Church History, Lesson 11: Christianity in North Africa, Part 1

Tertullian 2

Intro Several influential theologians in early Christianity were Africans, including Tertullian (160-225 AD), Cyprian (200-258 AD), and Augustine (354-430 AD).  Today, we will only learn about Tertullian. So, when did Christianity first arrive in Africa?  We aren’t sure.  Irenaeus mentioned the spread of Christianity around 180 AD.  In his first volume of Against Heresies (last […]

Luke 17:11-19: The Rituals of Mercy

kyrie eleison 2

A standard introductory ritual when you meet someone is to shake his hand.  To greet another, you extend your hand.  “Hello, I’m Rich,” as I grab hold of the other person’s hand and we both move them up and down.  So, we grasp hands and shift their movement in a set pattern. Can we not […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 20: Baruch

A Picture of Baruch Writing at his desk from an old Bible

Intro We know of Baruch from the book of Jeremiah, where he is presented as Jeremiah’s scribe (Jeremiah 32:10-16; 36:1-31).  Baruch means “blessed one,” a shortened form of Berechyahu, “blessed by Yahweh.” Near the end of Jeremiah’s and Baruch’s career in Judea, Baruch read aloud what Jeremiah told him to write.  Baruch did this, and […]

Church History, Lesson 10: The Tradition is Passed On: Irenaeus

Irenaeus 2

Intro Irenaeus (135-202 AD) came from Smyrna in Asia Minor, which today is Izmir, Turkey.  Born between 130-140 AD, he studied under Polycarp (AH 3, 3:4; “Letter to Florinus” Eusebius’ Church History, 5, 20:5-8).  He provides a valuable account of the 2nd century Church, both East and West, bridging the end of the Apostolic Fathers […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 19: Sirach, Part 2: The New Testament’s Use of Sirach

Sirach in the King James Bible 2

Intro Last week, we surveyed the Lutheran Church’s “lovefest” with Sirach.  Today, we do the same but focus our attention on the New Testament. In about 195 BC, “Jesus, son of Eleazar, son of Sira,” a faithful Jew and renown teacher, commonly called “Sirach,” compiled his class lecture notes and reflections.  These would later become […]

Church History, Lesson 9: Letters to Non-Christians about Christ and His Church

Early Manuscript of Justin Martyr 2

Intro Today, we focus on two sets of letters written to non-Christians.  The first is by Pliny the Younger, a provincial Roman governor; the second by Justin Martyr, a Christian.  Both lived in the 2nd century.   Pliny the Younger (61- 113 AD) As the Governor of Bithnia, in 112-13 AD, Pliny wrote to Emperor […]

Mark 7:31-37: Not Only What, but How

Deaf Hear, Mute Speak 2

The entrance and exit for our words—hearing and speaking.  Into our ears, words enter; out of our mouths, they leave.  For our vocal cords to form coherent sounds, our eardrums need those sounds to vibrate on them.  By listening, we learn to speak. A little child makes many random noises, later mimicking the pitch, timber, […]

The Apocrypha, Lesson 18: Lutheranism’s Love Affair with Sirach

Medieval Manuscript of Sirach 2

Intro For this first lesson on Sirach, we are breaking protocol.  When your pastor started preparing this lesson, he found an extensive use of Sirach in the history of the Lutheran Church.  So, he decided in the lesson to cover some of Sirach through our Lutheran fathers, continuing with the rest later.   Martin Luther […]

Church History, Lesson 8: The Last of the Apostles’ Students, Ignatius and Polycarp

Ignatius and Polycarp 2

Intro Ignatius Ignatius of Antioch (35-107 AD) was the 3rd Bishop of Antioch.  Late in Emperor Trajan’s reign (98-117 AD), he was arrested for being a Christian, chosen because of his status and profile.  So, he was taken to Rome under a guard of 10 soldiers to face martyrdom. On the way, Christians gathered to […]

Genesis 4:1-15: Sin is Crouching at Your Door

Cain Killing Abel 2

In the store you are picking up a couple of items and close by a child is throwing a tantrum.  Angry words, screaming, the stomping of feet, echoes in every aisle.  Nothing the frustrated parent says calms the raging child.  Of course, he tries to reason, but to no effect.  A few minutes later, an […]