Basic Reformation Timeline

image 1 - Luther and 95 ThesesAs part of my own preparation for this past weekend’s message, “Faith and Grace,” I drew up a basic timeline of the Reformation. I’m simply sharing it here as a number of folks asked me about some of the historical details after services on Saturday and Sunday. You can find a much more detailed timeline here. I have also enjoyed the brief biographical sketches at Christianity Today‘s sub-section on Christian History. Read more here on John Huss, John WycliffeMartin Luther, John Calvin, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale and Thomas Cranmer.

Reformation Timeline

1059: East-West Schism/Great Schism: break of communion between Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches

1378-1417: Papal Schism/Western Schism: 3 men simultaneously claim to be true pope

1436: Johannes Gutenberg invents moveable type printing press

1455: Publication of the Gutenberg BibleRead More »

The Immigrant Apostles’ Creed

woman-in-shadowA friend shared this creative rewriting of the Apostles’ Creed from an immigrant perspective with me this week. Apparently it was originally written by Rev. Jose Luis Casal, the Director of Presbyterian World Mission and an immigrant to the USA from Cuba. It is thought-provoking.

I believe in Almighty God,
who guided the people in exile and in exodus,
the God of Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon,
the God of foreigners and immigrants.

I believe in Jesus Christ, a displaced Galilean,
who was born away from his people and his home, who fled
his country with his parents when his life was in danger.
When he returned to his own country
he suffered under the oppression of Pontius Pilate,
the servant of a foreign power.
Jesus was persecuted, beaten, tortured, and unjustly condemned to death.
But on the third day Jesus rose from the dead,
not as a scorned foreigner but to offer us citizenship in God’s kingdom.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the eternal immigrant from God’s kingdom among us,
who speaks all languages, lives in all countries,
and reunites all races.
I believe that the Church is the secure home
for foreigners and for all believers.
I believe that the communion of saints begins
when we embrace all God’s people in all their diversity.
I believe in forgiveness, which makes us all equal before God,
and in reconciliation, which heals our brokenness.

I believe that in the Resurrection
God will unite us as one people
in which all are distinct and all are alike at the same time.
I believe in life eternal, in which no one will be foreigner
but all will be citizens of the kingdom
where God reigns forever and ever. Amen.

The Triune God is Self-Giving in His Love

The Triune God, who is eternally in reciprocal, self-giving relationship, is a sending God.

The Father sends the Son at the incarnation. The Father and the Son send the Holy Spirit at the impartation of Pentecost. The Father and the Son and the Spirit send the church from Pentecost to this very day.

As the Triune God is irrepressible in His love, He is a sending God who cannot hold back. He is by His very nature a missionary God.

God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is ahead of us on mission. He is beyond us and inviting us into this work with Him.

If we know Him, we move toward Him…and He is in the blank spaces of the world inviting us to join Him where He already is.

God is at work in the blank spaces.


A bibliography on the Trinity

The Trinity Series Gfx_4x3 TitleMy studies for our series “The Trinity” at Eastbrook plunged me into a lot of reading, reflecting, and praying. Along with a thorough study of Scripture on the nature of God as Trinity, I strongly recommend readings of the early Christian creeds, particular the Nicene Creed and the Chalcedonian Formula.

However, I also turned to a lot of authors from different eras far more brilliant than me on this topic. At times people ask me whether I have books I recommend alongside of certain preaching series. I find that a difficult question to always answer briefly, so here is the bibliography I utilized for this series on God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Bibliography on the Trinity:

Khaled Anatolios. Retrieving Nicaea: The Development and Meaning of Trinitarian Doctrine. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011.

Athanasius. On the Incarnation with an Introduction by C. S. Lewis. Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2012.

Augustine. The Trinity. Trans. Edmund Hill. Brooklyn: New City Press, 1991.

Tim Chester. Delighting in the Trinity. Kregel Publications, 2005.

Mary T. Clark. “The Trinity in Latin Christianity,” pp. 276-290. In Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century. Ed. by Bernard McGinn, John Meyendorff, and Jean Leclercq. New York: Crossroad, 1985.

Walter Elwell, ed. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2001.

Gilles Emery and Matthew Levering, eds. The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Millard Erickson. Making Sense of the Trinity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2000.

Timothy George, ed. God the Holy Trinity: Reflections on Christian Faith and Practice. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006.

Kevin N. Giles. The Trinity and Subordinationism. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

________. Jesus and the Father. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2006.

Gregory of Nazianzus. On God and Christ: The Five Theological Orations and Two Letters to Cledonius. Yonkers, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002.

Thomas Hopko. “The Trinity in the Cappadocians,” pp. 260-276. In Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century. Ed. by Bernard McGinn, John Meyendorff, and Jean Leclercq. New York: Crossroad, 1985.

Robert W. Jenson. The Triune Identity. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1982.

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen. The Doctrine of God: A Global Introduction, 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2017.

________. Christology: A Global Introduction, 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2016.

________. Pneumatology: A Global Introduction, 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2018.

J. N. D. Kelly. Early Christian Doctrines. New York: Harper & Row, 1958.

Vladimir Lossky. The Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church. Translated by the Fellowship of St. Alban and St. Sergius. Cambridge: James Clark, 1957; reprint, Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1976.

Roderick T. Leupp. The Renewal of Trinitarian Theology: Themes, Patterns and Explorations. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008.

Alister McGrath. Understanding the Trinity. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990.

Bruce Milne. Know the Truth, third edition. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999.

Jürgen Moltmann. The Trinity and the Kingdom. New York: Harper and Row, 1981.

Thomas C. Oden. Classic Christianity: A Systematic Theology. New York: Harper One, 2009.

Karl Rahner. The Trinity. New York: Crossroad, 1997.

Michael Reeves. Delighting in the Trinity. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2012.

James B. Torrance. Worship, Community, and the Triune God of Grace. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.

A. W. Tozer. Knowledge of the Holy. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 1961.


The Trinity: historical background

image 3 - Rublev Trinity iconOne of the biggest problems within contemporary North American Christianity is theological amnesia. Many churchgoers have no idea that our faith is situated within “a great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) spanning from the time of Christ up to our present day. As a remedy to that, more than ten years ago I pulled together a historical background document on the theology of the Trinity. It is simple and to the point, but hopefully still provides a broader historical view of the main developments in Trinitarian theology.

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