Auf dem Weg zum Reformationsjubiläum 2017: Wo kommen wir her? Wo stehen wir? Was hoffen wir?

A fine, fine essay.

“Theologische Impulse auf dem Weg zum Reformationsjubiläum 2017” hat die EKD-Synode am Ende ihrer Tagung in Timmendorfer Strand beschlossen. Eingeleitet sind die Impulse mit Worten aus der Bibel und reformatorischen Schriften – drei der fünf Zitate stammen aus reformierter Tradition. —

And now the 5 Points-

Wo kommen wir her? — „Da unser Herr und Meister Jesus spricht: ‚Tut Buße’ usw. (Mt 4,17), hat er gewollt, daß das ganze Leben der Gläubigen Buße sein soll.“ (These 1 der 95 Thesen Martin Luthers)

Wo kommen wir her? — „Dass wir als Jünger Christi erkannt werden, so wir einander lieb haben, wie Christus uns hat lieb gehabt, darin steht das Gesetz und die Propheten, der rechte wahre Gottesdienst…“ (Huldrich Zwingli in seinem Entwurf für Berchtold Hallers Schlussansprache 1528)

Wo kommen wir her? — „Was ist dein einziger Trost im Leben und im Sterben? Dass ich mit Leib und Seele im Leben und im Sterben, nicht mir, sondern meinem getreuen Heiland Jesus Christus gehöre. Er hat mit seinem teuren Blut für alle meine Sünden vollkommen bezahlt und mich aus aller Gewalt des Teufels erlöst.“ (aus der 1. Frage des Heidelberger Katechismus)

Wo kommen wir her? — „All unsere Weisheit, sofern sie wirklich den Namen Weisheit verdient und wahr und zuverlässig ist, besteht in zwei Stücken: der Erkenntnis Gottes und unserer Selbsterkenntnis.“ (Johannes Calvin, Institutio, 1,1)

Wo kommen wir her? — „Denn was aus der Taufe gekrochen ist, das kann sich rühmen, dass es schon zum Priester, Bischof und Papst geweihet sei.“ (Martin Luther, An den christlichen Adel deutscher Nation, 1520)

Punctuation Makes All the Difference: Christians, Economic Theory, and Presidential Politics

For a couple of years now we’ve been told that the election would hinge on people’s pocketbooks.  That is, in the tired phrase, ‘It’s the economy, stupid’.

It seems that this sentiment turned out to be true.  People consistently said that their number one priority was economic recovery.  And, interestingly, the majority of Americans believe Mr Obama is better suited to solve economic problems.  But for my present purposes, that’s neither really here nor there.

My interest, as a Christian theologian, is to think about the issue of elections from a Christian point of view, not from a Marxist (because, let’s not forget, it was Karl Marx who emphasized economic issues as of ultimate importance for Western democracies).

Given that, then, I would like to repunctuate the American truism, ‘It’s the economy, stupid’ as a theologian:

It’s the economy.  Stupid.

And now a bit of unpacking:  When Christians center their lives, their attitudes, and their moral / ethical decisions on how all of those relate to money, something really amazing has happened: money has become THE central concern of their lives.  The Love of Money, in fact, turns out to be THE determinative factor of every choice they make and this is, from a theological point of view, tremendously problematic.

That so many devoted Christians do not see this, blinded as they are by the love of money (and economic concerns above all others) says more about modern Western (and specifically American) Christianity than anything else.

Our choices, our decisions, as Christians, should be guided by Scripture, not the economy and certainly not whether or not we will become wealthier if we make this or that choice!

If Christianity is viewed with scorn, suspicion, and contempt in the United States it is precisely because too many Christians are indistinguishable from the wider and larger society.  They have placed their lamp under the bushel basket and they have lost their saltiness.  What, then, can be done to restore them?

Bibi the Manipulator

Bibi Netanyahu just can’t keep himself from being evil.

That Christian Zionists support this man and his government just shows how very far they are from true Christianity.  He is unethical and immoral and supporting him is supporting wickedness.  And when people of faith support evil, they contribute to the evil in the world.

Quote of the Day

The fact that we are accounted just before God is no less significant for practical life than the fact that in Christ we die and are made alive again as a new creation. — Wilhelm Niesel

Let him who has ears to hear, hear.

Again, Concerning Logos 5 – What’s New?

I suppose the best way to discover what’s new in the latest incarnation of Logos is to let the developers tell you themselves.

I think it fairly important to know just what the differences between Logos 4 and Logos 5 are before one considers either an upgrade or a new acquisition. After all, if screen layout is all that changes, there’s little reason to upgrade, is there? But if there are substantive differences and those differences are features which one wishes to make use of, then an upgrade may be appropriate.

People, in short, should invest wisely in their biblical studies tools. That is, scholars and students should purchase only those materials which he or she will use sufficiently so as to garner benefit from them. And that, dear reader, is a decision that one can only make for oneself.

Even in the matter of Scripture study good stewardship is required. Given those facts, in the posts on this topic to follow, I’ll look more in-depth at the features of the new software and give you my opinion on them. More anon.

A New Volume in the Refo500 Academic Studies Series

Via Refo500

New in the Refo500 Academic Studies Series published by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Philip Melanchthon – Theologian in Classroom, Confession, and Controversy by Irene Dingel, Robert Kolb, Nicole Kuropka, Timothy J. Wengert.

 These twelve essays by international scholars investigate Melanchthon’s theological activities as teacher, confessor of the faith, and defender of his doctrine and ecclesiastical policies as they developed within the context of his service of society and church. In the past quarter century Melanchthon researchers have scrutinized older, mostly negative, interpretations of the Preceptor Germaniae.

The editors present in this volume precisely focused appraisals of Master Philip in his role as theologian at the university and in the service of his own prince and others. By carefully placing his use of Aristotle, his understanding of the nature of training for pastoral ministry, his biblical exegesis in context, by analyzing four of his attempts to formulate Wittenberg teaching in public confession, by assessing how his own writings took on normative character for the church, and by tracing his thinking on the free will and the Lord’s Supper in the midst of controversy, these authors offer carefully etched portraits of Melanchthon as Preceptor ecclesiae.

This volume contributes to the expansion of our understanding of Melanchthon as key figure in the Wittenberg Reformation and the currents of controversy that have long surrounded the interpretation of his contributions.

Read here how to order the book.  Read here more on the Refo500 Academic Studies.

Logos 5: Preliminary Observations

Logos 5 has arrived courtesy the fine folk at Logos.  The resources in the package sent me are so massive and so extensive* that over the course of the next weeks I’ll be posting observations and remarks as I work my way through them.

For now, first, a word on the download:  it took a bit of time for the 1.55Gb + 700Mb to download on my low range DSL.  I suggest that if you aren’t blessed with a super fast connection (such as are found in most parts of the civilized world), you start the download when you go to bed and then in all likelihood when you wake up it will be finished.

Second, an observation on the resources available in the v5 Platinum package:  wow!  There are over 1000 books including some of the most important exegetical works of recent and distant history.

If I were to characterize the Platinum package I would call it exegetical resource heaven.  If exegesis, textual criticism, and interpretation are your goal, this seems the very electronic collection you would wish to obtain.  Here are a series of screen shots (and many more could have been added) simply to give you a sense of what the collection includes (and do click to enlarge) :

It’s certainly worth noting at this juncture that the page layout for Logos 5 is a bit different than version 4.  Here, for example, the nav bar that was previously along the top of the page is now the left sidebar.  Installation was seamless and all of my existing resources were there in version 5, my collection now surpassing well over 3774 books.

Also worth remarking upon at this early juncture (and again, this massive tool will take time to work through) is the fact that given the large amount of new materials, indexing takes a bit of time too. Don’t despair; if your machine slows down it won’t be so noticeable that you are driven into a hair pulling frenzy.

I will certainly have more to say in due course. For now let me just say- I’m very impressed indeed. Very, very impressed.

* Logos sent the Platinum Upgrade of Logos v5 for review, for which I thank them. And I also thank them for allowing me the freedom to review this resource unhindered by any requests for positive feedback. This series of posts, then, will be honest review and not simply ‘paid advertisement’.