The Theology of St Patrick
Undoubtedly one of the most beloved holidays celebrated around the world is St. Patrick’s Day. But, how much do people really know about Patrick? For most, it is a day to celebrate Irish culture, wear green, or drink Guinness. Numerous myths swirl around about the true identity of Patrick. Arguments emanate from all sides seeking to “claim” this popular figure of Irish history. Perhaps at a future date we will explore Patrick’s life and ministry, but today take a few moments to read some of Patricks doctrine. Most scholars agree that the two authentic documents pertaining to Patrick’s life were both written by him. The Confession and Letter to Coroticus are both fascinating reads. One powerful section of Patrick’s Confession states,
“For there is no other God, nor ever was before, nor shall be hereafter, but God the Father, unbegotten and without beginning, in whom all things began, whose are all things, as we have been taught; and his son Jesus Christ, who manifestly always existed with the Father, before the beginning of time in the spirit with the Father, indescribably begotten before all things, and all things visible and invisible were made by him. He was made man, conquered death and was received into Heaven, to the Father who gave him all power over every name in Heaven and on Earth and in Hell, so that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and God, in whom we believe. And we look to his imminent coming again, the judge of the living and the dead, who will render to each according to his deeds. And he poured out his Holy Spirit on us in abundance, the gift and pledge of immortality, which makes the believers and the obedient into sons of God and co-heirs of Christ who is revealed, and we worship one God in the Trinity of holy name. He himself said through the prophet: ‘Call upon me in the day of’ trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”(Source: The Confession of St. Patrick)
The following are just some of the Scriptures quoted or alluded to by Patrick:
God the Father – Psalm 50:15; Psalm 90:2 Romans 1:19-20
Jesus Christ – Matthew 28:5-6; John 1:1-18; John 10:17-18; John 10:30; John 14:2-3; Acts 1:9-11; Acts 10:38-42; Philippians 2:5-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 John 2:1
Holy Spirit – John 1:12; Romans 8:16-17; Ephesians 1:13
Trinity – Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14
Much debate rages around some of Patrick’s theology, but this quote is deep and powerful. It seems clear that Patrick developed his theology based upon his understanding of the Scriptures.
This St. Patrick’s Day, take a moment to remember Patrick and honour him by reading this excerpt to a friend. Better yet, read Philippians 2:1-11 or another passage of Scripture that Patrick references. This holiday would be better spent remembering a faithful preacher of the gospel, rather than a day for drunken revelries.