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 Calvinist International - Apologetic Report
Tuesday, 04 December 2018 22:51

Melanchthon’s Aristotle: Civic Virtue

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Philip Melanchthon is nothing if not consistent in the way in which he handles the appropriation of classical, and particularly Aristotelian, thinking about virtue for the benefit of Christians (a topic treated recently at Mere Orthodoxy). Melanchthon finds Aristotle (or an eclectically re...

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This paper was originally delivered as a lecture to All Saints Church in Lancaster Pennsylvania on Feb. 18, 2017 as a part of a conference on church history and education. The audio from the entire conference is available here.

 

Like all catechisms, the Heidelberg Catechism has a section...

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Wednesday, 24 October 2018 02:17

Do You Believe in Magic?

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Talk of the supposed “disenchantment” of the world of “modernity” continues apace, providing (as it has always done) a cottage industry for academics and connoisseurs of Angst–and little else.

I thought it might be useful to have a quick look at the history of the word,...

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Friday, 19 October 2018 00:19

“The Year of Our Lord 1943” (1)

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I’m reading Alan Jacobs’ recent book The Year of Our Lord 1943: Christian Humanism in an Age of Crisis. I’m more persuaded by some aspects of it, less so by others, and stimulated by all. I likely will not have time to write up a full review, which would in any case probably...

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Wednesday, 03 October 2018 02:27

What Should Christians Think About Halloween?

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I grew up with a very normal American view of Halloween. It was a day where I dressed up like cartoon characters or cartoonish or campy monsters in order to have a few laughs and get some candy. There really was no weighty “significance” behind it. It was just good clean fun.

As I got...

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Wednesday, 03 October 2018 01:19

John Adams’ Reply to Rush

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In response to yesterday’s post on Benjamin Rush, a colleague in History, Matt Gaetano, points to more on this issue among early Americans as recorded in Ellis Sandoz’s book Republicanism, Religion, and the Soul of America. Today we’ll look at one brief episode in the...

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Tuesday, 02 October 2018 01:22

Obviously Protestants Ruin Poetry

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The folks over at Sententiae Antiquae recently posted a passage worth reading from a letter of Benjamin Rush to Ashbel Green from 1807. Therein Rush says:

No more Latin should be learned in these schools than is necessary to translate that language into English, and no more Greek than is...

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Monday, 24 September 2018 02:50

The Mode and Meaning of Baptism

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Christians have not agreed on the proper mode of baptism. Many believe that the only proper way to baptize someone is by the full submersion of the body under water. They typically argue that baptizo means immerse and they also appeal to Romans 6 as a watertight (pardon the pun) argument proving...

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It’s time to bring our series on the identity and government of the church to a conclusion. You can find the previous installments here:

Part 1: The Crisis of Rome and Its Claims of Ultimate Authority

Part 2: Church Origins and Officers in the New Testament 

Part 3: Bishop-Elders and...

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As we move into the third century, the relevant body of Christian literature grows considerably. The episcopalian structure of government has become more universal, and all of the writers of this period reference a singular bishop as holding a place of authority. They also largely repeat...

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God changes us over time. That change begins with the lesson–which may take a lifetime to learn in the way that it really needs to be learned–that the first thing we must do is to give up trying to justify, or vindicate, ourselves. Abandoning the desire for self-justification is the...

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We are continuing our look at the way the early church organized itself. You can see the earlier posts here: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This post will highlight some of the more important development that would eventually lead to the Roman Catholic claims about the relationship between Peter and...

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Tuesday, 11 September 2018 03:21

Scripture as Mother

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Augustine talks a lot about moms in the Confessions: particularly his own mother and the church as the mother of the faithful–though not Mary. This is unsurprising, because Augustine knows nothing of Marian devotion.

But it is not only the church who is the mother of believers; Scripture...

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Monday, 10 September 2018 02:28

Owning the Confused?: Augustine on Not Knowing

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In response to the question, “What was God doing before he created the universe?,” one frequently encounters the claim that Augustine said, “He was preparing hell for those who ask such questions.” In other words, Augustine was owning the confused.

But Augustine had more...

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We are continuing our series on the identity and government of the Christian Church and how it relates to the claims of the Roman Catholic Church. My first post explained why this question is freshly relevant and urgent for Roman Catholics, and it laid out the Roman Catholic claims about how...

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In a previous post, we discussed what the Roman Catholic Church claims about the founding of the church and the implications of that founding upon the identity and leadership of the church. It is important to pay attention to the details of the claim. Rome does not merely state that churches must...

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Wednesday, 05 September 2018 08:39

The Leadership of the Catholic Church: Now vs. Then

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In the wake of the latest round of sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, I would like to invite all Christians and serious moral thinkers to leave that ecclesiastical institution. Many sincere members of that church have confessed that they no longer trust their pastors and their...

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Wednesday, 29 August 2018 01:58

Contarini on Justification (17)

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In this installment, Contarini continues on the theme of justification before God by imputation, that is, by the merit of Christ apart from any works of our own. The justice or righteousness by which we are justified–by which we are wholly pleasing to God–is that which is gratuitously...

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Friday, 17 August 2018 04:52

Contarini on Justification (16)

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We’ve now referred to “twofold justice” a few times, viz. the justice and charity inherent in us by grace, and the justice of Christ’s perfect merit imputed to us through union with Christ by faith. But, having dealt with the potential ambiguity of the term...

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Wednesday, 15 August 2018 02:37

Contarini on Justification (15)

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Herewith the next installment. (Read that first and then circle back up here.)

A couple of important points: Contarini denies that we are justified because of inherent faith, as though “faith” in the proposition were treated as a good work that is equivalent to...

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Friday, 10 August 2018 02:48

Contarini on Justification (14)

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Cleaning out some paperwork in my office reminded me that, after three years, I should get back to this series and finish it at some point. Lo these many months ago I started a new translation of Cardinal Gasparo Contarini’s treatise De iustificatione, “On Justification.” I...

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Eastern Orthodox theologian David Bentley Hart has written an essay on the Pauline terms “spirit,” (πνευμα) “soul,” (ψυχη), and “flesh” (σαρξ), maintaining that modern readers are greatly (or...

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“Literalism” frequently gets a bad rap nowadays when it comes to the Bible. The word “literal” is fraught with ambiguities, especially in its modern usages, which I have no intention of getting into here. But the practice of reading the Bible ad litteram–“acc...

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“Natura abhorret a vacuo

Nature abhors a vacuum, and so every people constituted as a political body is going to have a schedule of sacred observances, of holy days–days marked out as special in some way, whether because of their perceived relation to a polity’s foundation...

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It is well known that C.S. Lewis borrowed the phrase “mere Christianity” from the seventeenth-century Puritan Richard Baxter; Lewis says as much in his book called–wait for it–Mere Christianity. Lewis also uses the phrase with some regularity in other writings, as indicated h...

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