From this general period on, records indicate that the most likely center of activity of tongues-speech is the monastic movement. Antony, founder of anchor-itic monasticism in Egypt, was involved with healings, extraordinary perceptions and exorcisms. Pachomius, who in the meantime established coenobitic monasticism in the southern provinces of Egypt, was reported to have prophesied and to have exercised xenolalia. Jerome relates the account of a monk, Hilarion, using xenolalia in a battle with a demon-possessed man.’
In Palladius’ Lausiac History 17 the story is told of Macarius of Egypt who received “the gift of fighting spirits and of prophecy.” Also the church historian Sozomen (EH 3:14) writes that Macarius was endowed with divine knowledge, wrought extraordinary works and miraculous cures, and restored a dead man to life. The work entitled Fifty Homilies of Macarius of Egypt was most probably not authored by Macarius but by someone unknown to us. Speaking of his own day the writer (Homily 36:1) specifies tongues as one of the gifts of the Spirit and tells (Homily 29:1) about some who possessed gifts of the Spirit but failed because they fell short of love. Isidore supported (Ep. 2:246; PCC 78:685) the exercise of spiritual gifts in the Christian community. Palladius’ Lausiac History 1:1–5 relates ecstatic experiences of Isidore and adds numerous accounts of the presence of the charismata among the monks up to his own day. Palladius tells about the problem with demons (18:6), about the gift of healing (12:1), the gift of knowledge (38:10), the gift of prophecy (17:2), and of visions (32:1).
Harold Hunter JETS 23:2
What is the Christian option when it comes to politics? We live in the wreckage of the Old Republic, in the nascent stages of the post WW II Empire. Our civil religion is one of pious platitudes about vaguely defined “freedom” and “liberty”. The lack of vision on the part of leaders who are Christians is appalling. Yes, Bush is better than Gore or Kerrey, there is no arguing that. But he is not committed to being a Christian statesman.
There is no effective Christian opposition to the powers that be. There are fringe groups here and there; various dropouts and philosophers. But the behemoth that is the organized right has so compromised with the reigning Enlightenment theology that it is only a matter of time until its ultimate bankruptcy is manifest and it implodes.
I think the only hope for Christians in this age is to retreat and plan for the future. Quit hoping in politics (I am not saying do not engage in it). Build monasteries, write books, witness to the lost, study the liturgy, raise your family. We are in a state of compromise in the West that will not be resolved in my lifetime or that of my children or grandchildren. But perhaps we can rebuild a foundation upon which an effective future can be built in the West if the Lord delays his coming.
John Frame writes of a theoretical Christian state in the Westminster Theological Journal:
I should say more about what a Christian nation and its state. as government of a Christian nation, might be like.
(1) Then the nation and church will have approximately the same membership.
(2) Would such a nation be a “holy” nation? Not in the sense that OT Israel was, for there will be no tabernacle or temple. But since the church is a holy nation, and the membership of nation and church are virtually the same, we can speak of the nation being “holy” because of the presence of Christ in his people in that place through the Spirit.
(3) The church elders would come to overshadow the state courts, pretty much the reverse of the situation today. Most disputes within the society would be settled by the church elders. But some state courts would remain (staffed by Christian elders probably, for who else would be wise enough to solve disputes in a godly way?) to serve the small unbelieving remnant of the population.
(4) The legislative and executive branches of the state would seek to bring the laws of the land (and their implementation) into accord with biblical standards. They would still not put all of OT law literally into practice. They would have to reapply those laws, making allowance for the lack of a tabernacle or temple (see above), and taking account of other situational changes.
(5) How should such a Christian government treat the non-Christian religious minorities? Many today reject the very idea of Christian government out of fear that such will lead to a renewal of the religious wars of long ago, or to Christian Ayatollahs. They fear the sort of religious persecutions many came to America’s shores to escape. That fear seems even more legitimate when we consider that in the Mosaic law there were death penalties both for false worship and for seducing others into the worship of false gods (Deut 13:1–18; 17:1–7).
I agree with Vern Poythress that these death penalties are based upon the special holiness of Israel. When God condescends to live in the midst of a nation as did God in Israel, it is particularly insulting to permit people to commit idolatry. It pollutes the holy land where he dwells. That rationale for the punishments of Deuteronomy 13 and 17 does not apply to modern states. I agree with Poythress, therefore, that the simple acts of publicly worshiping false gods and of inciting others to do so should not be punished by the state.
In many ways we live in a golden age. Think of it, we have at our fingertips the wisdom of the ages. You can walk into any library, Barnes & Noble, or surf the internet and essentially read the collected works of the ages (those that have survived anyway). And I would imagine that soon the literature of every culture will be translated into English. Monasteries are scanning ancient manuscripts into some sort of electronic format and are making them available to the public. We can store this massive amount of information on a silicon chip.
We live like ancient kings in the west. We have massive amounts of comfort and pleasure at our disposal. In most places you can walk into a store and choose from an array of foods unknown to the common man in most ages of the world. We have a system of roads and communication that are without parallel. We know more about the universe and the solar system than any previous age. We have the ability to go to the bottom of the ocean and out into space. More people obtain high levels of education than would have been possible even a century ago.
But we also live in an amazingly evil age. Babies are murdered in the womb across the planet, and it is kept out of sight, so that we hardly think of it. Sexual perversity flourishes and is celebrated as a virtue. Blasphemy against the Trinity abounds and is condoned by the governments of the West. People are hardened towards the concepts of charity, community and culture. We celebrate militarism and glorify war.
I have no neat way to summarize this, I just sit back astounded at times at how advance and how depraved we are. I wonder where it is going and how we got here.
A very good descriptive article on the current state of Catholics, Protestants, and how we interact:
Is the Reformation Over?
From Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer:
We believe that we invent symbols. The truth is that they invent us; we are their creatures, shaped by their hard, defining edges…The would-be sorcerer alone has faith in the efficacy of pure knowledge; rational people know that things act of themselves or not at all.
I am amazed by the number and diversity of churches in northern Virginia. One of the oddest to me is the St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church in Fairfax. I thought it was a mosque when I first drove by but then I noticed the crosses on top of the domes. It is an interesting structure, one that I would like to visit simply to see what it looks like on the inside. The Coptic church is of course very ancient and venerable. We drove into the lot on Sunday and most of the congregants looked Egyptian. I’m a long way from Idaho!
The Washington Times is the conservative newspaper in this area, the Post is of course the liberal alternative. I have twice gone to buy the Times in the afternoon at local 7-11s and the Times are completely sold out while several copies of the Post are still there. I take it to mean that the area where I work (Manassas) is pretty conservative in its outlook — at least as defined in modern, political terms.