While our culture tends to eschew religious polemics, great disagreements have produced not only some of the most awe-inspiring moments in human history, but also some of the most beautiful lines of prose. So argues Carl Truman in the latest issue of Themelios:
[P]olemic has produced some moments of great beauty in church history, and we should not let the modern cultural antipathy to religious controversy blind us to that fact. I need to be somewhat nuanced here, lest I am misunderstood, and distinguish two kinds of beauty in polemic. The first I call the polemics where, in the words of Yeats, ‘a terrible beauty is born.’ Yeats was writing about the Easter Uprising in Dublin and about the way that the cause of Irish national independence gave, in a moment of explosive violence, a terrible, frightening grandeur to men who had, up to that point, occupied mundane common-or-garden jobs.
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There is another kind of polemical beauty, however, and this is of a kind that you might not even notice was polemical unless it was explained as such. Some of the most beautiful lines in church history have been penned precisely as beautiful, if quiet, polemic.
(HT: Justin Taylor)