I Was Thinking of Joel Watts…

And my Bible fell open to this verse:

Den Verzagten aber und Ungläubigen, den Greulichen und Totschlägern und Hurern und Zauberern und Abgöttischen und allen Lügnern, deren Teil wird sein in dem Pfuhl, der mit Feuer und Schwefel brennet, welches ist der andere Tod.  – Offen. 21:8

Coincidence?  No such thing exists as coincidence.

Scholarship and Jewishness

At B&I

It is easy to find Bible scholarship by Jews that evidences nothing particularly Jewish. It is also easy to find non-Jewish Bible scholars who display mastery of scholarship produced in modern Hebrew, knowledge of rabbinic traditions, and theological independence from Christian biases regarding the relationship of “Old” and “New” Testament, language which many colleges and universities have abandoned. As in any profession, how a scholar has been trained has an enormous impact. When it comes to the Bible, purely disciplinary considerations prove to be controlling factors, more important than the Jewish dimension.


Rabbi Yehuda Levin: The Jewish Pat Robertson

A New York rabbi claims gay marriage and the earthquake that shook the East Coast are directly connected.  In a video uploaded to YouTube, Levin says gay rights legislation, like the gay marriage law passed in New York, are responsible for earthquakes, like the one that struck Washington, D.C. Tuesday.  “The Talmud states, ‘You have shaken your male member in a place where it doesn’t belong. I too, will shake the Earth,’” Levin says.

Ok I have to admit, that Talmud quote is a scream.  But surely if God were sending judgment for gay marriage in New York wouldn’t the earthquake strike New York?  Directly?  And more than simply knocking over a few lawn chairs?

I think the rabbi has a very poor idea of the power God possesses.  His god is too small!

No Thug Should be Allowed Anonymity

A boy who admitted inciting thefts and criminal damage on a Facebook page during recent riots has been identified after a court lifted an order. Johnny Melfah, 16, of Thames Avenue, Droitwich, Worcestershire, admitted posting comments that were designed to encourage theft and criminal damage. Melfah is thought to be the first juvenile to have his anonymity lifted in a riot-related case. He is due to be sentenced at Worcester Youth court on 14 September.

Everyone should know who the rioters are so that when they see them in the future, they can be on their guard.

If a teenager or adult is willing to harm others or destroy their property or incite others to do it, they should be publicly identified.  No ifs, ands or buts.  Only then will they reconsider their behavior in the future and only then will others similarly inclined hesitate and potentially even abandon their plans.

An Interesting Book (via Theological Musings)

It does look interesting. I especially like that the title has ‘donkey’ rather than ‘Asses’ because ‘ass’ makes the kids giggle and it also may be confused with some bibliobloggers.

Clarity is a desirable thing!

An Interesting Book Old Testament professor at Talbot School of Theology, Kenneth Way, is set to publish his first book next month entitled Donkeys in the Biblical World: Ceremony and Symbol. I must admit, I never thought that a book on donkeys would be the focus of one’s dissertation, but Dr. Way has done just that. If you want  to know more about the book, go check out his blog post at Talbot’s blog. … Read More

via Theological Musings

More Professorial Depravity

It’s the sad tale of the Prof who murdered a student, and then killed himself.

A former University of Idaho professor suspected in the murder of a graduate student there may have been involved in a romantic relationship with the student, the Associated Press reports.  Ernesto Bustamante, 31, apparently committed suicide Monday, hours after student Katy Benoit, 22, was killed in her home near campus. Bustamante had resigned from the university last week.  The Moscow-Pullman Daily News reports that Benoit was shot multiple times with a .45 caliber handgun. Her roommate was home at the time and according to KTVB, Benoit had been on the phone with her parents just 20 minutes earlier.  Bustamante was found Tuesday in a hotel room with a gunshot wound to the head.  Police did not elaborate on the nature of Bustamante and Benoit’s relationship.

Sickening.  Truly.  God help her family.

Facebook has Finally Simplified Privacy Settings

Tackling a complaint that has bedeviled it for years, Facebook on Tuesday announced simplified privacy settings.  The easier-to-use settings will be prominent whenever a user posts a comment, photo or shares their location on the popular social-networking service. Previously, those settings were buried on a back page that many users never saw or used.  Though not earth-shaking, the features are an important nod by Facebook toward nagging concerns among some of its users. The changes go into effect starting Thursday.

Finally.  Changing privacy settings before was like pillaging a small town.  Anyway, be sure to watch the report at the link above.

They Aren’t Apostolic and theirs isn’t any Sort of Reformation

Fresh Air aired a segment today on a movement calling itself the ‘New Apostolic Reformation’.  However, they are neither new, nor apostolic, nor Reformation.  They are nothing more than a thinly disguised political movement pretending to be Christian.

Here’s why:

First, they aren’t new because they’re simply trying to return to the church controlled state of that vile heretic Constantine the (not at all) Great.  Second, they aren’t apostolic because they have no evidence that they’ve been ‘sent’ by God.  And third, they aren’t in any sense a ‘Reformatory’ movement because they don’t hold to Reformed doctrine.

Or as the Westminster Confession so nicely puts it- The Lord Jesus, as King and Head of His Church, hath therein appointed government, in the hand of Church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate. (WCF 30:1).

The Church and the State are distinct and should always be so. Furthermore, as Calvin so astutely notes, persons mixing tasks fall into all manner of confusion:

The last thing to be observed is, that the Lord enjoins every one of us, in all the actions of life, to have respect to our own calling. He knows the boiling restlessness of the human mind, the fickleness with which it is borne hither and thither, its eagerness to hold opposites at one time in its grasp, its ambition. Therefore, lest all things should be thrown into confusion by our folly and rashness, he has assigned distinct duties to each in the different modes of life. And that no one may presume to overstep his proper limits, he has distinguished the different modes of life by the name of callings. Every man’s mode of life, therefore, is a kind of station assigned him by the Lord, that he may not be always driven about at random. So necessary is this distinction, that all our actions are thereby estimated in his sight, and often in a very different way from that in which human reason or philosophy would estimate them. There is no more illustrious deed even among philosophers than to free one’s country from tyranny, and yet the private individual who stabs the tyrant is openly condemned by the voice of the heavenly Judge. But I am unwilling to dwell on particular examples; it is enough to know that in every thing the call of the Lord is the foundation and beginning of right action. He who does not act with reference to it will never, in the discharge of duty, keep the right path. He will sometimes be able, perhaps, to give the semblance of something laudable, but whatever it may be in the sight of man, it will be rejected before the throne of God; and besides, there will be no harmony in the different parts of his life. Hence, he only who directs his life to this end will have it properly framed; because free from the impulse of rashness, he will not attempt more than his calling justifies, knowing that it is unlawful to overleap the prescribed bounds. He who is obscure will not decline to cultivate a private life, that he may not desert the post at which God has placed him. Again, in all our cares, toils, annoyances, and other burdens, it will be no small alleviation to know that all these are under the superintendence of God. The magistrate will more willingly perform his office, and the father of a family confine himself to his proper sphere. Every one in his particular mode of life will, without repining, suffer its inconveniences, cares, uneasiness, and anxiety, persuaded that God has laid on the burden. This, too, will afford admirable consolation, that in following your proper calling, no work will be so mean and sordid as not to have a splendour and value in the eye of God. (Inst. 3.10.6).

In essence the movement is little more than a cult pretending Christianity simply to establish a base of support among those holding similar far-right inclinations.

Stabbed in the Back

On the 24th of August, 1528, Huldrych Zwingli published the forward to a new volume by Caspar Schwenckfeld of Ossig, Zwinglis Vorrede zu Schwenckfelds ‘Anweisung’.  In it he congratulated Schwenkfeld on his good work and his insightful comprehension of the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.  After all, Schwenkfeld wrote, among other things, that

The Holy Spirit is not bound to any earthly word.  Rather, Christ, the True Word of God, gives himself in the Holy Spirit apart from external mediation to the believing children of God.

Unfortunately Schwenkfeld had asked Zwingli to write the forward to his volume without telling him that he (Zwingli) would soon himself be the target of his (Schwenkfeld’s) attack.  In short, Schwenkfeld deceived, and used Zwingli and then stabbed him in the back.

The wretch was rightly driven from his home in 1529 and lived the rest of his days wandering, unwelcome, from town to town.  And it was a right long wandering, since he didn’t die until 1561, despised by Reformed, Lutheran, and Catholic.

More Stupid Drunk Tricks

Via Antonio, from whom I also swiped this awesome photo!

A Sacramento priest has been suspended from active ministry after parents complained that he appeared drunk Saturday during a church baptism. The Rev. Julian Medina, part-time parochial vicar at All Hallows Church in Sacramento’s Tahoe Park neighborhood, has been removed from ministry indefinitely, according to church officials. Medina, 64, arrived an hour late for the afternoon ceremony in which he was to preside over the baptism of 15 children. The priest slurred his words, had difficulty walking and later fell down, according to witnesses. “We apologize to the families who had to experience this incident,” said the Rev. Santiago Raudes, canon lawyer for the Catholic Diocese of Sacramento. A church deacon was called in to finish the baptism. About 150 people were at the church for the sacrament, according to Raudes. After Medina fell, church members carried the priest to the rectory.

At this point I’d have to say that it’s probably good that Catholics don’t baptize properly, or the little thing might have been drowned.

The Cargills

Are home, in Iowa.

getting settled into iowa city the last 4 weeks have been a time of monumental transition and emotion for me and for my family. in the past month, we packed all that we own into storage containers, moved out of our agoura hills condo, moved in with my mom just south of yosemite, experienced the birth of our son, maclaren, loaded all that we own into two m … Read More

via XKV8R: The Official Blog of Dr. Robert R. Cargill

Those Wretched Speed Cameras Actually Increase Casualties

The Telegraph reports

Speed cameras have failed to cut accidents on many roads and have actually led to a rise in casualties on some routes, official figures show today.

Ministers fear that thousands of cameras have served only to raise millions from motorists, rather than improve safety. The findings, from an initial sample of 75 local authorities, will prompt the Government to call on every council to publish detailed information on each speed camera site, including accident rates and how much has been raised in fines.

Ministers hope that local authorities will succumb to pressure to remove the controversial devices if the information does not demonstrate that accidents have been cut. Mike Penning, the road safety minister, said: “For the first time we are shining the light of transparency on the performance of speed cameras. “People want to know that if their tax money is being spent on speed cameras that they are actually making their roads safer, not just raising money.

The same is true here. Speed cameras don’t do anything for public safety, they only serve to fleece the driving public and line the pockets of the camera operators and municipalities which install them. They are thievery that’s government sponsored.

Greek’s and their Criminals… Weird

Traditional Polish pączki

It took an undercover operation, but Greek police have blown a hole in a ring of alleged crooks who had cornered the doughnut market in a beach resort.

It started with complaints that two Bulgarian men and a former Greek wrestling champion were using violence to choke off the trade by other doughnut vendors on Paliouri beach in the Halkidiki peninsula near Thessaloniki.  So an undercover officer posed as a doughnut seller, police said Tuesday, and he was attacked, leading to the arrest of the three aggressive doughnut sellers.  As a result, they have been charged with blackmail and fraud. They also were charged with food safety violations after police found they had stashed their product in an abandoned hotel that was open to the elements and used by bathers as a toilet.

I guess it’s better to corner the doughnut market than it is the meth market.