Contours of Culture
Easter & Ethics
by Ken Myers
The earliest Christian apologists were intensely concerned to demonstrate the continuity of the gospel and the redemptive work of God manifest in the history of Israel. The mighty God of Abraham was indeed the beloved Father of the incarnate Son. The Word of God given to prophets and kings was as precious as the words spoken by Jesus the Christ. That continuity was felt by the Church in its earliest liturgies, and finally given more precise forms in the Trinitarian and Christological formulas of the fourth and fifth centuries.
If continuity was the dominant motif of the faithful defenders of the faith, discontinuity was the hallmark of heretics. As historian Jaroslav Pelikan summarizes the major heresies of the early Church, "Discontinuity was the theme of the relation not only between creation and salvation, the law and the gospel, the Creator and the Father, man and Christ, but also between the Old Testament and the New and between the apostolic community and the apostle Paul." Pelikan lists Gnosticism, Montanism, and the teachings of Marcion as diverse expressions of this common tendency to divorce in the name of piety what, in God's economy, must remain joined together.
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Ken Myers is the host and producer of the Mars Hill Audio Journal. Formerly an arts editor with National Public Radio, he also served as editor of Eternity, the Evangelical monthly magazine, and This World, the quarterly predecessor to First Things. He also serves as music director at All Saints Anglican Church in Ivy, Virginia. He is a contributing editor for Touchstone.
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