Category Archives: Patristic theology

The Gospel as Personal Encounter: The Incarnation of Christ and the Mission of the Church (Reformission Monday)

As I continue to explore the theology of T. F. Torrance, I discover more resources for developing a faithful and fruitful understanding of the church’s mission. Contrary to the popular adage that “the message does not change, but methods do”, Torrance … Continue reading

Posted in Christology, Gospel, Incarnation, Missiology, Mission & evangelism, Patristic theology, Preaching, Reformission, Soteriology, T.F. Torrance

Augustine Contra Aristotle: The Stimulus for Martin Luther’s Vision for Reform

It is often believed, especially among Roman Catholics, that Martin Luther, and the Reformation that he inspired, set in opposition the individual’s conscience and interpretation of Scripture against the authority of the Catholic Church. Who did Luther think he was, … Continue reading

Posted in Augustine, Biblical interpretation, Church history, Critiques of Protestantism, Martin Luther, Nominalism/Voluntarism, Patristic theology, Philosophy, Protestant theology, Protestantism, Reformation, Reforming Catholicism, Roman Catholicism, Scholasticism, Thomas Aquinas, Thomism

Undivided in Being and Act: Karl Barth on the Inseparable Operations of the Trinity

As a prelude to what I plan to post for Good Friday, I would like to offer Karl Barth’s summary of what St. Augustine called the orthodox faith of the catholic [universal] church, namely, that as the being of the Triune … Continue reading

Posted in Atonement, Augustine, Biblical interpretation, Doctrine of God, Karl Barth, Orthodoxy, Patristic theology, Trinity

Beards Like Lions: Clement of Alexandria on the Mark of a Man

But for one who is a man to comb himself and shave himself with a razor, for the sake of fine effect, to arrange his hair at the looking-glass, to shave his cheeks, pluck hairs out of them, and smooth … Continue reading

Posted in Bearded theology, Church history, Patristic theology

“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

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

“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

Reforming Calvinism: Why the Doctrine of Limited Atonement Implies a Heretical Christology

T.F. Torrance is known to have criticized the traditional Calvinist doctrine of limited atonement (i.e. that Christ died in an efficacious way only for the elect) on the basis of its implicit Nestorianism, the early Christological heresy, condemned by the … Continue reading

Posted in Atonement, Christology, Church history, Classic Calvinism, Election, Evangelical Calvinism, Five points of Calvinism, Heresy/Heterodoxy, Incarnation, Karl Barth, Orthodoxy, Patristic theology, Predestination, Reformed theology, Reforming Calvinism, Soteriology, T.F. Torrance, Vicarious humanity of Christ | 10 Comments

“He Is Our Flesh”: John Calvin on the Saving Significance of the Incarnation

Sometimes when we think about Jesus Christ and his saving work, we can tend to lay so much emphasis on his death for our sins and resurrection for our justification (as Paul puts it in the last verse of Romans 4) … Continue reading

Posted in Atonement, Creeds, Devotional, John Calvin, Love of God, Patristic theology, Reformed theology, Soteriology, Vicarious humanity of Christ, Worship | 4 Comments

The Only Fountain of Salvation: Sola Scriptura and the Faith of the Early Church

One of the most common objections that I hear from Roman Catholics against the five solas of the Reformation, especially to sola Scriptura, is that these were complete novelties invented by the Protestant Reformers in blatant contradiction to the first centuries of church history. … Continue reading

Posted in Athanasius, Biblical interpretation, Creeds, Critiques of Protestantism, Ecumenism, Five Solas, Heresy/Heterodoxy, Homoousion, Irenaeus, John Calvin, John Chrysostom, Martin Luther, Orthodoxy, Patristic theology, Protestant theology, Protestantism, Reformation, Reformed theology, Reforming Catholicism, Revelation, Roman Catholicism, Scripture, Sola Scriptura, Tertullian, Word of God