Irenaeus’ View of Scripture and Apostolic Succession: Part I

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irenaeus

In order to understand how Irenaeus viewed the efficacy of Scripture and the role Apostolic Succession plays, it is useful to understand how he organized his magnum opus Against Heresies.

In Against Heresies Book I, Irenaeus detailed a dozen or so Gnostic sects in order to show what the heretics taught. This showed that he understood his enemy. In Book II, he shows that the internal logic of Gnostic teachings often contradict one another, particularly focusing on the school of the Valentinians. In Book III, Irenaeus goes into detail about how the testimony of the Apostles, as preserved in the Scripture, is definitively opposed to Gnostic teachings.

Hence, it is from this context we must understand Irenaeus’ view of the Scripture and Apostolic Succession. Irenaeus (in his mind) has already shown that Gnostic teachings are self-contradictory. If that is not enough to convince someone not to be a Gnostic, he moves on to show that Gnostic teachings do not have a basis in real revelation (which is encapsulated by the teachings of Jesus Christ and His followers endowed by the Holy Spirit, the Apostles.) To the contrary, orthodox Christianity actually has a basis in God’s revelation, making it the true religion as opposed to Gnosticism.

In part I, we will cover how Irenaeus details the preceding ideas in the first two chapters of Against Heresies, Book III. Let’s begin:

We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the Gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith  (AH 3.1.1).

Irenaeus in the above is intentionally ascribing to the Scriptures what 1 Tim 3:15 says of the Church. The reason he does this is in order to undercut Gnostic claims to authority, either by their claim to be the true Apostolic Church or to have better Scriptures. It is through this lens we must understand Irenaeus’ theory of the Church.

For it is unlawful to assert that they [the Apostles] preached before they possessed perfect knowledge, as some do even venture to say, boasting themselves as improvers of the apostles (AH 3.1.1).

What Irenaeus means is that some Gnostics claim that the Apostles wrote the New Testament before achieving gnosis. THese Gnostics theorized that after achieving gnosis, the Apostles then bequeathed “better” Scriptures. Immediately, Irenaeus debunks this notion:

For, after our Lord rose from the dead, [the apostles] were invested with power from on high when the Holy Spirit came down [upon them], were filled from all [His gifts], and had perfect knowledge(AH 3.1.1).

As we can see, the Apostles did not achieve some later gnosis, they were perfect when they indwelt by the Spirit. After making the above statement, Irenaeus details the different Gospels and letters the Apostles wrote, thereby carrying the implication these writings preserve the perfect teaching of the Gospel.

After noting that all of these Scriptures teach the rudimentary essentials of the Christian faith (one God, the Law and the Prophets i.e. Old Testament, etcetera–see AH 3.1.2) Irenaeus speaks of how Gnostics often try contradicting the authority of the Scriptures in order to shield their doctrines from scrutiny:

When, however, they are confuted from the Scriptures, they turn round and accuse these same Scriptures, as if they were not correct, nor of authority, and [assert] that they are ambiguous, and that the truth cannot be extracted from them by those who are ignorant of tradition. For [they allege] that the truth was not delivered by means of written documents, but vivâ voce [i.e. oral tradition] (AH 3.2.1).

It is with some irony that the Gnostics debase the Scriptures and their authority in a fashion markedly similar to certain major denominations today. In response to Irenaeus and the orthodox claim that the Scriptures act as a ground and pillar to faith, these men respond that Christians have:

1. The wrong Canon.

2. Their Scriptures are not vested with authority.

3. The Scriptures are too difficult to understand.

4. The Scriptures cannot be interpreted outside a knowledge of “apostolic tradition.”

5. There are essential Apostolic truths which were not passed down in Scripture but rather by oral tradition.

Irenaeus responds to the above ridiculous claims by invoking the doctrine of apostolic succession.

[W]hen we refer them to that tradition which originates from the apostles, [and] which is preserved by means of the succession of presbyters in the Churches, they object to tradition, saying…that the apostles intermingled the things of the law with the words of the Saviour…[T]hese men do now consent neither to Scripture nor to tradition (AH 3.2.2).

As we can see in Irenaeus’ invocation of the doctrine, and the Gnostic response to it, the purpose Apostolic Succession served was that it authenticated the orthodox Christian Scriptures. If we can see that a bishop of Smyrna (Polycarp), who was appointed by the Apostle John, had the same Canon and did not reject the perspicuity of the Scriptures, then we can reject the Gnostics’ claim to being Apostolic. This is why the Gnostics respond that even the Apostles as we know it from their historical writings had it wrong and that they are somehow more enlightened.

In Part II, we will cover in more detail what Irenaeus viewed Apostolic Succession to be.

Jehovah’s Witnesses Are Wrong: 1. God Alone is the Savior

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jehovahs-witnesses

In this series we will be giving 25 reasons why the Jehovah’s Witnesses have their Christology and Trinitarian theology wrong. We will make our case right from the Scriptures:

  1. God alone is savior. Jesus Christ is the savior. Therefore, Christ is Jehovah.

I, even I, am the LORD, And there is no savior besides Me (Is 43:11).

[F]or today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11).

He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31).

From the descendants of this man,according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus (Acts 13:33).

…revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel (2 Tim 1:10).

Ezek 5:7 and Your Inability To Follow Any Moral Standard

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When I evangelize on the streets, anyone who gives me the time of day readily admits he or she breaks one of the ten commandments. Who hasn’t lied, stolen, or coveted? A lot of people, surprisingly enough, will not admit to coveting (“I have never been jealous of anyone in my whole life.”) Yeah right, but let’s move on.

Some people respond, “How do I know that moral standard in the ten commandments is even true?”

A lot of people trained in the Way of the Master method of street evangelism would not know what to say. Perhaps, the following may help.

In such a conversation, I usually respond with that:

  1. We all know there is a right and wrong. If you get punched in the face right now, obviously you will feel wronged. So, we know there are moral standards of some sort.
  2. While I cannot prove to you that my set of moral standards are true, I don’t have to. You do not even follow your own moral standards! Who always follows his own conscience.?

We can see the same thing at work in Rom 2:14-16–

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.

Our consciences defend us when we know that we do right. They also accuse us when we know that we do wrong. Unregenerate children of wrath feel guilty all the time about the messed up things they do. They have a conscience.

So, the concept above is simple enough and in my mind very important to understand when evangelizing to a lost world. On a final note, when reading Ezekiel I came across a passage that teaches the same thing that God has never opened my eyes to recognize before:

Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Because you have more turmoil than the nations which surround you and have not walked in My statutes, nor observed My ordinances, nor observed the ordinances of the nations which surround you,’ therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold, I, even I, am against you, and I will execute judgments among you in the sight of the nations’ (Ezek 5:7-8).

As we can see, Judah is under judgment not only for breaking the Law of God, but they could not even hold the standards of pagans. So, in my final estimation, our problem is not that we have not followed the Jewish Law specifically. The problem is that we cannot fulfill the ordinances of any Law whatsoever. The Jewish Law, the government’s, a foreign nation’s, and our own conscience.

“According to their conduct I will deal with them, and by their judgments I will judge them. And they will know that I am the Lord” (Ezek 7:27).

Seeing that you are such an immoral piece of trash by anyone’s (including your own) standards, don’t you know that you are under a just God’s judgment? And, if so, don’t you want a Savior?

Irenaeus’ Botched Thinking: Jesus’ Age and Other Bad Apologetics

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I reflect in amazement of how it is impossible that the Bible has any other source other than God. The Bible is so internally consistent, even though it was written by different men over the course of centuries, that it defies imagination.When I read what some of the ancients believed and got wrong, even the defenders of the faith, I have an even greater appreciation of God’s written word.

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So, in reference to the title of the article I am still reading Book II of Against Heresies. It is a hard slog for two reasons:

  1. The Gnostics believed in something that is absolutely moronic. Its a belief system that is a hodge podge of ancient views on mathematics, mythology, and Scripture. Sometimes I have to remind myself that “there are none who seek for God” (Rom 3:11) because I cannot believe anyone can be stupid enough to believe such garbage, especially when Gnosticism was considered “smart” in its day. It shows how desperately wicked and deceitful our hearts are.
  2. Irenaeus is far from an erudite writer. In fact, it is quite a shame that because he wrote the earliest really long book with a semblance of systematic theology in it, he is put on this sort of pedestal when he is in certain respects a lousy thinker. He quotes the Bible (sometimes wrongly) and the Gnostics from memory, so he is not copious in his writings. Further, he makes statements whose logic is so bad, that he either disproves his own arguments or calls into question his own expertise to be defending the faith.

If more people actually took time to read Irenaeus, instead of reading about Irenaeus, they would realize that the previous two points are true. So, why invest so much time reading Irenaeus and about the Gnostics? Simply, I want to know what early Christians believed. It does not mean that everything they believed was right, nor could it be, as clearly these men made some obvious errors in their thinking.

Botched Apologetics. Irenaeus in his crusade against Gnosticism makes a few less than convincing arguments.

 

And if, as is maintained, [the Supreme Being,] inasmuch as He is benignant, did at last take pity upon men, and bestow on them perfection, He ought at first to have pitied those who were the creators of man, and to have conferred on them perfection. In this way, men too would verily have shared in His compassion, being formed perfect by those that were perfect. For if He pitied the work of these beings, He ought long before to have pitied themselves, and not to have allowed them to fall into such awful blindness (Book II, Chap 4 Par 4).

Irenaeus point is clear. If the Gnostic chief diety, the Propator, took pity upon men who could not save themselves so he made a way for them to achieve Gnosis and be saved, then surely he would have been compassionate to the lesser deities, the Aeons, in enlightening them before their ignorance created the fallen material creation we have today.

Now, while this seems like a good argument (especially so if you know a lot about Gnosticism), it is known to be false in an obvious way. God, who made a way of salvation through Jesus Christ, could have prevented the need for such a thing if Adam’s fall could have been prevented (or if he we annihilated and the human race started over again.)

Irenaeus might respond that man has free will and God let’s man be, but then cannot the Gnostic say the same about Aeons? He may also respond that God has a good purpose in allowing the Fall, but can the Gnostics also say the same. Irenaeus tried hitting a homerun out of the park, but the bat missed the pitch and swung around hitting him in the back of the head.

In Book II, Chapter 7, Par. 2 Irenaeus argues that the Gnostic Pleroma must be defective (in a state of ignorance) because ignorance exists in creation (particularly in the Demiurge):

For if these things [below] were made by the Saviour after the similitude of those which are above, while He (the Demiurge) who was made after such similitude was in so great ignorance, it necessarily follows that around Him, and in accordance with Him, after whose likeness he that is thus ignorant was formed, ignorance of the kind in question spiritually exists.

Now, if we permit such logic to hold, because evil exists in men and they are made in the image of God, then the God must be evil too. Obviously, Irenaeus is trying to get a jab in there, but such arguments are little more than empty rhetoric. We may all agree that something can be made in similitude to something else, but also not attain to the same greatness of what it copies.

There are more examples of bad apologetics, but I recommend actually reading the commentary to get more. Book I is already up and Book II will be done soon. As you can tell, in order to understand what Irenaeus got wrong it is necessary to have a good background in what he is even talking about.

 

 

Jesus was 50 Years Old? The actual age of Jesus is a bit of a mystery. Scholars say he was in his mid 30s. The Italian artists seem to go with the young 30s. From what we know from the Scripture, Jesus was born when Herod was still alive (4 BC at the latest) and the first Census of Quirinius (sometime between 12 BC to 4 BC). Being that Joseph’s sojourn in Egypt appears to be very short, we have reason to believe the events described were probably between 8-4BC.

Jesus occurred during the 15th year of Tiberius’ reign (29-30AD) and Luke 3:23 says Jesus was “about 30 years old.” This requires a date between 4-5 BC, as if it were any earlier Jesus would no longer be “about 30,” as a birth date in 5 BC would thrust Him between the ages of 34-35. As for the length of Christ’s ministry the events in Acts 4 could have not occurred later than 36 AD, the last year Caiphas was high priest. This put’s Jesus age at an absolute maximum of 36-37 years old presuming that Acts 4 happened almost immediately after Pentecost.

What’s Irenaeus’ take on it? Perhaps not knowing the chronology of Roman Emperors and governors, he taught that Jesus reached about 50 years old. For some reason, Catholic apologists are embarrassed of it.

BiblicalCatholic.com, in an article criticizing James White, claims:

So far, Irenaeus’ point is that some say that Jesus died at age 30…His point is that Jesus lived past the first stage of life, and was in the stage of life between 31 and 50, which extends into “old age” (as they saw it in Roman times).

A detail BiblicalCatholic glossed over is that the “some” who “say that Jesus died at thirty” were Gnostic heretics. As for his remark about age, the Jewish practice of counting age by decades is both unheard of in Irenaeus’ writings and anywhere else for that matter. In fact, as we will cover in a bit,  Irenaeus writes that the “first stage of life…extends onwards to the fortieth year,” in direct contradiction of BiblicalCatholic’s claims. 

In A.H. Book 2, Chapter 22, Paragraph 3, Irenaeus counts three Passovers in the Gospel of John. Some Catholic apologists take this to mean that Irenaeus believed that Christ preached only three years. The problem is that Irenaeus nowhere makes this claim. In fact, he explicitly makes the point that Jesus’ ministry was far longer.

First, he makes the point that Jesus lived through every age group so that he can sanctify all men:

He therefore passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, thus sanctifying infants; a child for children, thus sanctifying those who are of this age, being at the same time made to them an example of piety, righteousness, and submission; a youth for youths, becoming an example to youths, and thus sanctifying them for the Lord. So likewise He was an old man for old men, that He might be a perfect Master for all, not merely as respects the setting forth of the truth, but also as regards age, sanctifying at the same time the aged also, and becoming an example to them likewise (Par 4).

As we can see in the above, Irenaeus is unequivocal. Jesus was not “merely as respects the setting for of the truth” and example to all ages, but he literally became the age of all men.

This is assumed by Irenaeus as we read on:

They [the Gnostics], however, that they may establish their false opinion…maintain that He preached for one year only, and then suffered in the twelfth month. [In speaking thus,] they are forgetful to their own disadvantage, destroying His whole work, and robbing Him of that age which is both more necessary and more honourable than any other; that more advanced age, I mean, during which also as a teacher He excelled all others (Par 5).

Obviously, Irenaeus is saying that Jesus was literally an old guy. It robs Jesus the dignity of old age by saying that He was not. Just in case someone were to debate that Irenaeus considered the mid 30s “old,” he goes on to explain himself so that we know this is not the case:

Now, that the first stage of early life embraces thirty years, and that this extends onwards to the fortieth year, everyone will admit; but from the fortieth and fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed (Par 5).

As we can see, Irenaeus writes that Jesus literally possessed an age between 40 and 50. Again, this is not impossible as the math we showed above shows that Jesus could have lived to be 47 years old depending upon how close to the resurrection the events in Acts 4 were. However, as we shall see, Irenaeus favors an age near 50 (in agreement with the ancient consensus that 49 is the epitome of one’s life) and he quotes authorities to prove it:

He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher [at an advanced age], even as the Gospel and all the elders testify; those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, [affirming] that John conveyed to them that information…Some of them, moreover, saw not only John, but the other apostles also, and heard the very same account from them, and bear testimony as to the [validity of] the statement (Par. 5).

This is one of our earliest mentions of oral tradition in church history. While it would be going beyond what Irenaeus was passing comment on to say that oral tradition was considered equivalent with Scripture, it does appear that Irenaeus believes that oral tradition helps us interpret a question that the Scripture supposedly answers. Ironically, the question pertains to the age of Jesus, and the oral tradition leads Irenaeus to apply John 8 in a way much different than pretty much anyone today.

“You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” John 8:56-57 Now, such language is fittingly applied to one who has already passed the age of forty, without having as yet reached his fiftieth year, yet is not far from this latter period. But to one who is only thirty years old it would unquestionably be said, “You are not yet forty years old.” For those who wished to convict Him of falsehood would certainly not extend the number of His years far beyond the age which they saw He had attained; but they mentioned a period near His real age (Par 6).

Irenaeus clearly uses John 8 as evidence that Jesus had to be at least 40 years old when the events in question had taken place. Further, if we had to guess where in his 40s Jesus was, Irenaeus appears to favor the late 40s, an age that we now know is historically impossible. But, let’s continue:

[T]hey observed that He was above forty years old, and that He certainly was not one of only thirty years of age. For it is altogether unreasonable to suppose that they were mistaken by twenty yearsHe did not then want much of being fifty years old (Par 6).

Irenaeus in the clearest possible terms reiterates that Jesus was more than 40 years old and that it is impossible Jesus was in his low 30s. In fact, Jesus was not much shy of fifty.

What Do We Make of the Actual Oral Tradition? What was Irenaeus talking about? Was he just off his rocker, like he was when he emphatically denied the correct month of the Passover? Was he quoting oral traditions pertaining to the idea that. Jesus was all things for all men in a more profound way than Paul in 1 Cor 9:22 and egregiously misapplied it? Was the oral tradition perhaps bungled in an inter-generational game of telephone? Did Irenaeus believe several years passed between each Passover event or that a long period of time elapsed before Jesus came to Jerusalem as an aged master? Was Irenaeus perhaps making it up as he went along or “misremembering” something he heard?

So, why won’t a bunch of people jump on the “Jesus was almost 50 in John 8” bandwagon? Other than the difficulty of pushing all of those artistic representations of Christ and realities pertaining to secular history out of our minds, I think even Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox know that there is a major problem with oral tradition. It can be misremembered, misapplied, and made up.

Even if we concede there was a time when the Apostles were alive and shortly thereafter that Christians’ had submitted themselves to oral Apostolic authority, we must admit that the written Apostolic authority (the New Testament) allows us to avoid many of the pitfalls of a vacuous oral tradition in which the Apostles who made, being long dead, cannot correct the record.

So, this forces us to ask important questions. When Catholics say that Tertullian called the Lord’s Supper a sacrifice in the third century, do we have complete confidence that he was accurate in saying this is what the Apostles taught? How about traditions such as the Assumption of Mary, which was not mentioned in the affirmative by an orthodox source until the sixth century? If Irenaeus was bungling things in the 170s AD, almost a century after most of the Apostles other than John were dead, what realistic hope do we have that an otherwise unmentioned tradition five centuries after the Apostles is accurate?

The Scripture remains for us the only God-breathed Apostolic testimony that we have any normative expectation is actually accurate. If this does not convince you of Augustine’s position that, “For among the things that are plainly laid down in Scripture are to be found all matters that concern faith and the manner of life” (Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, Book 2, Chap 14), which is the Sola Scriptura position, nothing will.

In Closing. So, I will keep reading Irenaeus. I am interested to see what insights I can get into the ancient church. However, Irenaeus, nor any other ancient, is my authority. Men like him make gross, obvious, errors. This is unlike the Scripture, which we know comes from the Apostles, was breathed out by God, and unlike vacuous claims to oral tradition there is no debate as to its unadulterated nature. This is why the Scripture is inimitable and the writings of those men who read it, like me and the ancients, are moronic in comparison.

James White’s Disappointing Slog Through Church History

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I don’t know if I am getting older, grouchier, smarter, more informed, or less intelligent–but James White isn’t doing it for me anymore. His shtick is getting pretty tiresome to me, and though he has a lot of good info (and if he got any more intense he would probably alienate his listeners), I am disappointed because I am hungry for more.

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What is James White’s shtick? If you are a real fan of his, he has a few obvious ones:

-He’s a brainiac, which is why even when he bikes up mountains he is listening to books at 1.8X speed. Constant information input is a must for James White and he learns at speeds that are beyond us mortals.

-There are detractors of White’s that have made somewhat coherent rebuttals, such as Most Holy Family Monastery, which are simply not worth White’s time. He’s up to stuff that’s far too important. Then he wastes time debating the Black Hebrew movement, essentially a bunch of loud mouths that might intimidate you at a bus stop near you. But, to James White, debating these functional illiterates is of major importance.

-Pope Francis is an “embarrassment to Catholic apologists.” Every few months the Pope is “this close” to changing crucial Roman Catholic doctrines pertaining to justification, sexuality, and gender roles. However, no change ever comes and Catholic apologists really don’t seem that embarrassed…

-Albert Mohler is ripping off famous White catch phrases like “the dividing line” and “theology matters.”

-Catholics have not debated him in years because they simply are not up to snuff. For this reason, he has had to take on an entirely new religion (Islam) to fill up his time.

-James White is an expert on Church History and the first class he ever taught at the University -level pertained to Church History.

 

Now, the final point is the one I will dwell upon here. I have been reading Church History for years, but not in a very critical way. I read Augustine a few times, Eusebius, the Apostolic Fathers, and other things here and there. At the time I was also working 70-80 hours a week running a repair shop and dating my wife who lived two hours away, so my learning was quite stunted.

Then, I closed my shop for marital reasons. About a month later, my pastor in an unrelated conversation recommended James White’s debates against Catholics. I instantly became a junky. The debate format resulted in both positions exchanging ideas and quotations really fast. Plus, they can be lsitened to while working and had the knack for putting me to sleep during a restless night. I became a regular listener to the Dividing Line and listened to many of White’s debates.

In time, parts of White’s shtick started becoming obvious–but hey, he is essentially in the entertainment business so that’s okay. He knows his stuff, right?

However, I started noticing that a few things were a little off. White always seemed to have only a cursory understanding of the Fathers he quoted. He seemed to know quotes, but not the contexts from which the quotes were derived. Turretinfan, James White’s anonymous partner in crime when it pertains to Church History, also displayed the same lack of cohesiveness. I noticed that he relied upon secondary sources, quotefarming 19th century Anglican apologists. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when I read sections of Ambrose’s and Chrysostom’s On the Priesthood and I came to learn how early the priesthood began (a topic glossed over in his debate with Father Pacwa.)

I tweeted him a question about what the quotes means and in 140 characters or less he responded, “Not what you think they mean.”

I thought this was odd considering I am not a Catholic.

Not long afterward I called up the Dividing Line and asked him the same exact question. He was oddly caught completely off guard and appeared leery eyed as if I was going to jab him with a debate point here or there. The problem was, there was no jab. I was asking for information. James White was used to making rebuttals but not necessarily presenting facts. Perhaps this is because a rebuttal can pick apart the logic of an opponents assertion or address a similar topic that relates in which the debater is more acquainted with. However, no jab came–just a question about where I can read more about the priesthood.

White responded that I should read The Reformers and Their Stepchildren. Suffice it to say, the book is a verifiable piece of crap that is chock full of historical inaccuracies. I literally wish I can get the hours of my life back from reading it. I tweeted White back how the book had errors and asked for another book. He tweeted back about his tattoos and facial hair, and argued with a random guy on Facebook named Paul Barth, but never responded to me about the book.

So okay, he might not know so much about the history of the priesthood. Again, he covers so many topics, its a forgivable thing.

Not long afterwards, James White then started re-emphasizing Church History during his show, reading the entirety Didache and the Gospel of Thomas. This is a practice he had done years ago (he read an entire letter of Ignatius’ once on air), so it was of passing interest to me until I learned he was going to teach through Church History on Sunday mornings.

Now, this got me excited. I found Communio Sanctorum as too surface level and reliant upon secondary sources. An able mind like White’s should be able to do a much better job. To my disappointment, I find that it is in fact much worse and less informational.

White’s survey of Church History, according to White, is ridiculously concise. He spends the first ten minutes of each class congratulating himself that the first time he taught Church History in his church, he did it much quicker.

Sadly, he fails to deliver the goods. White gets started but often gets distracted with irrelevant side topics (all recent happenings on the Dividing Line). When teaching Clement he found it important to take time to discuss the Black Hebrew movement and during his class on Ignatius he spent 20 minutes discussing a subordinationism controversy stemming from comments from theologians such as Wayne Grudem. What is notably lacking in these classes is an actual, intensive study of the thinkers themselves and what they taught. A careful reflection upon the essence of the teachings of these books appears notably missing, which is unforgiveable because these are very short books.

And so, that’s the end of my rant. White has only so much time in a day, but he is not the man to go to in order to find a good understanding of Church History in light of Protestant soteriology. Recently, I got turned onto JND Kelly and have liked what I read, but I am looking for someone to listen to as I drive. If you have any recommendations let me know.

And, as for James White, if this ever trickles itself up to him, hopefully it motivates him to either present the topic of Church History more carefully, or at the very least, less bombastically.

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