Daily Archives: 28 Oct 2012

One Last Reminder Concerning the Duke U. Conference: ‘The Deliverance of God’

Details Here.

This conference will engage Douglas Campbell’s book, “The Deliverance of God” (Eerdmans, 2009). It will summarize and critically discuss his proposals concerning the modern interpretation of Paul’s justification language, argumentation, and resulting version of the gospel. It will cover broader church historical and theological issues, key questions of close exegesis, and the politics of interpretation, especially in the modern American context.

Again, hope to see you there.

Conference Report: Betrayal of the Humanities: The University during the Third Reich, University of Minnesota, April 15–16, 2012.

Yellow badge Star of David called "Judens...

I wanted to attend that one a lot.  Fortunately, Bernard has placed it online.  Here’s the opening-

On April 15-16, 2012, the University of Minnesota hosted “Betrayal of the Humanities: The University during the Third Reich,” a multi-discipline symposium organized by Bernard M.Levinson, Berman Family Chair of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible, and Bruno Chaouat, Director of the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. The symposium examined transformations in the academy and disciplines of the humanities during and after the Third Reich in Germany, Italy and North America. The symposium consisted of three main sessions, “Nazi Germany and the Humanities in International Perspective,” “Disciplinary History,” and “Broader Implications.”

And more.  It’s such a fascinating period of the history of the Church.

What? What??? WHAT??????

If you don’t believe in capitol punishment before you read this- you will after-

A group of men beat up a foreigner who had raped a 16-year-old girl said to be mentally retarded – and then proceeded to rape her themselves. The victim claimed the first incident took place on Thursday when the foreigner forced himself on her in a dilapidated hut. She managed to flee the hut soon after the rape but not before her naked pictures were snapped by the alleged rapist. The victim then sought help from a friend who called his three friends to look for the foreigner. They gave him a beating when they found him. The youths then took the victim to a house, where a fifth man was waiting, and they took turns raping her. The victim stayed there overnight and was only found later as she was wandering the streets by her brother-in-law the following night.

How evil can people be? That evil.

You Won’t Hear About this From American News Sources

Settler attacks [in the Occupied Palestinian Territories]  have been on the rise since the olive harvest started at the beginning of October. They have become so frequent they prompted a senior United Nations envoy to condemn them and call on Israel to bring those responsible to justice.

“I am alarmed at recent reports that Israeli settlers in the West Bank have repeatedly attacked Palestinian farmers and destroyed hundreds of their olive trees at the height of the harvest season,” said Robert Serry, UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process.

The Palestine Centre, a research organisation based in Washington DC, recorded a 39 per cent increase in settler violence from 2010, and a 315 per cent increase since 2007. These include physical attacks, harassment, vandalism, and trespass.

This year alone, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that settlers were guilty of vandalising more than 7,500 trees. And according to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, Israel has uprooted 1.2 million Palestinian olive trees since 1967.

Read the rest at Al-Jazeera, because you’re certain not to hear of it from American news outlets.  They have bigger fish to fry- Britney Spears may be going to rehab… again… again….

I’ve Finally Figured Out Why 76% of Americans Skipped Church Today

They’re afraid to go!  They actually think they live in Nigeria and they don’t want to run the risk of being victims of a suicide bombing.  Ah, now it all makes sense- and here I just thought that they lacked any depth of commitment to communal worship.

A suicide bomber drove a jeep full of explosives into a Catholic church during morning mass in northern Nigeria on Sunday, killing at least eight people, wounding more than 100 and triggering reprisal attacks that killed at least two more.

There was no claim of responsibility but Islamist sect Boko Haram has bombed several churches in the past in its fight to create an Islamic state in Nigeria where the 160 million population is evenly split between Christians and Muslims.

The bomber drove the car into the wall of the packed St Rita’s church in the Malali area of Kaduna, a volatile ethnically and religiously mixed city, witnesses said.

Oh Americans… so pampered and consequently so uncommitted.  To anything (except sports and money).

On ‘Reformation Day’- Again, On this ‘Reformation Sunday’

‘Reformation Day?  No!’*

The Reformation’ is a misnomer if ever there were one, for in fact there was no ‘one’ Reformation any more than there was just one Reformer. ‘The Reformation’, when used by students and the general public, usually refers to the Reformation of Martin Luther which commenced at the end of October in the year of our Lord, 1517.

Even then, though, Luther’s intent wasn’t as earth-shattering as later ages took it to be. For Luther, the placement of a series of theses in Latin on the Church Door at Wittenberg Castle was nothing more than an invitation to debate. In other words, Luther didn’t see his act as the commencement of a revolution; he saw it as an academic exercise.

‘The Reformation’ is, then, little more than a label derived from historical hindsight gazing mono-focularly at a series of events over a period of time across a wide geographical landscape. Each Reformer had roots sunk in fertile ground and their work was simply the coming to fruition of generations of shift in the Roman Catholic Church.

Hence, it would be more appropriate to speak of ‘Reformations’ in the same way that we now speak of ‘Judaisms’ and ‘Christianities’. The Reformation was no monolith.

Who, then were the Reformers who gave birth to the Reformations most closely associated with them? They were Huldrych Zwingli, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, in just that order.

In 1515 while he was Pastor of the village Church in Glarus, Huldrych Zwingli began to call into question the dependence of the Church on the teachings of the Scholastics. He also questioned the value of the Vulgate for preaching and began earnest study of the Greek New Testament. There, memorizing the letters of Paul (in Greek) he discovered the Gospel which would come to feature so prominently in his Reforming efforts: Salvation is by grace, through faith, and not through works as proclaimed by the Scholastic theologians. By 1519, when he moved to Zurich to become the Pastor of the Great Minster, Zwingli was already well on his way to Reforming the worship of the Church and the administration of the ‘Sacraments’. In short order, within a few years, the Mass was abandoned and replaced by the ‘Lord’s Supper’ and the fixation of the Church on images was denounced and those images removed in due course.

Zwingli’s Reformation was carried out with the cooperation of the City government, which is why Zwingli, along with Luther and Calvin, were to be known to history as ‘Magisterial Reformers’. Not because they were ‘Magisterial’ but because each had the support of their city’s magistrates.

North of Zurich, in Wittenberg, Luther’s Reformatory efforts were coming to full steam around the same time. In 1520 he broke with Rome irrevocably with the publication of his stunning ‘On The Babylonian Captivity of the Church’. From there, there was to be no turning back. And here we must remind ourselves that at this juncture Luther was not dependent on the work of Zwingli, nor was Zwingli dependent on the work of Luther. Both were pursuing reform along parallel tracks, separately.

Further to the West of Switzerland a decade later John Calvin, an exile from France, a lawyer by training and a theologian by training and desire, began his own efforts at Reform. Several years after Zwingli’s death and long after Luther’s demise Calvin plodded away in Geneva attempting manfully to bring that raucous city to heel under the power of the Gospel.

Each of these Reformers were ‘Fathers’ of their own Reformation. Each was, originally, independent of the other and in many ways they tried very hard to retain that independence even when their common foe, the Church of Rome, was the target as their common enemy. Each contributed to ‘The Reformation’ in their own unique way.

If, then, we wish to honor their memory and their efforts, it behooves us to set aside our preconceptions or our beliefs that ‘The Reformation’ began on October 31, 1517. It didn’t. It began in 1515 in Glarus. And it began in 1517 in Wittenberg. And it began in Geneva in 1536.

Happy Reformations Days.


*Posted previously but reposted here once again.

‘Reformation Sunday’? Oh Puleeezzeeee

Luther simply protested.  The Reformed Reformers (Zwingli and Calvin) reformed the long corrupt Church.  Claiming that ‘protest’ is Reformation is like suggesting whining is the same thing as doing something to correct a wrong.

On Worship: An Observation

Zürich - Grossmünster

God is a spirit; hence those who are to worship Him cannot do it in any better way, nor ought they to do it in any other way, than by devoting the heart to Him; not by an oath such as the monks once demanded, but by constantly increasing love, so that nothing deceitful remains in it and nothing can come out of it but what is most true and most like unto God.– Huldrych Zwingli

Happy Birthday to the World’s Best, Most Patient Wife

We have been married, Doris and I, for nearly 30 years (we celebrate the big 30 on June 25, 2013).  And like most, we’ve had our ups and downs and fussings.  But never has there been born a sweeter person with the patience of all the Saints in heaven combined than her.  I was a 145 pound skinny little 23 year old when we married and my love for and affection for and admiration for her have grown even more exponentially than my body has.

I thank God every day for her- for her life, for her partnership, for her ministry alongside me.  Without her, God knows it’s true, I wouldn’t be.

Thank you God, this day and each, for my wife, Doris.  Give her, won’t you, a happy day filled with joy, peace, tranquility, and grace.

Happy birthday Doris.  I love you.