More on the Fathers and the Charismata

The confusion continues! (well, not so much). Yesterday I wrote a post on John Chrysostom and miracles here. In it, I pointed out that John seems to argue for present day miracles as evidence for Christianity’s superiority to Judaism. Matthew over at crypto-theology was rightfully perplexed, since in his homilies on 1 Corinthians, John clearly acknowledges a cessation of the gifts. (See the comments for a relevant excerpt).

All of this led to some google searches. After looking at a published translation. I’m pretty sure I’m understanding John right. It also led me to a rather interesting post at the Continuationalism blog that examined some of the Patristic evidence on the issue. Note that I embarrassed myself in the comments by not reading the whole post before commenting! There I finally learned where Augustine changed his mind on the charismata. In the post there’s a quote from one of Augustine’s homilies that acknowledges a cessation, but in a later work (the City of God), he speaks of miracles happening up into the present day. I don’t know if Augustine changed his mind only with regard to healings, or if it was more broad (encompassing also prophetic gifts and glossalalia).

Finally, with regard to Chrysostom’s (perhaps?) change of heart, I read was able to track down an article by the same author who translated the homilies I mentioned earlier. He argues that John wrote and delivered these homilies in his youth, and they may have been his first exegetical work. There does appear to be evidence mentioned in the article, but he mostly just referred to the introductory notes in his translation. I’ve requested the translation via an inter-library loan, so hopefully I’ll get to see what he has to say on the issue! The bibliographic information for the article is:

Hill, Robert C. “Psalm 41 (42): a classic text for Antiochene spirituality.” Irish Theological Quarterly (March 1, 2003): 25 -33.

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