Thursday, June 9, 2016

Joachim of Flore and the Third Age

Joachim of Flore is a person few have ever heard of. But he clearly put forth a concept that has been  commonly used in many different ways in church history. Joachim believed there would be an age after the Old Testament age and the New Testament age at which time God's working in the world would would fundamentally change. He believed this age was still coming in his time and would be the age of the Spirit, the Old Testament being the age of the Father and the New Testament being the age of the Son. In this age, a rule of monks would replace the rule of the secular clergy in the church. This concept has been used in many different ways by different groups. Sometimes there has been the idea that this new age represents the recovery of something that was lost in the very early history of the church. That approach enables someone to propose major changes without having to justify them individually or explain their continuity with what has gone before.

I have serious objections to this idea. There does not seem to be a solid basis for this new age in Scripture. Also, the change from Old to New Testament was based on the coming of the Son of God; there does not seem to be any comparable basis for the coming of this new age. The whole thing seems to be an all too easy basis for sneaking in whatever a person desires without having to justify it. This also very frequently comes under the heading of a quick fix, which is something I strenuously object to. Therefore, while I do not oppose carefully examining what we are doing to see if something needs to be changed, I do not endorse bringing in the idea of a new age.

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