Essay / Theology

Progress in Theology

There's an important sense in which theology doesn't ever change at all. There's a logos of theos, a knowledge of God, that is truly immutable. To speak of this unchanging character of the knowledge of God, though, we have to…

Essay / Theology

Good without Quality, Great without Quantity

In the fifth book of Augustine's On the Trinity (Prologue), having declared for the umpteenth time his inadequacy in writing about such subjects, he lays down some rules for how we should think about God: Thus we should understand God,…

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Essay / Theology

Irenaeus on the One God

Irenaeus of Lyons (ca. 130-202) began to theologize at a crucial period in the history of the church. It was a bit of a mess. From the earlier apologists he inherited a vocabulary of Greek philosophical terms with Christian significance.…

Essay / Theology

Englishing Doctrine

I recently read with great admiration a portion of A Briefe Institution of the Common Places of Sacred Divinitie by Lucas Trelcatius the Younger (1573 - 1607), which was translated from Latin to English by John Gawen, a contemporary of Trelcatius.…

Essay / Theology

The Soul of God

Does God have a soul? That's a weird question. But here's a tidy answer, from Amandus Polanus' (1561-1610) Substance of Christian Religion. See the screencap for quaint spellings & suchelike. Yes, God has a soul. "By the soul is meant the…

Essay / Theology

Two Rules for Theological Work

To keep the work of theology at its proper task, and to keep the theologian from getting distracted, and to keep the main thing the main thing (which is, after all, itself the main thing), there are a couple of…

Essay / Theology

Standard Old-School Toolkit

This Easter season, my reading on the resurrection has included the relevant section from Isaac Ambrose (1604-1664)'s book Looking Unto Jesus. The resurrection portion of the 700-page book is about 80 pages long, and Ambrose takes his sweet time examining how…

Essay / Theology

Articles of Theology

Thomas Aquinas knew how to articulate theology, in the double sense of how to be clear about theology and also of how to divide it up into articles. What's an article? Well, I distinguish two meanings of article in Thomas…

Essay / Theology

Every True Practitioner of Piety (Bayly)

Lewis Bayly's Practice of Piety is a classic work of doctrine and devotion that demolishes the idea that there's any division between the two. Those of us who simply love to read theology, more or less for its own sake,…

Essay / Culture

On the Shoulders of Farmers

Thucydides’ Revelation of Our Indebtedness Thucydides opens his “History of the Peloponnesian War” by tying the capability for a truly great war with the stable growth of a culture. He argues that the Peloponnesian was the greatest war because no…

Essay / Culture

When Mercy Looks Like Justice

  A friend of mine is involved in a lawsuit, alleging that she was sexually harassed at work. But she has “some extended family and close friends saying that she’s taking this too far and that justice and vengeance is for…