An Allusion to Purgatory in the Apology of Aristides?

The Apology of Aristides the philosopher is a fascinating text, though any notion of Purgatory in it is rather curious (or spurious), as we’ll see. Aristides, probably writing to Emperor Hadrian between 125 and 140 AD, offers a wonderful glimpse into early Christian apologetics, especially as the faith spread into a Gentile world dominated by pagan religion and philosophy. Notably, Aristides may have influenced Justin [the] Martyr, a better known philosopher/apologist who wrote later in the second century. Aristides’ text is early, short, concise, and truly a joy to read.

Sacred Tradition and Saint Paul’s Spoken Word

The concept of “Sacred Tradition” — extrabiblical church tradition, customs, and teaching that are equal in weight and authority to God’s Holy, infallible, and inerrant Word (i.e. that which is God-breathed, theopneustos in 2 Timothy 3:16) is one of the most divisive ideas to develop in church history. Proponents are quick to pit it against the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. However, they typically do so with a gross misunderstanding of what Sola Scriptura means. This often results in an ignorant, even dishonest implication that Sola Scriptura is a rejection of historical, church tradition as a valid and edifying source of authority in the Christian life and community. Mischaracterization aside, Scripture mentions “tradition” in both negative and affirming terms, though there is far more of the former. One of the few verses that speaks positively about unwritten tradition is 2 Thessalonians 2:15. It is also the one most “sacred tradition” proponents cite:

“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”

2 Thessalonians 2:15 (ESV)


1Images from: Sweet Publishing / PAUL IN THESSALONICA AND BEREA, Acts 17:1–15. Free Bible images, Accessed: August 17, 2022

Happy 10th Birthday, Nathan!

Our youngest son is 10 today. By God’s grace, he’s strong, healthy, and full of energy and talent. There are few blessings that compare to seeing your children grow and find their God-given gifts. The text below was written and shared on Facebook nine years ago, on is 1st birthday. It is a testimony we’ll never forget. I love you and pray that you’ll grow to be a great man of faith.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

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