Recordings of the sessions from the recent Zoom forum on the theme “The Church Post Pandemic” hosted by the Biblical and Theological Studies Department at Providence Theological Seminary are now available on YouTube. These include excellent presentations from my colleagues Lissa Wray Beal and Joshua Coutts and three Southern Manitoba pastors. Alongside of these presentations is my paper that draws upon the work of St. Augustine of Hippo as a resource for understanding ourselves, our world, the identity of the church, and the vocation of pastors in the time of the COVID pandemic.
You can watch the videos here.
“God commanded Noah to make an Ark, in which he and his family — that is, his wife, his sons and his sons’ wives —were to be saved from the devastation of the Flood, together with the animals that went into the Ark in accordance with God’s directions. Without doubt this is a symbol of the City of God on pilgrimage in this world: that is, of the Church which is saved through the wood upon which hung ‘the Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’.” (XV.26)
“I do not know why this is so, but the love we bear for the blessed martyrs makes us desire to see in the kingdom of heaven the marks of the wounds which they received for Christ’s name; and it may be that we shall indeed see them. For this will not be a deformity, but a badge of honour, and the beauty of their virtue — a beauty which is in the body, but not of the body — will shine forth in it. Continue reading Augustine on the Glorious Wounds of the Martyrs
While the first ten books of The City of God are directed towards addressing the charges of the pagan critics who maintained that Christianity was responsible for the sack of Rome in 410 A.D., in the remaining books (XI-XXII) Augustine directs his attention to the arc of Scripture and the task of narrating the intertwined history of the “two cities.” The following is one of the central quotes in which Augustine makes clear his understanding of the differentiation between the two cities: Continue reading Augustine on the Two Cities
A significant strand within the discipline of biblical studies within modernity has leaned towards equating the “true meaning” of Scripture with the intent of the author. Ironically, this emphasis on “authorial intention” undermines the Christian claim that the Scriptures are superintended over by the Holy Spirit. For if the Scriptures are a gift that the church receives from the Holy Spirit, then the meaning of the texts can not be reduced to the supposed intentions of the historical authors. Augustine, for his part, while not dismissing the importance of authorial intention does relativize it in relation to reading with the rule of faith. Here’s how he describes how Christian interpreters should approach obscure or difficult passages: Continue reading Augustine on Authorial Intention in Biblical Interpretation
As the winter semester heads into the home stretch, the students in my “Reading with the Fathers” course will be turning their attention to the towering figure of St. Augustine of Hippo. The influence of Augustine upon the Western theological tradition, through his copious written output, is unfathomable. While a strong case could be made for assigning Augstine’s Confessions, I have opted to have the students read significant chapters from his massive City of God. With the end of semester and graduation fast approaching, I don’t have a lot of time for extensive blogging, but I did think I could in the days ahead share some of the stimulating and provocative quotes from The City of God against the Pagans. Continue reading Some Lighter Reading from “The City of God”