We live in a period of time in which individualism is huge and the centrality of the church is almost non-existent. One casualty of this unfortunate arrangement is that coming to the Eucharistic Meal is seen almost solely as an individual’s personal choice, not as a matter of the official ministry of the church. As a campus pastor of mine put it to unbelievers at our Friday night para-church meeting: “When the bread is passed, if you feel God tuggin’ on your heart, go ahead and partake.” In the first place, a para-church organization (of which there are about 14 billion) has NO BUSINESS administering the Sacraments given to the church by Christ. That aside, what does an unbeliever (even if he “feels God tuggin’ on his heart”) have to do with the Lord’s Table?! This is all quite misguided. It is wrapped up in the unseen errors of our own day, and it is a practice is not only largely missing from the history of the church, but is roundly condemned throughout the whole of that history. Finally, offering the holy Meal to people before they are baptized is not just contrary to church history, but is contrary to a sound reading of Scripture. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘History’
Posted in Baptism, Bible, Early Church, Eucharist, Hermeneutics, History, Personal Development, Sacraments, Theology, tagged Baptism, church history, Covenant Theology, Eucharist, Hermeneutics, Historical theology, History, Jesus Christ, Personal Development, Sacraments, Scripture, theology on June 19, 2012 | 12 Comments »
Posted in Bible, Christology, Hermeneutics, History, Personal Development, Soteriology, Theology, tagged Christology, Covenant Theology, Hermeneutics, History, Personal Development, Reformed, Salvation, Scripture, theology on June 6, 2012 | 9 Comments »
The belief in the historicity of Adam is certainly not a given, now-a-days. I recall Westminster California touting that they held to Adam’s historicity a couple of years ago, wearing it as a badge of conservatism. The fact that a Reformed seminary can wear a badge like that (and that is actually is such a badge) shows that the early chapters of Genesis have fallen on tough times. There are, however, a few rubes left that hold to the historicity of the first eleven chapters of God’s Word, including the historicity of person of Adam.
I ran across one of these unfortunate rubes today. The words of his sermon went a little something like this: “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.” Now, I don’t place much stock in these pre-modern, pre-critical views, antiquated as they are. I’m well aware that moderns (Modernists?) have it figured out. (more…)
Posted in Early Church, History, Medieval Church, Personal Development, Positive Attitude, Relationships, Theology, tagged church history, conversion, Historical theology, History, Personal Development, Postmillennialism, Reformed Catholicism on October 12, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Too often (mostly all the time) we gauge God’s power by our own impotence. If God can conquer one sinner, he can conquer every one of them. If God can take one soldier from the kingdom of darkness and transfer him into the Kingdom of his own dear Son, he can take ALL that’s Satan’s and give it to his Son. If you’re reading this post, chances are very high that God has done exactly this for you. If he’s done this for you, why not your recalcitrant neighbor who hates Christ? Why not your whole neighborhood? How about your whole town or county? Too much to think? Really?!
Let’s do an experiment. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of our Christian brothers in Rome in the year AD 64. This was the year that Nero began persecuting the Christians, lighting them up in his gardens, feeding them to beasts in the Coliseum, and generally terrorizing the Christians for almost five years. Nero was the head of the Roman Empire, the greatest force in the world. This Empire was opposed to Christ and purposed (on and off) to stamp out Christianity. Okay, now we’re back in Rome, hidden underground, praying for our brothers that have been arrested, and praying that the Roman authorities do not find us. How absolutely unthinkable is it that the Roman Empire should be a Christian Empire? What kind of pipe dream is it that Caesar should become a Christian, and that Christianity should become the official religion of the Empire? That could NEVER happen… (more…)
Posted in Anselm of Canterbury, Christology, History, Medieval Church, Reviews, Soteriology, Trinity, tagged Anselm of Canterbury, atonement, Augustine, Book Review, Christology, church history, Historical theology, History, Incarnation, Personal Development, Reformed Catholicism, Salvation, Scripture, theology, trinitarianism on September 7, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Anselm’s famous book was on one hand exactly what I thought it’d be, and on the other hand refreshingly different from what I expected.
Cur Deus Homo is often referenced in discussions of why the incarnation of the Son of God factored into the atonement which he purchased. It is quite common (praise the Lord) for people to speak of the Savior needing to be man because only a human could pay for human sin and also needing to be God, as only God could do the job of reconciling sinful men to an infinitely holy God. I totally expected to find this explained in Anselm’s book, and I was not disappointed.
I was also refreshed by a few things that I did not expect. The first thing that I didn’t expect was Anselm’s lucid style. This book is set as a dialog ‘twixt Anselm and Boso, a curious and educated inquirer. I think the style of the dialog is excellent and should be used more often. What’s more, I’ve heard Anselm referred to as the Augustine of the Middle Ages. With his clear writing style and the way in which he handles ideas, I can understand why Anselm enjoys that high distinction. Augustine, too, was a fabulous and lucid writer. I find that usually the great ones are far easier to understand than their handlers. Finally, the way in which Anselm conceives of the redemption purchased by the God-man is at once very similar, but also quite foreign to the contemporary discussion of the matter. I don’t want to go into detail here in this short review, but suffice it to say that there is great benefit in reading ancient writers. If nothing else, they can help us to see how our thinking is both modern and all-too-provincial.
One weakness of Anselm’s approach, it seems to me, is that he’s self-consciously and explicitly attempting to give a rational accounting of how the incarnation factors into the atonement. Thus, while he does occasionally refer to Scripture, and even call it the only rock on which we’re to build a sturdy house, reason is his guiding light in this book. In Cur Deus Homo he’s trying to show how the biblical doctrine and the church teaching regarding atonement through the God-man is rational. To that degree, I guess I have no beef. I would just like to see him root his work more deeply in the Scripture, which is, after all, the sword of the Spirit. His reliance upon reason, however, is part of what’s earned him another one of his titles (valid or not): the father of scholasticism.
This is a series of lectures about the Holocaust. They range from some philosophical and political backgrounds to Nazism, to the rise of Hitler, to the prosecution of the war, to the “final solution”, to some repercussions of the Holocaust. Good lectures. Grizzly subject, but Engel does a good job of handling it in a non-emotional and analytical way. Anyone looking into this subject, trying to get the span of modern scholarship in a fairly quick take, will appreciate these lectures.
Posted in Bible, Early Church, History, Personal Development, Reformation, Relationships, Theology, tagged Catholic, church history, Connecting, Historical theology, History, Orthodox, Personal Development, Protestant, Reformed Catholicism, Salvation, Scripture, theology on August 4, 2011 | 4 Comments »
I wrote a little ditty a while back on how I fancy myself a Protestant who’s self-consciously both catholic and orthodox. That post provoked some good and interesting discussions. In the midst of those discussions, an Eastern Orthodox brother mentioned something along the lines that Roman Catholics would think of themselves as orthodox and the Eastern Orthodox think of themselves as catholic, but that neither think of themselves as Protestants. That had me thinking. What I’ve come up with is that Christianity is, from its origins, inherently and inescapably protestant every bit as much as it catholic and orthodox. Let me see if I can’t sort this out.
First thing is that you’ll want to pay attention to my use of CAPITAL LETTERS (for those of you educated in the state University system [like me], you’ll know these as “upper case” or simply “the big letters”). (more…)
This is a happy little biography of a great man. I’ve read a handful of bios on Churchill, and I think that this is the best (for its size). It progresses nicely through his life and gives a good feel for the development of the man. The author, Paul Johnson, highlights Churchill’s political falls and his comebacks. In the end, Johnson even gives life lessons drawn from the study of Churchill, including 1) set your goals very high and 2) work very hard toward them. Those two lessons may seem common-sensical or even to be clichés, but the reality is that both are life-changing and, in the case of Winston Churchill, world-changing. Good show.
Posted in Anselm of Canterbury, Calvinism, History, Medieval Church, Personal Development, Relationships, Theology, tagged Arminianism, Augustine, Augustinianism, Calvinism, church history, conversion, Historical theology, History, John Calvin, Personal Development, Reformed, Reformed Catholicism, Salvation, theology on July 15, 2011 | 19 Comments »
I’m always amused when people say that the majority of church history is not “Calvinistic.” I’m amused because it’s both true and false. It’s true in that the Reformation put a fine point on issues of divine sovereignty and human inability. Take note that I said the Reformation, not Calvin. If by “Calvinism” we mean a commitment to the utter helplessness of humanity and a profound commitment to the sovereignty of God in the salvation or damnation of sinners, then we might just as well call it by a name reminiscent of any of the Reformers. Arminius himself was absolutely committed to the utter and absolute helplessness of humanity. If, however, by “Calvinism” we (anachronistically) mean the five points of Calvinism, then a great deal of the church is not Calvinistic… that is, completely Calvinistic.
When I think of the “Calvinism” of the church in broad historical terms, I’m thinking of it in a general sense: a commitment Augustinian anthropology and soteriology. (more…)
This is a wonderful ancient history for parents and kids to enjoy together. The point of view is not Christian (which is too bad), but it is still quite valuable. Also, there’s value in the non-Western ancient history, too. Good stuff.
Posted in Baptism, Early Church, History, Infant Baptism, Medieval Church, Personal, Personal Development, Reformation, Relationships, Reviews, Theology, tagged Baptism, Book Review, Covenant Theology, Historical theology, History, Hughes Oliphant Old, Infant Baptism, John Calvin, Personal, Personal Development, Politics, Preaching, Reformed, Reformed Catholicism, Scripture, theology, worship on July 13, 2011 | Leave a Comment »
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I found this book to be fascinating, greatly informative and easily accessible. Old offers a look at the development of the practice of baptism among the Reformers, but in so doing he gives us much more than that. For anytime one studies the Reformers, one necessarily studies all of church history before the Reformers. This book offers a sweeping (but detailed) view of the baptismal rite from NT times into the early Christian centuries, through the long Middle Ages into the Reformation. Old analyzes changes in the rite of baptism in light of historical, political, and theological developments in the church and the culture generally. He demonstrates how the baptismal rite developed through the centuries and what the Reformers had to work with as they set to reforming the baptismal rite in their own churches. I’ve read a good deal about the Reformed doctrine of baptism, but I was blown away by how much I didn’t know about the Reformed practice of baptism. Further, I am impressed at how conversant the Reformers were (generally, but specifically with regard to baptism) with the early and medieval church. The Reformers (and Old’s presentation of their work and thought) should encourage us to read more broadly and be less provincial. This is an excellent book and is highly recommended for anyone interested in the doctrine and practice of baptism in the Reformed churches.