Daily Archives: 4 Apr 2015


Hell’s Harvesting

Wherein the godly are brought from hell by Christ – the first fruits of those who are raised.


My Seminary Professor of Greek Has A New Book Out

Richard Spencer taught Greek at Southeastern Seminary when I was a student there in the early 80’s and during the fundamentalist destruction of that great institution Prof. Spencer moved to Appalachian State University to teach Greek and Latin.

And now he’s written a book. He emails to a gang of us-

978-0-7864-9921-2For twenty years I taught Latin, Greek, and Mythology at Appalachian State (along with a complement of biblical courses in the P&R dept.) until last year, when I went into a phased retirement contract with the university–have one more year of that, and then retire fully! In an effort to get more students to study classical mythology, I offered a course for three years on “Classical Culture and Classical Mythology in Harry Potter,” which was very well received. Many students were quite aware of the classical elements and Hero mythic features in other works, such as “Star Wars.” They were not as well attuned to the presence of millennia-old motifs, themes, types, and characters from Greek and Roman history and lore which clearly inspired J.K. Rowling’s series. I thought that the popularity of the HP novels would provide an in-road to the students by which they could happily develop their knowledge of classical antiquity. I was not disappointed.

During the last few years, some friends and students have asked me to let them know if the book I have been writing goes into print. McFarland will publish the book this summer or early fall. For now, they have given it a web-page, to which I should like to direct your attention. It is available at the following url. Please take a look at it. http://www.mcfarlandbooks.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-9921-2

The Nonsense That Will Not Die: Ossuaries in the News

The New York Times writes

… the earth may have yielded new secrets about these disputed antiquities. A Jerusalem-based geologist believes he has established a common bond between them that strengthens the case for their authenticity and importance…. 

 For the last seven years, Dr. Shimron has been studying the chemistry of samples from chalk crust scraped from the underside of the Talpiot ossuaries and, more recently, from the James ossuary. He has also studied samples of soil and rubble from inside the ossuaries. In addition, for comparative purposes he has examined samples from ossuaries from about 15 other tombs. Mr. Jacobovici, who has been documenting the research for another movie, said “the production” financed the lab work.

In the words of Frozen- let it go.  Let it go.  Funding the geology of the ossuary by Simcha is like funding the safety of tobacco safety research by Marlboro.

Great Art from a Great Artist

Check out her work here.  Here are a few samples of her talent:

Can You Be A Christian If You Don’t Accept the Facticity of the Resurrection?


calvin_consistory_1549As the resurrection of Christ is the most important article of our faith, and without it the hope of eternal life is extinguished, for this reason the Evangelists are the more careful to prove it, as John here collects many proofs, in order to assure us that Christ is risen from the dead. It may be thought strange, however, that he does not produce more competent witnesses; for he begins with a woman; but thus the saying is fulfilled, that God chooseth what is weak, and foolish, and contemptible in the world, that he may bring to nought the wisdom, and excellence, and glory, of the flesh, (1 Cor. 1:27.) There certainly was nothing more of earthly grandeur in the disciples than in the women who followed Christ; but as Christ was pleased to reckon them the principal witnesses of his resurrection, on this single ground their testimony is entitled to the greatest deference, and is not liable to any objection. As to the priests and scribes, and the whole people, and even Pilate, nothing but gross and wilful blindness prevented them from firmly believing that Christ was risen. All of them, therefore, deserved that seeing they should not see; yet Christ revealed himself to the little flock. — John Calvin

luther“Clever men see that the church is despised and that others are exalted. They judge according to reason, without the Word of God, and thus reach this conclusion. Hence it comes to pass that they despise all religion and say that the article concerning the resurrection was only invented to terrify the common people. Peasants, however, seldom go so far as to despise God and religion, for they hardly think about such things. But clever people are interested in them, reflect upon them, and weigh them according to reason. Such a man is Erasmus. Other very clever men support this epicurean. But we know that the Holy Scriptures are confirmed, as no other teaching can be, by such miracles as the raising of the dead, the expulsion of demons, etc. It is for this reason that our Lord God warns us so often to abide by the Holy Scriptures. — Martin Luther

zwingli_1833On the other hand, if He had not risen again from death to life, who would believe that one who had been put to death, so that there was no life or force left in Him, was a real God? I believe, therefore, that the real Son of God really died as far as His human nature was concerned, that we might be made sure of the expiation of our sins. I believe, that He also really rose again from the dead, that we might be sure of everlasting life. For in all that Christ is, He is ours; all that He accomplished is ours. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to quicken us into life [John 3:16]. When, therefore, He rose again, He rose again for us, beginning by it our own resurrection. Hence also Paul calls Him “the first fruits of them that sleep” [1 Cor. 15:20], that is, of the dead, for when He lives, being dead, He shows that we also live when we die, for this is the signification of the word “to rise again” in Hebrew—to remain, persist, endure. Hence Paul reasons as to both alternatives thus: If Christ rose again, that is, lived when He was believed to be dead, and took up His body again, there is for us a resurrection of the dead. Behold, most learned King, the strength of the reasoning lies in this, that Christ is ours, and that every activity of His is ours. Otherwise, “Christ rose again; therefore we also rise again,” would not follow any more than if one argued, “The king has power to free from punishment him whom the judge has sentenced; therefore every one has this power.” Hence this would not follow either, “Since Christ did not rise again, neither shall we rise again,” for Christ can live and rise again by His own power, which we cannot do by ours. But, [since Paul argues] if Christ had not risen again, there would be no resurrection for us, it is clear that He made the power of His resurrection ours and all men’s. This is what holy men had in view when they said that Christ’s body nourishes us unto the resurrection, by which they simply wished to show that when Christ, who is wholly ours, rose again, we were thereby made sure that we also live in the spirit when dead in the body, and shall some day live again with the same body. — Huldrych Zwingli

Twitter Theology That Makes me Sigh

Could folk trivialize the resurrection any more?


An Easter Sermon From A Master…

Of banality-

“The message of Easter is that God’s new world has been unveiled in Jesus Christ and that you’re now invited to belong to it.”― N.T. Wright

Gold’s Gym Horror Story

i was, once upon a time, a member of the Rush fitness club and then I learned that they had been purchased by Gold’s.  So, having heard tales of Gold’s which were discomfitting, I cancelled said membership.

I went to the gym, sat down with the manager, and filled out all the required papers.  But that wasn’t that. 

Months after my cancellation I started receiving bills for two additional months.  I emailed the manager and he assured me it would be handled because he remembered the cancellation but couldn’t find the paperwork.

The bills continued to arrive.  I searched in vain for the number of Gold’s corporate headquarters (it isn’t on their website).  And I went to see the manager.  He would, he said, fix it.

The attempts at collection continued.  Fed up, I called the manager again and he said that – and this is stunning- Gold’s wouldn’t take his word for the cancellation.  He needed a copy of the paperwork as the gym had not retained its own copy.

Neither had I.  It now becoming an issue of my credit score I reluctantly paid but also filed a complaint with the BBB.  

Gold’s is a company to avoid.  It doesn’t trust its own managers and the home office staff appears to be completely incapable of record keeping.

If you are in business with Gold’s keep every scrap of paper you have.  They can’t be trusted to do it.

Scribal Practices in the Ancient World

This post by our friends at CSST is very much worth your time:

In cooperation with the Faculty of Protestant Theology at the University of Münster (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster), team three of the CSTTorganized a workshop on Editorial Techniques in Light of Empirical Evidence. The workshop was held at Agora, a conference center by the Aasee (Lake Aa), in Münster on March 17-19, 2015.

The workshop focused on the question, How Ancient Scribes Inserted Larger Passages into Older Texts? In addition to all members of team three of the CSTT, the workshop included the following guest speakers: Prof. Anneli AejmelaeusProf. Stefan Schorch, Prof. Johan Lust and Prof. Holger Strutwolf. Several other scholars from Münster and elsewhere also attended the workshop.

Some of their findings are then discussed.

Fuller Seminary’s “Origen’s Adherents in 2015” Conference

Because We Like Wishful Thinking and to avoid hard truth.

Because We Like Wishful Thinking and to avoid hard truth.

Fuller Seminary is hosting a universalism conference about which you can find all the details here.  I understand that in 2016 they will also host a ‘Baptizing for the Dead’ conference and then in 2017 they will host their 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation conference titled ‘Swimming the Tiber: Let’s All Return to Rome and Be Papists’.  This year’s conference will be…

… an occasion for evangelical conditionalists and traditionalists to engage with the views of universalists.

The plenary speakers will be Chris Date (conditionalism), Robin Parry (universalism), Jim Spiegel (conditionalism), Oliver Crisp (traditionalism),David Instone-Brewer (conditionalism) and Jerry Walls (traditionalism). There will also be a number of breakout sessions, along with a final panel featuring the plenary speakers.

And then, amazingly, Origen will be the special guest speaker and after his speech Jerome will pop in just long enough to punch Origen in the throat until he chokes a bit on his own bile.

It should be a great time!  (The punching in the throat part).