Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Nicene Creed, Council of Ephesus and Cyril of Alexandria: the Son of God begotten from the Father's essence

A number of Reformed folk (including Calvin himself) are quite adamant in their doctrinal stance concerning what is meant by the concept of the Son of God being begotten from God the Father; specifically, that the Son is begotten from the Father's person ONLY, emphatically denying that it is also from the Father's essence/substance (οὐσία).

Persons following this blog are well aware that the original Nicene Creed explicitly contradicted the above denial; yet once again, from the opening of the Nicene Creed of 325 we read:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible ; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father... (NPNF - 2nd series, Vol. 14, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, p. 3 - bold emphasis mine.)

The Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers of the 4th and 5th centuries who wrote on this subject were almost unanimous in their assent of the above. I have recently provided selections from some of those Church Fathers (e.g. Athanasius, Basil), and at this time would like to add Cyril of Alexander's assessment (which was officially adopted at the 3rd Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431). After quoting the entire Nicene Creed of 325, Cyril continued with:

Following in all points the confessions of the Holy Fathers which they made (the Holy Ghost speaking in them), and following the scope of their opinions, and going, as it were, in the royal way, we confess that the Only begotten Word of God, begotten of the same substance of the Father... (Ibid.. p. 202 - bold emphasis mine.)

Now, what I find interesting is the fact that most confessional Reformed folk claim they accept the creeds and definitions of the 1st four Ecumenical councils; and yet, a number of those same folk deny that the Son of God was begotten from the essence/substance of the Father. How can this be anything but a blatant contradiction?

Grace and peace,


Monday, December 10, 2012

Our possible future ???

While watching the 700 Club during my workout earlier today, the following segment gave cause for reflection:

Could this be a foretaste of our nation's future ???

Grace and peace,


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bart Ehrman's new book

Last month, Dr. Bart Ehrman's much anticipated book, Forgery and Counterforgery: The Use of Literary Deceit in Early Christian Polemics, was released by Oxford University Press. The following is the publisher's "Description":

"Arguably the most distinctive feature of the early Christian literature," writes Bart Ehrman, "is the degree to which it was forged." The Homilies and Recognitions of Clement; Paul's letters to and from Seneca; Gospels by Peter, Thomas, and Philip; Jesus' correspondence with Abgar, letters by Peter and Paul in the New Testament--all forgeries. To cite just a few examples.

Forgery and Counterforgery is the first comprehensive study of early Christian pseudepigrapha ever produced in English. In it, Ehrman argues that ancient critics--pagan, Jewish, and Christian--understood false authorial claims to be a form of literary deceit, and thus forgeries. Ehrman considers the extent of the phenomenon, the "intention" and motivations of ancient Greek, Roman, and Jewish forgers, and reactions to their work once detected. He also assesses the criteria ancient critics applied to expose forgeries and the techniques forgers used to avoid detection. With the wider practices of the ancient world as backdrop, Ehrman then focuses on early Christian polemics, as various Christian authors forged documents in order to lend their ideas a veneer of authority in literary battles waged with pagans, Jews, and, most importantly, with one another in internecine disputes over doctrine and practice. In some instances a forger directed his work against views found in another forgery, creating thereby a "counter-forgery." Ehrman's evaluation of polemical forgeries starts with those of the New Testament (nearly half of whose books make a false authorial claim) up through the Pseudo-Ignatian epistles and the Apostolic Constitutions at the end of the fourth century.

Shining light on an important but overlooked feature of the early Christian world, Forgery and Counterforgery explores the possible motivations of the deceivers who produced these writings, situating their practice within ancient Christian discourses on lying and deceit. (LINK)

I have the book on order, but given the fact that we are in the 'holiday season', I have no idea when the book will arrive. However, even though I have yet to read Ehrman's book, a gent I have respect for (Dr. Tim Henderson) has already offered a valuable critique on one of the topics of the book. The following are the links to his three installments:

Grace and peace,