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UPDATE: “Confessions”: Book IX – Chapters 7 – 13

Clergymen bow and touch relics of Lebanese St. Rafqa as they are displayed for visitors on Nov. 6, 2014, at Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church in Easton.

 

Today, we concluded the autobiographical portion of Augustine’s Confessions.  Most colleges courses covering this book would normally stop here, but we will continue with the rest of the books.

It is interesting, as one person put it, that when he went seminary in his late 30’s, he was surrounded by young 20-year olds straight out of college.  When it came to reading Augustine’s Confessions, many of the young people found it a bit boring and less applicable; however, the handful of older people in the class felt a deeper connection while reading the book because they went through the same struggles, experiences, and questions as Augustine had but afraid to share them with others.  So I guess when you re-read Confessions later on in your life, the deeper the connection you feel with Augustine.

We discussed whether or not traditional “biblical” gender roles still apply till this day, as well as how Protestants uphold the doctrine of Sola Scriptura  and some problems it has in today’s context; the use and abuse of relics in the Church in history; Augustine’s Neoplatonic view of the afterlife after his vision or epiphany with his mother Monica; and Mike (not written here) talked about whether or not salvation was conditional or unconditional – the Bible seems ambivalent in some respects with the issue.

Our essays can be found here.

 

 

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UPDATE: Chapter 20 Protestant Awakenings (1600 – 1800) – Part I: Protestants and American Colonization & The Fight for Protestant Survival (1600 – 1800)

 

William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, (1644 - 1718)

William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, (1644 – 1718)

 

We begin with the British colonization of eastern North America and the impact Protestantism had there.

 

Here are our essays concerning slavery, the Quakers, William Penn, and John Locke.

 

Also, Michael placed a late submission for Chapter 19 concerning the influence of pagan practices inherited from the Roman Empire into Christian traditions we often take for granted.  Many Christians are quick to dismiss the often categorized “pagan” aspects of other religious traditions such as voodoo, without realizing the blatant paganism inherent within Christian practices itself.  Before we quickly judge others, it’s best to know our history and where our beliefs and traditions originated from.

 

 

Chapter 20 – Protestant Awakenings (1600 – 1800): Part I

 

Puritans Land Near Salem

Puritans Land Near Salem, Mass.

 

For next Tuesday, July 15 please read the first two sections of Chapter 20: Protestant AwakeningsProtestants and American Colonization and The Fight for Protestant Survival (1600 – 1800).

 

Please write a one page summary on one of the following topics:

 

  1. How did early English settlers to North America use Protestant rhetoric to justify colonizing eastern North America in relation to Catholic settlers from Spain and France?
  2. Summarize how the Puritan and Reformed themes of covenant, community, and being in the “wilderness” formed early New England identity.  What were the theological aims of the Puritans?  Were they separatists?
  3. Describe how English Protestant evangelical aims were different than Catholic missionaries to the native Indians.  Include the efforts of Roger Williams and John Eliot to the Native American population.
  4. Describe the efforts of William Penn, the Quakers, the formation of the Pennsylvania colony, and their belief in the freedom of religion.
  5. Summarize the reign of King James II of England and the political turmoil he caused.  Who were the ‘Whigs’ and the ‘Tories’ and why were they important?  Describe his relationship with Prince Willem of Orange of the Netherlands and his campaign against Catholics.
  6.  How did John Locke appeal to the Bible to provide the basis for his philosophy of the social contract and raise doubts about a sacred monarchy?
  7. How did England become the major super-power of the world during this era in history?  What events contributed to the expansion of the English empire?  How did Britain make Protestantism to become the forefront of Christendom and Christianity?

 

Please submit by Monday, July 14.

 

 

 

“Do Infants Go to Hell if They Die Before Baptism?: The Doctrine of Original Sin Re-examined” – an Orthodox Perspective

We will be covering the Orthodox Church very soon in MacCulloch’s book, so it’s good to get a glimpse of a bit of its theology and how it differs from the West, especially when it comes to the definition of “sin”.

http://www.pravmir.com/do-infants-go-to-hell-if-they-die-before-baptism-the-doctrine-of-original-sin-re-examined/

“It is not clear by what justice humanity can share in Adam’s guilt when it existed only in potentiality in his loins at the time of the Fall.  It is also difficult to see why the children of the baptized should inherit a guilt from which their parents have been cleansed.” – Prof. Gerald Bonner, Roman Catholic theologian

It’s good to bear in mind that Augustine never intended his theology of “Original Sin” to be a world-wide, eternal church doctrine – it was the Church many years later that adopted this idea and made it into a doctrine.  Later on, Protestantism adopted this as doctrine as well and has shaped Western theology ever since.

It’s amazing how a mis-reading of the Bible that led to a mis-interpretation that led to this doctrine.  This is why it’s always critical to have good exegesis precede hermeneutics.