A Testament of Devotion

About two years ago I was introduced to Christian Quakerism through the writings of its founder, George Fox.  I found Fox’s focus on the indwelling Christ spiritually rich.  I went on to read An Apology for the True Christian Divinity by Robert Barclay.  This was the first systematic presentation of Quaker beliefs. For Christmas, I received…

Fill in the Blank

Jerome (345-420 AD) was an early church father, scholar, and monk.  He is probably best known for his translation of the Bible into Latin (known as “The Vulgate” because Latin was the vulgar or common language). When Jerome was about 30 and a rising academic star, he had a dream that brought his star crashing…

Disciples and Division

Recently, I read Christian History magazine, issue 120: “Calvin, Councils, and Confessions–How the Church became the Churches.” Church history is a hobby. I identify less with a particular tradition than with anyone in Christ. I love church history because I see it as my history–Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant. Issue 120 discusses the spread of Reformed…

Spring

Great Springs National Park in Great Falls, Montana “So Isaac left there, camped in the Valley of Gerar, and lived there. Isaac reopened the water wells that had been dug in the days of his father…. Then Isaac’s slaves dug in the valley and found a well of spring water there” (Gen. 26:17-19). Isaac reopened…

Augustine: Exposition on Psalms

Augustine (354-430 AD) was a bishop in north Africa.  He remains one of the most influential thinkers in church history.  Augustine is known for books like City of God, in which he explained Rome’s fall: Rome typified the city of man which isn’t eternal.  Instead of looking to Rome, Christians look “to the city that has…

On Loving God–Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux was a monk in the 11th and 12th centuries. Bernard enjoys wide appeal.  After reading his classic, On Loving God, I understand why.  This book has a refreshing, simple focus on loving God.  It is not a work of dazzling theological argument but evokes 1 Corinthians 8:2-3: “If anyone thinks he knows anything,…

Patrick the Slave

From his brief autobiography we learn that…the Irish, then called Scots, began swooping down on the English coast, sailing up the rivers, raiding the settlements, and carrying off plunder and slaves. Among the captives was Patrick. So Ireland’s patron saint was not Irish! He had been reared a Christian. His father was a deacon, but…

An Apology for the True Christian Divinity–Barclay

Last year, I became acquainted with Quakerism. I thought Quakers peddled new age, oatmeal mysticism. I was surprised to learn of their deeply Christian origins. I began to read the writings of George Fox, founder of the Quaker movement. Next, I moved on to An Apology for the True Christian Divinity by Robert Barclay (1675)….

The AMEN

“The Messiah” is a piece of music by George Frideric Handel for chorus and orchestra. It is traditionally performed during the Christmas season.  The words all come from scripture. Charles Jennens selected the verses and arranged their order. Beginning with old testament passages, the lyrics tell the story of Christ: from prophecies to His passion,…

Beef and Bourbon

Mahatma Gandhi famously complained that converting to Christianity meant converting to beef and bourbon. Some Indian converts also wore European clothing. This offended Gandhi’s religious and cultural sensibilities. Christianity’s interaction with culture has a complicated history. All of us live Christianity in our particular time, place, and culture. The eternal Word comes in our flesh,…

The Quakers: More than Oatmeal

For awhile now, the Lord has been teaching me about Christ’s indwelling. Knowing that I no longer live but Christ lives in me has become a daily necessity rather than an abstract proposition (Gal. 2:19-20). In the midst of this emphasis, I discovered the writings of George Fox, who started the Quaker movement in the…

Scripture vs. Tradition

Scripture versus tradition…. Most of us have heard something of this debate, which goes like this: Does scripture or tradition hold higher authority for Christians? For some, scripture is the obvious answer. Jesus lambasted the Pharisees because tradition caused them to violate God’s word (Matt. 15:3). Paul also warned the Colossians about the “empty deceit…