Archive E.J. Hutchinson Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

“The Spirit of God upon the Face of the Waters”: Calvin and the Catholicity of Truth

In a puzzling string of assertions comprising part of a recent online article, the claim was made that the principle that “all truth is God’s truth” is “distinctively Dutch Reformed.” (Curiously, as a superior alternative there was offered the perspective of a theologian who was…Dutch…and Reformed.)  The claim that the aforementioned principle is as Netherlandish […]

Authors Calvin E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Sacred Doctrine

Calvin’s Socratic Sanctification

Plato, in the Phaedo, had Socrates claim that philosophy was “practice for dying and death.” It was a sentiment that was to exercise great influence down through the centuries, all the way to Heidegger’s “Being-toward-death” and beyond. (That last part works better if you say it in the voice of Buzz Lightyear.)  John Calvin agreed […]

Archive E.J. Hutchinson Early Church Fathers Philosophy

Neoplatonist to the End? Augustine’s Last Days

Augustine is well known for the degree to which he was influenced by Neoplatonism in the first phase of his career. (It is sometimes assumed–incorrectly–that this makes his early works insufficiently “Christian.”) In the preface to his first completed extant work, for instance–the De beata vita, “On the Happy Life”–he refers in the preface, addressed […]

Archive Ecclesiastical Polity Natural Law Philosophy Steven Wedgeworth The Natural Family

Male-Only Ordination is Natural: Why the Church is a Model of Reality

One of the dangers inherent in “complementarianism” is the perception that ordination to ecclesiastical office is a matter of semi-arbitrary positive law and private zones of jurisdiction, that male leadership in church is only a question of ordination or specific church polity and only because a few bible verses command it. Worse yet, it might […]

Archive Authors Civic Polity E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism The Two Kingdoms

Melanchthon’s Aristotle: Civic Virtue

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 ressourced Aristotle) of special use for political purposes, provided that his insistence be granted that […]

Archive E.J. Hutchinson Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

Obviously Protestants Ruin Poetry

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 necessary to read the Greek Testament. […]

Archive Natural Law Philosophy Reformed Irenicism Steven Wedgeworth

What is Effeminacy?

So let’s talk about effeminacy. This came up as final point of criticism in my Mere Orthodoxy critique of the gay Christianity of Revoice and Spiritual Friendship. Now, I knew that “going there” would upset a lot of people. It’s basically touching the third rail to even say the word “effeminate” today. And yet, it’s […]

Archive Book Reviews Philosophy Reformed Irenicism Steven Wedgeworth

Eros Rescued by Agape: Augustine, Denis De Rougemont, and the Sanctification of Passion

As we continue our thoughts on gay Christianity and “spiritual friendship,” we need to take an important detour. My original plan to was to move from concupiscence to the topic of effeminacy, but as I worked through Augustine’s writings on concupiscence, I was confronted with his peculiar theories about human desire as such. This made […]

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 Nota Bene Philosophy Sacred Doctrine

The Speculative Calvin

For good reason, one might find John Calvin referred to as an “anti-speculative” theologian. But as with so many other monikers applied to Protestant theologians (e.g. “anti-scholastic”), one must take the label in its relative rather than its absolute signification. When confronted with biblicism, Calvin could sound a philosophical and “speculative” note. B.A. Gerrish observes […]