As we approach the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, we are looking at some of the people that have stood out in the history of the church. This past Sunday we focused on Justin Martyr.
Justin was probably a Roman Gentile, born early in the second century in the city of Flavia Neapolis located in Samaria. What we know of him comes primarily from his extant works or statements about him in Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History
Justin was especially prominent in those days. In the guise of a philosopher he preached the divine word, and contended for the faith in his writings. (Eccl Hist 4.11)
Justin lived in the early 2nd century, spending most of his life under the reign of the Roman Emperors Hadrian and Antonius Pius.
Living in the early 2nd century, and traveling broadly as he studied philosophy, Justin would have learned about Christianity from people who were potentially taught by the apostles. Given his travels, he also would have a good understanding of the doctrines held across numerous locations. Thus, in Justin’s writings we find important descriptions of the practices and doctrines of the early church.
There are three extant works that are generally accepted as being written by him.
- First Apology, addressed to Antonius Pius, and generally dated between 150 and 157
- Second Apology, often considered as part of the First Apology
- Dialogue with Trypho, which defends Jesus as Messiah to those who are Jewish. It is usually dated around 160.
Faith, we all know that without it we can’t please God, nor can we have eternal life. It is through faith that we are placed in Christ and it is in Him that we receive every spiritual blessing. But have you ever stopped to think about how you would describe faith?
Would you describe faith as a gift? Something that is given to you by God. Or would you understand it as an act in which you expressed your trust in God, convinced that He will fulfill all of His promises? Continue reading
Just as Pinson examined the theology of Arminius Grace for All, Vic Reasoner explores the theology of John Wesley. Reasoner is the president of Southern Methodist College (link) and an author, having written a Wesleyan commentary on Romans (link).
Reasoner starts off surveying the various scholars who have studied and interpreted John Wesley over the last 50+ years, highlighting Thomas Oden recently published 4 volume set that is considered “the first systematic exposition” of Wesley’s theology (amazon).
Reasoner, exploring numerous aspects of Wesleyan theology, starts off the affirming God’s sovereignty.
Wesleyan-Arminians affirm God’s sovereignty, but believe that God has the prerogative of not always exercising total sovereignty. Thus we have true libertarian freedom. Yet God never surrenders the consequences of our free choices to us. … God is so sovereign he can allow human rebellion, yet that rebellion does not thwart his ultimate purpose.