Category: Church History

Affective Spirituality

“What do you mean by ‘affective theology?’ I’ve never heard of it before I met you.” It’s a fair question. I first found the label in Heiko Oberman’s The Dawn of the Reformation where he wrote of fourteenth-century Christians whose “suspicion of speculation” led them away from prior theological streams. They preferred “an affective theology …

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Calvin & the Spirit

In the sixteenth century John Calvin was a gift to the young Protestant Reformation; and he remains helpful today. The broad Bible reach of his Institutes, for instance, is still engaging. Some, I know, will be suspicious. Calvin has a reputation as a cold intellectual fixated on divine sovereignty and predestination. But, certainly to my …

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Pompeii

Luca and Anca spent the day with me visiting the ruins of Pompeii near Naples. Then the next day Luca and I visited the Naples archealogical museum where most of the artifacts of Pompeii’s destruction from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius are on display. I was surprised by my response to the experience. Let me …

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Luther in 1517

Welcome to All Saints Eve, 2017—now reduced to the weirdly twisted event of Halloween. Halloween aside, many of us know this day marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther posting his Ninety-five Theses in Wittenberg, Germany. I’d love to be in Germany but having missed my chance let me at least offer a reflection in …

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Broken Love

Jonathan Edwards (1703-58) offered some unique and helpful insights about the Holy Spirit in his “Treatise on Grace.” Right now I’m reading Robert W. Caldwell’s study, Communion in the Spirit: The Holy Spirit as the Bond of Union in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards, where he probes the “Treatise” in his second chapter. As Edwards …

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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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