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All Articles For Kuiper, Douglas J

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Previous article in this series: December 1, 2020, p. 112. We have now explained why the second ecumenical council in Constantinople (381) was necessary. Although the first ecumenical council in Nicea (325) had condemned Arianism (which denied that Christ is God), that heresy continued to hold influence and semi-Arianism (which said that Christ is similar to God, although not God) had developed. Some who opposed Arianism developed other wrong views of Christ. In addition, the question arose how the Holy Spirit related to the Father and Son. To address these matters, Emperor Theodosius I called the Council of Constantinople.  ...

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The last two articles set forth two reasons why the second ecumenical council in Constantinople (381) was necessary. One is that some denied that Christ is truly God, as the Council of Nicea (325) asserted. The second ecumenical council was necessary to reaffirm this doctrine. Another reason is that some wrongly explained how Christ is God. The Council of Constantinople had to explain this rightly. In addition to these reasons, the Council of Constantinople was necessary to develop the doctrine of the deity of the Holy Spirit. As adopted at the Council of Nicea, the Nicene Creed led believers to...

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Elders in Christ’s church have biblical and confessional warrant to oversee the congregation’s worship. Such oversight involves ensuring that the worship services are properly conducted and correcting anything that is improper. The church needs her elders to oversee her worship. These points were made in the previous article in this series (February 15, 2020). Because this oversight extends to the congregation’s worship, it extends particularly to the preaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments. Our Church Order in Articles 15, 23, and 56-70 indicates that the oversight of the elders includes these aspects of the congregation’s worship....

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Bloodshed. That one word sums up the history of the Reformation in France. In Luther’s Germany and Calvin’s Geneva, most princes and civil leaders supported the Reformation. In France, most opposed it. The French kings often tried to exterminate the movement by killing Reformed believers. At one point, Reformed believers in France also shed blood, taking up the sword to defend their cause, with many of them dying as a result. These Reformed believers in France are known as Huguenots. The story of the French Reformation is the story of Jesus Christ gathering these Huguenots into His church and defending...

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The first ecumenical council was held in Nicea in 325; the second in Constantinople in 381. We note three reasons why a second council was necessary. Our last article (July 2020) noted that the church had to defend Nicea’s teaching that Christ is truly God because some continued to deny it. A second reason, which we consider now, is that some who defended Nicea’s doctrine of Christ’s divinity proceeded to give wrong explanations for how He is God. The Council of Constantinople was needed to declare how Christ is God against these wrong explanations. The first “canon” (pronouncement) of the...

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The American Puritans, by Dustin Benge and Nate Pickowicz. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2020. Pp xvi + 208. Paperback. $18.00. Reviewed by Douglas J. Kuiper. This book is not about Puritan theology but about seventeenth-century American church history. Each chapter sketches the life story of one prominent figure in early American Protestantism. Featured are two colonial governors (William Bradford and John Winthrop), six pastors (John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, Thomas Shepard, John Eliot, Samuel Willard, and Cotton Mather), and the poetess Anne Bradstreet. Anyone of high school age and older who is interested in church history during the American Colonial...

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The first ecumenical council met in Nicea in AD 325 to respond to Arianism, which taught that Christ was not eternal and therefore not God. The Council declared that Christ is indeed God, of the same essence (being) as God. It expressed this position in the Nicene Creed— that is, in the first version of the Nicene Creed. (The Nicene Creed as we have it today is the version that was revised at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381.) Pause a moment: a creed was revised. Creedal revi­sions may not happen lightly or at whim. No mere individual may...

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The first ecumenical council of the Christian church was held in A.D. 325 in Nicea, a city that today is known as Iznik, Turkey. A council is a meeting of church leaders from various congregations in different localities, at which the leaders address problems that are common to the churches. As the early Christian church expanded, the need for councils became obvious: in a council the church would agree on matters of doctrine and practice, and respond with one voice to men who taught error or pro­moted evil. Regional councils, attended by representa­tives of churches in a geographic region, had...

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In the Nicene Creed (the first ecumenical creed), the Council of Nicea asserted that Christ was truly God, having a divine essence. The Council also made other noteworthy decisions, expressed in twenty canons.1 This article summarizes those other decisions. The Melitian clergy During the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), Christians were sorely persecuted, and many renounced the Christian faith. Some of these desired to rejoin the church when Emperor Constantine ended the persecution. The church had to face questions: Should these be readmitted? If so, should they be rebaptized? Might they be clergy? The bishop of Alexandria, Egypt was ready to...

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The last article stated that Arius had asserted that Christ was not eternal and, therefore, not God. Alexander insisted He was. In 324, Emperor Constantine, not understanding the theological issue, chided these men for discussing such subtle and unprofitable questions, and asked them to forgive each other.1 When this plea did not have its desired effect, Constantine called the Council of Nicea. Perhaps his motivation was political: he desired a unified empire, and thought that a unified church would promote a unified empire. So in 325, from late May to late July, about 300 bish­ops met in Nicea. Most of...

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