Monthly Archives: April 2016


What’s The Difference Between Saturday and Sunday?



Answering Your Mail

Dear Jim,

If you had to recommend what you considred to be the most important book, what would it be (but not the Bible).

Thank you,

Allison H.

Dear Allison,

brunnerThere are so many important volumes but I have thought for a very long time that the most important, for Christian Theologians anyway, is Emil Brunner’s Revelation and Reason.  I would even go so far as to say that no one who is a student of Christian thought can ignore this book and if they do, they can’t consider themselves well read or even well informed.

It is, to put it simply, absolutely indispensable.  Read it, or know nothing that must be known.

I hope that answers your question.


Total Depravity: The Tat Artist Infected with HIV Who Used Tainted Needles…

On his step-daughter.

A man, who is HIV positive, has been indicted on child endangering charges after prosecutors say he used the same tainted needle to tattoo his 15-year-old stepdaughter that he used on himself.  Jeremy Paul Huffman, 42, was indicted on two counts of felonious assault, and two counts of child endangerment.

According to Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, Huffman gave his step daughter eight tattoos over a two year time period. O’Brien says that at least four of the tattoos happened after Huffman had tattooed himself and/or the child’s mother, who is also HIV positive, and he did not change the needle, and then he proceeded to use the same tainted needle to tattoo the stepdaughter.

Explain that without making reference to depravity, evil, or wickedness.

The Last Call for Carnival Submissions for the April Edition

Send ’em along.  The Carnival will post tonight at 00:01.

In Light of the Previous

Let the one who has ears, hear…


In Light of the Previous

Let him who has ears, hear-


Luther: On Those Who Willingly Believe Lies

lutherWhat if my pastor preached to me like this: “Listen! I will now deliver a sermon. Three parts of it will be lies and the fourth part will be true”—and, moreover, he did not distinguish for me which were the three parts or which the fourth part? If I, nevertheless, blindly believed everything, then please tell me, what basis I would have for accusing such a pastor on the Last Day of having deceived me? He would answer me (just as the devil himself would): “I have not deceived you, but you deceived yourself. I warned you that I would lie to you, and you wanted to have the lies.” — Martin Luther

Texas Size Depravity


From the Author of the Essay Posted Just Before This One…

This video on his University website.  I sure wish I knew what he was saying.  But the Dutchlanders will. Enjoy, Dutchlanders… enjoy.

The Scribal Background of the “Menetekel” in Daniel 5

New over at Bible and Interpretation:

Since Aramaic was introduced as the standard administrative language in Achaemenid Palestine around 500 B.C.E. and dominated scribal training into the early Roman period, its influence on literary production is hardly surprising. Placing such key terms against their original background goes far beyond merely antiquarian interests; it helps uncover new literary subtleties in the biblical text and better assess their theological impact.


Hypocritical Much, Apple?

The Bee stings Apple

Chuckling heartily while gesturing toward the news story displayed on one of his hundreds of Mac computers, King Salman of Saudi Arabia reported to his security detail Friday that he is really getting a kick out of Apple, Inc. lecturing the State of North Carolina for enacting a law requiring people to use the public restroom corresponding to their biological gender.

“Look at this—this Tim Cook fellow is publicly chastising the governor of North Carolina, sending him threatening letters, ordering him to repeal this bathroom law,” he chortled to several nearby bodyguards. “Just two years ago this same man was begging us for clearance to operate here in our blessed kingdom, where being a homosexual is punishable by death, as it is the will of Allah.”

“Honestly, does he not know we publicly execute gay people?” he added.

Etc.  The hypocrisy of Apple is, sarcasm aside, stunning.  The same goes for the rest of the ‘boycott North Carolina’ companies.

Silly Little Angry Atheist Snowflakes… Bless ’em


(via Karl Barth for Barthians…  😉 )

The Samaritans: A Profile

samaritansEerdmans have published a really interesting volume on the far too often neglected and overlooked Samaritans.  The title, The Samaritans: A Profile, fits well the publisher’s description:

Most people associate the term “Samaritan” exclusively with the New Testament stories about the Good Samaritan and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. Very few are aware that a small community of about 750 Samaritans still lives today in Palestine and Israel; they view themselves as the true Israelites, having resided in their birthplace for thousands of years and preserving unchanged the revelation given to Moses in the Torah.

Reinhard Pummer, one of the world’s foremost experts on Samaritanism, offers in this book a comprehensive introduction to the people identified as Samaritans in both biblical and nonbiblical sources. Besides analyzing the literary, epigraphic, and archaeological sources, he examines the Samaritans’ history, their geographical distribution, their version of the Pentateuch, their rituals and customs, and their situation today. There is no better book available on the subject.

Pummer’s treatment of the subject is just simply put, superlative.  No one I’ve read, with the exception of Ingrid Hjelm, has a deeper knowledge of the people and their traditions.  No book known to me in English or German scholarship grasps the topic more thoroughly.  Pummer can safely, it seems to me, be called THE expert on the issue.

Pummer begins his treatment with a look into the identity of the Samaritans and moves then quickly to the question of the presence of the Samaritans in the Hebrew Bible and then in the New Testament.

Next, readers discover, thanks to Pummer’s expertise, the influence and significance of Samaritanism in the Jewish writings of Antiquity.  Archaeological issues are next examined, swiftly followed up by discussions of Samaritan Sects, Samaritan history, the geographical distribution of Samaritan communities, the Samaritan Pentateuch (a particular favorite of the present reviewer), Samaritan literature, Samaritan rituals and customs, and the Samaritans today.

The volume ends with a chapter Pummer calls ‘New Challenges’ and an exceedingly extensive bibliography,  and the usual indices of sources, authors and finally, subjects.  Also within the covers of the work are a good number of photographs and illustrations.

Pummer’s volume is important not simply because he sat in a study somewhere and researched countless dusty volumes; rather, he left home, and spent time among the Samaritans.  His isn’t, accordingly, a second hand survey but instead it is an ‘eyewitness’ account.  The Samaritans are not simply an ancient curiosity who – for most – serve as foils against which the history of Israel or the Church can be played off of.  Instead, they are real people with real rituals and real spirituality.  They are a living vestige of the ancient past and their traditions and practices are virtually living evidence of ancient times.

Pummer may not here be intentionally offering an ‘apologetic’ for the Samaritans but at the end of the volume readers will be nearly forced to ‘care’ what happens to these people.  Not only must their culture be preserved, so must their traditions and religious practices.  The world would be a little poorer were they absent.  Substantial efforts, then, must be made on their behalf.

The subtitle of Pummer’s book is ‘A Profile’.  I disagree.  We see here not simply the vague outline of a shadow.  Instead, we see every line, crevice, crack, color, hair and feature.  Pummer’s work is extraordinary and his accomplishment peerless.  And that is simply no exaggeration nor does it contain a hint or a faint whisper of hyberbole.

The Latest Publication

Learn How to Rewrite Exodus!

Or something.  At Newman U.  Home of Richard ‘An Anglican Church of England Church’ Goode.

The biblical account of the Exodus has always been significant for Jews in constructing their history, identity and theology. The story of how God acted through Moses to free the Israelite slaves from their suffering in Egypt is, not surprisingly, retold in numerous Jewish writings throughout the centuries.

Etc.  To be serious, it looks like a great opportunity that you’d be nuts to miss.

Rehabilitating Tetzel

tetzel_moneyboxThere’s a very informative interview right here and its subject is Johannes Tetzel.

„Wenn die Münze im Kasten klingt, die Seele in den Himmel springt“ – Dieser berühmte Slogan wird heute dem findigen Dominikanermönchen Johann Tetzel zugeschrieben. Er gilt als der bekannteste Ablassprediger der Geschichte und steht sinnbildlich für eine verdorbene Kirche im ausgehenden Mittelalter. Aus der Geschichte der Reformation ist er kaum wegzudenken, soll doch sein Wirken der Auslöser für Luthers 95 Thesen gewesen sein. Dabei verbrachte Tetzel nur wenig Zeit im Umkreis Wittenbergs.

In Jüterbog widmet sich am Wochenende (29.-30.4.) die Tagung „Tetzel – Ablass – Fegefeuer“, welche auf die Ausstellung zum Reformationsjubiläum 2017 vorbereitet, der Wahrheit und den Legenden rund um die Person Tetzel. Ziel ist es, ein differenziertes Bild des Ablasspredigers zu zeichnen und den Menschen Johann Tetzel freizulegen. Im Interview mit sprach Dr. Hartmut Kühne, Organisator der Tagung, über das Bild Tetzels in der Geschichte, dessen Organisationstalent und zeigt, wer eigentlich zur Rechenschaft gezogen werden sollte.

Read it all.  Super stuff.

Larry Hurtado Explains Books


Sad News:  T.H.L. Parker has Died

t-h-l-parkerEveryone will know the work of the great Calvin scholar.  Refo 500 has the sad news here. May he rest in well deserved peace.

In the Absence of Authentic Christian Theology…

The vacuum is always filled by absurdity.