Fun Facts From Church History: Geneva to Zurich, on Servetus

To the Burgomaster and Council of Zürich.
Geneva, September 22, 1553.

High and mighty Lords!—We know not if your Lordships are aware that we have in hand a prisoner, Michael Servetus by name, who has written and had printed a book containing many things against our religion. This we have shown to our ministers; and, although we have no mistrust of them, we desire to communicate the work to you, in order that, if it so please you, you may lay it before your clergy, together with the replies and rejoinders that have been made in connection therewith. We therefore pray you to be good enough to submit the documents now sent to your ministers and request them to give us their opinion of their merits, to the end that we may bring the business, to which they refer, to a close.

Zurich (that is, Bullinger) responded in agreement with Geneva: the heresy must be expunged along with the heretic.

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Signs of the Times

You Trumpians did this.

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In Which Luther Compares Himself to Excrement…

I’m fed up with the world, and it is fed up with me. I’m quite content with that. The world thinks that if it is only rid of me everything will be fine, and it will accomplish this. After all, it’s as I’ve often said: I’m like a ripe stool and the world’s like a gigantic anus, and so we’re about to let go of each other. — Martin Luther

5537

‘Ich bin der reiffe dreck, so ist die welt das weite arschloch; drumb sein wir wol zu scheiden…’

Ιησους……

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Nope. Wrong. Completely Wrong.

You know how Paul said ‘women should keep silent in the Church’ and then Barth said ‘that woman should be silent in the Church’ (referring to a silly woman who didn’t know the first thing about theology and yet she blathered on and on anyway).  Well now, whoever wrote this little travesty of pseudo-theology should be told ‘you need to keep silent’.

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In Academia It’s A&A not Q&Q or Especially Not Q&A

You’ve been there- to those academic meetings where someone asks a ‘question’ that isn’t really a question at all but the interlocutor’s own little mini lecture answer…

The Bee explains how it works outside academia.

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If You Think You’re A Christian, And You Can’t Abide the Presence of Foreign Folk, Stop Thinking You’re a Christian. You. Just. Aren’t.

If you were, you’d take Jesus seriously.  And it’s self-evident that you don’t, if you are unwilling to welcome the stranger.

Wenn aber der Menschensohn kommen wird in seiner Herrlichkeit und alle Engel mit ihm, dann wird er sich setzen auf den Thron seiner Herrlichkeit,  und alle Völker werden vor ihm versammelt werden. Und er wird sie voneinander scheiden, wie ein Hirt die Schafe von den Böcken scheidet, und wird die Schafe zu seiner Rechten stellen und die Böcke zur Linken.

Da wird dann der König sagen zu denen zu seiner Rechten: Kommt her, ihr Gesegneten meines Vaters, ererbt das Reich, das euch bereitet ist von Anbeginn der Welt!  Denn ich bin hungrig gewesen und ihr habt mir zu essen gegeben. Ich bin durstig gewesen und ihr habt mir zu trinken gegeben. Ich bin ein Fremder gewesen und ihr habt mich aufgenommen.  Ich bin nackt gewesen und ihr habt mich gekleidet. Ich bin krank gewesen und ihr habt mich besucht. Ich bin im Gefängnis gewesen und ihr seid zu mir gekommen.

Dann werden ihm die Gerechten antworten und sagen: Herr, wann haben wir dich hungrig gesehen und haben dir zu essen gegeben? Oder durstig und haben dir zu trinken gegeben?  Wann haben wir dich als Fremden gesehen und haben dich aufgenommen? Oder nackt und haben dich gekleidet?  Wann haben wir dich krank oder im Gefängnis gesehen und sind zu dir gekommen?

Und der König wird antworten und zu ihnen sagen: Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Was ihr getan habt einem von diesen meinen geringsten Brüdern, das habt ihr mir getan.

Do you not understand the meaning?  What you do to others, you do to Christ himself!  Do you not realize that?  It’s as plain as the nose on your face!  Anyway, Jesus addresses you directly here, you lot who are unwelcoming, and racist, and reprehensible:

Dann wird er auch sagen zu denen zur Linken: Geht weg von mir, ihr Verfluchten, in das ewige Feuer, das bereitet ist dem Teufel und seinen Engeln! Denn ich bin hungrig gewesen und ihr habt mir nicht zu essen gegeben. Ich bin durstig gewesen und ihr habt mir nicht zu trinken gegeben. Ich bin ein Fremder gewesen und ihr habt mich nicht aufgenommen. Ich bin nackt gewesen und ihr habt mich nicht gekleidet. Ich bin krank und im Gefängnis gewesen und ihr habt mich nicht besucht.

Dann werden auch sie antworten und sagen: Herr, wann haben wir dich hungrig oder durstig gesehen oder als Fremden oder nackt oder krank oder im Gefängnis und haben dir nicht gedient?

Dann wird er ihnen antworten und sagen: Wahrlich, ich sage euch: Was ihr nicht getan habt einem von diesen Geringsten, das habt ihr mir auch nicht getan.  Und sie werden hingehen: diese zur ewigen Strafe, aber die Gerechten in das ewige Leben.  (Matt. 25:31-46).

[Even if you can’t read German, you sad little thing, you can still look up the text which you say (falsely) guides your (pseudo)Christian life.]

Hell is your final destination.  It’s the final destination of all who are unwelcoming, because they know not Christ.

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Amazon’s New ‘Luther-an’ Echo Answers Your Theological Questions- Rudely

I want one.

Specifically targeting the lucrative Christian market for the first time in celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Amazon just released a new version of its Amazon Echo device that is shaped like Reformer Martin Luther.

Dubbed the “Amazon Luther,” the new device is programmed to answer all your theology questions in the Reformer’s trademark aggressive tone and style.

An Amazon rep gave a demo at the press conference announcing the device, showing off some of its dynamic responses:

“Luther, can you tell me about the Pope?”

The Pope is a mere tormentor of conscience. The assembly of his greased and religious crew in praying is altogether like the croaking of frogs, which edifies nothing at all.

“Luther, am I a good person?”

You are a sinner, you’re dead, you’re eaten up with corruption. Every free choice of yours is evil and not good.

“Luther, is Joel Osteen a solid preacher?”

Yes, Joel is an excellent person, as skillful, clever, and versed in Holy Scripture as a cow in a walnut tree or a sow on a harp.

The device was programmed to showcase as much scathing wit as Martin Luther had himself as he responded to his various theological and political foes throughout his years, and will quickly snap back to anything you ask it with a “brutal fatality,” claim Amazon’s product engineers.

According to Amazon, the device will also be able to order beer straight to the user’s home, jovially shouting, “Yes, let us drink beer!” whenever the consumer does so.

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Pentebabbleist Takes A Photo of an Angel…

A woman snapped a photo she says is an angel ascending into heaven.

“While riding in our truck with my husband Jeffery, who was driving, I noticed a very bright flash of light, I originally dismissed it as lighting because it was lightly raining at the time, but the flashing continued even after the rain stopped. I say a flash, but it was more like a light with an echo effect that caught my attention. It seemed to be a beckoning light. I asked my husband did he see it. It took him a few looks before he actually saw it flicker. Then he said, ‘Yeah, I see it, but what is it?’ I told him I did not know, but that it keeps flashing at me. He said, ‘Take a picture on your phone, so I did,” Youlanda Pope Britten tells Charisma News.

“For me it was confirmation that everything was going to be all right. I had been praying and asking God for his help with our everyday issues in life. My thoughts at the time were: ‘Why is it that we are always there for everyone else, but when we need something, there is no one there for us to depend on?'” she continues.

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A Return to Grace, Luther’s Life and Legacy

Christian History Institute announces the release of A Return to Grace, Luther’s Life and Legacy.  Martin Luther triggered a seismic upheaval that rocked the western world in the 1500s—with an impact that continues to reverberate to this day.

The great drama of Martin Luther’s life comes alive in this vivid portrayal of the penniless monk’s quest for truth—a quest that would re-shape the church, and the world. Perhaps the most faithful movie about Luther’s life ever made, the film does not shy away from the deep theological questions—and answers—that mark Luther as one of the most influential people of the last thousand years.

Order your copy here. 

Via.

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Life in Kings: Reshaping the Royal Story in the Hebrew Bible

Graeme’s new book is out-

Building on a lifetime of research and writing, A. Graeme Auld examines passages in Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, and Isaiah that recount the same stories or contain similar vocabulary. He advances his argument that Samuel and Kings were organic developments from a deftly crafted, prophetically interpreted, shared narrative he calls the Book of Two Houses a work focused on the house of David and the house of Yahweh in Jerusalem. At the end of the study he reconstructs the synoptic material within Kings in Hebrew with an English translation.

I’ve already ordered a copy.

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Newly Discovered Luther Autograph

A three line inscription on the title page of a 1520 pamphlet from the Richard C. Kessler Reformation Collection (pictured below) was recently identified by the German Church Historian Ulrich Bubenheimer as being in the hand of Martin Luther himself!

The author of the pamphlet–a fictitious dialogue critical of Pope Leo X’s bull that threatened Martin Luther with excommunication–was previously unknown. However, Luther’s gift inscription to Wolfgang Wolprecht, Prior of the Augustinian monastery in Nuremberg, allows us to conclude that it was composed by Johannes Petzensteiner (1487-1554), a fellow Augustinian who had come to Wittenberg from Nuremberg to serve as lector.

The inscription reads idest p.[atris] lectoris / Betzensteynn / priori Volfgango Volprechto N[urenbergensi] (= This is Pater Lector Betzensteynn, for Prior Wolfgang Wolprecht of Nuremberg) and follows the printed line Excusum, impensis & opera Iohannis Coticulae. The Latin coticulameans whetstone (German Wetzstein), which becomes Betzstein or Petztstein in some German dialects and thus came to serve as a pseudonym for Johannes Petzenstein, who was later one of Luther’s two travel companions (with Nikolaus Amsdorff) on his return to Wittenberg from the Diet of Worms.

We are delighted with this new discovery and with Prof. Bubenheimer’s verification. As Kessler Scholars Advisory Committee member Tim Wengert noted, “Over the course of his career, Prof. Bubenheimer has proved himself to be the premier expert in identifying Luther’s handwriting, having spent his entire career uncovering hitherto unknown inscriptions by Luther. In this particular case, his reconstruction is spot on and helps to show the way other fellow Augustinians supported Luther in the early stages of the Reformation.”

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Babies in Ponds…

Let the reader understand-

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#Truth

And lest you think him some left leaning liberal, he is in fact a dedicated Evangelical Christian.  Oh, and he’s right.

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I Guess That’s What it Takes to Be an Emergent…

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You Know Your Church Has Lost the Plot When it Hosts a Satanic Fashion Show…

St Andrew’s Church in Holborn received criticism after it offered up its building as part of London fashion week on Monday evening. The Anglican church’s alter was transformed into a runway for models wearing inverted crosses, devil horns and vampire costumes to walk down in Turkish designer Dilara Findikoglu’s Spring/Summer 2018 collection. Dr Adrian Hilton from the Archbishop Cramner blog told Premier the church’s decision to host the event was “bizarre”.

He said: “How can the Church ask godparents to reject Satan in its liturgy of christening when it’s hosting this sort of event?  There are people dressed up of Lucifer! There are women and men walking around with demonic symbols.” The Turkish designer who grew up with Muslim parents in Istanbul has admitted to constantly wanting to explore. She told Vogue magazine: “I’m into parapsychology and all the occult and magic stuff, so when I was reading those books, they thought I was going to be a Satanist.”

A spokesperson for the Diocese of London issued a statement to Premier in which the church apologised for permitting the event. It read: “The parish of St Andrew’s has always supported London Fashion Week. “We took this booking in good faith and were not aware of the content or design before the show took place.  “This was obviously a mistake, and the content of this show does not reflect the Christian faith of the Church. “We will be looking at our booking processes going forward to ensure this does not happen again.”

Hey, here’s an idea-  don’t book outside events that have nothing to do with Christianity.  Let the secular venues handle that garbage.

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“I will believe only Jesus Christ my Shepherd” —Pierre Viret

“I will not believe because of Tertullian or Cyprian, or Origen, or Chrysostom, or Peter Lombard, or Thomas Aquinas, not even because of Erasmus or Luther. … If I did so, I should be the disciple of men. … I will believe only Jesus Christ my Shepherd.”—Pierre Viret (1511–1571)

Read this week’s RefoThursday essay.

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Zwingli in the News

A new book about Zwingli is featured in this report, and you’ll want to read it.  You may also want to read my own review of the book, and you can here.

Ulrich Zwingli war ein ethisches Genie und ein kluger politischer Taktiker. In einem neuen Buch porträtiert ihn Theologe Matthias Neugebauer als weltgewandten Denker und moralisch sensibilisierten Tatmenschen.

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Eschatological Presence in Karl Barth’s Göttingen Theology

This is the finest study of Barth’s early theology yet written.

The posthumous publication of previously unavailable academic lectures by Karl Barth allows unprecedented access to the crucial formative years between the production of his two major masterpieces, the Commentary on Romans and the Church Dogmatics. Barth was professor at the University of Gottingen (1921-1926). It was here that he was to formulate many of the ideas that would later be developed or altered in the Church Dogmatics. Providing insightful comparisons and contrast with some of Barth’s major contemporaries, Christopher Asprey draws widely on the lecture courses, as well as on other better known texts from the period, to give a comprehensive account of Barth’s theology in these years.

Unterricht in der christlichen Religion (Gottingen Dogmatics), the only full dogmatics cycle Barth completed during his lifetime, provides a key focus for Asprey’s study. A picture emerges of Barth’s concerns during this period that is different from many other established accounts: rather than being ‘occasionalist’ or dualist, Barth’s theology in the 1920s was characterised by an orientation towards the eschatological encounter between God and humankind. Barth’s intention in the Gottingen Dogmatics was to introduce his students to their responsibility before the Word of God, all other theological topics then flowing towards or from the ‘dialogical’ moment of encounter between this Word and human beings.

This reading is borne out by in-depth analyses of some of the major themes in the dogmatics: revelation, incarnation, resurrection, pneumatology, moral and sacramental theology. While Barth’s focus on the eschatological presence of God explains the freshness and immediacy of his writing in the 1920s, it is also shown at a number of points how this perspective generates various dilemmas in his theology, which remain unresolved during this period.

It’s not new, but honestly, I’ve hardly seen it discussed anywhere except in Themelios.  And that’s a shame.  Come on, Barthians, do better.  You must.

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Digital Exhibition: Remembering the Reformation

Featuring more than 130 items, it brings together a fascinating array of manuscripts, books and artefacts – from defaced missals and unique incunables to clocks, tobacco boxes, and finger bones – to illustrate how the events that ruptured Western Christendom in the sixteenth century have been remembered, forgotten, contested and re-invented. It offers fresh insight into how the memory of the multiple and competing Reformations – Protestant, radical and Catholic – emerged and evolved in their immediate aftermath and illuminates the complex and divisive cultural legacies that this process has bequeathed to subsequent generations.

The exhibition is the result of a fruitful collaboration between Cambridge University Library, Lambeth Palace Library, and York Minster Library. It is the work of a team of historians (Alexandra Walsham and Ceri Law) and literary scholars (Brian Cummings and Bronwyn Wallace) involved in the Arts and Humanities Research Council project ‘Remembering the Reformation’. Based jointly at the Universities of Cambridge and York, this runs for three years from 2016 to 2019. The result of many months of research and visits to a range of museums, libraries, and archives, the exhibition’s themes reflect the four central strands of the AHRC project: (1) Lives and Afterlives; (2) Events and Temporalities; (3) Places, Objects, and Spaces; and (4) Ritual, Liturgy, and the Body.

For more information, see the project website. 

The exhibition has facilitated new links between academic and library staff in all three partner institutions and fostered many mutually enriching conversations.  We hope that it will stimulate wide interest, contribute to the lively debates that are taking place in this Reformation year, and prove a resource of lasting value in the future.

The exhibition can be viewed here and a selection of fully digitised items will be published on the Cambridge Digital Library over the coming months.

More

Via.

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The Day Geneva Came to its Senses, and Asked Calvin to Return

calvin_mottoCalvin’s Biographer writes

In the early months of 1540, a general assembly of citizens resolved to restore the former status [of Calvin as the Professor/ Pastor of Geneva]. The recall of Calvin was decided upon in the Council, September 21, 1540. Meanwhile, private efforts had been made to obtain his consent to return to Geneva; but in his reply to Farel he said:

“There is no place in the world which I fear more; not because I hate it, but because I feel unequal to the difficulties which await me there.”

He requested Farel and Viret to desist from their efforts to draw him back to the city; however, he added:

“When I remember that in this matter I am not my own master, I present my heart as a sacrifice and I offer it up to the Lord.”

He herein consciously or unwittingly refers to his seal; it bears the motto to which he gave expression in his letter, and the emblem is a hand presenting a heart to God. Petitions and even deputations were forwarded to Strassburg to complete his surrender to the duty thus urged upon him. The Registres of Geneva contain numerous records during the month of October touching the recall of “the learned and pious Mr. Calvin.”

The Syndics and Council wrote him an appeal, which it is worth while to lay upon the page in full:

“Sir, our good brother, and excellent friend, in recommending ourselves to you very affectionately, inasmuch as we are perfectly assured that your desire is only for the increase and advancement of the glory and honor of God and of His holy word, on the part of our small, our great, and our general councils (which all have urgently urged us to do this), we pray you very affectionately to be pleased to come to us, and return to your former part and ministry; and we hope, with the assistance of God, that this will be cause of great good and fruit for the augmentation of the holy Gospel. Our people are very desirous to have you. And we will so arrange matters with you that you shall have occasion to be satisfied.

Your good friends,
THE SYNDICS AND COUNCIL OF GENEVA.”
Geneva, 22nd, Oct. 1540.

A few years earlier they couldn’t rid themselves of him fast enough.  Now they’re his ‘good friends’.  How’s that for irony…

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