Daily Archives: 29 May 2011

I Wish People Wouldn’t Make Artistic Representations of Jesus

When they do, they inevitably do stuff that’s just beyond annoying.

via Craig Martin on FB.


Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Modern Culture


When You’re Paranoid, Even a 7 Year Old Looks Dangerous

Jerusalem policemen arrested a Palestinian seven-year-old child, relatives said on Sunday, claiming that the boy was battered by police officers during his arrest.  The boy’s parents, residents of the East Jerusalem village of Silawn, said they searched for their son for two hours in several police stations, without the police providing any information as to his whereabouts.

So wrong.  Even IF the boy were a threat, letting his parents go from station to station in worry is just inhuman.  And roughing a little kid like that up, well that’s just cowardly bullying and wicked intimidation.

According to family members, the second grader was arrested during play. His father, who noticed policemen arresting his son, attempted to intervene, and in the ensuing scuffle was sprayed in his face with pepper spray and was evacuated to receive medical care.  The boy’s aunt was also injured, later treated for what appeared to be wounds related to an anti-demonstration projectile. According to the police account, the boy had been hurling stones, when, after he had attempted to escape, he was apprehended in a house along with two adults who were also suspected of hurling stones.

Sickening.  And utterly unjustifiable.  But when you’re cruel to people you have ample reason to suspect everyone that you’re oppressing.  It’s actions exactly like this that make Palestinians enraged enough to strap bombs to themselves.  Unjustifiable actions by foolish and thuggish police who act more like Storm Troopers than law enforcement officers.

Finally, the boy was found by his mother waiting in a Israel Boarder Police vehicle near Silwan. He arrived at a police station after being held up in the police car for two hours, where he was investigated along with his mother for suspicions he had hurled stones. He was eventually released about four-and-a-half hours after his arrest.

Absurd.  And perverse.  This regime is the one the US chooses to support??????  They probably would have been happy just to shoot the kid.

Jerusalem police said in response that “as a result of repeated incidents in which stones were hurled at police officers two suspects were arrested, who forcibly resisted arrest, which necessitated the use of pepper spray.”

At this point it’s pretty easy to assume that the police are lying.  And even if they aren’t, why should anyone believe them?

No, it’s not at all surprising that this kind of treatment provokes real rage among Palestinians.   The Israelis who behave this way are just adding gas to the flames.


Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Total Depravity


Insights From the Heidelberg Catechism

The Apostle’s Creed asserts of Christ that he ‘descended into hell’.  While generally overlooked these days as either irrelevant or absurd, the Heidelberg Catechism is right on point on the matter.

Question 44. Why is there added, “he descended into hell”?

Answer: That in my greatest temptations, I may be assured, and wholly comfort myself in this, that my Lord Jesus Christ, by his inexpressible anguish, pains, terrors, and hellish agonies, in which he was plunged during all his sufferings, (a) but especially on the cross, has delivered me from the anguish and torments of hell. (b)

(a) Ps.18:5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me. Ps.18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears. Ps.116:3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Matt.26:38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. Heb.5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Isa.53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Matt.27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (b) Isa.53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

The descent into hell isn’t simply a reference to Jesus’ journey to a place.  It is a theological declaration insisting that Jesus has experienced the depths of life’s horrors and consequently can aid us in those times when we too descend into the pit.

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Theology


Murderous Madness in the Name of ‘Faith’

A mother faces up to 45 years in jail after being found guilty of killing her son in a botched exorcism.

Since when are exorcisms, even in the Bible, violent? Even a casual reading of the exorcisms performed by Jesus shows they were never some sort of violent display on his part. Words are spoken, that’s it. So what gives people these days the right to do all manner of violent and insane things and call them ‘acts of faith’ or ‘exorcisms’? It’s nothing more than murderous madness parading as faith.

Latisha Lawson, 31, forced her two-year-old son Jezaih to drink a vile mixture of olive oil and vinegar as part of a ritual to drive the devil from his body.

Anywhere in the Bible suggest such lunacy?

As he choked on the liquid she held her hand over his mouth to stop him vomiting and crushed his neck.

Nope, don’t bother looking, that’s not in there either.

Jurors heard Lawson had wanted to drive a demon named as “Marzon” from her son’s body. She had become convinced that her son was possessed and blamed herself because she did not profess her love for God while she was pregnant.

Then maybe she’s the possessed one. She’s certainly the evil one.  And she certainly shouldn’t be let within 500 miles of a bible.

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Total Depravity


Self Love

Self love is the disease or defect from which all our ills come forth as from a trojan horse.  — Huldrych Zwingli

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Theology, Zwingli


Britain is (Seriously) Running Out of Wind…

I find this amazing but I do have a cure, or a solution.

Despite the freak gales that battered parts of the country last week, climate experts are warning that many of Britain’s wind farms may soon run out of puff.

The solution: ship the following to Britain where MORE than enough hot air will be generated to power the wind farms of the country, forever-

The US Congress. The Judiciary. The White House. And finally, but most importantly, the ‘Top’ 10 bibliobloggers determined ‘scientifically’ via ‘voting’  (thanks to the nearly dozen people who vote!)

1. James McGrath, Exploring Our Matrix
2. Daniel O. McClellan
3. James Bradford Pate, James’ Thoughts and Musings
4. Jim Davila, Paleojudaica
5. Andrew Byers and Joel Busby, Hopeful Realism
6. Stephen Douglas, Undeception
7. Various, Biologos
8. Kurk Gayle, Aristotle’s Feminist Subject
9. Kevin Brown, Diglotting
10. J. R. Daniel Kirk, Storied Theology

Wind problem solved.   Next world issue to resolve?

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Humor


More Than Ever Before, The Christian Church Must Affirm the Theological Declaration of Barmen

The anniversary of the Barmen Synod and the Theological Declaration that sprang from it is upon us.  More than ever, the Church needs to reaffirm it’s message.  It has too long, especially in the United States, bowed at the altar of government support even when the government has acted contrary to both the Gospel and its own purpose.  The Church must remind itself that it is never an arm of the State.  Once that is what it becomes, it betrays its Lord its Calling and its Mission

The opening of the Declaration asserts

The Confessional Synod of the German Evangelical Church met in Barmen, May 29-31, 1934. Here representatives from all the German Confessional Churches met with one accord in a confession of the one Lord of the one, holy, apostolic Church. In fidelity to their Confession of Faith, members of Lutheran, Reformed, and United Churches sought a common message for the need and temptation of the Church in our day. With gratitude to God they are convinced that they have been given a common word to utter. It was not their intention to found a new Church or to form a union. For nothing was farther from their minds than the abolition of the confessional status of our Churches. Their intention was, rather, to withstand in faith and unanimity the destruction of the Confession of Faith, and thus of the Evangelical Church in Germany. In opposition to attempts to establish the unity of the German Evangelical Church by means of false doctrine, by the use of force and insincere practices, the Confessional Synod insists that the unity of the Evangelical Churches in Germany can come only from the Word of God in faith through the Holy Spirit. Thus alone is the Church renewed.

And it asserts-

We confess the following evangelical truths:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14.6). “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. . . . I am the door; if anyone enters by me, he will be saved.” (John 10:1, 9.)

Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.

-We reiect the false doctrine, as though the church could and would have to acknowledge as a source of its proclamation, apart from and besides this one Word of God, still other events and powers, figures and truths, as God’s revelation.

“Christ Jesus, whom God has made our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption.” (1 Cor. 1:30.)

As Jesus Christ is God’s assurance of the forgiveness of all our sins, so, in the same way and with the same seriousness he is also God’s mighty claim upon our whole life. Through him befalls us a joyful deliverance from the godless fetters of this world for a free, grateful service to his creatures.

-We reiect the false doctrine, as though there were areas of our life in which we would not belong to Jesus Christ, but to other lords–areas in which we would not need justification and sanctification through him.

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body [is] joined and knit together.” (Eph. 4:15,16.)

The Christian Church is the congregation of the brethren in which Jesus Christ acts presently as the Lord in Word and sacrament through the Holy Spirit. As the Church of pardoned sinners, it has to testify in the midst of a sinful world, with its faith as with its obedience, with its message as with its order, that it is solely his property, and that it lives and wants to live solely from his comfort and from his direction in the expectation of his appearance.

-We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church were permitted to abandon the form of its message and order to its own pleasure or to changes in prevailing ideological and political convictions.

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men excercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant.” (Matt. 20:25,26.)

The various offices in the Church do not establish a dominion of some over the others; on the contrary, they are for the excercise of the ministry entrusted to and enjoined upon the whole congregation.

-We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church, apart from this ministry, could and were permitted to give itself, or allow to be given to it, special leaders vested with ruling powers.

“Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:17.)

Scripture tells us that, in the as yet unredeemed world in which the Church also exists, the State has by divine appointment the task of providing for justice and peace. [It fulfills this task] by means of the threat and exercise of force, according to the measure of human judgment and human ability. The Church acknowledges the benefit of this divine appointment in gratitude and reverence before him. It calls to mind the Kingdom of God, God’s commandment and righteousness, and thereby the responsibility both of rulers and of the ruled. It trusts and obeys the power of the Word by which God upholds all things.

-We reject the false doctrine, as though the State, over and beyond its special commision, should and could become the single and totalitarian order of human life, thus fulfilling the Church’s vocation as well.
– We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church, over and beyond its special commission, should and could appropriate the characteristics, the tasks, and the dignity of the State, thus itself becoming an organ of the State.

“Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matt. 28:20.) “The word of God is not fettered.” (2 Tim. 2:9.)

The Church’s commission, upon which its freedom is founded, consists in delivering the message of the free grace of God to all people in Christ’s stead, and therefore in the ministry of his own Word and work through sermon and sacrament.

-We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church in human arrogance could place the Word and work of the Lord in the service of any arbitrarily chosen desires, purposes, and plans.

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Modern Culture, Theology


Love Doesn’t Win in Modern America, Promiscuity Does

Three mornings a week, when Becky Leung gets ready for work, her boyfriend is just getting home from his overnight job. When her mother drops hints about her twin sister’s marriage, she laughs it off. And when she thinks about getting married herself, she worries first about her career.

In short, she’s more interested in sex outside marriage and money than she is in marriage and family responsibility. Love, in the truest and most meaningful sense of the word, loses, and promiscuity and selfish ambition win.

Data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau shows married couples have found themselves in a new position: They’re no longer the majority. It’s a trend that’s been creeping along for decades, but in the 2010 Census, married couples represent 48 percent of all households. That’s down from 52 percent in the last Census and, for the first time in U.S. history, puts households led by married couples as a plurality. … The flip in the 2010 Census happened in 32 states. In another seven states, less than 51 percent of households were helmed by married couples. The reason, said Portland State University demographer Charles Rynerson, is twofold: The fast-growing older population is more likely to be divorced or widowed later in life, and 20-somethings are putting off their nuptials for longer stretches. “People in their 20s are postponing marriage for many reasons, including money,” Rynerson said. “We also have an aging population, so there’s more people living alone.”


… the Census Bureau reported last year that opposite-sex unmarried couples living together jumped 13 percent from 2009 to 7.5 million.

So there it is.  America as it looks today.

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Modern Culture


Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now?

Having a barbecue!

Oh Chris, Chris, Chris…

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Humor


Quote of the Day

“Worship is no longer worship when it reflects the culture around us more than the Christ within us.” AW Tozer

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Theology


Tel Aviv University Announcement

The Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures of Tel Aviv University, in cooperation with TAU’s School for Overseas Students (OSP), is pleased to announce two $5,000 scholarships for international students in the new one year international program for overseas M.A. students – Archaeology and History of the Land of the Bible.

The new MA program (and a credit program for Ph.D. students) is the first of its kind in Israel, providing an exclusive window into the fields of archaeology and the history of ancient Israel. Students will study the period starting at the end of the 2nd millennium BCE up through to the Muslim conquest in the 7th century CE and explore a variety of issues through lectures, seminars, field trips, study of the Bible and Modern Hebrew, and hands-on participation in archaeological excavations.

For the upcoming academic year, starting October 30, 2011, two $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to two outstanding students who wish to broaden their knowledge and understanding of ancient Israel. The scholarships will be granted to students chosen by an academic committee (Profs. Israel Finkelstein, Oren Tal and Oded Lipschits), based on submitted academic CVs, final transcripts from students’ previous academic institutions and an abstract of final papers or theses.

To find out more about the program and to apply for scholarships please visit the temporary homepage here.

Or Contact the Program director – Ms. Nadin Reshef ( Applications should be submitted no later than August 31, 2011.

Via Israel Finkelstein

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Archaeology


Turn Left, Turn Left, Turn Left, Crash

There.  I’ve summarized the entire sum and substance of the Indianapolis 500.  Now you don’t have to bother watching people waste fuel, speed crazily, pass and be passed, turn only left, and inevitably view a crash.  You know everything that’s going to happen.  Your evening is now freed up.

You’re welcome.


Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Modern Culture


Joel Wants me Dead. He Says So Himself!

Here.  And I quote

I can … be number one… this is the Mirror Universe where Spock (episode 33/39) has to kill Kirk to take over the Enterprise to make the cosmos a safer place.

See!!!!  [Pay no mind to the material in the ellipses- I’ve just shortened the sentence to make it briefer.  Yeah, that’s it].

If I’m killed I think Joel should be suspect #1.  And the mennonite suspect #2.  And NT Wright suspect #3. And…

[NB- Evidently the scrapping to the top will continue till the day of the official rankings.  Which will, doubtless, be wrong the next hour…]


Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Modern Culture


Veterans Affairs has no Business in Telling People How they can Pray

So good for the judge who blocked them from doing so.  If people want to end their prayers in Jesus’ name, that’s no concern of the government.

A federal judge in Texas has told the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs that it cannot censor a pastor’s invocation at a Memorial Day ceremony.  The VA had ordered the Rev. Scott Rainey to remove a phrase using Jesus Christ from the prayer, arguing the line excluded other beliefs held by veterans, KHOU-TV in Houston reported.  On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Lynn Hughes disagreed, writing the government cannot “gag citizens when it says it is in the interest of national security, and it cannot do it in some bureaucrat’s notion of cultural homogeneity,” according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.

A sensible judge.  Who knew they existed.  And of all places, in Texas!  And her reason is just simply brilliant (bold print above).  Kudos to her.

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Modern Culture


Kostenberger Krushed

J.B. does a good job showing the weakness, and illegitimacy, of Andreas (Bodenstein von Karlstadt) Kostenberger’s ‘argument’ which does nothing more than make women fourth class citizens of the human race.

Kostenberger (K) refers to Andreas Kostenberger “The Crux of the Matter: Paul’s Pastoral Pronouncements Regarding Women’s Roles in 1 Timothy 2:9-15” in Studies on John and Gender, 253-254. Marshall (M) refers to Marshall, I. Howard. “Women in Ministry: A Further Look at 1 Timothy 2.” Pages 53-78 in Women, Ministry and the Gospel. Edited by M. Husbands and T. Larsen. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2008. Winter refers to Winter, Bruce W. Roman W … Read More

via Walking Towards Jerusalem

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Bible, Theology


Interesting MB II rural cultic site near Jerusalem

Aren has the details. Sort of.

Just came back from a very interesting visit to the excavations of a rural MB II cultic site near Jerusalem. Since the site has not been published in any manner as of yet (and keep in mind that the excavations are still in the field), I won’t add any information besides this. Whatever the case, is definitely a very interesting site which will add important data on the MB II in the central hills – a topic that is insufficiently known, as well as i … Read More

via The Tell es-Safi/Gath Excavations Official (and Unofficial) Weblog

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Posted by on 29 May 2011 in Archaeology