The story of the thief on the cross has often been filled with speculation, which has distracted from a true understanding of Luke’s purpose of including the event in the gospel that bears his name. Perhaps the controversial, even violent, Eastern theologian Theophilus of Alexandria aids our understanding in his most famous homily and Eastern classic, and perhaps self-reflective “The Wise Thief”.
Someone quipped: “Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” Another observed, “The general population doesn’t know what’s happening, and it doesn’t even know that it doesn’t know.”
This year will make ten years since the homecoming of Dr. Adrian Rogers. The great wonder of modern technology is that he is still preaching and will keep preaching until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. He was truly the Prince of Preachers! He is one of this young preacher’s heroes.
To be fair, Calvin and the Geneva Council were not the only ones of that period who believed that killing heretics was just. Many in the period thought that heresy was a poison to the people that must be dealt with severely. However, we must not simply let those who acted in such a manner off the hook too easily.
Because of the contemporary emphasis on Calvinism I thought that perhaps we should take a closer look at a man who, although he has been dead for over 400 years, still speaks to many in our day. Who was John Calvin? Where did he live? What did he teach? And would you want to live in a place where he exerted a dominating influence?
The pendulum has swung the other way today with a secular government mandating support of abortion and other practices in health care and society contrary to scripture. Churches and Christians ought to be free to oppose violations of religious liberty. To this end Backus was a great leader in the early days of this country’s history.