Daily Archives: 16 Aug 2011

It’s Time to Make Begging a Thing of the Past

Luther once remarked

I will not quarrel with anyone about it, but I think it would be more fitting if there were no more begging in Christendom under the New Testament than among the Jews under the Old Testament; I hold that the spiritual and temporal authorities would be discharging their duty properly if they did away with all the beggars sacks.

By providing for the needy so that begging becomes unnecessary.  Take that, Tea People.

[On the topic of poverty and the responsibility of Church and State to its victims one could hardly do better than to consult Luther’s little volume titled Ordinance of a Common Chest, Luther’s Works, Volume 45, Page 162ff].

That Dead Megachurch Pastor: They Found Drugs

Because 40 something’s don’t generally just drop over dead,

The Florida megachurch pastor discovered dead in a Times Square hotel room was found with a white powdery substance believed to be narcotics, police sources have told several newspapers. Zachery Tims, founder of Orlando’s 8,000-member New Destiny Christian Center, was discovered by hotel workmen lying on his back between the bedroom and living area of his Manhattan room. A glassine envelope of white powder was found in the pocket of the shorts he was wearing, a source told the Wall Street Journal. Police are awaiting autopsy results and tests on the powder. There were no signs of trauma on the body of the 42-year-old pastor, and no indications of a robbery, according to police.

It seems he turned back to his old ways.  He was, before his megachurch pastoring, a drug addict.  Sad.

‘Christ Our Captain’: An Introduction to Huldrych Zwingli

My editor has informed me that ‘Christ our Captain’: An Introduction to Huldrych Zwingli (Quartz Hill Publishing, 2011) is available!

I’m really quite pleased with this one and if you have any interest at all in Zwingli might I encourage you to get a copy?

I think you’ll like it.  Peter Opitz, at the University of Zurich does.  And he knows the Reformation and the Reformers!

Oh This is INFURIATING!

Look at that!  Just LOOK!!!!  the ‘Pastor’ is standing outside the baptistery and immersing the kid without even bothering to get anything more than his hands wet!

That’s INFURIATING.  Those sorts of baptisteries that are divided or that don’t necessitate the person performing the baptism to join in are an abomination.  What makes pastors who use such bestial creations born in the pit of hell itself think that they are above getting a little wet?

Are they too good to be damp?  Are they so important they can’t get their Armani trousers wet?  Are they above the persons they’re baptizing, separated from them by a barrier of disconnectedness?

If one person with one ounce of sense can demonstrate from Scripture that baptism was performed in such a prattish self serving manner than I’ll adopt the practice myself.  Until then, those who use baptisteries that seclude the baptizer from the baptized should be denounced by all lovers of the truth as abominable bastardizations of the rite and ordinance.

Breaking News! SBL Admits to Fallibility!!!!

Here’s the email which just arrived wherein the SBL admits to fallibility!!!!

Due to a human error an Annual Meeting registration reminder was sent to many members by mistake this morning. We apologize for this error. The email was meant for a small number of members participating in the program in San Francisco who have not yet registered. Please do not feel the need to reply to this email which was sent in error. Again, let us apologize for this error.

SBL Annual Meeting Team

That’s what they get for letting the horribly fallible Jeremy Thompson send emails.

Another Quote of the Day

Were some watcher or holy one from the bright world above to come among us for a time with the power to diagnose the spiritual ills of church people, there is one entry which I am quite sure would appear on the vast majority of his reports: Definite evidence of chronic spiritual lassitude; level of moral enthusiasm extremely low.  — A.W. Tozer

Israel’s Racism

In an unprecedented move, the Interior Ministry announced Tuesday that it intends on deporting a four-year-old girl, the daughter of a foreign worker, who was born and educated in Israel.   Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority on Tuesday arrested the girl and her mother, originally from the Philippines, who are currently in a holding facility in Ben-Gurion International Airport, ahead of their deportation from the country.  The four-year-old was born in Israel and since then has been attending to kindergartens in the Tel Aviv Municipality.

I hope the good and decent Israelis hit the streets for this in the same numbers that they hit the streets when it came to the question of housing!  How could they do otherwise?  This is an unspeakable immorality and the government should be brought to account for it.  It is gross racism of the worst kind.

With thanks to Antonio Lombatti for mentioning this great evil on FB.

Quote of the Day

There are three sorts of those who profess the Gospel;

1- there are those who feign piety, while a bad conscience reproves them within;

2- the hypocrisy of others is more deceptive, who not only seek to disguise themselves before men, but also dazzle their own eyes, so that they seem to themselves to worship God aright;

and 3- the third are those who have the living root of faith, and carry a testimony of their own adoption firmly fixed in their hearts.   — John Calvin

Android Malware and Google+

CNET reports

A new flavor of Android malware is disgusing itself as a Google+ app in an attempt to capture instant messages, GPS, location, call logs, and other sensitive data.  Uncovered by the team at Trend Micro, the new malware known as ANDROIDOS_NICKISPY.C can also automatically answer and record phone calls. To capture data, the app loads at boot-up and runs certain services that can monitor messages, phone calls, and the user’s location, thereby stealing e-mail and other content.  Detailing its findings in a blog last Friday, Trend Micro discovered that the malicious app tries to trick people by installing itself under the name Google++.

Just so you know…  malware is to computers what angry atheists are to life on planet earth.

Just a Reminder to Christian, And Others- There’s No Such Thing as an ‘Ex-Christian’

Someone may call himself an ‘ex-minister’ and may have even fooled his congregation into thinking he was a minister of the Gospel for a time, but the truth is, such creatures never were authentically ministers of any sort because they never were Christians.  As John astutely remarks-

ἐξ ἡμῶν ἐξῆλθαν, ἀλλ᾽ οὐκ ἦσαν ἐξ ἡμῶν. ει᾽ γὰρ ἦσαν ἐξ ἡμῶν, μεμενήκεισαν ἂν μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν. ἀλλ᾽ ἵνα φανερωθῶσιν. ὅτι οὐκ εἰσὶν πάντες ἐξ ἡμῶν. (1Jo 2:19).

Let’s unpack that a little just for the sake of clarity:

– People who ‘leave’ the faith never were believers in the first place.  Not authentically.
– When they depart, the fact of their falsehood is made known to one and all.
– If they remain within the faith, their faith is authentic.
– The fact that they have ‘departed’ only shows that they never really belonged.

In short, there is no such thing as an ‘ex Christian’ because such persons were never Christian in the first place- they were merely pretending to be. Sure, they can stamp their little feet and claim the contrary, but John is right and they are wrong.

Wisdom

An Arab Proverb

(1) He that knows not and knows not that he knows not;
He is a fool—shun him!

(2) He that knows not and knows that he knows not;
He is simple—teach him!

(3) He that knows and knows not that he knows;
He is asleep—wake him!

(4) He that knows and knows that he knows;
He is a wise man—follow him!

The Cost of the London Riots, and Other Stuff

Via Jonathan Stökl on the FB-

Highest estimated cost of riots: £100m.
Tax Avoidance by Vodafone: £6 Billion.
Tax spent on Libyan intervention: £1 Billion.
Tax avoidance in 2010 by richest people in UK: £7 Billion.
Tax payers bill for banking crisis: £131 Billion.
Tax money spent in Iraqi conflict: £4.5 billion.
Tax money spent on Afghan conflict(up until 2007): £7 billion.
Total MP expenses bill (2007): £87.6m.
Perspective: priceless

The US has wasted even more for wars and the rich.  Thanks, Washington…

Book Recommendation

The REAL Blog Rankings: The Mid-Month Edition

You don’t have to take the word of some sketchy programming (which – as far as you know may be using some script or code to capture your keystrokes thus allowing its owner to hack into your bank account and other sensitive information) when you can take the word of the profoundly neutral Alexa (the only real site stat meter used by real biblio- and theo-bloggers- after all, any ‘biblical studies blogger list’ which features an atheist at the top?  Oh please!).

Anyway, here are the screenshots of stats from your favorite bibliblogs (captured at 7:45 this morning, Eastern time).  Check out your own REAL standing by visiting Alexa and plugging in your URL (unless you are hosted by some service like Beliefnet or Patheos, in which case it isn’t your blog stats that are revealed but the stats of the entire site) –

Insights from the Heildelberg Catechism

Why did Jesus die on the Cross and not, say, by stoning or by drowning or just in his sleep?  If he died for our sins, isn’t it his death itself that matters and not so much the means by which he died?

The Heidelberg Catechism has the answer-

Question 39. Is there anything more in his being “crucified”, than if he had died some other death?

Answer: Yes there is; for thereby I am assured, that he took on him the curse which lay upon me; (a) for the death of the cross was accursed of God. (b)

(a) Gal.3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (b) Deut.21:23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

It isn’t just the means of death but the meaning of that means!

Schlatter’s Devotional Work

Here’s a book Adolf Schlatter wrote that’s wonderfully inspiring.  It’s a daily devotional and follows the usual pattern of such things with a scripture passage followed by devotional thoughts for the day.  I don’t know if the German edition is available anymore, but there’s an English translation.

I think if you get a copy you’ll both enjoy it and be benefited by it.

The Damascus Gate Restoration Project

Via Joseph Lauer, from the Israel Antiquities Authority:

After extensive conservation work on the largest and most impressive of Jerusalem’s gates, which took nearly a year to complete, visitors there can now enjoy the gate in all its splendor just as the public experienced it for hundreds of years, until the ‘crown’ was damaged in the battles of 1967

The conservation of the gate was carried out as part of the Jerusalem City Wall Conservation Project, in cooperation with the Jerusalem Development Authority, the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Prime Minister’s Office

For hundreds of years, when visitors arrived in Jerusalem and entered the city by way of Damascus Gate – the largest and most magnificent of Jerusalem’s gates – they glanced up and saw the large ‘crown’ that the sultan Suleiman the Magnificent built atop the gate in 1538 CE.

But in 1967 the gate sustained serious damage and the crown was destroyed during the fighting in the Six Day War. Now, the Jerusalem Development Authority, in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority and with funding provided by the Prime Minister’s Office, is concluding a comprehensive project of rehabilitating Damascus Gate, during which the gate was cleaned of the effects from the ravages of time and its ornamentation was restored, including the magnificent ‘crown’ at the top of the gate.

Here are some before and after photos, courtesy of the IAA-

A Schlatter Slideshow

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On The Anniversary of the Birth of Adolf Schlatter

That profoundly gifted exegete and theologian Adolf Schlatter was born on the 16th of August in 1852.   His productivity was second to none as he published commentaries on every book of the New Testament (some for general readers and some more advanced), dogmatics, ethics, devotional materials, philosophy, history, and even an introduction to the entire Bible.

Only a fragment of his work has been translated into English and consequently he is barely known (if at all).  This is a real shame, as he has much to say that’s worth hearing.

Not that everyone cares for his work, or even him.  Both Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann studied for a time under him and neither of them were very impressed.  And in more recent times, Gerd Ludemann has found him wanting because of his apparent support of the Nazi party (which, I hasten to add, was not the case at all!).

I’ll be mentioning a number of his publications throughout the day.  I honestly hope you’ll get to know the man and his work.  Not at second hand (which is never the proper way to learn anyone or anything) but for yourself, through his words.

The Value of the Perseus Collection (via Theological Musings)

Nicely argued.

The Value of the Perseus Collection  I am sure most of you who read this blog know by now that Logos is gearing up to publish the massive Perseus Collection. I am still in shock that they are releasing all of this for free! Soon we will have at our fingerprints a wealth of information that can help shed light on many historical, cultural, and grammatical issues. So, if you haven’t yet jumped over to the pre-pub page at Logos I suggest you do that pronto! (but finish reading this fi … Read More

via Theological Musings