Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Planning Ahead

I like to plan ahead with my posts and have been frustrated that my schedule has reduced my involvement to offerings of patristic quotes; however, one benefit from this has been a loyal following interested in their continuation.  So, if I have sufficient lead time, I will post from the Church Fathers some commentary related to what our local body will be receiving on Sunday.  I have yet to come up with a series title—maybe “Friday with the Fathers”—but plan to begin next week.

Lest the reader think that my interest here is waning, I have collected, through this busy time, over two dozen separate notes with subject matter from a broad range, a few of which are:
  • •  Wholistic Nature of Punishment
  • •  Structure of the Beatitudes
  • •  Extent of the Atonement
  • •  Life in the Spirit
  • •  Extremes of Legalism and Radical Grace
  • •  Baptism & Lord’s Supper
  • •  How Was Christianity Spread in the Early Church?
And this does not include new and continuing series, such as book reviews, lessons from Arnobius of Sicca,* and a look at the penitential psalms—just to name a few.  The difficulty has been carving out time to think through a topic rationally and intelligently.  Part of this process is prioritizing the subject matter, which can be a chore in itself, however, the combination of research, writing, and formatting are time-consuming when done properly.  To be sure, an emotional or playful piece can be cranked out in little time, but I prefer to offer substance.

That is enough for now.  Allow me to leave one tidbit from Origen’s Commentary on John 1:
Now what the Gospels say is to be regarded in the light of promises of good things; and we must say that the good things the Apostles announce in this Gospel are simply Jesus.  One good thing which they are said to announce is the resurrection; but the resurrection is in a manner Jesus, for Jesus says: “I am the resurrection.”  Jesus preaches to the poor those things which are laid up for the saints, calling them to the divine promises.  And the holy Scriptures bear witness to the Gospel announcements made by the Apostles and to that made by our Savior.  David says of the Apostles, perhaps also of the evangelists: “The Lord shall give the word to those that preach with great power; the King of the powers of the beloved;” teaching at the same time that it is not skilfully composed discourse, nor the mode of delivery, nor well practiced eloquence that produces conviction, but the communication of divine power.  Hence also Paul says: “I will know not the word that is puffed up, but the power; for the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.”  And in another passage: “And my word and my preaching were not persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power.”  To this power Simon and Cleophas bear witness when they say: “Was not our heart burning within us by the way, as he opened to us the Scriptures?”  And the Apostles, since the quantity of the power is great which God supplies to the speakers, had great power, according to the word of David: “The Lord will give the word to the preachers with great power.”  Isaiah too says: “How beautiful are the feet of them that proclaim good tidings;” he sees how beautiful and how opportune was the announcement of the Apostles who walked in Him who said, “I am the way,” and praises the feet of those who walk in the intellectual way of Christ Jesus, and through that door go in to God.  They announce good tidings, those whose feet are beautiful, namely, Jesus.

*  This has proved to be an interesting and valuable resource.  The apologist rails against much in pagan worship, but as one reads the description of practices, the similarities between ancient pagan and modern Western Christian worship is disturbing.

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