The Cesspit and the Perfume

Aurelius Augustine Bishop of Hippo

You don’t have to spend too much time with me before you’ll find out that one of my heroes in the faith is Aurelius Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo. He is a brilliant thinker, a captivating writer, and a theologian who stirs souls as well as minds. A couple of weeks ago he would have celebrated his 1658th birthday (he lived 354-430AD). In other words, he lived a long time ago. A lot has changed in the world, but his writings continue to remain both relevant and helpful. Recently I’ve been reading his City of God. Here are some of his Continue reading

How to React to the Fall of Rome – Part 2

In the previous post we saw that the ancient church’s view of a historical phenomenon (namely, the Roman Empire) shifted dramatically within the space of a few generations, on account of their particular experiences with that empire. I would suggest that we have seen something somewhat similar take place over the past few generations up until our day–though not with an empire, per se. I think it is particularly interesting to see how many Christians lament over the end of modernism the way Jerome mourned the fall of Rome. So many of us weep over modernism as if it was Continue reading

How to React to the Fall of Rome – Part 1

Looking over my notes today from my early church history course, I noticed something interesting. It’s nothing new or profound, but it caught my attention anyway. The church’s response to the fall of Rome was weird, in many ways. I think it’s necessary to lay some background before we move on. From the founding of Christianity (Pentecost somewhere around 33AD) to 64AD the Christian church enjoyed religious protection, since it was seen by Rome as a Jewish sect. When Rome burnt in 64AD, however, Nero needed someone to blame and so he blamed the Christians. Nero’s actions set the precedent Continue reading

God’s Grace in Augustine’s Theology

The following excerpt is taken from the full article, available here. In order to understand Augustine’s theology of God’s sovereign saving grace, one must first understand Augustine’s view of the will. According to Augustine (and all the ‘catholic’ church after him) the will was free, but only insofar as it would choose what it desired.13 ‘Without exception,’ he writes, ‘we all long for happiness. … All agree that they want to be happy, just as, if they were asked, they would all agree that they desired joy.’14 Augustine’s point is that although we all desire true happiness (which is found Continue reading

Augustine’s Love for God

My love of you, O Lord, is not some vague feeling: it is positive and certain. Your word struck into my heart and from that moment I loved you. Besides this, all about me, heaven and earth and all that they contain proclaim that I should love you, and their message never ceases to sound in the ears of all mankind, so that there is no excuse for any not to love you. But, more than all this, you will show pity on those whom you pity; you will show mercy where you are merciful;[1] for if it were not Continue reading

On the ‘Inadequacy’ of Language

I’ve often come across (and myself even flirted with) several forms of the notion that language is entirely ‘inadequate’ to describe God. In fact, I still in many ways find this to be true. No language can exhaustively declare the reality, the beauty, the holiness of our Triune God. What is unfortunate, however, is how often people in our day will take their queues from neo-orthodoxy and give up on propositional language at all to describe God. God becomes one meant to be experienced rather than spoken of. I have found some observations from Vern S. Poythress on this topic Continue reading

A Few Thoughts on Friendship

Friendship is a wonderful thing. Christian friendship is infinitely better. In fact, I think it would be correct to say that only Christians can experience true friendship. From a biblical standpoint, one’s will and affections are ultimately rooted in his heart. If the heart of an individual is unregenerate, his only love is self-love; he only seeks his pleasure, his heart is proud, and he delights in evil. His will and affections, then, from whence friendship must flow are perverted. But the heart of a Christian is different. The heart of a Christian is primarily oriented towards the worship and Continue reading