Daily Archives: 26 Aug 2011

On Marriage and Divorce: The Westminster Confession

Of Marriage and Divorce

I. Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at the same time.

II. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness.

III. It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent.  Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord.  And therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies.

IV. Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word.  Nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife.  The man may not marry any of his wife’s kindred, nearer in blood then he may of his own: nor the woman of her husband’s kindred, nearer in blood than of her own.

V. Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, gives just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract.  In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead.

VI. Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God has joined together in marriage: yet, nothing but adultery, or such wilful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church, or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage: wherein, a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wills, and discretion, in their own case.

You know, if you think about it, that’s all really quite spot on.  The only justification for abandoning the WCF’s attitude is to satisfy our own inclinations.  The Reformed confessions really are quite remarkable.

You Know, Dear People, I’m on the Skype

Feel free to ring me up whenever you like- my skype ‘address’ (is that what we call it?) is drjewest.  (Not, as Bob Cargill once humorously suggested, because I’m the jewest, but because my initials are J.E.W.  And no, I won’t tell you what the E stands for so don’t ask).

I love the skype.

Text, Theology and Trowel: New Research in the Biblical World

Wipf and Stock have a new volume that looks – admittedly – pretty interesting:  Text, Theology and Trowel: New Research in the Biblical World, ed. by Jason Silverman and Lidia Matassa.

Text, Theology, and Trowel consists of ten essays on the understanding and reception of the Hebrew Bible in Judaism and Christianity. Textual exegesis, historical contexts, and modern reception of the Hebrew text are placed side by side to encourage interdisciplinary study. Two theologically minded essays are included to help overcome the biblical studies/theology dichotomy. By placing such divergent approaches together, this volume will help expand ways of thinking about the Bible and its cognate fields.

Here’s the table of contents (with thanks to the editor for providing it) –

List of Illustrations and Tables / vii

Preface / ix

Acknowledgments / xi

Introduction—A. D. H. Mayes, Trinity College Dublin / xiii
List of Abbreviations / xv

1 The Divine Designations in Biblical Texts: Towards a Hermeneutical Model—Máire Byrne, St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth / 1

2 Danger at the King’s Table: Insult and Family Conflict at Saul’s New Moon Feast—Killian McAleese, Trinity College Dublin / 24

3 Life-and-Death Advice from a Conservative Sage: Qohelet’s Perspective on Life after Death—Hans Debel, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven / 39

4 Two Jewish-American Interpretations of the Book of Job in the Aftermath of the Holocaust: A Short Discussion of the Relationship between Job’s Modern Reception and Its Ancient Production—David C. Tollerton, University of Bristol / 59

5 W Where have all the Female Prophets Gone? Women and Prophetic Communication in Mari—Jonathan Stökl, University
of Oxford / 75

6 Problems with the Identification of a Synagogue in the Hasmonaean Estate at Jericho: Archaeological and Historiographical Issues—Lidia D. Matassa, Trinity College
Dublin / 95

7 Iranian-Judaean Interaction in the Achaemenid Period
—Jason M. Silverman, Trinity College Dublin / 133

8 H How Not to Raise Children: From Adam to David—
A Contemporary Theological Perspective—Peter Admirand, Trinity College Dublin / 169

9 E Ethics as Cross-Cultural Reaction: Deuteronomic Ethics as a Reaction to Manassean Multiculturalism—Carly L. Crouch, University of Oxford / 182

10 Illuminating Darkness: Mystical Strategies for Biblical Interpretation in Judaism and Christianity—John Robinson, Irish School of Ecumenics, Trinity College Dublin / 204

I’ve added it to my Amazon wishlist.

The Biography of F.F. Bruce

F.F. Bruce: A Life is set to be published here in the States in early 2012.  The Germans can already get it though.

Tim Grass outlines the life of F. F. Bruce, one of the most significant Evangelical scholars of the 20th century. He does so with originality,insight and a grasp of the implications for the church today. Evangelicals have often wrestled with two problems: the relation between academic theology and church life, and the quest for recognition of their status as credible interpreters of the Bible. Frederick Fyvie Bruce (1910 1990) was one of the most influential British biblical scholars of the twentieth century, and his career offers valuable insights into these issues, as well as shedding light on the ways in which Evangelicalism was changing from the 1950s onwards.


Ghastly ‘Parenting’

A Florida couple whose pet Burmese python crushed the woman’s 2-year-old daughter to death have been sentenced to 12 years in prison each on manslaughter and child neglect charges. Experts testified that the 8-foot-long snake was severely underweight and had tried to eat the child whole, reports the New York Daily News. The python’s tank had only a quilt for a lid and it had escaped 10 times in the two months before it killed the toddler.

I know a woman who cares more about her pet snake than she does her children.  These Floridians, unfortunately, aren’t alone in their dreadful priorities.

Talk About the Pot Calling the Kettle Black… Pat Robertson is Cracked Himself

You knew it was coming: another of Pat Robertson’s ‘I think I’m a prophet’ pronouncements:

Televangelist Pat Robertson suggested Wednesday that cracks in the Washington Monument caused by the August 23 earthquake could be a sign from God, and the natural disaster “means that we’re closer to the coming of the Lord.”  To explain the rare east coast quake, Robertson pointed to the Biblical prophecy of the end of the world, which claims there could be potential devastation from natural disasters leading up to Jesus’ return to Earth.

There’s just so much crack that one can manage Pat.  And it isn’t the Washington obelisk that shows the real signs of decay and imminent destruction.

You’ve already proven yourself a false-‘prophet’ on dozens of occasions.  Your followers, Pat, are as delusional as you to keep sending you funds and keep you polluting the airwaves with your dilettantism.  Oh, and speaking of, here’s your well deserved dilly-

Was Jesus Judgmental? You Bet!

A Priest asks the question and gives sort of the same answer as the post title indicates in an essay today in the Guardian.

The priest is right in that the picture soft Christians paint of Jesus is to make him more comfortable to live with.  But he’s dreadfully wrong to say

There is one solution to the problem of Jesus’ unacceptable sayings, which Christians have found almost impossible to use because of the cognitive dissonance it creates for them. It is to say, quite clearly, “Even if Jesus said them, they are unacceptable. They simply don’t fit with the image of God’s kingdom of love, mercy and forgiveness which is actually at the centre of his preaching and ministry. They are an embarrassment in our Bible, and we are no longer going to tie ourselves in semantic knots to finesse them away.”

Oh my.  Who’s afraid of the Judgmental Jesus?  Only those who have reason to fear judgment.  Remember, the last sentence of the guilty is always ‘don’t judge me’.  The reason modern Christians are uncomfortable with the so called ‘hard sayings of Jesus’ is because they don’t want to take him seriously.  They’re too enamored of their own high-minded dilettantism to really hear and heed what it is that Jesus requires.  Indeed, they don’t want Jesus to require anything at all, so they evade and avoid and eisegete.

And most of all they really, really wish he had never called people hypocrites or made a whip and driven the animals and the money changers from the temple.  Surprisingly, though, not a single person in the temple shouted back ‘don’t judge me…’   At least they were brighter than most of our contemporaries.

What do people want of Jesus?  The same thing the Priest wants: a Jesus that can be dismissed.  They want him to be a warm bunny so that he doesn’t punish sins but tolerates even the most reprehensible and disgusting behavior.

Cowards.  People love their total depravity.

Those Canadians Sure are a Hearty Lot…

Or weird.  I can’t really decide if I think it’s awesome that a 12 year old delivered his baby brother or just really really creepy and emotionally scarring forever.

Gaelan Edwards first met his new brother in an unusual way: The 12-year-old actually helped deliver the baby after his mother couldn’t make it to the hospital.  Danielle Edwards of Campbell River, British Columbia, told Canada’s CTV she woke up on Saturday around 2 a.m. already in labor.  “I just felt a lot of pressure, and I was laying on my side and I rolled over onto my back,” said Edwards, 30.  That’s when she called for her son, Gaelan.  “Gaelan, when you see the shoulders, I need you to hang on to the shoulders and I need to you pull them out,” Edwards instructed her son

Um, mom, I don’t want to look down there and see shoulders popping out.  Get dad.

Canadians.  I think I’ve decided it’s just really really creepy.

A Volume to Consider: From Itamar Singer

From your friend and mine, Itamar Singer.

In a career that has spanned nearly four decades, more than thirty of them as Professor of Hittitology in the Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures at Tel Aviv University, Itamar Singer has had a profound impact on the field of ancient Near Eastern studies, and Hittite studies in particular. His wide-ranging contributions have nowhere been more deeply felt than in the historical reconstruction of the international affairs of the thirteenth century B.C.E.—the end of the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean. The essays collected in this volume are a testament to the impact of his research on understanding Hatti’s diplomatic relations with the other great powers in this critical period of human history and on elucidating the complex dynamics that led to the disintegration of the Hittite Empire.

More Stupid Atheist Tricks

A Mississippi high school principal and teachers, threatened with an investigation because they participated in a privately held prayer event meant to usher in a school year, are now being reassured of their right to express their faith.

Threatened, evidently, by some prattish fools from Wisconsin-

Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), a separation of church and state watchdog group based in Madison, Wis., sent out letters calling for the Pascagoula school district to investigate Pascagoula High School Principal Al Sparkman for attending a community-hosted prayer circle for neighbors, parents and students. “We request an immediate investigation into this situation and appropriate steps be taken to prevent future prayer events organized by school officials,” wrote FFRF Staff Attorney Stephanie Schmitt. “The district must immediately end Principal Sparkman’s practice of encouraging organizing prayer events at Pascagoula High School.”

The imbeciles evidently don’t know the difference between freedom of religion and separation of church and state. But at least someone has sense-

Religious liberty legal group Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is now encouraging the school in its efforts with letters of its own. The legal firm asserts that Sparkman and the teachers who attended the community prayer were doing so as individuals acting in an unofficial capacity and cannot be punished exercising their right to free speech.

No kidding.  Prattish atheists…  They need to get a life.  Seriously.

Congress, Mr. President, Do You Guys Get it Yet?

We think you’re all doing a pathetic job.

Keep it up and you’ll be tasting how nasty unemployment is after the next election.

My Greatly Expanded Blogroll

Have I missed anyone significant?  If you have a recommendation, let me know.

Finally, Women are Equal to Men!!!!

I didn’t know it was ‘Women’s Equality Day‘ but I greet it with joyful relief.

Finally, women are equal to men and will have to mow the lawn, cook dinner, do the laundry, run errands, go by the bank, do the shopping, earn a living, pay the cable tv bill, sit around with boring friends watching boring American football, change the oil in the car, and all the other wretched, mundane, and yet essential things that men do, have done, and always will do!!!  Thank God!  Praise the Lord!!  Women are EQUAL!

[I know, they aren’t really.  But maybe one day they will be in exactly the same unenviable underappreciated ignored position as the men in their lives].

How Can You Spot an Online Fake?

I think this holds in general and not just for Facebook profiles:

I especially like 7 and 9-

7. Don’t be tricked if your friend has multiple people who vouch for him or her online. One person can easily make multiple accounts to make it appear as if there is a support network of family and friends.


9. Finally, if you’ve been harmed by someone who posted a fake profile, report it to site monitors and authorities. Although it may be humiliating to be duped online, authorities will be able to identify imposters and close their accounts more quickly than you working independently.

Or, if you’re not willing to do the detective work yourself, just get Bob Cargill on the case.  He’s good.  Ask the Raphael Golb chap….

Earth’s Treasure is Heaven’s Trash

Given that roads in the Levant in the first century CE were constructed of rubble, rubbish, and castoff materials; and given the fact that Revelation 21:21 says

καὶ ἡ πλατεῖα τῆς πόλεως χρυσίον καθαρὸν ὡς ὕαλος διαυγής.

I think that the brilliant folk producing the Bibledex videos ought to do one on that passage so that they can debunk the usual ‘heaven’s streets of gold’ mentality and make the point that the purpose of the passage is really to show that earth’s treasure is heaven’s trash.

I Feel Bad for Texas

The drought they’re suffering down there is truly of biblical proportions.

Some 3.4 million acres have burned in 19,000 fires in Texas over the last five months. There is charred land everywhere. It’s so dry that the blistering sun, magnified through the end of a broken Coke or beer bottle, can start a fire.

And animals are really suffering.  I feel bad for Texas.  Even though it isn’t my favorite place and I can’t think of a single person from the state I really like, it’s still a prayer-worthy tragedy they’re experiencing.

Nothing Says ‘Respectable’ Museum Like Fake Archaeology

Young Indiana Jones in The Last Crusade

the not naked not archaeologist

To mark the 30th anniversary of “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” a touring exhibition is spotlighting famous props from the Indiana Jones films and putting them side-by-side with real archaeological artifacts. The exhibition, called “Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology,” features the Ark of the Covenant from “Raiders” and the Holy Grail from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” as well as objects from ancient Peru, Egypt and Iraq, all on display in a museum space inspired by Hangar 51 and ancient temples. Lucasfilm teamed with National Geographic and Montreal’s X3 Productions to produce and curate the exhibit, which started its six-year international tour at the Montreal Science Centre and will head overseas next month.

Lucasfilm + NatGeo + a Canadian production company can only =  total rubbish confusing real from fake ‘archaeology’.  As if the general public didn’t already have a hard enough time separating true from false archaeology.  *Sigh*

James Posts Part II of His III Part Carnival


Brunner published his dogmatics in three volumes.  So did Pannenberg.  I’m just waiting for someone to do a 14 part carnival like Barth did a 14 part theology.

Enjoy James’s part 2.  Part 3 will doubtless appear next week sometime.