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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Theology and the Antichrist

For many years theology has been a favorite area of study. An outsider may be surprised but there are actually many distractions and obstacles within Christianity pushing away from the pursuit of the study of theology. A big obstacle in Lutheran theology that I have run across, discouraging the discussion of any theological issue, is the focus on the papacy and the Antichrist. This too is a big topic. If any theological topic becomes associated with the papacy and/or Antichrist then the focus quickly shifts from the actual topic in discussion to that of the papacy and the Antichrist. Thus, many theological topics are lost in Lutheranism even if they come from Scripture and are also taught by the Catholic Church. For me it has almost reached the point that when I hear charges of "papist" and "Antichrist" I immediately equate that to mean "let us Not discuss theology".

I limit what theology I discuss online so I may have the freedom to continue learning offline. Since we are on the topic, here is a theological discussion from St. Hilary of Poitiers on the antichrist against the teaching of the Arians that Jesus was created, a creature:

"To believe, therefore, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is true salvation, is the acceptable service of an unfeigned faith. For we have no love within us towards God the Father except through faith in the Son. Let us hear Him speaking to us in the words of the Epistle; --Every one that loveth the Father loveth Him that is born from Him. [1 Jn. 4:1] What, I ask, is the meaning of being born from Him? Can it mean, perchance, being created by Him? Does the Evangelist lie in saying that He was born from God, while the heretic more correctly teaches that He was created? Let us all listen to the true character of this teacher of heresy. It is written, He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. [1 Jn. 2:22] . . . He that denies the Son is destitute of the Father; he that confesses and has the Son has the Father also . . . His object [that is, the object of the Antichrist] is to pluck from our hearts the confident assurance of the Divine nature of the Son; next, he would fill our minds with the notion of Christ's adoption . . ."

- De Trinitate, Book VI, NPNF, Vol. 9, pp. 113, 115

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