In the year 270, the slightly insane Roman Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage because he believed married men made for bad soldiers. Ignoring the emperor, Bishop Valentine continued to marry young Christian lovers in secret until his disobedience was discovered... and he was sentenced to death.
Today on 'North of the Clerical Collar' we return to the
"O Lord Almighty, God of hosts and of all flesh, Who dwellest on high and lookest down on things that are lowly, Who searchest our hearts and innermost being, and clearly foreknowest the secrets of men; O unoriginate and everlasting Light, in Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning; Do Thou, O Immortal King, receive our supplications which we, daring because of the multitude of Thy compassions, offer Thee at the present time from defiled lips; and forgive us our sins, in deed, word, and thought, whether committed by us knowingly or in ignorance, and cleanse us from every defilement of flesh and spirit. And grant us to pass through the night of the whole present life with watchful heart and sober thought, ever expecting the coming of the bright and appointed day of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord and God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, whereon the Judge of all shall come with glory to reward each according to his deeds. May we not be found fallen and idle, but watching, and upright in activity, ready to accompany Him into the joy and divine palace of His glory, where there is the ceaseless sound of those that keep festival, and the unspeakable delight of those that behold the ineffable beauty of Thy countenance. For Thou art the true Light that enlightenest and sanctifiest all, and all creation doth hymn Thee unto ages of ages.
"Two Examples of the Technology of Yesteryear & the Church's Input"
#1 JUST SAY NO!..... TO STREET LIGHTS
In those days one didn't have to be too bright to be all for the newfangled luminescent monomania that was sweeping the land. For far too long the nighttime had belonged thugs and thieves, murderers, and scalawags - but the gas streetlight promised to change things once and for all... But that's when the Roman Catholic Church weighed in on the matter and confused everything.
In an impressive display of grandiose buffoonery nearly unrivaled in the history of the papacy, Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846) issued a proclamation banning gas lighting in Papal states.
And what was Pope Gregory's XVI's reason for holding such a dim view of gaslit streets? His reasoning was twofold: 1) The Pope felt that since God had clearly established the delineation between night and day it was an act of rebellion to put up lights after sundown. 2) The Pope also opposed gas lights because he feared that extra hours of visibility would give men and women extended opportunity to plot against the Roman church and perhaps topple it altogether. No surprise there - popes have often sought to insure their power by keeping people in the dark.
#2 The Shocking Lies About Lightning Rods
We're all familiar with this stuff right?
Here's the problem... none of it actually happened.
The popular notion that Christians refused to use lightning rods is a myth first put into print by Andrew Dickson White, the author of an obviously unbiased book (wink, wink) entitled, "A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom" (1896). And what evidence did White offer to support his claim of Christianity's anti-lightning rod bigotry? White's entire claim was based upon a fragment of a sermon preached by an obscure Massachusetts pastor. In this sermon the pastor dared to question whether lightning rods were a good idea or not. And so was born the persistent but baseless myth about Christianity's superstitious rejection of lightning rods... but the real history is far more ironical.
Did you know that the lightning rod was NOT invented in colonial America by Ben Franklin. It was invented in Bohemia by Prokop Divis, a Christian theologian, pastor and scientist.
The truth is shocking sometimes isn't it?
"Prayers To Allah-Offered At PCUSA’s
General Assembly Plenary Session."
Could this be a mistake.... or a bad joke... or maybe a regrettable misprint, I wondered to myself. But, alas no. It was the shocking truth.
Accompanying the article was a video of the event and with my own eyes (at the 14:04 mark to be precise) I witnessed a Muslim man leading the allegedly Christian assembly in reverential prayers to the Muslim diety, with petitions such as: "Allah bless us and bless our families and bless our lord. Lead us on the straight path - the path of all the prophets... blah, blah, blah."
My response to all of this was an odd collage of conflicting emotions that rose up as if powered by rocket-fuel, until they found their way out of my mouth in the form of a very strange guttural noise. The best way I can describe the sound is by saying that it is similar to the kind of rasping growl one would expect to hear from a bulldog who has just been refused cake.
Pausing, I began to try and evaluate the multifaceted reaction that was boiling and bubbling within me as I read of the PCUSA's interfaith-free-for-all... and as I did a few things became clear.
The first thing I noticed was that I felt sad and sick and ashamed all at the same time. All of this had invoked an internal conversation in which I was arguing to myself that while Christians should certainly love and serve their Muslim neighbors in Christ's name, Christians must never affirm the errant beliefs of Islam - let alone partner with Muslims in the worship of God. To do so would be to throw truth itself out the window. It's only logical isn't it - I asked myself. The claims of Christianity and the claims of Islam are conflicting. They can't both be correct. For example, if the Holy Trinity is the One true God, Allah is not the true God.. Or take another example, if "in these last days God has spoken to us by His Son" then Jesus Christ is God's final word to mankind and the teachings of Mohammad are not.... Now all of this and more went through my mind before finally winding its way to a conclusion... I concluded that the Christian's involvement with his/her Muslim neighbors should always be governed by a loving, evangelistically-minded, Christ-glorifying, zeal for the truth of God's Word. This is precisely what the PCUSA failed to do in its public prayers to Allah. At the expense of truth they embraced the pretended and pretentious "virtue" of religious syncretism. Though profitable for self-aggrandizement and worldly accolades this kind of syncretistic interfaith sideshow is useless for anything of eternal value.
After concluding these things I sought to evaluate my feeling further. I realized I was also feeling indignant. Again the internal conversation began... The whole thing, I heard myself arguing, was not merely a failure to uphold the truth of Christianity but it was also an Insult to the Lord Jesus. To profess to be servants of Christ and to then offer public prayers to a false god - this is nothing short of contempt! And for these prayers to arise from the lips of a man who adheres to a religious system that openly denies the divinity of Christ and rejects His redemptive achievements - this is yet further contempt! One wonders what it was exactly that led the PCUSA to the following conclusion: when dealing with those who reject the person and work of Christ our best means of response is to invite them to lead us in prayer... Seriously! Of all the things you might conclude how on earth could you come up with that?
Seeking to evaluate my mixed emotions further I realized that I was also feeling very curious. What had once been a silent internal conversation suddenly became verbal and surprisingly loud. Sitting in my empty study I asked no one in particular: "If the PCUSA is going to do this kind of stupid stuff why bother with the pretense of Christianity? Wouldn't it be a lot more honest (not to mention a lot more sane) to just freely acknowledge that there is not now nor has there ever been anything distinctly Christian about offering prayers to Allah? And in light of this latest display of non-Christian worship shouldn't the PCUSA finally just admit what everyone already knows - i.e., sometime ago (and against the wishes of many of the Presbyterian faithful) the church hierarchy willfully set sail out of the harbor of Christianity. Having now lost sight of that harbor sometime ago a new generation of theologically-backrupt influence-peddlars, filled with a misplaced joy that only madmen can appreciate, have determined to set their denominational ship totally adrift on a sea of religious pluralism.... With these things in mind and with a burning sense of curiosity I asked myself a question which I could not and cannot provide a rational answer for - "Why doesn't the PCUSA just admit that there is longer anything distinctly Christian about them?"
The final thing I noticed as I evaluated my feelings was a sudden urge to correspond with someone sane. Quickly I fired off an email to a trusted and godly colleague who himself had exited the PCUSA not long ago at least in part because of the kinds of ridiculous garbage outlined above. "What's your take on all of this?" I asked him. His response (which he has been good enough to allow me to reprint below) was wise and Christ-centered. Reading it I saw that it contained not merely the insights of a former PCUSA insider but it also expressed a deep love for the purity of Christ's church and a pastoral concern for it's people.
I hope you'll read his response and benefit from it as I have.
And also.... on a personal note.... Thanks for what you wrote in response to me that night, John... I'm blessed to count you as my brother, as a wise friend, and as my partner in the gospel.
The seeds of this madness were sown decades ago as attested by Parker Williamson in his book Standing Firm and in many of his articles in the Presbyterian Layman. They (the liberals) were snagged by the "interfaith" hook completely. No surprise if you don't adhere to biblical authority and "see the pure reason behind universalism." This stuff used to make me choke and splutter all the time, even sent me to the ER a couple of times until I saw they were reaping the whirlwind. Solomon nailed it: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fools despise wisdom and instruction. PCUSA has been long past fear of the Lord and its haemorraghing membership reflects God's judgment upon them. They clearly mock the wisdom and instruction of God's Holy Word. I tremble when we shall all stand before the throne and folks like those will attempt to explain their motives and our Lord will say "I never knew you, depart from me, you workers of lawlessness."
As a previous POTUS once said, "I feel your pain."
....May the Holy Spirit bless us with complete humility, that we handle the truth with the appropriate reverence it is due, and seek to glorify God in Christ above all things as long as He allows us to minister.
Please tell me I can exhale now and that the bulging blood vessel on my forehead has begun to recede... Truthfully I don't know if we should switch to imprecatory prayers over these people considering how often this crap manifests itself.
Grace and peace,
Some additional thoughts about liberal theology...
(if you're interested enough to continue)
H. Richard Niebuhr powerfully encapsulated the teachings of Protestant Liberalism in a single sentence. He said liberalism teaches that "A God without wrath brought men without sin into a Kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross."
Perhaps J. Gresham Machen summed it up even more powerfully by describing liberalism as a religion different altogether from the Christian faith. According to Machen, "The chief modern rival of Christianity is 'liberalism' ...at every point, the two movements are in direct opposition."
I would suggest that time has proven the accuracy of these men's statements even as it has revealed the devastating impact that liberalism has had upon the church since the modernist controversy.
In light of its disastrous wake let us cling to the truth of God's Word all the more even as we affirm, with sobering conviction, the fact that liberal theology destroys souls and closes churches.
"...liberal theology destroys souls and closes churches..."
Assuming you are nerdy enough you might enjoy my presentation of a paper about Martin Luther's personal understanding of the doctrine of sanctification especially as some in Reformed circles accuse Luther of having no real understanding of sanctification at all. I contend that by examining Luther in his own words even we Reformed believers can discover otherwise.
WHO WAS MARTIN LUTHER?
Luther's contributions to Western civilization went beyond the life of the Christian Church. Luther's translations of the Bible helped to develop a standard version of the German language and added several principles to the art of translation. Luther's hymns inspired the development of congregational singing in Christianity.
"The Holy Spirit During the Old Testament Ages"
(an excerpt from the 6th chapter of 'The Holy Spirit')
by A.W. Pink
A verse which has been grossly perverted by many of our moderns is John 7:39, "The Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified." It seems passing strange that with the Old Testament in their hands, some men should place the construction which they do upon those words. The words "was not yet given" can no more be understood absolutely than "Enoch was not" (Gen. 5:24); they simply mean that the Spirit had not yet been given in His full administrative authority. He was not yet publicly manifested here on earth. All believers, in every age, had been sanctified and comforted by Him, but the "ministration of the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:8) was not at that time fully introduced; the outpouring of the Spirit, in the plentitude of His miraculous gifts, had not then taken place.
In Relation to Creation
Let us first consider, though very briefly, the work of the Spirit in connection with the old or material creation. Before the worlds were framed by the Word of God, and things which are seen were made out of things which do not appear (Heb. 11:3), when the whole mass of inanimate matter lay in one undistinguished chaos, "without form and void," we are told that, "the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters" (Gen. 1:2). There are other passages which ascribe the work of creation (in common with the Father and the Son), to His immediate agency. For example, we are told, "by His Spirit He hath garnished the heavens" (Job 26:13). Job was moved to confess, "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (33:4). "Thou sendest forth Thy Spirit, they are created: and Thou renewest the face of the earth" (Ps. 104:30).
In Relation to Adam
Let us next contemplate the Holy Spirit in relation to Adam. As so much darkness now surrounds this subject, we must enter into it in greater detail. "Three things were required to render man fit unto that life to God for which he was made. First, an ability to discern the mind and wisdom of God with respect unto all the duty and obedience that God requires of him; as also for to know the nature and properties of God, as to believe Him the only proper object of all acts and duties of religious obedience, and an all-sufficient satisfaction and reward in this world, and to eternity. Secondly, a free, uncontrolled, unentangled, disposition to every duty of the law of his creation for living unto God. Thirdly, an ability of mind and will, with a readiness of compliance in his affections, for a regular performance of all duties and abstinence from all sin. These things belonged unto the integrity of his nature, with the uprightness of the state and condition wherein he was made. And all these things were the peculiar effects of the immediate operation of the Holy Spirit.
"Thus Adam may be said to have had the Spirit of God in his innocence. He had Him in these peculiar effects of His power and goodness, and he had Him according to the tenor of that covenant, whereby it was possible that he should utterly lose Him, as accordingly it came to pass. He had Him not by especial inhabitation, for the whole world was then the temple of God. In the Covenant of Grace, founded in the Person and on the mediation of Christ, it is otherwise. On whomsoever the Spirit of God is bestowed for the renovation of the image of God in him, He abides with him forever" (J. Owen, 1680).
The three things mentioned above by that eminent Puritan constituted the principal part of that "image of God" wherein man was created by the Spirit. Proof of this is seen in the fact that at regeneration the Holy Spirit restores those abilities in the souls of God’s elect: "And hath put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, after the image of Him that created him" (Col. 3:10): that is, the spiritual knowledge which man lost at the Fall is, potentially, restored at the new birth; but it could not be restored or "renewed" if man had never possessed it!
The "knowledge" with which the Holy Spirit endowed Adam was great indeed. Clear exemplification of this is seen in Genesis 2:19. Still, more conclusive evidence is found in Genesis 2:21-23: God put Adam into a deep sleep, took a rib out of his side, formed it into a woman, and then set her before him. On sight of her Adam said, "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." He knew who she was and her origin, and forthwith gave her a suitable name; and he could only have known all this by the Spirit of revelation and understanding.
That Adam was, originally, made a partaker of the Holy Spirit is quite evident to the writer from Genesis 2:7, "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." If those words were interpreted in the light of the Analogy of Faith, they can mean nothing less than that the Triune God imparted the Holy Spirit unto the first man. In Ezekiel 37 we have a vivid parabolic picture of the regenerating of spiritual Israel. There we are told, "Prophesy unto the Wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the Wind, Thus saith the LORD God, Come from the four winds, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the Breath came unto them, and they lived" (vv. 9, 10). Again, we find the Savior, after His resurrection, "Breathed on them (the Apostles), and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit" (John 20:22): that was the counterpart of Genesis 2:7: the one the original gift, the other the restoration of what was lost.
Rightly has it been said that "The doctrine that man was originally, though mutably, replenished with the Spirit, may be termed the deep fundamental thought of the Scripture doctrine of man. If the first and second Adam are so related that the first man was the analogue or figure of the second, as all admit on the authority of Scripture (Rom. 5:12-14), it is clear that, unless the first man possessed the Spirit, the last man, the Healer or Restorer of the forfeited inheritance, would not have been the medium of giving the Spirit, who was withdrawn on account of sin, and who could be restored only on account of the everlasting righteousness which Christ (Rom. 8:10) brought in" (G. Smeaton, 1880).
In Relation to the Hebrew Nation
Let us next observe the relation of the Holy Spirit unto the Hebrew nation. A very striking and comprehensive statement was made by Nehemiah, when he reviewed the Lord’s dealings with His people of old: "Thou gavest also Thy good Spirit to instruct them" (Neh. 8:20). He was, until quenched, upon the members of the Sanhedrin (Num. 11:16, 17). He came upon the judges (Judges 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 15:14), upon the kings (1 Sam. 11:6; 16:13), and the Prophets. But note it is a great mistake to say, as many have done, that the Holy Spirit was never in any believer before Pentecost: Numbers 27:18, Nehemiah 9:30, 1 Peter 1:11 clearly prove otherwise. But alas, Israel "rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit" (Isa. 63:10), as Stephen declared, "Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit: as your fathers did, so do ye" (Acts 7:51).
That the Holy Spirit indwelt saints under the Legal economy is clear from many considerations: how otherwise could they have been regenerated, had faith, been enabled to perform works acceptable to God? The Spirit prompted true prayer, inspired spiritual worship, produced His fruit in the lives of believers then (see Zech. 4:6) as much as He does now. We have "the same Spirit of faith" (2 Cor. 4:13) as they had. All the spiritual good which has ever been wrought in and through men must be ascribed unto the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was given to the Old Testament saints prospectively, as pardon of sin was given in view of the satisfaction which Christ was to render unto God.
For those interested in learning more about the author....
Here's some more about
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Arthur Walkington Pink was born in Great Britain on April 1, 1886 and died on July 15, 1952. After spending a portion of his young adulthood as an unbeliever and member of an occult-society he was converted to Christianity and immigrated to the U.S. to study at Moody Bible Institute. Eventually he would go on to pastor churches in Colorado, California, Kentucky, and South Carolina before becoming an itinerant Bible teacher in 1919. From 1925-1927 he Pastored in Sydney, Australia then went to visit his hometown of Nottingham, England before returning to the U.S. He returned to his native land in 1934, taking up residence on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, in 1940, and remained there until his death. Most of his works first appeared as articles in Studies in Scriptures, a monthly magazine concerned solely with the exposition of Scripture.
According to his biographer: "Pink was virtually unknown and certainly unappreciated in his day. Independent Bible study convinced him that much of modern evangelism was defective. When Puritan and reformed books were generally disregarded by the Church as a whole, he advanced the majority of their principles with untiring zeal. The progressive spiritual decline of his own nation (Britain) was to him the inevitable consequence of the prevalence of a 'gospel' that could neither wound (with conviction of sin) nor heal (via regeneration)."
Pink was a prolific author and most of his work is now available free online.
in this installment of 100% true history from the annals of the Church....
Is your husband a totally unbearable jerk?
Would you like to get rid of him without violating any international laws?
If so then St. Wilgefortis, the bearded lady armed with power from on high can help!
That’s right! Thanks to the help St. Wilgefortis, all of this can be yours!
the bearded lady and saint
Between a rock and a hard place Wilgefortis prayed that she would be made repulsive. In His mercy the Lord responded to her prayer by causing a beard to miraculously sprout on her face. The pagan king, who apparently had always dreamed of having a beardless wife broke off the engagement in short order leaving W’s angry father to crucify her in a fit of blasphemous vengeance.... or so the story goes.
To all of this disheartening flood of information, many of the faithful objected, “But what about the pictures? Everybody’s seen them! If that bearded lady is not Wilgefortis, who is she?"
And that’s when the coldest and hardest part of the truth came home to roost… That crucified figure in the pictures was not a bearded woman at all. In fact nowhere at any time has a bearded woman ever been depicted in sacred art.
This being the case, the mystery was quickly solved. Apparently in the 15th century some artists from the East depicted Christ on the cross wearing a long robe instead of the loin cloth that Western artists put Him in. Mistaking the robes for a dress some Western Christians also mistook Christ for a bearded woman…
Thus was born the myth of St. Wilgefortis as here unfolded in this installment of "100% True History from the Annals of the Church."
One final note...
Don’t worry, the cult of this legendary androgynous character was officially suppressed by the Roman Church in 1969 (finally!).... but anyway as Protestant’s we’ve never looked to bearded ladies for spiritual help in the first place...
Augustine of Hippo
(born 354, died August 28, 430) African school teacher, philosopher, and free-love wild-child turned Christian-leader.
A little more about Augustine for those interested...
Augustine was born in 354 in Tagaste, a provincial Roman city in North Africa. He was raised and educated in Carthage. His mother Monica was a devout Christian and his father Patricius a pagan. His father converted to Christianity on his death bed, which came from the persuasion of his wife. As a youth Augustine followed the unpopular Manichaean religion, much to the horror of his mother. In Carthage, he developed a relationship with a young woman who would be his concubine for over a decade and produce a son. His education and early career was in philosophy and rhetoric, the art of persuasion and public speaking. He taught in Tagaste and Carthage, but soon aspired to compete with the best, in Rome. However, Augustine grew disappointed with the Roman schools, which he found apathetic. Manichaean friends introduced him to the prefect of the City of Rome, Symmachus, who had been asked to provide a professor of rhetoric for the imperial court at Milan.
The young provincial won the job and headed north to take up his position in late 384. At age thirty, Augustine had won the most visible academic chair in the Latin world, at a time when such posts gave ready access to political careers. However, he felt the tensions of life at an imperial court, lamenting one day as he rode in his carriage to deliver a grand speech before the emperor, that a drunken beggar he passed on the street had a less careworn existence than he.
Although Monica pressed the claims of Christianity, it is the bishop of Milan, Ambrose, who had most influence over Augustine. Ambrose was a master of rhetoric like Augustine himself, but older and more experienced. Prompted by Ambrose's sermons, Augustine moved away from Manichaeism, but instead of becoming Catholic like Ambrose, he converted to pagan Neoplatonism. Augustine's mother followed him to Milan and he allowed her to arrange a society marriage, for which he abandoned his concubine (however he had to wait two years until his fiance came of age; he promptly took up in the meantime with another woman).
In the summer of 386, in a garden, Augustine underwent a profound personal crisis and decided to convert to Christianity, abandon his career in rhetoric, quit his teaching position in Milan, give up any ideas of marriage (much to the horror of his mother), and devote himself full time to religion, celibacy and the priesthood. Ambrose baptized Augustine on Easter day in 387, and soon thereafter in 388 he returned to Africa. On his way back to Africa his mother died, as did his son soon after, leaving him relatively alone.
In 391 he was ordained a priest in Hippo Regius, (now Annaba, in Algeria). He became a famous preacher (more than 350 preserved sermons are believed to be authentic), and was noted for combating the Manichaean heresy.
In 396 he was made coadjutor bishop of Hippo (assistant with the right of succession on the death of the current bishop), and remained as bishop in Hippo until his death in 430. He left his monastery, but continued to lead a monastic life in the episcopal residence.
Augustine died on August 28, 430, during the siege of Hippo by the Vandals. He is said to have encouraged its citizens to resist the attacks, primarily on the grounds that the Vandals adhered to Arianism, which had been condemned as heretical.
Influence as a theologian and thinker
Augustine remains a central figure, both within Christianity and in the history of Western thought. As he himself was much influenced by Platonism and Neoplatonism, particularly by Plotinus, Augustine was important to the "baptism" of Greek thought and its entrance into the Christian, and subsequently the European intellectual tradition. Also important was his early and influential writing on the human will, a central topic in ethics, and one which became a focus for later philosophers such as Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. It is largely due to Augustine's arguments against the Pelagians, who did not believe in original sin, that Western Christianity has maintained the doctrine of original sin. Augustine also contended that God exists outside of time in the "eternal present" -- time existing only within the created universe.
Augustine's writings helped formulate the theory of the just war. He also advocated the use of force against the Donatists, asking "Why ... should not the Church use force in compelling her lost sons to return, if the lost sons compelled others to their destruction?" (The Correction of the Donatists, 22-24)
Thomas Aquinas took much from Augustine's theology while creating his own unique synthesis of Greek and Christian thought. Two later theologians who claimed special influence from Augustine were John Calvin and Cornelius Jansen. Calvinism developed as a part of Reformation theology, while Jansenism was a movement inside the Roman Catholic Church; some Jansenists went into schism and formed their own church.
John Calvin was an ardent student of Augustine's writings which is abundantly evident in his Institutes and the basic tenets of Calvinism. Augustine taught that man has nothing to do with his own salvation. Man has inherited the totally depraved nature of Adam and Eve after the Fall -- to the point they are spiritually incapable of availing themselves of God's grace. As a result of the depraved Adamic nature being inherited, infants are born in sin and with a sinful nature. Augustine argued that the only way any are saved is by God intervening and choosing some whom he calls his elect to be saved. This choosing is totally independent of those chosen. Those thus chosen cannot ever be lost or fall from grace. Conversely, those not sovereignly chosen before the foundation of the world to everlasting life are irrevocably doomed to hell.
Augustine was canonized by popular recognition and recognized as a Doctor of the Church in 1303 by Pope Boniface VIII. His feast day is August 28, the day on which he is thought to have died. Roman Catholics consider him the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses.
"De Doctrina Christiana (On Christian Teaching) is the book Augustine wrote to train preachers. He composed three chapters on how to understand the Bible, then after thirty years of regular preaching, added a final chapter on how to communicate what has been understood." Themelios 33.1 (2008): 39. See also On Christian Doctrine at CCEL.
Augustine on the problem of evil
Scholars have carefully investigated Augustine's life due to his contributions to theodicy, the problem of evil. Throughout Augustine's youth, he had been involved in a belief called Manicheanism. This was an ancient religion from Persia that accounted for the world's entire disharmony in terms of an eternal struggle between physical light and darkness or good and evil. After several years as an adherent of the Manichaean religion, Augustine read the writings of Neoplatonists such as Plotinus, which in turn helped him move beyond the materialism of Manichaeism. Then, at the age of 32, Augustine became a Christian.
Augustine now an adamant follower of Christ sought to deal with the problem of evil. The Scriptures taught that his monotheistic God was all good and all-powerful therefore he desired to understand how and why sin and evil existed. Augustine discovered experientially and biblically that his sin problem was more than one of knowledge or wrong thinking. His affections and will also reacted against what God knew, loved, and willed. He realized that he could not, by his own thinking transform the depravity of his own nature, overcome his separation from God, or remove his verdict of guilt before God's justice. The prodigal son realized his total depravity and the need for God's grace for any hope.
Augustine consequently proposed a solution to the problem of evil in the world attributing it to the Fall of humanity after the disobedience in the Garden of Eden. From this view, Man is responsible for evil by being led astray by Satan. Accordingly, this not only absolves God of creating evil but also allows Him to show the world His love by bringing Christ into the world. (Cf. Confessions, 4:24, 5:20, 7:4)
G.K. Chesterton (May 29, 1874 - June 14, 1936)
G.K. Chesterton has done more to shape my worldview than any other Christian writer. Had I never stumbled across his books Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man I never would have learned that the Christian faith is a thing of great depth - a thing for thinking men and women to wrestle with and devote their minds to. Yes, I believe that the Christian faith is also a thing that even a small child to grasp. Nevertheless, its seeming simplicity is not an excuse for Christians who would remain simpletons.
Since Chesterton was a Roman Catholic there was/is much that he and I would disagree on, nevertheless, the way in which he explains the superiority of the Christian worldview over against all other world views is something for Protestants and Catholics alike to ponder and delight in.
Happy Birthday Mr. Chesterton. I look forward to meeting you in heaven... we have much to discuss.
English writer, theologian, poet, philosopher,orator, literary and art critic, apologist, and Christian.
"Hooray!!! I'm Irrelevant!!!!"
When Steve became pope in September of 885 he had a largish bee in his tiny bonnet concerning a previous pontiff named Formosus – a man who was more or less Stephen V’s chief political rival. According to Stephen there were very troubling questions about the character, qualities, and qualifications Formosus - so much so that with vigilante enthusiasm Stephen V determined to have these questions answered by Formosus himself. The only slight hitch in the plan (as Stephen well knew) was that Formosus was dead and buried.
Did this deter Steven V?
In a show of single-mindedness that demonstrated both laudable commitment to the cause and laughable consternation Pope Steve ordered Formous’ body to be dug up, dressed up, and set upon a courtroom chair for questioning. That’s right! The corpse of Formosus was subpoenaed and – with a little help from his friends – arrived in court on time. However, as one might expect, the accused had little to say in his defense.
(This is where the story gets really good!)
There was only one little detail that Steve had forgotten about but when it came to light the pope quickly realized that in addition to undoing the legacy of his rival he had also managed to cement his own legacy as a nincompoop, dimwit, birdbrain, and a complete fathead.
Steve had gone to great lengths to declare ALL of Formosus’ acts invalid and he had accomplished his goal apparently forgetting that it had been Formosus who had ordained Steve many years earlier. This meant that Steve had accidentally declared his own ordination invalid, which meant that like Formosus, Steve was not a valid pope… But the plot thickens… Shortly thereafter the Church realized that if Stephen’s ordination was illegitimate making him an illegitimate pope then nothing that Stephen declared as pope should be considered valid or binding including the trial and conviction of Formosus whose reputation and legacy were returned to him. For Steve however, the damage was done and the big pointy hat and popemobile were passed to another.
Rev. R Crabtree
"...a son, a husband, a father of 6, a friend, a Presbyterian
(not the liberal kind), an eccentric, and a minister of the gospel... I am also the Pastor of All Souls Church and a Professor of Religious Studies at OCBC."
All Souls Church
Attributes Of God
Irenaeus Of Lyons
Journey Of Faith
Means Of Grace
Order Of Salvation
Westminster Confession Of Faith