Daily Archives: 26 Sep 2016

Quote of the Day

I hear they are expecting 100 million to watch #debatenight  … if 100 million were in church on Sunday… we wouldn’t be in this mess. —  Joel Watts

Sad News: John Holladay Has Died

holladayProfessor Emeritus John (Jack) Holladay, B.Sc., Th.D., passed away peacefully at Toronto East General Hospital, late on September 23, 2016.

Jack was the loving husband of Phyllis (Graham) Holladay, who left us far too early in 1993, the beloved father of Karen (Rick Owens), Kim (Martin Lenters) and Scott (Susan Holladay) and doting grandfather to Allison, Carolyn, Lindsey, Siobhan, Kelsey, Sean, Benjamin and Simon. He is survived by his brother, Robert Holladay of Springfield, Illinois and his sister, Anna Marie Matteson of Battle Lake, Minnesota. … After graduating with a Th.D from Harvard Divinity School, he worked at Princeton University before joining the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Toronto. He was one of the investigators at Tel Gezer, where he supervised the excavation of the city’s Solomonic Gate. Jack loved his time in U of T, one of his main achievements being his landmark dig in the Nile Delta, the Wadi Tumilat Project, in which he was assisted in both field and lab work by his wife, Phyllis. His later years included a “disruptive” study of King David, Middle Eastern trade networks and the economy of ancient Israel and Judah.

Scotland’s Long Reformation

95533Exploring processes of religious change in early-modern Scotland, this collection of essays takes a long-term perspective to consider developments in belief, identity, church structures and the social context of religion from the late-fifteenth century through to the mid-seventeenth century. The volume examines the ways in which tensions and conflicts with origins in the mid-sixteenth century continued to impact upon Scotland in the often violent seventeenth century, while also tracing deep continuities in Scotland’s religious, cultural and intellectual life. The essays, the fruits of new research in the field, are united by a concern to appreciate fully the ambiguity of religious identity in post-Reformation Scotland, and to move beyond simplistic notions of a straightforward and unidirectional transition from Catholicism to Protestantism.

Introduction – John McCallum

1. Property and Piety: Donations to Holy Trinity Church, St Andrews – Elizabeth Rhodes

2. Burgh Government and Reformation: Stirling c. 1530-1565 – Timothy Slonosky

3. ‘Fatheris and provisioners of the puir’: Kirk Sessions and Poor Relief in post-Reformation Scotland – John McCallum

4. ‘A Sweet Love-Token betwixt Christ and his Church’: Kirk, Communion and the Search for Further Reformation, 1646-1658 – Chris R. Langley

5. ‘Out of their reasonless Rationalls’: Liturgical interpretation in the Scottish Reformations – Stephen Mark Holmes

6. The Philosophy of the ‘Aberdeen Doctors’, c. 1619-c.1641 – Steven J. Reid

7. Declining His Majesty’s Authority: Treason Revisited in the Case of John Ogilvie – Daniel Macleod

8. Divided by a Common Faith? Protestantism and Union in Post-Reformation Britain  – Roger A. Mason

Brill have sent a review copy for perusal and evaluation.  The collection begins with, quite appropriately given the title of the volume, a long overview of both the history of the Reformation in Scotland and the particular contents of the volume and how they fit into the overall work.

Next up, the essay by Rhodes, though at first glance on a topic that surely couldn’t really be that interesting at all turns out to be one of the more interesting in the collection.  And it’s about donations to a Church!  It includes quite particular mentions of quite particular amounts and items donated to quite particular a church.  She writes, for instance

Traditionally, histories of Scotland’s sixteenth-century church have focused on the confessional divide between Catholics and Protestants. Considerable effort has been expended attempting to pinpoint at what moment a community ‘converted’, or categorising some regions as reformist and others as traditionalist. Yet perhaps this search can be taken too far. The evidence relating to St Andrews suggests that it was possible for individuals and communities to exhibit within a relatively short space of time devotion to both Catholicism and Protestantism, and that confessional boundaries were by no means set in stone (p. 48).

Slonosky’s contribution takes us down quite a different path, allowing us to encounter the reality of Reformation from the perspective of the Burgh.  He begins

Over the course of a little over a year, between the spring of 1559 and the summer of 1560, an entirely new Protestant regime was established in Scotland. The scale and swiftness of the transformation was especially astonishing considering the relatively small number of committed Protestants in Scotland prior to the Reformation. By the summer of 1560, Catholicism was effectively abolished, and the structures of the Protestant church were being rapidly created, though deep cultural and institutional change would take several decades. A satisfactory explanation of this drastic event remains to be written (p.49).

He then proceeds to examine the amazing speed of the Reformation’s victory in Stirling.  As he puts it (on page 50)

The Reformation of Stirling offers an excellent opportunity to see how the Reformation developed in a town which did not have a clear Protestant faction.

MacCullum is concerned with poor relief; Langley with communion; Holmes with liturgical matters connected to Reform; and Reid, in a real tour de force, with Reformed Scholasticism.  He remarks by way of beginning his superlative essay

Who were the ‘Aberdeen Doctors’, and what did they think? The first part of this question is easier to answer than the second. The ‘Doctors’ were a group of academics and ministers affiliated with King’s and Marischal College in the two decades following the accession of Bishop Patrick Forbes of Corse in 1619. They are best known for the series of tracts and pamphlets they exchanged in the summer of 1638 with the Covenanting ministers Alexander Henderson, David Dickson, and Andrew Cant, which denounced the National Covenant as seditious and theologically unsound (p. 149).

In the following pages Reid introduces the uninitiated (and schools the already initiated) into the intricacies of Scottish Reformed Scholasticism- a field as fascinating as any you’re likely to encounter in the entire field of Reformation studies related to the United Kingdom.

MacLeod in the 7th chapter investigates the treason of Ogilvie; and in the 8th Mason takes us on an intellectual tour of Protestantism in the period immediately following the Reformation in Britain.

The volume includes very copious citations of primary sources (complete with incomprehensible Scottish-isms), footnotes, and of course an index, which, joyfully, includes references to Luther and Calvin though not, oddly, to Zwingli in spite of the fact that he is mentioned in the text and in footnotes.  The index, accordingly, isn’t exactly complete.

The volume, on the whole, is, however, completely enjoyable and thoroughly informative.  It can be enthusiastically recommended to those interested in the way the Reformation worked itself out in the Scottish lands.

The Bible: Always Proving itself Annoying to American Liberal Ideology


Methodism’s Motto

Methodism: When you’re too spiritual to be an Episcopalian and not spiritual enough to be a Baptist.

My Debate Prediction

O LORD, how long shall I cry for help, and thou wilt not hear? Or cry to thee “Violence!” and thou wilt not save?   Why dost thou make me see wrongs and look upon trouble? Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise. So the law is slacked and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous, so justice goes forth perverted. (Hab. 1:2-4)

The Bee Stings the ‘Don’t Judge Me’ Thugs

In the dramatic climax of the highly publicized trial surrounding the alleged murder of her husband, defendant Kelly Bidwell took the stand Monday morning and stunned the judge, district attorney, and jury by simply telling the court they have no right to judge her for her actions.

As the prosecuting attorney paced back and forth in front of the witness stand during cross examination, Bidwell remained stone-faced.  “As established during eyewitness testimony, your neighbors heard you scream out that you were going to kill your husband. Later on, they placed you at the scene dragging his body out to the dumpster,” the attorney said pointedly, raising one eyebrow. “Is that true?”

“In the words of Jesus,” Bidwell said calmly, “‘Judge not.’”  The courtroom erupted in shock due to Bidwell’s unexpected yet clever response, and it took Judge Martinez several minutes to restore order.  “Ms. Bidwell, would you please repeat your answer for the record?” the judge said as those gathered finally restored.

“Yes, of course. I said, ‘Judge not.’ None of you hypocrites have the right to judge me for my actions on the night in question. Only God can judge me.”  Knowing the trial was all but over, the district attorney indicated he had no further questions, and slumped back down in his seat.  The jury reached a unanimous decision of “not guilty” on all charges in less than ten minutes.

They hope it works that well with God.  They think it should…

Tweet of the Month


Because let’s face it, if you can’t stand up for a cause, what good are you?  Via Chris Tilling.

The Bee Stings the Pretend Concern of the ‘Celebrity Christian Author’

Local homeless man Buzz reported Monday his great sorrow leading to repentance over the size of his makeshift home fashioned out of cardboard boxes, after he found a discarded copy of David Platt’s bestselling book Radical in a nearby gutter and devoured it in an afternoon.

“I can’t believe I fell so hard for the so-called American dream,” Buzz was overheard telling an acquaintance as they loitered near a Jack In The Box restaurant. “I was comfortable just being an ordinary guy who believed in Jesus, while the rest of the world really suffered for Christ.”

Bahahaha.  Such authors as David Platt who compose the fraudulent books poor old Buzz read live like kings with adoring sycophants surrounding them and their interest in the poor is for profit only.

A New App for the iPhone- 1517 – Martin Luther and the Ninty-five theses

untitledIn the game you can help Martin Luther nailing his ninty-five theses to the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg. Each thesis is a level – but you have to be fast, because it’s getting harder each level. Some nails are helpful, some are not. Try to gather as much points as possible by hitting the most valuable nails!

In ninty-five levels you can discover the ninty-five thesis of Martin Luther, that changed the world in October 1517. They were the beginning of the reformation. They advance Luther’s positions against what he saw as abusive practices by preachers selling plenary indulgences, which were certificates which would reduce the temporal punishment for sins committed by the purchaser or their loved ones in purgatory.
By finishing a level you can read the next thesis. It starts with easy nails, but soon it gets harder and new nails are added: nails, that need more hits, nails with higher points, moving nails, that are harder to hit, nails that create fog or rain, and many more. How far will you make it?

If you are registered in game center, your score will be listed, so that you can compete with other players.

Glory.  Now where’s the Zwingli game????

Martin Luther: The Art of the Reformation

A copy of the two volume set arrived today.  Here are some photos.  One of the set in the box, one of the contents of the essay volume, and one of the contents of the catalog volume, and one of the catalog pages.

It’s delightful- and it smells awesome!  (You know, that new book ink smell right out of the shrink wrap)-


Signs of the Times


Something for the Barthians

(Most of whom, in America, neither read German nor have read more than a book or two by Barth and yet fancy themselves ‘Barthians’…).

Enjoy this fantastic website highlighting Barth’s resistance to the Nazis and the ‘German Christians’.  It’s authentically excellent.

There’s Something Really Wrong With Us