Church History

Patrick of Ireland: The Scripture-Saturated Life

By M.R. Conrad. Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

We’ve all heard of Patrick of Ireland. He lived in the fifth century, wore a halo, and liked picking clovers—the three-leaf kind (four leaf clovers would be heretical). People, the world over, remember him every March 17 by drinking beer and imagining leprechauns afterward. Rainbows and pots of gold could also be involved. The stereotypes get all muddled together. Maybe Patrick was a halo-wearing, beer-drinking leprechaun. Was there even a real Patrick? Do we even know who he was? Well yes, we do. Patrick was a scripture-saturated Celtic Christian who left behind a few writings that give us a glimpse at his work and testimony for Christ.

Who Was Patrick?

Long before the Roman Catholic Church took its current form or even started sainting people, Patrick followed Scripture.1 After being kidnapped as a teenager from his well-to-do family in Britain, he served as a slave in Ireland. There, remembering the gospel he had heard as a child, Patrick was “reborn in God,” his way of describing the biblical teaching of being born again (John 3:3). After a daring escape from his captors, the young man returned to Britain, studied God’s Word, and then answered God’s call to return to the land of his captivity. Patrick recounted this testimony in The Confession of Patrick, showing us today what kind of Christian and missionary he was.

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What We Need to Learn from the Second-Century Apologists

"The apologists affirmed: Christians are model citizens, respectful to Roman authorities, do good, and are not a threat to the empire. Within living memory of the apostles, these Christians learned well the deposit of apostolic teaching: we are, for example, 'to show perfect courtesy toward all people' (Titus 3:2) and to 'Honor the emperor' (1 Pet 2:17)." - Wyatt Graham

486 reads

Two Charlies: Darwin vs. Hodge - An imagined interview with Charles Hodge

"Hodge also saw that science low on the ladder of abstraction, based on observing and measuring, is not in conflict with Christian belief—but “science” high on the ladder, with faith in things unseen like macro-evolution, is. Here’s my pretend 1874 interview with Hodge about Darwin. Hodge’s own words form the answers." - Olasky

324 reads

Now Thank We All Our God: Don’t Let 2020 Stop Your Thanksgiving

"Now Thank We All Our God... rose to popularity at a strange time in European history, when it seemed there was little for which to be grateful. As the Thirty Years’ War raged through the interior of the continent, plague spread rapidly through communities in ways that now feel eerily familiar." - TGC

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Sacred Desk or Sacred Cow? Perspective on the Pulpit (Part 2)

Read Part 1.

Changing the Pulpit?

We’ve argued that the big wooden pulpit is not an element but a circumstance of worship. Technically we don’t have to use a pulpit for preaching or teaching. Or we could exchange the old pulpit for one that’s newer and portable. But, as the old adage goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” In other words, we may change, but we don’t have to change. There should be some benefits or advantages to circumstantial changes in order to warrant such changes.

Below I’d like to suggest a few possible benefits and advantages of making the transition from an older large pulpit to a newer, smaller, and more portable pulpit. Let me quickly add that these proposed benefits and advantages may not apply to every local church’s cultural and ministry context. Wisdom is needed.

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Sacred Desk or Sacred Cow? Perspective on the Pulpit (Part 1)

Since the days of the Reformation, Protestant churches have traditionally situated the pulpit front and center in the architecture of their meeting places. The purpose of the pulpit’s conspicuously elevated and prominent position is to symbolize the authority and centrality of God’s Word in the life and ministry of the gathered church. The question we want to raise in this brief article is whether such symbolism is always necessary or helpful in our day.

Origins of the “Pulpit”

The English term “pulpit” derives from the Latin pulpitum, which originally referred to a raised platform on which a speaker would stand. This usage is seen in the Authorized Version’s translation of Nehemiah 8:4: “And Ezra the scribe stood upon a pulpit of wood, which they had made for the purpose.”1 To my knowledge, this is the only time the English term is used in the Bible.

The next extant reference to a “pulpit” doesn’t occur again until the third century A.D. Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, uses the term pulpitum to refer to a physical structure within a church building. According to Michael White,

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Review of ‘An Introduction to John Owen’ by Crawford Gribben

Review of An Introduction to John Owen: A Christian Vision for Every Stage of Life by Crawford Gribben, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020, 190 pages, pbk.

Crawford Gribben is a professor at Queen’s University in Belfast and is well known as a scholar of Puritanism, specializing on eschatology. He has written a previous book on John Owen which has garnered him much praise.

This work represents a modest exploration of the life and thought of the Puritan giant John Owen, and comes at the subject from a different angle than most of the biographies and studies of Owen I had encountered before. It is definitely a book by a historian, not a theologian (Sinclair Ferguson’s John Owen on the Christian Life is a good example of the latter). Gribben employs the device of the stages of life to understand Owen, and he is well-suited to the purpose. In particular, Owen’s experiences during the Protectorate of Oliver Cromwell and then in the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy provide a good lens through which to view him and his writings.

The book consists of a chapter long Introduction followed by four chapters and the Conclusion. The main chapters deal with “Childhood,” Youth,” “Middle Age,” and “Death and Eternal Life,” as seen from Owen’s perspective. These phases of life are approached via Owen’s own thoughts, intermixed with facts about Owen’s life situations and temperament. All this is preceded by a full timeline.

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Is Anglicanism a distinctive middle way or via media between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism?

"the conception of the Church of England as a half-way house between Rome and John Calvin’s Geneva (or Martin Luther’s Wittenberg) would have been incomprehensible to the English Reformers of the sixteenth century." - Ref21

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