We’ve had a great time recording Mere Fidelity, and we’ve been overwhelmed by the kindness of your response and support for it.

Mere FidelityNow we want to hear from you.  We don’t have a show for you this week, so instead we thought we’d solicit questions from you all that we can take up in our next edition.  We’ve wanted to do this for a while, but the timing hasn’t quite been right.  Now it is.

So, ask us anything.  And then vote below in the comments on which questions you like best.  We’ll discuss as manyh of the most popular questions as we can in the time allotted, and all the rest will be thrown into the abyss.  Or we’ll take them up in a future episode. The world is mysterious that way.

Fire away, then.  And if you’re on Twitter and want to pass the word around, feel free to use the #merefi hashtag.  Questions asked there will be unofficially considered, but if you want official recognition you need to come to these here comments and do your thing.

This whole voting thing will go on until next Monday at midnight. Thanks again for your kindness and support.  We’re very, very grateful.


Posted by Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.

  • I’d actually love to hear this group’s thoughts on deification/theosis and its place in Non-Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

    • Dave Evens


  • William Sprague

    A discussion of “The Future of Protestantism” debate would be appreciated.

    • Alastair J Roberts

      Our first ever attempt at a podcast was an hour-long discussion of ‘The Future of Protestantism’. Unfortunately, it didn’t record. True story.

      I subsequently posted some reflections here.

      • William Sprague

        That is a pretty sad story… But I really enjoyed your post and all of the follow up posts by the participants. Thanks!

  • Lindsay Kennedy

    I’d love to hear a discussion of the warning texts in the NT and how to wed them with perseverance and assurance of salvation. I know Andrew is working on this topic.

    I would also enjoy more discussions on scholars (like the NT wright one, which I loved)

  • jakemeador

    What should I order at In N Out?

  • jakemeador

    On a more serious note, a discussion of Crisp’s Deviant Calvinism would be interesting.

    • We’re planning on having Crisp on soon, so we’ll probably table that until then.

  • C. Quinn-Jones

    I’d love to hear you taking about prayer, and especially prayers in the Scriptures.

  • Billy North

    I would be interested in hearing the group’s position on the plurality of Christian expression.

    Does the group accept other expressions that fall outside of the “reformed” framework as legitimate? Whether it be Roman Catholic, eastern orthodox, or even American homegrown progressive.

    Would you include those who associate themselves with these particular expressions as brothers and sisters in Christ?

    • C. Quinn-Jones

      Mere Fidelity – if you talk about this, is there any chance you could comment on the RC belief in purgatory? I belong to a CofE church but come from a RC/ Baptist background.

  • Cameron Morgan

    Thank you for doing a questions cast!!! My question is: what do you guys think of multiple denominations within the Christian church and how does God use each denomination to shape people differently? Big idea: is there a main theological/eschatological/ecclessiological purpose to multiple denominations?

    • Dave Evens


  • Cameron Morgan

    On a lighter note: Who would win Batman or Superman?

  • samueljames

    Given Derek’s excellent take on progressive evangelicalism, how shoud orthodox evangelicals engage that camp? Since many of them express their beliefs via social media in lieu of ecclesiastical or denominational statements, is Twitter-war the only way to speak truth to the movement?

  • Kamal

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on the kinds of relations between church and state that Christians should aim for given how things are. I think that’s self-evidently an interesting topic, but I’ll still give two reasons why I think it’d be great for you to talk about it.

    Firstly and perhaps most obviously, there’ve been recent, well-publicised cases on both sides of The Pond on successful and failed religious liberty exemptions to new laws and policies — think the gay-parenting adoption cases/issues in the UK and parts of the US (perhaps most prominently the Boston Catholic Charities case), the health care exemption in the US, and the status of religious symbols in public and at work in the UK and France (and elsewhere in Europe). Secondly and perhaps more deeply, two of you are from a country whose constitution says that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”, and the other two are members of the established Church of England. As a bonus: I know that Alastair’s written at least one article on political theology, and at least one of you (Matt) has lived and worshipped in both systems, but I’m sure you’ve all given that sorta thing lotsa thought.

  • Patrick M

    Two options:
    1) Impassibility. Its place in church history? Its importance? Its recent challenges? Where do we go from here?
    2). A primer on Second Temple Judaism and the diaspora. Did Greco-Roman thought pollute our Judeo-Christian theology or enhance our theology?
    The two options above intertwine on divine suffering, or the lack thereof, which may mean some overlap.

    • Brent White

      Yes! Impassibility. I realize it’s a rather classic belief, but it’s very hard to square with scripture. One blogger from my denomination is in love with the doctrine. He said that the biblical writers are “forced” to use anthropomorphic language to describe God as being emotional and wrath-filled, but God isn’t _really_ like that. “Oh, really?” I want to say. “Do you possess more words than the Bible writers possessed? Because you’re writing about God’s not having emotions without any trouble whatsoever.”

  • A few things that could be interesting to discuss:

    (1) Bonhoeffer’s interpretation of Christian ethics – specifically,his invalidating the knowledge of good and evil (contra, say Aquinas/natural law tradition which posits moral truths as knowable by reason alone apart from faith) as where Christian ethics has its starting point.

    (2) Plantinga’s thesis that the Reformers were rejecting the foundationalism of Aquinas, as opposed to rejecting natural theology qua natural theology – what implications does this have for a natural theology?

    (3) Divine intervention – as thought of classically (causal metaphysics) and in a more neo-orthodox way (divine action in the world invisible except to the eyes of faith). Which makes more sense?

    (4) The analogy of being/analogy of faith ‘dictotomy’. Can we know God in some way through creation (Aquinas, Przywara) or is our knowledge of God had thru Christ only (Barth, Torrance, et al).

    (5) The created/uncreated distinction (Eastern Orthodoxy) vs. the nature/supernature (Western Christianity) distinction .

    (6) Knowledge of God – is it natural, supernatural, or, following Barth, is it completely not natural?

  • Nathan Barnes

    1) How should we think of Jews? (What is the relation between Judiasm and Christianity.)

    2) Can Christians faced with a new dominant culture learn from the negative and positive aspects of the “politics of respectability”.

  • Will Dole

    I remember in an earlier episode that Andrew alluded to a solid case to be made against the death penalty, as opposed to a Jesus tea-strainer approach. I would love to hear that, and hear everyone else’s perspective as well.

    Also, would love to hear who your favorite dead people are, and why.

  • O.K.

    I would be interested in hearing a discussion about methods of scriptural interpretation and beliefs about the nature of scripture, particularly in light of the rather loose way the New Testament writers and early church fathers used scripture (i.e. taking OT phrases/sentences out of context in order to show fulfillment of prophecy, Paul quoting the law about donkeys and applying it to himself, etc. etc.). How, if at all, do their methods influence your thoughts about how we ought to use/interpret/think about scripture?

    • I think we’ll take this up a bit in the future, but I do know we discussed this a bit in relation to the Fathers on our episode with Fred Sanders.

      • O.K.

        Great, thanks! I’ll definitely have to go listen to that episode again.

  • Pingback: Mere Fidelity: Ask Us Anything | Alastair's Adversaria()

  • Alex

    Can y’all interact with Andrew Perriman’s arguments that (I) believers do not go to an intermediate state between death and resurrection and (II) judgment passages in the Bible generally refer to immediate contexts and, less often, a one-time final death and therefore there is no basis to believe in hell.

  • Alex

    Is elective cosmetic plastic surgery biblically valid?

  • Jonathan Dennis

    I’d love to hear a short discussion on cessationism/limited cessationism and the question of the continuation of any/all supernatural gifts.

    A more focused discussion should be where the limits should be drawn in finding typology in the OT.

  • I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts on satelletite campuses at churches (distant, not just across the street), podcasting sermons, and the whole concept of the possibility a church audience extended beyond the building(s) of the church. (All of this was stimulated by Jake Meador’s post on podcasting sermons)

    Put another way: what is it in the mind of the American Christian that has created a consumerism of sorts when it comes to sermons? How do we draw the line between enjoying the preaching of another pastor and warping or degrading the role of our own church in our spiritual life?

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on that broader issue — hopefully I’ve not been to vague. Thanks!

  • Ajay

    I’m not a very regular listener so I apologize if this is stuff that’s
    already been covered or which doesn’t completely fit with the
    podcasters’ approach. However, since my understanding is that all of you
    are fairly orthodox Calvinists, I’d be interested in a discussion of
    how you respond to standard objections to Calvinist predestination (it’s
    morally monstrous to create people who are damned from the start,
    unbiblical and/or implausible in its denial of free will, makes God
    responsible for sin, etc.). Along related lines I’d also be interested
    in your thoughts on hell.

  • Andrew

    Would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the supposed trend of younger evangelicals flocking to more high church, liturgical congregations. You might use this article as a launching pad: http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/why-millennials-long-for-liturgy/

  • Great questions everyone. We’re recording tomorrow morning, so get your votes in now.


  • Robert Johnson

    “Is it okay for us to adjust our theology based on new information? Say, from science, or based on cultural shifts? Where is that line?” Seems that historically, the church has adjusted it’s theology on certain issues.

  • Based on your perception of the state of ecclesial affairs (evangelical or otherwise), what is one particular doctrine you presently believe is lacking articulation, but if quietly and skillfully woven into an existing discourse, might have a positive transformative effect on the witness of the church at large?

    Asked differently, in our preaching, writing, and in other forums, what do you believe we are neglecting, why, and how might renewed attention to this perceived subject of neglect enrich Christian witness as a whole?

  • Forewarned: These questions were so awesome and good that we are having to stretch out our answers across multiple shows. Sorry about that: we talk way too much, clearly.

    Details about that are forthcoming.


  • Josiah Henderson

    Have you folks ever talked about Hauerwas?

    • Alastair J Roberts

      I don’t think so.