The Pulpit

The pulpit is ever this earth’s foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear; the pulpit leads the world. From thence it is that the storm of God’s quick wrath is first descried, and the bow must bear the earliest brunt. From thence it is that the God of breezes fair or foul is first invoked for favorable winds. Yes, the world’s a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow.  — Herman Melville

[Via Dan Stoddart on G+]

Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism: Quests, Scholarship and Ideology

James Crossley’s long awaited volume which serves as something of a follow-up to his earlier ‘Jesus in an Age of Terror‘ has been sent for review courtesy the great folk at Equinox.

Jesus in an Age of Neoliberalism analyses the ideology underpinning scholarly and popular quests for the historical Jesus in a neoliberal age. The book focus is cultural and political concerns, notably postmodernism, multiculturalism and liberal masking of power. The study explores a range of issues: the dubious periodisation of the quest for the historical Jesus; “biblioblogging”; Jesus the “Great Man” and western individualism; image-conscious Jesus scholarship; the “Jewishness” of Jesus and the multicultural Other; evangelical and “mythical” Jesuses; and the contradictions between personal beliefs and dominant ideological trends in the construction of historical Jesuses.

As he notes in the Pre(r)amble (!) I saw this fantastic volume in the earliest stages of its existence and have been anticipating its publication since.  My review is available here.

Arthur C. Clarke: Pedophile and Protected by Rupert Murdoch

The News of the World once killed an exclusive on science-fiction author Arthur C Clarke’s pedophilia because he was a friend of owner Rupert Murdoch, according to a new book. Graham Johnson, a former reporter at the now-defunct newspaper, recounts in Hack how editors who normally outed pederasts made an exception in Clarke’s case. The alleged reason: Murdoch had publicly praised Clarke and capitalized on his theory that satellites are perfect for communications, reports the Independent.

The Sunday Mirror heard about the shelved story and interviewed Clarke, who said he “never had the slightest interest in children—boys or girls. … But once they have reached the age of puberty, then it is OK.” He added that “there is a hysteria about the whole thing in the West,” but later denied being a pedophile. A former News of the World editor now recalls the story being scuttled “because of legal reasons” and says Murdoch never told him to spike stories.

And now Murdoch’s empire owns a ‘Christian publishing company’.  Yes, that’s troublesome.  Those who shield evil are evil.  Those who enable evil are perpetrators of evil, even if their enabling is mere silence.

Quote of the Day

F.B. Meyer said- “Do not stand gazing at the imperfections which the Word of God reveals [of yourself to you], but having learnt where you come short, dare to believe that Jesus Christ is the true counterpart of your need; that He is strong where you are weak, and full where you are empty.”

Make Confession- to God: Zwingli on Confession

[Since], therefore, it is God alone who remits sins and puts the heart at rest, so to Him alone ought we to ascribe the healing of our wounds, to Him alone display them to be healed. For who ever uncovered a wound to any other than the physician or the person who he hoped could give him helpful advice? Just so is it with confession: it is God alone that heals our hearts; to Him alone, therefore, is the wound to be disclosed. But if you do not yet quite know the physician or are not sure where he dwells, no one forbids your unbinding your wound before a wise counselor and begging him to give you advice. And if he is a wise and faithful man, he will be sure to send you to a physician who is so skilled in his profession that he can sew up your wound. — Huldrych Zwingli

Is God the Author of Sin?

No, as Calvin makes excessively clear in his A BRIEF REPLY, INTENDED TO REFUTE THE CALUMNIES OF A CERTAIN WORTHLESS PERSON, BY WHICH HE ENDEAVOURED TO POLLUTE THE DOCTRINE OF THE ETERNAL PREDESTINATION OF GOD.

He writes

THERE has been cast in my way the silly script of a certain worthless mortal, who, with all his vileness, boasts of being a defender and avenger of the glory of God by waging war against the Divine principle, and doctrine,—‘that the world is so governed by God, that nothing is done therein but by his secret counsel and decree.’

Meanwhile, this miserable being, sees not, that when he is catching at fallacious pretences of clearing the justice of God from imputation, he is all the while utterly subverting his power: all which is, as it were, attempting to rend in pieces God himself. But to give a colour to his profanity; he prefaces his undertaking, not less wickedly than maliciously, with the remark,—‘that God is not the cause of evil, nor wills sin.’ As if, when we claim for God the supremacy of all rule, we assert, that He is the author of sin!

Now it is evident, that JOHN CALVIN is attacked by this sentence. But it is well known, that JOHN CALVIN is too far removed from the blasphemy, with which this worthless being would charge him, to need any lengthened protection of himself, from its malignity.

JOHN CALVIN constantly declares aloud, throughout his writings, wherever sin is the subject of discussion, that the name of God is not to be mingled or mentioned with sin: because, nothing is consistent with the character of God, but rectitude and equity. How foul, then, is the calumny, to involve a man, so long deserving well of the Church of God, in the crime of making God the author of sin!

The OBJECT of this malicious calumny does indeed affirm, throughout his publications, that nothing is done but by the WILL OF GOD! But he at the same time asserts, that those things which are done wickedly by men, are so overruled by the secret counsel of God, that that counsel hath no connexion whatever with the sinfulness of men.

Not only is the title catchy, the content is clear. Those who accuse Calvin of attributing sin to God are simply misrepresenting him. Intentionally, or out of ignorance: either way, misrepresentation is misrepresentation.

[NB- I think next time I review some piece of rubbish I’ll begin with the line THERE has been cast in my way the silly script of a certain worthless mortal…  That’s a delightful opening!]