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Historical Theology Articles

  • Rob Price — 

    In A.D. 410, the eternal and (so it was thought) invincible city of Rome was invaded by a foreign army. How could this have happened? Many pagans thought they knew who was to blame: the Christians.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    One thing that has struck my students in their initial interactions with the Institutes is how different Calvin sounds than much theology and God-talk today. The difference, I think, lies in his conviction of the truth and weightiness of what he writes. He is confident, earnest, and forthright in a way that makes a twenty-first century reader feel uncomfortable.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    In the preface to the 1539 Edition of the Institutes, Calvin explains the purpose of the Institutes and in doing so offers good counsel regarding the need for theology in reading Scripture well

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    I just returned from a symposium on ecclesial theology in Chicago, IL (Oak Park, to be exact) hosted by The Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology (SAET). The annual symposium of the SAET pulls together a diverse body of evangelical pastor-theologians from across the country, with fellows (“members”) representing the Lutheran, Pentecostal, Episcopal, Baptist, Messianic Jewish, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Independent Bible church traditions. Each three-day symposium gathers for discussion and collaboration on theological issues related to the life of the church. Mentoring fellows include Doug Sweeney (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and Scott Hafemann (Gordon-Conwell, soon to be University of St. Andrews), and often involves visiting scholars/pastor-theologians: this year it was Kevin Vanhoozer (Wheaton College/Graduate School). I have been a fellow of the SAET for two years because we believe that theology is not merely done for the church but in and by the church. For the SAET the difference is crucial. Here is the mission of the SAET:

  • Rob Price — 

    Denis Diderot (1713-84), editor and primary author of the massive—18,000 pages!—and massively influential Encyclopédie, has been called “the pivotal figure of the entire 18th century.” One of the pivotal moments in Diderot’s own career came in his conversion from deism to atheism. And central to this conversion were the implications he drew from Newton’s formulation of the principle of inertia.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    It is rare for someone using critical methods to argue for a position more conservative than that taken by most conservatives. Such is the case with David Trobisch’s argument for the dating of the “closing"1 of the New Testament canon (The First Edition of the New Testament [Oxford University Press, 2000]).. Trobisch argues that the New Testament (NT) canon, containing the same 27 books as are found in our NT (though in a slightly different order than they are presently arranged), was published some time in the middle of the second century. Trobisch argues against the current consensus that the NT canon was a result of a long and complicated process that continued for a few centuries. Rather, in his own words, “The history of the New Testament is the history of an edition, a book that has been published and edited by a specific group of editors, at a specific place, and at a specific time (p. 6).”

  • Joanne Jung — 

    In the current spiritual formation culture it is easy to equate our spirituality with undertaking spiritual disciplines. There is a temptation to think of spiritual formation as the result of a formula—that if I just do certain activities, I’ll be mature. Frustration can set in, however, when we don’t see any immediate change. What helps is remembering that our spiritual transformation is a life-long process and knowing that we are not left alone in this undertaking. Indeed, each of the members of the Trinity plays a part.

  • Rob Price — 

    Hey, if you can summarize Luther in 1,000 words, Calvin should be no problem. Not that Calvin’s any less interesting than Luther, just less open. In tens of thousands of pages of his surviving writings, including several thousand personal letters, Calvin gives only the rarest hints of what’s going on inside. It’s pretty obvious, though, that so profound an exegetical and theological legacy could only have come from a heart aflame for God.

  • Rob Price — 

    How do you introduce the great Protestant reformer Martin Luther in under 1,000 words—plus a picture or two? His life, his works, his doctrines, his impact? One standard biography (Brecht) runs 1,300 pages. I might omit a few things, but here goes.