Tag Archives: anthropology

Zinzendorf’s lecture #6–That It Is Blessedness and Happiness to Be a Human Soul


Here is a brief summary and commentary on the sixth lecture of Nicolaus Ludwig Count von Zinzendorf, Bishop of the Church of the Moravian Brethren, from Nine Public Lectures on Important Subjects in Religion, preached in Fetter Lane Chapel in London in the Year 1746.  Translated and Edited by George W. Forell, Iowa City, University of Iowa Press, 1973.

Again, this was from early in my graduate experience, 1994-1995, in Dr. Richard Lovelace’s class on the Pietist Renewal at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Lecture VI–That It Is Blessedness and Happiness to Be a Human Soul

‘In the sixth it is clearly proved that being a human soul is in and of itself a blessing for which one can never thank his Creator enough.’ (xxxii)

Text:  John 1:11-12 ‘He came to his own home, and his own people received him not.  But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.’

[NOTE:  are we here to find that stress on adoption that Packer finds so woefully missing from much of historical theology?  In a non-theologian?  Perhaps this is not so surprising, if it is true.  Certainly, Zinzendorf appears to dwell on the fringes of, if not within, a lively sense of the overmastering wonder of adoption!] Continue reading

Sharing stories from the heart: can reading about the lives of others really change us?


Here is the third of my Christianity Today history website series “Grateful to the Dead: The Diary of Christian History Professor” Links to the first two articles in the series are embedded early in the article:

#3: Sharing Stories from the Heart
Chris Armstrong

[Back in the first installment of this diary, I interacted with the Emergents’ fear that evangelicalism’s entrenched, conservative church culture is just not reaching a young generation. Deep in writing my own “Patron Saints for Postmoderns” course, book, and blog, I suggested that the time might be ripe for telling and hearing stories—in particular, stories of our “foreparents” in the faith. Why not turn to the historical cloud of witnesses and see how they engaged their own cultures? That would seem to be one good way to learn how to translate the gospel for our own cultural moment.

[In the second (most recent) installment, I defended this idea of translating the gospel for new cultural situations against one potent objection: that such translation involves a dangerous compromise. When we set out to do such a translation, say some critics, we are allowing sinful human cultures to set the terms of the discussion. We are adapting and compromising Christ’s essentially countercultural message in illegitimate ways. The church, as Stanley Hauerwas and others argue, should be its own culture. My answer to this objection was to try to bridge the “translators” and the “separators” with a kind of ecumenical position that sees value in both approaches.]

Dear folks,

Perhaps, if you have read the first two installments of this “diary,” you are ready to launch into a lifetime of fruitful biography- and history-reading. But some of you may still be standing on the path, obstructed by one more roadblock: the postmodern claim that the cultural frameworks that have formed us as individuals so strongly condition and define us, that the experiences and ideas of people from other cultural frameworks (that is, other places or times) can never really speak to us or help us. Continue reading