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Historic Theological Conflict

Theological Conflict: A Perspective from the Early Church by Gary Neal Hansen
Hansen is Associate Professor of Church History at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.  He writes, "We are in a time of theological conflicts in the PC(USA). ..People on opposite sides of the issues look at the Church and are shocked. ..Conflict has always been a part of the life of the Church....this article will look at two examples of lengthy conflicts from long ago: The Donatist controversy and the Arian controversy from the early centuries of Christianity. We will see that the Church fought hard battles, that he battles were on the most foundational issues imaginable, that the battles lasted not merely for years but for centuries, and that God remained the faithful shepherd of the Church throughout."  Sep/Oct 2001 Theology Matters  p. 1

Reflections on John Calvin and the Church Struggle in Geneva by David Wright
Wright was Professor of Patristic and Reformed Christianity, University of Edinburgh, New College, Edinburgh, Scotland.  Wright explains that often Calvin's time in Geneva is characterized as a "lenghty struggle followed by success for the Reformers."  Calvin wrote shortly before his death, "all I have done has been worth nothing, and I am a miserable creature... He [Calvin] departed not in splendid triumph nor in the warm glow of sunset, but with a sharp awareness that eh conflict would survive him, and might thereafter intensify."   Wright concludes, "for Calvin this earthly life as not the whole story.  he seems to have assumed it would always be a theatre of conflict.  he could no more escape it than he could opt out of human and churchly life altogether."  Sep/Oct 2001 Theology Matters p. 7

The Problem With Marcion: A Second-Century Heresy Continues To Infect the Church by Randall E. Otto, Ph. D., is senior pastor of Deerfield Presbyterian Church in Deerfield, NJ.  Otto argues that the heresy of Marcion that was espoused in the second century continues to be promoted by some people today.  In the second century Tertullian wrote against Marcion's teachings about God, "A better god has been discovered, who never takes offense, is never angry, never inflicts punishment, who has prepared no fire in hell, no gnashing of teeth in the outer darkness! He is purely and simply good."  Otto writes, "Marcion believed that the message of the gospel and the New Testament was simply love and grace, that there was no law or wrath in the God of Jesus Christ." Otto examines Marcion's View of God; Marcion's View of Salvation; and Marcion's View of Scripture.   Sep/Oct 1998 Theology Matters, p. 1