Archive Early Church Fathers Ecclesiastical Polity Sacred Doctrine Steven Wedgeworth

The Leadership of the Catholic Church: Now vs. Then (Pt. 3)

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 the Christian Church was founded […]

Archive Brian Mattson Early Church Fathers Sacred Doctrine

How The Ancients Heard Resurrection: A Reply to David Bentley Hart

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 perhaps completely) hindered in their understanding of them. He lays blame on a kind of “Protestant biblical scholarship” that is allegedly weighed down with all sorts of […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene

Literal Interpretation Is Harder than Allegory

“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–“according to the natural sense of the words,” perhaps–of course goes back to the […]

Archive E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Sacred Doctrine

The Eucharist and Spiritual Eating

John 6.22ff. is a text that has long been used in various ways and to various ends in debates about the Eucharist. Christ himself gives a clue to its proper interpretation in v. 63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail. The words that I have spoken to you […]

Archive Early Church Fathers Sacred Doctrine Steven Wedgeworth

Understanding Athanasius’ Doctrine of God: Divine Simplicity and Eternal Generation

Athanasius of Alexandria’s doctrine of the deity of Christ rest upon two basic concepts. These are that the divine nature is simple and incapable of division and that the Son is generated or begotten from the essence of the Father, that divine essence which is simple. When you combine these two concepts, you get a […]

Archive Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Steven Wedgeworth

Athanasius: The Ineffability of the Divine Nature

Athanasius of Alexandria actually has a lot to say about the divine nature. He says that it is fruitful. He says that its essence and its existence are identical. He says that it is simple and infinite. And yet, he also says that the divine nature is, in itself, unknowable to us. We have nothing […]

Archive Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Sacred Doctrine Steven Wedgeworth

Athanasius: Why Not Eternal Creation?

In an most interesting section of his Orations Against the Arians, Athanasius fields an objection against the eternal generation of the Son based on a parallel with creation. Athanasius has been arguing that certain divine names (Father, Wisdom, Word) show us that God must have always had a second hypostasis who was nevertheless consubstantial. For God […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Philosophy

“Especially the Platonists”: Plato Owning Aristotle in Late Antiquity

The following passage is so over-quoted that I hesitate to quote it again (I discuss the general idea in an essay in this book), but I’m going to do it anyway to make just one tiny little point. That point is this: though Aristotle is enjoying something of a renaissance among “conservative” Christian theologians these […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene

Ruth+Boaz=The Calling of the Nations

At the end of the Book of Ruth, Boaz redeems the Moabitess Ruth, and the people and elders of the city say to Boaz: “We are witnesses. May the Lord make the woman, who is coming into your house, like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you act worthily […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism Sacred Doctrine

The Analogy of Scripture: The Patristic Roots of the Reformation (9)

Let’s return again to the Westminster Confession of Faith on Scripture. In 1.9, the Divines say: IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and […]