Luther on Wicked Priests

Just as the wicked since the beginning of the world did not believe the promises of God, so they also despised His threats until they utterly perished without thinking about such things, our wicked priests do exactly the same thing today, too. In their complete smugness they blithely despise the Word of God now again revealed to the world in His great goodness. They laugh at those who threaten them with evil and destruction. — Martin Luther

So What?

The problem with the left is its tendency to overreach. It always backfires. Who cares if some guy dressed in a costume? Are we going after all the war re-enactors next? If a guy ever played a part in a movie where he wore a confederate uniform is he fair game for denunciation?

The left hunts down people to its own harm, just like the right. Meanwhile the majority just wash their hands of both because of all the petty squabbling about who is more upright.

I have news for you- neither the left nor the right are upright.

SCSC 2019 Call For Papers

The Society for Reformation Research is now accepting proposals for SRR-sponsored sessions at the 2019 annual meeting of the Sixteenth Century Studies Conference (SCSC), to be held 17-20 October, 2019, at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis in St. Louis, MO.

SRR invites individual papers and complete sessions (panels, roundtables, or workshops) on any theme related to Reformation research. We are interested in sponsoring submissions or a series of submissions on topics related to the Protestant and Catholic Reformations and all other aspects of religious life and theology in the early modern era. In line with our mission to support instruction of Reformation history and Reformation themes in other courses, we also solicit papers with a primary focus on teaching. Since the SCSC is commemmorating the 50th anniversary of its founding, papers and panels concerning the historiography of the Reformation broadly defined are particularly welcomed. Papers should not have been previously published or presented at a scholarly meeting. All presenters must register for the conference if accepted.

If you would like to submit a paper, panel, workshop or roundtable for sponsorship by the SRR or need additional information, please contact the SRR program chair: Amy Burnett (aburnett1@unl.edu). The deadline for submission (via e-mail) of paper and session proposals to the SRR program chair  is 1 April 2019.

Paper proposals should include:

  • Paper Title
  • Abstracts (250 words max.)
  • Presenter¹s name, affiliation, e-mail address.
  • Presenter biography or brief CV (3-4 sentences, max. 150 words, including rank and most important publications or evidence of scholarship)
  • Whether audiovisual equipment is needed and what kind
  • Whether you have submitted a paper to SCSC previously.

Panels, Roundtables, and Workshops should include:

    • Panel, Roundtable or Workshop title
    • Abstract of the panel/roundtable/workshop (300 words max.)
    • Any additional affiliate society/sponsor beyond SRR
    • Organizer¹s name, affiliation, e-mail address
    • Chair/comment¹s name, affiliation, e-mail address
    • List of papers/presenters with relevant paper proposals including all the above information.

DC Comics, Jesus, and Sunman

A new comics series in which Jesus Christ is sent on “a most holy mission by God” to learn “what it takes to be the true messiah of mankind” from a superhero called Sun-Man, has been cancelled by DC Comics. The move follows a petition that called it “outrageous and blasphemous”.

The Second Coming series, from DC imprint Vertigo, was due to launch on 6 March. Written by Mark Russell and illustrated by Richard Pace, its story followed Jesus’s return to Earth. “Shocked to discover what has become of his gospel,” he teams up with a superhero, Sun-Man, who is more widely worshipped than him.

But the comics publisher has now told retailers that the series has been cancelled. The decision follows a 200,000-signature petition from anti-abortion, anti-LGBT conservative campaign site CitizenGo calling on DC to pull the comic. “Would DC Comics publish similar content about other religious leaders, such as Muhammad or Buddha?” said the petition. “This content is inappropriate and blasphemous.”

I don’t do comic books, so it’s all a bit weird to me.  But the theological perspective underlying the storyline is pure rubbish.  They didn’t consult anyone who knew anything and Eschatology, did they?

Where there is No Church Discipline, There is No Church

In 1538 Calvin was beset all around by difficulties.  Indeed…

Calvin was fettered not only in his preaching but still more in the discharge of his pastoral duties. ‘In general,’ he wrote to Bullinger, February 21, ‘we are looked on here as preachers rather than pastors. We cannot have a Church that will stand unless the discipline of the apostles be restored.’ However, he had not lost hope. ‘There is much alteration which we earnestly desire,’ he further wrote to his friend at Zurich, ‘but which can be effected only by our applying ourselves to it with faith, diligence, and perseverance. Oh, that a pure and sincere agreement might at length be established among us! Would there be any obstacle in the way of the meeting of a synod, at which everyone might propose what he believed to be useful to the Churches?’*

The interesting thing here is the highlighted sentence. Pondering that fact reveals incredible truths.  Any Church that lacks theological standards enforced by the necessary discipline will not, cannot, and should not survive.  Why?  Because when churches abandon core beliefs and practices; or rather when Church members do, they cease to be Church members and those churches that allow it cease to be churches.

______________________
*J. H. Merle D’aubigné D.D. and William L. R. Cates, History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin (vol. 6; London: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1975), 435.

For Luther, Better Dead Than Spanish…

lutherThen there was talk about the noblemen who were prisoners of the Turks. “Good God!” said Luther. “What a disgrace it is for our nation to advance in such a disorderly and womanish fashion against the army of the enemy where there wasn’t a single Turkish soldier! Those are wretched prisoners. Nobody has pity on them or prays for them. In imagined security we drink, play games, incite one another to hatred, and thus prepare a way for the Turks to enter our land. Let us cry out to God, pray, and mend our ways according to God’s Word so that, if we are to die, we may be put to death by Turks or Spaniards, may be killed in the profession of the faith, and may not become Turkish or Spanish!”  — Martin Luther, on 21 February, 1538.

Luther loved to make friends….

Christopher Hasson: He Didn’t Come over the Border- He’s A White Nationalist and Domestic Terrorist

U.S. Coast Guard officer is a self-proclaimed white supremacist who drafted a hit list of prominent Democrats and media personalities, part of a plot to “murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country,” federal prosecutors wrote in a court filing this week.

Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested Feb. 15 on firearm and opioid possession charges, but a filing Monday in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland warns that those alleged violations “are the proverbial tip of the iceberg.”

“The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life,” prosecutors wrote.

Hasson, an acquisitions officer for the service’s National Security Cutter program, previously served in the Marine Corps and Army National Guard from 1988 to 1993, according a filing that seeks to keep him behind bars until his criminal trial concludes.

A resident of Silver Spring, Maryland, Hasson, 49, has been in custody since his arrest last week and a detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday, according to Marcia Murphy, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

This is the sort of person America needs to keep behind a wall, not folk seeking a better life from other lands.  Don’t hold your breath, though, waiting for the current administration to denounce him.  He’s one of their own.

Calvin: on Providence and the Thief and Murderer

I deny that they [i.e., robbery and murder and that sort of evil] serve the will of God. For we cannot say that he who is carried away by a wicked mind performs service on the order of God, when he is only following his own malignant desires. He obeys God, who, being instructed in his will, hastens in the direction in which God calls him. But how are we so instructed unless by his word? The will declared by his word is, therefore, that which we must keep in view in acting, God requires of us nothing but what he enjoins.

If we design anything contrary to his precept, it is not obedience, but contumacy and transgression. But if he did not will it, we could not do it. I admit this. But do we act wickedly for the purpose of yielding obedience to him? This, assuredly, he does not command. Nay, rather we rush on, not thinking of what he wishes, but so inflamed by our own passionate lust, that, with destined purpose, we strive against him. And in this way, while acting wickedly, we serve his righteous ordination, since in his boundless wisdom he well knows how to use bad instruments for good purposes.  — John Calvin

Not really a solution to the problem, is it?  Good effort though.  And, no, I don’t have a solution to the problem of providence and theodicy either.  I call it an unfathomable mystery:

  • God is in control.
  • Evil happens by his permission.