Daily Archives: 13 Feb 2013

And A Happy Valentine’s Day to You…..

Via Candida Moss on the Facebook-


There Aren’t 10 Reasons Kids Leave the Church, There’s Only One

They went out from us, but they did not belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. However, they went out so that it might be made clear that none of them belongs to us. (1 Jo 2:19 CSB). In response to this post which would have us believe that there are 10 top reasons kids (and one would presume adults as well) leave the Church.

But again, there’s only one reason. To be sure, there are excuses. But there’s only one reason and that reason is glaringly and profoundly simple: kids (and adults) leave the Church because at some level they were never really part in the first place. Whatever straw man they may wish to set up and whatever excuse they develop, theologically speaking, such are simply attempts to evade personal responsibility and its fruit in authentic commitment.

When a generation is raised on pizza parties and events and games and outings and trips and that’s the entire extent of their exposure to discipleship it isn’t discipleship to which they are exposed. It’s self-involvement. When young and old are treated as though they were the center of the Church and the purpose of the church and the reason for the existence of the church it is only natural that they leave as soon as something else attracts their self interested attention.

When the Church forthrightly declares that God is Lord and we, his people, are his servants, then disciples can be made; and the truth is, Jesus tells the Church to make disciples, not members or attenders.

But the real question is, what does the Church lose when it loses ‘members’ who contribute neither life, time, effort, nor love to and for ministry and instead simply only always and ever wish to be ‘ministered to’? Truth is, not much.

Let them go. When they mature they’ll return. If not, they were never really members of the body of Christ and no amount of reconstructive surgery can make them into something they aren’t any more than a leopard can change its spots.

On The Birth Anniversary of Herman Ridderbos

Which just happens to be today, a post on the Logos Blog.  It includes this delightfully worded, Oxford comma laden paragraph-

Ridderbos has been praised for his insightful work by many outstanding scholars. And he has been excoriated by others, who fail to grasp, I think, his overarching purpose and who instead focus on what they deem shortcomings. In other words, they wish Ridderbos to mirror their views instead of allowing him his own voice. A voice, it has to be said, which is very much worth hearing.

More Pastoral Misconduct: The Daycare Has to Close Because the Pastor is a Thief

Yet again…  a stalwart reminder that sin is never a private affair but that it affects everyone around it.

A Sevier County church is being forced to close its daycare just as police launch an investigation into allegations the church’s pastor stole church funds for his own personal use.  Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church spokesman Bill Ball says the daycare, which has been open since 1995, will close on Thursday.  Ball said the church daycare is being forced to close because it owes $40,000 in unpaid federal and state unemployment taxes and is unable to continue operating and also settle the debt.

Former pastor Ronald Lukat joined the church in February 2011. Shortly after his hire, the church treasurer resigned and Lukat offered to take over those responsibilities.  In December 2012, Ball said the church discovered that Lukat has been using the church’s business credit card for personal expenses, which he estimated to be roughly $3,600.  Around the same time, he also uncovered the unpaid taxes the daycare center owed.  Church officials confronted Lukat about the charges and taxes and he confessed on both accounts and resigned from his post.

Come on people- the Pastor should NEVER have charge of the checkbook.  NEVER.  It’s basic common sense and for the same reason that Pastors should never visit the homes of women younger than their Grandmother alone:  temptation is real and even the appearance of impropriety (not to mention the actual practice of depravity) is completely destructive.

I feel complete empathy for the Church and those undone by Pastor Greedy.

John Collins on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ – Now Online (With Audio Coming This Evening)

Give it a listen soon as you can! In the meanwhile, a read.

On being asked for Aramaic translations by Mel Gibsonfor his film The Passion of the Christ

“Just after I moved to Yale, I went into my office one day and picked up the phone, and the voice — that was a recorded message — [said], ‘Mr. Collins, this is Mel Gibson. I’m looking for somebody to translate some material into Aramaic. You were recommended to me by Father Fitzmeyer.’ I actually asked to see a copy of the manuscript, and he sent it to me, and I read it until I encountered a talking snake, and at that point, I decided I do not want to be associated with this. But I think the actual Aramaic that was produced was quite good. … That was the least of the problems of the movie.”

Bibliobloggers Celebrate Valentine’s Day!

With apologies to the wives of the bloggers. You all deserve better! 😉

Another Reason to Love the Göttingen Septuagint…

For Logos is the ease with which one can work with both the base text and textual variants.  Here’s a screenshot of the text of Genesis 1 on the left and the textual apparatus of the Göttingen edition on the right:


While it may seem but a small thing to have text + apparatus side by side believe me, it’s monumentally useful.  One needn’t hunt to the bottom of the page or in a completely different volume altogether (as with the Göttingen edition, which has the text in one volume and the apparatus separately).

I felt compelled to point that out (since I’m at this very moment using exactly this layout for work I’m doing in Genesis).  I’m also compelled, once more, to laud Logos and Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht for the Göttingen edition.  Spectacular gratitude really doesn’t capture the full spirit of my sentiment towards them, and it.

Puritan Valentine’s Day Cards…

This did make me laugh- a lot (via Bob Cargill on FB)-


On Lenten Boasting

I’ve noticed that people practicing Lent love to tell us what they’re doing, what they’re giving up, what it means to them, etc.  Consequently, it occurs to me that if people boasted as much about Christ as they do their Lenten practice the whole world would be evangelized.

Perhaps the passage which reads μὴ γνώτω ἡ ἀριστερά σου τί ποιεῖ ἡ δεξιά σου (Mat 6:3) should be required reading.

The Northwest Semitic Inscription Archive

Is here (or rather, is back).  With thanks to Charles Jones for the heads-up.  And be sure to install the proper font.

The Northwest Semitic Inscription Archive (NSIA) has been designed to allow scholars and students access to inscriptions from the above list. The database is continuously updated to include recently published inscriptions. The text of each inscription may be viewed in Aramaic Block Script available at this site. To use the database, we recommend first clicking on the “”Lryn” Font” button at the top of this page and follow the instructions to install the font onto your computer. For additional information on the font see Tips using the “Tipsheet” button at the top of this page. Once the “Lryn” font is installed, the text of each artifact will display in the Aramaic Block Script.

So Cheer Up!

via Brian Kelley on G+

via Brian Kelley on G+

What Calvin Thinks of Lent

calvin78Then the superstitious observance of Lent had everywhere prevailed: for both the vulgarimagined that they thereby perform some excellent service to God, and pastors commended it as a holy imitation of Christ; though it is plain that Christ did not fast to set an example to others, but, by thus commencing the preaching of the gospel, meant to prove that his doctrine was not of men, but had come from heaven.

And it is strange how men of acute judgment could fall into this gross delusion, which so many clear reasons refute: for Christ did not fast repeatedly (which he must have done had he meant to lay down a law for an anniversary fast), but once only, when preparing for the promulgation of the gospel. Nor does he fast after the manner of men, as he would have done had he meant to invite men to imitation; he rather gives an example, by which he may raise all to admire rather than study to imitate him.

In short, the nature of his fast is not different from that which Moses observed when he received the law at the hand of the Lord (Exod. 24:18; 34:28). For, seeing that that miracle was performed in Moses to establish the law, it behoved not to be omitted in Christ, lest the gospel should seem inferior to the law. But from that day, it never occurred to any one, under pretence of imitating Moses, to set up a similar form of fast among the Israelites.

Nor did any of the holy prophets and fathers follow it, though they had inclination and zeal enough for all pious exercises; for though it is said of Elijah that he passed forty days without meat and drink (1 Kings 19:8), this was merely in order that the people might recognise that he was raised up to maintain the law, from which almost the whole of Israel had revolted.

It was therefore merely false zeal, replete with superstition, which set up a fast under the title and pretext of imitating Christ; although there was then a strange diversity in the mode of the fast, as is related by Cassiodorus in the ninth book of the History of Socrates: “The Romans,” says he, “had only three weeks, but their fast was continuous, except on the Lord’s day and the Sabbath. The Greeks and Illyrians had, some six, others seven, but the fast was at intervals. Nor did they differ less in the kind of food: some used only bread and water, others added vegetables; others had no objection to fish and fowls; others made no difference in their food.” Augustine also makes mention of this difference in his latter epistle to Januarius.

Explaining Lent to the Non-Lenti-ians

Since most Reformed Christians (real adherents of Reformed theology) don’t observe such Catholic myths as ‘Fat Tuesday’ or ‘Lent’ let me offer a short primer so you know what the Catholic/Un-Reformed are doing for the next few weeks:

Mardi Gras– An opportunity to live as riotously and sinfully as one wishes with the belief that a few moments of ‘penance’ at the conclusion of the ‘celebration’ will please God and erase guilt.

Lent– The hyperpious notion that if one slathers ash and dirt on one’s forehead and gives up a few non-essential pleasures during a period of 40 days one is somehow made right with God, in spite of and even indeed in contradiction oftentimes to the condition of one’s heart and one’s authentic spiritual state.

Ash Wednesday– That day when the Un-Reformed slather ash on their faces and festoon their blogs with constant reminders of their super-seriousness concerning spiritual things.  It is ‘kickoff day’ for the period of Lent, after which, as soon as the Easter Egg Hunt is over, practitioners return to their pre-Lenten state of riotous living and debauchery.

Just remember the words of Jesus-

When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put scent on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you. (Mat 6:16-17).

Go, wash your faces, you Lentians, and do your pious acts in privacy, so that they are between you and God!

What Bullinger Thinks of Lent

bullinger50The fast of Lent is attested by antiquity but not at all in the writings of the apostles. Therefore it ought not, and cannot, be imposed on the faithful. It is certain that formerly there were various forms and customs of fasting. hence, Irenaeus, a most ancient writer, says: “Some think that a fast should be observed one day only, others two days, but others more, and some forty days. This diversity in keeping this fast did not first begin in our times, but long before us by those, as I suppose, who did not simply keep to what had been delivered to them from the beginning, but afterwards fell into another custom either through negligence or ignorance” .  Moreover, Socrates, the historian, says: “Because no ancient text is found concerning this matter, I think the apostles left this to every man’s own judgment, that every one might do what is good without fear or constraint” — Heinrich Bullinger

What Erasmus Thinks of Lent

erasmusAlmost all the World over, Men eat plentifully, and no Body is offended at it; but if a sick Man taste a Bit of a Chicken, the whole Christian Religion is in Danger. In England the common People have a Supper every other Day, in Lent Time, and no Body wonders at it; but if a Man, at Death’s Door in a Fever, should sup a little Chicken Broth, it is accounted a Crime worse than Sacrilege.

Among the same Persons at Lent Time, than which there is nothing of greater Antiquity, nor more religiously observ’d among Christians, as I have said before, they sup without any Penalty; but if you shall attempt to do the same, after Lent is over, on a Friday, no Body will bear it; if you ask the Reason of it, they’ll tell you ’tis the Custom of the Country. They curse a Man who does not observe the Custom of the Country, and yet they forgive themselves the Neglect of the antient Custom of the universal Church. [The Colloquies of Desiderius Erasmus, Vol. 2].

John Collins Will Be on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air’ Today

So give it a listen when you can.