Sometime after the death of the early Protestant reformers – Luther, Zwingli, Bucer,Calvin, and Melanchthon – a saying developed in Latin that went like this: ecclesia semper reformans, semper reformanda. In simple English, this saying means “the church is always reformed and always reforming.” Regardless of who said it, the idea is very much in keeping with Luther’s notion that there can never be an “entirely pure and purified church.” Real reformation is never attained! It is always a process. The Spirit continues to renew and reform the church in every age.
He was arrogant and stubborn. He called his opponents derogatory, racist names. He legitimized slavery and silenced women. He was a moralistic, homophobic killjoy who imposed his narrow religious views on others.
Or was he?
Randolph Richards and Brandon O’Brien explore the complicated persona and teachings of the apostle Paul. Unpacking his personal history and cultural context, they show how Paul both offended Roman perspectives and scandalized Jewish sensibilities. His vision of Christian faith was deeply disturbing to those in his day and remains so in ours.
Paul behaved badly, but not just in the ways we might think. Take another look at Paul and see why this “worst of sinners” dares to say, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”
IVP Academic has sent along a copy for perusal. Stay tuned. Let’s see if it’s any good.
It was on this day in 312 that Constantine the Foul realized that if he deceived Christians into thinking he was one of them, they would fall into his lap like lapdogs because too many of them sought earthly power.
Naturally he continued to live the remainder of his life as a thoroughgoing pagan and only stooped to accept baptism on his death bed. But Christians then, as now, were unwilling or unable to see the truth: he had manipulated them and they were willing manipulants.
Constantine is the worst thing that ever happened to the Church. The. Worst. Thing. As von Harnack notes
The head of the Church is Christ, not the Pope; only through Constantine has the latter, as the bishop of Rome, become great.
Constantine. The. Foul.
There are some lazy pastors and preachers, who are no good themselves, those who count on getting their sermons from … other [people’s] … books. They do not pray, do not study, do not read, do not meditate on anything in Scripture, just as if on account of [these books] one did not have to read the Bible. They avail themselves of books such as the Formulary and the Calendar to earn their annual keep. And they are nothing but parrots or jackdaws that learn to repeat without understanding. — Martin Luther
Amen and amen.
Coincidence? That’s doubtful.
The New York Times connects the dots in a report titled As U.N. Ignores Jewish Ties to Holy Site, Israel Produces Ancient Evidence.
If you needed more proof that archaeology serves ideology there it is.