Category Archives: Cults/Heretics

Home Library/Office Tour

I wanted to do this for a while. I had some time today. One day I’ll get a good camera and give this thing some real production value.

B”H

Beware of Overnight Experts

A coworker has recently become enamored with Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. I blame myself. My cousin had been urging me for weeks to watch an interview that Farrakhan did with Jamal Bryant on the Word Network. I finally put it on at work and it caught my coworker’s attention. Since then it’s been nothing but Farrakhan on YouTube for him. The problem is that he has uncritically accepted without examination most everything that Farrakhan says about anything. My cousin is the same way. In fact, it’s exactly like talking to my cousin. Same script, verbatim.

I’ve tried to talk to my coworker where I can but he’s not ready to hear anyone but Farrakhan right now. Yesterday, for example, he assaulted us with a shotgun argument in which he talked about everything from how King James, who ruled the world, rewrote the Bible, to how Christianity is the white man’s religion and was used to control slaves, to how Islam was the original religion, to how the Qur’an has never been changed, to how black people invented science and math (none of which is true, for the record). There was much more in between but this was what I could remember being spit out at me in something like 30 seconds. I tried to focus on one thing at a time but I kept getting talked over. So I just ignored it. I know that now is not the time for him to hear me.

But I did tell him that I’m worried that he’s become an expert very quickly. He told me that he’s always known this stuff but has just ignored it. Nonsense I say, nonsense! There’s a reason that the Nation of Islam targets “the black man in America,” and that’s because many of them feel alienated, disenfranchised, oppressed, and maltreated. And in many cases that’s unfortunately true. The NOI gives them the outlet to feel justified in their anger. The same can’t be said of the black folks around the world that haven’t shared similar experiences. And I say this to say that my coworker is angry and has found a voice for this anger. He hasn’t studied what is being said, he’s just accepted it on face value.

Now me, on the other hand… I’ve been exposed to the Nation of Islam since I was 10 years old. From 16 to 21 I devoted a lot of time and energy into its teachings. I read Farrakhan’s speeches and watched VHS tapes of him before there was a YouTube to watch them on. Same with Malcolm X. I’ve read Elijah Muhammed’s books. I once had an entire filing cabinet full of Final Call newspapers. I’ve known NOI members for years. The point is that I’m not new to this. There was a time when I believed this stuff to be true. And then God saved me and I devoted a couple more years to studying this stuff from a critical perspective. So it’s not revelatory to me. I’ve been there and done that. I have the answers to his arguments but nothing I say will be received.

My bare disagreement with these views is enough to deny anything I say as true. His newfound expertise trumps my years of exposure and study because I’ve boughten into the white man’s “made up religion” while he’s come to the “knowledge of self.” So my task over the coming weeks isn’t going to be to argue and debate with him—he’s not ready—but to provide good information to my other coworkers who are exposed to his newfound views. I don’t claim expertise in anything, but I’m confident in the time I’ve spent on these subjects, and when it’s all said and done I’m really just interested in God being glorified through what I say and do, so my prayer is that however it goes I’ll be able to maintain my composure and speak the truth in love.

B”H

Sacred Name

I was asked to comment on a Facebook post last night by a friend and fellow elder. The topic of the post was Jesus’ name. The writer said that the reason people aren’t seeing results to their prayers is because they’ve been calling on the wrong name. You see, his name isn’t Jesus, which is manmade, it’s Yahweh. If we call on Yahweh rather than Jesus we should see results.

The comments that followed proceeded to call Jesus “Yahshua” and take Hosea 4:6 out of context, suggesting that if people continued to call him Jesus then they’d perish for their lack of knowledge. A couple of people from my church were arguing that it doesn’t much matter what variation of his name we use so long as we know him. I just came in and added a little background to that claim.

I noted how the Hebrew name is Yehoshua. How in the Aramaic bits of the Bible we read Yeshua. How in the NT—which I’d think would be paramount in such a discussion—it’s Iesous. In Latin it’s Iesvs. And finally English translates it as Jesus. We’re English speakers. Why wouldn’t we use the English name? If we were speaking Italian we’d say Jesu. If we were speaking Spanish it would be Jesús.

In any event, I did note that we’d never call him Yahshua for reasons I didn’t want to bore anyone with. But readers of this blog don’t mind being bored. In short, people have this weird penchant of finding out that the Hebrew name for God YHWH and its shortened form YH exist and all of a sudden they want to insert it where it doesn’t belong. It’s not that Yah never appears in Hebrew names; it just never appears at the beginning of them. For example:

Ma’aseYah = Maaseiah (Neh. 12:42)
MichaYah = Micaiah (Neh. 12:42)
Z’charYah = Zechariah (Neh. 12:42)
MalkiYah = Malchiah (Neh:12″42)
AzarYah = Azariah (Neh. 12:33)
Sh’maYah = Shemaiah (Neh. 12:34)
MatanYah = Mattaniah (Neh. 12:35)
SherevYah = Sherebiah (Neh.12:24)
ChashavYah = Hashabiah (Neh. 12:24)
BakbukYah = Bakbukiah (Neh. 12:25)
OvadYah = Obadiah (Obadiah 1:1)
AchazYah = Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:50)
S’raYah = Seraiah (2 Sam. 8:17)

At times Yah also appears in combination with hu making the form Yahu as in:

YeshaYahu = Isaiah (Salvation of the Lord)
YirmiYahu = Jeremiah (The Lord casts)
EliYahu = Elijah, and (My God is the Lord)
YoshiYahu = Josiah (The Lord rescues me)
Chizkiyahu = Hezekiah (My strength is the Lord)

Now when the shortened form of YHWH does appear at the beginning of a personal name it’s used in combination with a verb and we see Yeho, not Yah, so:

Yehoshua = Joshua
Yehoachaz = Jehoahaz (2 Kings 10:35)
Yehoyachin = Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6)
Yehoyakim = Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:34)
Yehoshafat = Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 17:3)
Yehochanan, which is a longer form of Yochanan = John (Neh. 12:42)
Yehoram = Jehoram (1 Kings 22:51)
Yehoyada = Jehoiadah (2 Sam. 818)
Yehotzadak = Jehozadak (1 Chr. 6:14 [1 Chr. 5:40 MT])

But the point is that the “Sacred Name” movement is built on some bad information. And more to the point, the referent is more important than the name by which he’s referred. As long as he knows us and we know him then he’ll answer however we call. Jesus is as much Lord over language as anything else.

B”H

An Observation

I received an email the other day from a young man who was thinking about starting a blog and one of the things he asked me was whether or not I could recommend anyone dealing specifically with the arguments of Biblical Unitarians (i.e., Socinians). Unfortunately, no one these days really pays them much mind, which in turn means that no one is really addressing their arguments. On the one hand I get it; they’re a very small faction that you’re likely to encounter only on the internet. On the other hand, there are people who have written books challenging the claims of Oneness Pentecostals and Jehovah’s Witnesses, so it would be nice to have something else to add to the mix.

I noted that if he wanted anything substantial he’d have to go back to 17th century English theologians like Edward Stillingfleet, John Edwards, and William Sherlock. I also noted how none of them was without fault because they all suffered from the same basic shortcoming with regard to operating according to their opponents’ rationalism. The Socinians of their day denied the Trinity because it didn’t make sense and so these theologians argued (sometimes quite exhaustively) that it did make sense. The problem was that they tried to make sense of the doctrine according to the canons of their opponents and in turn veered off toward one heresy or another.

This, of course, is something that James Anderson notes in his Paradox in Christian Theology. The desire to make sense of the doctrine of the Trinity is laudable (it’s also doable, but it must be done from a biblical perspective, with Scripture as the ultimate authority; not various philosophies), but make too much sense and you end up with heresy. It’s also no coincidence that Anderson ended up being the one modern author I recommended on the topic as I think his defense of paradox is quite helpful in dealing with the rationalistic objections of Socinians.

But I’ve said all this to say that from my observation modern theolgoians and apologists just don’t seem to really care about Socinianism. Why this is I couldn’t say, but it is nonetheless. It would be nice if the next generation of apologists who specialize in the doctrine of the Trinity would take more notice of Socinianism. It would save interested readers the trouble of having to sift through verbose 17th century English authors!

B”H

A Conversation about KJV Onlyism

James White sat down with Steven Anderson for a couple of hours to discuss KJV Onlyism. I’m 40 minutes into the video and it’s astounding. To hear someone say that anyone who can’t understand the language of the KJV is probably not saved, or that the NIV is the word of God is probably not saved, is, to say the least, astonishing. I don’t know that I’ve ever described KJV Onlyism as a cult but I’m hard pressed to think of it as anything else based on what I’m seeing from Steven Anderson in this video. Give it a look and decide for yourself.

B”H

Classical Christian Doctrine: Introducing the Essentials of the Ancient Faith

pdc.jpgHeine, Ronald E. 

Classical Christian Doctrine: Introducing the Essentials of the Ancient Faith

Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013. Pp. x + 182. Paper. $21.99.

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With thanks to Baker Academic for this review copy!

For years I’ve been looking for a way to introduce important doctrines to my local church in an easy and accessible way; in fact, my pastor recently asked me to start preparing a course on essential Christian doctrine. Time has never permitted me to create my own course, but thankfully, now I won’t have to. Ronald E. Heine, professor of Bible and Christian ministry at Northwest Christian University, has done all of the heavy lifting in his Classical Christian Doctrine.

This slim volume is laid out in a very sensible manner. Heine begins with asking exactly what “classical Christian doctrine” is, to which he answers “the Christian system of belief or the common core of Christian teaching that determines Christian self-understanding—that is, what it means to be Christian” (5). The “classical” qualifier denotes the first four centuries of the Christian era, as this is when “all the major doctrines of the church were set forth” (4).

After this it’s a pretty straightforward narrative beginning with a discussion of Scripture, which is the source of Christian doctrine, and going through the patristic period discussing the doctrines of monotheism, Logos theology, the various monarchian heresies, eternal generation, ecumenical councils and the disputes over Christology that necessitated them. Heine discusses the doctrines of the Father and the Spirit along with his chapters on Christology, which also delves into the work of Christ, namely concerning redemption. Ecclesiology, baptism, resurrection, and eschatology all follow. It has all the markings of a condensed systematic (patristic) theology, and that’s a good thing pedagogically speaking.

What makes this volume so handy is its layout, along with Heine’s deft authorial hand. Concerning the layout, every chapter begins by noting the key players in the items under discussion. Sidebars with various quotations from these patristic sources appear throughout each chapter in order to add a bit of context to what Heine is saying. And each chapter is closed out with a list of points for discussion and a list of resources for further reading. As far as Heine’s abilities as an author are concerned, he has my admiration and respect. He summarizes a wealth of material masterfully while managing to hit on all of the most important points without ever getting unnecessarily technical.

If there’s anything to fault him on it’s in perpetuating a narrative of the so-called Arian crisis that has been challenged in recent history in the works of R. P. C. Hanson; Rowan Williams; John Behr; Lewis Ayres; and Khaled Anatolios to name a few. Basically Heine paints Arius as being a bit more important than he probably was. The heresy that bears his name found its most ardent proponents in people that came well after Arius and held positions higher in the church than presbyter. But it was refreshing to see Heine note the emphasis on salvation that was at the root of the debate over the Son’s relationship to the Father. Too often that gets passed over in treatments of the subject.

In all I think that anyone looking for an introduction into the world of patristic theology and doctrine will do very well to begin with this book. I plan to make use of it when I get around to introducing the essential doctrines to my church. It’s certainly not the final word on the subject, but it’s as good a place to start as any. Heine is to be commended for packing so much into so small a space without leaving the reader feeling cheated. At no point did I think he should have addressed this event or that one even when I know much more happened than has been said. The point, however, is not to give a church history, but rather to outline essential doctrines, and on this point Heine succeeds.

B”H

On Declaring Someone a Heretic

I received a phone call from my pastor last night and among the many things he said was something about our ongoing disagreement about Oneness Pentecostals. He said that he’s leery of judging them unsaved or calling them heretics because he doesn’t know their hearts and wants to be cautious about pronouncing judgment since he’ll be judged according to the same measure (cf. Matt. 7:2). He spoke about their love for God and their desire to be obedient to him. He also made a distinction between the hardliners who only preach “the oneness” from the pulpit and those who might believe it without knowing why they believe or where they went wrong.

I didn’t get to say much by way of response because I was watching a fight and I wasn’t in the mood to debate. The one question I asked was this: What heretic throughout any period of history do you think didn’t believe that they loved God and were doing him obedient service? He said he didn’t know but that he didn’t want to be quick to call someone a heretic simply for disagreeing with him. Okay, that’s good and well, and I’d agree to some extent. I don’t call people heretics simply because they disagree with me; I call them heretics because they embrace teaching that has already been declared heretical by the church.

And that’s an important point to make in this discussion. He mentioned John MacArthur and how he’s dead wrong about spiritual gifts, which, by the way, he is. But he said that I wouldn’t call MacArthur a heretic for being wrong about that, and he’s right, I wouldn’t. I’d simply say that there’s a chink in MacArthur’s expositional armor. Cessationism isn’t born through exegesis; it’s born through experience, or the lack thereof. But that’s not my point. My point is that at no time in church history that I’m aware of has the the lack of belief in spiritual gifts been declared a heresy. In fact, some might argue for the similarities between Montanism, which was declared heretical, and modern Charismatic beliefs and practices. I’d say they’re wrong, but they’d have more of a leg to stand on than those arguing the opposite.

For the record, I don’t slavishly adhere to conciliar definitions and creeds out of a sense of duty or tradition, but rather because I believe they are correct. I believe with all of my heart, mind, soul, and strength that God guided his church to the correct understanding of his Scriptures when the early disputes arose over their meaning. I think that patristic exegesis is the outworking of apostolic exegesis and that any modern exegesis should align with both without necessarily having to repeat it verbatim. But what I don’t believe is that my personal convictions, in and of themselves, are any criteria by which to judge a person’s orthodoxy. What think is ultimately irrelevant in light of what has already been declared by the church.

So to repeat myself: I call certain people heretics because they embrace teaching that has already been declared heretical by the church. These issues have been settled. Either get on board with it or jump ship. But whatever you do, realize that heresy can’t be reformed or redeemed; it has to be repented of. Can heretics be saved? Of course. Just not as long as they actively embrace heresy.

B”H

Answering a JW Pop Quiz

I just came across this “Good Points for Field Service” list of questions that are administered to many Jehovah’s Witnesses on the Pyromaniacs blog. I actually have a typed copy of this in my filing cabinet that was given to me years ago by a JW that used to visit. Nearly all of the question show a fundamental misunderstanding (if not complete ignorance) regarding what Christians believe about the Incarnation and Hypostatic Union of Christ. Even a basic understanding of these concepts would make most of these questions irrelevant. Here’s how I’d answer these in a real life situation (in fact, I have answered some of these like this—the questions are in bold):

IF JESUS IS GOD

Why is he called the “firstborn” of all creation? Col. 1:15, Rev.3:14

He’s preeminent. That’s the point Paul is making in Colossians. He says so explicitly. And “firstborn” need not refer to some kind of creation order. Manasseh was “firstborn” physically while Ephraim was second (Gen. 41:51-52) and yet Ephraim is called “firstborn” as a title of preeminence (Jer. 31:9). The passage in Revelation calls Jesus the αρχη of the creation of God. This can, and I believe does, refer to Jesus’ role as the source of creation. This of course aligns nicely with Colossians 1:15-18.

Why did he say that he did not come of his “own initiative” but was sent? John 8:42, 1 John 4:9

Because he was. How does the Son being sent by the Father in any way detract from the deity of the Son? Is there an argument to be made that a divine person cannot be sent? If so then that argument needs to be made; not assumed beforehand.

Why did Jesus not know the “day and the hour” of the Great Tribulation but God did? Matt. 24:36

As Philippians 2:7-8 tells us, the Son humbled himself and took all that came with this self-humiliation. It’s no great shock for the Incarnate Son to not know something or to exhibit any other limitation that is part and parcel of being human (save sin).

Who did Jesus speak to in prayer?

His Father.

How did he “appear before the person of God for us”? Heb. 9.24

By dying, rising, and ascending.

Why did Jesus say “the Father is greater than I am”? John 14:28, Php. 2:5, 6

Because in a certain sense (i.e., paternally) the Father is greater than the Son. The Father sends while the Son is sent; Jesus is speaking of returning to the Father who sent him. To make this some kind of ontological issue is to read something into the text that isn’t there.

Who spoke to Jesus at the time of his baptism saying “this is my son”? Matt. 3:17

His Father.

How could he be exalted to a superior position? Php. 2:9, 10

Because he willingly humbled himself prior to this exaltation (Phil. 2:7-8).

How can he be the “mediator between God and man”? 1Tim. 2:5

How can’t he be? As both God and man he seems especially suited for the position, doesn’t he?

Why did Paul say the “the head of Christ is God”? lCor. 11:30

Because it’s true. The question to ask is in what sense is God the head of Christ? Certainly not in the sense that he’s a superior being or that he created the Son.

Why did Jesus “hand over the Kingdom to his God” and “subject himself to God”? 1 Cor. 15:24, 28

Because he had put all enemies under his feet (1 Cor. 15:25-26).

Who does he refer to as “my God and your God”? John 20:17

His Father.

How does he sit at God’s right hand? Ps. 110:1, Heb. 10:12, 13

On a throne (Rev. 22:3).

Why does John say “no man has seen God at any time”? John 1:18

Because he’s referring to the Father (cf. John 6:46; 1 John 4:12). Plenty of folks have seen God (Gen. 18; 32:30; Exod. 24:10-11; Jdgs. 13:22).

Why did not people die when they saw Jesus? Ex. 30:20

Probably for the same reason they didn’t die when they saw God (see above). Or, perhaps because Jesus was clothed in humility. The Word became flesh (John 1:14).

How was Jesus dead and God alive at the same time? Acts 2:24

I hear the assumption of “soul sleep” in this question. I think for it to carry weight that assumption would need to be argued. Death is not ceasing to exist, so I can’t quite see the force of the question.

Why did he need someone to save him? Heb. 5:7

Where do we read anything about a “need” in Hebrews 5:7? And if there was such a “need” (i.e., to be saved from death) then what of it? Haven’t we already seen that the assumption of humanity came with certain limitations?

Who is reffered to prophetically at Prov. 8:22-31?

Wisdom is a literary personification of a divine attribute (see Hurtado, Lee, McDonough, et al.) so I suppose God is referred to, but not prophetically, however that’s being used in this question.

Why did Jesus say “that all authority has been GIVEN to me in heaven and on earth”? Matt. 28.18, Dan. 7:13, 14 (similar)

Because it was.

Why did he have godly fear? Heb. 5:7

Because good sons reverence their fathers.

How could he learn obedience and be made perfect? Heb. 5:8-9

Through suffering.

Why would an angel be able to strengthen him or angels minister to him? Luke 22:43, Matt. 4:11

Because he was truly human.

Why would Satan try to tempt him if he KNEW that he was GOD? Matt. 4:1-11

Because Satan is a deceiver and deceived himself into thinking that he could possibly win.

Jesus when sent to the earth was made to “be Lower” than the angels. Heb. 2:7. How could any part of a God Head EVER be lower than the angels?

God is simple so Jesus is not a “part of a God Head” (not quite sure what they mean by that exactly) but he can be “made lower” by becoming incarnate taking on the form of a servant (John 1:14; Phil. 2:6-7)

Then if Jesus was the sameas God, who was he being tempted to rebel against? could God be tempted to rebel against himself? Matt. 4:1

This question assumes modalism. The Son can be tempted to sin against the Father.

Near the end of his earthly life, Jesus cried out “My God, why have you forsaken me?” Matt. 27:46 Can God desert or forsake himself?

Nope. And he didn’t. Read the whole Psalm Jesus alluded to. In the end we learn that he wasn’t forsaken.

Heb. 5:8 says that Jesus learned obedience! To whom would he obey if he was GOD? And Does God need to LEARN anything?

His Father, and the Incarnate God does, since the Incarnate God has united deity and humanity in his person.

God’s justice is strickly perfect. Ex. 21:23-25 for example. The ransom price was one perfect human for another. An imperfect man’s life would be too low. Ps. 49:7 If Jesus was the same as God, the ransom price paid by a God would have been too high. Adam was a perfect MAN and the ransome price was a perfect MAN, not higher nor lower.

Was there a question in there?

B”H

Basil of Caesarea, Against Eunomius

AE.pngBasil of Caesarea

Against Eunomius

Translated by Mark DelCogliano and Andrew Radde-Gallwitz

The Fathers of the Church 122

Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2011.

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Students of Patristic theology and more specifically fourth-century Trinitarian theology are well aware of just how important a figure Basil of Caesarea was. Aside from being one of the great Cappadocians, he is arguably the most important of the three, since his influence can be seen in the writings of his younger brother Gregory of Nyssa and to a lesser (but still noticeable) extent Gregory of Nazianzus. These same students will also, undoubtedly, be familiar with Gregory of Nyssa’s Against Eunomius, which has been available in English translation for more than 100 years, but it’s much less likely that they’ll be familiar with Basil’s Against Eunomius unless they’ve had access to (and the ability to read) the Greek text.

Thankfully, Mark DelCogliano and Andrew Radde-Gallwitz have translated Basil’s Against Eunomius into English for the interested student. The volume under review is relatively slim coming in at just over 200 pages (207 plus front matter to be exact). 75 of those pages (3-78) consist of an excellent introduction that details the significance of this work (both the original and this particular translation), a biographical overview of Basil’s life, the historical context of the writing, as well as its polemical and theological content, an inquiry into Basil’s sources, an extremely helpful and well produced glossary of technical vocabulary, and finally a note on the authors’ text and translation. DelCogliano and Radde-Gallwitz went above and beyond the call of duty in this introduction.

Basil’s work itself is divided into 3 books that span 115 pages. The Father is the focus of book 1 while the Son and Spirit are the focus of books 2 and 3 respectively. We’re all familiar with the term “gross insubordination,” right? Well Basil’s goal was to refute the gross subordination(ism) of Eunomius and his followers, especially with regard to viewing the Son and Spirit as creatures. In Eunomius we have someone who epitomized Arian theology and carried it to its logical end. He refused to make the concessions that Arius himself did, or that later semi-Arians would, and he denied that the Father, Son, and Spirit were even alike in substance let alone shared in the same substance.

He also had a very rudimentary understanding of divine simplicity, which Basil painstakingly refuted by appealing to apophatic theology, although elsewhere Radde-Gallwitz has suggested that Basil wasn’t as concerned with the via negativa as is commonly supposed, but rather he was “devoted to preserving the coherence and consistency of the myriad positive affirmations of Christian scripture and worship, while nonetheless acknowledging the ultimate incomprehensibility of God.”1 For Basil we can know what God has revealed about himself but no more. God has not revealed all of himself so there will always be mystery. For Eunomius, God is simple, plain and simple, therefore we can know all there is to know. We can know God in his energies and his essence, to borrow later Palamite terminology.

The translators refer to Basil as exhibiting “epistemic humility,” an apt description if ever there was one. But they’re also correct to point out (as Radde-Gallwitz does elsewhere with regard to Gregory of Nyssa2]) that these debates were as much about the manner of knowing as they were knowing itself; before the doctrinal matters can be debated the epistemological and methodological issues need to be settled. Basil settles on saying that rather than chasing after curiosity about God’s unknowable substance we should simply follow the instruction to believe that God exists (AE 1.14).

A word about the translation itself is in order. As this is the first English translation of this work there is nothing to compare it to, at least not in terms of this writing itself, but when compared to the other works of Basil’s translated into English in, e.g., the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers second series, we can see an obvious updating in language. One needn’t be conversant in the King’s English in order to benefit from reading this translation. It is also unfortunate that I don’t have access to the Greek text in order to check samples (not that my analysis would be of much use anyway). Knowing what I know of Radde-Gallwitz’s work I’m confident that the translation he and DelCogliano have produced is accurate. They say:

In our translation we have aimed to satisfy two distinct audiences at opposite ends of the reading spectrum. The first is the reader without knowledge of Greek who reads our translation without recourse to the original. The second is the reader who knows Greek and reads our translation while constantly comparing it to the original. For our first reader, we strived to produce English prose that is understandable, idiomatic, and felicitous. We have added explanatory footnotes to help when Basil is murky. For our second reader, we endeavored not to stray into paraphrase so that the words and phrases of our translation could be matched with the Greek on which they are based. Even though our second reader may not always agree with our choices, we believe that he or she will understand them. We hope that the combination of these principles satisfies readers at both ends of the spectrum as well as the majority who fall somewhere between these two extremes. (77-78)

As a reader who falls into the first category I can say that I am extremely satisfied. And besides the translation itself, I also enjoy the in-text Scriptural references that line the pages of Basil’s treatise and are helpfully indexed in the back of the volume (205-07) along with a general index (199-204). This book would be a welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in (a) Patristic theology, (b) Trinitarian theology, or (c) heresiology.

B”H


1 Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, Basil of Caesarea, Gregory of Nyssa, and the Transformation of Divine Simplicity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), vii. I’m not convinced that this is an either/or proposition; I think that his characterization is both correct and incomplete. Yes, Basil is concerned with positive affirmations for the reasons that Radde-Gallwitz states, but he also hesitates to go beyond revelation and say more than God has said, which is the heart of apophaticism.

2 See Andrew Radde-Gallwitz, “Ad Eustathium de sancta trinitate” in Gregory of Nyssa: The Minor Treatises on Trinitarian Theology and Apollinarism (eds. Volker Henning Drecoll and Margitta Berghaus; VCSup 106; Leiden Brill, 2011), 89-109.

Perry’s a Politician, What Did You Expect?

Just read an article about a Baptist pastor named Robert Jeffress introducing Texas Governor Rick Perry at some kind of campaign event the other night. Apparently, Pastor Jeffress gave an interview after the event and said that Mitt Romney is a Mormon and not a Christian. Most Christians would agree. Not Gov. Perry though. He has to disagree with statements like that in public because Mormons vote. I wonder if he’d deny it among friends whose votes he already knew were secured.

B”H