Blog Posts by Aaron Denlinger

John Webster (1955-2016) Ref21 Contributions

Article by   June 2016
Ref21 readers who are familiar with the British theologian John Webster will, I'm sure, already know that he passed away late last month. I'm equally sure that many readers of this site will not have heard of Webster, or will... continue

Papist Wildlife and Providentialist Histories

Article by   June 2016
Several days ago I was distracted from my mid-afternoon, back-porched task of grading college research papers by the presence of a pair of cardinals flitting around our yard. As I watched them doing what cardinals do, I began wondering whence... continue

Luther, Palmerworms and Theological Precision

Article by   May 2016
The details of Luther's mid-1520s tussle with Erasmus over the issue of sin's impact on human freedom are generally well known. Luther responded to Erasmus's 1524 De libero arbitrio diatribe sive collatio with his own 1525 De servo arbitrio [On... continue

Luther, God's Law and Uncle Rico Syndrome

Article by   May 2016
In 1524 Desiderius Erasmus, who until then had proven reluctant to challenge Martin Luther publically, finally caved to pressure from Rome to employ his literary talent against the impudent German Reformer who had caused, and was still causing, the institutional... continue

Holy vs Unholy Laughter: Calvin on Gen. 21.1-21

Article by   April 2016
Calvin discovers in Gen. 21, with its record of Isaac's birth and Ishmael's banishment from Abraham's house, a contrast between two kinds of laughter, one "holy and lawful," the other "canine and profane." Holy laughter -- not (of course) to... continue

Christ Descended into Hell: No Hope without It

Article by   March 2016
Of the twelve affirmations that constitute the Apostles' Creed -- perhaps the most regularly recited statement of basic Christian doctrine in the western Church of the last 1500 years -- none has caused greater uncertainty and debate over the centuries... continue

Justification by God's Word of Promise Alone

Article by   March 2016
"One thing," Martin Luther writes in the Freedom of a Christian (1520), "and only one thing, is necessary for Christian life, righteousness, and freedom. That one thing is _______." Knowing Luther to be the author, we're quick to assume that "faith" belongs... continue

Is Family-Integrated Worship the Historical Norm?

Article by   February 2016
Advocates of "family-integrated worship" -- a fancy term for keeping kids of every age in church services rather than shuffling them off to the nursery/crèche, Sunday School (UK), or Children's Church (US) -- generally claim their practice as the historical... continue

Calvin on Life's Perils and God's Providence

Article by   February 2016
Calvin apparently lived with a profound awareness of the potential for death that constantly accompanies us as human beings. In 1.17.10 of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, the Reformer provided a rather sobering catalog of the "innumerable ... deaths... continue

Buckets and Burning Churches: Luther, the Church, and Catholicity

Article by   January 2016
In his Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation of 1520, Luther takes aim at the Roman Church's "flimsy and worthless" claim to possess the exclusive authority and ability (by virtue of some unique spiritual gift) to interpret... continue
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