martyrs.  The first date listed is December, 25th and writes, "natus Christus in Betleem Judeae". 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Praying to the Dead? Invoking the Saints in Christian Prayer

Mark's Latest Release
 Volume Three of the 
Ancient Faith Matters Series
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In the Lion, In the Lamb,

Mark Whitten

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Friday, October 31, 2014

All Hallows Eve

On the Eve of All Saint's Day or All Hallowed's Eve (Halloween)  I thought I might re-post one of my more controversial articles on "Praying to the Dead?" I felt as if this season might prick an extra curiosity about an often misunderstood and miscommunicated topic that is quite significant to our living faith.

So click here to enjoy a new twist on the topic of "Praying to the Dead" .

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Didache: An Ancient-Future Catechism
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In a world where everything we thought we knew, seems to be shifting beneath our feet, it is comforting to know that our Christian faith is an unchanging and ancient one.  With knowledge increasing exponentially, how can we expect to keep up?  How do we find solid ground in the midst of fundamental transformation? How can we get the answers we need for our daily Christian life without sifting through a thousand different interpretations and opinions of armchair theologians? 

Reliable, relevant, and historical guidance can only be found in one place…its original source.  We must go back and uncover the ancient wells of our faith to find what is true, what is certain, what is rooted.  Too often, we hear of "how things were done in the early church" by preachers and teachers using scant portions of the Bible (often out of context) to formulate a theology for Christian living in postmodernity.
Although Scripture gives us glimpses of that daily life and forms a foundation of principles to live by in the New Covenant, it does not explicitly show how the early church trained its new converts, administered its sacraments, or organized its government.  Didache: An Ancient-Future Catechism uncovers the primitive protocol of our faith’s most original members, and offers it as an anchor for grounding personal and corporate worship practices.   Whether you are looking for an ancient source of practical, spiritual wisdom, or an ancient-future primer for new converts, Didache: An Ancient-Future Catechism will not disappoint!