Daily Archives: 14 Jan 2010

Fun Facts From Bullinger’s Reformationsgeschichte

Conrad Hoffman opposed the call of Zwingli to Zurich in 1519 because Zwingli preached against pensions and wars.  Pensions were Papal payments made to clerics (which held them duty bound to loyalty to Rome).

Hoffman went on to harass Zwingli the entire time he (Hoffman) lived in Zurich; constantly sending letters to others complaining about Zwingli’s sermons and books.

I’ve known a few Hoffman’s in my time too.  I suppose you, gentle reader, have and do as well.

It Seems I’m Not the Only One Dismayed With Pat Robertson…

Indeed, it seems I’m just one voice in a chorus more than a bit disgruntled with Pat Robertson.

Perhaps the shortest and most insightful comment (besides mine of course) was uttered by the White House, which stated

“It never ceases to amaze me that in times of amazing human suffering somebody says something that can be so utterly stupid,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

You shouldn’t be amazed at all. It makes perfect sense that Robertson would say such a thing, given his rather bizarre comment track record.

Long Awaited, And Finally Available

Is Stegemann’s fantastically useful and amazingly thorough Jesus und seine Zeit.  Due out several years ago there were inevitable delays.  Now, fortunately, those delays are over.

The Daily Mail Hates ‘The Book of Eli’

Verdict: Gawd ‘elp us
Rating: Turkey!

As if one mad movie isn’t enough for one week, here’s another. The super-portentous music early on should have warned me that this is no ordinary post-apocalyptic science fiction martial arts movie. Ponderously paced and surely the final nail in the coffin of its once-promising directors, Albert and Allen Hughes, this is an extremely dumb film with absurd pretensions to spiritual significance.

So says Chris Tookey.  It’s a witty review, filled with gems.  Particularly delightful is this one:

The one attempt at a joke in the movie is that The Da Vinci Code has managed to survive even the apocalypse, conclusive proof if any were needed that it is indeed the literary equivalent of a cockroach.

Yeah, anyone who hates the Da Vinci code that much can’t be all bad.  And the movie can’t be all that bad either if Denzel

ill-advisedly plays a seemingly indestructible mystery man who’s been walking for 30 years across post-apocalyptic America, murdering muggers, rapists and cannibals as he goes – purely in self-defence, we are led to believe, though he’s not above killing the odd cat when he needs a snack.

Hey, a post apocalyptic man’s gotta eat, right?  I think I’ll still go see it, in spite of Mr Tookey’s opinion.  Who decides which movie to see based on the critics anyway?

Mixed Feelings…

On the one hand, the people of Haiti will certainly be in need of new clothing. On the other, I’m not so sure that shirts splattered with the face of Lane Kiffin, the disgraced (and disgraceful) former coach of the University of Tennessee’s football team will bring a smile to their faces.

I suppose they could always turn them inside out- or do a bit of their own artwork to them- and so could thus make them pleasant and presentable. Anyway, it’s better to put them to some use than to burn or trash them.

What’s Going on in Haiti: Baptist Reports

Baptist Press has collected a number of first hand reports of what’s going on in Haiti. Read them here.

Another Quote of the Day

You should never consult wikipedia. It is to accurate information about the Bible and theology what horse manure is to a feast. — Jim West

Quote of the Day

The faithful heart does not make for itself just any old kind of God by chance, but it looks upon Him who is the one true God. It does not attribute to Him whatever it pleases but is satisfied to have Him as He reveals Himself, always being carefully on guard not to go beyond His will by presumptuous insolence.  — John Calvin

[NB- Someone needs to tell Pat Robertson to spend more time reading Calvin and less time reading whatever it is he reads].

God, Natural Disasters, and the Quest For Answers

Since the book of Job (and before) people have been asking the ‘why’ question when some disaster strikes.

More recently we’ve been asking why did the typhoon happen a few years back and kill so many?  Why did Katrina take so many lives?  Why did Haiti suffer the worst earthquake in over 200 years?

Answers range from the absurd to the bizarre to the ridiculous.  Atheists for their part love to blame a God they assert they don’t believe in (if there’s a God he isn’t good; and if he’s good, he isn’t God).  The lunatic fringe of Christianity always attempts to discern the mysterious and providential reasons that must be operative in the mind of God – and they have the hubris to pretend to know that mysterious and providential purpose.

In fact, however, there is an answer to the question of why.  We just don’t know what it is.

So, rather than expending energy, effort, time, and resources in attempting to explain the ‘why’ of such tragedies our time should be spent in exploring ways to help those whose lives are devastated by the natural disasters God allows and permits.

The proper question to ask at times like these, then, isn’t why but what.  That was the one question Job’s friends never asked.  They never said to him, ‘what can we do to help- let us’.  Instead they sat there and attempted explanation.  ‘Well Job, it’s clear you’re a bigger sinner than we thought or God wouldn’t be punishing you… etc.’  So at the conclusion of the book God himself says Job’s friends are on the wrong track and if Job prays for them, he (God) won’t punish them.

In fact, the ‘why’ question is always an evasion of personal responsibility in the face of human need.  Why is none of our business else God would disclose the answer.  What, on the other hand, is completely our business, as Matthew 25 makes painfully clear.

Years ago in Seminary during a discussion of this very issue someone in class exclaimed ‘when disaster happens, why doesn’t God do something???’  No one said anything for a minute and then it occurred to me that there was an answer to this query- ‘God has done something.  You.’

Let him who has ears to hear, hear…

Total Depravity: The Scamming Pastor Edition

A Pastor in New York has plead guilty to scamming immigrants.

An Ecuadorean storefront pastor is expected to go to jail for scamming over 100 immigrants by promising to get them U.S. visas and legal status. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown says 57-year-old Gregorio Gonzalez, of Mamaroneck, pleaded guilty Wednesday to grand larceny. He faces a possible prison sentence of 2 to six years and will be deported thereafter because he, too, is an illegal immigrant. The defendant’s sister and another man have already been sentenced in the case. Brown says Gonzalez met with the mostly Ecuadorean victims at various Queens locations, including his church, and promised visas and permanent immigration status for fees ranging from $6,000 to $10,000.

According to 1 Timothy, Pastors aren’t to be given to a lust for ‘filthy lucre’. Evidently pastor Gonzalez didn’t get the memo.  Such lust is, nonetheless, one of the hallmarks of total depravity and is dreadfully widespread.  Unfortunately.

Schuler and Schulthess Complete Edition

The Complete Edition of Schuler and Schulthess (all 8 volumes, all parts) is now available.  Previously, volumes 6.1 and 6.2 were unobtainable.

This is just a fantastic resource. Enjoy.

Pat Robertson Doesn’t Speak For God, or Christians

Pat’s at it again, pretending to know the mind and purpose of God in current events when – if he were to confess the truth that the rest of us know – he doesn’t.

As Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said “well over” 100,000 people may have died in the natural disaster, Robertson took to the airwaves Wednesday on his show and said that the country has been “cursed by one thing after another” since they “swore a pact to the devil.” “Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people might not want to talk about,” Robertson said Tuesday.

What a sad, sorry, ridiculous and absurd caricature of a Christian Evangelist Pat Robertson has become. He brings dishonor on the Church and mockery on the Gospel with every ridiculous claim he makes.

To you unbelievers out there – please know- Pat doesn’t speak for Christianity, or Christ.  He speaks only for himself, of himself, to further his own agenda (whatever that may be).