Tony Campolo Wants to be the World’s Friend

“It has taken countless hours of prayer, study, conversation and emotional turmoil to bring me to the place where I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church,” he wrote in a statement posted to his website.

As previously reported, Campolo serves as one of the leaders at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, which is part of the National Baptist Convention USA and American Baptist Churches USA. In the 1990’s, he served as a spiritual adviser to then-President Bill Clinton, including during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

Campolo’s wife, Peggy, is a homosexual activist and believes that the Church should be accepting of same-sex “marriage.” He explained on Monday that his wife is one of the reasons why he has decided to endorse acceptance of homosexuals in Christianity.

I know a number of people who have various views on various subjects who strangely change their mind as soon as someone in their family pressures them into accommodationism.   I once knew a man who was very concerned that Paul’s argument in Romans 1 and 2 was being overlooked by gay activists.  His wife, however, had a different view and shortly his view was hers and her view was his.  Radically.

When those things happen I always remember the sad story of William Barclay’s daughter.  Barclay was a Christian traditionalist holding the biblical view of a heaven and a hell.  Until his daughter died in a boating accident.  His daughter who had sadly never professed faith in anything or any god.  At that moment Barclay became a Universalist.

It’s amazing how willing people are to bend the truth to suit their needs.  Campolo is, like Barclay and my former friend (his wife caused him to have such harsh feelings that he severed our friendship) a truth bender, an accomodationist.

Anyway, Tony, maybe you and your colleagues might want to re-read James:

μοιχαλίδες, οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἡ φιλία τοῦ κόσμου ἔχθρα τοῦ θεοῦ ἐστιν; ὃς ἐὰν οὖν βουληθῇ φίλος εἶναι τοῦ κόσμου, ἐχθρὸς τοῦ θεοῦ καθίσταται. (Jas. 4:4)

The Official Photos of Thomas Römer at Tel Aviv University

Some months back I learned, and shared, that

Après Bill Clinton (en 2002) et Angela Merkel (en 2011), c’est au tour de Thomas Römer de se voir décerner un doctorat honoris causa de l’Université de Tel-Aviv. Professeur d’Ancien Testament à l’Université de Lausanne et de milieux bibliques au Collège de France, il recevra ce titre prestigieux le 14 mai prochain. Rencontre.

The 14th of May has come and gone and today on Facebook Thomas posted these fantastic photos of his well deserved honoring:

Once again, congratulations!

It Looks Like SBL Has Been Selling our Email Addresses, Again

Dear SBL Members,

Like many of you I got this email today:

Do you feel that your current writing tools are letting you down when it comes to preparing biblical literature?

Well we do, so we’ve done something about it. ComWriter is a new cloud-based writing application specifically designed for writing biblical literature:

  • Easily insert SBL fonts into your text or footnotes: Greek, Hebrew, Lit
  • Accurately cite Multi-volume titles AND Series titles, with abbreviations
  • Cite a wide range of biblical literature: COS, Inscriptions, Loeb Classic Library, Ancient Texts, Ancient Epistles & Homilies, Bible Commentaries. All compliant with SBL Handbook of Style or other style guides (e.g., Chicago)
  • Search for biblical books or journal articles online to cite in your writing (over 2 billion records to select from)
  • More biblical journal styles available than Endnote or Zotero

What are you waiting for?

The only thing I can discern that all recipients have in common is membership in SBL.  So, thanks, SBL, for selling our email addresses.  It’s fantastic.  Say, when you make money off of us, do we get a discount on SBL books or conference fees or anything, or does this just go right into your coffers?

Writing from the bunker of knowledge without the aid of any scamming software,

Yours,

With a heart strangely cold-ed

Jim

More Primary Material from Calvin’s Geneva

drozDroz Publishers write

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This ninth volume of the Registers of the Consistory of Geneva (1554) is noticeably longer than those for the three previous years, a reflection of the intensification of the on-going conflicts that Calvin and the Consistory had with the self-proclaimed Enfants de Genève, who sought to curb the influence of the pastors, who were all French. The administration of the Holy Supper continued to be a key point of contention, as the Consistory still claimed to have the exclusive right to admit and exclude people from the sacrament. Others believed that excommunication was under the purview of the Small Council, and this matter was not definitively resolved until the following year.

In 1554, Calvin and other Genevan leaders also had strong conflicts with Bern ; certain pastors in Bern condemned as heretical the doctrine of predestination, and Jerome Bolsec, expelled from Geneva for his stand against that doctrine, openly resided in Bernese territory where he aggressively attacked the theology of Calvin. The Consistory continued to take action against dancing, mundane songs, games of chance, and superstitions (most notably against therapeutic magic).

Quite common were actions against sexual activity outside of marriage, and the Consistory punished even married couples who had fornicated before the wedding. One finds in these registers many examples of people who, after converting to the Reformed faith, returned to their native France or Savoy where they attended Mass. To Calvin’s dismay, many people switched comfortably between Reformed and Catholic worship depending on where they were living.

The Removal of Idols From the Churches of Zurich

zurich_idols_destroyedZwingli’s reforming efforts were in full swing in June of 1524 and the images which besotted the city’s churches were removed at the order of the Magistrates. As Philip Schaff notes

In the presence of a deputation from the authorities of Church and State, accompanied by architects, masons and carpenters, the churches of the city were purged of pictures, relics, crucifixes, altars, candles, and all ornaments, the frescoes effaced, and the walls whitewashed, so that nothing remained but the bare building to be filled by a worshiping congregation. The pictures were broken and burnt, some given to those who had a claim, a few preserved as antiquities. The bones of the saints were buried. Even the organs were removed, and the Latin singing of the choir abolished, but fortunately afterwards replaced by congregational singing of psalms and hymns in the vernacular (in Basle as early as 1526, in St. Gall 1527, in Zurich in 1598). “Within thirteen days,” says Bullinger, “all the churches of the city were cleared; costly works of painting and sculpture, especially a beautiful table in the Waterchurch, were destroyed. The superstitious lamented; but the true believers rejoiced in it as a great and joyous worship of God.”

Schaff also remarks

The same work of destruction took place in the village churches in a less orderly way. Nothing was left but the bare buildings, empty, cold and forbidding.

In a similar vein, Simpson writes that during the early days of the Reformation, in spite of the wishes of Rome-

The annual processions to Einsiedeln were prohibited, relics were interred, and images removed from all the churches of the city, their ornaments being sold for the benefit of the poor. A committee consisting of the three pastors, twelve members of the Council, the city architect, smiths, carpenters, and masons, visited the churches and removed all articles of superstitious veneration. Even the organs were taken down, and the frescoes on the walls covered with a coating of lime. Nothing was left but the bare interior and such furniture as was necessary. In all this we cannot help noticing the marked difference between the German and the Swiss Reformations. Luther was in no sense an iconoclast. A mystic in his mode of thinking, with a deep veneration for established forms and usages, the symbolic ritualism of the Roman Church cast a spell over his soul.*

The ‘good’ people of Zurich weren’t too happy with Zwingli about it all and in the middle of the month of June, 1524, they organized a demonstration, marched to his house, surrounded it, tossed eggs and stones at it, and chanted ‘down with the great devil!’  The Magistrates sent soldiers to disperse the crowds and that was essentially the end of the ‘Drive Zwingli Out of Town’ movement.

Schaff observes concerning Zwingli’s attitude towards images

It should be remarked also that he was not opposed to images as such any more than to poetry and music, but only to their idolatrous use in churches. In his reply to Valentin Compar of Uri (1525), he says, “The controversy is not about images which do not offend the faith and the honor of God, but about idols to which divine honors are paid. Where there is no danger of idolatry, the images may remain; but idols should not be tolerated. All the papists tell us that images are the books for the unlearned. But where has God commanded us to learn from such books?” He thought that the absence of images in churches would tend to increase the hunger for the Word of God.

This is patently correct.

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*Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (pp. 137–138).

Very Sad News: Jacobovici Has Triumphed in his Suit of Joe Zias

Lod District Court (Lod, Israel) – After 4 years in court, Judge Jacob Sheinman handed down a landmark decision today in my libel suit filed against former Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) curator Joseph Zias.

And then Simcha proceeds to gloat.

Today, the judge threw the book at Zias. He quoted Israeli law stating that freedom of speech has to be balanced with protecting a man’s “good name”. He found that Zias did not prove a single allegation. By the end of his 38 page ruling, the judge found Zias guilty on 10 counts of libel – 6 of them “pre-meditated libel with an intention to cause harm”. To underline the seriousness of Zias’ wrongdoings, the judge fined him a total of 800,000 NIS.

And then the astonishingly ironic bit which demonstrates more than a little mirror-blindness:

I waited a long time for this moment. Justice has been served and a clear message has been sent to those who use bullying and defamation as a tactic to silence free debate.

If Simcha were a Christian I would remind him of Paul’s words to the litigious Corinthians-

Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?  If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge?  I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?  But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!  Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! (1 Cor. 6:2-8).

But Simcah isn’t a Christian, so pointing out how Christians are supposed to behave means nothing to him.  What he is, God will judge.

UPDATE: Jim Tabor notes the same sad story.1

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1For those of you interested in academic things, that’s called citation/ attribution. Some in the field are unfamiliar with it. So, in an effort to be a blessing, I’ll mention the practice from time to time to help those ignorant and uninformed souls who, in spite of being academics themselves, are unfamiliar with the procedure