Origen on Free Will

This is a series that will be updated periodically that captures the early church views on free will. Check the Series page for the other posts.

OrigenWhat prompted this series was an assertion made by Charles Spurgeon in his sermon “Election“, that throughout church history only heretics held to a view of free will:

Were I a Pelagian, or a believer in the doctrine of free-will, I should have to walk for centuries all alone. Here and there a heretic of no very honourable character might rise up and call me brother.

In this post we will examine the views that Origen held on these topics.

If you have heard the name Origen before then you probably know that he had his run ins with various church leaders (during his lifetime through to today) due to his hermeneutics and speculative views on various doctrines. But reading about his life and digging into his writings it is evident that his life was focused on Jesus Christ. We evaluated his basic views and whether they were orthodox in a prior post. Continue reading

Who wrote the Gospel of Mark (Part III)

Modified from original published on September 18, 2009

John MarkIn the first two posts on the Gospel of Mark we have examined the historical records of Papias (110) and Irenaeus (180). Both men were from Asia Minor who provided information regarding the author and dating of the book. They are two of the earliest pieces of information that we have.

Combining the two accounts we observed the following regarding the Gospel of Mark:

  1. Mark was the author.
  2. Mark wrote down what Peter was teaching and proclaiming.
  3. Mark was not a disciple of Jesus (while Jesus was alive).
  4. Mark wrote after Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome.

Another source of information regarding the Gospel of Mark is found in the Anti-Marcionite Prologues. These prologues were included with the Gospels in many Latin manuscripts and would have served a purpose similar to the summaries that precede a Biblical book in Bibles today. They provided the reader with information about the book. Continue reading

The Antioch Incident (Two Views) part 2

This is part 2 of a series of posts recreating the debate between Jerome and Augustine over the passage in Galatians 2:11-14. Think of it as the “cliff notes” to a series of letters written between them as a series of blog comments. I added some interaction with more recent debates to highlight how the issues we face today are not much different than those faced in the early centuries of Christianity. The comments are based on how I thought the theologians might respond to modern theological issues based on the point of view they expressed in their letters. You might want to start with part 1 and read Jerome’s blog post and the earlier comments.

Comment Section for the Antioch Incident

Augustine, Bishop of Hippo

Jerome, the high esteem that others hold you in is well deserved. Here in northern Africa we eagerly await your next set of translations of the Scriptures and ancient commentaries into the Latin. Thanks for updating everyone of your progress in your blog.I do hope you saw my comments regarding the use of the LXX that I left.

Regarding the events that took place in Antioch, you have appealed to the writings of those in the past and have asked if anyone holds to my opinion.The path you are taking us down is one well traveled. Like you Rob Bell, a popular writer, claims his views are orthodox appealing to the pool of diverse opinions that can be found among the ancient writers. He can even find many of the opinions he holds in Origen, yet that does not end the debate on “the fate of every person who ever lived”. Nor will it be the end to our debate.

I know that you hold Origen in high regard and where he holds to the truth we should accept him, but even you have had problems with some of his opinions on other matters. I only wish that you would apply your great learning and knowledge of this man and catalog his heresies for all to plainly see.

I, however, am not without support in the ancient writers. Continue reading