Spring 2017 Areopagus Lecture

For our first lecture, pastor-theologian Peter J. Leithart joined us to discuss the topic of “The Cultural Consequences of Christian Division.” Dr. Leithart focused on the pivotal role that the 1529 Marburg Colloquy played in Christian division among Protestants, particularly in the debate between Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli over the Real Presence in the Eucharist. As a result of the impasse between Luther and Zwingli (and their subsequent refusal to commune at the Lord’s table), the Colloquy of Marburg shifted the Eucharist from something that Christians primarily do together to something about which Christians think or believe a certain way.

Listen to the entire lecture to hear more about the cultural consequences of the Colloquy of Marburg and Leithart’s exhortation to take seriously three assumptions vital to the Christian life.

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Peter Leithart

“Leithart simply cannot write a dull book. He cannot because he has the courage and intellect to go to the heart of the matter.”

—Stanley Hauerwas
Duke Divinity School
 

Peter J. Leithart holds degrees in English, history, religion, and theology. He is co-founder and president of the Theopolis Institute and adjunct senior fellow of theology at New St. Andrews College. He is a prolific author and widely acknowledged by leaders in various traditions ranging from Anabaptist to Roman Catholic. In addition to such books as Defending ConstantineBetween Babel and Beast, and Athanasius, Leithart has written an exposition of 1 and 2 Samuel and a commentary on 1 and 2 Kings for the Brazos Theological Commentary series. Leithart brings his experience as both pastor and theologian to the public on his regular blog for firstthings.com. Leithart’s most recent book, The End of Protestantism (Brazos Press, 2016), continues the work he has done on ecclesiology, about which he has written several introductory essays in his blog for First Things.

Study Guide

“The Church is not a club for religious people. The Church is a way of living together before God, a new way of being human together.” 

— Peter Leithart, Against Christianity

In hosting these lectures, MARS HILL AUDIO hopes to promote a unifying discussion in the Charlottesville area about the cultural challenges that the Church faces, but also (and perhaps more importantly) to encourage and exhort each other to think deliberately and carefully about what our identity is as the Church. For the first lecture, MARS HILL AUDIO partnered with churches and para-church organizations to create local study groups that participated in a five-week discussion of Peter Leithart’s 2003 book Against Christianity.

In this short book of “theological bricolage and haiku,” Leithart takes on the tone of a bold and somewhat audacious contrarian in the hopes that he might shock his readers into seeing afresh what has been left unexamined and taken for granted: namely, the Church.

In an effort to assist group leaders and participants of the study groups, MARS HILL AUDIO created a study guide with prompts and questions to each of the five chapters of Against Christianity. Please click on the links below in order to access and download the documents.

Study Guide: Week 1

Study Guide: Week 2

Study Guide: Week 3

Study Guide: Week 4

Study Guide: Week 5

To print the study guide as one whole document, click the link below.

Complete Study Guide