Site Meter
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|
|The Thirsty Theologian| |Sola Gratia| |Sola Fide| |Solus Christus| |Sola Scriptura| |Soli Deo Gloria| |Semper Reformanda|

Arianism

(2 posts)

Christ: Propositional Truth

Thursday··2007·08·30 · 4 Comments
As I said yesterday, I believe John Piper’s book Contending for Our All is exceedingly relevant for our day, especially in light of attacks on truth by the emergent movement, as I think the following excerpt will demonstrate. Piper’s study of Athanasius and the Arian heresy 1700 years ago demonstrates the truth that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Loving Christ includes loving true propositions about Christ What was clear to Athanasius was that propositions about Christ carried convictions that could send you to heaven or hell. Propositions like “There was a time when the Son of God was not,” and “He was not before he was made,” and “the Son of God is created” were damnable. If they were spread abroad and believed, they would damn the souls who embraced hem. And therefore Athanasius labored with all his might to formulate propositions that would conform to reality and lead the soul to faith and worship and heaven. I believe Athanasius would have abominated, with tears, the contemporary call for “depropositionalizing” that we hear among so many of the so-called “reformists” and “the emerging church,” “younger evangelicals,” “postfundamentalists,” “postfoundationalists,” “postpropositionalists,” and “postevangelicals.” I think he would have said, “Our young people in Alexandria die for the truth of propositions about Christ. What do your young people die for?” And if the answer came back, “We die for Christ, not propositions about Christ,” I think he would have said, “That’s what the heretic Arius said. So which Christ will you die for?” To answer that question requires propositions about him. To refuse to answer implies that it doesn’t matter what we believe or die for as long as it has the label Christ attached to it. Athanasius would have grieved over sentences like, “It is Christ who unites us; doctrine divides.” And sentences like: “We should ask, Whom do you trust? Rather than what do you believe?” He would have grieved because he knew this was the very tactic used by the Arian bishops to cover the councils with fog so that the word Christ could mean anything. Those who talk like this—“Christ unites, doctrine divides”—have simply replaced propositions about Christ with the word Christ. It carries no meaning until one says something about him. They think they have done something profound and fresh, when they call us away from the propositions of doctrine to the word Christ. In fact they have done something very old and worn and deadly. —John Piper, Contending for Our All, (Crossway, 2006), 63–64

The Guest of God

Tuesday··2018·08·28
Basil of Caesarea (ca. 329–379) was one of three* fourth century theologians from the province of Cappadocia in Asia Minor. They are known as the Cappadocian Fathers. Basil, like Athanasius, was compelled to counter the continuing influence of Arianism.† He also faced a new heretic, Eustathius, leader of the Pneumatomachians, who, in addition to his denial of the deity of Christ, claimed that the Holy Spirit was also a created being.‡ In those days, these conflicts were not merely debates among theologians; a faithful pastor might have to put his life on the line to stand for truth. Basil was willing. The reigning emperor in the East was Valens, who supported Arianism. When Valens announced that he would visit Caesarea, it was understood that the emperor would use this appearance to promote the heretical teachings of Arius. Imperial officers arrived beforehand to prepare for Valens’s visit by seeking to influence Basil through imperial promises and threats. But unlike other bishops, Basil could not be controlled by such tactics. A heated exchange ensued, with the praetorian prefect threatening Basil. But Basil replied: “Nothing more! Not one of these things touches me. His property cannot be forfeited, who has none; banishment I know not, for I am restricted to no place, and am the guest of God, to whom the whole earth belongs; for martyrdom I am unfit, but death is a benefactor to me, for it sends me more quickly to God, to whom I live and move; I am also in great part already dead, and have been for a long time hastening to the grave.” The prefect was taken aback. No one had ever spoken to him like this, he declared. Basil answered, “Perhaps that is because you have never met a true bishop.” —Steven J. Lawson, Pillars of Grace (Reformation Trust, 2011), 168. * Also Gregory of Nazianzus (330–389) and Gregory of Nyssa (Basil’s brother, ca. 336–after 394). † Find Phil Johnson’s lectures on Arianism (and other heresies) here. ‡ See The Book of St. Basil on the Holy Spirit in Philip Schaff, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Series II, 8:2.

@TheThirstyTheo



Who Is Jesus?


The Gospel
What It Means to Be a Christian


Norma Normata
What I Believe


Westminster Bookstore


  Sick of lame Christian radio?
  Try RefNet 

Links