Daily Archives: 23 Dec 2015

I’m Getting a Puppy For Christmas!

Here’s the presh


Bolsec’s Banishment: A Well Deserved Though Insufficient Punishment

The Genevese council found it necessary to pronounce sentence of banishment upon Bolsec, December 23, 1551, because he had obstinately resisted the judgment of the church, to which he had promised to submit.

He disagreed with the Church on the subject of election. But he wasn’t, unfortunately it turns out, executed for it, as he became a notorious disseminator of falsehood.

Bolsec returned to Thonon, where he began again to dogmatize. He was then silent for a time: he soon however recommenced the strife, and was at last banished as an insufferable disputant, even by the Bernese, who would fain have kept him quiet.

The worst part of his character now showed itself: he proceeded to Paris, and spoke of repentance, in the hope of obtaining a position as a reformed pastor. A conference with the ministers was allowed him. They represented to him his errors and wicked course, and referred his case to the synod, which was to meet at Orleans, that he might there solemnly renounce his errors. He appeared, exhibited the signs of deep contrition, promised to subscribe the orthodox confession, and to give satisfaction to the churches of Bern and Geneva. But when he saw the reformed church in more danger than ever of a fearful persecution, he fell back into his old state of wretched doubt, and sank deeper and deeper.

He again sought Switzerland. We find him some time after in Lausanne, practising as a physician. He was admitted to the rights of a citizen, under the condition that he should adopt the Bernese confession of faith. But he did not remain long there.

Beza wrote against him to the faithful of Lausanne. He was once more received by the Bernese, but Haller being full of zeal for purity of doctrine, he was told to remove. His next place of abode was Mömpelgard: he there found Tossanus, who was opposed to Calvin, and in the end rejoined the catholics. Such was the hatred of this man against the reformer, that twelve years after the death of the latter he wrote a libel upon him, which has been the source of all the detestable slanders current in later times.*

What was the slander? That Calvin liked dudes. That he was secretly a sodomite. Whenever you hear rumors of the homosexuality of Calvin, they can be traced directly back to Bolsec, who made up stories out of his own fertile imagination because he despised Calvin so.

*Paul Henry and Henry Stebbing, The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer (vol. 2; New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), 136–137.

The State of The Union…

Is depraved.

A trio of thugs robbed a 10-year-old boy at gunpoint in Carroll Gardens, swiping a measly $3 in the late afternoon theft, cops said Wednesday.  The youngster was on the northeast corner of Henry Street and 4th Place just across the street from PS 149, also known as The Brooklyn New School, about 4:30 p.m. on Dec 8 when three suspects described by cops as black males surrounded him.


Joel Osteen’s Popularity Explained

It’s simple to understand the popularity of Joel Osteen.  He offers people a version (however distorted and untrue) of Christianity that they prefer to the biblical version.  Biblical Christianity involves the Cross- and Osteen’s version ignores it.  Biblical Christianity involves self denial and discipleship.  Osteen’s version knows neither.  Biblical Christianity requires death to self.  Osteen’s requires self aggrandizement.

Given the mentality of our age it is thoroughly unsurprising that Osteen’s message is popular.  He has tapped into the cravings of a selfish populace which cares nothing for anything beyond its own perceived self-needs.

Unfortunately for Osteen and his followers, he is selling the world a bill of goods and is, as such, a preacher of a false Gospel.  And, as Paul tells the Galatians

But even if we ourselves or an angel from heaven preaches to you a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let God’s curse be on him.  I repeat again what we declared before: anyone who preaches to you a gospel other than the one you were first given is to be under God’s curse.  (Gal. 1:8-9)

There is only one Gospel, and it isn’t Joel Osteen’s.  His preachings are accursed.  So, too, his followers.

A Digital Map of the Roman Empire

This is awesome.  Adding it to the list of Useful Sites.


Frank Jehle: Von Johannes auf Patmos bis zu Karl Barth

Frank Jehle: Von Johannes auf Patmos bis zu Karl Barth  – Anlässlich des 75. Geburtstags von Frank Jehle haben Adrian Schenker und Marianne Jehle-Wildberger bereits publizierte, aber auch bisher unveröffentlichte Artikel und Vorträge aus den letzten zwanzig Jahren zusammengetragen und thematisch geordnet. Entstanden ist so ein Band, in dem die Frage nach Gott und nach dem christlichen Glauben omnipräsent ist. In den Texten Frank Jehles geht es um Themen der Bibel, der Christentums- und Theologiegeschichte, der Systematischen Theologie und dabei insbesondere um Karl Barth, die Ökumenische Theologie und um Fragen der Ethik. Frank Jehle ermöglicht der Leserin und dem Leser dabei immer wieder erfrischend unkonventionelle Zugänge zu teils traditionellen Themen und greift aktuelle gesellschaftliche Diskussionen wie die um die Sterbehilfe oder um Wirtschaftsethik auf. Vor allem aber finden sich viele Beiträge, die sich mit Sinnfragen heutiger Menschen auseinandersetzen und die neue Zugänge zu alten biblischen Texten und zu aktuellen theologischen Deutungen eröffnen.

The volume is a collection of essays published previously and in various places by the honoree.  They are arranged into 6 categories:

  • Biblisches (5 essays)
  • Christentums- und Theologiegeschichte (11 essays)
  • Systematische Theologie (6 essays)
  • Ökumenische Theologie (4 essays)
  • Zu Fragen der Ethik (6 essays)
  • Epilog (1 essay)

Some of the essays are quite short (a couple of pages) and others are fairly extensive (20+ pages).   Many originated in news magazines and newspapers and others can be found in their original incarnation in scholarly periodicals and volumes.

Concerning subject matter, Jehle’s interests cover a wide range of topics, from the Bible to Barth to Calvin to Blanke to Kaufman to Spirituality to ecumenics to the ethics of work to marriage to the future of the Church.

There is also, naturally, a preface by the editors and by the honoree, a bibliography of the honoree (which is unsurprisingly extensive and multifaceted), an index of persons, and a catalogue of illustrations.

I first became acquainted with Jehle’s scholarship when I read his biography of Emil Brunner.  It is an amazing work and in it Jehle demonstrates his ability to connect readers with history and historical figures.  It is also a massive work.  And the level of scholarship evidenced in that big book and other shorter volumes is maintained even in the briefest of essays found in this collection.  Jehle asserts what needs to be asserted in as many or as few words as are absolutely necessary, extraordinarily.

His grasp of the history of the Church is so very impressive.  So, for instance, in one of the essays included in this volume which has as its subject matter the always intriguing topic of double predestination, Jehle writes

Zwingli, in seiner schrift –De Providentia– von 1530 ebenfalls einen starken Prädestinatianismus vertrat, der Calvin sogar zu weit ging.  (An Bullinger in Zürich schrieb Calvin in Januar 1552:  “Zwinglis buch ist doch, um mich vertrualich auszudrücken, so voll harter Paradoxien, dass es von dem Mass, das ich innehalte, sich sehr weit entfernt”) (p. 56).

Jehle treats his subjects and topics with the fairness we would expect of a Swiss scholar.  What these pages contain is truth.  Not mere opinion.  Not pandering affect.  Truth.

Accordingly, as a collection of truthful essays, this volume deserves the reader’s unwavering attention.  As a ‘fan’ of Jehle’s work, I am filled with hopeful expectation that we have not heard the last from him and that this volume will simply come to serve a large base of scholars as the launching pad of their own interest in this man’s good work.

The editors, Adrian Schenker and Marianne Jehle-Wildberger as well as the publisher, TVZ, deserve our gratitude for bringing to us this helpful collection.

Read this book.  There is goodness here.

‘Festivus’ is a Pest-ivus


Top Ten Jim West Blog Posts in 2015

Calvin Was Long Dead, So You Can’t Blame Him…

Antitrinitarians: Not Welcome Here-


Goliath’s Legacy: Philistines and Hebrews in Biblical Times

lukasz-niesiolowski-spanoIt’s a very good book.  And I’m glad it’s out in English where it can have a wider readership as it justly deserves.

It’s the book of the week.

I’ve known the author a good long time and he’s a stellar scholar.  And a great guy.

In the 12th century BCE revolutionary changes and major population movements took place in the eastern Mediterranean. One element of this complex process was the appearance of the warlike Sea Peoples on the coast of the Middle East. Among the groups that we know of the most important seem to be Philistines. It is no accident that the name of the region – Palestine – comes precisely from this ethnonym.

The book examines the impact of the Sea Peoples, especially the Philistines, on the local population, and on the Hebrews in particular. To determine the chronological sequence, the first part presents the biblical narrative in a synthetic way, and thus the Philistines’ role in the history of Israel and Judah. These considerations complement the study of geography, in which toponyms are discussed to establish a range of the Philistines’ impact. Concerning the likely duration of an impact of the Philistines on the Hebrews, two periods were suggested: the early Iron Age (ca. 1150-900 BCE) and the domination of Assyria (ca. 750-650 BCE). The second part of the book discusses the culture of the Hebrews, known from the Bible, which may have its roots in the Philistines’ heritage. These phenomena are divided into thematic groups.

The impact of the Philistines on the Hebrews was much larger than previously thought, and it was not connected only with Judah’s and Israel’s response to the presence of a hostile neighbor. Several components of Hebrew culture and some literary motifs in the Bible seem to derive specifically from the Philistines’ culture.

W.G. Kümmel Sends A Postcard and Discusses R.K. Bultmann

Michael Lattke has it posted online here.  Nifty.

Biblical Scholars Finishing Up Their Christmas Shopping

Born on this Day: The Man Who Deciphered the Rosetta Stone and Unlocked Hieroglyphics

The BM has a great essay on the French scholar Jean-François Champollion.  They’ve also got a pretty cool video on the Rosetta stone:

Irving Finkel: A Curator at the BM

I liked this video and think you will too. Fun stuff and very clever.

The Logos Free Book For Advent Today

Is this one


Luther and English Hymns

Lutheran Satire is at it again-