Colin Gunton’s Point

September 24, 2011Paul Helm, Trinity

By Paul Helm In his article, ‘Augustine, The Trinity and the Theological Crisis of the West’, which first appeared in the Scottish Journal of Theology in 1990 and then formed part of his The Problem of Trinitarian Theology (T & T Clark, 1991), the late Colin Gunton, whose friend and colleague at King’s College I … Read More

Augustine and The Categories

September 24, 2011Augustine, Paul Helm

By Paul Helm Augustine’s deliverance from Manicheism brought its own intellectual problems, which focussed on how to understand the Church’s teaching regarding divine immutability. He comments that he had yet not come to see that the hinge of the matter of God’s immutability lies in his being the Creator. It is during this earlier phase … Read More

Thomas Aquinas on Predestination

September 24, 2011Medieval Theologians, Paul Helm, Predestination

By Paul Helm This is the second of three posts dealing with topics that are important in Reformed theology that were already carefully dealt with in the medieval era. In the last post we looked at Anselm’s perfect being theology, its rootedness in Scripture, and its elaboration in his Proslogion. So when later on we … Read More

Perfect Being Theology

September 24, 2011Medieval Theologians, Paul Helm, Reformed

By Paul Helm The idea of ‘Perfect Being Theology’ gets short shrift from modern Reformed Christian theologians, even from some who should know better. The phrase is associated with St. Anselm, and with his ontological argument for God’s existence, which some have regarded as a stroke of genius. Here I am less concerned with that … Read More

Augustine at 18: The Love of Wisdom

September 24, 2011Augustine, Early Church Fathers, Paul Helm

By Paul Helm This is the first of three posts on Augustine and pagan philosophy, using his Confessions. Aged eighteen, Augustine was top of his class, learning rhetoric so that he could function as an advocate in the law. He believed that even at this time, long before his conversion, God was chastening him for … Read More

Christian Hedonism

September 24, 2011Christian Hedonism, Paul Helm

By Paul Helm Hedonism of whatever kind implies a calculus. In the case of John Stuart Mill’s utilitarianism, the calculus is in terms of utility or satisfaction or pleasure, a ‘felicific calculus’ as his disciple Jeremy Bentham called it. Bentham worked out this idea in some detail. So we may ask, how does one calculate … Read More

Losing Sight of the Insight

September 24, 2011John Calvin, Justification, Paul Helm

by Paul Helm ‘Well! I’ve often seen a cat without a grin,’ thought Alice; ‘but a grin without a cat! It’s the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!’ – Alice in Wonderland In my last post, “John Calvin’s Stroke of Genius,” we noted that John Calvin habitually thinks of the relation between … Read More

John Calvin’s Stroke of Genius

September 24, 2011John Calvin, Justification, Paul Helm, Sanctification

by Paul Helm Is Christ divided? (I Cor. 1.15) Calvin on justification and sanctification John Calvin claimed that by his death and resurrection Christ procured for his people a ‘double grace’. His fundamental statement on this matter is as follows: I believe I have already explained above, with sufficient care, how for men cursed under … Read More