Subsistent relations

  Thomas Aquinas explained the Triune Persons as subsistent relations: “As to essence, the Father is in the Son because the Father is his essence and he shares it with the Son without any change taking place in himself” (ST I, 42). Stephen Long explains Thomas’s claim that Father, Son and Spirit are “subsistent relations” this way: “It means that God is not like us, for we are not constituted entirely by our relations. No matter how much I seek… Read more

Friday Flurry

Every Friday, I compile snippets into a potpourri of musings and mutterings, served up in a Friday Flurry (not available at DQ). God made us to be knowers. We long to know. Esther Meek argues (Longing to Know) that the frustration of this desire is one of the effects of skepticism and relativism: “To be human is to make sense of experience. There are voices today that would discourage the attempt. They say, You can’t really get it right, you can’t really understand. All… Read more

Against Christianity

The following is an extract from chapter 1 of my Against Christianity (Canon Press, 2003).  You can get a 30% discount on the book by entering LEITREADER during checkout at 1 The Bible never mentions Christianity. It does not preach Christianity, nor does it encourage us to preach Christianity. Paul did not preach Christianity, nor did any of the other apostles. During centuries when the church was strong and vibrant, she did not preach Christianity either. Christianity, like Judaism and… Read more

Can God Show Himself in the World?

A few reflections on Barth’s discussion of the Trinity in Church Dogmatics 1.1, ch 10. 1) Barth insists that Trinitarian theology developed not as a qualification of monotheism but as a way of defending monotheism: “Christian monotheism was and is also and precisely the point also and precisely in the Church doctrine of the Trinity as such.” Barth’s emphasis on God’s self-revelation and self-impartation helps us see how this is so. God is the Revealer, the Revelation, and the One who brings… Read more

In the Flow

In his book on giving and forgiving (Free of Charge), Miroslav Volf summarizes Luther’s metaphor of the “flow” of God’s love. Human love sometimes sucks the life and love out of us, but not God’s love. Rather, as Luther says, “it flows forth and bestows good” (quoted 49). It flows to us and brings us benefits, but it doesn’t stop there: “were were created to be and to act like God” so we become givers as well as recipients of… Read more

TheoUrban Dreams

The following was delivered as a Convocation Address at the beginning of the 2017-18 Theopolis Institute’s Junior Fellows Program on August 14, 2017. Theopolis is the embodiment of a dream. Our name expresses the contents of that dream. We dream of a polis, a city. Every city is a dreamscape, a screen on which we project our fantasies. William Carlos Williams’s poem, “Perpetuum Mobile,” follows a couple in their exploration of New York. Approaching the city, they “stand / and… Read more

Hearts Prepared

Hezekiah’s Passover (2 Chronicles 30) has a prominent place in the Chronicler’s account of his reign. As William Johnstone points out (1 & 2 Chronicles), Hezekiah’s reign moves out from the temple to the city to the nations. He reopens and purifies the house of Yahweh (2 Chronicles 29), prepares the city for the celebration of Passover (2 Chronicles 30), and then gains a reputation among the nations because of his deliverance from Sennacherib (2 Chronicles 32). To prepare for Passover,… Read more

Welcome to Leithart

Welcome to Leithart the blog. For those who are coming to the blog for the first time, please allow me to introduce myself. I am Peter Leithart, President of the Theopolis Institute, a study center and leadership training program based in Birmingham, Alabama. After spending several decades in the Presbyterian Church in American, I currently serve in the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) as Teacher at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Birmingham. In the past, I have served as pastor of two… Read more

Gratitude and Friendship

In the second book of Thomas Elyot’s mirror of magistrates, his 1531 The boke named the gouvernour , Elyot treats the vice of ingratitude, which he describes as “the most damnable vice and most against justice.” Elyot places gratitude and ingratitude in the context of friendship, which is in turn concerned with the governor’s selection of friends and favorites and the governor’s need to be cautious about flatterers and false friends. Identifying ingratitude with “unkindness,” Elyot provides a series of… Read more

Long shots

Tarkovsky on long shots: “If the regular length of a shot is increased, one becomes bored, but if you keep on making it longer, it piques your interest, and if you make it even longer a new quality emerges, a special intensity of attention.” Read more

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