Daily Archives: 27 Nov 2014

The Reformers on Thankfulness

zwingli_writingZwingli–  O overflowing spring of God’s mercy! how well Paul speaks when he says, that these things are known but through the Spirit of God. Therefore we have not received the spirit of this world, but the spirit that is from God, because we see what great things are given us by God. You know your liberty too little. Cause: the false prophets have not told you, preferring to lead you about rather as a pig tied with a string; and we poor sinners cannot be led to the love of God any other way but by being taught to summon unto ourselves the Spirit of God, so that we may know the great things which God has given us. For who could but be thankful to God, so kind, and who could but be drawn into a wonderful love of him?

Calvin at 27

Calvin at 27

Calvin–  When he bids us be thankful, I do not take this as referring so much to the remembrance of favours, as to sweetness of manners. Hence, with the view of removing ambiguity, I prefer to render it, “Be amiable.” At the same time I acknowledge that, if gratitude takes possession of our minds, we shall without fail be inclined to cherish mutual affection among ourselves.

lutherLuther– “In the last thousand years God has given to no bishop such great gifts as he has given to me (for one should boast of God’s gifts), and I am angry with myself that I’m unable to rejoice from my heart and be thankful to God, though I do at times sing a little song and thank God. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s”

bullinger3Bullinger–  So long yet as a man is in this world, no late repentance doth come out of season. The entry is open unto God’s indulgence; and to them that seek and understand the truth, the path to pardon is passing plain. Thou, even at the very end and last gasp of this temporal life, ask pardon for thy sins at the hands of him which is the true and only God; call to him for the confession and faith of his knowledge: to him that confesseth pardon is granted, and to him that believeth salvation is given, and he even presently upon his departure doth pass to immortality. This grace doth Christ communicate: this gift he doth attribute unto his own mercy, by making death subject unto the triumph of the cross, by redeeming him that believeth with the price of his blood, by reconciling man to God the Father, by quickening the mortal by the heavenly regeneration. Let us all, if it be possible, follow him. Let us all profess his sign and sacrament. He openeth to us the way of life. He bringeth us to paradise again. He leadeth us to the kingdom of heaven. With him we shall always live; and being by him made the sons of God, we shall with him always rejoice, being restored by the shedding of his blood. We shall be Christians glorified together with Christ, blessed in God, rejoicing with perpetual pleasure always in the sight of God, and evermore giving thanks to God. For he cannot choose but be merry always and thankful, who, being once in danger and fear of death, is now made secure in immortality.”

musculusMusculus– [God’s love] ought to inspire believers to be studious in goodness, godliness, and righteousness and to be thankful toward God for his kindness.

I’ve Just Realized Something…

jeremiahJob had better friends than I do.

The Tiresome Hypocrisy of ‘Anti-Consumerism’

It’s that special time of the year when two contrary and contradictory things happen- and they happen at the hands, invariably, of the same people.

The first thing that happens is that denunciation of consumerism commences.  Buying stuff is bad.  Don’t buy stuff.  If you buy stuff you’re the antichrist.  Don’t buy stuff, give your money to charity.

The second thing that happens is that people become acutely aware of the poor.  And what’s their answer?  To stop spending (so that the poor lose the paltry jobs they have and earn enough barely to scrape by) and to give to charities instead (thus insuring a never ending perpetual string of poor people on the dole rather than on the assembly line).

Have none of the ‘poor people need our help/ and oh, by the way, stop buying things so the poor can be unemployed now’ folks observed that when the economy tanks it isn’t the wealthy who lose their jobs but the poor?  Are they so bereft of understanding of how economics work that they actually think that giving stuff to folk rather than using one’s own economic clout to inject wealth into the economy is a more satisfying and socially responsible course of action?

The tiresome rhetoric of the Pope and all those who demonize consumerism achieves nothing except to ensure that the wealthy remain, and continue to be, wealthy and the poor, who work at Target and Wal-Mart and Sears and Firestone and all the other places where jobs are offered to nearly anyone, will lose their only source of income if you stop spending what you make.

The Pope and those who share his mindset doubtless believe that they are doing what’s best for the poor.  But they aren’t.  If you want to help a poor person, ensure that they keep working by patronizing businesses.  If you just send your money to charities the only people you’re really helping are those in the 1% who don’t need anything from you and never will- or have.

Hugh Williamson at the Albright

If anyone knows if this is to be published, I’d love to hear.


Church Music: An Observation

Ancient_BibleFar too much of what passes for music in the Church today is merely a thin veneer attempting to cover over the inadequate preaching taking place in far too many pulpits. Love may cover a multitude of sins, but music doesn’t. The weakness and irrelevance of a church stands in direct proportion to what streams from the pulpit, not from the piano.

Music may provide a healthy worship environment but it is not central to it any more than flowers are central to a wedding. If the Preached Word is lax, the service in its entirety is lacking.

The Bauckham Strikes Back Again

NT Blog: Richard Bauckham, Assessing the Lost Gospel, Part 3 http://t.co/KKEwlisDQO


New From John J. Collins

Scriptures and Sectarianism
Essays on the Dead Sea Scrolls

153210_730ae28cfaThe Dead Sea Scrolls include many texts that were produced by a sectarian movement (and also many that were not). The movement had its origin in disputes about the interpretation of the Scriptures, especially the Torah, not in disputes about the priesthood as had earlier been assumed. The definitive break with the rest of Judean society should be dated to the first century BCE rather than to the second. While the Scrolls include few texts that are explicitly historical, they remain a valuable resource for historical reconstruction. John J. Collins illustrates how the worldview of the sect involved a heightened sense of involvement in the heavenly, angelic world, and the hope for an afterlife in communion with the angels. While the ideology of the sect known from the Scrolls is very different from that of early Christianity, the two movements drew on common traditions, especially those found in the Hebrew Scriptures.

The Hawarden Old Testament in the New Conference

Via the under-signed

The next Annual Seminar on the Use of the OT in the NT at Gladstone’s Library Hawarden (http://www.gladstoneslibrary.org/), from the evening of Wednesday 25th to lunch time on Friday 27th March 2015. The library have reserved 20 rooms for us in the first instance, so if you are able to participate in this year’s seminar, please contact the booking office directly to book your room by telephone on 01244 532350 or by email to enquiries@gladlib.org; please note that you cannot reserve your place via the online booking system, as we have made a group booking. You can then make your individual arrangements for en-suite or ground floor rooms etc. or book to stay extra nights, and will be charged accordingly, but please let the staff know when booking that you are part of the OT in the NT Seminar group, so that they can allocate you to one of our reserved rooms. The overall cost will be in the region of ?175, depending on what “extras” you opt for, and a small deposit will be required at the booking stage. Please let me know also when you have booked so that I can keep an up-to-date list of confirmed seminar participants.

There is still time to offer a paper, so, if you are keen to present, please send me the proposed title and a short abstract by 10th December 2014. I’ll confirm the papers selected in mid-January, and provide further details of the timings and running order then. There is no one overall theme to this year’s conference, so all offers of papers which relate to the general field of the OT in the NT will be considered. Please feel free pass on the dates and details of the conference to anyone you know who may be interested in joining us.

Looking forward to seeing many of you at Hawarden in March,

Best wishes,

Dr. Susan Docherty
Reader in Biblical Studies and Head of Theology
Newman University Birmingham

Philip Melanchthon Was Prone to Fear

So, during the stressful days during which the Augsburg Confession were being hammered out, he wrote

“Not a day passes in which I do not wish that I might leave this world.”

But. He still managed to produce a gem. Luther, at Coburg during the proceedings, wrote

“I know of nothing to improve or alter in it, besides that would not be suitable, for I cannot walk so meekly and so silently.”

Oh boy, do I know what you mean, Martin… Philip was, nonetheless, crumbling under the pressure so Luther exercised a bit of tough love, writing

“I heartily hate your great care, which, as you write, weakens you. That it increases so greatly in your heart, is not owing to the greatness of our cause, but is the fault of our great unbelief. Why do you thus unceasingly trouble yourself? If our cause is wrong, let us recant; but if it is right, why do we make God a liar in such great promises, because he bids us be of good cheer and satisfied? You are troubled thus by your philosophy, and not by your theology. The same also greatly vexes your friend Joachim; just as if you could accomplish anything by your useless cares. What more can the devil do than to kill us?”

We might say it more plainly- Philip, dear Philip: toughen up, Princess!