CMP Review 2024-02-25

CMP Review 2024-02-25

Some years ago I had the opportunity to hear a wonderful lecture by a leading expert on Jonathan Edwards. The speaker had authored several books on Edwards, so he certainly had much to say about the man. I recall at one point he even said that Edwards was the greatest theologian America ever produced.

After the lecture I approached him with a few questions. And I couldn’t resist asking, “If Edwards is the greatest American theologian, then who was the greatest theologian of all?”

The author and professor hesitated only for a moment and then said, “Thomas Aquinas.” I remember his answer whenever I think of that towering 13th-century intellect whose thinking and writing have shaped countless hearts and minds over the past 700 years.

Historican Nick Needham explained, however, that Aquinas “never finished his masterpiece of systematic theology, the Summa Theologiae, because towards the end of his life (in December 1273) he abandoned writing entirely. When asked why, he replied that everything he had written seemed like ‘a piece of straw’.”

How could the writings of this greatest theologian of all time be a likened to piece of straw? According to Needham, many believe that Aquinas had “a glorious spiritual experience … during holy communion which (he said) made his writings appear worthless in comparison with the experience.”

In today’s poem Charlotte Mason compares what we think we know about the Son of God as compared to the glorious truth. “I am the resurrection and the life,” says Christ. Do we really believe? Consider with Miss Mason here.