Daily Archives: 7 Jun 2015

Karl Barth’s Historic Visit with Martin Luther King Jr.

Little did we know….


Call For Papers: The PEF and the Early Exploration of the Holy Land

Via Jack Sasson1

Call for Papers

PEF and the Early Exploration of the Holy Land 

The Palestine Exploration Fund (PEF) is the oldest exploration society of the Levant. Since its establishment in 1865, PEF scholars have engaged in pioneering work in many fields of scientific research of the region. Among the PEF achievements were the first archaeological excavations in Jerusalem, the Survey of Western Palestine and also significant developments of the archaeological method by W. M. F Petrie and others.

In 2015, the PEF marks 150 years of its foundation. The University of Haifa and the Gottlieb Schumacher Institute invite paper presentations for the conference “PEF and the Early Exploration of the Holy Land”.

The conference will take place in Haifa on December 20-21, 2015.  Papers on the following topics or related topics are welcome:

  1. Early scholarship work of the PEF in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  2. New studies/ re-assessment of PEF explored sites.
  3. PEF and the study of Archaeology and History of Jerusalem

All of the paper presentations are to be delivered in English and are limited to 20 minutes. Selected papers will be published in a proceeding volume.

Paper proposals (up to 250 words) must be submitted online. Proposals submitted before August 1, 2015 will receive full consideration. Posters on the above topics are also welcome for a poster session. http://tinyurl.com/pefhaifa2015

All presenters are expected to register to the conference after the acceptance of their paper proposal. Registration fee is $40 (students $20).

Participants will be invited to a partially subsidized field trip to explore the PEF early works in Jerusalem. Inquiries should be addressed to the Organizational Committee: pef2015@univ.haifa.ac.il.  Organizational Committee: Dr. Anat Kidron, Gottlieb Schumacher Institute, University of Haifa.  Dr. David Gurevich, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University

1In an email. This is, by the way, called attribution. It’s where you read something somewhere and say where so that people don’t think you just came up with it yourself and so that you don’t refer vaguely to something like ‘the internet’ or ‘facebook’ or ‘twitter’. Many bloggers would find it helpful to practice attribution so that they don’t become plagiarists.

Seemingly, The Vast Majority of Christians…

Aren’t all that interested in putting on sackcloth and dusting themselves with ashes.  They, rather, want to be wrapped in baby blankets and to suck the teat till its completely dry and then complain that they’ve been fed poorly.

How To Do, And How Not to Do Theology

  • How not to do theology – assert that you “have a particular view of God” and ignore the fact that it has no basis in Scripture.  But go on to note that others should accept it anyway.
  • How to do theology – accurately exegete the whole Scriptural witness and then collect materials of a kind into a systematized whole which doesn’t violate the intention or integrity of any particular passage.

The former is easy and any slack jawed mouth breather can achieve it. The latter is exceedingly difficult, takes years and years of training and work, and seldom ends well because Scripture is comprised of theologies rather than a singular theology.  Few are those wise enough to do it.  Or fearless enough to try.

Another Reason to Go to the German Kirchentag

You get to see what have to be the best inflatables ever created!  Who wouldn’t want to run up and hug inflated Zwingli and inflated Calvin?

I’d put these guys on the front lawn.


The Zurichers are rocking the Kirchentag!

How Come Those Who Talk Most About Being ‘Tolerant’ Are the Most Intolerant?

It’s not my policy to unfriend people on facebook or unfollow people on twitter simply because they have different views of social issues. The same can’t be said of those who unfriend me or unfollow me because of their disagreements with my viewpont. ‪#‎SoWhoAreTheIntolerantOnes‬?

Pentebabbleist Mega Church Hillsong Doesn’t Want Self Aggrandizing Heretic Mark Driscoll on its Program…

The head of Pentecostal mega-church Hillsong has dropped US preacher Mark Driscoll from the lineup of the church’s 2015 Australian and UK conferences, saying furore around his controversial sermons – including some describing women as “penis houses” – would be an “unnecessary distraction”.

Brian Houston said on Sunday after “personal interaction” with Driscoll he had decided to rescind his invitation to the events, the Australian version of which is expected to draw 30,000 this month.

This strikes me as odd.  Why would pentebabbleist heretics not embrace a self aggrandizing heretic?  A gathering of heretics unwilling to embrace a fellow heretic?  Just odd.

Driscoll resigned from Seattle’s Mars Hill church in October after its board found him “guilty of arrogance, responding to conflict with a quick temper and harsh speech, and leading the staff and elders in a domineering manner”.

But uproar in recent days has focused on the content of his so-called “testosterone gospel”, including one sermon in which he told churchgoers: “Ultimately, God created you and it is His penis. You are simply borrowing it for a while.

“Knowing that His penis would need a home, God created a woman to be your wife. And when you marry her and look down you will notice that your wife is shaped differently than you and makes a very nice home,” he said.

That’s vintage Driscoll- Mr ‘Anything For Attention’ Driscoll has been saying things that disgusting for a long time.  Hillsong knew all that when they invited him in the first place.  So their ‘parting of the ways’ is just bizarre.

A weird ‘church’ asking a weird ‘preacher’ to be involved in its conference isn’t odd.  What is odd is that they’ve changed their mind.

Right? No, Really, Really Wrong

There’s something demonic about the desire of so many to be ‘on the right side of history’ whilst caring not to be on the wrong side of God.

Luther’s Faith

luther_farmIf God Himself appeared to me in His majesty and said: “You are not worthy of My grace; I will change My plan and not keep My promise to you,” I would not have to yield to Him, but it would be necessary to fight most vehemently against God Himself. It is as Job says: “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (cf. Job 13:15). if He should cast me into the depths of hell and place me in the midst of devils, I would still believe that I would be saved because I have been baptized, I have been absolved, I have received the pledge of my salvation, the body and blood of the Lord in the Supper, Therefore I want to see and hear nothing else, but I shall live and die in this faith, whether God or an angel or the devil says the contrary.*

*Lectures on Genesis: Chapters 31-37, (LW Vol. 6, p. 131).

Those Who Love God Aren’t All That Common: An Observation

The number of people who love, genuinely self sacrificially, love God, is shockingly and appallingly small.

Toadying Flaccid Cowardice: An Observation

God have mercy on you if you base your moral acts on what your opponents call ‘the right side of history’. You are a slave to others’ ideas.  You are a coward.

The Birth of Luther’s First Child

June 7, 1526: Katie Luther gave birth to the Luthers’ first child Johannes, known as Hans. He was named after Martin’s father and also great family friend Pastor Johannes Bugenhagen. It was Bugenhagen who lifted the child from the baptismal font as he was baptized by Deacon George Rörer at 4:00 in the afternoon of the day he was born. Young Hans’ other baptismal sponsors, besides Bugenhagen, were Professor Justus Jonas, artist Lucas Cranach, and the wife of Wittenberg Mayor Hohndorf. Sponsors by proxy were Strassburg Professor Nikolaus Gerbel, the Electoral Vice-Chancellor Christian Baier, and Mansfeld Chancellor Müller.

Here’s what Ernst Kroker says about him in his biography of Katie:

This little Luther was a miracle child [Wunderkind]. What firstborn child isn’t? He shows up in letters to his father’s friends, giving and receiving greetings and gifts, before he was even a week old. Although he didn’t tolerate milk well at first and Katie could give him only a little nourishment, in one year he thrived and developed into cute and strong little Hans, so that his father could proudly write about the homo vorax ac bibax, the little man who heartily gobbles and gulps. In good time, at six months, his first little tooth had come, and his mumbling became more intelligible so that it soon sounded like scolding, but sounded delightful indeed. (Kroker: “The Mother of the Reformation” p. 123)

The young boy in red in Lucas Cranach’s famous altar painting in St. Mary’s church in Wittenberg is thought to be Hans Luther.

-Rebecca DeGarmeaux


Christian Brady’s “Biblical Theology of Suffering”

Christian notes

In the spring of 2015 I was invited by the Graduation Christian Fellowship and Chesterton House of Cornell University to lecture on suffering. Below, collected on one page for convenience, are the links to several posts of the lecture. The audio of the lecture can now be found at the bottom of this page as well.

Go here to listen.

David in Scholarship and the Media

ASOR has posted this good essay on that topic-

Oh how the mighty had fallen! As our college Juan Manuel Tebes recently described here on the ASOR blog, the too-and-fro over the historicity of David and Solomon’s kingdom may recently have begun to tip just that much back towards a positive historical reconstruction of our biblical description of the United Monarchy. Of course there are not a few scholars out there, such as Amihai Mazar, Thomas Levy and Baruch Halpern, who would probably say that David and Solomon never went away. They have been some of the major voices against a line of scholarship that has argued that a) we have misdated archaeological strata previously assigned to the United Monarchy in the tenth century and that b) the biblical picture of David and Solomon’s time, while it might contain a few historical memories, is largely an ideological account retrojected back by authors writing during the later Judean monarchy, say around the 7th BCE. I suspect that proponents of this line of thought, especially its leader Israel Finkelstein and some of his Tel Aviv University colleagues, would probably say that there is no such resurgence in the historicity of David and Solomon.


That Chart Won’t Really Work

James McGrath has posted this:


The chart is wrong for one simple reason- not all fundamentalists are dependent on english translations of the bible.  Indeed, a number of fundamentalists are very engaged in reading the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek and many of them are engaged in the complexities of textual criticism.  It is, accordingly, an oversimplification of a complex phenomenon. Fundamentalism has less to do with what text one reads and more to do with a mindset.

The irony here is that McGrath is playing the ‘scholar card’ but not being totally honest with the facts.

[NB- I suppose if I were akin to various other bloggers I could have just left all this unattributed and said ‘I saw this on facebook by someone but I’m not forthright enough to mention who…’  Except such dishonesty is unbefitting academics].

Powerful People Are Powerful Whiners

You’re being treated unfairly at work. How do you react — voice your concerns or stay quiet?

That reaction may indicate whether you’re a powerful or powerless person, a study says, but it could also explain how inequality is maintained in society. Powerful people react swiftly when they are victims of unfairness, while less powerful people are slow to notice and react to injustice, according to research published Friday in thePersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

“Power shapes how quickly you respond to self-related injustices,” explains Takuya Sawaoka, a doctoral student in psychology at Stanford University who conducted the study. “When people have a lot of power and resources, they come to feel like they deserve better outcomes than others.”

Whine up, powerless, whine up.  You’ll lose out because power attracts power and power serves power.  But whine like the powerful- maybe one day the oligarchy will perish.  But don’t expect it.