Archive for the ‘Church History’ Category

Deus Vult

November 15, 2011

Deus vult (Latin for “God wills it”) was the cry of the people at the declaration of the First Crusade by Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095. This became the motto of the First Crusade.

But what on earth made them think God wanted it? Their mistake was to neglect the clear teaching of Scripture against it. Let us not follow them

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May 18, 2011

Nothing is colder than a Christian who does not care for the salvation of others.

John Chrysostom

Let God-inspired Scripture decide between us

May 4, 2010

If custom is to be taken in proof of what is right, then it is certainly competent for me to put forward on my side the custom which obtains here. If they reject this, we are clearly not bound to follow them. Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favour of that side will be cast the vote of truth.

Basil of Caesarea (AD c. 330-379), Letter 189, 3

We were not chosen because of our goodness

April 25, 2010

“You did not choose me,” Christ says, “but I chose you” (John 15:16). Such grace is beyond description. What were we, apart from Christ’s choice of us, when we were empty of love? What were we but sinful and lost? We did not lead him to choose us by believing in him; for if Christ chose people who already believed, then we chose him before he chose us. How then could he say, “You did not choose me,” unless his mercy came before our faith? Here is the faulty reasoning of those who say that God chose us before the creation of the world, not in order to make us good, but because he foreknew we would be good…We were not chosen because of our goodness, for we could not be good without being chosen…salvation is not by grace if our goodness came first; but it is by grace – and therefore God’s grace did not find us good but makes us good.

Augustine of Hippo, Commentary on John 15:16 quoted N.R. Needham, 2000 Years of Christ’s Power : Part 1, Grace Publications 2002, p.261-2

There is nothing colder than a Christian who does not seek to save others

April 25, 2010

There is nothing colder than a Christian who does not seek to save others. You cannot plead poverty here; the widow putting in her two small coins will be your accuser. Peter said: Silver and gold I have not. Paul was so poor that he was often hungry and went without necessary food. You cannot plead humble birth, for they were humbly born, of humble stock. You cannot offer the excuse of lack of education, for they were uneducated. You cannot plead ill health, for Timothy also had poor health, with frequent illnesses. Each one can help his neighbor if only he is willing to do what is in his power.

John Chrysostom, Homily 20 on the Acts of the Apostles, quoted N.R. Needham, 2000 Years of Christ’s Power : Part 1, Grace Publications 2002, p.256

The Primacy of the Bishop of Rome unknown to the early Christians

April 21, 2010

In 256 A.D., Cyprian assembled the Seventh Council of Carthage, and the eighty-seven bishops declared:

It remains, that upon this same matter each of us should bring forward what we think, judging no man, nor rejecting any one from the right of communion, if he should think differently from us. For neither does any of us set himself up as a bishop of bishops, nor by tyrannical terror does any compel his colleague to the necessity of obedience; since every bishop, according to the allowance of his liberty and power, has his own proper right of judgment, and can no more be judged by another than he himself can judge another. But let us all wait for the judgment of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the only one that has the power both of preferring us in the government of His Church, and of judging us in our conduct there.

-Cyprian, 7th Council of Carthage

divers Nonconformists pitying the dying and distressed People, that had none to call the impenitent to Repentance, nor to help them to prepare for another World, resolved that no obedience to the Laws of any mortal Men whatsoever could justify them for neglecting of Men’s Souls and Bodies in such extremities

December 8, 2009

…divers Nonconformists pitying the dying and distressed People, that had none to call the impenitent to Repentance, nor to help them to prepare for another World, resolved that no obedience to the Laws of any mortal Men whatsoever could justify them for neglecting of Men’s Souls and Bodies in such extremities.

Richard Baxter, describing how those ministers ejected from their minsitries in 1662 returned to their flocks during the plague of 1665. The ministers who had taken up the vacant posts had abandoned their flocks to seek refuge from the plague.

Quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.246

Let Christians make their choice: sin or suffer

December 8, 2009

These times are like to be either very sinning or suffering times ; let Christians make their choice…sin or suffer ; and surely he that will choose the better part will choose to suffer.

The Earl of Argyll before being hanged for his faith in May 1661, quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, p.199

Surely there’s a comfortable way our flesh prefers?

Oh! the thoughts of the hardship I thought my poor blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces

December 8, 2009

But notwithstanding these helps, I found myself a man and compassed with infirmities; the parting with my wife and poor children, hath often been to me in this place, as the pulling the flesh from the bones, and that not only because I am somewhat too fond of these great mercies, but also because I should have often brought to my mind the many hardships, miseries, and wants that my poor family was like to meet with, should I be taken from them, especially my poor blind child, who lay nearer my heart than all besides: Oh! the thoughts of the hardship I thought my poor blind one might go under, would break my heart to pieces.

Poor child! thought I, what sorrow art thou like to have for thy portion in this world! Thou must be beaten, must beg, suffer hunger, cold, nakedness, and a thousand calamities, though I cannot now endure the wind should blow upon thee. But yet recalling myself, thought I, I must venture you all with God, though it goeth to the quick to leave you: Oh! I saw in this condition I was as a man who was pulling down his house upon the head of his wife and children; yet, thought I, I must do it, I must do it.

John Bunyan, on the consequences of refusing to conform and being sent to prison for the truth of Scripture, in Grace Abounding 327-328, quoted in Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press, 2008, pp.188-9

Truth…could not be stated in propositional terms, but was whispered in the heart by the Spirit of Christ, source of that inward light dwelling in every man

December 3, 2009

(George Fox, founder of the Quakers, had unorthodox views)

Truth…could not be stated in propositional terms, but was whispered in the heart by the Spirit of Christ, source of that inward light dwelling in every man. Fox denied that the Scriptures were the final and revealed truth of God – his own message was a direct revelation from God.

Faith Cook, Fearless Pilgrim: The Life and Times of John Bunyan, Evangelical Press 2008, p.126

He sounds like an emergent.