Daily Archives: 30 Jul 2012

Does Calvinism Lead to Anti-Mission Sentiments?

No.  In a word.  No.  But there are more words supporting the no here.

The accusation that Calvinism leads to antimission sentiments has sometimes been leveled, but as Michael Horton shows in his recent book For Calvin, nothing could be further from the truth. Horton observes, in the section titled “Calvinism and Christian Missions” (p. 151), that, in fact, Calvinism has been and remains one of the most important sources of Christian missionaries, with no less than Thomas Mayhew, David Brainerd, David Livingstone, Robert Morrison, and Jonathan Goforth stemming from Reformed churches and practicing Reformed theology. Quoting Horton—

With growing interest in Calvinism in Southern Baptist circles, some leaders have expressed alarm that it will dampen the denomination’s enthusiasm for evangelism and missions . . . . [But] the Southern Baptist Convention sponsors “about 5000 home missionaries” and “more than 5000 foreign missionaries.” For a denomination of sixteen million, this comes to approximately “0.000625 missionaries per capita.”

By contrast, the 310,000 member Presbyterian Church in America has “about 600 foreign missionaries.” That is 0.001935 foreign missionaries per capita, commissioned and supported by the PCA. Thus, the PCA supports three times as many foreign missionaries per capita as the SBC supports foreign and domestic missions combined (p. 162).

And the PCA gives twice as much per dollar to international missions as the SBC does (p. 162).

Enjoy the rest- that’s just the beginning.

‘I’m Sure It’s Nothing’

The caption attends Jay Bilas’ terribly funny twit-pic

When Zwingli Wrote, He Didn’t Dawdle

S. Jackson observes

Zwingli, writing to Myconius on August 26, 1522, thus candidly describes his literary methods:

“I am rough and impatient of the time necessary for condensing and polishing. You know that my mind is felicitous in nothing except invention, if indeed that is not the- greatest infelicity which is either not willing or not able to adorn and polish and so render worthy of immortality what one has done in the way of invention. Yet when I imagine I have studied enough, a disgust at my own performance presently seizes me, and I feel such a loathing for what I have thus far written that reviewing it is likely to produce nausea.”

In sum, one draft was enough.  And indeed, many of even his largest works were done in a matter of a few days or weeks.  The remarkable thing is that they are so well done one can hardly imagine that numerous revisions would have improved them beyond their single draft perfection.

Cf. his remarks to Vadian upon the extreme haste with which he rushed his books through the press.

Zwingli was a man driven by a sense of urgency such as few these days, or his own, could appreciate.

A Humble Request for the Twitter-ers Amongst the Bibliobloggers

If you write a bibliblog and use twitter, would you kindly pass on your twitter handle in comments?  And would you kindly spread the word?  Please?  With thanks in advance.

The SBC And The Racist Church in Mississippi

The MBC and the SBC can’t tell Weatherford and his group to do, but they can urge the right course of action. And they are (and I’m glad they are).

Southern Baptist groups are calling on a Mississippi church that blocked a black couple from getting married under its roof to reject racism. Leaders of the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention said Monday that preventing Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson from marrying at First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs was wrong. In keeping with Baptist tradition, they want the congregation to chart its own course.

Indeed,  Crystal Springs, repent.

Quote of the Day

Wenn ein Mann im Wald seine Meinung sagt, und es ist keine Frau da, die ihn hört, hat er dann trotzdem Unrecht? – Sebastian Moll

Interested in Archaeology and Looking for A Reliable Source of Scholarship?

Look no further.  ‘Like’ the ASOR Facebook page and you’ll be kept abreast of all the best stuff (without the fluff and nonsense).

Bob Cargill’s Seizure Inducing Shirt

I dare you to shake your head side to side rapidly and look at that….

E-Sword Users: A New Module- Alford’s Greek Testament

Download it here.  As always, it’s free.

Rudolf Bultmann: The Man of Faith

There’s a very fine essay here which once appeared in The Christian Century titled Rudolf Bultmann: Scholar of Faith.

Rudolf Bultmann — who died on July 30, 1976 at the advanced age of 91–was the last of the theological giants who grew up in the universities of the Kaiser’s Germany (he began to study theology in 1903at 19),and the last of the prophets who struggled to hear the word of the Christians’ Lord after what had happened in 1914.Teaching New Testament at Marburg University from 1921to 1951, Bultmann exerted all his many talents in order to recover the highest tradition of German biblical scholarship after the interruption of the war. Giving his acute and well-stored mind to the problems of biblical interpretation, or hermeneutics, he developed the science of form criticism with Martin Dibelius. However, he also took very seriously the world around him — the postwar world of the Weimar Republic, groping for financial as well as spiritual stability (in the end, its gospel was Mein Kampf).


In his volume of wartime Marburg sermons, translated as This World and the Beyond (Scribner’s, 1960),he did not supply a commentary on the news. Instead — and with as much success as any Christian preacher could expect — he addressed the fears which gripped young and old. It was a traditional and individualist message, and he would say much the same thing to Sheffield industrial workers in time of peace (reprinted in The Honest to God Debate). It was not colloquial; it was not sociological. But in point of fact Bultmann’s theology helped to keep many individuals within the great tradition of faith in the eternal God, the God revealed in the crisis of the gospel of Christ; for in the jargon, although his work was to “demythologize,” he refused to “dekerygmatize.”

Bultmann, and von Rad, helped me come to terms with Christian faith and its meaning for today as no one else ever has, or did, during those formative years in Graduate School.  Others may scorn them and turn their noses up at them, but the two of them did more to see to the continuation of real Christian faith in Germany than anyone else.  Indeed, they were to biblical studies what Brunner and Barth were to theological studies.  All four are blessed men of sacred memory.

The simpletons today who scorn Bultmann are, in a word, ignorant of both his work and his contributions.  To be sure, some of his ideas have been superseded and others advanced.  But when it comes to the man himself, the giant of New Testament scholarship, the breadth of his knowledge and the mass of his publications, no one else even comes close.

From time to time someone will ask me where they should begin if they wish to learn the real Bultmann- and not the Bultmann of his opponents.  I always reply, read his sermons.  That’s the place to start.  There, the man of sincere, meaningful, real Christian faith is found.  Everything else is preparatory.

Our Dear Swiss Do not Suffer Fools

From the BBC

BBC Breaking News@BBCBreaking  Switzerland Olympic team expels footballer from #London2012 for alleged racist comment on Twitter http://bbc.in/OD9zj6.

(Though the link they provide to the story has nothing of Switzerland on it).

Racism at the Olympics makes as much sense as impiety at a meeting of a Bible society.

A Funny Line From Zwingli

Deutsch: Zwingli

Reading Zwingli is always a delight, especially when he writes, in one of his letters, a brilliant little line.  First, the background:  Zwingli had debated the Franciscans and the Dominicans in Zurich about worship of the Saints and in a fluster one of the Dominicans, defeated, fled the room with all haste and no decorum.  Zwingli remarks

[When he departed] we wept—as one weeps when a cross-grained and rich stepmother has departed this life.

Now that’s funny!  I think I shall use it.

America and Her Allies Are Morally Responsible for the Slaughter of Syrians

But even more responsible are the Chinese and the Russians, who have blocked efforts to remove Assad at every turn simply in order to retain an ally.

Syrian government forces mounted new ground attacks against rebel-controlled neighborhoods in Syria’s commercial hub of Aleppo, the state media said Monday, but failed to dislodge the opposition from their strongholds, according to activists.

The Syrian army has massed its forces around Aleppo, where rebels hold several neighborhoods after a 10-day offensive, and has been pounding it with tanks and helicopter gunships. There have also been periodic incursions of government tanks but the rebels have held on to their gains.

This use of heavy weapons, particularly helicopters, is just another nail in President Bashar Assad’s coffin, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said late Sunday during a stopover in Tunisia as he kicked off a Mideast tour expected to focus heavily on the unfolding crisis in Syria.

Already an estimated 200,000 civilians — almost 10 percent of the population — have fled the fighting in Aleppo, according to the U.N. official for humanitarian affairs, Valerie Amos, citing the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent. Aleppo is Syria’s largest city with around 3 million inhabitants.

The time for tough talk is over.  America, act.  Or history will despise you.

Why I Still Love Bob Cargill

Robert and I don’t see eye to eye on the gay marriage question.  I think that’s plain and clear to anyone and everyone who reads our blogs (and let’s face it, that’s everyone who is anyone).

In spite of our disagreement, though, for my part, affection remains undiminished.  Bob is the brightest young scholar in the fields of DSS studies and Archaeology (as well as digital technology) known to me in person or by reputation.  his work is astonishingly good and I would put him in the same league, intellectually, as Emil Brunner, Karl Barth, Gerhard von Rad, and Rudolf Bultmann.  Of course, he’s no Zwingli, but who really is besides Zwingli himself?

I mention my unwavering admiration because I’ve gotten a couple of snarky emails from persons who think I should take my views to what they call their ultimate conclusion and cut all ties to Bob.  That, slack jawed mouth breathers, I refuse to do.  Some of us are adults and some of us are able to agree that when we disagree nothing changes.

So endeth my public declaration.


On The Anniversary of Bultmann’s Death

Rudolf Karl Bultmann, the greatest New Testament exegete of the 20th century (and as yet still unsurpassed as the best New Testament exegete of all time) died on the 30th of July in 1976.  In honor of the great man, here’s a photo galleryHere’s a recent book about him.  Here’s a fun essay about him.  Here’s a quote from the quotable chap.  And here’s a reminiscence on the anniversary of his death I posted two years ago.

Rudolf, you were and remain the greatest New Testament scholar of your generation and ours.  Thanks for your great work.  We still miss you.