If you go here you can read more. Contact me if you would like the directions for submissions.
In 1535 Bullinger published this tractate, along with others, against the Catabaptists. Take a little time today and give it a read. It’s Memoriam Bullinger Day.
The old saying goes something like ‘we can only see so far as we do because we stand on the shoulders of giants’. In theology that is certainly true and one of the giantest of the giants is Heinrich Bullinger.
Heinrich Bullinger died on the 17th of September, 1575, after having served as the Pastor of the Great Minster in Zurich for over 4 decades. He wrote over 10,000 letters (!) – corresponding with persons all across Europe, including Luther, Calvin, Melanchthon and hundreds and hundreds of others.
In his heyday, he was far more influential in Britain and Switzerland than Calvin, and he authored dozens of books. But he is probably most well known (when he is known at all) as the author of the Second Helvetic Confession. Of his final months and death, Philip Schaff writes
His last days were clouded, like those of many faithful servants of God. The excess of work and care undermined his health. In 1562 he wrote to Fabricius at Coire: “I almost sink under the load of business and care, and feel so tired that I would ask the Lord to give me rest if it were not against his will.”
The pestilence of 1564 and 1565 brought him to the brink of the grave, and deprived him of his wife, three daughters, and his brother-in-law. He bore these heavy strokes with Christian resignation. In the same two fatal years he lost his dearest friends, Calvin, Blaurer, Gessner, Froschauer, Bibliander, Fabricius, Farel. He recovered, and was allowed to spend several more years in the service of Christ. His youngest daughter, Dorothea, took faithful and tender care of his health. He felt lonely and homesick, but continued to preach and to write with the aid of pastor Lavater, his colleague and son-in-law.
He preached his last sermon on Pentecost, 1575. He assembled, Aug. 26, all the pastors of the city and professors of theology around his sick-bed, assured them of his perseverance in the true apostolic and orthodox doctrine, recited the Apostles’ Creed, and exhorted them to purity of life, harmony among themselves, and obedience to the magistrates. He warned them against intemperance, envy, and hatred, thanked them for their kindness, assured them of his love, and closed with a prayer of thanksgiving and some verses of the hymns of Prudentius. Then he took each by the hand and took leave of them with tears, as Paul did from the elders at Ephesus.
A few weeks afterwards he died, after reciting several Psalms (51, 16, and 42), the Lord’s Prayer, and other prayers, peacefully, in the presence of his family, Sept. 17, 1575. He was buried in the Great Minster, at the side of his beloved wife and his dear friend, Peter Martyr. According to his wish, Rudolph Gwalter, Zwingli’s son-in-law and his [that is, Bullinger's] adopted son, was unanimously elected his successor. Four of his successors were trained under his care and labored in his spirit.
There has been a revival of interest in Bullinger in the last decade or so, with many of his more important works being published in a modern German edition of 7 volumes (along with the massive complete edition of his works which is still underway).
Several have asked if I have Diana’s email. I don’t. But you can send her a message through her academia.edu page here-
The only explanation for a lack of communication is that people no longer understand the words they use. They just use words as empty vessels that the hearer is supposed to fill with meaning.
If you don’t know what ‘always’ means, just don’t use it. Miscommunication problem solved.
But in like manner don’t use words incorrectly and expect your conversation partner to mystically understand your misuse.
Learn enough words so that your vocabulary is adequate for your purposes. And learn to use them appropriately.
Via Pete Enns on the Facebook- [Tremper's remarks are in quotes and the letter he received is italicized]
Dear Facebook friends,
Not all of you are interested in Westminster Theological Seminary, but some of you are. This is for the latter. As you know a number of us are concerned about what we understand to be heavy-handed moves by the administration to shape the seminary in a different direction than the proud history of the school would lead. I certainly acknowledge the right of the school to define itself in any direction it should chose to go, but people should know that direction and judge for themselves if they want to support it. Also, they should be aware of the tactics used in accomplishing their purposes. Though he does not play a role in the Chris Fantuzzo’s account of his treatment at Westminster, we should remember Carl Trueman’s honest and public description of the means that the seminary used to accomplish that purpose that I posted earlier. Again, everyone has a right to assess whether Trueman’s honest statement is appropriate for an academic and paraecclesiastical organization and the same is true for the seminary’s treatment of Chris Fantuzzo. I for one find the whole situation troubling and, as Chris himself says, his story is not “an isolated incident.”
For those of you who are not familiar with the academic process, it is unbelievable that the president would make an appointment as in the case of Iain Duguid or let go a member like Chris Fantuzzo without departmental involvement from the very start. This is particularly the case for Westminster. It may be legal. It may be hidden away in the bylaws, but it is unprecedented…
Also, as I said in an earlier post, Chris is not by far the only one who has written me about their ill-treatment at WTS. And I have not urged anyone to allow me to publish their stories; Chris though feels strongly as he says that it is necessary for the future of the seminary.
Like before I encourage people to post this so it gets wide distribution and in particular to people who are part of Westminster today…in particular faculty, administration, and board, and present students.
By the way in my next post I intend to interact with a recent blog on Christ-centered reading of the Old Testament by David Garner. This is Chris’s letter to me which he sent me for public posting.
After seeking counsel and God’s wisdom, I feel that I am obliged to share my story also. I offer this account because it shows that the treatment Doug Green has received was not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern. There may be supporters of Doug who do not realize that or who do not understand the position in which WTS has left my family. I am not seeking vengeance; rather, I am writing in the interests of justice for the families whose lives have been unnecessarily hurt by the actions of the WTS administration and board.
After serving WTS for over a decade as a Teaching Fellow in NT, Teaching Fellow in OT, and Lecturer in OT, I was told in April 2013 that my contract would not be renewed. “Officially” it wasn’t about me: President Peter Lillback was acting within his rights both to block the OT department’s plan to promote me and to appoint Dr. Iain Duguid as my replacement. The events unfolded as follows.
In fall 2009, Doug Green (OT dept. chair) hired me to teach Prophets, Hebrew 3 (twice), OT Intro (OTI), and OT History and Theology II (OTHT II). At that time, WTS was conducting a search for the position formerly held by my mentor, J. Alan Groves. I was warned by a supervisor not to return to that world, and former teachers told me about the toxic culture at WTS, but I couldn’t believe it, and I didn’t listen. I lectured and interviewed, the faculty voted to appoint me, and the board approved their decision. I was made a lecturer rather than asst. prof. because my dissertation (at Gloucestershire under Gordon McConville and Mark Boda) wasn’t yet finished. After the board meeting, Peter Lillback (twice) conveyed his belief that I would become “a superstar” (his term)—just finish the dissertation! The only difficulty I faced during the interview process came in a phone interview with Greg Beale, which I thought inappropriate because he wasn’t a Westminster faculty member. He mainly voiced objections to Longman and Dillard’s An Introduction to the Old Testament, expressing disagreement with their views on Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, authorship of Isaiah, and the composition and date of Daniel. We disagreed about his reading of Longman/Dillard, but nothing more came of it. Though ST Prof Lane Tipton told me that Beale recommended that the WTS faculty limit my contract to one year rather than three. Anyway, I continued teaching; and when my dissertation was finished, Mike Kelly (now depart. chair) met with the academic dean, Jeff Jue (Carl Trueman’s successor), about bringing my name for promotion.
Here’s the story I received: Jeff took Mike from the Dean’s office to the President’s office and sat Mike down at a table where the latest edition of the faculty manual was opened before him. Then Jeff informed him that President Lillback had decided to block the department’s decision to promote me. (Peter was not present.) Jeff pointed to a page of the manual to indicate that as President Peter was within his rights to do this. When Mike asked Jeff to explain this act, he was told that certain faculty were “strongly opposed” to my advancement. Mike pressed him, but Jeff refused to state not only who was opposed but the reasons for their opposition. He said there were complaints, which he promised to pass on privately to me. With that, Jeff left the room while Mike still sat there.
You can imagine my colleagues’ reaction. Neither the President nor the Dean had consulted Mike or Doug about this decision. As senior OT scholars, their professional counsel had not been sought; as faculty members, their academic and administrative roles had been disregarded; as leaders of the OT department, their choice of colleague had been rejected without discussion. No one had spoken with them about the matter before this meeting, and no open discussion about Peter’s decision was permitted afterwards. It was decided, having already been determined behind closed doors. In what was historically a faculty-run institution, Peter’s act was unprecedented: my colleagues and I had been snubbed; Iain had been promised the job by Presidential fiat! In my view, Peter, Jeff (and Iain?) had treated the OT department, the WTS faculty and board, and its staff and students (all typically involved in the hiring process) with utter contempt. For Doug Green (at least), this abuse of power was a sign of things to come.
After I learned about Peter’s decision from Mike, I scheduled a meeting with Jeff Jue and prepared to hear complaints. I expected him to share some of the following:
1. Students were telling me (I believe as early as 2010) that in his AP and ST classes Scott Oliphint would openly object to my teaching the comparative approach in OTI. The mere inclusion of the subject meant I was “Enns all over again,” and “anyone who thinks understanding the ancient Near Eastern environment is important for biblical interpretation has an aberrant doctrine of Scripture.” I went to his office to confront him about this, and I thought we understood each other. But I continued to hear from students about his complaint. This colleague never approached me personally about my teaching on this subject.
2. Later Lane Tipton objected to my teaching on the NT writers’ use of the OT. I discovered that a certain student was taking him recordings of my lectures, and I believe he was feeding this student questions to raise in class. I got this one the first day of OTHT II (2011): “Do you side with Gaffin and Tipton or McCartney and Enns on the NT use of the OT?” I replied, “In my view, Gaffin’s quite close to McCartney,” and I tried to show the class why I thought the Christotelic approach was ‘in bounds’. (Recall that the 2009 board had approved this approach, as linked to Dan McCartney, when it exonerated Doug Green and Mike Kelly.) I also indicated that Tipton and I had discussed the matter, adding that he had suggested in personal conversation that he might be more careful. My comment got back to Tipton (another recording?), and he phoned me. During the conversation, he denied telling me he might be more careful; instead, I hadn’t understood Gaffin. Moreover, I needed to see that McCartney’s ETS paper, “Should We Employ the Hermeneutic of the NT Writers?” lay at the root of problems he saw with Enns and our OT department. I asked if he’d read Dan’s book, Let the Reader Understand. He replied that it was the ETS paper that contained Dan’s mature thought.
3. In this phone conversation, Tipton also objected to my view of the controversy over Enns’s, Inspiration and Incarnation. I thought OTI students should read the book for themselves, that we (OT students) had an opportunity to go back to the drawing board. I told Tipton that I believed WTS was drawing lines too strongly, that it was rolling back the clock too far, that this was due to the model of Enns’s book as a cancer: WTS was in danger of cutting away healthy tissue. His response? I should “seriously start searching for another job,” for my view of the Enns controversy had disclosed that I “lacked sufficient militancy to be a Westminster professor.”
4. In this conversation, Tipton warned that opposition was mounting against me. I inquired further, and he said Beale (now a voting faculty member) objected to my teaching about multiple hands in the authorship of Isaiah. (Prof. Green, on my behalf, had already spoken with Peter Lillback about this matter. I’m told Peter’s reply was, “I thought we had settled that issue!” WTS had recently hired an OT Prof. with a view similar to mine for its Dallas extension [now Redeemer Seminary]. Dick Gaffin [a former colleague of Longman and Dillard’s] was also familiar with my position and pledged to support me before the faculty and board, if/when I ever required it.)
5. I made attempts to continue the conversation with Tipton about McCartney. (I even emailed relevant course materials to him, including my guide for writing BT papers in OTHT II.) But he refused to speak with me about it, responding, “There is no need to discuss anything further about that, you’ve made your position crystal clear.” (Re: my course materials, he said he had no problems with those.) Oddly, once my contract was terminated I began to receive emails from him again. So I replied, “Why now? Don’t you know about Peter Lillback’s decision?” He said he’d known about it “for quite some time.” Then he wished me well on my journey as an OT scholar, though I could never do worthwhile work in the discipline until I had abandoned the “Enns-McCartney-Green hermeneutic.” This comment he explained stating that that interpretative approach was “not Vosian” but “‘modernist’ (Enns) and ‘historicist’ (McCartney)” (his terms and associations). And he said I mustn’t tell anyone that what happened was political, for in his view it was strictly theological. All this took place before Doug Green’s “retirement.”
So, I expected to hear at one or all of these “complaints” from Jeff Jue: attention to ancient Near Eastern backgrounds, authorship of Isaiah, sympathy for Enns and embrace of McCartney and Green modernism and historicism). Recognize that no one had ever come to observe my classroom; aside from the above exchanges, no one ever spoke with me personally about my teaching. Moreover, I had successfully defended my dissertation well in advance of the close of my contract.
Now in the Dean’s office, here’s what I received from Jeff Jue: “Chris, I have heard good things about your teaching. But Peter has chosen another candidate.” I said, “I’ve heard that.” Then he asked if I had any questions. So I said, “I didn’t know there was a search. I thought the seminary concluded its search in 2009. Doug and Mike support me. I’ve taught 15 courses here now. I’ve sustained the defense of my Gloucestershire dissertation before Hugh Williamson and Richard Briggs; I’ve been encouraged to publish it, and I’ve received a commentary contract for Two Horizons Isaiah with Eerdmans.” He said, “Doug and Mike do support you. And they did not want a search. But Peter thinks he has found a better candidate.” I said, “I understand that there are complaints. What are they?” He said, “Complaints? Everyone has complaints.” Pointing to his desk, “I can show you complaints about every professor at the seminary.” He then repeated the message from Peter and asked me if I had further questions. I said, “What’s the point?!” He offered to pray for me. I said, ok, pray for my wife and children. (My wife had lost her job recently due to a school closing.) He prayed, I left, and that was it. I never heard another word from him; I never heard from Peter Lillback. I don’t think my students were told anything “official,” only that I was leaving. I finished teaching in 2013-2014, and my contract ran out June 30th 2014.
“Everyone has complaints…Peter thinks he has a better candidate.” At best, I had been treated like a commodity. But that treatment was no isolated incident at the ‘new’ Westminster, and you know the rest of the story as regards Doug Green. Mine is yet another chapter in the abuse of power by Westminster’s administration and board. And OT studies at the seminary is characterized by the doctrinaire control of OT interpretation by non-specialists who aggressively seek to marginalize colleagues wanting to do justice to the OT’s distinctive ‘voice’ as witness to Christ.
I am a Westminster alumnus (M.Div. 2001). As a student, my wife and I managed the Limekiln Dormitory, where we cared pastorally for international students from over 40 countries. I worked in the bookstore, the library, served professors as a TA, and represented WTS in inter-seminary/inter-faith dialogue. In 2002 I became a part-time faculty member, teaching Hebrew 1, 2, and 3 (twice/year), Greek 1, 2, 3, and NT for Ministry while completing 16 courses in the seminary’s PhD program in Hermeneutics and Biblical Interpretation. I took a leave of absence in 2006 and transferred to Gloucestershire to work with Gordon and Mark in 2007. In 2009, Doug Green welcomed me back as Lecturer in Old Testament. I taught 8 more courses at Westminster alone from 2009-2014 (M.A., M.A.R., M.Div., Th.M., and Ph.D. levels), most of them several times. I read PhD and Th.M. theses, refereed for the journal, and served on academic committees for accreditation /assessment and the hermeneutics field committee. My students tell me regularly that I served them well. Anticipating promotion upon the completion of my degree, my job was terminated in 2013 without interview or explanation. Peter Lillback and Jeff Jue will say the decision had nothing to do with the (coming) “retirement” of Doug Green—at least not “officially.”
Sincerely in Christ,
Christopher J. Fantuzzo, M.Div., Ph.D.
And offers the following very important instructions as only a person who has listened to every preacher on the planet could:
You can’t see me right now but I’m standing to applaud this young fellow. His impressive life experiences, long term attentiveness to sermons (by everyone everywhere) and wisdom have given us all the opportunity to learn what we’re doing wrong (because, again, as he says, ted x [whatever that's supposed to be] speakers do something (or some things) that preachers (not some, not a few, but, as the generalization asserts, all) don’t do!!!!)
It’s so thrilling to learn that ted x [whatever that's supposed to be] has paved the way for the formation, construction, and delivery of sermons for all Christian speakers everywhere. Thank God for such help… Frankly I don’t know how the Church has managed to exist for as long as it has without the superlative assistance of ted x [whatever that's supposed to be]. Too bad Paul and Peter and Jesus and Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and Augustine and Ignatius and all the poor stammering slathering drooling insipid boring empty headed unfortunate dullard preachers who came before ted x [whatever that's supposed to be] didn’t have the chance to learn how to preach because they lived before ted x [whatever that's supposed to be] came on the scene.
God must be weeping even now at his poor planning and lack of foresight. ted x [whatever] first, then preaching! Maybe next time…
Not familiar with Nick? He’s
… an M.Div student at Gordon Conwell Theological seminary and youth/assistant teaching pastor at Carlisle Congregational Church. He graduated with his Bachelors in Communication from Olivet Nazarene University, studied literature and creative writing at Oxford University, and has spoken internationally at camps, youth retreats, graduations, etc. He blogs about writing, preaching and the arts at www.Scribblepreach.com.
It’s such a blessing to know that such souls are in the world, offering things what have never so much as even been considered aforetimes. Thank you Lord, thank you, for MDiv students with backgrounds in creative writing.
[NB- I don't know why this example of hubris annoyed me so, but it surely did. Dog gone Luther. It's his fault. 'Against Latomus' indeed...].