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Ignatius of Antioch on the Incarnation

December 15, 2017

Here is another post from years ago, which bears repeating–this one from Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius, second Bishop of Antioch, wrote seven Epistles around 105 A.D., five of which are addressed to churches in Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Philadelphia and Smyrna. One is addressed to the church in Rome, where he would meet his martyrdom, and the last is addressed to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. These short quotes come from his epistles:

There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first possible and then impossible, even Jesus Christ our Lord. –from the Epistle to the Ephesians

For our God, Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost. –from the Epistle to the Ephesians

I glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that ye are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit, and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the will and power of God; that He was truly born of a virgin, was baptized by John, in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him; and was truly, under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, nailed[to the cross] for us in His flesh. Of this fruit we are by His divinely-blessed passion, that He might set up a standard s for all ages, through His resurrection, to all His holy and faithful[followers], whether among Jews or Gentiles, in the one body of His Church. –from the Epistle to the Smyrnaeans

It is most interesting to me to see these statements so clearly made, so soon after the last of the inspired Scriptures was written, and in agreement with what we hold as the faith of the historic Church regarding our Lord.


Cyprian of Carthage on the Incarnation

December 14, 2017

Here is another excerpt from one of the Fathers we posted some years ago–Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage around 250 A.D., had these insights about the Incarnation:

…Christ is both man and God, compounded of both natures, that He might be a Mediator between us and the Father. In Jeremiah: “And He is man, and who shall know Him? Also in Numbers: “A Star shall arise out of Jacob, and a man shall rise up from Israel.” –from Treatise XII

Moreover, God had previously foretold that it would happen, that as the ages passed on, and the end of the world was near at hand, God would gather to Himself from every nation, and people, and place, worshippers much better in obedience and stronger in faith, who would draw from the divine gift that mercy which the Jews had received and lost by despising their religious ordinances. Therefore of this mercy and grace the Word and Son of God is sent as the dispenser and master, who by all the prophets of old was announced as the enlightener and teacher of the human race. He is the power of God, He is the reason, He is His wisdom and glory; He enters into a virgin; being the holy Spirit, He is endued with flesh; God is mingled with man. This is our God, this is Christ, who, as the mediator of the two, puts on man that He may lead them to the Father. What man is, Christ was willing to be, that man also may be what Christ is. –from Treatise VI

…although from the beginning He had been the Son of God, yet He had to be begotten again according to the flesh.

In the second Psalm: “The Lord said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten Thee. Ask of me, and I will give Thee the nations for Thine inheritance, and the bounds of the earth for Thy possession.” Also in the Gospel according to Luke: “And it came to pass, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and she was filled with the Holy Ghost, and she cried out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Also Paul to the Galatians: “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son, born of a woman.” Also in the Epistle of John: “Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God. But whosoever denies that He is come in the flesh is not of God, but is of the spirit of Antichrist.” –from Treatise XII

One thing that has impressed me about Cyprian’s writings has been his use of the Scriptures to prove his points. Note that in both quotes from Treatise XII he shows a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures; may we follow his example in reading, learning, and applying the Word.

From Speak Life: “Meet the Nativity”, episode 2

December 13, 2017

From Glen Scrivener and his “Speak Life” team, here is the second episode of “Meet the Nativity“.  This continues the story of this time-travelling comedy where 21st and 1st century Christmases magically collide.

The episodes are being accompanied by “explainer” videos, drawing out the gospel from each mini-film and directing people to follow-up.

The Rev. Hunter Twitty: “Character Study on Kings of Israel: King Jesus” (Matthew 2:1-12)

December 12, 2017

This is another sermon – the final one – in a series on the kings of Israel and Judah being done by Hunter Twitty at Third Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.  As it happens, he chose to do this character study on the last and final King of Israel – Jesus.  This is quite a good sermon and he asks a very good question: do we build our life around our worship or do we build our worship around our life?  Definitely a good question to ponder.

Melito of Sardis on the Incarnation

December 11, 2017

This is perhaps my favorite of the writings of the Fathers on the Incarnation, and worthy of posting yet again in another Advent season. This portion of the writings of Melito, Bishop of Sardis in the second century A.D., truly touches on the Incarnation–indeed, all of Jesus’ life and ministry:

We have collected together extracts from the Law and the Prophets relating to those things which have Been declared concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, that we may prove to your love that this Being is perfect reason, the Word of God; He who was begotten before the light; He who is Creator together with the Father; He who is the Fashioner of man; He who is all in all; He who among the patriarchs is Patriarch; He who in the law is the Law; among the priests, Chief Priest; among kings, the Ruler; among prophets, the Prophet; among the angels, Archangel; in the voice of the preacher, the Word; among spirits, the Spirit; in the Father, the Son; in God, God; King for ever and ever. For this is He who was pilot to Noah; He who was guide to Abraham; He who was bound with Isaac; He who was in exile with Jacob; He who was sold with Joseph; He who was captain of the host with Moses; He who was the divider of the inheritance with Jesus the son of Nun; He who in David and the prophets announced His own sufferings; He who put on a bodily form in the Virgin; He who was born in Bethlehem; He who was wrapped in swaddling-clothes in the manger; He who was seen by the shepherds; He who was glorified by the angels; He who was worshipped by the Magi; He who was pointed out by John; He who gathered together the apostles; He who preached the kingdom; He who cured the lame; He who gave light to the blind; He who raised the dead; He who appeared in the temple; He who was not believed on by the people; He who was betrayed by Judas; He who was apprehended by the priests; He who was condemned by Pilate; He who was pierced in the flesh; He who was hanged on the tree; He who was buried in the earth; He who rose from the place of the dead; He who appeared to the apostles; He who was carried up to heaven; He who is seated at the right hand of the Father; He who is the repose of those that are departed; the recoverer of those that are lost; the light of those that are in darkness; the deliverer of those that are captive; the guide of those that go astray; the asylum of the afflicted; the bridegroom of the Church; the charioteer of the cherubim; the captain of the angels; God who is from God; the Son who is from the Father; Jesus Christ the King for evermore. Amen.

This also is eloquent, like the sermons of John Chrysostom; truly Jesus Christ is indeed our repose, our recoverer, our light, our deliverer, our asylum, and our King forevermore.

Something Different: Home Free sings “O Holy Night”

December 10, 2017

This is something of a different rendition of “O Holy Night”, but I enjoyed it, and think you will too.

From GAFCON: video of the AMiE ordination service – 7 December 2017

December 9, 2017

If you have been keeping up with the establishment of the Anglican Mission in England, or AMiE, you will be interested in this video of the AMiE ordinations in London on Thursday, December 7.  In it, the Rev. Lee McMunn introduces the first ever AMiE ordination service which took place in London, England. The video also includes footage from the event itself – a major stride towards the revitalization of the Church in England.

Tertullian on the First and Second Advents

December 8, 2017

From prior years:

Tertullian, who was perhaps the pre-eminent apologist among the early Latin Fathers, lived in the late second and early third centuries A.D., in North Africa.  It must be noted that he did become a schismatic in his later life, having cast his lot with the followers of the Montanist movement.  But this portion of his “Against Marcion” speaks very well to the First and Second Advents of our Lord:

We affirm that, as there are two conditions demonstrated by the prophets to belong to Christ, so these presignified the same number of advents; one, and that the first, was to be in lowliness,when He had to be led as a sheep to be slain as a victim, and to be as a lamb dumb before the shearer, not opening His mouth, and not fair to look upon. For, says (the prophet), we have announced concerning Him: “He is like a tender plant, Sicut puerulus, “like a little boy,” or, “a sorry slave.” like a root out of a thirsty ground; He hath no form nor comeliness; and we beheld Him, and He was without beauty: His form was disfigured;” “marred more than the sons of men; a man stricken with sorrows, and knowing how to bear our infirmity;” “placed by the Father as a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence;” “made by Him a little lower than the angels; declaring Himself to be “a worm and not a man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people.” Now these signs of degradation quite suit His first coming, just as the tokens of His majesty do His second advent, when He shall no longer remain “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence,” but after His rejection become “the chief corner-stone,” accepted and elevated to the top place of the temple, even His church, being that very stone in Daniel, cut out of the mountain, which was to smite and crush the image of the secular kingdom. Of this advent the same prophet says: “Behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days; and they brought Him before Him, and there was given Him dominion and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Then indeed He shall have both a glorious form, and an unsullied beauty above the sons of men. “Thou art fairer,” says (the Psalmist), “than the children of men; grace is poured into Thy lips; therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever. Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty. For the Father, after making Him a little lower than the angels, “will crown Him with glory and honour, and put all things under His feet.”

Tertullian certainly had this right: for Christ shall indeed have all things put under His feet when He comes again, crowned with glory and honor!

Fr. Chris Findley: “What is Advent?”

December 7, 2017

Today I came across the Anglican Helps series of videos by Fr. Chris Findley of St. Patrick’s Anglican Church near Nashville, so I thought I would post one of his videos on “What is Advent?”.  He has several other videos on topics such as confirmation, so you may want to check out what he has to say.

The Rev. Dr. Lionel Windsor: “Worthy of the Gospel: A Sermon on Philippians 1:27-2:4”

December 6, 2017

I wanted to call attention to this excellent audio sermon on Philippians 1:27-34, preached by Dr. Lionel Windsor at Neutral Bay Anglican Church in Australia.  It is titled “Worthy of the Gospel” and includes, among other things, this advice: “Stand your ground and don’t panic!”