Category Archives: Church history

John Calvin on the “In-Christness” of Predestination

Sermon excerpt from John Calvin, Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians. (London; Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1973), pp.32-33: How then do we come to God? How do we obey him? How do we have a quiet mind that yields itself … Continue reading

Posted in Apostle Paul, Church history, Election, Five points of Calvinism, John Calvin, Predestination, Reformation, Reformed theology, Soteriology, Sovereignty of God | Leave a comment

“There Is the Catholic Church”: Ignatius of Antioch on the Apostolate, the Episcopate, and the Unity of the Faith

Ignatius of Antioch is an important figure in church history, providing a crucial link between the apostolic and post-apostolic eras. Among the many significant details that we learn from his writings about the development of early Christianity, one stands out in particular: the … Continue reading

Posted in Church history, Ecclesiology, John Behr, Orthodoxy, Patristic theology, Roman Catholicism | Leave a comment

Between God and the Devil: Martin Luther on Waging Spiritual War in the Ministry of the Gospel

In a post entitled “Reformation as War” in which I discussed spiritual warfare as a somewhat neglected aspect of Reformation history, I included a brief reference taken from another source to Heiko Oberman and his portrayal of Luther as spiritual warrior in … Continue reading

Posted in Church history, Gospel, Martin Luther, Mission & evangelism, Prayer, Preaching, Reformation, Reformission, Sin and evil, Spiritual warfare | Leave a comment

The Continuity of the Faith: Irenaeus on Church Tradition and Apostolic Succession (and Why I, as a Protestant, Can Wholeheartedly Agree)

In this post, I would like to continue discussing the relation articulated by early church father Irenaeus of Lyons between Scripture, tradition, and church authority. The response to my first post on this topic (which you can read here) was to … Continue reading

Posted in Church history, Critiques of Protestantism, Five Solas, Irenaeus, John Behr, Orthodoxy, Patristic theology, Protestant theology, Reformation, Roman Catholicism, Scripture, Sola Scriptura | Leave a comment

“According to the Scriptures”: Irenaeus, the Word of God, and the Tradition of the Church

One of the common criticisms of sola Scriptura is that it has no support prior to the Reformation, especially in the early centuries of church history. Not only is sola Scriptura without patristic support, but (so it is claimed) it represents a total contradiction … Continue reading

Posted in Church history, Critiques of Protestantism, Ecclesiology, Five Solas, Heresy/Heterodoxy, Irenaeus, John Behr, Orthodoxy, Patristic theology, Protestant theology, Reformed theology, Roman Catholicism, Scripture, Sola Scriptura | 3 Comments

Reformation As War: The Story of One Man’s Awakening to the Reality of Spiritual Opposition (Reformission Monday)

I recently finished reading a challenging, disturbing, but ultimately rewarding book appropriately entitled The Awakening. I say “appropriately entitled” for two reasons. First, it recounts the story of Johann Christoph Blumhardt, a nineteenth-century German pastor, and his “awakening” to the spiritual war … Continue reading

Posted in Church history, Kingdom of God, Martin Luther, Mission & evangelism, Prayer, Preaching, Reformation, Reformission, Spiritual warfare | 3 Comments

The Eternal Mediation of the Word: John Calvin on the Christocentric Nature of Reality

Often it is tempting, at least in the Reformed tradition, to think that Christ’s office as mediator between God and humanity (1 Tim. 2:5) began with his incarnation. This, in turn, stems from the idea that Christ’s mediatorial work is exclusively … Continue reading

Posted in Biblical interpretation, Christology, Church history, John Calvin, Reformed theology, Scripture, Theological methodology, Word of God

True Ecumenism: Pope Francis and the Centrality of Jesus Christ

As of late I have written a number of articles that address the now 500 year old division between the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. I have been largely critical of what I see in the Catholic Church as standing … Continue reading

Posted in Church history, Ecumenism, Karl Barth, Martin Luther, Pope Francis, Protestantism, Reformation, Roman Catholicism | 2 Comments

Who Interprets the Interpreters? A Question to Roman Catholics in Light of the Debate over ‘Amoris Laetitia’

The focus of this post is fairly straightforward: I have a question to pose to my Roman Catholic friends and dialogue/debate partners. It is a question I have long considered in that it directly impinges upon the historic debate revolving around the … Continue reading

Posted in Biblical interpretation, Church history, Critiques of Protestantism, Pope Benedict XVI/Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Francis, Protestant theology, Protestantism, Reformation, Reformed theology, Roman Catholicism, Scripture, Sola Scriptura, Word of God | 4 Comments

Sola Scripture Does Not Mean Scripture Alone!

Prefatory note: The purpose of this post is not to delve into the “practical” side of the debate over sola Scriptura (i.e. Who determines proper interpretation? What about the thousands of Protestant denominations?). Nor does it intend to deal with claims about … Continue reading

Posted in Church history, Confessions, Creeds, Critiques of Protestantism, Evangelical theology, Five Solas, John Calvin, Protestant theology, Protestantism, Reformation, Reformed theology, Richard Muller, Roman Catholicism, Scripture, Sola Scriptura, Word of God | 6 Comments