Daily Archives: 15 Mar 2014

Where in the World Is Chris Tilling Now?

Venice Beach, working out…


Chris has done a lot of disturbing things, but this is the most disturbing of all.  Some things should be done in the privacy of the home.  Like this.

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Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Modern Culture


Real Scholarship: An Observation

Real scholarship isn’t based upon legal action but reasoned argument. If your point has to be won at the tip of a sword or through the verdict of a court, you’ve already lost both argument and academic credibility.


Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Modern Culture


We Already Have One, It’s Called the Bible

Alex, I’ll take ‘do we need a code of ethics for mega-church pastors who write?‘ for $2000/

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Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Modern Culture


I’ve Never Heard A Greedy Person Preach From James 2:1-11

1 My brothers, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with partiality. 2 For if someone enters into your assembly in fine clothing with a gold ring on his finger, and a poor person in filthy clothing also enters, 3 and you look favorably on the one wearing the fine clothing and you say, “Be seated here in a good place,” and to the poor person you say, “You stand or be seated there by my footstool,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my dear brothers! Did not God choose the poor of the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor! Are not the rich exploiting you and they themselves dragging you into the courts? 7 Do they themselves not blaspheme the good name of the one to whom you belong?

8 However, if you carry out the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and thus are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but stumbles in one point only has become guilty of all of it. 11 For the one who said “Do not commit adultery” also said “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

Isn’t it odd that the issue of partiality- like gluttony- are virtually ignored today in American Christianity?  It seems that those two topics aren’t as well received as ‘God loves you no matter what’ and ‘just do your best and God will accept you’.

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Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Theology


How The Politics of Greed Would Have Played in the Early Church

If many of those who call themselves members of the #GOP had existed in the early church, Ananias and Saphira would have been praised for keeping what they wanted and lying to the Holy Spirit and Barnabas would have been mocked for bringing his money in aid of the poor.  And the whole community would have been derided as ‘Socialist’ or ‘Communist’ or both.

The politics of greed, and the greed of many Christians who fancy themselves quite pious, would not have played well in early Christianity.  No, it would not have played well at all.

And yet, in our own day, greed is good- even for people who think that they are disciples of Jesus the Christ.  It’s very odd (and betrays an absolute lack of self awareness on the part of the greedy Christian).

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Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Modern Culture


A Comment Regarding Lexham’s ‘Textual Criticism’ Book

A while back (in December- it seems so long ago) the Logos package I have updated and a new volume was added called the Lexham Method Series: Textual Criticism.  I’ve been asked what I thought of it and so, figuring where there’s one person wondering, there are others, I thought I’d make a comment or two.

lex_textFirst, the book is well-laid out.  Organizationally, it’s fantastic.  It addresses all of the key issues without dumbing them down and yet balancing quite well scholarship and accessibility.  So, for instance, in the section which asks why TC is necessary, our author suggests

The Bible was written in an age when the means for sharing documents were far different than the technology we have today. When the Apostle Paul wrote his first-century letter to the church in Ephesus, the Ephesian Christians likely read it aloud and then handwrote copies of the letter to pass around to a wider audience. Such copies eventually wore out, so before they crumbled away, devoted followers who recognized the value of Paul’s words produced copies of the copies—and so on, until Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type in 15th-century Germany. With some variation, this process of repeated hand-copying happened with every book in the Bible—the NT books in Greek, and the OT books in Hebrew.

Etc.  In short, readers of this book will learn why TC matters and will be introduced to the method well enough to both understand how it works and why it matters as well as having a good foundation laid for further research.

And that brings me to my second point concerning this book: it is an introduction to the subject, nothing more nor less.  Those really and genuinely interested in the topic will need to move beyond the ‘elementary principles’ found here to the real meat of the discipline as found, for instance, in Tov’s Hebrew Bible TC and in Aland’s NT TC work.  And yes, Aland’s is still the best for NT TC just as Tov’s is still the best for HB TC.

For it’s purpose, the Lexham Methods TC volume is exceptional, but it is not, cannot be, and should not be considered the ‘end of the road’.  Rather, it is simply (but importantly) an on-ramp.

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Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Books


Fun Facts From Church History: On The Difference Between What Law Allows and What God Allows

lutherLuther writes

…  what precious things the laws permit! They permit public brothels, although they are contrary to God’s commandment, and many other evil things which God forbids; they necessarily permit also sins and wickedness. The things that human laws command and forbid matter little, not to mention the things they permit or do not punish. Thus, self-defense is not punishable under human law, but in the sight of God it has no merit.

Suing in the courts is condemned neither by pope nor emperor, but it is condemned by Christ and his teaching.

When some of the Old Testament fathers punished their enemies, it was never at their own discretion or without an express command from God, who punishes sinners at times by means of both good and bad angels and men. For this reason the fathers never sought their own revenge or profit therein, but only acted as obedient servants of God; just as Christ teaches in the gospel that at God’s command we must act even against father and mother [Matt. 10:35–37; Luke 14:26], whom he has commanded us to honor [Exod. 20:12; Matt. 15:4]. Yet the two commandments are not contradictory, but the lower is governed by the higher. So when God commands you to take revenge or defend yourself, you shall do it; but not before then.*

What some Christians and some Orthodox Jews seem to forget is one simple truth- here explained brilliantly by Luther: what the law allows does not mean that what is allowed is right, moral, or proper. And pursuing legal means for self enrichment is neither moral nor something that people of faith are permitted.

Let him who has ears to hear, hear. Those who yell and scream ‘but it’s my right to defend my property’ or ‘it’s my right to sue’ understand neither faith, nor God.

*M. Luther, M. The Christian in Society II, Vol. 45, pp. 277–278.

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Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Modern Culture


In the True Spirit of the Day…

Via Candida ‘My BFF’ Moss on the FB-


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Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Humor


More With Wayne Coppins

Cliff Kvidahlvikingdescendant has posted part two of his interview with Wayne C. instead of getting the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew out…

Ok fine. *Sigh*. The eternal wait continues…

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Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Modern Culture


Simcha is Suing Vanderbilt University Now, and Robin Jensen

Thanks to Robert Cargill for mentioning this on the FB.  It is simply astonishing the lengths to which some will go to attempt to silence criticism…   A word of advice to academics and academic institutions- don’t give in to legal bullying.


With Robert, I think the reason for this frivolous legal attempt to silence any and all present or future disagreements with Simcha’s work is this essay by Robin for ASOR:

In December, 2010, I was asked to participate in a National Geographic film project that—I was led to believe—would investigate the image of Jonah in early Christian art. I was asked to fly to Rome in January in order to be filmed in the catacombs and comment on the figure of Jonah as it appeared in the iconographic décor of those underground cemeteries. It was made clear that my expertise in ancient Christian art, especially in regard to representations of Jonah, was the reason for this invitation.

No one, prior to my arriving in Rome, mentioned ossuaries or Jerusalem, much less the Tomb of Jesus. I was under the impression that the film—being produced for The National Geographic Society—was to be focused on early Christian art. Once I got to Rome, I began to realize that Simcha Jacobovici was involved in some way, but I was still very much in the dark about what that involvement was.


It’s somewhat surprising that Simcha isn’t also suing ASOR for having the gall to publish Robin’s essay.  Maybe that’s coming too.  Maybe not.  But one thing is certain- as certain as anything can be- Simcha resorts to lawsuits any time he feels that his work isn’t receiving the ‘respect’ he feels it deserves.  And equally certain- he will NOT prevail in court.  His lawyers will get richer, but he will lose.

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Posted by on 15 Mar 2014 in Total Depravity