Church History, Lesson 16: The Council of Nicaea and an Imperial Christianity

Recap and Intro In 318 AD, Arius, a Libyan-born pastor influenced by Origen, began teaching that Jesus was a creation of God who, at one time, did not exist.  A deacon in Alexandria, Athanasius, became his primary opponent.  Soon, the Greek-speaking Christian world became engulfed in this quarrel. This disunity disturbed Constantine.  So, he convened […]

The Reformation, Five Centuries Later

By Pr. Rich Futrell One year passes and another begins, 500-hundred years’ worth since Luther tacked his 95 theses on Wittenberg’s wooden door.  Through those statements, he wanted a debate about indulgences shortening someone’s time in Purgatory.  Today, most don’t understand the fracas, which followed, fracturing Europe.  On both sides, Lutheran and Roman-Catholic, people put […]

The Parables of Jesus: Lesson 5: The Good Samaritan: Luke 10:25-37

  The Parable within Luke’s Gospel If we remember, we learned a chiasm is a rhetorical device where the author states an idea or ideas and then expresses them again in reverse order.  The central point of a chiasm is its central idea.     Within the flow of Luke, The Parable of the Good […]

Church History, Lesson 15: Christianity’s First Decade in Freedom

Recap and Intro In 311 AD, Emperor Galerius rescinded his persecution and allowed Christians to rebuild churches.  His edict ended the effort to rid the Roman Empire of Christians. From the time of Irenaeus, around 200 AD, to 1000 AD, Christianity was primarily a religion in Asia and North Africa.  Though in Italy, Gaul (France), […]

The Parables of Jesus: Lesson 4: Loss and Restoration in Luke 15

The Setting for the Three Parables Read Luke 15:1-2 Eating with Sinners Part of Exodus 18:1 reads: “the Lord had brought Israel out of Egypt.”  The Mekilta, Jewish scriptural interpretation, taught this for the verse: “Let no man associate with the wicked, not even to bring him close to the Law.” The Pharisees believed they […]

Church History, Lesson 14: The Rise of Monasticism

Recap and Intro When Valerian became Emperor in 257 AD, he began the first Empire-wide persecution of Christians.  Cyprian, the Bishop of Carthage, was sent into exile.  The next year, Valerian ordered all Christian clergy to be killed.  So, Cyprian was brought out of exile and beheaded in Carthage on the 14th of September. The […]

The Parables of Jesus: Lesson 3

Recap and Intro Last week we went over The Parable of the Sower.  Jesus explained the parable to His disciples: All the seed sown on three of the four soils eventually died.  However, “what was sown on good soil refers to the one who hears the word, accepts it, and produces a crop” (Matthew 13:23). […]

Church History, Lesson 13: Christianity in North Africa, Part 3

Cyprian (200-258 AD) Intro Much had changed since Tertullian’s time.  Being a Christian was still a crime, but by 240 AD, someone needed to talk to an older adult to hear stories of the martyrs.  An unofficial peace had existed for 40 years between the Roman Empire and the Christians in North Africa. Raised as […]

The Parables of Jesus: Lesson 2

Recap and Intro A parable is a comparison, from the Greek “para,” meaning as “in parallel” and “balo,” meaning “to cast.”  Through a parable, the speaker casts a net or line to reveal something hidden through what is known.  Even so, Jesus told His disciples, “The secrets of the kingdom of heaven are given for […]

Church History, Lesson 12: Christianity in North Africa, Part 2

The Writing Down of What Was Handed Down Intro Tertullian (160-225 AD), the first Latin Church Father, provided us with much of our Church language and ways of thinking.  He also helped set up an idea of perfectionism, sometimes treating forgiveness as a possible excuse to sin, foremost in matters of marriage and fornication. Today, […]