Category Archives: History

Power and emptiness

Western civilization began to worship power when it began to doubt significance. The reason Lewis, Chesterton, Williams, Tolkien, and Thomas Howard fascinate us so much is that they still live in the medieval world, a world chocked-full of the built-in, … Continue reading

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More from Dan Brown

While it is my belief that some of the theories discussed by these characters may have merit, each individual reader must explore these characters’ viewpoints and come to his or her own interpretations. -Dan Brown on his FAQ. What is … Continue reading

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Dan Brown’s Sweet Mystery of Life

At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. -Anthony Kennedy from a 1992 ruling Some of you may recall that piece … Continue reading

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Is church necessary?

With which of the following statements do you most agree? “Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.” “Away from [the church] one cannot hope for any forgiveness of sins or any salvation.” For … Continue reading

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A country parson

In “Guarding the Holy Fire,” Roger Steer relates this tale of Parson William Grimshaw (1708-63): Grimshaw’s dress was plain, even shabby at times. Often he only had one coat and one pair of shoes. He ate plain food and hated … Continue reading

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Things adults and children have done

Tim Ware notes a detail of 17th century Russian court life. [Worship] Services lasting seven hours or more were attended by the Tsar and the whole Court… The children were not excluded from these rigorous observances. ‘What surprised us most … Continue reading

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St. Petersburg

In St. Petersburg, we stayed at a hotel where, looking out a window, I could see one of Dosteovsky’s flats. Across the square lay majestic St. Isaac’s, commissioned by Alexander I. Not far away was Tchaikovsky’s apartment. Across a small … Continue reading

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Primer on why women’s ordination is unbiblical

[Gordon-Conwell Seminary] was well-known for its adherence to the inerrancy of Scripture, but precisely in those areas where our culture focused its attack on God’s Word and doctrine, our professors often seemed to fall all over themselves demonstrating their acceptance … Continue reading

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Lutheran tour

Here is an interesting photo tour of Reformation Germany.

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The Shape of Sola Scriptura, conclusion

So, on one side, we have solo scriptura, which is rooted in “the individualism of the Radical Reformation, the rationalism of the Enlightenment, and the democratic populism of early America.” This view has neutered the Church and made the individual … Continue reading

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The Shape of Sola Scriptura, part 3

Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox see a divided Protestant church, much of it non-confessional and chaotic. They see an Evangelical movement disconnected not just from the pre-Reformation period, but from 20 years ago. They see worship lacking in reverence and … Continue reading

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The Shape of Sola Scriptura, part 2

Many Evanglicals believe that Luther and Calvin taught solo scriptura, but this is not true. Mathison points to “On the Councils and the Church,” where Luther claims the authority of the early councils and fathers. Calvin did too: “[T]hose to … Continue reading

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The Shape of Sola Scriptura, part 1

Ligonier’s Keith Mathison, one of the Reformation Study Bible editors, wrote an interesting book a few years ago called The Shape of Sola Scriptura. In it, he notes that Reformed theologians were quick to pounce on the reductionistic corruption of … Continue reading

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The necessity of creeds

One of the signs of the evangelical movement’s ahistorical attitude is its downplaying or outright denial of creeds. In how many Protestant churches is the Nicene Creed still recited? Much of the church seems to cede all pre-Reformation ground to … Continue reading

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Religion vs. Theology

RC Sproul tells this story: Several years ago I was invited to address the faculty of a prominent Midwestern college with a rich Christian and Reformed tradition… Before my lecture the dean showed me around the campus. When we entered … Continue reading

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Fundamentalism and Narnia

[He is] a classic theological Ishmael, a wild man whose hand is against every man.” That’s Phil Johnson aptly summarizing a certain fundamentalist who posts uneven and often absurd “exposes” of well-known Christians on his web site. To the world, … Continue reading

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A story of John

A story from Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History: Listen to a tale, which is not a mere tale, but a narrative concerning John the apostle, which has been handed down and treasured up in memory. For when, after the tyrant’s death, he … Continue reading

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Women’s Ordination: Novelty or God’s Word?

Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all. -Samuel Johnson It is popularly thought that the prohibition on women’s ordination … Continue reading

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Tyndale

He was a contemporary of Martin Luther. His translation takes the English language to its highest glories: “the twinkling of an eye” “O death, where is thy sting?” “In the beginning was the Word…” “Seek and ye shall find” “Greater … Continue reading

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The Pearl on the Nerl

This is the 12th-century Church of the Intercession near Bogolyubovo in Russia. It stands alone in a remote field by the small Nerl river. To this eye it is one of the loveliest churches ever constructed.

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Arrogance

In his Short History of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich notes “an aspect of daily life in Byzantium [that we] find hardest to comprehend: the involvement of all classes of society in what appear today to be impossibly abstruse doctrinal niceties.” … Continue reading

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Ancient Iraq

Abram was called from Ur of the Chaldees in Mesopotamia. Hosea noted the Assyrian empire’s brutality, Isaiah called them the “rod of God’s anger,” and Jonah went to Nineveh to convict the Assyrians of their sin. The Babylonian empire grew … Continue reading

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Pyramids

To give you an idea of how old the Great Pyramids of Giza are, they were more ancient to Cleopatra (who lived around 50 years before Christ) than Cleopatra is to us. They were ancient history when Jesus walked the … Continue reading

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