Peter J. Leithart is President of the Theopolis Institute, Birmingham, Alabama, and an adjunct Senior Fellow at New St. Andrews College. He is author, most recently, of Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor).

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Anti-antimedievalism

From Leithart

David Burrell writes, “Modernity was fairly constituted by a quite specific opposition to medieval thought, as we have noted, so could be called ‘post’ or even ‘antimedieval’ . . . this mode of thinking proceeded by avoiding, if not aggressively removing, any reference . . . . Continue Reading »

Cosmic mediation

From Leithart

Philo’s views on the mediation of the logos are summarized in the TDNT article on mediator: “Stretching from the middle of the world to the ends, and back from the extreme edges to the middle . . . [the logos] holds together all the parts of the world . . . . He it is who prevents the . . . . Continue Reading »

Preparation for justification

From Leithart

The medieval arguments in favor of the notion of preparation for justification through created grace are founded on anthropological and cosmological claims. McGrath summarizes the Summa Fratris Alexandri , which he calls “the first systematic discussion of the nature of created grace,” . . . . Continue Reading »

Active and Passive

From Leithart

Here is a hypothesis or suspicion, not a conclusion, much less a conviction: The notion that God rewards what we do with what we have, and the notion that we are purely passive in salvation are not, as they appear, extreme opposites, but are two positions within the same framework. From one end: . . . . Continue Reading »

Hodge and the deliverdict

From Leithart

Charles Hodge doesn’t quite get to justification as deliverdict here, but he comes close: “[Paul] had just said that the believer cannot continue to serve sin. He here [in 6:7] gives the reason: for he who has died (with Christ) is justified, and therefore free from sin, free from its . . . . Continue Reading »

Aquinas and merit

From Leithart

Strict justice, Aquinas argued, is only possible between equals, and since God and man are not equals there is never strict justice in God’s dealings with us. Further, God being God, He is never put in debt to His creatures, never obligated to give anything, unless by His own prior . . . . Continue Reading »

Did Christ Merit Salvation?

From Leithart

According to Calvin, only in a qualified sense. McGrath says, “The later Franciscan school, the via moderna and the schola Augustiniana moderna regarded the ratio meriti as lying in the divine good pleasure; nothing was meritorious unless God chose to accept it as such. This teaching was . . . . Continue Reading »

Eschatological merit

From Leithart

Augustine said that in crowning the merit of human works, he is simply crowning his own gifts: “si ergo Dei dona sunt bona merita tua, non Deus coronat merita tua tanquam merita tua, sed tanquam dona sua.” McGrath points out that this axiom concerning merit is set by Augustine in an . . . . Continue Reading »

Prime mover

From Leithart

Dante understood Aquinas: The prime mover is not pushy; He/it is not the first domino that knocks down all the others. He is Beautiful and Beauty in Himself, Glorious and Triune Glory, and by His beauty He arouses desire, which moves us toward Him. That is why people in the depths of Hell are . . . . Continue Reading »