Faith Seeking Understanding
The Journal of Christian Studies is the flagship journal published by the Center for Christian Studies. The journal’s purpose is to make quality scholarship accessible to the broader church. It is intended to benefit all thoughtful Christians and church leaders, scholars and non-specialists alike. The goal is ultimately missional and the scope international.
The Journal of Christian Studies is issued three times a year, with articles written by scholars who are both experts in their respective fields and active leaders in their churches. Each issue of the journal unpacks a topic or theme that is important to the church’s faith and practice in our current culture. Articles address these themes through biblical, theological, historical, and sociological perspectives, communicating rigorous scholarship in an accessible way.
Subscribe to the Journal of Christian Studies and have three issues per year mailed to you. A sample article from each issue is available for free on our website. Click on the title of the first issue to see the digital copy. Subsequently, sample articles from each issue will be made available digitally on our Back Issues page.
JCS II/2: Christians in the Post-Christian Polis: The Kingdom of God and Earthly Politics
This issue of JCS considers the pressing question of how Christians ought to engage in the life of the polis in our contemporary world.
Christians are divided over political and social issues. This issue considers the following important questions: How should we think about politics in a post-Constantinian, post-Reformation, and post-Christian world? What theologically-sound, pastorally sensitive, politically savvy strategies can help us navigate this challenging environment? Prominent thinkers, both Protestant and Catholic, advance “postliberal” theories aiming to align our politics with Christian truth, abandoning liberal neutrality about the good. Others emphasize the need to build Christian communities who can withstand social pressures or persecution, preparing Christians for faithful witness even to the point of martyrdom. This issue of the Journal of Christian Studies, a journal dedicated to scholarship for the church, will address the question of Christians and politics in the post-Christian polis.
JCS II/3: Ordination and Ministry
This issue of JCS presents a discussion of the theology of pastoral care and ministry.
Below are the topics for previously published issues of JCS.
JCS I/1. The Church and the Pandemic.
The doctrine of the church and sacraments has habitually been marginalized among evangelicals, a sort of theological afterthought. COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020 and their ongoing effects have further revealed the widespread weaknesses in ecclesiology across a spectrum of Christian churches and denominations.
Contributions to this issue address topics at the intersection of ecclesiology or Christian ministry and the pandemic. They deal with some of the following questions: How have the lockdowns negatively affected the church? Are there any positive effects? Why is church attendance important? What is missing in self-administered, isolated participation in the Eucharist? What are the effects of the “screenification” of the assembly and liturgy? What are the repercussions of the government pronouncing religious assembly to be illegal, and the church submitting? How has ministry changed, or how should it adapt? What good things have we discovered? How can churches now move forward? How can Christians and churches be better prepared for any future pandemic and lockdowns? Contributions interact with these and similar questions theologically and in conversation with biblical, historical, and/or sociological material.
JCS I/2. Marriage and Human Sexuality.
Recent years have seen rapid and significant shifts in cultural attitudes regarding sexual ethics. The traditional Christian description of marriage as the sacramental union of one man and one woman, in which context sexual intercourse is primarily for reproduction, has been dismissed not only by society but also by many Christians. The cultural and ecclesial situation has led to much confusion and division across denominations.
Contributions to this issue address the confusion by dealing with some of the following questions: What is the biblical teaching about marriage and sexual ethics? Is marriage a sacrament? What should Christians and their communities teach about homosexuality and transgender identity? How can Christians truly love sinners and show grace while, at the same time, proclaiming the truth about sexual purity and God’s will for his people? What does the Christian moral tradition have to say about it all? What can natural law and science tell us?
Death, never a pleasant topic, is a matter that modern culture has gone to great lengths to avoid. This avoidance has also permeated the church. But there was a time when Christian theologians spoke of “the art of dying” (ars moriendi) and produced manuals that helped prepare believers for a good death. Now, “good death” and “dying with dignity” have come to mean something different, with the increasing acceptability of physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia.
This issue’s articles will deal with questions such as the following: How do modern understandings of death differ from premodern understandings, and why? How can we improve pastoral care to the terminally ill or those with dementia? What should Christians think about euthanasia? What are some features of a theologically responsible and pastorally sensitive funeral liturgy?
JCS II/1. The Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments may be among the few remaining biblical teachings still somewhat recognizable in a post-Christian society. To this day, in many churches, they are the subject of catechetical instruction. They gave their name to one of the iconic films of the twentieth century. And in North American culture wars, they have been the occasion for debates about the role of the Bible in governmental process and public discourse.
More important for our purposes, the Ten Commandments have, for millennia, held a central place in Jewish and Christian teaching as the fundamental expression of biblical ethics. The Ten Words are the first words that the Lord delivered to Moses on the mountain, inscribed by the finger of God himself. These commandments seem to be a summation of the entire law revealed to God’s people. They appear in both Exodus and Deuteronomy, and many of them are repeated verbatim by Jesus and Paul. For these reasons, in this issue of the Journal of Christian Studies, we examine the Decalogue in its context and as a normative guide in Christian living.