St. Jerome ‘Reviews’ Vigilantius’ Book

2014-JeromebyGhirlandaio[I will refer to] the books which he vomited forth in a drunken fit. … He is a barbarian both in speech and knowledge. His style is rude. He cannot defend even the truth; but, for the sake of laymen, and poor women, laden with sins, ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth, I will spend upon his melancholy trifles a single night’s labour, otherwise I shall seem to have treated with contempt the letters of the reverend persons who have entreated me to undertake the task.

I’ll have to quote Jerome the next time a book requires a similar response.

NEIN!

There is no ‘yes’ in the Bible to same sex marriage.  It simply isn’t there.  Mr Achtemeier can change his mind all he wants and embrace any ideology he pleases and so can everyone else.  But he CANNOT, he MAY NOT claim biblical support for that view.  It simply doesn’t exist.  Special pleading, eisegesis, and scorn of Christian theology notwithstanding.

NEIN!

nein

And Once You Start Spinning Yourself around and around…

Where you’ll stop, nobody knows.  And they can’t tell you you’re wrong.  Because you are the lord and god of all your own truth and no one else’s view matters at all.

Farewell, then, to truth, when whoever can say whatever and claim whatsoever they wish.  With the embracing of self-evident falsehood and self-deception as ‘truth’, truth dies.

mcjf8

But hey, as long as it’s your ‘truth’, who cares, right?

Preparing for Death, Remembering the Dead

978-3-525-55082-3V&R have published of late a volume of that title which they describe this way:

Death and dying were not in the main focus of the denominational conflicts of the 16th century. However, pious literature covered these topics again and again, not only before the Reformation, but after it as well. Here, certain denominational differences are clearly visible. Partly, these differences consist in the use of genres: For example, funeral sermons are an often used genre among Lutherans, while they are much rarer in the Reformed tradition. Similar differences can be observed concerning epitaphs. In Roman Catholic areas, funeral sermons and epitaphs are common in the 16th century, too; but their religious function is often a different from the one in Lutheranism. Beyond such interdenominational differences, there are also interesting continuities and connections which the contributors of the volume analyze. For example, there is a certain continuity between 16th century Lutheran funeral sermons and the late medieval tradition of ars moriendi.

The volume contains papers presented at the Second RefoRC Conference in Oslo in 2012, and is characterized by a multiconfessional and multidisciplinary approach, with contributions from Church History, Art History, Archaeology, History of Literature and Cultural History. Within a field of research dominated by specialized contributions (e.g. on ars moriendi traditions or on specific traditions of funeral monuments and funeral sermons), the broad approach of this volume may further stimulate to comparative and cross-confessional reflection.

If you visit the link above you’ll see the little flipbook which contains the table of contents and the front matter.

The collection examines the approach of theologians of the 16th century and early modern period concerning ministry to the dying and their loved ones. Whilst all the essays are notable, these are remarkable:

  • Herman J. Selderhuis, Ars Moriendi in Early Modern Calvinism
  • Luca Baschera, Preparation for Death in Sixteenth-Century Zurich: Heinrich Bullinger and Otto Werdmüller
  • Herman A. Speelman, Melanchthon and Calvin on Confession, Contrition, and Penitence
  • Konrad Küster, Death and the Lutheran Idea of Becoming a Heavenly Musician
  • Leon van den Broeke, No Funeral Sermons: Dutch or Calvinistic Prohibition?

The breadth and depth of learning on display is gripping and the skills of communication are eye-popping.  Aside from the learning which readers are privy to (as the following excerpt shows)

In Reformed theology, sanctification is something to which believers are seriously called and committed.10 At the same time, sanctification is a process that is initiated by grace and is never complete during this life, remaining instead inchoative. Therefore, on one hand, although Christians are confronted with their sinfulness every day, they will trust in God who saves them, not on account of any alleged merit, but only by grace.

On the other hand, seeing that they always remain “beginners” on the path of sanctification, they will beware of overconfidence and be compassionate towards their erring brothers and sisters. The same is true of the preparation for death that Bullinger and Werdmüller encourage. Preparation for death is indeed a lifelong process with soteriological relevance. Believers are called to prepare and should practice in order to win the final struggle. At the same time, they must practice in the firm conviction that their victory does not depend on their efforts, but only on God. Only in this way will they avoid both of the pitfalls into which the devil tries to lure them: despair and spiritual pride (p.326).

readers are also given access to rare and difficult to find prints and engravings which portray various aspects of death and dying in the early modern period (such as this:)

calv_deathbed

on page 110 and 77 other times.

Polemics, doctrine, theology, comfort, hope, death, the dead, and dying are all aspects of the material discussed in this excellent volume which consists of essays from

The Second RefoRC Conference [which] was held in Oslo in May 2012, with the same title as this volume: Preparing for Death –Remembering the Dead, as the main theme for keynote speakers as well as for short paper presentations. Keynote speakers were invited in order to illuminate this broad research theme not only from different disciplinary angles (church history, history, cultural history, art history, archeology, literary history), but also from various geographical and confessional perspectives within a European context.

To commend this volume too highly is a task impossible to achieve.  Perhaps because I’m well into middle age and about to breach senior citizen status (at least as far as the government is concerned) I’m thinking about mortality more than I used to.  The way theologians sought to comfort the dying in the 16th century speaks especially to me in my own Sitz im Leben.  But given those facts, I am still certain that historians and theologians of a younger age will also find much here to admire.

Logos Free Book – Anthony Tomasino, Esther (EEC)

A neat commentary in a good series.

Reading Acts

EstherLogos’s Free Book of the Month promotion is offering an excellent commentary once again for the month of June. Until the end of this month, Logos users can download Anthony Tomasino’s contribution on Esther in the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (EEC). If you are not familiar with the Evangelical Exegetical Commentary is a 44-volume commentary series published by Lexham Press, a division of FaithLife / Logos. The commentary incorporates the latest critical biblical scholarship” and “a distinctly evangelical perspective” and is in many ways similar to the Word Biblical Commentary or Baker Exegetical Commentary. The series was originally planned as a traditional print series but was dropped by the original publisher. Lexham picked it up a few years ago and has been publishing new volumes in the Logos system as they are released. (See this list of volumes, authors and publication dates.)

Anthony J. Tomasino (Ph.D., University of Chicago) is the Director of the…

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Good Riddance to Sepp Blatter

FIFA’s head is resigning.  Good.  It’s about time.  But he should leave today.  Not tomorrow, and not at some point in the future. Today.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter announced on Tuesday that he asked the organization to call together a special congress so that he may step down and a new president be elected.

It’s a stunning development for the president of soccer’s largest organizing body. Blatter was first elected in 1998. He just won an election for his fifth consecutive term on Friday, but with new developments in the corruption charges against FIFA, Blatter has decided to step down.

“I will call an extraordinary congress and a new president will be elected,” he said, though he didn’t give a date. A follow-up speaker clarified that it will take four months to call a special congress. Blatter will remain the president until such a congress is held.

You can read a full transcript of his comments here.

Public Service Announcement: Cats Make Kids Stupid

Cats could be making children stupid, according to research that links a parasite carried by the animals with falling reading and memory aptitude in young people.  A study has found performance at school could be affected by Toxoplasma gondii, a single-celled organism that infects about a third of the world’s population and hides in cells in the brain and muscles, often without producing symptoms.  Researchers found the parasite, which grows in the guts of cats and can be spread through contact with faeces, has been linked to reduced memory and reading skills in school-aged children.  Previous research had already linked the parasite to brain tumours in animals. There is also other evidence that Toxoplasma gondii has effects on the brain leading to changes in behaviour.

Go ahead, keep that cat.  Your kids will ‘thank you’ one day

Bruce Jenner Hasn’t ‘Broken the Internet’

Exaggerated claims, hopes, and wishes notwithstanding-

Last November, Paper magazine tried to “break the Internet” by featuring the ample posterior of Jenner’s stepdaughter Kim Kardashian. Today, I hope Jenner breaks the Internet as the Vanity Fair cover ricochets across the globe.

Why?  Because Jenner is ‘becoming herself’?  So what?  People are themselves every day and the huge majority of them don’t have to have an army of doctors, hormones, photo shoots, surgical procedures, or other extreme measures to make it happen.  Being himself?  Sadly he is anything and anyone but himself.  He has been radically altered in order to be someone else, not himself.

Of course Jenner can do what he wants with his life, his body, his money, and everything else.  But that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to buy into it.  If he wishes to call himself a she that’s between him and God.  But it’s offensive to suggest that the rest of us have to see things his way.

Indeed, the remarkable thing about all this- from the fawning of ABC News, Good Morning America, and other news outlets is the hero-fication of Jenner and the suggestion that all of us have to, and should, see his act as heroic.  It isn’t.  In fact, it is simply more of the same old exaggerated claims of importance of an individual’s ultimately meaningless act.

If Jenner is doing something normal, something natural, why all the hoopla?  The hypocrisy of the media in this instance is appalling and blindingly apparent.  Except for those who choose not to see.

No, Jenner hasn’t broken the internet.  Why would the surgical procedures of any person?