Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hump Day History: Gregory of Nazianzus

I read Gregory of Nazianzus’ biography last year. He was an interesting guy to whom we owe much. He fought against many and fierce opponents to clarify the doctrine of the Trinity. Christopher Hall’s Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers has a great, brief bio of Gregory before examining how he approaches Scripture and walking through his battle with the Arians over the divinity of Christ. It’s a great summary and, like Augustine, I’m not going to unpack everything. Instead, I encourage you to give Hall’s book a read and I’ll comment on a brief quote that challenged me. A few insights from Hall as an interpreter of Gregory of Nazianzus’ life…

“Gregory contended his devotionally deficient stance before God hampered their ability to interpret the Bible well. A diseased spiritual life crippled their ability to comprehend and explicate divine truth. …who one is, the state of one’s spiritual health and devotional well-being, distinctly influences one’s ability to interpret Scripture correctly and communicate its truth faithfully” (p. 68).
“Gregory’s words remain a sharp and timely rebuke to the continuing temptation to practice theology as though we could separate the exercise of our mind from the development of our character” (p. 72).
This is a good challenge for pastors and theologians. We aren’t dispensers of theological truth. We’re people who are supposed to be communicating the gospel through a life changed by the gospel. Perhaps if we did that more faithfully we might have a deeper impact on the lives of our congregations/students and, in turn, deeper impact on the community outside of our churches and schools.

No comments: