Februrary 10th there will be airing an interview on Ancient Faith Radio by Kevin Allen with myself on the subject of Universalism. For logistical reasons the interview will be recorded earlier (Feb 5th) but listeners can submit questions now via the AFR web page. Listen in and share!
On occasion Protestant writers and apologists make claim for their theological distinctives as being found in the fathers. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is one such case where a good many citations are brought forward to establish that this doctrine is nothing novel. And so Protestantism is introducing nothing new in advocating for the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. The two major works from which practically all contemporary Protestant cases directly or indirectly depend on are by Whitaker and Goode. If you have read them (I have) there really isn’t much else to read.
One father who is advanced for the case of Sola Scriptura is Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) Gregory is usually enlisted to support a few parts of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, scripture as the ultimate authority, its material sufficiency and perspicuity. The following citations are some of the usual suspects.
(Musical selection A 07 The Pink Room)
EP is focused on Orthodox theology with a special eye to the theology of Maximus the Confessor. As such it is devoted to questions of historical and philosophical theology. It could be about other things relative to Orthodox theology such as Biblical theology as a discipline, but since I am not trained as a Biblical theologian, in the academic sense of that term, I tend try to limit myself to areas in which I have some competence. This is also why I try to steer the blog away from whatever happens to be going in the world, whether politics or the wider culture. There are plenty of other venues for that. I have a niche and I like my niche very much.
But every so often something pops up in the culture that impinges upon Orthodox theology. Of course the on going cultural yelling match (we haven’t yet begun to have an argument) about “Gay” marriage has had a flare up with the recent North Carolina state constitutional amendment. This I would usually ignore on EP except for the fact that David J. Dunn, has written for the Huffington Post an article as an “Orthodox Lay theologian” defending “Gay marriage” or at least objecting to it being banned.
“Another doctrinal current made its appearance in the Middle Ages, Duns Scotus being its outstanding exponent. He taught that the acts of the penitent-contrition, confession, satisfaction-though integral, are not essential parts of the sacrament of penance. The only essential is the absolution in respect of the sins, the three acts of penitence being only the signs of it. Futhermore, he understood the efficacy of the sacrament in the sense of a remission of the fault and of the penalty. The forgiveness of sins does not result immediately from absolution; absolution provokes a certain disposition, and it is this disposition which, through God’s promise, calls forth forgivness.
Concerning contrition, he shows that there exist two ways of justification (in the scholastic sense): one, contrition (superior attrition), can dispense with the sacrament; the other, attrition, suffices for the remission of sins in the sacrament. In connection with the discipline of confession he is less strict concerning its obligatory nature, holding that it is obligatory, by divine precept, only in the case of those in danger of death and as a preparation for certain duties requiring purity.
“For the rest, Augustine’s conception of the oneness of Christ is shown, although with more or less clarity, in the various, likewise traditional ways of describing the incarnation: as an event (fieri), a taking on (susceptio) or assumption (assumptio), a drawing close (accedere), or even a mingling without confusion (mixtio sine confusione). Although in using those terms Augustine is clearly starting from the teaching of the faith according to which only the Son became a human being, he does not yet arrive at the technical formulation of the dogma. That is, he does not use the epxression ‘the one person of Christ’ in order to describe the starting point of theincarnation. In his thinking, ‘the one person of Christ’ is rather the result of the ineffable union between the godhead and the humanity in Jesus Christ.”
Basil Studer, The Grace of Christ and the Grace of God in Augustine of Hippo: Christocentrism or Theocentrism?, trans. Matthew J.O. Connell, Liturgical Press, 1997, p. 34.
In case any readers are wondering where I stand, this post pretty much sums up my thoughts, though Fr. Jacobse is much more polite than I am. I say throw the Sodomites out.
“Yesterday, the eighteenth of the month, which was holy Mid-Pentecost, the patriarch sent me a message, saying,: ‘What church do you belong to? Constantinople? Rome? Antioch? Alexandria? Jerusalem? Look here, all of them are united together with the provinces subject to them. If, therefore, you belong to the catholic church, be united, lest perhaps you devise a strange path by your way of life and you suffer what you don’t expect…’Listen, then,’ they said. ‘The master and the patriarch have decided, following an instruction from the pope of Rome, that you will be anathematised if you do not obey, and that you will be sentenced to the death they have determined.’”
The Letter of Maxmus to Anastasius, His Disciple (CPG 7701)
I unlocked the door and pushed it aside as the damp air from the morning seemed to sweep past me. It was a bit chilly. I was still a bit groggy since I hadn’t had my morning coffee. It took me a few seconds to get a handle on who was at my door at 8:45 on a Saturday morning. Needless to say I wasn’t especially happy to be bothered. But there they were, two well dressed older women of some minority descent. We exchanged greetings “Good morning” they said and I replied in kind.
“We’re going through your neighborhood visiting folks with the news of God’s Kingdom.” Before I could open my mouth she continued with a set of rapid questions. “Do you think there is too much violence in the world? Don’t you believe that the world’s governments have failed to solve mankind’s basic problems?” “Uh…yeah I guess so. That seems pretty obvious to me.” I replied. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes. I tried to work my face into something like a presentable appearance of interest. It was difficult.
Then came the pitch. “Well, God’s Kingdom is coming where He will set right all the wrongs that earthly governments have done. We have an article on this very subject that we’d like to leave with you. Maybe we can come back and discuss it with you at another time? We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about it” By now I had my sea legs. “Well, I was thinking as you were talking just now about a question I’ve had for a good while about a part of the Bible. But I don’t want to hold you up so maybe it is better if we talk about it whenever you come back.” Read the rest of this entry »
Below is a link to an article by Derek Flood which appeared in the April 2010 issue of the Evangelical Quarterly. The article is a review of Pierced for Our Transgressions, which aims to give a historical and biblical defense of the doctrine of the penal theory of the atonement. I myself haven’t read the book or I should say, I didn’t bother to read the book. It didn’t seem to warrant it for a few reasons. First, the book was published by Crossway which isn’t, so far as I know a peer reviewed press. Second, there didn’t seem to be anything particularly new with respect to the argument so far as I could tell. And third, the arguments claiming various church fathers held the theory were prima facia comical. But since the book is making the rounds among Protestants, I figured readers would find Flood’s review article helpful.