Daily Archives: 27 Aug 2011

I Suppose Some Would Call Hosea and John the Baptist Anti-Semites Too

When the LORD first spoke through Hosea, the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry, for the land commits great harlotry by forsaking the LORD.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. And the LORD said to him, “Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day, I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.” She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name Not pitied, for I will no more have pity on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. … When she had weaned Not pitied, she conceived and bore a son. And the LORD said, “Call his name Not my people, for you are not my people and I am not your God.” — Hosea the Prophet

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. — John the Baptist

Biblically speaking, it isn’t semen and egg which make one a child of God, a citizen of the kingdom of heaven; it is faith. Hence semen and egg grant no particular privilege, even according to the Prophets of the Old Testament. To say such a truth isn’t antisemitism, it’s sound theology.

So for that reason all claims that Israel, a modern secular state whose inhabitants, by virtue of connection to semen and egg traced back to an ancestor millenia ago, has a special claim on God or a special relationship to God which others do not is both theologically bankrupt and ideologically driven.

Christian Zionism is a heresy because it misrepresents divine revelation. Christian Zionists are heretics not because they are bad people, but because they contort the truth of revelation to their own political (and it is nothing other than a political) agenda.

Their last refuge is the slur of antisemitism. When biblical exegesis and theological understanding abandon them (as they must), their only recourse is a historically villainous slander which, as a straw man, they hope will distract attention away from the truth of their theological ineptitude and incompetent exegesis. But what they don’t even have the good sense to recognize is that the biblical authors lambasted Israel’s unbelievers more soundly than any modern antisemite could imagine.

So, when you stand on the side of equality and fairness for all peoples of the Middle East (and everywhere) and a Christian Zionist assaults you with the slander of antisemitism, calmly open the Bible and point them to Hosea and John the Baptist and see what they say next. It will, I promise you, be amusing, inappropriate, and a complete evasion of the biblical witness.

Israel’s Representative at the UN Sees the Handwriting on the Wall

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, sent a classified cable to the Foreign Ministry last week, stating that Israel stands no chance of rallying a substantial number of states to oppose a resolution at the UN General Assembly recognizing a Palestinian state in September.

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office, meanwhile, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering not participating in this year’s General Assembly. Instead President Shimon Peres is likely to represent Israel.

So Ha’aretz.

Notably

Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office say Netanyahu is considering sitting out this year’s General Assembly, sending Peres to face likely diplomatic barrage in his stead.

Which says a lot about Bibi.  But the wheel of history is turning and not even the PM and his Christian Zionist allies on this side of the pond can stop it.

Hurricane Looters in Virginia: Shameful and Despicable

Though it was inevitable that we would hear of criminals looting in the midst of the hurricane it doesn’t lessen the shameful and despicable character of that act.

Police arrested two people for looting about 4 p.m. Saturday in the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach, city spokeswoman Mary Hancock said.  Police received a report of intruders in an unoccupied, damaged house about 3:50 p.m. and detained two people about 20 minutes later, she said. Further details were not yet available.

They should be pilloried in public.

What is the Bible

According to Leo Jud, the Bible is

The school of Divine wisdom.

In it, we learn what authentic wisdom is and how to live according to it.

Proof of Fraud: The ‘Lead Codices’

Steve Caruso has shown, dramatically, that one of the so called ‘lead codices’ simply lifted letters from actually authentic ancient materials.

Now, will the lead codices people please just sell their items to the gullible watchers of the Naked Archaeologist or readers of BAR (festooned, as it is, with ads for artifacts real and fake).

Come on, one of you, buy the things so we can stop hearing about them forever.

Hurricane Irene Clean up Efforts

There’s a map and if you’re in the area places you can help.  Check it out here.  Those of us unaffected will remember those of you who are.  And since this is America, you’ll have plenty of help putting your lives back in order.

Abortion Laws Will be Tightened

Abortion laws are set to be tightened by the Government in the biggest shake-up in a generation.

So says the Telegraph. It continues

The Department of Health is to announce plans for a new system of independent counselling for women before they finally commit to terminating a pregnancy. The move is designed to give women more “breathing space”.

Pro-life campaigners suggest the change could result in up to 60,000 fewer abortions each year in Britain. Last year, 202,400 were carried out.

The plan would introduce a new obligation on abortion clinics to offer women access to independent counselling, to be run on separate premises by a group which does not itself carry out abortions.

This is a good and proper step in the direction of what should be the eventual elimination of abortion on demand.  Abortion should be legal only in cases of rape, incest, and if the mother’s life is in danger.  And none even then without serious consideration.  It may be the woman’s ‘choice’ but that ‘choice’ affects at least one life directly and many other lives indirectly.  Women who have abortions merely because they don’t want to be bothered with a baby should have considered the consequences before they had sexual relations and not after.

Do People See ‘Ghosts’?

Not according to the Second Helvetic Confession:

What is related of the spirits or souls of the dead sometimes appearing to those who are alive, and begging certain duties of them whereby they may be set free, we count those apparitions among the laughingstocks, crafts, and deceptions of the devil, who, as he can transform himself into an angel of light, so he strives either to overthrow the true faith or to call it into doubt. In the Old Testament the Lord forbade the seeking of the truth from the dead, and any sort of commerce with spirits Deut. 18:11). Indeed, as evangelical truth declares, the glutton, being in torment, is denied a return to his brethren, as the divine oracle declared in the words: “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:29 ff.).

Everyone ought to be required to read Reformed Confessions.  They do such a fine job of encapsulating biblical truth and synthesizing it.

Canada is Now America’s Number 1 Oil Supplier

I guess this means that we need to intervene militarily in Canada so as to ‘stabilize’ the government and ‘insure that the will of the people’ is enforced… just like we did in Iraq (because Canada tortures its citizens by making them watch that most horrible of all sports, hockey).

Extracting one barrel of oil from the tar sands requires three barrels of water and produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional crude, environmentalists say. Industry contends that most emissions are created when oil is burned in a car or power plant and the extra emissions from tar sands, given the full lifecycle of oil, are comparatively small, only about 15 per cent above conventional oil.

Lakes full of toxic water, polluted during the extraction process, cover 170 square kilometers in Alberta and they are growing with increased demand.

“Oil sands crude is nasty, and the sooner the world stops burning it, the better,” The Washington Post wrote in an editorial. “But that’s actually not much of a reason to kill the pipeline.”

Who cares if people die and the environment is ruined.  We need that Canadian oil!

Toddlers and Tiaras: Proof there is Something Desperately Wrong with Some People

Just an observation.  But truly, Toddlers and Tiaras, you prove the inerrancy of the doctrine of total depravity with ease and aplomb.

Congress: More Despised than Ever

Three weeks ago, people joked about Congress’ approval rating of 14%. Now, realclearpolitics.com polling average is 12.3% — Steve Inskeep

What I want to know is who are these insane people who make up the 12.3% who think Congress is doing a good job?

The Impact of Hurricane Irene

Sunny skies and light wind and beautiful weather.  Thank you, Irene!  (Or at least I guess I’m supposed to thank Irene, since that’s the only story on the weather these days and thus she must be the direct cause of the pleasant weather currently).

Sad news: The Death of C.K. Barrett

From Michael Halcomb

This came through on the Facebook feed of James Dunn this morning: “Hi everyone. You will be saddened to hear that Kingsley Barrett, my predecessor, died last night (6.30 pm, 26.08.11) – aged 94. He was the greatest UK commentator on NT texts since J. B. Lightfoot, and much loved by a wide range of Methodist chapels to which he ministered for about 60 years. He will be much missed, but his commentaries will live on for many years, providing information and insight to future generations of students of the NT.” Though I never met Barrett, indirectly, he has had a profound influence on my life through Ben Witherington, my doctoral supervisor. I’ve heard Witherington say numerous times that we all stand up on the shoulders of the exegetes who came before us. Certainly, there are many of us who stand on Barrett’s shoulders and are grateful for this scholar’s life and work. Requiescat in pace.

Barrett was a true genius.   A true giant.

De convitiis Eckii

Huldrych Zwingli and Johannes Eck didn’t get along.  Obviously.  So when Zwingli published his ‘Reasonable Faith‘ Eck couldn’t control himself.  He had to lash out.  The present booklet, Zwingli’s response to Eck’s response to Fidei ratio lets Mr Eck have it both barrels (as we say down here).  De convitiis Eckii is addressed, however, not TO Eck but to the the German Princes at Augsburg.

Zwingli has clearly grown annoyed and asserts quite straightforwardly that Eck is nothing more than a heretic and that he, like all heretics, state their errors as though they were truths.

Not that Zwingli knew that Eck had attacked him again.  If it hadn’t been for Vadian’s passing along Eck’s rubbish Zwingli would have paid him no mind.   But Vadian urged him to respond, for the sake of the Germans.  And so he, as a ‘second David’ went out to the Philistine Eck with sling and stones to slay him.

Zwingli’s work lays Eck’s motives bare: he wishes to deceive the Princes and under the guise of ‘peace’ he urges them to remain in the Roman camp.  Zwingli counters that the Princes should in fact embrace Reform.  He concludes

Dangers threaten on all sides, but the Lord will dissipate them all, if you lay hold of the truth and of righteousness.  To take a stand against the truth is destruction itself whereas to yield to it is the first necessity of safety.  God Almighty grant that we may revere it and see it through a glass in this world but see it face to face and embrace it in the world to come!

As Promised, It Has Arrived!

With many thanks to Peter over in Zurich for sending it and inscribing it:

Again, thank you, Peter.  A lot!

Book Recommendation: The Comical Doctrine

Rosalind Selby’s volume is a much needed antidote to the ideology of postmodernism.

In this wide-ranging study Rosalind Selby explores the hermeneutical implications of a Barthian epistemology in which ‘givenness’ (of knowledge, talk of God and Scripture, and the Church) is paramount. From this she seeks to develop a ‘hermeneutics of service’ that challenges both liberal and fundamentalist approaches to theological language and biblical interpretation.

Selby tackles the issues of knowledge, and especially knowledge of God, the language used to communicate that knowledge and that language as Scriptural textuality. Barth wrote of ‘the comical doctrine that the true exegete has no presuppositions’. In the train of his insight, Selby examines the role of community as a prerequisite for knowledge and truth claims before examining the different ways that various ‘communities’ interpret Scripture (focusing on St. Mark’s Gospel). The presuppositions of the different starting places are revealed and the appropriateness of various methodologies discussed. The Quest for the Historical Jesus and its struggles to handle the resurrection are used as a ‘test case’ to show the impact of different hermeneutical strategies.

It’s really quite enjoyable.

The Perfect Term to Use When Describing Jacobovici’s Work

And all the other pseudo-archaeologists out there and the rubbish they peddle:  Apostolic-Archaeology.  Here’s the explanation

“Apostolic” Archaeology, a phrase that I have coined, is a sub-discipline of pseudo-archaeology. The practitioners of this discipline are usually adventurers, sometimes treasure hunters, and generally with neither field training in archaeological methodology nor academic credentials in Near East archaeology, but perhaps a superficial knowledge of the Bible. They claim to have discovered objects or places of great Biblical importance and declare it to be whatever they want it to be. They usually try to justify their pronouncements with a Bible verse. Their declarations are made as if they were speaking ex cathedra (i.e., with authority).

These self-declared experts have found from experience that the gullible masses will blindly accept the legitimacy of their claims and buy the goods that they are hawking in spite of scholarly academic testimony to the contrary (contra 1 Thess. 2:9-12). So buyers beware!

This term also applies nicely to the ‘lead codices’ nonsense and even, tangentially, to the work of Eilat Mazar and the entire ‘bible in one hand, trowel in the other’ crowd.  Apostolic-Archaeology.  I’m going to use it.

What Does it Mean to Break the First Commandment?

In light of the inclination of so many far right fundamentalists to blame things like earthquakes and hurricanes on human wickedness, I offer for your reading pleasure and edification, Martin Luther’s explanation of what it means to break the first commandment.  Particularly relevant is the bold faced segment.

What It Means to Break the Commandments

Breaking the First

Whoever tries to do away with trouble by witchcraft, by the black arts, or by an alliance with the devil.
Whoever uses [magic] writings, signs, herbs, words, spells, and the like.
Whoever uses divining rods, travels by a magic cloak, or steals milk, uses incantations to find treasure, resorts to crystal-gazing.
Whoever governs his life and work according to certain days, celestial signs, and the advice of fortune-tellers [Lev. 20:6].
Whoever uses certain incantations as blessings and charms against danger from wolves, sword, fire, or water to protect himself, his cattle, his children, and any kind of property.
Whoever ascribes any bad luck or unpleasantness to the devil or to evil persons and does not, in a spirit of love and praise, accept both evil and good as coming from God alone [Phil. 4:11], responding to God with gratitude and willing submission.
Whoever tempts God and exposes himself to unnecessary danger to body [Luke 4:12] and soul.
Whoever shows arrogance because of his piety, knowledge, or other spiritual gifts.
Whoever honors God and the saints only to gain some temporal advantage, forgetting the needs of his soul.
Whoever does not trust and rely upon God’s mercy at all times and in everything he does.
Whoever doubts the Creed or God’s mercy.
Whoever does not defend others against unbelief and doubt or does not do all in his power to help them believe and trust in God’s mercy.
Here belongs every kind of doubt, despair, and false belief.   — Martin Luther

Obviously Pat Robertson and his ilk don’t realize that they are, by making the claims they do, nothing more than idolaters and false teachers.

On Dealing With Adversity

Adversity will have its bitterness, and sting us. When afflicted with disease, we shall groan and be disquieted, and long for health; pressed with poverty, we shall feel the stings of anxiety and sadness, feel the pain of ignominy, contempt, and injury, and pay the tears due to nature at the death of our friends: but our conclusion will always be, The Lord so willed it, therefore let us follow his will. Nay, amid the pungency of grief, among groans and tears this thought will necessarily suggest itself and incline us cheerfully to endure the things for which we are so afflicted.  — John Calvin