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. At the same time, Gnostics

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. Of course he translated it

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 life of God, that is

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 helpful rules to observe. They

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 Christ was “carrying on the

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 Aquinas. The most important meaning

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, sometimes need to be reminded

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 the Lord only.” She’s trying

Essay / Culture

Stan Freberg: “My Little World Was Coming Unglued”

This is a note for people who know who Stan Freberg was. For those who don’t, he was a mid-century multimedia guerrilla satirist. Maybe think of him as the Weird Al of the 1950s, but with major influence on advertising and cartoons as well. Go

Essay / Theology

Union and Communion of the Trinity

Puritan theology makes a very helpful distinction between union and communion: “Union is the foundation of communion,” says Sibbes. A union is an underlying oneness of some kind, but communion is an ongoing set of  responses, actions, habits, and disciplines by which fellowship is cultivated

Essay / Art

Lenten Reflections: The Temptation of Jesus

Day 24 – Friday, March 9 Scripture: Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness for forty days, being tempted by the devil. And He ate nothing during those days, and when they

Essay / Theology

Father and Son and a Usage Note

When Jesus’ disciples asked him for instruction in prayer, he told them to begin, “Our Father in heaven.” As the Heidelberg Catechism points out (questions 120 and 121), there’s a tension built in to that opening gambit: “Father” indicates that God is like us in