Daily Archives: 11 Apr 2015

Why Are Even Christians Afraid To Die?

But, most strange to say, many who boast of being Christians, are so afraid of [death] that they tremble at the very mention of it as a thing ominous and dreadful. We cannot wonder, indeed, that our natural feelings should be somewhat shocked at the mention of our dissolution.

But it is altogether intolerable that the light of piety should not be so powerful in a Christian breast as with greater consolation to overcome and suppress that fear. For if we reflect that this our tabernacle, unstable, defective, corruptible, fading, pining, and putrid, is dissolved, in order that it may forthwith be renewed in sure, perfect, incorruptible, in fine, in heavenly glory, will not faith compel us eagerly to desire what nature dreads?

If we reflect that by death we are recalled from exile to inhabit our native country, a heavenly country, shall this give us no comfort? But everything longs for permanent existence. I admit this, and therefore contend that we ought to look to future immortality, where we may obtain that fixed condition which nowhere appears on the earth.

For Paul admirably enjoins believers to hasten cheerfully to death, not because they “would be unclothed, but clothed upon,” (2 Cor. 5:2). Shall the lower animals, and inanimate creatures themselves even wood and stone, as conscious of their present vanity, long for the final resurrection, that they may with the sons of God be delivered from vanity (Rom. 8:19); and shall we, endued with the light of intellect, and more than intellect, enlightened by the Spirit of God, when our essence is in question, rise no higher than the corruption of this earth?

But it is not my purpose, nor is this the place, to plead against this great perverseness. At the outset, I declared that I had no wish to engage in a diffuse discussion of common-places. My advice to those whose minds are thus timid is to read the short treatise of Cyprian De Mortalitate, unless it be more accordant with their deserts to send them to the philosophers, that by inspecting what they say on the contempt of death, they may begin to blush.

This, however let us hold as fixed, that no man has made much progress in the school of Christ who does not look forward with joy to the day of death and final resurrection (2 Tim. 4:18; Tit. 2:13) for Paul distinguishes all believers by this mark; and the usual course of Scripture is to direct us thither whenever it would furnish us with an argument for substantial joy. “Look up,” says our Lord, “and lift up your heads: for your redemption draweth nigh,” (Luke 21:28).

Is it reasonable, I ask, that what he intended to have a powerful effect in stirring us up to alacrity and exultation should produce nothing but sadness and consternation? If it is so, why do we still glory in him as our Master? Therefore, let us come to a sounder mind, and how repugnant so ever the blind and stupid longing of the flesh may be, let us doubt not to desire the advent of the Lord not in wish only, but with earnest sighs, as the most propitious of all events.

He will come as a Redeemer to deliver us from an immense abyss of evil and misery, and lead us to the blessed inheritance of his life and glory.  — John Calvin (Institutes).

10 Of Moltmann’s Best Quotes

Thanks to the Moltmanniac on the twitter for the image:


Here are the 10 best quotes from Moltmann, in order of their impresiveness-

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Conversion: An Observation

People aren’t converted not because they don’t understand it and not because they don’t realize the significance of their decision against it: they aren’t converted because they don’t want to be different people.  They like their lives and they don’t wish God to interfere with them, or their decisions, choices, wishes, and wants.

They are, furthermore, terrified that, like Zachaeus, they will be required to give back what they’ve gotten immorally.  That they will have to give up their murderous ways like Saul on the road to Damascus.  That they will be forced to give what they have to the poor and follow Jesus and so, like the Young Ruler, they walk away.

They understand very well, even the least informed of them, that conversion means exactly what it sounds like- different.  They don’t mind if God converts to them but they have no use for a God who demands that they turn from self to Him.

That’s why things like AD on NBC and other such pseudo-scholarly programs and specials, the Emergent movement, Pentebabbleism, and Joel Osteen and Paula White and Rick Warren and all other aberrations are so very popular.  They allow people their distorted views and never attempt to challenge them.  Misinformation is the key to their success because ‘people would rather believe a lie than the truth’ which is why ‘they collect teachers who will teach them what their itching ears want to hear’.

Make no mistake: people don’t reject conversion because they dislike the pastor or the church or the pews or the institutional church or any of the other excuses they love to proffer.  They reject conversion because they love themselves too much, and far too little.

This Is Why No One Can Take Pentebabbleism Seriously: Bert Farias Wins the Dilly This Week

Writes one pentebabbleist in something called ‘Charisma

[Homosexuality] is such a putrid smelling demon that other demons don’t even like to hang around it. A genuine prophet of God told me that the Lord allowed him to smell this demon spirit, and he got sick to his stomach. And yet as humans, many embrace this demon. Yes, you heard me right. Being gay is demonic.

There is an account in the Bible where Jesus casts out 2,000 demons out of a man. The demons came out screaming and begged Jesus to send them into the pigs. The pigs didn’t want them, so they ran down a steep hill and were drowned in the sea. Pigs have more sense than some humans. People embrace homosexual demons, but the pigs would rather die than be possessed with demons.

Erm…  Bert Farias isn’t a member of SBL.  I suspect he’s in AAR.  Anyway, he’s a lousy exegete. So, Mr F., here’s your Dilly, and might I add, it’s very well deserved:


Congratulations to Alister McGrath

He writes

I’m pleased to share that I’ve just been appointed the Gresham CollegeProfessor of Divinity, in addition to my University of Oxford chair. This position was founded in 1597, and requires me to give six public lectures in theology each year. I’ll hold the office from 2015-2018. More details [are below]:

Alistair McGrath is the Gresham Professor of Divinity, the Andreos Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford, and one of the world’s most respected theologians.

Born in Belfast, Professor McGrath began his university studies in the field of science, achieving a First Class Honours in Chemistry (specialising in Quantum Theory), followed by a doctorate in molecular biophysics, both at the University of Oxford. He then altered focus and achieved a First Class Honours in Theology, a DD from the Faculty of Theology for his work on historical and systematic theology, and a DLitt from the Division of Humanities for his work in science and religion.

Before becoming Andreos Idreos Professor of Science and Religion at the University of Oxford in April 2014, Professor McGrath was Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education at King’s College London (2008-14), and Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford (1999-2008). He has also been the President of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics since 2006.

He has published 24 books, the most recent of which include: Emil Brunner: A Reappriasal(2014), C. S. Lewis – A Life (2013), Darwinianism and the Divine: Evolutionary Thought and Natural Theology (2011) and A Fine-Tuned Universe? The Quest for God in Science and Theology (2009). Other books include: Dawkins’ God: Genes, Memes and the Meaning of Life(2004), A Brief History of Heaven (2002) and The Future of Christianity (2000). His books have been translated into 27 languages including Chinese, Arabic, Farsi and Vietnamese.

How The Police Can Tell the Difference Between a Justified Shooting From An Indictable One

I hope this helpful guide assists the minority of officers out there who practice racism to understand when they should and shouldn’t shoot an unarmed fleeing black man-


The Text of the Hebrew Bible: From the Rabbis to the Masoretes

978-3-525-55064-9This new volume from V&R

… aims to open up the discussion and research of the up to now unstudied period of the History of the Hebrew Bible text: the period from the apparent stabilization of the Hebrew biblical text until the standardization that is reflected in the manuscripts of biblical text, those including the Masorah (c. 2nd – 9th centuries A.D.). What took place from the time of the standardization of the consonantic text of the Hebrew Bible until the appearance of the first Masoretic codices? How was the biblical text preserved in the meantime? How was the body of notes that makes up the Masorah formed? How can the diversity of the textual traditions contained in the Masorah be explained and be consistent with the idea of a text established and standardized centuries before?

V&R sent a review copy and here’s my take-

First of all, those interested in the full contents of the volume can follow the link above for a flipbook of the front matter of the volume. V&R provides this for most of the volumes which I’ve seen on their website and though a few other publishers also provide this service I think it would be brilliant if all did. At least on new materials. Like many, I like to know exactly what’s in a book before I commit to purchasing it.

The essays here are by excellent scholars and the conference from which they originated must have been quite an interesting gathering. Most of the scholars who contributed papers are exceedingly well known (for instance, E. Tov needs no introduction) and those whose names are not yet widely discussed will most likely be so in the near future.

Some excerpts from the volume may, I hope, provide potential readers with enough of a sense of the collection that they can decide whether it would be of interest to them and useful for their own research.

P. 45 – From a textual point of view, it was a mere coincidence that MT was the only text remaining after the destruction of the Temple. This situation created an illusion of stability across the board, as if involving all the biblical evidence. However, after the year 70 only MTwas left in Jewish hands. The LXX no longer exerted any influence in Jewish circles since it was now in Christian hands, Sam. Pent. was with the Samaritan community, and the Qumran scrolls were hidden in caves. – Tov

p. 73- There is a growing consensus for dating TgJon, as well as Targum Onqelos (TgOnq) to the Pentateuch, before 200 CE. Moreover, as far as the language (Aramaic) is concerned, scholars tend to date both targumim – at least the body of them – in the first half of the second century (before 135 CE), with Palestine as place of origin.40 This dating of TgJon is supported by an important feature of this translation, namely, by historical allusions resulting from an application of ancient prophecies to events in the time of the translator. For instance, Tg Isa 8:2; 29:1– 2, and 32:14 are passages which refer to the destruction of the city (Jerusalem) and the temple in the year 70. – Van der Kooij

P. 148- This paper wishes to determine the nature of one particular kind of Masoretic information, often expressed in Mp notes, which I will call ‘exclusively metatextual.’ Israel Yeivin sums up the nature of the biblical Masorah in contrast to the Masorah of the Targum as follows: The Masorah to the Targum Onqelos is not mainly concerned with the spelling of words and the number of times they occur, as is the Biblical Masorah, although there are some notes of this sort… – Samely

P. 191 – To read the Holy Scriptures correctly, two matters must be carefully attended to. The first is the precise pronunciation of the biblical words themselves. The second is correct punctuation, that is to say, reading the text in accordance with the biblical accents. Although the correct punctuation of the biblical text poses a more serious problem for the reader than the pronunciation, only a few studies have been devoted to this question. This study does not attempt to examine the various ways in which the Scriptures were actually pronounced throughout history. Instead, it will address the written instructions conveyed by the accentuation system designed to provide the reader with clear guidelines on how the verses should be divided. – Himmelfarb

P. 215 – It is the intention of this paper to show that the Masorah can be used as a supplementary tool for elucidating a unified Hebrew text. I will demonstrate my argument by taking as my example the well-known story of Samuel’s birth that occurs in the first chapter of the Book of Samuel. I will endeavor to show that the Masorah can assist the elucidation of this text by ‘determining its parameters,’ by pointing out its ‘connectiveness’ to other texts, and by occasionally contributing to its ‘exegesis’. In addition, the Masoretic notes offer ‘opportunities for discussion’ of significant Hebrew words or phrases to be found in the story.- Marcus

The volume also includes a spacious bibliography at its conclusion as well as an index of ancient sources (both biblical and rabbinic).

This book is not intended for beginners, who will be lost among the various charts and graphs included in the essays and if readers don’t control Hebrew sufficiently much will be lost on them. It is a specialist book for specialists. But specialists in particular can learn very much from its pages and further research will doubtless be stimulated by a dialogue with it. I commend it to your attention.  The book is available in North America from ISD: https://www.isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=35448

Cargill And Goodacre Say Some Pretty Bizarre Things… Supposedly

This is the funniest satirical (I hope) or idiotic (probably) ‘report’ on the Talpiot craziness I’ve yet seen.  It contains all manner of things that I sure hope no one I know actually said (and I’m confident they didn’t- unless they’ve lost their minds).  Here are some gems:

… some of the inscriptions, this sort of as the identify for Jesus, are challenging to go through, claimed Robert Cargill, a classics and spiritual research professor at the University of Iowa in Ames, who was not involved in the review.


“You can find no evidence at all that Jesus experienced a son at all, allow on your own a son referred to as Judah,” Goodacre stated.

Is Goodacre channeling Joel Watts?

When Jacobovici argues that the identify corresponds to one particular of Jesus’ followers, Mary Magdalene, early Christians did not call Mary Magdalene “Mariamne” — relatively, she was just termed Mariam or Marya, Goodacre stated.  When individuals inconsistencies are also thought of, the statistical circumstance for the names matching people of Jesus’ family falls aside, Cargill claimed.

Did they now…

But Goodacre and Cargill claimed theological inquiries do not variable into their skepticism. Relatively, the authentic problem is that the scientific requirements have not been met, Cargill mentioned.

Bahahahaha….  This quality of research, writing, and explanation can only come from someone who wrote a first draft report for BAR.

But, I really do like that Cargill’s position in Iowa is specified.  I always wondered what he did up there…