Covenant Renewal

by Mark Johnston

The language of ‘covenant’ has a much wider history in the church than merely those churches and congregations that self-identify as ‘covenantal’. Some include it merely as a reflection of the contractual dimension they see in how Christians relate to God in his church. It is more than a casual arrangement; but one that entails conscious, self-sacrificing commitment. In other churches, a similar idea is there; but in a way that picks up more overtly on the Bible’s use of ‘covenant’ and ‘covenant renewal’ in the history of God’s dealings with his people.

John Wesley began to teach the idea of covenant renewal to the Methodist movement in 1753 with a view to encouraging Christians to towards spiritual discipline and consistency of life. Two years later he introduced it more formally as a special service built into the church calendar. Over the years other churches, Baptist, Congregational as well as Presbyterian, have seen a place for it – often on the first Sunday of the new year, with a view to encouraging deeper devotion to God.

It was the Puritan, Richard Alleine’s work, A Vindication of Godliness in the greater Strictness and Spirituality of It (1663) that inspired Wesley to take this initiative. As the title suggests, Alleine, in true Puritan fashion, was eager to encourage professing Christians towards the kind of devotion to Christ that was more than mere profession. He was fully aware of God’s absolute sovereignty in salvation; but did not see this as somehow taking away from a Christian’s duty before God to live out their new life in Christ. This was entirely in line with the apostle’s exhortation, ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works within you to will and to act according to his good purpose’ (Php 2.12-13). There is nothing casual about Christian living.

Those churches that have included a covenant renewal service in their church calendar often include, not only appropriate prayers of devotion in response to God’s covenant commitment to his people; but also renewal of vows on the part of the congregation. The simple exercise of publicly articulating a fresh devotion to God has its own way of refocusing and reinforcing our desire to truly live as the people of God – in community as much as individually.

Recently I came across the liturgy for such a service used by a prominent Presbyterian Church in Scotland. (Scottish Presbyterianism has had a long history of covenanting, especially in the 17th Century.) Some of the elements of this service are worth sharing – even as a glimpse of what we can so easily forget.

Prayer of Confession: O God our Father, you have set before us the way of life in your beloved Son. We confess with shame our slowness to learn from him and our reluctance to follow him. You have spoken and called, and we have not listened.  Your beauty has shone forth and we have been blind; you have stretched out your hands to us through the needs of others, and we have passed by. We have taken great benefits, but given little thanks.  We have been unworthy of your changeless love. Have mercy Lord, and forgive us.

                Forgive us for the poverty of our worship, the formality and selfishness of our prayers, our inconstancy and our unbelief. Forgive us for the ways in which we have neglected fellowship and misused the means of grace. Forgive us for our hesitating witness to our Saviour, and for our false pretences and our wilful ignorance of your ways.

                We have wasted our time and misused our gifts; we have excused our wrong-doing and evaded our responsibilities. Forgive us that we have been unwilling to overcome evil with good, and that we have avoided the cross.

Forgive us that so little of your love has reached others through us.  We have cherished the things that divide us from others and have made it hard for them to live with us. We have been thoughtless in our judgements, hasty in our condemnation, grudging in our forgiveness.

                Have mercy upon us, Lord, if we have made no effort in fellowship, kept grievances in our hearts, refused to seek reconciliation, been eager to believe the worst about others and slow to seek their redemption.

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgression. Wash away all my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 

Prayer of Consecration: O Lord God, Holy Father, who has called us through Christ to belong to this gracious covenant, we take upon ourselves with joy the yoke of obedience, and engage ourselves, for love of Christ, to seek and do your perfect will.  We are no longer our own, but yours.

 The Covenant: I AM NO LONGER MY OWN, BUT YOURS. 

PUT ME TO WHAT YOU WILL,

PLACE ME WITH WHOM YOU WILL.

PUT ME TO DOING, PUT ME TO SUFFERING;

LET ME BE EMPLOYED FOR YOU OR LAID ASIDE FOR YOU, EXALTED FOR YOU OR BROUGHT LOW FOR YOU.

LET ME BE FULL, LET ME BE EMPTY;

LET ME HAVE ALL THINGS, LET ME HAVE NOTHING. 

I FREELY AND HEARTILY YIELD ALL THINGS TO YOUR PLEASURE AND DISPOSAL.

AND NOW, O GLORIOUS AND BLESSED GOD, FATHER, SON AND HOLY SPIRIT:

YOU ARE MINE AND I AM YOURS. MAY IT BE SO! 

AND MAY THE COVENANT WHICH I HAVE MADE HERE ON EARTH BE CONFIRMED IN HEAVEN.   AMEN.

There was good reason in Old Testament times – in the days of Moses, Joshua and Nehemiah especially – for God to call his people to renew their devotion to the covenant he himself had established with them. They so frequently forgot God and drifted in their devotion to him. So for God’s people through the ages – not least in Reformed churches. The line between monergism and practical fatalism is a fine one. We fail to appreciate the depth of our own spiritual laziness and indifference to the things that matter most. Since this is true, even if the churches we attend do not have such spiritual exercises built into their ecclesiastical year, there is much to be learned from the principle as well as from the various examples of the practice.

 



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Still Protesting: The Protests of the Spirit

by Stephen Unthank

Five hundred years ago the Protestant Reformation changed the theological and ecclesiastical landscape forever. And yet, was that something that only made sense in their historical context? Is the Reformation over, a quirk of history, only brought up in Church History classes? Perhaps we should we put down our picket signs and end the long forgotten protest? No one cares anymore; the world has moved on to other things. But the more I read Calvin, the more I see the need for reclaiming that forgotten motto of Protestantism, semper reformanda (always reforming).

One of John Calvin’s great reformation insights was his insistence that the word and Spirit always go together. This was a theological dictum aimed at the twin errors of Rome on the one hand and Zwickau on the other. Roman Catholic theology had institutionalized the Holy Spirit, “locking him up”, says Sinclair Ferguson, “in the institutions and instruments of the church.”[1] With their doctrine of ex opere operato and the magesterium, the blessings of the Holy Spirit given to all believers were now hijacked by the priests and the pope of the church.

“The testimony of the Spirit is more excellent than all reason. For as God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit” (Institutes 1.7.4).

Opposite Rome’s cold institutionalizing of the Holy Spirit, Calvin saw on the other extreme the charismatic chaos of the Anabaptists. To them the Christian life was to be solely focused upon and preoccupied with the Holy Spirit. If Rome denied any assurance of faith by the Spirit, the Anabaptists sought assurance only in “the leading” of the Spirit.

But sadly, this was completely subjective. Any thought, dream, feeling, or fancy was claimed to be the leading of the Spirit. What was missing was the objective guiding of the Spirit-inspired word. Anabaptists were just not regulated by “all Scripture [which] is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

Hence Calvin would insist that the correct balance between both errors was the keeping together of the Spirit and word. The truly Spiritual church was one which was submitted to and regulated by the word of God, properly preaching the word of God. And likewise, true catholicity was not invested in the institution of the magesterium, but rested upon the illumination and persuasion of the Holy Spirit through the authority of God’s word alone.

 

Five hundred years have now passed since the Protestant Reformation first took root, and so it’s fair to say we’ve had ample time to assess and judge the tree by its fruit. And certainly the small seed of Luther’s protest has become like “a large tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”[2] But are all the branches of this thing called Protestantism healthy branches? Sure, our roots are of a different stock from that of Rome’s theology, distinguished by our five solas. We still want to affirm that Rome preaches a different gospel. But what of those who identify as Protestant? What about our modern “Spiritualists” as Calvin would call them?[3]

Well, the word alone should still be our guide. Sola Scriptura still helps us today! If Rome’s central guiding principal is found within the church and our more charismatic friends are guided by the subjectivity of what they would term “the Spirit”, Calvin would point us back to the word.

“Those who, having forsaken Scripture, imagine some way or other of reaching God, ought to be thought of as not so much gripped by error as carried away by frenzy. For of late, certain giddy men have arisen who, with great haughtiness exalting the teaching office of the Spirit, despise all reading and laugh at the simplicity of those who, as they express it, still follow the dead and killing letter. But I would like to know from them what this spirit is by whose inspiration they are borne up so high that they dare despise the Scriptural doctrine as childish and mean” (Institutes 1.9.1).

Calvin understands those who focus upon the leading and guiding of the Spirit, a leading separated from the Word of God, to be guided by another spirit altogether![4] “Under the reign of Christ the new church will have this true and complete happiness: to be ruled no less by the voice of God [i.e., the Word of God] than by the Spirit. Hence we conclude that by a heinous sacrilege these rascals tear apart those things which the prophets joined together with an inviolable bond” (Institutes 1.9.1).

Calvin thus leads us to keep united the word of God with the Spirit of God, judging the fruit of true Christianity by His word alone. He argues from John 16:13 that the true leading of the Spirit comes through being led by His word. “[The Spirit] would speak not from himself but would suggest to and instill into [believer’s] minds what he handed on through the Word. Therefore the Spirit, promised to us, has not the task of inventing new and unheard-of revelations, or of forging a new kind of doctrine, to lead us away from the received doctrine of the gospel, but of sealing our minds with that very doctrine which is commended by the gospel” (Institutes, 1.9.1).

What then is our task today, 500 years after the Protestant Reformation? How can we continue to protest? May God’s Spirit lead us by His word and through His word to be a church continually grounded in His word alone. Semper Reformanda through Sola Scriptura.

Stephen Unthank (MDiv, Capital Bible Seminary) serves at Greenbelt Baptist Church in Greenbelt, MD, just outside of Washington, DC.  He lives in Maryland with his wife, Maricel and their two children, Ambrose and Lilou.


[1] Sinclair Ferguson, “Christology and Pneumatology: John Calvin, The Theologian of the Holy Spirit” in Some Pastors And Teachers, (Banner of Truth, 2017), p. 110.

[2] See Kevin Vanhoozer’s Biblical Authority After Babel: Retrieving the Solas in the Spirit of Mere Protestant Christianity (Brazos Press, 2016), 1-3.

[3] Sinclair Ferguson, “Christology and Pneumatology: John Calvin, The Theologian of the Holy Spirit” in Some Pastors And Teachers, (Banner of Truth, 2017), p. 112.

[4] “Then, too, I should like them to answer me whether they have drunk of another spirit than that which the Lord promised his disciples” (Institutes 1.9.1).

 



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Prudentius of Spain – A Classical Christian Poet

by Simonetta Carr

Around 392 AD, 57-year old Aurelius Prudentius Clemens, native of Spain, decided to examine his life. The years had flown by, and he found himself suddenly old. He was, in reality, old according the standards of his time, and his white hair (“the snow on my head”[1]) stood as witness of the many winters that had passed and the many roses that had bloomed. “Have I done anything useful?” he wondered.

            His childhood memories were scarce. That time seemed like an endless succession of beatings and tears. The donning of his toga virilis, the white toga of manhood assumed by teenage Roman boys, ushered in a time of vices, lies, and arrogance.

            Both this and the rest of Prudentius’s account reminds us of Augustine’s Confessions. Like Augustine, Prudentius pursued a legal career, ruled by an exuberant spirit and an obstinate desire to win. Like Augustine, he rose to prestigious positions (he was governor of two provinces) and served in the imperial court in Milan.

            But what good did this do to his life, and what good will it do at his death? Once again, Prudentius reminds us of Augustine, who cried, “Too late have I loved thee, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new!”[2]

Prudentius’s Writings

            It was then that Prudentius decided to use his poetic talent to the glory of God. As a result, he published a book of poems for particular times (Cathemerinon, or “Daily Rounds”), a collection of fourteen eulogies of martyrs (Peristephanon, or “Crown of Martyrdom”). and some works on apologetics: Apotheosis (on Christ’s triumph), Hamartigenia (on the origins of evil), and Contra Symmachum (a defense of the Christian faith to pagans).

            He also penned the first epic Christian poem, the Psychomachia (“Warfare of the Soul”), which continued to be a best-seller in the Middle Ages and might have inspired later authors like John Bunyan. In the Psychomachia, the battle of the soul against sin and temptation takes place in the context of the overarching biblical story of redemption, from Adam to Christ, who triumphs where human beings are defenseless. For example, in her battle against Luxury, Chastity cries out, “A Virgin brought forth a Child. Now where is your power?”

            Far from being monotonous, the battle of virtues and vices takes unexpected turns, particularly when vices resort to deceit. Avarice is particularly crafty when she poses as Frugality, hiding “theft and rapine and close-hoarded spoil” under the pretense of “care for our children.”[3] C.S. Lewis points out the novelty of this scene, considering “how rarely we find in classical literature any adequate recognition of the great fact of self-deception.”[4]

            Prudentius’s eulogies are generally considered his masterpiece, both for the beauty of his style and the passion of his sentiments. For centuries, Christians had seen martyrdom as the greatest expression of devotion to Christ. For Prudentius, who had been lamenting the vanity of his life, these tributes to martyrs were particularly heart-felt. They also served to create, in a Christian world, a new set of heroes to replace those of classical times.

            If Prudentius’s apologetic books are not ranking high among this literary works, they open an interesting window on his life because they show a deep-seated knowledge both of Scriptures and of the heated debates of his day. He had obviously been a Christian for some time (probably from youth, since he never mentioned a conversion), and an informed Christian at that.

Doctrine and Doxology

            In a way, all of his works are theological and apologetic. In the face of the raging Arian controversy, he stressed the divinity of the three Persons of the Trinity. In opposition to Marcion, he sang the praises of the only One God who is never the author of evil. In contrast to the Gnostics, he emphasized the beauty of God’s creation.

            One example of this is the poem to be recited before meals, which starts with exuberant praises to God for the wonders of nature which allow man not only to survive, but to live a full, happy life, allowing him to serve God in return.

            The poem ends with another vigorous doxology, this time to the conquering Christ – the Lamb who conquers lions – and the resurrected Christ, who will one day raise us – in both soul and body – to himself, “toward the fiery stars.”

            Prudentius’s theological prowess is also evident in his Christmas hymn Corde Natus Ex Parentis, a portion of which John Mason Neale and Henry Baker translated into English in the 19th century – with the title Of the Father’s Love Begotten.

            The hymn follows closely the wording of the Nicene Creed (in opposition to Arius), describing Christ as begotten of the Father before all worlds (ante mundi exordium), as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of all that is, that has been, and that will be. It’s also a highly trinitarian hymn, demonstrating that theology and poetry can be artfully joined together. In fact, far from dampening the power and beauty of poetry, sound theology carries it to heights that no art form could ever reach alone.
            This is something critics haven’t always grasped. Some have chastized Prudentius’s poems for being fragmentary in his seemingly abrupt movement from lyrics to instruction (or, we could say, from doxology to doctrine). This shift, however, was probably not abrupt for Prudentius’s Christian audience, who understood doxology and doctrine as tightly intertwined.

Classical and Christian

            Prudentius has been compared to Ambrose, who lived at the same time and wrote similar hymns for the church. There are, however, several differences between the two writers. First, Prudentius’s poems are typically much longer than Ambrose’s. Second, Prudentius gave more importance to the artistic aspect of his writings, and demonstrated greater creative freedom. For example, in the poem to be read at the cockcrow, Prudentius compares the rooster to Christ, who awakens spiritually dead souls to life – an analogy not present in the Bible.

            Besides, Ambrose was an occasional poet who wrote hymns for church liturgy, while Prudentius saw poetry as his vocation and his poems were meant to be read at home. He speaks to the common people as one of them, sharing with them daily experiences.

            For instance, in his morning hymn he reviews the various occupations people may get ready to attend, mostly “sighing for their greedy gains,” and contrasts their aspirations with those of Christians who “have knowledge, Christ, of Thee alone.” He then invites his readers to join him in a morning prayer, mingling singing with their tears. “With such a commerce we grow rich,” he explains, “and by this art alone we live.”[5]

            Prudentius is considered the greatest Christian poet to follow the style of classical Roman poets such as Virgil, Horace, and Catullus. In this, he contrasted the opinion of some, such as Jerome, who were afraid that a love of classical literature could detract from the simplicity of the gospel. By this choice, Prudentius allowed his Roman audience to read about Christ in a familiar literary format.

            In this, Prudentius is as relevant today as he was in his day. On one hand, he was not afraid to use the classical, literary language his audience appreciated. On the other hand, he used it as a means to exalt the redemption story he wanted to tell, without diminishing or compromising his message. To do so, he took his vocation seriously and aimed at producing excellent works of art for God’s glory and the benefit of others, maintaining at the same time a constant sense of his unworthiness before God.

            “For I own no sanctity,” he wrote, “nor gold to ease the pauper’s wants and misery. God, however, deigns to smile on my dull song and to it kindly harkens.”[6]

 


[1] Gerard O’Daly, Days Linked by Song: Prudentius’ Cathemerinon, Oxford Unibersity Press 2012, p. 387,

[2] Augustine, Confessions, Book 10, Chapter 27, http://cmed.faculty.ku.edu/private/Augustine.html

[3] Prudentius, Psychomachia, 360, quoted in C. S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love, Cambridge University Press, 2013, p. 89.

[4] C.S. Lewis, ibid.

[5] Nicholas Richardson, Prudentius’ Hymns for Hours and Seasons: Liber Cathemerinon, Routledge 2017.

[6] The Poems of Prudentius, vol. 2, translated by Sister M. Clement Eagan, The Catholic University of America Press, 1965, p. 199. See also Robert Wilkens, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought, Yale University Press, 2003, pp. 212, 236.

 



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Still Protesting, a Pastor’s Perspective

by Tim Bertolet

Let’s be honest: the evangelical and Protestant church has seen better days. We have our own scandals. In a fast-paced world, our faults are replicated through our communities at a much quicker rate than in previous generations. We may not have a pope but we certainly have a celebrity culture of mega-pastors which people rally around in an “I follow Paul,” “I follow Apollos” sort of way. Evangelical and Protestant theology is long passed its highwater mark of intellectual depth, Biblical analysis, and careful articulation. Now, you can be “evangelical” and think that God does not know the future, Jesus is not equal in power and glory with the Father, or that justification by faith is not forensic but transformative. We have seen better days. In some ways, we need to rediscover the need for a little “protest”.

As a pastor, it is important to discern the things that matter and have eternal weight and emphasize those. We must challenge the church and ask the continual question, “What are the marks of a true church?” and “is my church holding to those marks?” There is an old saying the applies here: “choose your battles.” Sometimes in “protesting” we want to fight every fight, we want to draw every line in the sand. Yet like a general in the field, we need to realize there are certain points in the battle that demand more attention and certain hills upon which we must die.

First, one such hill to die on is the authority of the Word of God. The Bible is the Word of God. God used means and people in times and places but God is the ultimate author. It is authoritative because God spoke it. The Bible then is infallible and inerrant. What that means is simple; the Bible does not lie because God cannot lie.

Equally important to the authority of the Word of God is the canonicity of the Word of God. Does the Bible have authority because the church says so or do the books of the Bible have an inherent authority which the church recognizes? If you receive two love letters claiming to be from your wife, but they have different handwriting, style, and completely contradictory accounts of how you met and were married, they both cannot be true. Yet, because you know your wife and the details of your life with her, you will be able to spot the error. You will be able to declare “yes, this is the letter from my wife, the other is not.” But your proclamation did not originate the letter. No, you simply recognized what was already inherent in it from the moment it was written.

Second, we need to recover the importance of justification by faith alone. Like many things, this doctrine has seen better days in the evangelical Protestant church. But we need to make sure that it is not one that is lost. Of course, because we live in a day when “doctrine is boring” but “experiencing Jesus” is what matters, we often find an uphill battle. There is much we could say about this but let me make one observation: it is the doctrine of justification by faith alone, that allows us to assure and comfort the sinner that they are truly saved. So much as a person has confessed genuine faith with Christ, we can assure them they have peace with God. As pastors we don’t absolve anyone, only God forgive sins—but broken people long to be comforted by the balm of the grace of God that is a salve upon our soul. At the end of the day, Rome cannot offer this assurance. They can offer sacraments, ongoing infusions of grace, and a whole intricate system of priesthood, saints, and mediation but they can never assure the sinner a place in heaven upon death because that would require the imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

What can we do about these things? If you’re not a pastor, what you do to keep “protesting”? First, let me encourage you to encourage your pastor to continue to make the main thing the main thing. We live in such a distracted age and pastors are often bombarded with messages of “just try this” or “this program guaranteed to work”—it’s almost like the sales pitches of late night infomercials. Many pastors long for the faithful parishioner who “gets it,” who encourages the church to focus on the main things and shun the fads and popularity contests. If you are not a pastor you might be surprised at how many people in the church treat the pastor like they can do his job better than him. Be encourager, rally around a man of God committed to the things of God.

Second, come to church hungry and attentive to the Word of God. Understand the power in the Word of God and the power in faithful preaching. To this end, dedicate yourself to the ministry of prayer for the effectiveness of the Word. Many in the church would rather switch to a new appeal program or method then bend down and engage in the hard but necessary labor of prayer.

Third, choose your battles very carefully. Do not be picky on things that do not matter. Who cares what color the carpet is?  For too long, the church has zeroed in on perfecting these side elements that have no eternal value while we have fled from the central battles of what it means to be Protestant. It’s time to reengage and stand for what truly matters.

Tim Bertolet is a graduate of Lancaster Bible College and Westminster Theological Seminary.  He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He is an ordained pastor in the Bible Fellowship Church, currently serving as pastor of Faith Bible Fellowship Church in York, Pa. He is a husband and father of four daughters. You can follow him on Twitter @tim_bertolet.



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Eight Influential Ideas about Work

by Dan Doriani

As we pass Labor Day and settle into the fall, I want to label a few of the most influential ideas about work in Western thought and invite you, my reader, to see which thoughts might be informing you and supplanting more biblical ideas about work. Without further ado

     Most Greeks thought work was a curse. They especially despised manual labor. Leaders tried to foist it on servants or slaves, so they would have time for philosophy and friendship. To this day, many follow the Greeks in thinking of work as an evil to avoid, if possible.

     Ancient and medieval Christians merged Greek and biblical ideas about work. They knew that farmers and artisans “contribute to the common good.”[1] Like Greeks, however, they believed that contemplation is the highest human activity. So they respected farming, trade, and raising a family, but they exalted priests and monks because they could devote themselves to “the contemplation of divine truth [which] is the goal… of human life.”[2] This led to the distinction between sacred and secular work. The notion that spiritual work is superior has led millions of Christians to diminish the value of their work. It can also keep us from praying “Your kingdom come” and striving for that in our work.

        Renaissance thinkers, by contrast, praised the active life. Not only could humans be like God, by working creatively, they could mold and make themselves, either by descending to a brute-like life or by soaring to the divine.[3] At best, mankind worked both for God and as God, through creativity. Existentialists still believe that humans have no fixed nature and can therefore mold or create themselves. Technology enthusiasts dare to dream that genetic engineering can fashion ageless bodies or that our minds may one day be transferred into refined, body-like machines.

        Martin Luther deserves credit for dignifying the work of common laborers. He taught that the farmer shoveling manure and the maid milking her cow please God as much as the minister preaching or praying. Workers are the “masks of God,” he often said. “God gives every good thing, but not just by waving a hand.”[4] Instead, God feeds and clothes the world through our labor. He answers our prayers for “our daily bread” through farmers, millers, and bakers. Luther thought God places every believer in a station. Whatever one’s station may be, faith transforms it into a vocation. All work pleases God equally.[5] It is a great consolation to hear this, but there is a problem. If all work is a God-given call, how can anyone seek a new position? If all work is a divine appointment, how can anyone reform brutal working conditions?

     Luther chided Christians who chafe against boredom and sigh for someone else’s work. Luther urged believers to change their attitudes, not their work. “Cast aside… the boredom” and you will “realize that you neither needed nor wished a change.”[6] So Luther stressed the need to work faithfully where we are. Luther could appeal to Paul, who said “Each person should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you…” But Luther forgot Paul’s next line: “If you can gain your freedom, do so” (7:20-21, NIV).

        John Calvin added one essential concept to Luther. He believed sin can distort the very fabric of work, so that evil structures and institutions spring up and betray the natural or God-given order. That allowed Calvin to question the institution of slavery, which, he said, God tolerated but never ordained. In itself, slavery is “totally against all the order of nature.”[7] Thus Calvin teaches that is insufficient to work faithfully wherever we are. Sometimes we should seek to reform a corrupt social order.

        Adam Smith was a Deist who extolled the beauty of free markets, which, he said, God orchestrates through an “invisible hand.”[8] He also said the marketplace puts self-interest to good use. To prosper, we must produce things others find beneficial. Self-interested people, seeking wealth, must offer valuable goods and services, so other self-interested people will pay for it. Without intending to promote “the public interest,” selfish people do good to each other by providing and paying for products people want.[9]

     Smith was an intellectual father of modern manufacturing and modern materialism. He argued that workers are most productive when they repeatedly perform the simplest tasks, using the right tools.[10] Smith foresaw that repetition would develop speed and accuracy but crush the worker’s soul. He believed people would endure the boredom to gain the wealth. How would you respond to Smith?

     Karl Marx thought Adam Smith’s devotion to wealth was crass and caused despair, because factories doomed workers to a few “endlessly repeated mechanical motions.” Worse, since there are numberless unskilled workers to perform these motions, manufacturers treat them as commodities and pay them just enough to survive.[11] Marx hoped the masses would overthrow the capitalists. Then work would become a “liberating activity” that fosters “self-realization.”[12] Marx’s views are appealing but unrealistic. In his world, who collects garbage and washes floors? More important, Marx had no doctrine of sin, so he didn’t see that selfishness will always spoil the workplace and its relationships.

     Abraham Maslow labeled the current outlook on work, which is largely a reaction to Adam Smith and his many followers who always want to make workers more productive. Automated assembly lines have reduced (not eliminated) the problem of people forever performing the same simple tasks, but the problem of dehumanizing work remains. Humans shine when the whole person is engaged, not when bosses make them act like machines.

     Abraham Maslow enters here. He said people have a hierarchy of needs. Once we have food, clothing, shelter, safety, and security, we seek higher goals – loving acceptance, respect and self-actualization.[13] Maslow describes the way people generally think today, although people seek security, respect, and fulfillment in different ways. Let’s call them idealists, capitalists, and adventurers.

     Idealists seek fulfillment at work. They want jobs that are challenging and make a difference, like teaching in the inner city. Capitalists will take any job that pays well so they can enjoy the good life through work. Adventurers want to earn enough to support a meaningful life after work. They want a respectable job that ends at 4 p.m. so they can hop in their kayak or coach a soccer team. But all three types seek fulfillment and self-expression.

     Most of us entertain several of these influences. To keep our bearings, let’s remember basic biblical teachings about work. First, the Lord works and ordains that humans work. Second, after humanity’s rebellion, work became toilsome and frustrating. Third, God bestows all gifts, respects them, and puts us in position to use them. Fourth, sin distorts the workplace. Therefore, it may be right to work for reform, if possible, or best to take a new job (1 Cor. 7:21-22), where we may perhaps do more to fulfill God’s mandate to govern and care for his creation.

Dan Doriani teaches Theology and Ethics at Covenant Seminary. He earned his M.Div. from Westminster and talked everyone into a joint Yale/Westminster Ph.D. He also pastored a very small church for five years and a very large one for eleven. He plays tennis, hikes mountains, wrangles grandchildren, speaks at conferences, and writes books, including The New Man.


[1] Chrysostom, “Homily LXXVII, Matthew 24:31-32” in The Gospel of St. Matthew, trans. George Prevost, in The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, First Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1986), 10:469.

[2] Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1947-8), 2:1939-45 (Questions 181-2).

[3] Pico Della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man, 4-7.

[4] Martin Luther “Psalm 147,” Works, 14:114-5.

[5] Volf, Work in the Spirit, 105-6.

[6] Martin Luther, Gospel for St. John’s Day: John 21:19-24,” eds. Benjamin Mayes and James Langebartels in Luther’s Works (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2013), 75:357-8. This is a common theme in Luther’s sermons.

[7] John Calvin, Sermons on Ephesians, trans. Arthur Golding (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1973 [French, 1562, first English translation 1577), 633-5.

[8] Smith, Wealth, II:29-30.

[9] Smith, Wealth, I:13-14.

[10] Smith, Wealth, 1-11.

[11] Frederick Engels, “Principles of Communism,” in Karl Marx Frederick Engels Collected Works, Vol. 6: Mark and Engels, 1845-48 (New York: International Publishers, 1976), 343 (Question 5).

[12] Karl Marx, Grundrisse, 611.

[13] Abraham Maslow, A Theory of Human Motivation in Psychological Review, 1943.

 



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Gottschalk of Orbais – Bold Witness and Sweet Poet

by Jeffrey Stivason

Few Medieval Christians would profess to be in disagreement with Augustine of Hippo and his writings about grace. Yet, many praised him and contradicted him at the same time.

            Copyists were in part to blame. Given the high price of hand-copied books, many chose to produce collections of quotations instead of full volumes. People then took these collections as authoritative, even if the quotations were taken out of context, often misquoted, and sometimes misattributed (much like what happens with our online quotes).

            Things got so bad that a work by Pelagius was wrongly entitled Sermon of Augustine and included (with that title) in a four-volume work commissioned by Charlemagne. Another work by Pelagius was attributed to Jerome.

            That’s why, even though three church councils had condemned Pelagius in the fifth and sixth centuries, by the eight century his teachings were at least partially accepted. During the so-called Carolingian Renaissance, however, both kings and scholars began to give greater attention to details related to God’s grace (such as predestination, free will, and the extent of the atonement).

Gottschalk’s Challenge

            The discussion might have stayed fairly quiet in royal courts and monasteries if a rebellious missionary hadn’t brought it to light by challenging one of his former teachers during a church synod. The missionary was Gottschalk of Orbais (808-867) and his superior Rabanus Maurus (780- 856). The year was 848.

            Gottschalk had been preaching in the eastern region of the Alps and in today’s Croatia and Bulgaria, using the castle of Count Eberhard of Friuli (815-866) as his base. His emphasis was on God’s sovereignty and on the absolute necessity of God’s grace in salvation.

            One of his listeners, however, told Rabanus (then bishop of Mainz) that Gottschalk was teaching that God determines the eternal destiny of both the elect and the reprobate, and that no one could do anything about it except maybe pray for a milder sentence in hell. It’s unlikely that Gottschalk, who had been trained as missionary in the monastery of Corbie, France, phrased his teachings that way. In any case, he decided to meet Rabanus at the synod in order to clarify his views.

            He might have felt confident. In 829, he had been released of his monastic vows by proving that Rabanus, then abbot, had forced him to take them. Coerced admission of children in monasteries, usually on request of their families, was a common practice at that time, and few – if any – spoke against it. There were runaways, but no public protesters. In challenging the practice at an ecclesiastical synod, Gottschalk attracted much attention and turned Rabanus into a life-long enemy.

            If Gottschalk had expected a similar victory at the 848 synod, he was sorely disappointed. In spite of the fact that his teachings coincided with those of Augustine, as well as recent, well-respected theologians like Ratramnus of Corbie, Alcuin of York, and Ambrose Autpert, the bishops had him flogged for heresy, and forced him to swear he would never preach again in the eastern Frankish kingdom. He was then placed under custody of Bishop Hincmar of Reims – in the same region where he had first become monk.

            Gottschalk didn’t lose hope. He had several supporters both in his previous monastery and in the abbey at Corbie (including Ratramnus, Prudentius of Troyes, and Lupus of Ferrières), and trusted he would be vindicated at the upcoming Synod of Quierzy. Hincmar, however, remembered him as a rebellious monk and condemned him again for his “incorrigible obstinacy and pestiferous teachings.”[1] Excommunicated and beaten almost to death, Gottschalk was forced to burn some of his writings and was kept confined, in forced silence, at the monastery of Haurvillers.

            The story didn’t end there. Gottschalk kept producing new writings and found ways to maintain a frequent correspondence with friends outside his walls, thanks to a group of young monks who smuggled his papers and provided him with books and writing materials. Hincmar complained that Gottschalk, as a demonic agent, was corrupting the monastery’s ingenuous youth. Besides, Gottschalk’s frequent oddities, including a refusal to wash any part of his body, convinced Hincmar the ex-monk was not just dangerous: he was insane.

            Far from backing down, Gottschalk appealed to Pope Nicholas for justice. In 863, Nicholas summoned a meeting at Metz where Hincmar and Gottschalk could explain their views. Hincmar refused to attend. As for Gottschalk, he became gravely ill.

            In 866, another monk, Guntbert of Hautvillers, traveled to Rome with the secret intention of bringing Gottschalk’s writings to Nicholas, who was known for his Augustinian tendencies. At that time, however, the pope had other serious matters on his hands, and nothing came of this.

            As Gottschalk neared death, Hincmar gave him one last opportunity to recant. When Gottschalk refused, the archbishop ordered that he be buried as an unbeliever, outside consecrated grounds and without sacraments.

            The debate on Gottschalk’s views came to a temporary end in 860, when the Synod of Tusey agreed with Hincmar that free will was not lost after the fall, but cooperated with grace in order to obtain a salvation that Christ had made possible to all. As for predestination, the synod agreed that some were predestined to salvation, but made no mention of the others. It also based predestination on foreknowledge rather than divine decree. In this, Pelagius had subtly won the day.

            Even though the Synod of Tusey was not an ecumenical council, its views prevailed for most of the Middle Ages. As for Gottschalk, his writings remained fairly unknown until 1631, when James Ussher, an Irish archbishop, published his Confessions. Other works were discovered later.

Gottschalk’s Poems

            If Gottschalk’s most radical writings were destroyed, many others survived, including two confessions of faith (short and long) and a few letters and poems. The longer confession was written as a prayer, probably in imitation of Augustine’s Confessions, with the addition of frequent references to the Bible and the church fathers.

            Gottschalk’s poems are fervent and display a sincere love for Christ, who was obviously his “all in all.”

My hope, Christ, blessed King, pious light of life

and expert leader, pastor worthy of love and reverence,

Highest creator and restorer, be unto me a patron and always a leader,

be my animator and restorer.[2]

            From a purely esthetic point of view, Gottschalk’s poems have been praised for their interesting use of rhythm through the emphasis of two or three-syllable rhymes, well expressing the passion and intensity of his words. 

            Particularly tender is Gottschalk’s nostalgic cry, reminiscent of Psalm 137, Ut Quid Iubes Pusiole.

Why do you bid me, little boy?

Why, little son, do you ask me

to sing a sweet song, while

I am in exile, far away

in this sea?

O why are you asking me to sing?[3]

            After a direct reference to Israel who couldn’t bear to sing by the rivers of Babylon, Gottschalk yields to the insistence of his young companion, who wants the song “anyhow.” The poet ends with a commitment to sing willingly, in spite of his pain, to his God, “Father, Son, and Paraclete, Triune God, One God, Sovereign God, Holy God, Righteous God.”

           To Him I’ll sing willingly

in the meantime, little one,

I’ll sing with my mouth, I’ll sing with my mind,

I’ll sing in the day and I’ll sing at night,

a sweet song,

for You, most Holy King.[4]


[1] Quoted in Gillis, Matthew Bryan, Heresy and Dissent in the Carolingian Empire: The Case of Gottschalk of Orbais, Oxford University Press, 2017, p. 4.

[2] Ibid, pp. 24-25. For the original Latin version, see Spes mea Christe, http://gottschalk.inrebus.com/lat009.html

[3] http://gottschalk.inrebus.com/lat001.html, my translation. A musical version of this song is found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6A1iwCatTXA

[4] Ibid.

 



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Defender of the Faith: Irenaeus

by Brent Sadler

Irenaeus grew up in Smyrna, one of the greatest cities in Asia Minor. He was the son of Christian parents, who at an early age placed him under the tutelage and discipleship of Polycarp of Smyrna. The influence of this stalwart of the Christian faith upon this young man was remarkable. Polycarp was the disciple of John, the disciple of Christ, and author of three New Testament epistles, the Gospel according to John, and Revelation. Irenaeus’ bold mentor was martyred in Smyrna in 166, burned at the stake for refusing to blaspheme Christ. 

Irenaeus would have been in the prime of life when he heard his mentor say to his persecutors–facing lions and fire–“I have served him these fourscore and six years, and he never did me any harm, but much good, and how can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”

As an inheritor of a great spiritual ancestry, Irenaeus carried on a continuum of Christian discipleship and a legacy of personal investment. Everyone from Luke to Paul, Barnabas to John, and Polycarp to Athanasius, addressed their works of theology, polemics, or apologetics to their sons in the faith—Theophilus, Timothy, John Mark and others. Ancient letters were written to specific people in a specific community, not for a “market” as is often done in the present age..

Scholars place Irenaeus’ birth anywhere from 120 to 140 AD. In 177, eleven years after the martyrdom of Polycarp, Irenaeus went to Gaul and became the Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is today Lyons, France. One French church historian, Gregory of Tours, in his History of the French Church tells us that Irenaeus’ preaching and ministry alone quickly converted almost the whole of Lyons. It is most assured that the sheep of his flock in Lyons suffered persecution from Marcus Aurelius.

It is rumored that Irenaeus himself died a martyr in 202. His remains were buried under the church of St. John in Lyons, and the church was renamed the church of St. Irenaeus. The matter of his martyrdom has been debated, since neither his disciple, Hippolytus, or other contemporaries note the details of his death. In all honesty, little is known of his life. Yet much is made of his writings and legacy, which is as rich biblically as it is relationally.

Irenaeus was one of the first theologians to give “a full confutation of the heresies that had been broached since the introduction of Christianity, as historian William Cunningham wrote, “he knew and understood them.” Cunningham further notes that Irenaeus used more Scripture than any other apologist up until his time. The master apologist Justin Martyr was an elder contemporary of Irenaeus, yet even his works do not bleed so much Bible. 

Cunningham calculates that Irenaeus quoted nine-hundred scripture texts in his works and many other scholars note that Irenaeus was one of the first patristic writers to make full use of the New Testament Scriptures. His extant works alone, which are few in comparison to those referenced by Eusebius, reference all of the New Testament books save Philemon, 2 Peter, 3 John, and Jude. Fittingly, then, he was one of the first Christian writers to insist that all four Gospels were divinely-inspired, against the heretic Marcion’s claims for Lukan inspiration alone. 

For this reason, Irenaeus has been called (perhaps anachronistically) a “biblical theologian.” We should note that his works rejoice in the marvelous metaphors of the New Testament to speak of redemption in Jesus Christ. Irenaeus called such metaphors as the Body, the Bride, a Living Temple, and the Commonwealth of Israel the “glory of the New Testament.” 

Irenaeus’s two major works, Against Heresiesand Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, stressed biblical doctrines that were challenged by Gnostics. The many Gnostic groups that Irenaeus addressed denied that Christ died on the cross as well as the notion that He was the Son of God and yet one with God as Creator. Of course, this was the result of the Gnostic thought that all things material are evil, and all things spiritual are good. Against this disdain of the body, Irenaeus insisted that a false philosophy drove the Gnostic view of Scripture, and thus refuted them by referring to the resurrection of the body. 

In Against Gnosticism, he further emphasized that it was covenants, bonds sovereignly administered by the Lord God Himself, which structure Scripture in the progressive revelation of the will of God in Christ, and, that it is in Christ—not in a secret knowledge—that all the covenant promises are yes and amen.

Of course, Irenaeus bears the battle scars of his age. His understanding of Mary as a second Eve to correspond with Christ as the second Adam was, although biblically-considerate, not biblically-founded. This parallel has been referenced as one of the triggers toward Mariolatry, though we find in Irenaeus no full-fledged error of this sort. This parallel was rooted in his teaching of Recapitulation, the idea that Christ as the second Adam passed through all the stages of life and sanctified every stage. 

Irenaeus cited the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 1:10, Romans 5, and 1 Corinthians 15 to establish his idea of Recapitulation and explained the Atonement and Justification on that basis. But more than stages of one man’s life, Irenaeus insisted that Christ retraced the steps of Adam, saying that because Christ passed through every age of life, all humanity was sanctified. 

Statements like these make us wonder how far away Irenaeus would have been from claiming the incarnation as the basis for the atonement—an issue which evangelicals still consider through the influences of certain theologians. But, Irenaeus as well as most evangelicals, while embracing Christ as the Second Adam (or even Federal Head), did not take this view to the extreme of universalism. Irenaeus held to his view Recapitulation without holding the incarnation over the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension and in an orthodox soteriology.

“Irenaeus” comes from the Greek word for “peace,” and he was true to his name to those within the flock of God. Though fierce in his assault against Gnosticism and other heresies, Irenaeus was a kind shepherd. He stood fast in the face of false teaching, trusting upon the Gospel itself. One need not be a pushover to be irenic.

Irenaeus has sustained criticisms of being a Christian Platonist in some of the works of church history and historical theology, which is perhaps the result of his constant engagement with particular Platonistic heresies. Yet in defense of Irenaeus, it should be said that he constantly asserted that Christianity consists in more than the possession of knowledge, but in partaking in a life which is to be lived in the world and beyond. In the face of the Gnostics, he insisted that the God of the Bible is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—of real, sinful men—and that He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

Gnostics thought that God would not defile Himself in the creation of matter, nor in the lives of human flesh. In opposition, Irenaeus insisted that Jesus Christ was God Incarnate, in whom “the fullness of deity lives in bodily form.” (Col 2:9)


Further Reading

Cunningham, William. Historical Theology. Vol 1. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1979

Wright, David F, Everett Ferguson, etc. A Lion Handbook: The History of Christianity. Elgin: Lion Publishing, 1990

Bray, Gerald. Holiness and the Will of God: Perspectives on the Theology of Tertullian. Atlanta: John Knox, 1979

Warfield, Benjamin Breckenridge. The Works of B.B. Warfield: Studies in Tertullian and Augustine.Vol 4. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003

Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church: Ante-Nicene Christianity AD 100-325. Vol 2. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1910

Pelikan, Jaroslav. Development of Christian Doctrine. New Haven: Yale, 1969

The Emergence of the Catholic Tradition (100-600). Vol 1. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1971

Berkhof, Louis. The History of Christian Doctrines. London: Banner of Truth, 1969

Various authors. The Encyclopedia Britannica. Vols. 8 & 23. Chicago: Werner, 1897

A great online link to early Christian writings is provided by Calvin College’s classic Christian literature website.


Brent Sadler is a native middle Tennessean and a graduate of Reformed Theological Seminary (M.Div. ’06). He is married to Noele, who grew up in a ministry and military family. They have six children. 


Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on reformation21 in July 2006. 



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Still Protesting Podcast

by Jonathan Master

There has been a steady stream of Protestants converting to Roman Catholicism in recent years, and many of these converts claim challenges with Protestantism itself. Darryl Hart is professor of history at Hillsdale College, and has recently written Still Protesting: Why the Reformation Still Matters. The book is a compelling work rising out of theological conviction, and it confronts the claims of these converts with the pressing question: “How do I stand right before God?”

How would you counsel someone thinking about ‘going to Rome’? Join us, and hear what considerations Darryl says are of the utmost importance.

Show Notes

·  Second Vatican Council

·  John Henry Newman

·  Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 1

 

Thanks to Reformation Heritage Books, we can offer some copies of Still Protesting, Why the Reformation Still Matters. Register for the opportunity to win one!



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Claudius of Turin – an Iconoclast Bishop

by Simonetta Carr

“I found all the churches filled, in defiance of the precept of Truth, with those sluttish abominations – images. Since everyone was worshiping them, I undertook singlehanded to destroy them.” These were not the words of a Protestant Reformer. Their author was a ninth-century bishop, Claudius of Turin.

            A native of Spain, Claudius was instructed in Lyon, France. He later became chaplain to Louis the Pious, son of Charlemagne and king of Aquitaine. Louis was especially fond of Claudius’s Bible commentaries, based on works of Augustine and other church fathers, and encouraged Claudius to write. When Louis became emperor in 813, Claudius followed him to Aachen, in today’s Germany (bordering Belgium and the Netherlands).

            In 817, Louis appointed him bishop of Turin, Italy. That’s when Claudius came in contact with Italian idolatry, which seemed to know no bounds. There was, during his time, a lot of talk about religious images, especially in the Byzantine church, where some emperors banned them and empresses reinstated them. Claudius didn’t spend much time in talking. He destroyed the images with his own hands.

            This iconoclastic reaction provoked a chorus of angry complaints. “Everyone opened his mouth to curse me and, had not God helped me, they might have swallowed me alive,”[1] he wrote. He compared himself to the prophet Ezekiel, living “among scorpions.”[2]

            But Claudius was used to fighting, and not only with words. As other bishops of his time, he did his part in guarding his region (which extended to the Ligurian coast) against the attacks of Muslim raiders. “Gone are the days of meditation,” he mournfully wrote to his friend, Abbot Theodemir, who was waiting for more of Claudius’s writings. “During the winter, I go back and forth over the imperial highways. In full spring, I march with the army to the seacoast, where I keep watch against Saracens and Moors. To redeem the time, I take my papers with me.”[3]

            As it turns out, Theodemir was not completely honest in his friendship to Claudius. Without the bishop’s knowledge, he sent Claudius’s writings to a church council at Aix, France, expressing doubts on Claudius’s orthodoxy.

            Claudius wrote a long response to Theodemir, expressing his disappointment and explaining his position. “Long” is an understatement (one of his enemies said it was longer than the whole Book of 150 Psalms, plus 50 more). Today, we only have a few excerpts, as quoted by his opponents, which are more than enough to understand his point.

             One problem with the worship of idols is that it takes people away from the reality. “God’s command is to bear one’s cross, not worship it,”[4] he explained. Besides, “if they want to worship every piece of wood in the shape of a cross because Jesus was hung on the cross, they should worship many other objects that have to do with his incarnation.” Taking this reductio ad absurdum to a greater extent, he added a long list of possible idols: mangers, virgins, swaddling clothes, boats (Jesus taught from boats and slept in a boat), donkeys (Jesus rode on one), rocks (Paul said, “The rock was Christ”[5]), thorns, lions (Jesus is called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”[6]), and lambs (because John the Baptist said of Christ, “Behold the Lamb of God.”[7]) “But these followers of perverse teachings want to eat living lambs and worship those painted on walls,”[8] Claudius said.

            In the same work, he answered some of Theodemir’s accusations. It was true that he opposed prayers to the saints, which he considered idolatry. Besides, departed believers were not yet in their final state of glory and could not hear the people’s prayers. In this, he was not completely original. Augustine of Hippo had expressed the same doubt before. The difference is that Augustine eventually concluded that saints can hear human prayers.

            He opposed relics, not only because people turned them into idols, but because they distracted from worshiping God who is in Heaven. For this reason, he also insisted that believers pray by raising their eyes upward (as it had been customary in Bible times and in the early church) rather than bowing or prostrating themselves to the ground.

            As for pilgrimages to Rome, he was fairly neutral: “I don’t approve them nor disapprove them.”[9] But he asked the abbot a question: if going to Rome can determine one’s eternal salvation, why did he cause the perdition of so many souls by keeping them in the monastery? Shouldn’t he have sent them all to Rome?

            A trip to Rome was not in itself sinful, Claudius explained. A problem arose when people believed it could remit sins, earn merit, or secure Peter’s intercession. None of this was true.

            In the end, Claudius was not condemned and died peacefully in his post. This was probably due to the fact that these doctrines were still being discussed. He was however the fiercest western iconoclast. While other clerics and theologians toyed with subtle distinctions such as adoration and veneration or different degrees of worship, he condemned anything that was not the pure worship of the only God. And we owe a debt of gratitude to his enemies for preserving a good part of his apology, as they quoted his statements in order to confute them.


[1]Idcirco aperuetunt ombes ora sua ad blashemandum me et nis Dominus adjuvasset me, forsitan vivum deglutissent me.” Claudius of Turin, Apologeticum, quoted in Emilio Comba, Claudio di Torino, Claudiana, Florence, 1895, p. 64, my translation.

[2]In medio scorpionum,” Claudius, Preface to the Commentary to the Book of Kings, quoted in Comba, p. 26.

[3]Brumale tempus vias palatinas eundo et redeundo. Post medium veri, pergo at excubias maritimas, cum timore excubando adversus Agarenos et Mauros.” Claudius, Preface To The Corinthians, Augusta Taurinorum, quoted in Comba, p. 25.

[4] Deus jussit crucem portare, non adorare, quoted in Comba, p. 85.

[5] 1 Cor. 10:4

[6] Rev. 5:5

[7] John 1:29

[8] Quoted in Comba, p. 84.

[9] Ego enim iter illudnec adprobo nec improbo.

 



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The Apocryphal 100th Episode

by Jonathan Master

Theology on the Go reaches the big 1-0-0! To celebrate, we (with tongue in cheek) present this special edition of the podcast, as Jonathan and James search the Scriptures for the many and significant appearances of the number 100. You may be totally underwhelmed! Nonetheless, you’re invited to join us in thanking the Lord for this exciting milestone. We’ll even conclude the podcast with “The Old 100th!”

A special thanks to all who have shared their wisdom with us as guests on Theology on the Go, and to you–our faithful listeners and supporters.

 



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