Tuesday in the Last Week of Ordinary Time

The Creed of Chalcedon

and the Creed of the holy Fathers has handed down to us.

Today, we close out the Creed of Chalcedon, and I have enjoyed getting to know it better.  Yes, it’s repetitive, but it has a specific teaching of the faith to drive home, and the Bishops wanted to leave no questions unanswered concerning the teaching that our Lord is one person of both divine and human natures.  The Fathers at Chalcedon were sure that what they declared was none other than catholic doctrine—meaning, what the Church had always taught everywhere from the Apostles down to their own day.

And this final line of the Creed allows me to discuss something which might make evangelicals uncomfortable, and that is the importance of the teaching of the Church down through the ages.  Evangelicals are often blinded by the here and now, shunning the ancient and medieval church as “Roman Catholic” or simply irrelevant for today.  The thinking is that we have nothing to learn from previous ages.  This is arrogance predicated on gross ignorance.  We refuse to listen to the great teachers of the Church—Athanasius, Ambrose, Augustine, or later on, Anselm or even Aquinas.  Church history doesn’t begin for us until 1517 or later with the Mayflower.  And full disclosure, I love the English Puritans of the seventeenth century.

But I also know that all of that good Puritan theology had its beginning with those early Bishops centuries before.  The Reformers—Luther, Bucer, Calvin, et.al—knew them well and quoted them at length (see Calvin’s Institutes).  Orthodox Christian theology did not begin with the Baptists; we inherited the vast majority of it adding what we discerned from Scripture concerning regeneration, baptism, congregational polity, and religious liberty.  But the basic doctrines of the Trinity and our Lord’s person, even our Lord’s work on the cross (Anselm), we inherited from those before us and owe to them a debt of gratitude.

No one of us thought it up studying the Bible late nights at our kitchen table.  Though the act of faith is a direct gift from God, the content of the faith comes indirect from God passed down through generations of believers pre-dating even our sainted grandmothers.  In other words, history matters; what the Church has taught through the ages matters.  And there is a sameness about her teaching which we call “orthodox” to which we must cling despite contemporary concerns.  If we are to survive the pagan “post-Christian” world in which we live, we must let yesterday inform today, for the future can tell us nothing.  May we humble ourselves to listen.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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