Category: Church History

The City of God

Augustine, the lead pastor of the church in Hippo, North Africa, spent more than a decade writing the City of God—from 413 to 426. It was his response to news that Alaric, commander of the Goths, had sacked Rome in 410. So Christians in the Roman Empire were shaken. Christians throughout the Empire, including the …

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Our Ultimate End

In his lifetime Richard Sibbes’ (1577-1635) theology changed at some key points. For any who appreciate Sibbes the claim invites some attention. We know he was a lifelong learner and was ready to think for himself. As a pastor and teacher he read widely and explored the Bible both for his teaching and in his …

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Today in History

Just one year from today, on October 31, 2017, we’ll celebrate the fifth century anniversary of Martin Luther’s publication in Wittenberg of 95 Theses—his 1517 protests against a church scheme to offer God’s grace in exchange for money. Is there some way I can get to Germany for the occasion? I doubt it, but stay …

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Not Everyone

Jesus was very direct. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your …

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Sibbes on Jesus

Richard Sibbes (1577-1635) loved Jesus. It spilled out in his life and sermons as an infectious joy. And today more and more kindred hearts are hearing of Sibbes. So what did Sibbes offer? The records of Gray’s Inn offer a tease. The Inn was an important residence hall and training center in central London, set …

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O’Rourke’s Book

Let me introduce Fran O’Rourke’s book, Pseudo-Dionysius and the Metaphysics of Aquinas. It’s a solid contribution to the history of Christian thought. O’Rourke, a philosopher, teaches in Dublin and the book came out with E. J. Brill in 1992. It’s now in paperback from Notre Dame. Why mention a book intended for academics? Will it …

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The Mystery of Marriage

Richard Sibbes’ reading of Augustine’s The Trinity supported some important themes in his preaching as in a believer’s union with Christ in “A Description of Christ.” The 17th century English Puritan knew and loved his 5th century African mentor. And he was probably reassured to find this theme restated in Luther’s Freedom of a Christian …

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Every Man a Philosopher

Let me come back once more to the late Heiko Oberman’s outstanding biography, Luther: Man between God and the Devil. In this work Oberman saw Luther’s reformation ambition for what it really was: an effort to correct the misportrayal of God that dominated the church in his era. Oberman summarized a representative question on Luther’s …

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