A Message from Tertullian
No one quite knew what to expect when Tertullian’s name appeared on the program. Most Ancient Theological All-Stars are known as “Church Fathers” but Tertullian was more like an eccentric “Church Uncle”. Some of his views were at odds with mainstream opinions and were suppressed and ignored in later years due to official disapproval. By and large most people just shrugged their shoulders and said, “Well that’s old Tertullian for you!”
He Had a Sense of Humor!
Tertullian was a delightful satirist too! Theologians are not known for having much of a sense of humor since they take most things, including themselves, very seriously. Tertullian, on the other hand, seems to have been cut from different cloth! It was rumored he was secretly pleased that his most ardent fans liked to call him Uncle Turtle. When the topic of his speech was announced there was little doubt that it would be fascinating and entertaining and he did not disappoint!
Tertullian Was a Non-Conformist
Moderator: Our speaker today is fondly called Uncle Turtle by many and is a true theological giant. He may have fallen out of favor with some Church Fathers but his keen observations earned him a place in church history and in our hearts. However, his insistence the Son was not co-equal with the Father really aggravated some of his peers! This may have hurt his book sales but Old Turtle just kept plodding along and saying what he thought anyway. You gotta love a guy like that! So with no further ado I give you our non-conformist and always interesting Uncle Turtle!
Audience: Warm applause and shouts of “We love you Uncle Turtle!”
Please Try to Concentrate
Tertullian: Thank you everyone! Thank you so much for such a warm welcome! I know it can be hard to feel kindly toward someone who doesn’t share all your opinions so this heartfelt reception means a lot to me! What an honor and a privilege it is to be here at this reunion! We all know this is never going to happen again so let’s just make the most of it! Isn’t this the most incredible palace ever? The buffet is out of this world and those casino games really grab your attention! All the pretty young ladies almost make it hard to think about spiritual things so please try to concentrate! On a more serious note I’ve heard about the Emperor’s troubles and wish him a speedy recovery.
Jesus Neglected to Teach Us About the Trinity!
Tertullian: Today I want to share a few thoughts with you about the greatest Teacher of parables the world has ever known. It is a miracle that Jesus managed to convey profound spiritual truths without using the big words we theologians like! We stand in awe at the depth and beauty and power of His words. Sad to say, as you well know, His parables are also woefully incomplete! Somehow or another He failed to address the critically important issues that matter to theologians when we are busily writing our creeds! We must face facts and admit that Jesus neglected to teach anything about the Trinity! He even forgot to command us to write a creed!
Audience: Shocked silence. No one knew what to say to such bold speech.
Jesus Did Not Teach Us “All Things!”
Tertullian: Yes, it is shocking to say out loud that the Son of God failed to give us the teachings and parables we need! He did not provide us with any support for our systematic theology! You know it’s true! He claimed to have told us “all things” but can we find even one single solitary parable about the Triune God? Where in Jesus’ teachings is there any attempt at all to explain the Holy Trinity? Where is it I ask? The answer is distressing… it is not there!
It Looks Like Jesus Dropped the Ball!
What an incredible oversight! You all know there is nothing more important in our theology than the doctrine of Three Persons in One God! How can it be that Jesus completely failed to give us a parable about the Triune God? It looks like the greatest Teacher the world has ever known really dropped the ball on this one brethren, and that is why we had to come up with our own parables.
To be continued in Part II
Copyright 2021 by Bob Shutes