Thursday, September 18, 2014

Getting People More Interested In Church History

James White recently delivered a series of presentations on church history. I've only listened to the first one so far, but it's good, and I suspect the same is true of the others. The series would especially be good for those who don't know much about church history or don't have much interest in it. The first presentation addresses some of the reasons why we should be interested in the subject.


  1. RazorKiss has 50 mp3 messages by James White on church history here:

    I've also enjoyed Dr. David Calhoun's lectures on church history which can be accessed here:

    One just needs to click on "browse by speaker"

    He has two lecture series on,

    1. Ancient and Medieval Church History;

    2. Reformation and Modern Church History

    I recommend listening to Calhoun's lectures using a program that speeds up audio since he speaks rather slowly.

  2. Part 2 of Dr. White's lecture was very good also - about the Persecutions of the first 3 + centuries to the edict of Milan (313 AD) and the Donatist controversy; and then the subsequent results of Augustine writing against both Donatists (and for the catholic Church) and against the Pelagians on issues of grace, free will, election, salvation.

    Dr. White made the point that Augustine could not see the contradiction between his arguments against the Donatists (for the efficacy of sacraments and the church; which later was developed by Optatus in ex opere operato sacramentalism) vs. his arguments against the Pelagians. The Reformation seems to be about that tension. Dr. White quoted B. B. Warfield on that, "The Reformation, inwardly considered, was the triumph of Augustine's doctrine of grace over Augustine's doctrine of the Church."

    There is a sense in which the Donatists were right, and there is a sense in which they were wrong. (It seems. Roman Catholicism developed Augustine's doctrine of sacraments and church into something different and extreme in the subsequent centuries.)

    Augustine's justification of the use of force against them (the Donatist movement) seems to have made them entrenched in their reactions.

    Other scholars have pointed out that when the Vandals came and conquered North Africa that they brought with them Arian theology (from the missionary efforts of Ulfilas) (to the Goths, Visi-Goths and other barbarian tribs in Germany and other parts of Europe - Franks, etc.) One of the reasons why Islam so easily conquered Libya to Morocco to Spain was they had become Arian (denied the Deity of Christ) from 430 AD to 632 AD, so Islam was accepted easily because they were "another generation arose that did not know the LORD." (Judges) The Coptic (Egyptian) Church survived because they retained a strong doctrine of the Deity of Christ and the Trintiy, inherited from Athanasius and Cyril of Alexandria. But they developed Cyril of Alexandria's theology to extreme against Nestorianism and it became Miaphysitism ( Monophysitism = "one-nature" - that Jesus' human nature was absorbed into the one divine nature). Theodosius (380-392 AD), Justinian (Emperor 526-565 AD) and Heraclius (610-641 AD) and the use of force and troops against the Miaphysites in Egypt, Israel, Syria-Lebanon, Armenia, created resentment so that the Muslims could easily conquer them. Many church history texts repeat that "the Monophysite areas welcomed the Arab Muslims as liberators from their Byzantine oppressors" (trying to enforce the Chalcedonian Creed on them). But they (the Miaphysites/Monosphysites) did not realize that they were deceived by the Muslims.