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Showing posts from February, 2017

The End of an Era

Gonzales writes, “When Augustine died, the Vandals were laying siege to the city of Hippo. Shortly thereafter, they were masters of the northern coast of Africa, Except Egypt. A few years earlier, in 410 CE, Rome had been taken and sacked by Alaric and his Goths.”1 Augustine died in in 430 AD, historians will give varying answers as to when the Patristic period ended and the Medieval period began. My instructor, Provost, Dr. Jason Duesing marks it around 500 AD.2 There is good reason for this; Catholics and Protestants alike look back at Augustine as the last great theologian of the Patristic period, but there were still much in the realm of Christological debates still occurring during the fifth century. There were two great Ecumenical councils during the fifth century (Ephesus 431 AD and Chalcedon 451 AD) that came to a consensus on the person of Jesus Christ, who is fully God and fully Man yet without sin.3
During the Medieval period much of the areas discussed during the Patristic …

Ambrose, Chrysostom, Jerome, and Augustine

This week’s study in “The History of Christianity” took us through some very interesting figures. Great men of God who lived and wrote in the later part of the fourth century to the early part of the fifth century. Each man had a part to play in our current understanding of theology, doctrine, and practice. Most evangelicals today have heard of Augustine of Hippo, even if only vaguely, but have you heard of Ambrose, John Chrysostom, or Jerome? Ambrose of Milan was governor of that city. There was division at that time within the church over the deity of Christ. Tempers were flaring and each side wanted his own view represented in the elected Bishop. So, Ambrose attended the election in order to avoid a riot. He was a trained speaker who won the support of the crowd. Even though he was not seeking to be Bishop, the crowd elected him to be their Bishop. Ambrose was a catechumen (new believer) who had not yet been baptized. In those days a new believer was discipled in the way of the fait…

Purifying Doctrine

This past weekend; Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I spent 8 hours each day alongside 100 other Christians who came from all over the United States. We were in Houston, Texas, preaching the gospel in open-air, passing out tracts, and talking with people. We were broken up into 10 teams of 10. The event was Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas. On Friday and Saturday we surrounded the outer complex of Discovery Green in Downtown Houston, the location of what was called the Super Bowl experience. On Sunday (game day) we surrounded the outside of the stadium. One could not enter or exit Discovery Green on Friday or Saturday, or enter NRG Stadium on game day without having heard at least a portion of the gospel.
The gospel that we preached, is the same gospel that Christians have been proclaiming through the ages. “That in Jesus Christ, and for our salvation, God has entered human history in a unique way.”1 God became flesh in the person of His only begotten Son Jesus Christ and dwelt among us.2 W…

The Political Rise of Christianity

The early church for the most part was not filled with intellectuals or the social elite. Historians have pieced together an understanding of the early church through the writings of early church leaders. Their writings do not give a complete picture of the Christian life during the early church period. Much like the writings of church leaders today do not fully reflect a picture of the rank and file Christian. A pagan writer named Celsus wrote, “Christians were ignorant folk whose teaching took place, not in schools nor in open forums, but in kitchens, shops, and tanneries.”1 This was said to mock the Christian faith, but the fact remains, Christianity did not spread through the Roman Empire through an elite class of missionary evangelist, but by everyday Christian folk talking “in kitchens, shops, and tanneries.”2
The apostolic writers wrote about very specific issues within the church. The apologist who followed them wrote in defense of the faith to unbelievers outside of the church…