American Theological Inquiry, Volume Two, Issue One
190 Pages

American Theological Inquiry, Volume Two, Issue One



American Theological Inquiry (ATI) was formed in 2007 by Drs. S. Gannon Murphy (PhD, St. David's College, Univ. Wales, Theology; Presbyterian/Reformed) and Stephen Patrick (PhD, Univ. Illinois, Philosophy; Eastern Orthodox) to open up space for diverse Christian academicians, who affirm the Ecumenical Creeds, to share research throughout the broader Christian scholarly community in America.
ATI reaches thousands of Christian scholars throughout the United States, particularly specialists in theology. Though ATI is a new journal, scholars who publish with ATI benefit from exposure to a vast, non-insular network of one of the broadest Christian academic communities possible.



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A Biannual Journal
Theology, Culture & History

ISBN: 978-1-60608-459-5 (Print)
ISSN: 1941-7624 (Online)

5729 France Avenue South
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55410

General Editor
Gannon Murphy, PhD

Associate Editor
Stephen Patrick, PhD

Book Reviews Editor
Ken Deusterman, MA

American Theological Inquiry (ATI) was formed in 2007 by Drs. Gannon Murphy (PhD,
Univ. Wales, Lampeter, Theology; Reformed) and Stephen Patrick (PhD, Univ. Illinois,
Philosophy; Eastern Orthodox) to open up space for diverse Christian academicians, who
affirm the Ecumenical Creeds, to contribute research throughout the broader Christian
scholarly community in America and Western culture broadly.
To provide an inter-tradition forum for scholars who affirm the historic Ecumenical Creeds
of Christendom to constructively communicate contemporary theologies, developments,
ideas, commentaries, and insights pertaining to theology, culture, and history toward
reforming and elevating Western Christianity. ATI seeks a critical function as much or more
so as a quasi-ecumenical one. The purpose is not to erase or weaken the distinctives of the
various ecclesial traditions, but to widen the dialogue and increase inter-tradition
understanding while mutually affirming Christ’s power to transform culture and the
importance of strengthening Western Christianity with special reference to Her historic
Distribution. ATI is distributed to over 4600 Christian scholars, clergy, students, and
others, primarily in the U.S. and U.K. The journal is distributed via email to subscribers free
of charge in a PDF format, or, for purchase in a print and bound edition through Wipf and
Stock Publishers.
Orders. To order a print copy of ATI, contact Wipf and Stock through one of the following

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Email: orders [at] wipfandstock [dot] com
Fax: 541-344-1506
Phone: 541-344-1528
Subscriptions, cancellations, and changes of address. To be added or removed from
ATI’s distribution list, or to make a change to your email address, send a request to
subscriptions [at] atijournal [dot] org. Each issue of ATI is also available in a PDF format
Manuscript submissions and communications should be addressed to the General
Editor. Emailed submissions are acceptable (gmurphy [at] atijournal [dot] org). ATI is open
to diverse submissions concerning theology, culture, and history from the perspective of
historic, creedal Christianity. Particular topics of interest, however, generally include:
• Biblical, philosophical, historical, and systematic theology.
• Engagement with the Patristical literature.
• Theological, cultural, philosophical, ecclesial trends in the Western world.
• Perspectives on history/historical events from an orthodox viewpoint.
• Cultural/philosophical apologetics.
• Ecumenism and/or criticism of other traditions within the scope of orthodoxy (creedal
Book reviews should be submitted to: bookreviews [at] atijournal [dot] org
Requirements. Submissions should conform to the following standards:
1. Include your full name, title and/or affiliation, and a brief (i.e., one sentence) statement
affirming the Ecumenical Creeds of Christendom (Apostles’, Athanasian,
NicænoConstantinopolitan, Chalcedonian). Exceptions are permissible with reference to the
filioque clauses and Athanasian anathemas.
2. The work has not been submitted elsewhere, or, permissory documentation is provided
by the previous publisher indicating approval for publication in ATI.
5. Submit MSS or book reviews in a Microsoft Word, RTF, or text format.

Volume 2, No. 1., January 15, 2009
Copyright © American Theological Inquiry, All Rights Reserved
Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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Studies 1n l~ rinit arian T heology
Themes, Patterns & fap lora d ons
Rod ericl; T. Leu/JP
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Newcomers will be us hered into the o ngo ing discus
sion. while seasoned part icipants will bcnc6 t from the
co n.ncc tio ns he draws ."
- Randy L. Maddox, Duke Divinity Schoo l
The Perso n and Life of C h rist
Thomas P. Torra,:ce, edited by Robert T. Walker
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Incarnation f"ull class ical doc t rine o f" the uni versa l chu rch o n the
perso n and work of C hrist . ... A wonderf ul legacy from
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Proposed Title
Radical Religion: Christianity and Contemporary Scholarship
Dr. Ryan McIlhenny, PhD
Assistant Professor of History
Providence Christian College
Chapter Submissions
Seeking submissions from liberal arts scholars on issues related to new and even radical ways
of re-conceptualizing Christian doctrine and practice in higher education. The goal is to offer
an honest and constructive critique of the epistemological narrowness of modernism in the
author’s chosen discipline and, more specifically, to appreciate the ways in which the
postmodern condition, broadly understood, has aided in ushering in a kind of revival of
Christian theology. On a related note, the editor is interested in those who employ
nontraditional methods and concepts as they argue for traditional beliefs. If enough papers are
submitted that fit with the intent of the project, the editor will then solicit the proposal to a
select number of publishers. Papers that are completed or have been published elsewhere,
therefore, will expedite the process. Submissions are restricted to professional academics
(e.g., university and college professors, PhD holders, and ABD graduate students) who are
professing Christians.
For those interested please send a 200-300 word abstract and CV to Dr. Ryan McIlhenny at

January 15, 2009
Volume 2, No. 1.

Homily On Ephesians, I:11-14
St. John Chrysostom
Craig Baron
Charles Natoli
Stephen Nichols
Daniel Hyde
Lester Ruth
J. Lyle Story
Todd Bindig
133 Philippe Sellier. Port-Royal et la literature, Vol. II.
Charles Natoli
John R. Muether. Cornelius Van Til: Reformed Apologist and Churchman. 136
Ryan McIlhenny

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140 Bryan Spinks (ed.). The Place of Christ in Liturgical Prayer: Trinity, Christology,
and Liturgical Theology.
James R. A. Merrick
141 Edwin Christiaan van Driel. Incarnation Anyway: Arguments for Supralapsarian
Myk Habets
146 Charles Natoli. Fire in the Dark: Essays on Pascal’s Pensées and Provinciales.
Trent Dougherty
148 Karl Barth; Kurt Johanson (ed.); Christopher Asprey (trans). The Word in This
World: Two Sermons by Karl Barth.
Benjamin Myers
149 Timothy George (ed). God the Holy Trinity: Reflections on Christian Faith and
Benjamin Myers
151 Christopher Hitchens; Douglas Wilson. Is Christianity Good for the World?
Ian Clary
153 D. A. Carson. Becoming Conversant With The Emerging Church: Understanding a
Movement and Its Implications.
Tim Challies
156 Stephen Nichols. Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to
The Passion of the Christ.
Tim Challies
157 David Wells. The Courage To Be Protestant: Truth-lovers, Marketers, and Emergents
in the Postmodern World.
Tim Challies
159 Thomas Fowler; Daniel Kuebler. The Evolution Controversy: A Survey of
Competing Theories.
Tim Challies

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the future of love
ISBN 13: 978-1-60608-162-4 | 404 pp. | $44 | paper
“e risk he takes, the range of problems he engages,
the imaginative power of his mind, the sheer energy
that pulses through these essays make this book
essential for anyone who would understand the
phenomenon—the gift—that bears the name John
Duke University
“is is a marvellous collection of well-organized
essays by perhaps the most thought-provoking
theologian of the moment. ey display an
impressive range, are full of surprises, and are
elegantly and engagingly written. ey will confirm
John Milbank’s reputation as one of the most
accomplished and singular of theologians currently
Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven
“ese essays, published over thirty years and
gathered in this important new book, demonstrate
the consistent acuity and imaginative power of John
Milbank’s politico-theological vision. Milbank
bestrides the Anglosaxon theological world with a
project that is uniquely embedded in the romantic,
anglocatholic, and socialist critiques of modernity
from Coleridge to Ruskin. In this book we see the
gradual repristination of these critiques against
atheism, humanism, and neoliberalism, and the
unfolding of a political theology after the secular in
the form of a biblical and realist metaphysic and the
neoplatonist sublime. e Future of Love is a powerful
rendering of a truer and more virtuous life world than
that delivered by the last thirty years of godforsaken
market capitalism.”
University of Edinburgh
ORDER BY PHONE (541) 344-1528,CASCADE Books FAX (541) 344-1506,
The Politics of Christian Mission
ISBN 13: 978-1-60608-199-0 | 222 pp. | $28 | paper
“A rare gift—a critic from whom you learn.
ough I do not agree with all of his criticisms of
my work, Kerr—drawing imaginatively and
creatively on the work of Troeltsch and
Barth—has rightly framed the questions central to
my and Yoder’s project. We are in his debt for
having done so. In this book, Kerr not only
establishes himself as one of the most able readers
of my and Yoder’s work, but he is clearly a
theologian in his own right. We will have much to
learn from him in the future.”
Duke Divinity School
“is is a timely book that traverses twentieth
century theology to develop a distinctive
understanding of church engagement with the
world. Finely executed and acutely discerning, it
opens up an ecclesiology that is neither culturally
accommodating nor counter-cultural. Conceiving
the church as fundamentally dispossessive and
missionary, Kerr announces a genuinely
apocalyptic Christian politics. is is excellent
theology for the up and coming generation.”
University of Manchester
“is is a really exciting book: engaging,
provocative, and—above all—constructive. Kerr
seeks to reaffirm the Christian claim that Jesus
Christ is the Lord of history in the face of
modernity’s attempts to subsume Christ into our
history. In spite of the complexity of its material,
this fascinating book is so remarkably clear
throughout that I found it hard to put down. It
should not be ignored.”
St. John’s University
ORDER BY PHONE (541) 344-1528,CASCADE Books FAX (541) 344-1506,
A division of WIPF and STOCK Publishers OR E-MAIL ORDERS@WIPFANDSTOCK.COMAmerican Theological Inquiry

“The world is my idea.” Or so the saying goes, made famous by the eminent Doctor of
Grumpiness, Arthur Schopenhauer. From an historic Christian standpoint, Schopenhauer is
at least a third right. The world is an idea. But it is neither Schopenhauer’s, nor is it merely
an idea. Christian tradition teaches us that the world is a living idea, borne of the mind of
God. It is God’s idea that “from one blood every nation of men [dwells] on all the face of
the earth, and [have] determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their
dwellings” (Acts 17:26, NKJV). This is the living idea which we all inhabit—no less a reality
for being an idea. Surely quite the opposite. That it is God’s idea changes everything. We’re
now presented with the mysterious reality of an idea which we strain to penetrate.
What do we learn from our many books? Reading them, re-reading them, making them?
We cannot avoid systematization. So be it. We cannot seem to disconstitute ourselves such
that we (pace Averroes) can come to a place where we embrace in our hearts that which the
powers of our intellect impel us to explode. That is, unless madness to you is a comfortable
wool suit.
Paradox, mystery, obscurity—yes; antinomy, contradiction, unqualified antipode, the
mutually exclusive—no. This might make it seem, contra Paul, that we do not consciously
cede how dark a glass it is indeed through which we peer. But this is one thing we actually
know with great surety. I must confess to having reached a point where I am all too ready to
engage in the systematic quest for all manner of things reasonably quantifiable and
philosophically either/or. But I must also admit my own unvarnished failure of the
imagination beneath the frightful weight of the mystery of experience. To put it succinctly,
barring a personal modus vivendi of faith continually seeking understanding, I haven’t got a
clue how to live. It seems to me that all theists should suffer a similar sort of doxastic
myopia and share in the collective bafflement of how anyone should live “under the sun,” as
Qoheleth regularly puts it, carrying merrily on without a fig of care for the Deity. Life is a
choice, it seems, between outer darkness and the frightful light of mystery.
Our goal at ATI continues to be to provide a cross-tradition forum through which the
great mystery of the Christian Hope might shine ever brighter. Beyond endless, flaccid
theoria—absent the nepsis and praxis of our oft-forgotten patristic exemplars—we seek a
Christian reflection of Hope amidst the pivotal issues of our time that is at once calculatedly
informative, watchful, practical, transforming. Providing a philosophic critique of the
2contemporary cultural milieu or of the growing tide of secularist, nay pagan , thinking with

1 Gannon Murphy, PhD, is General Editor of American Theological Inquiry and the author of
Consuming Glory: A Classical Defense of Divine-Human Relationality Against Open Theism
(Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2006).
2 Recent surveys indicate that as many as 64% of Americans not only believe in aliens, but believe
they have contacted (or abducted) us earthlings—and continue to do so at will. About as many believe
that our principal hope for future “salvation” may lie only within the province of NASA and its lofty
technological powers to create for us distant, habitable, planetary land with a manmade atmosphere. If
these aren’t examples of a rampant and deeply-entrenched pagan mythology, then nothing else in

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American Theological Inquiry

its attendant (and often militant) philosophical materialism and pantheon of new age
mythologies can only go so far. We must also be able to integrate the undying, timeless
insights of the historic Christian faith into our daily lives to help us navigate through the
increasingly stormy cultural sea on which we’re set.
We do well to cultivate in ourselves a fully lived-out triad of wisdom, integrity, and truth.
Throughout the course of this, our third issue, our contributors once again draw upon the
insights of some of the finest thinkers God has condescended to bless us with. These
thinkers hail from both past and present and from around the world, and—though they’re
certainly not the only sources of great wisdom—they form here a unified phalanx of shining
lights making clearer our paths toward the triadic paradigm with Hope as its center and telos.
Subsumed along this path is an eye to better understanding ourselves, our world, and the
purpose for which we are created—to know and love God, to glorify Him, to celebrate His
overflowing blessings with gladness (however easily this is missed amidst our growing
morass of cultural kitsch and demented gimcrack, all ready-packed for public consumption
in distracting, pretty boxes). Fie on that! I can hear Kierkegaard say. There is Hope to be
had. It is not the easy road. But it is the only one that provides a room, contra Sartre, with
an Exit.
3 We are Pascal, we may well recall, regarded us as, “the glory and scum of the universe.”
glorious when we seek the veridical light of Hope, yet wretched at every instance we show
that Hope our defiant backsides. We first come to know Glory only when we reckon plainly
with our own unattractive misery. The quest for knowledge has a twofold root. One, the
root of despair and death, the other the root of Hope and life. Each must choose.
To that end, there is no better place to turn than with the following Patristical selection
from the eminent St. John Chrysostom. The glass through which Chrysostom himself
gazed, some 1600 years ago, seems uncannily less darkened than our own. While we marvel,
as Chrysostom did, at the “Many [who are] frequently raising edifices that glisten with pillars
and costly marbles…” we wonder Who this is, in the midst of our lofty schemes, that keeps
reminding us of the creeping emptiness that the best of our schemes and crafts cannot fill
up. And yet, indeed, it is the same One “who worketh all things.” More than a spot of
darkness fades in the looking glass if we can bring ourselves to embrace this particular

history qualifies. And if we are called by the Gospel to enjoin a certain perpendicularity of foolishness
against each present and passing zeitgeist (I Cor 1), this is going to a high and difficult charge indeed in
sta 21 century, demon-haunted land of space cooties.
3 Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 434.

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American Theological Inquiry

1St. John Chrysostom
In whom also we were made a heritage, having been foreordained according to the purpose
of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his will.
Paul earnestly endeavors on all occasions to display the unspeakable loving-kindness of
God towards us, to the utmost of his power. For that it is impossible to do so adequately,
hear his own words. “O! the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God;
how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past tracing out.” (Rom. xi. 33.) Still,
notwithstanding, so far as it is possible, he does display it. What then is this which he is
saying; “In whom also we were made a heritage, being predestinated?” Above he used the
word, “He chose us;” here he saith, “we were made a heritage.” But inasmuch as a lot is a
matter of chance, not of deliberate choice, nor of virtue, (for it is closely allied to ignorance
and accident, and oftentimes passing over the virtuous, brings forward the worthless into
notice,) observe how he corrects this very point: “having been foreordained,” saith he,
“according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things.” That is to say, not merely have
we been made a heritage, as, again, we have not merely been chosen, (for it is God who
chooses,) and so neither have we merely been allotted, (for it is God who allots,) but it is
“according to a purpose.” This is what he says also in the Epistle to the Romans, (Rom. viii.
28-30.) “To them that are called according to His purpose;” and “whom He called, them He
also justified, and whom He justified, them he also glorified.” Having first used the
expression, “to them that are called according to a purpose,” and at the same time wishing to
declare their privilege compared with the rest of mankind, he speaks also of inheritance by
lot, yet so as not to divest them of free will. That point then, which more properly belongs
to happy fortune, is the very point he insists upon. For this inheritance by lot depends not
on virtue, but, as one might say, on fortuitous circumstances. It is as though he had said, lots
were cast, and He hath chosen us; but the whole is of deliberate choice. Men predestinated,
that is to say, having chosen them to Himself, He hath separated. He saw us, as it were,
chosen by lot before we were born. For marvelous is the foreknowledge of God, and
acquainted with all things before their beginning.
But mark now how on all occasions he takes pains to point out, that it is not the result of
any change of purpose, but that these matters had been thus modeled from the very first, so
that we are in no wise inferior to the Jews in this respect; and how, in consequence, he does
everything with this view. How then is it that Christ Himself saith, “I was not sent, but unto
the lost sheep of the house of Israel?” (Mat. xv. 24.) And said again to his disciples, “Go not

1 St. John Chrysostom (c. 347–407) is one of the great Greek Fathers of the Church. After
studying the Greek classics in Antioch, he became an anchorite monk (374), a deacon (c. 381) and a
priest (386). For 12 years he indefatigably preached in the Antiochene cathedral during the reign of
Flavian. In 398, he was made patriarch of Constantinople, during which time he spoke out strenuously,
often at great personal risk, against the moral laxity of both the church hierarchy and royalty. St. John
died while in exile.

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American Theological Inquiry

into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans.” (Mat. x. 5.) And
Paul again himself says, “It was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to
you. Seeing ye thrust it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to
the Gentiles.” (Acts xiii. 46.) These expressions, I say, are used with this design, that no one
may suppose that this work came to pass incidentally only. “According to the purpose,” he
says, “of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His will.” That is to say, He had
no after workings; having modeled all things from the very first, thus he leads forward all
things “according to the counsel of His will.” So that it was not merely because the Jews did
not listen that He called the Gentiles, nor was it of mere necessity, nor was it on any
inducement arising from them.
Ver. 12, 13. “To the end that we should be unto the praise of His glory, we who had
before hoped in Christ. In whom ye also having heard the word of the truth, the Gospel of
your salvation.”
That is to say, through whom. Observe how he on all occasions speaks of Christ, as the
Author of all things, and in no case gives Him the title of a subordinate agent, or a minister.
And so again, elsewhere, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, he says, “that God, having of old
time spoken unto the Fathers in the prophets, hath at the end of these days spoken unto us
in His Son,” (Heb. i. 1.) that is “through” His Son.
“The word of truth,” he says, no longer that of the type, nor of the image.
“The Gospel of your salvation.” And well does he call it the Gospel of salvation,
intimating in the one word a contrast to the law, in the other, a contrast with punishment to
come. For what is the message, but the Gospel of salvation, which forbears to destroy those
that are worthy of destruction.
Ver. 14. “In whom having also believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
which is an earnest of our inheritance.”
Here again, the word “sealed,” is an indication of especial forecast. He does not speak of
our being predestinated only, nor of our being allotted, but further, of our being sealed. For
just as though one were to make those who should fall to his lot manifest, so also did God
separate them for believing, and sealed them for the allotment of the things to come.
You see how, in process of time, He makes them objects of wonder. So long as they
were in His foreknowledge, they were manifest to no one, but when they were sealed, they
became manifest, though not in the same way as we are; for they will be manifest except a
few. The Israelites also were sealed, but that was by circumcision, like the brutes and
reasonless creatures. We too are sealed, but it is as sons, “with the Spirit.”
But what is meant by, “with the Spirit of promise?” Doubtless it means that we have
received that Spirit according to promise. For there are two promises, the one by the
prophets, the other from the Son.
By the Prophets.—Hearken to the words of Joel; “I will pour out My spirit upon all
flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams,
your young men shall see visions,” (Joel ii. 28.) And hearken again to the words of Christ;

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American Theological Inquiry

“But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be my
witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of
the earth.” (Acts i. 8.) And truly, the Apostle means, He ought, as God, to have been
believed; however, he does not ground his affirmation upon this, but examines it like a case
where man is concerned, speaking much as he does in the Epistle to the Hebrews; (Heb. vi.
18.) where he says, “That by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie,
we may have a strong encouragement.” Thus here also he makes the things already bestowed
a sure token of the promise of those which are yet to come. For this reason he further calls it
an “earnest,” (Cf. also 2 Cor. i. 22.) for an earnest is a part of the whole. He hath purchased
what we are most concerned in, our salvation; and hath given us an earnest in the mean
while. Why then did He not give the whole at once? Because neither have we, on our part,
done the whole of our work. We have believed. This is a beginning; and He too on His part
hath given an earnest. When we show our faith by our works, then He will add the rest. Nay,
more, He hath given yet another pledge, His own blood, and hath promised another still. In
the same way as in case of war between nation and nation they give hostages: just so hath
God also given His Son as a pledge of peace and solemn treaties, and, further, the Holy
Spirit also which is from Him. For they, that are indeed partakers of the Spirit, know that He
is the earnest of our inheritance. Such an one was Paul, who already had here a foretaste of
the blessings there. And this is why he was so eager, and yearned to be released from things
below, and groaned within himself. He transferred his whole mind thither, and saw
everything with different eyes. Thou hast no part in the reality, and therefore failest to
understand the description. Were we all partakers of the Spirit, as we ought to be partakers,
then should we behold Heaven, and the order of things that is there.
It is an earnest, however, of what? Of Ver. 14. “The redemption of God’s own
For our absolute redemption takes place then. For now we have our life in the world, we
are liable to many human accidents, and are living amongst ungodly men. But our absolute
redemption will be then, when there shall be no sins, no human sufferings, when we shall
not be indiscriminately mixed with all kinds of people.
At present, however, there is but an earnest, because at present we are far distant from
these blessings. Yet is our citizenship not upon earth; even now we are out of the pale of the
things that are here below. Yes, we are sojourners even now.
Ver. 14. “Unto the praise of His glory.”
This he adds in immediate connection. And why? Because it would serve to give those
who heard it full assurance. Were it for our sake only, he means to say, that God did this,
there might be some room for misgiving. But if it be for His own sake, and in order to
display His goodness, he assigns, as a sort of witness, a reason why these things never
possibly could be otherwise. We find the same language everywhere applied to the case of
the Israelites. “Do Thou this for us for Thy Name’s sake;” (Ps. cix. 21.) and again, God
Himself said, “I do it for Mine own sake;” (Isa. xlviii. 11.) and so Moses, “Do it, if for
nothing else, yet for the glory of Thy Name.” This gives those who hear it full assurance; it

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relieves them to be told, that whatever He promises, for His own goodness’ sake He will
most surely perform.
Moral. Let not the hearing, however, make us too much at our ease; for although He
doth it for His own sake, yet notwithstanding He requires a duty on our part. If He says,
“Them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed,” (1
Sam. ii. 30.) let us reflect that there is that which He requires of us also. True, it is the praise
of His glory to save those that are enemies, but those who, after being made friends,
continue His friends. So that if they were to return back to their former state of enmity, all
were vain and to no purpose. There is not another Baptism, nor is there a second
reconciliation again, but “a certain fearful expectation of judgment which shall devour the
adversaries.” (Heb. x. 27.) If we intend at the same time to be always at enmity with Him and
yet to claim forgiveness at His hand, we shall never cease to be at enmity, and to be wanton,
to grow in depravity, and to be blind to the Sun of Righteousness which has risen. Dost thou
not see the ray that shall open thine eyes? Render them then good and sound and
quicksighted. He hath showed thee the true light; if thou shunnest it, and runnest back again
into the darkness, what shall be thy excuse? What sort of allowance shall be made for thee?
None from that moment. For this is a mark of unspeakable enmity. When indeed thou
knewest not God, then if thou wert at enmity with Him, thou hadst, be it how it might,
some excuse. But when thou hast tasted the goodness and the honey, if thou again
abandonest them, and turnest to thine own vomit, what else art thou doing but bringing
forward evidence of excessive hatred and contempt? `Nay,’ thou wilt say, `but I am
constrained to it by nature. I love Christ indeed, but I am constrained by nature.’ If thou art
under the power and force of constraint, thou wilt have allowance made; but if thou yield
from indolence, not for a moment.
Now then, come, let us examine this very question, whether sins are the effect of force
and constraint, or of indolence and great carelessness. The law says, “Thou shalt not kill.”
What sort of force, what sort of violence, is there here? Violence indeed must one use to
force himself to kill, for who amongst us would as a matter of choice plunge his sword into
the throat of his neighbor, and stain his hand with blood? Not one. Thou seest then that, on
the contrary, sin is more properly matter of violence and constraint. For God hath implanted
in our nature a charm, which binds us to love one another. “Every beast (it saith) loveth his
like, and every man loveth his neighbor.” (Ecclus. xiii. 15.) Seest thou that we have from our
nature seeds which tend to virtue; whereas those of vice are contrary to nature? and if these
latter predominate, this is but an evidence of our exceeding indolence.
Again, what is adultery? What sort of necessity is there to bring us to this? Doubtless, it
will be said, the tyranny of lust. But why, tell me, should this be? What, is it not in every
one’s power to have his own wife, and thus to put a stop to this tyranny? True, he will say,
but a sort of passion for my neighbor’s wife seizes hold on me. Here the question is no
longer one of necessity. Passion is no matter of necessity, no one loves of necessity, but of
deliberate choice and free will. Indulgence of nature, indeed, is perhaps matter of necessity,
but to love one woman rather than another is no matter of necessity. Nor is the point with
you natural desire, but vanity, and wantonness, and unbounded licentiousness. For which is
according to reason, that a man should have an espoused wife, and her the mother of his

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children, or one not acknowledged? Know ye not that it is intimacy that breeds attachment.
This, therefore, is not the fault of nature. Blame not natural desire. Natural desire was
bestowed with a view to marriage; it was given with a view to the procreation of children,
not with a view to adultery and corruption. The laws, too, know how to make allowance for
those sins which are of necessity,—or rather nothing is sin when it arises from necessity but
all sin rises from wantonness. God hath not so framed man’s nature as that he should have
any necessity to sin, since were this the case, there would be no such thing as punishment.
We ourselves exact no account of things done of necessity and by constraint, much less
would God, so full of mercy and loving-kindness.
Again, what is stealing? is it matter of necessity? Yes, a man will say, because poverty
causes this. Poverty, however, rather compels us to work, not to steal. Poverty, therefore,
has in fact the contrary effect. Theft is the effect of idleness; whereas poverty produces
usually not idleness, but a love of labor. So that this sin is the effect of indolence, as you may
learn from hence. Which, I ask, is the more difficult, the more distasteful, to wander about at
night without sleep, to break open houses, and walk about in the dark, and to have one’s life
in one’s hand, and to be always prepared for murder, and to be shivering and dead with fear;
or to be attending to one’s daily task, in full enjoyment of safety and security? This last is the
easier task; and it is because this is easier, that the majority practice it rather than the other.
Thou seest then that it is virtue which is according to nature, and vice which is against
nature, in the same way as disease and health are.
What, again, are falsehood and perjury? What necessity can they possibly imply? None
whatever, nor any compulsion; it is a matter to which we proceed voluntarily. We are
distrusted, it will be said. True, distrusted we are, because we choose it. For we might, if we
would, be trusted more upon our character, than upon our oath. Why, tell me, is it that we
do not trust some, no, not on their oath, whilst we deem others trustworthy even
independently of oaths. Seest thou that there is no need of oaths in any case? `When such an
one speaks,’ we say, `I believe him, even without any oath, but thee, no, not with thy oaths.’
Thus then an oath is unnecessary; and is in fact an evidence rather of distrust than of
confidence. For where a man is over ready to take his oath, he does not leave us to entertain
any great idea of his scrupulousness. So that the man who is most constant in his use of
oaths, has on no occasion any necessity for using one, and he who never uses one on any
occasion, has in himself the full benefit of its use. Someone says there is a necessity for an
oath, to produce confidence; but we see that they are the more readily trusted who abstain
from taking oaths.
But again, if one is a man of violence, is this a matter of necessity? Yes, he will say,
because his passion carries him away, and burns within him, and does not let the soul be at
rest. Man, to act with violence is not the effect of anger, but of littleness of mind. Were it the
effect of anger, all men, whenever they were angry, would never cease committing acts of
violence. We have anger given us, not that we may commit acts of violence on our
neighbors, but that we may correct those that are in sin, that we may bestir ourselves, that
we may not be sluggish. Anger is implanted in us as a sort of sting, to make us gnash with
our teeth against the devil, to make us vehement against him, not to set us in array against
each other. We have arms, not to make us at war amongst ourselves, but that we may

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employ our whole armor against the enemy. Art thou prone to anger? Be so against thine
own sins: chastise thy soul, scourge thy conscience, be a severe judge, and merciless in thy
sentence against thine own sins. This is the way to turn anger to account. It was for this that
God implanted it within us.
But again, is plunder a matter of necessity? No, in no wise. Tell me, what manner of
necessity is there to be grasping: what manner of compulsion? Poverty, a man will say,
causes it, and the fear of being without common necessaries. Now this is the very reason
why you ought not to be grasping. Wealth so gotten has no security in it. You are doing the
very same thing as a man would do, who, if he were asked why he laid the foundation of his
house in the sand, should say, he did it because of the frost and rain. Whereas this would be
the very reason why he should not lay it in the sand. They are the very foundations which
the rain, and blasts, and wind, most quickly overturn. So that if thou wouldest be wealthy,
never be rapacious; if thou wouldest transmit wealth to thy children, get righteous wealth, at
least, if any there be that is such.
Because this abides, and remains firm, whereas that which is not such, quickly wastes and
perishes. Tell me, hast thou a mind to be rich, and dost thou take the goods of others? Surely
this is not wealth: wealth consists in possessing what is thine own. He that is in possession
of the goods of others, never can be a wealthy man; since at that rate even your very silk
venders, who receive their goods as a consignment from others, would be the wealthiest and
the richest of men. Though for the time, indeed, it is theirs, still we do not call them wealthy.
And why forsooth? Because they are in possession of what belongs to others. For though
the piece itself happens to be theirs, still the money it is worth is not theirs. Nay, and even if
the money is in their hands, still this is not wealth. Now, if consignments thus given render
not men more wealthy because we so soon resign them, how can those which arise from
rapine render them wealthy? However, if at any rate thou desirest to be wealthy, (for the
matter is not one of necessity,) what greater good is it that thou wouldest fain enjoy? Is it a
longer life? Yet, surely men of this character quickly become short-lived. Oftentimes they
pay as the penalty of plunder and rapaciousness, an untimely death; and not only suffer as a
penalty the loss of the enjoyment of their gains, but go out of life having gained but little,
and hell to boot.
Oftentimes too they die of diseases, which are the fruits of self-indulgence, and of toil,
and of anxiety. Fain would I understand why it is that wealth is so eagerly pursued by
mankind. Why surely for this reason hath God set a limit and a boundary to our nature, that
we may have no need to go on seeking wealth beyond it. For instance He hath commanded
us, to clothe the body in one, or perhaps in two garments; and there is no need of any more
to cover us. Where is the good of ten thousand changes of raiment, and those moth-eaten?
The stomach has its appointed bound, and anything given beyond this, will of necessity
destroy the whole man. Where then is the use of your herds, and flocks, and cutting up of
flesh? We require but one roof to shelter us. Where then is the use of your vast
groundplots, and costly buildings? Dost thou strip the poor, that vultures and jackdaws may have
where to dwell?
And what a hell do not these things deserve? Many are frequently raising edifices that
glisten with pillars and costly marbles, in places which they never so much as saw. What

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scheme is there indeed that they have not adopted? Yet neither themselves reap the benefit,
nor anyone else. The desolateness does not allow them to get away thither; and yet not even
thus do they desist. You see that these things are not done for profit’s-sake, but in all these
cases folly, and absurdity, and vainglory, is the motive. And this, I beseech you to avoid, that
we may be enabled to avoid also every other evil, and may obtain those good things which
are promised to them that love Him, in our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom to the Father,
together with the Holy Ghost, be glory, strength, honor forever. Amen.

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