Daily Archives: 10 Dec 2012

Three Authors, Two Books, and One Winner (of Each Book) – It’s the 3-2-1 Edition of the Contest

I told you that you needed to enter the contest before the post titles became too cheesy and absurd but some of you haven’t done it yet. I warn you, things will only get worse tomorrow.

Now get thee to the link!

Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now

In trouble, again, with the police! And here at the Holidays… Poor Anja. She’s such a saint and she married such a sinner… And this time there’s video.

Because it Seems Fitting: Various Exegetes on Romans 1:26-27

Romans 1:26–27 contains the clearest teaching in the New Testament on homosexuality. In this section Paul described the practice as “shameful,” “unnatural,” “indecent,” and as a “perversion.” By contrast, the Greco-Roman society of Paul’s day tolerated homosexuality with considerable ease. Among some advocates it was viewed as superior to heterosexuality.

Barclay notes that “fourteen out of the first fifteen Roman Emperors were homosexuals.”

In Jewish culture, however, it was regarded as an abomination. Barrett comments that “no feature of pagan society filled the Jew with greater loathing than the toleration, or rather admiration, of homosexual practices.” The Old Testament specifically prohibits homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 says, “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” The penalty for both participants was death (Lev 20:13). In 1 Cor 6:9–10 Paul specifically said that “homosexual offenders” will not “inherit the kingdom of God.”

Against this background it is difficult to understand why some contemporary teachers—even some who claim to be biblical—make allowance for a practice clearly condemned in both the Old and the New Testaments. Achtemeier writes that the kind of life Paul described in vv. 26–27 “cannot be understood as an alternative life-style, somehow acceptable to God” but rather as “a sign of one of the forms God’s wrath takes when he allows us free reign to continue in our abuse of creation and in our abuse of one another as creatures.”*


Paul’s statement is veiled and reticent, more so about the females than about the males. The females abandoned the natural use of the female organ for the unnatural one; they violated even nature. How they did this Paul does not care even to indicate except that by speaking of females by themselves homosexuality is implied. “The natural use” disregards the question whether the legitimate use in marriage or the illegitimate use in adultery and fornication is referred to. The females viciously violated even nature in their bodies. It was bad enough to sin with males, vastly worse and the very limit of vice to sin as they did. Let us say that this and the following vileness is defended to this day as not being immoral in any way. In 1931 a book came off the press which fully corroborated Paul, for this book propounded a code of sexual ethics that was uncontrolled by God. Let go of God, and the very bottom of filth will be reached. Even the most unnatural will be called quite natural. The lie about God who made nature then lies about even this nature.+


This passage has become exceedingly controversial in recent years because of the movement for gay rights.  Paul does not set forth a detailed prohibition against certain homosexual acts, but rather he isolates homosexual behaviour as the supreme example of the loss of human dignity. When the knowledge of God is suppressed, the nature of man suffers, and it manifests itself in gross, unnatural acts. Homosexual behaviour is here extrapolated in the text as an example of an unnatural human relationship that brings dishonour and a loss of dignity to the human race.#

*R.H. Mounce, Romans. The New American Commentary.
+R. Lenski, The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans.
#R. Sproul, R. C. The Gospel of God: An Exposition of Romans.

I Don’t Care What They Call Themselves, They Aren’t Baptists in Any Meaningful Sense of the Word

Go ahead and get mad at me if you want- whomsoever you may be- but when First ‘Baptist’ Church of Seattle paraded twenty-five same sex couples down their aisle and ‘married’ them that assembly gave up its right to be called or to call themselves Baptists.  Episcopalian?  Sure.  Presbyterian? Why not.  Anglican?  Of course.  But Baptist?  No.

And, again, go ahead and get just as mad at me as you want.  Defriend me on the facebook.  Denounce me on your blog.  Call me anything you wish from anti-semite to homophobic and everything in between (in spite of the fact that I am none of those things), but if you think for half a moment that First Seattle is justified in describing itself as a Baptist Church you know NOTHING of the Baptist faith, message, or tradition.  NOTHING.

Baptists worthy of the name live their lives and practice their faith according not to the whims and fancies of culture but according to the teaching of Scripture.  Scripture, for real Baptists, is the only guidestar.  If churches outside the Baptist tradition wish to marry same sex couples that’s between them and God.  But no Baptist, no real Baptist, no authentic Baptist who understands what the word means can or would in good conscience.

The ‘church’ in Seattle needs to rebrand itself with another denominational affiliation.  It isn’t a Baptist Church.

The Ark Floats

The Associated Press reports

Just as the first storms of winter roll in, Dutchman Johan Huibers has finished his 20-year quest to build a full-scale, functioning model of Noah’s Ark — an undertaking of, well, biblical proportions.  Huibers, a Christian, used books 6-9 of Genesis as his inspiration, following the instructions God gives Noah down to the last cubit.  Translating to modern measurements, Huibers came up with a vessel that works out to a whopping 427 feet (130 meters) long, 95 feet (29 meters) across and 75 feet (23 meters) high. Perhaps not big enough to fit every species on Earth, two by two, as described in the Bible, but plenty of space, for instance, for a pair elephants to dance a tango.  Johan’s Ark towers across the flat Dutch landscape and is easily visible from a nearby highway where it lies moored in the city of Dordrecht, just south of Rotterdam.

Here are a couple of photos… there are more at the AP story and many more details too.  And it floats, but does it fly?

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He Understands The True Nature of the Maccabees…

And he hasn’t (or has he) even read my commentary on 1-2 Macc.


The story tweeted includes this sage passage

Read in its historical context …  the Hanukkah story is really about a revolt against the Hellenized Jews who had fallen madly in love with the sophisticated, globalizing superculture of their day. The Apocrypha’s texts make it clear that the battle against Hellenization was in fact a kulturkampf among the Jews themselves. Here is how the first Book of the Maccabees describes Jerusalem on the eve of civil war and revolt in the time of Antiochus (translation by Nicholas de Lange):

At that time there were some evil-doers in Israel who tried to win popularity for a policy of integration with the surrounding nations. It was because the Jews had kept themselves aloof for so long, they claimed, that so many hardships had befallen them. They acquired a following and applied to Antiochus, who authorized them to introduce the Greek way of life. They built a Greek gymnasium in Jerusalem and even had themselves uncircumcised.

Uncircumcision as the price of admission to the Jerusalem gym! When they were eight days old, the “sign of the covenant” had been carved in their flesh; now as young men, these Jews risked health and sacrificed sexual pleasure to “become one flesh” with the regnant beauty culture. In Judea, then, there were Jews choosing to die rather than publicly profane Jewish law—and there were Jews risking death to free themselves from the parochial constraints of that law. The historic Jewish passion to merge and disappear confronted the attested Jewish will to stand apart and persist.

That’s the clash of Hanukkah. Armed Hasmonean priests and their comrades from the rural town of Modi’in attacked urban Jews, priests and laity alike, who supported Greek reform, like the gymnasium and new rules for governing commerce. The Hasmoneans imposed, at sword’s edge, traditional observance. After years of protracted warfare, the priests established a Hasmonean state that never ceased fighting Jews who disagreed with its rule.

That’s why I call them the Taliban.  I challenge anyone who knows the history of the era to show that the Maccabees of their day were not equivalent to the Taliban of ours.  Happy Hanukkah (sanitized).

Victor Hurowitz on Proverbs

From Viv Rowett of SOTS-

Victor and ProverbsThere is a new commentary by Victor Hurowitz on Proverbs (Hebrew, 2 vols) in the Miqra Le-Yisrael series (Shmuel Ahituv ed.), Tel-Aviv: Am-Oved; Jerusalem: Magnes, The Hebrew University. Congratulations to him on his achievement.


News From Syria

For the most in depth and useful coverage visit syriadeeply.org.  I heard about this on Saturday on NPR and have finally gotten a chance to look at it.  It’s really quite a remarkable accomplishment.   I wish the organizers would do ‘palestinedeeply.org’ so that we could learn what was going on there without the interference of the sponsored spin of the government of Bibi Netanyahu.


399322_553010201382549_278889594_nvia Ref.ch on FB

Hugh Pyper’s Sheffield Lecture

If you’re in Sheffield, or anywhere in Yorkshire, you should drop in on 12 December 2012 to hear Professor Hugh Pyper lecture on a topic titled, ‘From Sheffield to the World and Back: Learning from Postcolonial Readers’ at Jessop West Exhibition Space, 6.30pm.

Hugh Pyper is The Department’s Professor of Biblical Interpretation. He came to Sheffield in 2004 and his current research interests include the contemporary cultural influence of the Bible; the interaction of biblical and literary studies, and Postcolonial studies. Hugh has published books and articles on a particularly diverse variety of topics in relation to biblical studies including professional wrestling, children’s bibles and Kierkegaard.

Professor Hugh Pyper – Staff Profile

This Year’s Heisman Winner… Johnny ‘Mug Shot’ Manziel!

Manziel_AM_mugBig news from College ball- the Heisman’s been given out to a guy who already has a police record so who better to receive it and have a bright future in the NFL where all manner of criminals are highly paid to entertain the crowds?!

In the NFL, having a police record is a plus for the resume, not a negative at all.  It’s like being a rapper with street cred thanks to some feckless act of violence except in the NFL the miscreants are paid better.

Good work, Heisman committee.  After all, who wants a decent guy to receive recognition.  You harvest jocks for the NFL…

More Professorial Misconduct: The Tale of Charles Groat

…   Following the lead of the tobacco and the oil industries, natural gas producers have attempted to use doubt as a means to forestall any meaningful action to regulate their activities, despite clear evidence of contamination of water suppliesearthquakes and other environmental consequences that they would prefer to see left underground. They have funded a number of university research programs to bolster their claims and add legitimacy to their arguments while playing fast and loose with the facts.

But now they have been caught with their hand in the cookie jar. Three times in the past three months, university research programs funded by oil and gas interests have been discredited due to lack or scientific rigor and conflicts of interest.

Most recently, at the University of Texas at Austin, Dr. Charles Groat resigned in the midst of controversy when an independent review of a study performed by a team he led found numerous errors and flaws, as well as a conflict of interest.

The study, entitled, “Fact-based Regulation for Environmental Protection in Shale Gas Development,” claimed that there was no link between fracking and water contamination. However, when a watchdog group called the Public Accountability Initiative uncovered the fact that Dr. Groat was on the payroll of a natural gas fracking company called Plains Drilling and Exploration to the tune of $1.6 million, an independent investigation was ordered. As the result of the investigation, Dr. Raymond Orbach, the head of the university’s Energy Institute, also resigned.  No doubt both of them will have jobs waiting for them in the gas industry.

No doubt they will.  Because when there’s professorial research misconduct, there’s also a future in whichever industry the ‘unbiased’ scholar has fronted for.   But then there’s also the shadow of doubt cast on research.  So, nicely done Groat.  Nicely done.  You’ve managed to enrich yourself whilst besmirching academia.