Liars and the Lies They Tell: Christian Zionism

This essay by the Business Manager of IRD ranks right up there with the worst of liars and the lies they tell.  It is laced pillar to post with fetishism for the heresy of Christian Zionism and it spews the sort of bile we are more accustomed to see from the pens of Neo-Nazis and Skinheads- leveled this time not at Jews but at Palestinians.

Indeed, mutatis mutandis, if one substituted Israel for Palestinians and vice versa throughout one would swear one were reading a pamphlet from the pen of Himmler.

In 2010, a film was released that perfectly encapsulated the erosion of Evangelical Christian support for Israel. The film, With God on Our Side, featured a young man learning about the Palestinian struggle and coming to see Israel not as evidence of God’s faithfulness, but as a mean and heartless nation enabled by American Evangelicals who have embraced Zionist ideology.

The film’s narrative of peace-loving Palestinians mistreated by heartless Israelis and their Christian Zionist supporters has been repackaged and promoted again and again by anti-Israel activists in some of the most influential Evangelical institutions in the United States. These activists, often in high positions, have found eager disciples in places like the megachurch campus of Willow Creek and the academic halls of Wheaton College, one of America’s preeminent Evangelical institutions. And they have been able to exploit the resources of popular Evangelical development organizations like World Vision.

Exposing these activists and their strategy is key to thwarting their efforts to undermine Evangelical support for Israel.

‘Undermine Evangelical support for Israel’ is nothing but code for ‘undermine our attempts as Christian Zionist heretics to damn the Palestinians and blindly support a modern state which simply connects itself to an ancient people for the purpose of land-grabbing and displacing inhabitants of towns and villages and murdering them without mercy or regard’.

Let’s expose the Christian Zionists for what they are- false teachers who distort the bible and care nothing for Jews.  Let’s expose them for the unrepentant deceivers and political manipulators that they are.  Let’s expose them for the toadies of zionist ideology that they are.

@ABC Doesn’t Know the Difference Between Palestine and Israel

ABC needs to take a geography lesson.

More than fifty Palestinians have been killed and another 450 wounded since Monday in Israel’s ongoing assault on the besieged Gaza Strip, dubbed “Operation Protective Edge” by the Israeli army.

As usual, mainstream media outlets are straining to paint Israel as the victim, defending its people against irrational Palestinian rocket fire.

There is no equating the killing and maiming of dozens of innocent Palestinians with scared Israelis seeking shelter from crude rockets that rarely cause damage. But that hasn’t stopped media outlets from trying, and in some cases, outright lying, to distort the violence.

In one stark example, ABC News’ Diane Sawyer misidentifies scenes of the aftermath of Israeli missile strikes in Gaza as destruction caused by Palestinian rocket fire.

As Sawyer segues into the segment, she says, “We take you overseas now to the rockets raining down on Israel today as Israel tried to shoot them out of the sky.” Next to her is video footage not of Israelis or even Israel, but of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

Sawyer then incorrectly describes an image of a Palestinian family gathering belongings in the smoking debris of a missile-hit home in Gaza as “an Israeli family trying to salvage what they can.”

Dear Diane- this isn’t an Israeli family in Israel.  It is a Palestinian family in Gaza.  Doesn’t anyone at ABC check facts anymore?  Or is all the money pumped into infotainment?


John Calvin the Prophet

Some interesting observations by the always observant Jon Balserak including but not limited to-

What is the self, and how is it formed? In the case of Calvin, we might be given a glimpse at an answer if we consider the context from which he came. Calvin was part of a society that was still profoundly memorial in character; he lived with the vestiges of that medieval culture that’s discussed so brilliantly by Frances Yates and Mary Carruthers — a society which committed classical and Christian corpora to remembrance and whose self-identity was, in a large part, shaped and informed by memory. Understanding his society may help us to understand not only Calvin but, more specifically, something of his prophetic self-consciousness.

Enjoy Calvin’s birthday tomorrow.

News From Berlin

Via Refo500

The Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin invites those working towards a PhD or Habilitation in Reformation Studies to the Second Inter-University Colloquium in Reformation Studies, Wittenberg/Leucorea, 3 (Afternoon) – 5 (Noon) October 2014.

The World’s Foremost Epigrapher- Chris Rollston

He’s in the news:

Rollston_700In a western Galilee excavation site, archaeologists unearth a massive stone covered in mysterious Aramaic engravings. Along the Mediterranean coast, scholars are puzzled by Phoenician markings on 4,000-year-old pottery shards. And in the deserts of Jordan, an ancient Moabite altar is discovered, but experts struggle to decipher the inscriptions adorning its surface.

What do each of these cases have in common? When Near East researchers found themselves stumped by the words on ancient artifacts, they all called Christopher Rollston.

Among the world’s leading Near East epigraphers, Rollston is a master of more than a dozen long-dead languages, from Akkadian to Ugaritic. He is a veteran of dig sites like Syria’s Umm e-Marra and Israel’s Megiddo. And, according to Eric Cline, professor of classics and anthropology, “He’s the go-to-guy when you’ve got an ancient inscription that needs translating.”

This fall, Rollston brings his skills and passion—not to mention his encyclopedic knowledge of texts from the Hebrew Bible to the Dead Sea Scrolls—to Columbian College. Or, more precisely, back to Columbian College. A popular visiting professor in the spring 2013 semester, Rollston will return to the school as a full-time associate professor of Northwest Semitic languages and literatures.

“I am delighted to be coming back to George Washington University,” Rollston said. “It is a great university with a distinguished faculty and stellar students. I have rarely enjoyed teaching as much as I did here.”

Rollston is a scholar of the ancient Near East, specializing in the Hebrew Bible, Old Testament Apocrypha, Northwest Semitic literature, paleography and biblical languages. Epigraphy—the translation of ancient inscriptions into modern languages—remains his true passion, and one that he’s eager to convey to students.

And more- which read.  Chris deserves this recognition and the fact that Emanuel foolishly let him go because of the petty jealousy of a minor academic has turned out for the best not just for Chris, but for academia.

New Volumes From Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

The first, by Ryan McGraw– A Heavenly Directory: Trinitarian Piety, Public Worship and a Reassessment of John Owen’s Theology –

978-3-525-55075-5There is a growing body of historical literature on the importance of John Owen. Ryan M. McGraw seeks to reassess Owen’s theology in light of the way in which he connected his trinitarian piety to his views of public worship. McGraw argues that Owen´s teaching on communion with God as triune was the foundation of his views of public worship and that he regarded public worship as the highest expression of communion with the triune God. These themes not only highlight Owen’s context as a Reformed orthodox theologian, but the distinctive influence of English Puritanism on his theological emphases. The connection between his practical trinitarianism and public worship runs through the course of his writings and every major area of his theology. These include the nature of theology, the knowledge of God, the doctrine of the Trinity, public worship, spiritual affections, apostasy, covenant theology, ecclesiology, and Christology. This work treats these themes in Owen’s thought and shows how they intersect and are intertwined with the Trinity and public worship. In addition, this book provides a detailed exposition of the parts of Reformed worship. While other works have treated the centrality of his trinitarianism in his theology, few have acknowledged the importance of public worship in his thinking. This research concludes that communion with God in public worship was integral to Owen’s practical trinitarian theology.

The second, by Hans Schwarz – Vying for Truth – Theology and the Natural Sciences: From the 17th Century to the Present –

978-3-525-54028-2The emancipation of the natural sciences from religion was a gradual affair during the last four centuries. Initially many of the leading scientists were churchmen indicating a symbiosis between faith and reason. Due to the increasing specialization in the sciences this close connection came to an end often leading to antagonism and mutual suspicion. This book traces this historical development with its twists and turns in both Europe and North America. It depicts the major players in this story and outlines their specific contributions. The main focus is on the 19th and 20th centuries with figures such as Darwin and Hodge, but also Beecher and Abbott in the 19th century. In the 20th century the narrative starts with Karl Barth and moves all the way to Hawking and Tipler. Special attention is given to representatives from North America, Great Britain, and Germany. In conclusion important issues are presented in the present-day dialogue between theology and the natural sciences. The issue of design and fine-tuning is picked up, and advances in brain research. Finally technological issues are assessed and the status of medicine as a helpmate for life is discussed. An informative and thought-provoking book.

And the third, by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer, Hans M. Barstad (Ed.) – Continuity and Discontinuity: Chronological and Thematic Development in Isaiah 40–66 –

978-3-525-53614-8This volume of collected essays focuses on the relationship between the different texts within Isaiah 40–66. It reinvestigates and challenges the traditional division between chapters 40–55 and 56–66 and explores new ways of reading the last 27 chapters of the book of Isaiah. Each article examines Isaiah 40–55 and/or Isaiah 56–66 and highlights continuity and discontinuity within this material.

Some contributions belong to the tradition of historical-critical research. They examine existing models of textual development of Isa 40–66 and offer new suggestions. They also explore the interplay between the historical development of the text and its thematic continuity and discontinuity. Is the consistent use of a theme a sign of single authorship? Alternatively, are changes in the way a given issue is treated a sign of multiple authorship? Other contributions explore the final form of Isa 40–66 and suggest reading strategies that do justice to the message of the extant text. Yet other articles make case studies of specific elements of Isa 40–66. What is the significance of these texts for the theological development of the ancient Israelite religion? Further, how do they interact with and transform other texts in the Hebrew Bible?

There’s something for everyone.

A Guest Post by Keith Whitelam: Destroy the Past, Eliminate the Future

Destroy the Past, Eliminate the Future

whitelamThe destruction of Palestine’s past has been so successful that Israel is able to own and control the present. Western governments and media—who have long accepted this as the status quo—are now complicit in the latest implementation of the corollary strategy to destroy Palestine’s future.

The constant bombardment of Gaza that has intensified in the last few days is the clearest indication of this strategy. The BBC this morning reported that Israel was responding to rocket attacks from Gaza. There was no mention of the disproportionate response or that the collective punishment of a people is a war crime. MAP has just reported that the latest bombardment has resulted in the death of 43 Palestinians, including at least 5 children, and over 320 people injured. Other sources are reporting that 7 children were killed during air strikes earlier today.

The most disturbing aspect of this strategy to eliminate Palestine’s future is the deliberate targeting of Palestinian children. Although there was some reporting of the brutal beating of Tariq Abu Khdeir and the burning to death of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, the earlier shooting of Palestinian teenagers by snipers or the imprisonment of 100s of children was judiciously ignored. Defence for Children International claim that Israel has been responsible for the death of 1034 Palestinian children since 2000. Palestine’s future is being eliminated by the destruction of its children.

Western governments and the media repeat the refrain that Israel has a right to self-defence. The children of Palestine, their parents and relatives are defenceless. They have no-one to protect them from the terror of Israeli military power. Cameron, Hague, Blair (not to mention Obama) and the BBC are complicit in the deaths of these children while they standby idly refusing to stand up to Netanyahu and his government.

John Yoder: Pervert

It has been widely and well known for quite some time that Yoder was a pervert.  Today more evidence comes to light that his perversions weren’t restricted to inappropriate comments and attempts to coerce but that he indeed actually did have sexual relations with numerous victims.

Barbra Graber provides us with posts here and here. She says:

Let’s all be clear and truthful about what actually happened in the case of JHY. People still ask me what he actually did that was so bad. Words like “inappropriate”, “liaisons”, “dalliances”, “alleged abuses”, “crossed boundaries”, “improprieties”, and “misconduct” to describe Yoder’s actions are highly misleading. The actions of JHY reported to me, beginning in the 70′s, were sexually abusive assaults, sudden acts of aggression. They were obscene and persistent sexual harassments. They were clear perpetrations of sexualized violence. Women don’t write letters of complaint to powerful institutions about liaisons with powerful men. They usually don’t bother to write complaint letters about improprieties. An impropriety is a sexist joke. Stop the whitewashing. The man committed crimes and was very lucky to have been spared a jail sentence.

I bring this up because Yoder isn’t the only scholar who used his position to coerce others nor is he the only scholar who made inappropriate comments to others.  That, shockingly, still goes on.  There are academics, even now, who cross the boundary of decency and proffer crude and inexplicably sexist comments.  What I fear is that they also move beyond words to deeds.  This, in fact, should bother us all.

Academics have a sacred trust.  To violate that trust through acts of sexual deviance or inappropriateness is a betrayal and it should be reported and publicly denounced.  Elsewise, it will continue.  The whitewashing and excuse making must end.

Fun Facts From Church History: Luther Didn’t Like Any of His Books Except Two

luther_transOn June 13, 1536, Wolfgang Capito of Strassburg had asked Luther for permission to reprint his Postil and other works. To this Luther replied on July 9, 1537: “As for the disposition of my books in volumes, I am rather cool and disinterested [frigidior et segnior]; for I am aroused by a Saturnine hunger and would rather see them all devoured. I do not acknowledge any as my legitimate book except the book On the Bondage of the Will [1525] and the Catechism [1529].” WA Briefe, VIII, p. 99.*

Proving only that we are our own worst critics.  Luther’s Letter on Translating is still extraordinarily important; his many hymns are a delight; and his Babylonian Captivity, Freedom of the Christian, and translation of the Bible are all timeless.  On the other hand, his ‘On the Jews‘ and his ridiculous books on the Supper should all have been committed to the flames.


*Luther, M. Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 15-20.