Justin Martyr: What we do in life echoes in eternity

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.

JustinMartyrWorld

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.

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Simply Jesus: Where Space, Time, and Matter collide

The star cluster Pismis 24 Stephen Hawking in his book – A Brief History of Time describes the quest to understand the universe we live in:

And our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in. … if we find the answer to that, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we would know the mind of God.

Throughout the book Hawking describes general relativity, quantum mechanics, and string theory, trying to help those of us who are not uber-physicists get a handle on how the universe works.

But Wright reminds us that the way space, time, and matter are viewed and studied today are very different than how first century Jewish people would have understood them and how they fit within them. Their worldview would center on their covenant relationship with God. Continue reading

Wednesday with Wesley: On the Trinity

This post has been updated since it was originally posted on May 12 ,2010

John_WesleyIn John Wesley’s day as in ours, there was discussion as to what beliefs were considered essential for the Christian faith. As an Arminian theologian, Wesley disagreed with the opinions of many Catholics and Calvinists. However, he did not deny that many within these different camps could indeed be true Christians if they held the essential truths. Continue reading