Daily Archives: 18 Feb 2011

Martin Luther: On Preachers

I would not have preachers torment their hearers, and detain them with long and tedious preaching, for the delight of hearing vanishes therewith, and the preachers hurt themselves.

A good preacher should have these properties and virtues: first, to teach systematically; secondly, he should have a ready wit; thirdly, he should be eloquent; fourthly, he should have a good voice; fifthly, a good memory; sixthly, he should know when to make an end; seventhly, he should be sure of his doctrine; eightly, he should venture and engage body and blood, wealth and honor, in the Word; ninthly, he should suffer himself to be mocked and jeered of every one.

The defects in a preacher are soon spied; let a preacher be endued with ten virtues, and but one fault, yet this one will eclipse and darken all his virtues and gifts, so evil is the world in these times. Dr. Justus Jonas has all the good virtues and qualities a man may have; yet merely because he hums and spits, the people cannot bear that good and honest man.

Ambition is the rankest poison to the church, when it possesses preachers. It is a consuming fire. The Holy Scripture is given to destroy the desires of the flesh; therefore we must not therein seek after temporal honor. I much marvel for what cause people are proud and haughty; we are born in sin, and every moment in danger of death. Are we proud of our scabs and scalds? we, who are altogether an unclean thing.

— Martin Luther

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Church History


Gross Catholic Relic Stuff

Pope John Paul II at a Papal Audience on 17 Ju...

Pick apart a Pope for a souvenir day is coming soon!

I like my Catholic friends but it’s stuff like this that makes me glad I’m not a follower of the Papacy…

Faithful attending the beatification of Pope John Paul in Rome will be able to pray before his coffin, which will be exhumed for the event, the Vatican said on Friday.  The Vatican also warned the faithful around the world not to fall prey to fraudsters, particularly on the Internet, who are selling tickets to the beatification ceremony on May 1.  “For the beatification Mass of Pope John Paul II, as made clear from the outset, no tickets are required,” the Vatican said.  It said people should also steer clear of tour operators promising to procure tickets as part of their packages.

First, every believer is, by definition, a ‘saint’, a person set apart by God (in his divine election).  And second, digging up someone’s coffin so people can pray in front of it is just plain old idolatrous.  I wonder how many people will dig splinters off the coffin and sell them on Ebay?

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture


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Answering Your Letters

Zwingli on the bronze doors by Otto Münch (193...

Zwingli Preaching

A while ago someone named Alan wrote

Dear Jim,

Why are you so harsh?  I like to read your blog but you seem very harsh.


Well Alan, I only seem harsh because these days everyone likes to equivocate, evade, and otherwise avoid saying the things which need to be said.  Many bloggers are afraid to do so because they have their eye on some future or present job or some future book deal or some future something or other.  If you want to publish with Brill one day you certainly can’t be on record denouncing their outrageous prices, can you?  Others simply don’t feel like speaking their minds.  Still others are afraid of some sort of backlash.  And still more others just want to be ‘liked’.

I, on the other hand, already have a publisher so I don’t need to worry about that.  I have a job and if at some point God wishes that to end, that’s his concern.  I’m not looking for a job and I suspect if I were, I wouldn’t want to work for some place which was averse to truthiness.  I’m not afraid of some backlash because scripture tells us ‘to fear him which can destroy both body and soul in hell’ and not to fear mere mortals, who can only kill us once.

But the main reason I seem (and I want to emphasize ‘seem’, because I’m not at all- if you want to see harsh read Luther’s treatise on the Jews and Their Lies– I’ve never come within 30 miles of that kind of harshness) to be harsh is because evil has to be named and confronted- called out and denounced.  And by God if no one else will do it, I will.  That’s what the whole ‘Zwinglius Redivivus’ thing is about.  If Zwingli were alive today, he would be doing (better and more wittily and with greater wisdom) what I’m doing in his stead.

Indeed, if anyone in the Christian world were of the caliber of Calvin or Zwingli or Luther, you can bet they’d sound harsh too.  Christianity is insipid and disregarded exactly because so few are willing to push back against the world’s onslaught.

That’s why I ‘seem’ harsh.  How I wish Zwingli were still alive.  Then people would know what Christianity really stood for and the cobwebs and trash would be swept out of the Church like they should be.


Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Church History, Theology, Zwingli


For All The ‘Rapture’ People…

You really seriously need to watch this:

And read this


Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Bible


Ted Haggard Makes me Sick to my Stomach

For so many reasons.  So many.  His duplicity, his hypocrisy, his absolute depravity, his wishy-washiness, and most recently, his abandonment of what he apparently only pretended to believe.

hypocrisy and deception's poster child

In a cover story for gay glossy The Advoc­ate, Rev. Ted Hag­gard now says he favors gay marriage.  Hag­gard is the evan­gel­ical pas­tor who ran afoul of his Den­ver con­greg­a­tion after admit­ting to a three-year pay-for-sex affair with male pros­ti­tute Mike Jones. Imme­di­ately after Jones reveled their sexual asso­ci­ation in 2006, Hag­gard denied being gay, say­ing only that he had com­mit­ted “sexual immor­al­ity.” Since that time, Hag­gard has said he’s under­gone intens­ive coun­sel­ing. On Feb­ru­ary 6, 2007, Tim Ralph pro­nounced Hag­gard “cured,” adding that Hag­gard is “com­pletely heterosexual.”  The mar­ried father of five says every­one – includ­ing gay, les­bian, bisexual and trans­gender people – is wel­come at his church, St. James in Col­or­ado Springs.  Hag­gard sup­por­ted the 2006 bal­lot ques­tion that placed a gay mar­riage ban in Colorado’s Con­sti­tu­tion, but he now says he favors allow­ing gay couples to marry.  “The word mar­riage is a big deal to people of faith,” Hag­gard told the magazine. “We’ve made it sac­red. That’s why I believe that churches, syn­agogues, mosques and temples should have total free­dom to have whatever types of uni­ons they believe is godly.”

Ted, I’m going to be as honest as you pretend to be: you make me sick.  I wish you would just fade into the oblivion you so righteously deserve.  I’m not even going to pretend to like you and I have a hard time even believing you’re a Christian, given your track record of lying and deception.


Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in pseudo-christianity, Total Depravity


Quote of the Day

Why do Roman Catholics always beat Anglicans in chess? They can tell the difference between a bishop and a king.  — Andy Rowell

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Theology


David Instone-Brewer Responds to a BBC Program Laced with Inaccuracy

Tyndale House - Doorway for Biblical Studies
Dear Friend,

You may have seen the recent programme on “The Beauty of Books: Ancient Bibles” on BBC 4, Feb 8. This well-produced and researched programme concluded that the church deliberately introduced thousands of changes into the New Testament for theological reasons. Similar statements have been made before in the media and we believe that they are highly misleading.

If you missed the program it will still be here for a couple more weeks. The first half was about Codex Sinaiticus, which is the oldest Bible bound in a single volume, made in about AD 350. One of the world’s foremost scholars on this ancient book is Dr Dirk Jongkind, a Research Fellow at Tyndale House. Responding to the conclusions of this programme about theological agendas he said: “This is the weak point in the whole documentary: everyone who makes the effort to see what sort of alterations are made to the text will see that the scribes’ agenda was to preserve the readings found in older handwritten copies.”

Scott McKendrick of the British Library with Codex Sinaiticus

Codex Sinaiticus is a marvellous manuscript because it contains the oldest full text of the New Testament on top-quality material, produced at great expense. The 23,000 corrections may seem therefore surprising, and the programme concluded that these had a theological agenda. It examined two extreme examples, both in Mark: the first verse has “Son of God” added as a ‘correction’, and the last verse ends with “for they were afraid.” The narrator concluded that although some corrections might be scribal errors, these two ‘corrections’ indicated a theological agenda to correct the meaning of the text.

Although there are some corrections, where the original is erased or overwritten, this is relatively rare. Most of the 23,000 aren’t ‘corrections’ because they leave the original text fully visible, putting a dot under or over letters instead of deleting them, and writing above letters so you can clearly see the earlier text, as the screenshots from the program show clearly. This demonstrates that they didn’t want to expunge bad theology, but they wanted to record that other manuscripts were often subtly different. The vast majority of these changes are very minor – alternate spellings or slight grammatical variations which make no difference to the meaning of the text.

Scribes took care to preserve minor differencesThe thousands of manuscripts later than Sinaiticus have numerous tiny differences due to inexpert copying in the early church. If a class of students all copied out a short book by hand, they would all make mistakes, but the teacher might still be able to reconstruct the original from all the copies. Textual scholars of the New Testament do this same work today.

At Tyndale House we have the very best photographic facsimiles of Codex Sinaiticus which, together with the original, have been closely studied. Scholars here study the almost identical lettering of different scribes by enlarging the text on computers. Dr Jongkind has carefully studied the scribal errors and found that individual scribes make different kinds of error. These studies have helped to confirm the underlying original text which these scribes started with.

Scribes put dots under words instead of deleting them

The documentary concluded that the phrase “Son of God” in Mark 1.1 was missing from the original Gospel and that Mark believed that Jesus became divine at his baptism.  But if Mark had wanted to teach this, then Jesus’ baptismal saying would be: “You are now my Son” or “You have become my Son”. But Mark couldn’t make this point by omitting “Son of God” from verse 1, because no one would expect it to be there. This phrase occurs in some older manuscripts and not in others, and the debate continues about whether it was added or omitted, but it is unlikely that the variant is an attempt to change the theological message of the whole gospel.

Some manuscripts have “Son of God” so this is added above the line.The main conclusion of this documentary was that the scribes of Codex Sinaiticus added alterations because of their theological agenda. In fact, the only theological agenda that can be demonstrated is a high reverence for the text and a desire to record differences in manuscripts so that the original can be preserved.

The videos of recent Bible and Church events deals with such issues in detail.  Get a copy here.

David Instone-Brewer

Via James Spinti (to whom I am grateful)

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Bible


Well He’s Not the Sharpest Knife in the Professorial Drawer is He?

A Murray State University professor has resigned after allegedly making racial remarks to a black student. Mark Wattier, a political science professor, told freshman Arlene Johnson last August that he wasn’t surprised that she didn’t show up on time to a film he started 15 minutes before class began.

The Murray Ledger and Times has more: Arlene Johnson, a freshman from Sikeston, Mo., told the Ledger & Times in a telephone interview that one day in August, she came to class early to find that a film was already in progress. She said that after class, she and another student asked professor Mark Wattier why the film had started before the official start time of the class, and she said he told them that when screening films, he typically started them 10-15 minutes before class.

“We said, ‘Well, we didn’t know that. It wasn’t on the syllabus, so we were unaware,'” Johnson said. “And then he said, ‘Well, it’s OK, I expect it of you guys anyway.’ We asked him, ‘What did that mean?’ And he said the slaves never showed up on time, so their owners often lashed them for it. He just didn’t have the right.”

Yeah, he’s smart and sharp as a racist tack. Oh and he’s ‘accredited’ too! (Which means you can ‘credit’ to him a fantastic insensitivity and historical shortsightedness).   Maybe at his next job he can say, ‘I’m sure you want chicken don’t you, because we all know that’s what you people like…’  Silly prat.

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Total Depravity



I Think I’m Cracking Up…

I feel bad for Bieber… people seem to be rejoicing all around the world seeing him gunned down on CSI…

I feel bad for the kid… I need to go right now to the doctor. Right now, for a full CT scan.

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Humor


Tell Me Again how Obama isn’t George Bush Number 3?

On Thursday, President Barack Obama telephoned Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to urge him to block a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements. Obama pressed very hard during the 50 minute call, so hard that Abbas felt constrained to agree to take Obama’s request to the PLO executive committee (which, not surprisingly, agreed that Abbas should not accede to Obama’s request).  But what a request it is!  For Palestinians, Israeli settlements are the very crux of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. After all, it is the gobbling up of the land by settlements that is likely to prevent a Palestinian state from ever coming into being.  Asking the Palestinian leader to agree to oppose a resolution condemning them is like asking the Israeli prime minister to agree to drop Israel’s claim to the Israeli parts of Jerusalem.

Obama = Bush.  Same policies, same hatred of the Palestinians, same cozying up to Israel (in spite of the fact that Israel despises the spineless US and mocks it ceaselessly), same fiscal ideology, same buddying up to big business and Wall Street, same willingness to give tax breaks to the rich and ignore the middle class and poor.  He’s the black Bush.  Nothing more, nothing less, nothing other than.

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Total Depravity


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Until Our Own Problems are Solved, Stop Giving our Money Away!

That’s my message to the dimwits in Washington, who in spite of tremendous budgetary difficulties here, insist on flushing tax dollars down the sewer of the Middle East.

our tax dollars

The United States has announced it will provide $150 million in aid to Egypt to support its transition towards democracy. The Obama administration is also sending two senior officials, the undersecretary of state for political affairs and a senior White House adviser on international economics, to Egypt next week.  The announcement was made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton after briefing U.S. lawmakers about the current situation in Egypt, and comes a week after Hosni Mubarak resigned from his position as President of Egypt after 30 years of rule.  “It’s very clear that there is a great deal of work ahead to ensure an orderly democratic transition. It’s also clear that Egypt will be grappling with immediate and long-term economic challenges,” Clinton told reporters.  Clinton also reiterated that the U.S. is ready to provide assistance to Egypt as it moves toward democracy.

Stop it!  Just STOP!  Are you unaware that countries can’t be purchased?  The game has changed.  Loyalty to US policy is no longer for sale.

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture


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Oh For Pete’s Sake…


Animals toking it up

Depraved little reprobates

In the wake of a disturbing video, shot on school property and showing students mugging for the camera as a fellow student lay unconscious at their feet suffering from alcohol poisoning, police on Thursday arrested four more Stamford High School students on charges that they did not help the young woman. The students, two 15-year-old boys, and another boy and a girl, both 16, were charged Thursday with first-degree reckless endangerment, Youth Bureau Sgt. Joseph Kennedy said. Their names are being withheld by police because of their age.

They just don’t care do they? They just want a laugh and if someone’s in distress they’re more than happy just to watch.

While the video of the drinking and pot smoking scene, shot by one of the arrested students, cannot be made public, if any “reasonable person looked at it, they could tell the girl had a medical situation going on and she was in distress,” Kennedy said.    “They were videotaping the little party they were having,” Valentine said. “They videotape just about everything they do these days and this was just another, an attempt at videotaping their little get-together.”  As the camera phone panned the group with the girl in the frame, Kennedy said no one appeared the least bit concerned with how she was doing.  “The group was more concerned about being photographed than they were about their supposed friend. They were playing to the camera,” he said. “They were giving the photographer the finger and just trying to chill and do what they do … They were just going about their business, smoking, giving the photographer the finger and horsing around while the girl was lying on a rock wall in the background unconscious.”

I think it fair to say that when you raise children to believe they’re animals barely different from apes they grow up to be exactly like apes or less.  I find the whole situation completely disgusting and the kids involved completely depraved.  Perhaps a few years in prison will help them think about their deeds.

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture, Total Depravity



A Bit More on Luther

Portrait drawing of theologian Philip Schaff


As related by Philip Schaff-

Luther’s greatness is not that of a polished work of art, but of an Alpine mountain with towering peaks, rough granite blocks, bracing air, fresh fountains, and green meadows. His polemical books rush along like thunderstorms or turbid mountain torrents. He knew his violent temper, but never took the trouble to restrain it; and his last books against the Papists, the Zwinglians, and the Jews, are his worst, and exceed any thing that is known in the history of theological polemics. In his little tract against the Romish Duke Henry of Brunswick, the word Devil occurs no less than a hundred and forty-six times. At last he could not pray without cursing, as he confessed himself.

What a guy…

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Church History


Unethical Students Become Unethical Citizens

The number of students cheating on university applications soared by a third last year amid rising competition for degree courses.

When they get into the workforce they can continue down their unethical paths and maintain their godlessness in an environment of acceptance and encouragement to evil greedy selfishness lacking completely any regard for truth or others.

Figures show almost 30,000 candidates copied phrases directly from the internet into their personal statement – a detailed note setting out their reasons for choosing a particular course. The 600-word statements are intended to give students the chance to “stand out from the crowd” in an increasingly fraught race for university places. But technology employed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) found more candidates were copying phrases parrot-fashion from the internet and other statements.

But of course such concerns are of no interest to a generation whose parents never demonstrated nor encouraged morality. Most of the kids were probably conceived by single mothers and fathers anyway. Beginning life that way and learning that it’s ‘ok’ only breeds a generation of the unethical and immoral.  So go on kids, be who you are…

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture, Total Depravity


Killed Over a Dog…

An argument over a pet dog may have sparked the murder-suicide of an elderly couple at their home, police said.


Detectives are investigating whether Don Taylor, 80, bludgeoned his estranged wife, Audrey, 75, after the pair rowed over her poodle. It is understood the “small” dog, named Rowan, was found dead alongside the couple at their detached £500,000 house in Bexhill, East Sussex on Wednesday. Before taking his own life Mr Taylor, a former furniture maker, had apparently attached a note to their front door, asking for help. But the couple, who had recently separated, could have been dead for up to four days before the alarm was raised on Wednesday morning. It was claimed that the local postman and a neighbour failed to realise the significance of the note and check on the couple, who were known for feuding.

So amazingly sad. First, that a dog came to be the focal point of their obvious long-time contempt. Second, and most terribly, that no one noticed for so long.  What people will do for a dog.  It’s inhuman.

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Total Depravity


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I Applaud You, Joel Northrup

It’s nice to see that there are still young men who have been raised with values and good sense.

Northrup (left)

An Iowa high school wrestler gave up his chance to become a state champion when he refused to try to pin a female contender. Joel Northrup, a sophomore and 112-pound contestant in the state wrestling tournament, said he didn’t think it was appropriate for girls and boys to wrestle. He was slated to go to the mat with Cassy Herkelman (20-13), the state’s first female state qualifier. “As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner,” Northrup said in a statement released yesterday by Scott Mahmens, athletics director at Linn-Mar High School in Marion, Iowa. “It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high school sports in Iowa.”

I applaud him. Good kids exist, but they seldom find themselves in the news. I hope that no one is foolish enough to deride or denounce or otherwise denigrate the boy for doing what’s the decent thing to do.


Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Modern Culture



Could You Injure Your Child with Acid?

A ‘father’ in Florida did.  And his little boy is only 10.  So ‘dad’ has been charged with attempted murder.

The father at the center of one of the state’s most ghastly child abuse scandals was charged with attempted murder late Thursday night for the critical injuries sustained by one his two 10-year-old adoptive twins – a boy found doused with chemicals inside a pick-up off Interstate 95, West Palm Beach police said.  The new charge against Jorge Barahona, 53, of Miami-Dade, negated a $1 million bail set earlier in the day for the father being held at the Palm Beach County Jail.  He is now being held without bond, according to jail website records.  Police said that at the same time, detectives were expected to execute a search warrant during the night at the Barahonas’ home, where the twins were said to have been tortured. And Barahona’s wife, Carmen, was with Miami-Dade police Thursday night.

Ok mom, why did you let your children suffer?  I don’t get it.  I don’t understand people at all and I don’t think I want to.  I’d rather take a bullet than let my child suffer a trauma of any sort.  I just don’t get it.  I hope that the divine judgment swiftly falls on and crushes this brute.  He’s certainly quite deserving.  And then he can become one of Satan’s toothpicks (a fate, you’ll recall, reserved for child abusers).

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Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Total Depravity


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Farewell, You Drunken Devil

February 18, 1546 was the day that Martin Luther died.  He was a brilliant, pugnacious, vile, brutal, gifted, drunken, magnificent contradiction of a man.  Filled with absolute hatred for anyone and everyone who disagreed with him (think of his hateful remark when he learned of Zwingli’s death), and loyal to the end to people who supported him, even overlooking their heretical tendencies (recall that Melanchthon was a believer in astrology and regularly checked his horoscope).

Luther could drink any of his students under the table and he reveled in that fact.  When he died, the whole world should have mourned.  For, like Mozart, he may have been a complete wreck in so many respects there is no doubt whatsoever that the very hand of God itself was upon him.  And if you have even half an ear, you can still hear the voice of God through him.

Rest in peace, you hateful drunken devil.  Enjoy the blessedness of paradise and try to be nicer to Zwingli.


Posted by on 18 Feb 2011 in Church History