Wednesday, May 2, 2007

On this day in church history, AD 373 ...

... Athanasius, defender of the true teaching of the Son of God, entered into glory.

"Of undaunted courage, unflinching in the face of danger or adversity and cowed by no man, he was the steadfast champion and great defender of the faith of Nicaea, 'the pillar of the church', as St. Gregory of Nazianzus calls him. The Arians regarded him as their chief enemy and did everything to destroy him. To silence him, they enlisted the aid of secular power and corrupt ecclesiastical authority. Five times was he banished from his episcopal see and spent more than seventeen years in exile. But all this suffering could not break his resistance. He was convinced that he fought for the truth and employed every means at his disposal to combat his powerful adversaries. Despite his uncompromising hostility towards error and the fierceness with which he opposed it, he had the quality, rare in such a character, of being capable, even in the heat of battle, of tolerance and moderation towards those who had in good faith been led astray."
(Johannes Quasten, Patrology, Vol. III., p. 20)

We should all pray for the grace to discern the central truths of scripture, and to stand for them -- with our very lives if necessary. Likewise, we should petition the Lord for wisdom to know the difference between the crucial and the peripheral, between doctrine about which sincere Christians may disagree, and that which differentiates true believers from impostors. Today, let us remember Athanasius, our exemplar in courageous orthodoxy and Christ-like charity.

See also ...
  • "Why Study the Fathers?", article by Dr. Michael Haykin at reformation21
  • Phil Johnson's page on the Church Fathers
  • Clay McKinney's timeline of the Imperial Church, AD 305-476
  • St. Athanasius: Catholic Encyclopedia page

7 comments:

Bridges said...

SWEET! A reference to Gregory of Nazianzus! Always good to hear from one of the Great Cappadocians.

In all seriousness, thanks for the good word.

Tim

H.C. Ross said...

I thought you'd appreciate that allusion, my friend. You can never have too much of 'the G to the O to the N'.

H.C. Ross said...

... And next time, make sure you really annunciate NAHT-ZEE-AHN-ZOOSE ...

Bridges said...

I am still waiting for the definitive article that links "the Nazianzus-inator" to the rise of the 5th Monarchy Men. Maybe its to self-evident to be published?

My first manuscript will probably be:

Chasing Nazianzus: Gregory of Nazianzus as an Interpretive Scheme for Theology and Stuff.

Tim

H.C. Ross said...

Tim, I like it. Your use of 'stuff' is particularly deft. Its heuristic nature creates room for other possibilities in your argument.

I will think about incorporating 'stuff', and the phrase 'and stuff' into my own writing more often.

Bridges said...

"...and other things" works well, too.

For example:

"The Great Cappadocians: Hermeneutical variance and other things."

or

"Basil and the Boys: Resentment in the Cappadocian Posse."

H.C. Ross said...

Anything besides "queering" in a thesis title is fine with me ...

Or "praxis" ...

DEFINITELY never use the phrase, "a new praxis for ..." [excuse me .. resisting gag reflex ... stabilizing ... ahh, ok ... I'm fine again]

And what's up with "re-imaging" and "re-imagining"? No no no, way too pretentious.

In fact, my advice is to just avoid Latinisms and made-up technical terms altogether, where normal English will suffice.

'Simplicity and sensibility': that's my raison d'etre.

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