Posts Tagged ‘thomas aquinas

04
Mar
09

Considering the Rapture and Millennium Through Catholic Eyes

I am always on the look out for materials that express how the early church (the first 3 centuries particularly) viewed certain doctrines that are the topic of debate in the modern church.  I found an article on the doctrines of the Rapture and the Millennium recently that I enjoyed.

Now this article is from a Catholic website.  I am not Catholic nor do I necessarily agree with all Catholic doctrines. I found the site when I performed a Google search to learn more about St. Augustine’s view of the Millennium The reason this site caught my attention is I think it is profitable at times to view some of our teachings (e.g. the Millennium and the Rapture) through non-Protestant Evangelical eyes.

I know that the attitude of many of my Protestant brethren toward Catholicism is a negative one and there may be a tendency to dismiss this article out-of-hand but, let’s face it, some of the greatest men of the faith have been Catholic. I have already mentioned St. Augustine. Surely you recognize the names of Thomas Aquinas, St. Athanasius, Brother Lawrence, Eusebius the Catholic historian, Jerome, and Justin Martyr, to name a few. So we can not reject wholesale any and all doctrines of the Catholic simply because they are held by Catholics. Catholics agree with Protestants on the nature of sin, original sin, salvation through Christ alone, the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the sacrificial death of Christ, the Resurrection, the Second Coming, Heaven, and Hell among others. They are not wrong about everything any more than Baptists are wrong about everything—though both are wrong about some things, in my humble opinion. 🙂

I respect the Catholic church’s view on various topics because of the age of the Catholic church and studying the teachings of ancient Catholics like Augustine can teach us the views of some of the earliest saints.  Of course I admit that just because a doctrine is old does not make it right, for gnosticism is old but is most assuredly false and unscriptural.  However I do look with suspicion upon movements and doctrines that are very recent and I believe this is prudent. Enjoy.

28
Nov
08

Naiveté of St. Thomas Aquinas

I want to relate to you a short anecdote I heard today involving a great church saint.

Alongside Agustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, Thomas Aquinas is considered one of the greatest theologians and indeed one of the greatest thinkers who ever lived. R.C. Sproul has stated that he considers Aquinas among the five greatest theologians with of course Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards being the other four. They each had their strengths and talents however if one looks to sheer magnitude of intellect, surely Thomas Aquinas would be at the top.

St. Thomas lived in the 13th century and became a monk of the Dominican order. His wealthy family disapproved of his entering the ministry and sought to stop him by kidnapping him and retaining him in the family castle (his father was a count…ah, ah, aaaah!! sorry). However while being detained in the family home he continued to don his habit and perform all of the duties of the Dominican order at the appointed times as though he were still at the abbey. Finally his mother, impressed with his zeal and dedication to God, helped him to escape. In true Pauline fashion she actually lowered him out of one of the castle windows in a basket. From there he returned to the ministry and began his formal study of theology and philosophy.

He entered the Dominican school in Cologne and studied under the tutelage of Albertus Magnus,Albert the Great. Now St. Thomas was not an attractive person being rather rotund, with big feet and an unusually large head. For those among us who have ever been teased because of their appearance or features, you know how hurtful this can be (because there is nothing you can do to change it). The other students would tease and mock him. They called him “the dumb ox.” How deceived they were. Once overhearing this prejorative Albert responded “You call him ‘a dumb ox,’ but I declare before you that he will yet bellow so loud in doctrine that his voice will resound through the whole world.”

We are told that Thomas was affable, kind, compassionate toward the poor, and meek. In addition there was a sort of naïve, trusting element to Thomas’s nature that may even be called gullibility. He believed what people would tell him especially those with whom he studied. You would think that eventually he would disbelieve anything they would tell him. But St. Thomas had an interesting way of looking at it. A glimpse into this (and perhaps the reason for his trusting) is evident in one occurrence that took place in the class room where he studied with the other students. One of his classmates, gazing out of the window, exclaimed “Thomas, come look! There is a cow flying!” Thomas rushed to the window to see this amazing sight. The laughter of the other students coming from behind him confirmed the deception. They could not believe his naiveté. Why would someone fall for such a gag? But Thomas turned and faced them and replied “I would rather believe that cows can fly than that my brothers would lie to me.” The laughter ceased at that point.

Josh H.




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