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Archive for the 'Church History' Category

wholesale nfl jerseys Total depravity is the first of the five points of Calvinism. Paul Washer defines total depravity as the doctrine that “fallen man is unable is to love, obey or please God.” Total depravity teaches that an unsaved man is completely incapable of loving or obeying God. It is also known as total inability.

The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand-Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and How it Died by Philip Jenkins is a fascinating book outlining the history of Christianity outside of Europe, especially during the first thousand years. This is an extremely important perspective on Christian history that is strangely absent from most books of Christian history, which focus solely on Europe.

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“From the perspective of our own time, it may seem strange to think of Arian “heretics” as conservatives, but emphasizing Jesus’ humanity and God’s transcendent otherness had never seemed heretical in the East.”7

–Richard Rubenstein

The following quotation is from Justin Martyr’s book Dialogue with Trypho, written in Rome between a.d. 155 and 161. It includes a dialogue between a Christian (Justin) and a Jew (Trypho) following the failed Bar Kochba revolt of a.d. 135. Considering the fact that the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in the fighting and rebuilt upon it Aelia Capitolina (complete with a temple to Jupiter on the old temple site), Trypho’s question must have been ringing in the ears of many Jews and Christians. Is God really still going establish his kingdom on earth with its capital in Jerusalem? Justin replies in the affirmative and indicates that most, but not all, Christians agree with him.

The following lengthy excerpt is from Irenaeus’ book Against Heresies in which he identifies, explains, and refutes the various unorthodox ideas of his age in an effort to warn his fellow Christians of their danger. Irenaeus was the overseer of a church in Lyons, Gaul (modern-day France), in the second century. He wrote his magnum opus in a.d. 180 to fight against the Gnostics and their descendants, all of whom denied the earth as the permanent home of the chosen people. In what follows Irenaeus marshals a panoply of arguments to defend the notion that “the meek will inherit the earth” as Jesus and the prophets of old had also taught.

I just came across this amazing prayer written by Clement of Rome towards the end of the first century. He probably lived through the persecution of Nero after the fire of Rome and wrote some time before the second generation of Christians–those appointed by the apostles–had died out. This prayer is well balanced, saturated with praise, and biblically accurate. He carefully distinguishes between the only God and Jesus, his servant. Furthermore, his prayer for the government is one of courageous submission in accordance with Romans 13. Here is his prayer from Michael Holmes’ translation:

Did Jesus have a beginning or has he always existed? This simple question was at the heart of the controversy that broke out between Christians in Egypt in the early fourth century. Alexander, the powerful bishop of Alexandria, began teaching Jesus was eternal like the Father while a number of his clergy strongly disagreed with him, arguing that the Son was begotten, and thus had a beginning. Before long, the dispute in Egypt spilled over into the surrounding regions of the eastern half of the Roman Empire and continued to escalate until the Roman government officially endorsed one perspective while outlawing all others in A.D. 381. Although most informed Christians are taught that it was Arius that caused all the trouble, in fact, the historical record reveals a quite different perspective. To better understand what happened back then, we need to acquaint ourselves with Arius and the early years of the struggle, before the emperors started getting involved.

The stereotype of pious, respectful theologians working together to understand and articulate the doctrine of the Trinity looms large in the collective imagination of countless Christians. However, the truth is that defenders of the Trinity doctrine in the fourth and fifth centuries were guilty of hypocrisy, embezzlement, slander, hatred, beatings, kidnappings, and even murder in their herculean effort to force others, content with simpler ideas about God, to believe that Jesus really was on the same level as the almighty, supreme God and that he really was both divine and human at the same time. In the course of this series of articles, we will see bishops and priests act like children, vying for the attention of their emperor in an effort to use their privileged position as their patron’s favorite to undermine, discredit, and exile their theological opponents. As we journey through the historical record, we will look on as myth after myth evaporate like mirages on a desert trek that are convincing illusions when viewed from a distance, but suddenly disappear when one draws near. We will discover why many church history textbooks omit the juicy stories of chicanery, politicking, and megalomania in an effort to cloak this formative period in a conspiracy of silence rather than tell the whole story, warts and all.

“When modern readers are introduced to the theological debates of the fourth and fifth centuries, they are sometimes shocked by the atmosphere in which they took place. Those debates were not carried on by calm scholars sitting in their manuscript-lined studies. From one perspective, the story is one of misunderstandings, vicious personal attacks, distortions, violence, bribes, mutual excommunication, intervention by emperors, and the deposition and exile of bishops and others who lost in the struggle. From another perspective, the story is one of theological creativity that has shaped Christian beliefs for about fifteen centuries.” –Joseph H. Lynch, Early Christianity: A Brief History (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2010), 161.

We will begin our investigation in the early days of the conflict between Alexander and Arius in A.D. 318 at Alexandria, and end in A.D. 451 when the dual-natures’ doctrine was set in stone at Chalcedon. Along the way, I will not be able to cover every important person engaging in the various issues that arose during the time, but will instead focus my attention on the players who most flagrantly flouted Christ’s command to love their enemies in an effort to bolster and impose their own belief on others. I intend to restore some balance to the current, one-sided version of the events students of church history are typically spoon fed. I contend much of what is out there represents only the most digestible chunk of a very fatty piece of meat, which is often pre-chewed and partially digested. So, rather than focusing on the good, what follows will expose the bad and the ugly so that truth-seekers may find themselves better equipped to make informed decisions about the Trinity idea.

I read this article awhile back and found it interesting.  And I thought it would be good to post here on the KR Blog.  I hope you find it interesting as well. Enjoy!


Biblical Unitarianism from the Early Church through the Middle Ages

by Mark M. Mattison

The term “biblical unitarianism,” as used in this journal, denotes a non-Trinitarian theology which is consistent with the inspired Word of God. It is our belief that this understanding of the Scriptures is not new, but has been propagated at various times and places throughout church history. The purpose of this article is to lay a foundation for the future discussion of this topic.
 
First, however, we must define our terms.

Click here to listen to “The Doctrine of God and Christ” mp3 [52:40].

Steve Katsaras, pastor of the Red Words Church in Australia and contributor to this blog, recently gave a thoroughly biblical exposition of the doctrines of God and Christ.

Yahweh is one, not two or three, and there is no God besides him. The Bible uses singular pronouns in reference to God thousands upon thousands of time, a fact that clearly teaches God is a singular individual. This one God is the eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent creator of heaven and earth.

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