Category: Theology

Jonathan Edwards: An Awakening of Heart and Mind, Part 1

A sense of God’s majesty combined with desire for deep spiritual intimacy characterizes one of America’s greatest evangelical thinkers.1 Known as the theologian of God’s sovereignty, Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) made enduring contributions in the fields of theology, philosophy, and the psychology of religion. A nurturing pastor, frontier missionary, and bold revivalist preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Edwards exemplifies…

Don’t Let Your Kids Major in Philosophy and Religion

My son, Michael, graduated from high school this year and is now formulating plans for college and his vocation. I recently told him that if he decided to become a Christian apologist, I would give him all of my choice Power Point presentations in such subjects as philosophy, logic, theology, and apologetics. His response was a polite, “No thanks, I…

Profound Problems with Religious Pluralism

Novelist Yann Martel’s book Life of Pi (now a major motion picture) embodies the popular notion that all religions are simultaneously true. The story’s young protagonist embraces aspects of multiple faiths (Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity), viewing these beliefs as equally valid but different paths to God. Unfortunately religious pluralism fails to appreciate the profound problems associated with it.

Contemporary Criticism of Augustine’s Thought, Part 10

While Augustine’s presentation and defense of classical Christian theism is strongly critiqued by some modern scholars (especially those who are skeptical and theologically liberal), his thinking continues to be embraced by many within Western Christendom. Two areas, in which Augustine is criticized even by sympathetic contemporary scholars, relate to his philosophical thinking and political power.

The Grace of God Closes In: St. Augustine, Part 5

There are six important apologetics-related factors that can be identified as paving the way for Augustine’s conversion to Christianity.1 Augustine would later credit the sovereign grace of God’s work behind the scenes of his life as the source of these factors. From these six aspects, we can draw a broad apologetics model for how God, through His grace, prepares people…

Worldly Ambition and Dissatisfaction: St. Augustine, Part 4

Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430) was a gifted rhetorician and after teaching in his hometown of Thagaste for some time, he opened a school in Carthage. But Carthage’s unruly students and a personal hope for greater success elsewhere soon motivated Augustine to leave for Rome. In moving to the Eternal City, Augustine believed that a man of his ability could…

Exploring Manichaeism: St. Augustine, Part 3

In his search for an alternative to catholic Christianity, Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430) turned to a religious sect known as Manichaeism, which promised to synthesize Christ’s “true” teachings with classical wisdom. The Manichees1 followed the teaching of Mani (AD 216–277), a Persian religious leader who was crucified for claiming to be the Paraclete and restorer of the true teaching…

Wayward Youth in a Pagan Empire: St. Augustine, Part 2

Named for two Roman Emperors, Aurelius Augustinus was born November 13 AD 354, in Thagaste, a small Roman province of Numidia in North Africa (present day Algeria). His family was what might be called a lower middle-class. His father, Patricius, was a small-landowner with pagan beliefs who seemed to care more about his son’s education than his character.

The Last and Greatest Church Father: St. Augustine, Part 1

During the past two millennia, Christianity has produced many prominent thinkers, but Augustine of Hippo (AD 354–430) could be considered the most influential outside of the New Testament. His significant impact, especially on Western Christianity, is tied directly to his profound work as a theologian, philosopher, apologist, and church bishop.