Deny Yourself?

The call to Christian discipleship as heard from the mouth of Jesus that we deny ourselves and take up death to self (the cross is nothing less than that)  and follow him is as foreign to our culture and time as decency, morals, ethics, civility, compassion, and Christlikeness.

Even the majority of those who call themselves by that sacred name have no more interest in denying themselves as the Kardashians have in avoiding publicity.

Self denial sounds odd to the elderly, unpleasant to the middle aged, and stupid to the young.  But it is the sine qua non of true Christianity.  Where there is no self denial, no cross, no following Jesus there is no Christianity.  There’s only the soulless hollow empty crass and profane shell of falsehood and deception.

Those who do not deny themselves and die daily to self are no more Christian than a block of wood or a cube of ice.  To imagine otherwise is to embrace heresy, sin, death, the grave, and hell.

The Vatican Responds to the Cover of Vanity Fair

Here, opining

CAITLYNMembers of the Synod on the Family scrambled to meet today to discuss what some bishops are calling “a game changer” after Bruce Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair revealing his new Caitlyn Jenner identity.

The impromptu meeting was called by Cardinal Reinhard Marx to review how they could leverage what he called the potential “straw that broke the discriminatory camel’s back.”

“You guys…tell me you saw Caitlyn on Vanity,” a giddy Marx said to fellow members of the synod as he clutched the magazine tightly to his chest and hopped up and down. “Look at this, look at this…is she not a doll? Listen…she might look like a doll, but she’s human just like us, and deserves the right to become whoever she wants and to do whatever she wants, and we as a Church need to applaud her courage. This is it boys…the day we’ve been waiting for.”

Marx went on to address the council members, asking all those gathered to make proposals for how to get his idea of a more inclusive Church into the official synod document before the “African bishops” found out about it.

#BAM!

Bruce Jenner isn’t ‘Brave’

On every newscast today and every day since Jenner announced his ‘transition’ journalists have been calling him brave.

Jenner? Brave? Nothing has cheapened the concept of true bravery as much as assigning it to every publicity seeking action by every washed up reality show star. If you want to know bravery go talk to Malala. That young lady is brave.  Jenner… no, not even a little.  This is what bravery, true bravery, authentic bravery, genuine bravery looks like.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03:  Malala Yousafzai opens the new Library of Birmingham at Centenary Square on September 3, 2013 in Birmingham, England. The new futuristic building was officially opened by 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai who was attacked by Taliban gunmen on her school bus near her former home in Pakistan in October 2012. The new building  was designed by architect Francine Hoube and has cost 189 million GBP. The modern exterior of interlacing rings reflects the canals and tunnels of Birmingham. The library's ten floors will house the city's internationally significant collections of archives, photography and rare books as well as it's lending library.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

 (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Luther as T-Rex

This drawing is from volume 4 of the Weimar Edition of Luther’s German Bible.  I like it because Luther is portrayed with a giant head and tiny T-Rex like arms and hands.

It’s funny.  I like it.  Luther as T-Rex…

luther4

Quote of the Day

Nothing seems to me to be more foolish than to seek honor and praise, by wearing costly clothing. From such a point of view, the pope’s asses could be respected and highly honored; for if they are strong animals, they can carry more gold, silver, and precious stones than the strongest man. Who would not be ashamed of parading his costly clothing, when he hears that the Son of God and of the Virgin Mary cried in the manger, not having more swaddling-clothes around Him than the Virgin Mary carried with her, as she was not prepared for a birth in such a place.

Those who put on strange or new clothing every day thereby show how fickle, or at least how effeminate and childish they are. Such persons do not belong to Christ. While they thus clothe themselves in rare attire, they let the poor suffer from cold and hunger. For this reason a Christian should beware of foolishness and extravagance in dress, as well as of any other evil. — Zwingli

What is the Foundation Of Christian Ethics? Scripture

Richard Hays writes

The canonical Scriptures constitute the norma normans for the church’s life, whereas every other source of moral guidance (whether church tradition, philosophical reasoning, scientific investigation, or claims about contemporary religious experience) must be understood as norma normata. Thus, normative Christian ethics is fundamentally a hermeneutical enterprise: it must begin and end in the interpretation and application of Scripture for the life of the community of faith.

He has that right.

The Episcopalians Are Devouring Themselves

The Episcopal Church (USA) has spent, and further committed (in its adopted budgets) to spend, a total of $42,675,466 on suing fellow Christians in the civil and ecclesiastical courts over the first eighteen years of this century. When one adds in the estimated additional amounts spent by individual dioceses on such litigation, the total amount exceeds Sixty Million Dollars.

Etc.  Evidently (as though we needed further proof) the Episcopalians haven’t much experience with Scripture.  Had they, they would have eventually at least stumbled across this salient section:

Is one of you with a complaint against another so brazen as to seek judgement from sinners and not from God’s holy people? Do you not realise that the holy people of God are to be the judges of the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you not competent for petty cases?  Do you not realise that we shall be the judges of angels? – then quite certainly over matters of this life. But when you have matters of this life to be judged, you bring them before those who are of no account in the Church!  I say this to make you ashamed of yourselves. Can it really be that it is impossible to find in the community one sensible person capable of deciding questions between brothers,  and that this is why brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers?  No; it is a fault in you, by itself, that one of you should go to law against another at all: why do you not prefer to suffer injustice, why not prefer to be defrauded?  And here you are, doing the injustice and the defrauding, and to your own brothers. Do you not realise that people who do evil will never inherit the kingdom of God? (1Co 6:1-9 NJB)

Nice work, Episcopalians… Nice work…

Luther’s Lectures on Genesis

If you want to learn what Genesis is about, read Luther’s lectures.  They were commenced on 1 June, 1535.

For the next several weeks his lectures proceeded on the basis of his preparatory notes and outlines, which he had worked out up to Gen. 3:14: From the status of Veit Dietrich’s notebooks on these lectures it appears that Luther was lecturing on Gen. 3:14 when an outbreak of the plague interrupted his lectures in July of 1535. The University of Wittenberg was transferred to Jena on July 18 as a result of the plague; therefore Luther did not lecture on Monday, July 19, as he had been scheduled to do. It is not clear just when the university returned to Wittenberg or when classes were resumed.

Luther, it seems, did not resume his Lectures on Genesis until January 25, 1536, when he picked them up at Gen. 8:15. His references to “hope” in that section of the commentary (cf. p.191) would seem to fit the mood of the university during and after the plague. From a statement at table, dated October 27–December 4, 1536, it is clear that by the autumn of that year Luther’s lectures had progressed to the ninth chapter of Genesis (see Luther’s Works, 2, Introduction). Thus the material presented in this first volume of the Lectures on Genesis came out of Luther’s work in the classroom in the middle months of 1535 and the early months of 1536. It is impossible to make the chronology of the lectures any more precise than this.

For instance-

A wider significance attaches to the Hebrew words תּהוּ and בֹּהוּ than can be reproduced in translation. Yet they are used frequently in the Holy Scripture. תֹּהוּ is employed in the sense of “nothing,” so that the earth is a בֹּהוּ, which so far as it itself is concerned, is empty, where there are no roads, no separate localities, no hills, no valleys, no grass, no herbs, no animals, and no men. Such indeed was the first appearance of the unfinished earth; for since mire was mixed with the water, it was not possible to observe the distinctive marks which are observable now, after it has been finished.

Thus Isaiah, in the chapter where he threatens the earth with desolation, says (34:11): “There will be stretched over it the line תֹּהוּ and the plummet בֹּהוּ,” i.e., the earth will be laid waste to such an extent that neither human beings nor beasts of burden will remain, and the houses will be laid waste and everything thrown into confusion and disorder. This is how Jerusalem was later laid waste by the Romans, and Rome by the Goths, to such an extent that the traces of the very famous ancient city cannot be pointed out.

Luther’s works, vol. 1: Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 1-5.  You should read them.  They’re far more instructive and enlightening than anything produced by Postmodernists.

There’s Something Both Cute and Annoying About First Year Theology Students…

Who have ‘come up with a new way to describe the Trinity’ because they actually haven’t read enough, nearly enough, hardly enough to know that their new idea is actually an old heresy long ago dealt with and dispatched.

Their sense of brilliance is based on an extremely limited familiarity with the subject and thus is purely ironic given their un-learnedness.

Hubris is a humorous and laughable thing.  And the youthful wear it like a teen hood wears his little baggy pants.

Call For Papers- Sixth Annual RefoRC Conference in Copenhagen

The Sixth Annual RefoRC Conference 2016 will be held May 26-28, 2016 and will hosted by the University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Theology.

The conference aims at a clarification and a discussion of the different concepts of church in the 16th century: What did the reformers think about the essence and origin of the holy, apostolic and Catholic church? What was seen as its aim, its purpose? Can human beings see the true church or not? Does it have one existence in this world and another in the world to come? The concept of church is indissolubly connected to the theological concepts of sin, faith, justification, sanctification, and salvation, and the study of it also involves reflections such as those of the nature and scope of the sacraments, the role of the clergy, the aim of the church-buildings, the significance of the inventory and the reflections upon the constituent parts of the mass/church service.

And much more here including contact and registration information.

Blogger Posters and Essays: #SBL2015

I’ve managed to discover various posters and essays which bloggers you know and love will be presenting in Atlanta.  I think they’re really going to get people talking.  I am certainly looking forward to them.