In this brief clip for his teaching series A Survey of Church History,W. Robert Godfrey explains why it's important for Christians to understand what happened in the Middle Ages. Watch this entire message for free.
The most important question of course is “What were the middle ages? What was the character of them?” In textbooks, maybe a hundred years ago, they were often referred to as the “Dark Ages” and that was a wonderful way of being able to say nothing important happen and we can skip it. And there’s a, particularly, a Protestant tendency to do that. Okay, Augustine died, when exactly did Luther come along? Let's go from one good guide to another and let's ignore the fact that there are only about eleven hundred years between them and surely nothing much could have happened in those eleven hundred years.
Let's get to the Reformation. Well, they weren’t a Dark Age. They were in fact an age of a great deal of cultural and intellectual and ecclesiastical accomplishment that is very important and we need to take a serious look at.
Sadly, false teaching abounds on the person and work of Christ. From one of our Ask R.C. events, R.C. Sproul warns us against foundational errors that have threatened the church from its earliest days.
To get real-time answers to your biblical and theological questions, just Ask.Ligonier.org.
It’s time for our weekly $5 Friday sale. This week’s resources include such topics as guilt, forgiveness, Islam, the Holy Spirit, the atonement, atheism, John Calvin, and more.
Sale runs through 12:01 a.m. — 11:59 p.m. Friday ET.
Ministry style matters. First Corinthians 2:4 tells us that Paul decided on a manner for his entire ministry that was harmonious with his message. Paul’s message was Christ, in His cross and resurrection (1 Cor. 15:1–4), so his manner likewise had to be cross-shaped, rather than posturing or self-promoting. How a preacher presents his message and carries himself either illustrates or distracts from the meaning of the message God has entrusted to him.
This is the ministry logic that lies behind Paul’s refusal to rely on “plausible words of wisdom.” The Corinthians, like the rest of the Greco-Roman world, believed that wisdom is the ability to achieve status and success by appearing to be great, positioning oneself alongside society’s celebrated men, and looking and sounding the part. This cultural wisdom was manifested in the popular orators of the day, or sophists. These were celebrities who knew how to present themselves and speak in order to gain followers, status, and success even if their message was vacuous.
So, when Paul says he decided not to use “plausible words of wisdom,” he was not saying he did not take a studied approach to preaching and teaching, or that how he used words did not matter (2 Tim. 2:15). He decided not to rest the plausibility of his message on his perception as a great man. It wasn’t that he didn’t think carefully and reason thoughtfully in his preaching and teaching (Acts 18:19). He had decided not to mask his weakness so that the power of the Holy Spirit would be evident in his message (2 Cor. 4:7; 12:9–10).
The biggest problem that the human race has is this: God is holy, He's righteous, He's just, and we're not. And so the question of justification boils down to this: How can I as an unjust person have a right relationship with my Creator? A lot of people don't worry too much about that. They assume that God is kind of a celestial bellhop that's ready to answer every one of our requests, and that He has such an infinite mercy that He can just unilaterally forgive everybody of their sins, and He doesn't need any process to take place in order to justify the ungodly. He's God. He can do what He wants to do, so why can’t He just wave His hands and say you’re all redeemed, you’re all forgiven, you’re all saved?
Well, He can’t do that. Let me back up and say He won’t do that because He can’t do that, and He can’t do that because He’s God—because He’s righteous. And the only way He could redeem people away from some process of justification would be for Him to negotiate His own righteousness. And so, as Paul says in Romans, God provides a way of justification through Christ so that God may be both just and the justifier.
The official blog of Ligonier Ministries, founded by theologian Dr. R.C. Sproul in 1971 to help Christians know what they believe, why the believe it, how to live it, and how to share it.