This Week in AG History — May 29, 1937 By Ruthie Edgerly Oberg Originally published on AG News, 28 May 2020 If you attended meetings in the years of the early Pentecostal movement, you might remember a summer church event that included sawdust floors, crude benches, tents, and open tabernacles. Those early tents and brush […]
A neglected topic taken up by Bossuet in his Elevations on the Mysteries:
When God wanted to give Moses the law on Mount Sinai, we read four important things. He descended to the sound of thunder and trumpets. The whole mountain seemed on fire, and one could see a flame break out in a cloud of smoke. God engraved the Decalogue on two stone tablets. He pronounced the other articles of the law in an intelligible voice, which was heard by all the people.
To publish the Gospel law, he renewed these four things, but in a much more excellent way. The work began with a great noise: but it was neither the violence of thunder, nor the sound of trumpets, as we hear in a fight; the noise which God sent was like that of an impetuous wind, which represented the Holy Spirit; and who, without being terrible or threatening, filled the whole house, and called all of Jerusalem to the beautiful spectacle which God was going to give them. We saw a fire, but pure and smoke-free, which did not appear from afar to frighten the disciples, but whose innocent flame, without burning them or singeing their hair, rested on their heads. This fire penetrated inside, and by this means the law of the Gospel was gently imprinted, not in insensible stones, but in a heart composed of flesh, and softened by grace. There was a word, which multiplied admirably. In place on Mount Sinai God spoke one language, and one people; in the evangelical publication which was to bring together in one all the peoples of the universe in the faith of Jesus Christ and the knowledge of God, in a single speech we heard all languages, and each people heard their own. So Jesus established his law much differently than Moses. Let us believe, hope, love, and the law will be in our hearts. Let us prepare inner ears for him, simple attention, a gentle fear which ends in love.
The giving of the law as a “figure” of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is something that has gotten neglected as the practice of type/antitype has gone out of fashion in Christian circles. It should not: such a hermeneutic shows that the Old Testament and the sacred history of the Jews was the preparation for the coming of Jesus Christ.
This Week in AG History — May 23, 1954 By Darrin J. Rodgers Originally published on AG News, 21 May 2020 Could there be a task that is more important or more daunting than the evangelization of the world? James Stewart, in a 1954 Pentecostal Evangel article, challenged readers to creatively and proactively fulfill the […]
This is the first of a series on sacred hymns, the story behind them, their text, a recording, and a simple companion devotional. “Many a man who has labored in obscure places, practically unnoticed and un-praised by his own generation, has achieved a fame after his death that grows in magnitude with the passing years,”…
Recently I wrote a post for another of my blogs entitled Do We Need a New Math to Understand Physics? where I discussed yet another article I linked to, Does Time Really Flow? New Clues Come From a Century-Old Approach to Math. It’s probably too technical for most readers of this blog, although seeing Tolkien cited in a scientific/engineering publication is not to be missed.
In the common parlance we’re used to speaking of mathematically-stated laws that govern what happens physically in the universe. I think a model-prototype concept is better. Whether the physical phenomena “know” about these laws is debatable; whether they obey them is not unless the “law” is disproven or a special case added. What this signifies is that we have modelled the physical phenomena successfully and in the meanwhile enhanced our understanding of what is going on, which in turn is the promise of future progress.
In theology a model-prototype concept has been around a long time. The difference between theology and mathematics is in the priority. With mathematics we have physical phenomena which we model using mathematics. In theology we have a living model (God) who creates the prototype (the material world.) This sort of “type-antitype” is well rooted both in the Fathers and in the Scriptures themselves. Evangelical hyperliteralism is the order of the day now–so much so the atheists use it–but the church will regret adopting it before it’s over with.
In the past I have used the model-prototype construct to make an analogy between theology and mathematics, which I do at length in My Lord and My God. The purpose of this work is to show that the idea of that analogy can be used to show that the reason why the post-Nicene I church set subordinationism in the Trinity aside is due to weaknesses in Greek theology, weaknesses that mathematics can address. It can also be used to refute really poor, God-dishonouring theology such as the Sydney Anglicans set forth.
The divergence between the divine model and the material prototype has been understood in theology for a long time. It’s embodied in the difference between created and uncreated beings. The main implication of that is that, although the model and prototype are certainly related, the material world is definitely a “step down” from the spiritual/divine one. In the discussion of mathematics and quantum physics, the difference between continuum mathematics and discrete quantum mechanics is at the heart of the discussion. The question now is whether we change our mathematics to suit the physical world or build on what we have to describe it, understanding the differences.
That too has a theological analogy. TBH if there’s one thing that’s gone AWOL in the last half century or more, it’s the ability of the theological world to think abstractly. Much of what passes for theology today–from the modern and post-modern musings of the left to the “waist-down” religion of the right–shows a deeply carnal mentality. It’s one reason why, like my Anglican deacon and friend Bruce Hilbert (whose home was destroyed in the recent tornado here,) I’m glad I took the technical route rather than the seminary one. Unfortunately the technical fortress is likewise facing being breached, a conflict upon which the future of scientific advance hangs.
On the other hand, the discrete nature of quantum mechanics once again brings up the whole issue of how deterministic the universe really is, which certainly does have important theological implications.
But I digress…theology these days deserves better than what passes for it, but improvement is easier said than done.
When he took the Profession of Faith, I’m sure that Gavin thought he had crossed the river and “swam the Tiber.” But when he was interviewed by EWTN, he went #straightouttairondale and crossed the Rubicon; from that there’s really no turning back.
I regret my foolish and ill-considered remarks about masks and mask wearing on Twitter on Tuesday, May 14. Masks are clearly indicated in many situations. I used over-heated rhetoric and false analogies. It was wrong for me to impugn the intentions and motives of others, for which I apologize.
As a World War I buff, I was honestly gobsmacked by this. The Germans first used poison gas at Bolimow on the Russians; it didn’t work out very well because it was winter and the gas mostly froze. The Germans got better with it, as did the Allies, although on Western Front the Allies had the upper hand because the Germans were on the wrong end of the prevailing winds. Soldiers on both sides had good reason to wear gas masks.
World War I was an especially nasty business, but until armies broke under the strain the men who fought were courageous. Their courage and devotion to duty in the face of an awful situation inspired J.R.R. Tolkien in his portrayal of the hobbits heading to Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings. Reno’s “over the top” comments (another World War I expression) deserved the gas attack they got on Twitter, which led him to can his account.
As an aside: trad Catholics should celebrate these people too, the Catholic soldiers of France, Italy and Austria celebrated Mass under difficult conditions ad orientem.
This Week in AG History — May 13, 1950 By Glenn W. Gohr Originally published on AG News, 14 May 2020 Did you know that the Assemblies of God owned two passenger planes just after World War II that carried Assemblies of God missionaries overseas? Following World War II, commercial flights were not readily available, […]
The Episcopal Church approaches these decisions with great care and bases changes in our practices on solid, scientific data.
I never thought the Episcopal Church was particularly “scientific.” In fact, looking in the rear-view mirror one thing that may have alienated me and others in my family from the church is their distinctly aesthetic emphasis, an emphasis which minimised the importance of the “hard facts.” That’s true of our elites in general, even those which never darken the door of the Episcopal or any other church: they’re basically unscientific by training and temperament, and parading that they “believe in science” is only proof that their idea of escaping this ignorance is turning science into a religion.
It gets worse: the science of COVID-19 is a poorly-understood moving target, one that has befuddled expert and amateur (and everyone else in between) alike. When we’re on the frontiers of scientific knowledge, that’s the way it is. It’s hard to make public policy or private decisions based on that moving target; the day when we can say we have overall “solid science” on this topic is in the future.
Given what we do know and Bethesda’s superannuated demographics (something they share with the Episcopal Church in general and their Diocese in particular) caution is certainly warranted. (The fact that their Rector attended the COVID-19 “ground zero” for the denomination isn’t comforting either.) And their online program is definitely above average. But to claim solid science for this may sound good but doesn’t conform to the “hard facts” of the situation, not yet at least.
P.S. I also noted the quote from the contract on the Episcopalians in their masthead.