Series - Theology Thursday

Theology Thursday - Emperor Constantine on "Vain" & "Unimportant Matters"

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. We hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints,” (Jude 3).

The Emperor Constantine being grieved at the Disturbance of the Churches, sends Hosius the Spaniard to Alexandria, exhorting the Bishop and Arius to Reconciliation and Unity.

WHEN the emperor was made acquainted with these disorders, he was very deeply grieved; and regarding the matter as a personal misfortune, immediately exerted himself to extinguish the conflagration which had been kindled, and sent a letter to Alexander and Arius by a trustworthy person named Hosius, who was bishop of Cordova, in Spain.

The emperor greatly loved this man and held him in the highest estimation. It will not be out of place to introduce here a portion of this letter, the whole of which is given in the life of Constantine by Eusebius.

Victor Constantine Maximum Augustus to Alexander and Arius

I am informed that your present controversy originated thus:

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Theology Thursday - Maddened Robbers & Accursed Wretches

"Council of Nicea"

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. We hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).

Arius Explains More (ca. 324 A.D.)

God Himself then, in His own nature, is ineffable by all men. Equal or like Himself He alone has none, or one in glory. And Ingenerate we call Him, because of Him who is generate by nature. We praise Him as without beginning because of Him who has a beginning. And adore Him as everlasting, because of Him who in time has come to be.

The Unbegun made the Son a beginning of things originated; and advanced Him as a Son to Himself by adoption. He has nothing proper to God in proper subsistence. For He is not equal, no, nor one in essence with Him. Wise is God, for He is the teacher of Wisdom. There is full proof that God is invisible to all beings; both to things which are through the Son, and to the Son He is invisible.

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Theology Thursday - Arius, Apostasy and Heretical Vomit

Athanasius says, "Beware of heretical vomit!"

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. We hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).

Bishop Alexander Warns the Flock

(From the Epistle of Alexander, Bishop of Alexandria, c. A.D. 318)

Many heresies have arisen before these, which exceeding all bounds in daring, have lapsed into complete infatuation: but these persons, by attempting in all their discourses to subvert the Divinity of THE WORD, as having made a nearer approach to Antichrist, have comparatively lessened the odium of former ones. Wherefore they have been publicly repudiated by the Church, and anathematized. We are indeed grieved on account of the perdition of these persons, and especially so because, after having been previously instructed in the doctrines of the Church, they have now apostatized from them.

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Theology Thursday - Trouble in Alexandria

Athanasius is not amused

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. We hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).

The following are excerpts from a 5th century church history by Socrates Scholasticus about the beginning of the Arian Controversy.

The Arian Controversy Begins

After Peter, bishop of Alexandria, had suffered martyrdom under Diocletian, Achillas was installed in the episcopal office, whom Alexander succeeded, during the period of peace above referred to. He, in the fearless exercise of his functions for the instruction and government of the Church, attempted one day in the presence of the presbytery and the rest of his clergy, to explain, with perhaps too philosophical minuteness, that great theological mystery—the UNITY of the Holy Trinity.

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Theology Thursday - More from Reformed Baptists on the Christian & the Law

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. We hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints,” (Jude 3).

From Samuel Waldron and Richard Barcellos, A Reformed Baptist Manifesto: The New Covenant Constitution of the Church (Palmdale, CA: RBAP 2004), 41-47 (excerpts).

The first and central practical implication to be drawn from all that has been said this: We learn the delusion and danger of divorcing law and grace. Law and grace must be distinguished, but they must never be divorced.

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Theology Thursday - Reformed Baptists on the Christian & the Law

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions.

From Samuel Waldron and Richard Barcellos, A Reformed Baptist Manifesto: The New Covenant Constitution of the Church (Palmdale, CA: RBAP 2004).

The word antinomian simply means against law. There are various types of Antinomians, but in some way or another, all Antinomians deny that the Ten Commandments as a unit are a rule of life for the Christian. Historically, Antinomians have been labeled differently, depending on the type of antinomianism to which they adhere.

Practical Antinomians not only teach against the law in the Christian life, they often advocate lawless living. Doctrinal or Moderate Antinomians, however, do not advocate lawless living, but they deny the third use of the law (i.e. the Ten Commandments as a rule for Christian living) or, at best, advocate it but redefine what law means … The Ten Commandments function as the epitome of the Moral Law in the Bible, as we will see. Many in our day deny this crucial fact. Many Christians in our day are, therefore, Antinomian in some sense.1

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Theology Thursday - More from Arminius on the Law & the Christian

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. Some are orthodox, but decidedly outside the Baptist orbit. Others are completely heretical. Regardless of heresy or orthodoxy, we hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3).

From The Works of Jacob Arminius, vol. 1, “Disputation 13 - On the Comparison of the Law and the Gospel.” Courtesy of The Wesley Center.

The Saints Under the Old Testament

But, lest any one should suppose that the Fathers who lived under the law and the Old Testament, were entirely destitute of grace, faith and eternal life; it is to be recollected that even at that period, the promise was in existence which had been made to Adam concerning “the Seed of the woman,” (Genesis 3:15,) which also concerned the seed of Abraham, to whom “the promises were made,” (Galatians 3:16,) and in whom “all the kindreds of the earth were to be blessed;” (Acts 3:25) and that these promises were received in faith by the holy fathers.

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Theology Thursday - Arminius on Law & Gospel

On “Theology Thursday,” we feature short excerpts on various areas of systematic theology, from a wide variety of colorful (and drab) characters and institutions. Some are orthodox, but decidedly outside the Baptist orbit. Others are completely heretical. Regardless of heresy or orthodoxy, we hope these short readings are a stimulus for personal reflection, a challenge to theological complacency, and an impetus for apologetic zeal “to encourage you to contend earnestly for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints,” (Jude 3).

From The Works of Jacob Arminius,​ vol. 1, “Disputation 13 - On the Comparison of the Law and the Gospel.” Courtesy of The Wesley Center.

Since the law ought to be considered in two respects, not only as it was originally delivered to men constituted in primitive innocence, but also as it was given to Moses and imposed on sinners, (on which account it has in the Scriptures obtained the name of “the Old Testament,” or “the Old Covenant,”) it may very properly, according to this two-fold respect, be compared with the Gospel, which has received the appellation of “the New Testament” as it is opposed to the Old.

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