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Saturday, August 9, 2008

Fighting on three fronts

Some in the Reformed Protestant World would like to attack some of the ancient christians, for the way they either interpreted scripture or because some of them made use of a few greek philosophers.

But what they don't understand is the context of the World of which they were living in. They were fighting a three frontal war.

Jaroslav Pelikan said it well when he said:

"Yet it would be a mistake to concentrate on these materials so completely as to ignore the relation of the theology of the church to the Jewish thought out of which it came and to the pagan thought which which it sought to convert; for when the church confessed what it believed and tought, it did so in answer to attacks from within and from without the Christian movement. The relations of the church fathers to Judaism and to pagan thought affected much of what they had to say about the various doctrinal issues before them. The development of the doctrine of the person of Jesus Christ in relation to the Father must be studied largely on the basis of writtings drafted against heresy, against Judaism, and against paganism." [1]

I would use the word "growth" instead of the word "development", but what he said was in the right direction.

But they were theologically fighting against Heresy from within, as well as against Judaism, and Paganism.

One can see the seeds of this in the first century too!!! For Saint Paul was fighting against the Jews, Heresy, as well as paganism. And this was the struggle the next generations inhereted.


[1] page 11, Jaroslav Pelikan, from the book The christian tradition: A history of the Development of Doctrine. University of Chicago Press, and London 1971


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