Medieval Mendicants and Theology-Loving Women – September “Tabletalk”

The New Mendicant Orders by David Hogg | Reformed Theology Articles at

TT-Sept2013Yesterday’s reading material included the final full-feature article on the theme of “The 13th Century” in the September Tabletalk, carrying the above linked article. This one deals with the development of the main mendicant orders in the Roman Catholic church. No doubt you have heard of the names of the prominent ones, but perhaps, like me, you forgot how or why they arose and what place they served in the medieval church. Hogg’s article will help answer these questions.

I give you a couple of paragraphs and will let you read the full article at the Ligonier link above.

The term mendicant comes from the Latin for “beg,” and begging is what an ever-increasing number of men and women did throughout the thirteenth century as they formed groups for mutual support and encouragement in the pursuit of common goals. During this period, two groups began that would outshine and outlast almost all the others: the Franciscans and the Dominicans. This is doubtless due to the fact that these two orders were founded by men whose character and actions were so compelling that both were canonized as saints. Before considering the two great mendicant orders, let’s look for a moment at the less appreciated orders.

The Augustinian and Carmelite orders were vibrant orders in their own right. Like the Dominican and Franciscan orders, they addressed themselves to the emerging urban context to good effect in their preaching and pastoral care, and they were significant contributors to scholarly life through the universities that were arising at this time. On the negative side, they received their fair share of opposition from secular clergy (priests and bishops) who believed these new preachers and pastors were acting outside of due authority, to say nothing of living lives that debased the reputation of the pastoral office.

Another fine article I read is especially for the ladies! Titled “The Anchor of Theology” and penned by Janet Mefferd (a Christian radio host), it is a powerful encouragement for women to read deep theology for their personal growth and for the good of their families and churches. Not having heard of this gal before, I must say I was quite impressed with her article. I encourage you women (young and old!) to read it at the link provided here. But even the men will be inspired by what one book began to do in her life.

Here’s just a bit of it to get you started:

It started with a providential turn when I came across Dr. James Montgomery Boice’s book The Christ of Christmas in a public library. When I opened that book and read Dr. Boice’s deep, biblical exegesis of the Christmas story, I immediately thought: “He knows the same Jesus I do—but I’ve never read anyone who knew so much about Him.”

I was naïvely stunned that anything about Jesus could be new to me. I’d been in church all my life. I became a Christian as a child. I went to Sunday School and Bible study. But after I read Dr. Boice’s book, I suddenly realized how little I really knew about the Lord and His Word. I was starving for truth, and I wanted more of it.

I bought every book by Dr. Boice that I could find, and I also started filling my book shelves with titles by Dr. R.C. Sproul, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Dr. John MacArthur, and others. I learned about the nature and character of God, the redemptive work of Jesus, sanctification. I was eating it up. I would read a Christian book, then my Bible, back and forth.

Without fully realizing it, I had come to love theology.

Janet Mefferd is a radio host whose program, The Janet Mefferd Show, takes a distinctively Christ-centered look at the news and events of the day. She can be heard daily on more than one hundred stations across the country.

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