But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

The Scriptorium Daily - Apologetic Report
Thursday, 08 November 2018 16:18

Reading Theology African (Introduction)

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If you read a lot of early Christian theology, you’re probably reading a lot of texts from Africa. But chances are that you’re reading them without registering anything African about them.

Think of patristic texts by authors of African provenance: Tertullian, Cyprian, Clement of...

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Friday, 02 November 2018 03:48

That Kind of Revival

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I’m a revivalist and I can’t really help it — I was born again one, and I’ll probably die one. I am always looking for renewed signs of life in the church, am always ready to pray for a movement of God’s Spirit among believers, and am as alert as, say, the young...

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Wednesday, 31 October 2018 04:36

Constantino’s Confession

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image The sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation in Spain continues to be a neglected subject, but one that immediately repays any attention you give it. You might say that to this day, “No one expects the Spanish Reformation!” In fact, when we think of the sixteenth century in Spain, we...

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Sunday, 28 October 2018 17:21

Righteous Questioning (Ursinus and Gonzaga)

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image It’s a fundamental tension of the Christian doctrine of grace: God demands righteousness and we cannot perform that righteousness. And this tension abides even when we confess that God has freely justified us without regard to our good works. As soon as we set out, on the solid ground of...

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Sunday, 07 October 2018 21:00

Coherence and Continuity (Ancient-Modern Bible)

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image I just got a copy of the new Ancient-Modern Bible from Thomas Nelson. It’s a kind of study Bible with running commentary in the margins drawn from the whole history of the church, and several dozen biographies introducing some of the historical commentators. It also has a section...

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Saturday, 06 October 2018 09:10

The Prepared Throne

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There is a powerful and fascinating piece of iconography in St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, inside one of the domed cupolas. It’s a ceiling mosaic featuring this image:  image

It’s a dove on a book on ornate drapery on a pillow on a throne. This throne simply hovers in midair,...

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Monday, 01 October 2018 18:49

Thrice More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends

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Has the dust settled yet on the massively multi-player online battle royale evangelical Trinity discussion of 2016? Here’s a sign that the dust has settled: there are now books on the subject in print. Three books, in fact.

The first is P&R’s publication of Hongyi Yang’s...

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Saturday, 22 September 2018 14:16

Alfabeto Christiano

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image The Spanish Reformation deserves a lot more attention than it has received; it is a subject almost completely absent from the popular mind. If you want to speak about it, or blog about it like I’m doing right now, you pretty much have to start by announcing to your audience that there was...

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Friday, 14 September 2018 16:49

Trinitarian Theophany Desiderata

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On page 224 of The Triune God (Zondervan, 2016), I said “No to Christophanies.” That is, as part of my chapter discussing the Old Testament’s adumbrations of trinitarian revelation, I cautioned against identifying even the anthropomorphic theophanies in the Old Testament as...

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Monday, 03 September 2018 11:06

The Undepictable Resurrection

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image There is a new and very large work of sacred art at Biola University. It is a wall-sized relief sculpture inside the newly-renovated Calvary Chapel, and it depicts the resurrection. Or perhaps it doesn’t quite “depict” the resurrection. It depicts the empty tomb, but it does so...

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Monday, 20 August 2018 03:27

Well-Spring of Salvation (Maclaren on Isaiah)

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image Chief among the many gifts of Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910) was his ability to explain, expound, expand, embiggen, and so on, any passage of Scripture he turned his attention to. It is really remarkable how much this nineteenth-century Baptist preacher could find in a single, short passage. To...

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Thursday, 02 August 2018 06:43

Development Assumption

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image In Ratzinger’s 1997 book Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977, he shares an interesting vignette about his theological training in Munich. First, he characterizes the atmosphere of Roman Catholic theology in Germany at that time thus:

When I look back on the exciting years of my theological...

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In the seventeenth century, Huguenot Jean Claude wrote a long essay in French on how to compose a sermon. In the eighteenth century, English Baptist Robert Robinson of Cambridge translated it and annotated it. In the nineteenth century, Charles Simeon, also of Cambridge, republished...

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Thursday, 21 June 2018 04:53

Progress in Theology

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image There’s an important sense in which theology doesn’t ever change at all. There’s a logos of theos, a knowledge of God, that is truly immutable. To speak of this unchanging character of the knowledge of God, though, we have to raise our eyes higher than we are accustomed to do. We...

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Wednesday, 20 June 2018 08:16

Good without Quality, Great without Quantity

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image In the fifth book of Augustine’s On the Trinity (Prologue), having declared for the umpteenth time his inadequacy in writing about such subjects, he lays down some rules for how we should think about God:

Thus we should understand God, if we can and as far as we can, to be good without...

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Monday, 21 May 2018 17:30

Irenaeus on the One God

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Irenaeus of Lyons (ca. 130-202) began to theologize at a crucial period in the history of the church. It was a bit of a mess.

From the earlier apologists he inherited a vocabulary of Greek philosophical terms with Christian significance. At the same time, Gnostics of various kinds were beginning to...

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Wednesday, 16 May 2018 09:26

Englishing Doctrine

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image I recently read with great admiration a portion of A Briefe Institution of the Common Places of Sacred Divinitie by Lucas Trelcatius the Younger (1573 – 1607), which was translated from Latin to English by John Gawen, a contemporary of Trelcatius. Of course he translated it into early...

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Tuesday, 15 May 2018 16:09

The Soul of God

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Does God have a soul? That’s a weird question.

image But here’s a tidy answer, from Amandus Polanus’ (1561-1610) Substance of Christian Religion. See the screencap for quaint spellings & suchelike.

Yes, God has a soul. “By the soul is meant the life of God, that is to say,...

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Monday, 14 May 2018 17:27

Two Rules for Theological Work

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To keep the work of theology at its proper task, and to keep the theologian from getting distracted, and to keep the main thing the main thing (which is, after all, itself the main thing), there are a couple of helpful rules to observe.

They are pretty simple and obvious. Here they are: Make sure...

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Tuesday, 01 May 2018 16:57

Standard Old-School Toolkit

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image This Easter season, my reading on the resurrection has included the relevant section from Isaac Ambrose (1604-1664)’s book Looking Unto Jesus. The resurrection portion of the 700-page book is about 80 pages long, and Ambrose takes his sweet time examining how Christ was “carrying...

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Saturday, 21 April 2018 18:15

Articles of Theology

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image Thomas Aquinas knew how to articulate theology, in the double sense of how to be clear about theology and also of how to divide it up into articles.

What’s an article? Well, I distinguish two meanings of article in Thomas Aquinas. The most important meaning is that an article of faith is a...

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Tuesday, 17 April 2018 10:29

Every True Practitioner of Piety (Bayly)

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image Lewis Bayly’s Practice of Piety is a classic work of doctrine and devotion that demolishes the idea that there’s any division between the two.

Those of us who simply love to read theology, more or less for its own sake, sometimes need to be reminded that knowing  God has practical...

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Monday, 09 April 2018 05:55

On the Shoulders of Farmers

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Thucydides’ Revelation of Our Indebtedness

Thucydides opens his “History of the Peloponnesian War” by tying the capability for a truly great war with the stable growth of a culture. He argues that the Peloponnesian was the greatest war because no cultures, to his knowledge, had...

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Monday, 09 April 2018 03:43

When Mercy Looks Like Justice

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imageA friend of mine is involved in a lawsuit, alleging that she was sexually harassed at work. But she has “some extended family and close friends saying that she’s taking this too far and that justice and vengeance is for the Lord only.” She’s trying to figure out...

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This is a note for people who know who Stan Freberg was. For those who don’t, he was a mid-century multimedia guerrilla satirist. Maybe think of him as the Weird Al of the 1950s, but with major influence on advertising and cartoons as well. Go look up songs like The World is Waiting for the...

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