Monthly Archives: February 2017

How Long Will It Be Before Your Church is Sued By A Gay Couple Wishing to Wed At It?

Not long.

An LGBT organization in Ohio has announced plans to target churches if they refuse to offer their property to be used in a homosexual wedding. In opposing the Ohio Pastor Protection Act (HB-36), the group Equality Ohio announced that they would target churches, forcing them to rent church facilities to groups that oppose their beliefs. This despite the fact that all the Roman Catholic bishops in Ohio support the bill, and Catholics make up approximately 20 percent of the state’s population.

When asked “if a church community has a church hall that they rent to couples who want to have that wedding reception in that hall … should that church hall and church community be forced to rent that to someone who wants to use that building for something that’s against that church community’s belief system,” an Equality Ohio spokeswoman said, “Sure, I would say that if that space is open and generally available to the public for a fee, yes that should be available to everyone.”

This statement may seem innocent enough, but to Representative Nino Vitale (R-Urbana), the author of HB-36, it is a declaration of war. “If you have property rights and religious freedom, shouldn’t you have religious freedom, at least on your own property?” Vitale asked in an interview with PJ Media.

Specifically, Vitale suggested that the ACLU of Ohio, which he described as “a large cash cow organization that exists to sue people,” and which opposed the Ohio Pastor Protection Act last year, would target churches if HB-36 does not pass. “That’s what they aim to do,” he explained.

The representative also noted that “some of the largest insurance companies that handle churches in the United States now have religious freedom riders, and you can select those and add them to your church policy.” Potential lawsuits are “so big of an issue that even insurance companies recognize it.”

Vitale predicted that groups like the Ohio ACLU and Equality Ohio (not to mention the Human Rights Campaign, the Secular Coalition, and the pro-abortion group NARAL, which have each opposed HB-36) would target the Catholic Church in particular.

“The Catholic Church is one of the main targets,” the representative told PJ Media. “When you’re filing a lawsuit against someone, you’re saying we disagree with what you’re doing and we want to stop you from doing it and penalize you for what you did,” he explained. “I can’t think of anybody with bigger pockets in the church communities than the Catholic Church.”

It may be starting in Ohio, but it will come to your State soon as well.  Because the times, they are-a unraveling.

As soon as gay marriage was legalized we knew it was inevitable. An activist, a hater of Christianity, aiming to make a point, will ask a church to use their facilities and when refused will sue. And they will ask, not because their Christian faith draws them to a church wedding, but because they want to sue, crave a suit, pine for it. And they will win. Just as the lawsuit against the florist and the baker saw losses for people of faith.

But we will not surrender principles.  Prison is preferable to that act of cowardice which condescends to surrender core beliefs merely because it’s expedient or easy.

The Bee Stings the Fatuous, Theologically Ignorant, Annoying ‘Church Growth Expert’

Stating he was shocked at the Lord’s “ignorant” approach to attractional church growth, self-described church growth expert Mark A. Sloniker was reportedly cringing the entire time he read through several of Christ’s popular sermons in the gospels Tuesday.

“‘The flesh counts for nothing?’ ‘No one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him?’ Oh, come on, Jesus, you know better than that,” Sloniker reportedly muttered to himself as he read through the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. Sure enough, the church leadership guru’s fears were confirmed, as the text then stated that many of Jesus’ disciples no longer followed him.

“He had such a good thing going with the feeding of the five thousand—why’d He have to blow it? Why not just seal the deal with an extreme men’s ministry event, or a big Easter giveaway?” an exasperated Sloniker added.

Flipping through other stories in the inspired accounts of Jesus’ life, Sloniker continued to wince and cringe as he read the narratives of Jesus “going ballistic on potential future church members” in the temple, turning away seekers who came asking how they could join Him, and constantly preaching on the reality of hell and eternal punishment.

“If only the Savior were as enlightened about church growth as we are, He could have had an honest-to-goodness megachurch,” Sloniker lamented.

The Bee has been hanging around SBC convention conventicles led by ‘church growth experts’ more than enough it seems.

If You’re in The Knoxville Area… A Film About the Reformation and a Panel Discussion

“Big news! St Paul Lutheran Church in Wartburg, TN will host a movie PREMIERE on March 4. Join us at 6:15pm for reception and open house and the screening to follow at 7pm. This much anticipated film has not yet been released so come here to get the first look!”

There will also be a discussion of the movie afterwards the panel of which will include yours truly and David Graves. All are invited.

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Don’t worry, all partisan Lutheran errors will be pointed out.

 

Petrus Dathenus und der Heidelberger Katechismus

9783525552476Der Heidelberger Katechismus zählt zu den zentralen Lehr- und Bekenntnisschriften des reformierten Protestantismus. Bei seiner Abfassung wurde in nicht unerheblichem Maße auf Stoff aus älteren Katechismen reformierter Prägung zurückgegriffen. Neben dem großen und dem kleinen Katechismus von Zacharias Ursinus (1534–1583) und dem Genfer Katechismus Johannes Calvins (1509–1564) sind dies insbesondere eine Reihe niederländischer bzw. niederdeutscher Katechismen. Die Rezeption letzterer wird in der Forschungsliteratur häufig auf den Einfluss einer Gruppe niederländischer Glaubensflüchtlinge zurückgeführt, die 1562 im leerstehenden Kloster Frankenthal in der Kurpfalz Asyl fanden.

Der Prediger dieser Gruppe, Petrus Dathenus (1531/32–1588) steht dabei exemplarisch für die (west-)europäische Ausrichtung der Kurpfälzischen Politik in der zweiten Hälfte des 16. Jahrhunderts: Als Theologe setzte er sich intensiv für die Verbreitung des Heidelberger Katechismus in der Niederlande ein, als Gesandter des Kurfürsten versuchte er, Einfluss auf die spannungsreiche politische Lage in seinem Heimatland zu nehmen.Tobias Schreiber untersucht die Frage, ob es tatsächlich jener Petrus Dathenus war, der die spezifisch niederländische bzw. niederdeutsche Katechismustradition in den Entstehungsprozess des Heidelberger Katechismus einbrachte und so den konfessionellen Wandel in der Kurpfalz um 1563 mitprägte. Der Autor nimmt dabei auch die 1563 kurz nach dem Katechismus veröffentlichte Kurpfälzische Kirchenordnung in den Blick.

V&R continue to bring to press volumes which expand our understanding of the Reformation by introducing a wider public to the life and work of generally unknown scholars.  This revised dissertation continues that tradition.

Tobias Schreiber first brings to our attention the status questionis and then launches straightaway into an examination of Dathenus’ pilgrimage from papacy to Reformed and his sojourn in London where he learned the faith more deeply and commenced in seriousness his own theological work.  From there we follow Dathenus’ further theological development as it is evidenced in his various compositions.

Throughout the volume the importance of various theological traditions is on full display.    More precisely, it is shown that one of the Reformed tradition’s most underrated thinkers was the product of many giants upon whose shoulders he stood.  We are privy to the truth that no person is influenced only by one idea or one document.  That is certainly true of Dathenus, whose own thought is shown to be the consequence of the blending of many streams of theological influence.

This is shown by copious documentation and by the frequent setting side by side of various theological texts along with Dathenus’ own works.  The result is a very fine study worthy of scholarly attention.  And Dathenus is very much worth reading in and of his own right.  He opines

Vom Anfang der Erneuerung des Evangeliums an haben sie (sc. die Evangelischen) alle übereinstimmend gelehrt, dass Christus das eine Haupt, Fundament, der eine König, Lehrer und Priester der Kirche sei, durch den die Gläubigen umsonst, allein aus Glauben ohne jede Werke von Gott gerecht gesprochen würden […]. Sie lehrten, dass die Kanonische Schrift vollständig [integram] und vollkommen [perfectam] sei, und dass in ihr nichts, was zum wahren Glauben und zur wahren Frömmigkeit notwendig ist, ausgelassen sei – dass ihr nichts hinzugefügt werden braucht noch kann: Dies bekennen sie bis jetzt offen (p. 193).

Or this:

„So definiere ich die Kirche: Die sichtbare Kirche Christi ist die Versammlung all jener sowohl wahrhaft Gläubiger als auch Heuchler, die das reine Evangelium bekennen, wobei sie die unreine Lehre fliehen, Christus als das eine und höchste Haupt, als Heiland, Priester und Mittler anerkennen und die Sakramente und die von Christus übergebenen Schlüssel recht gebrauchen“ (p. 194).

And the discussion of the Scriptures (on pages 198ff) is simply brilliantly insightful.  Proving, yet again, that anything we might say about theological matters has already been said long ago, and better; and all we need do is comb the archives to discover the un-mined riches of our own theological tradition.

Peter Martyr Vermigli for Children

untitledBorn in Florence, Italy, in 1499, Peter Martyr Vermigli decided that he wanted to teach God’s Word when he grew up. After many years of study, he became a well-respected leader in the Roman Catholic Church, yet he questioned the church’s teachings because he believed they were contrary to the Bible. Eventually forced to flee Italy and the Roman Church, Vermigli joined the Reformers north of the Alps and devoted the rest of his life to teaching, preaching, and writing about the great truths of the Protestant Reformation. He lived in many parts of Europe, and he influenced many of the most important figures of his times.

This volume in the Christian Biographies for Young Readers series retells the story of a servant of Christ who left behind a postion of prominence in the Roman Church to courageously join the cause of the Protestant Reformation. Enhanced by illustrious, photographs, and additional information about the Reformation era, this account shows young readers how God can use the piety and talents of one man to advance the cause of His truth.

Get your child something great to read.

Motivation for Your Tuesday

hope

How Much Did Zwingli Make on the Books He Published?

Nothing.

reformersIt [the Amica Exegesis] appeared February 28, 1527. The Frankfort Fair was the great book mart. Zwingli, like Luther, made nothing from his publications. In which respect he resembled most modern authors, only he expected nothing! He once wrote to Vadianus (May 28, 1525, vii., 398): “There was a man lately who said that I sold copies to the printers at a high price. That man lied against the Holy Spirit. It must not be permitted therefore that this can be said with truth. I ask nothing than that they commend me to the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Publishing for the sake of disseminating the truth.  What. A. Concept.  Writing to instruct rather than become rich and famous.  Just.  Imagine.

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1Jackson is wrong about the date- the Amica Exegesis appeared on the 8th of February, not the 28th. Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531).

In Memoriam Martin Bucer

Bucer died on 28 February, 1551.  The early Reformation had no one more interested in unity than he.

bucer2The chief reformer of Strassburg was Martin Bucer (1491–1552). He was a native of Alsace, a Dominican monk, and ordained to the priesthood. He received a deep impression from Luther at the disputation in Heidelberg, 1518; obtained papal dispensation from his monastic vows (1521); left the Roman Church; found refuge in the castle of Francis of Sickingen; married a nun, and accepted a call to Strassburg in 1523.

Here he labored as minister for twenty-five years, and had a hand in many important movements connected with the Reformation. He attended the colloquy at Marburg (1529); wrote, with Capito, the Confessio Tetrapolitana (1530); brought about an artificial and short-lived armistice between Luther and Zwingli by the Wittenberg Concordia (1536); connived, unfortunately, at the bigamy of Philip of Hesse; and took a leading part, with Melanchthon, in the unsuccessful reformation of Archbishop Herrmann of Cologne (1542). Serious political troubles, and his resistance to the semi-popish Interim, made his stay in Strassburg dangerous, and at last impossible. Melanchthon in Wittenberg, Myconius in Basel, and Calvin in Geneva, offered him an asylum; but be accepted, with his younger colleague Fagius, a call of Cranmer to England (1549). He aided him in his reforms; was highly esteemed by the archbisbop and King Edward VI., and ended his labors as professor of theology in Cambridge. His bones were exhumed in the reign of Bloody Mary (1556), but his memory was honorably restored by Queen Elizabeth (1560).

Bucer figures largely in the history of his age as the third (next to Luther and Melanchthon) among the Reformers of Germany, as a learned theologian and diplomatist, and especially as a unionist and peacemaker between the Lutherans and Zwinglians. He forms also a connecting link between Germany and England, and exerted some influence in framing the Anglican standards of doctrine and worship. His motto was: “We believe in Christ, not in the church.”

He impressed his character upon the church of Strassburg, which occupied a middle ground between Wittenberg and Zuerich, and gave shelter to Calvin and the Reformed refugees of France. Strict Lutheranism triumphed for a period, but his irenical catholicity revived in the practical pietism of Spener, who was likewise an Alsacian. In recent times the Strassburg professors, under the lead of Dr. Reuss, mediated between the Protestant theology of Germany and that of France, in both languages, and furnished the best edition of the works of John Calvin.*

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*History of the Christian church (Vol. 7, pp. 571–573).

Refo500 Conference News

The deadline for submitting short paper proposals for the Seventh Annual RefoRC Conference, May 10-12 2017 at the LEUCOREA has been extended to March 15, 2017.

You will find the current list of short papers on our website. More information on the conference is here.  As to lodging: there are still some double and single rooms available at the LEUCOREA. Please do not hesitate to contact me for further information or assistance. 

Welcome to Luther City Wittenberg!

Kind regards, Karla Apperloo

Why Does America Have Such Terrible Politicians?

Simple- immoral politicians are elected by immoral voters.  The former cannot succeed without the latter.

She’s A Boy- Until It’s Inconvenient And then She’s A Girl

The Texas state wrestling championships aren’t usually national news. But they made headlines this weekend when a 17-year-old transgender boy — barred by state rules from competing in the boys’ league — won his weight class, against girls.

Mack Beggs, the teenage boy in question, hasn’t sought the spotlight. By all accounts he just wants to wrestle.

But media attention found him anyway. In part, that’s because some parents of female wrestlers have vocally objected to the fact that Beggs, who has been taking testosterone as part of his gender transition, is wrestling girls. One parent even filed a lawsuit against the league that organizes public school sports.

Etc.

Look, it is an absurdity to insist that (her/his) transgenderism be recognized (she’s now a boy) and then negate that insistence (she’s a girl so she should wrestle girls) simply for the sake of, and in the name of, sport. The hypocrisy of transgenderism is stunning in this case as it wants to be seen as legitimate until it is inconvenient. Were she serious about her identity, she would refuse to wrestle a girl.  If she (he) sees herself as a male, what business does she (he) have abandoning that insistence simply to compete in a sport?

We’ve entered the Twilight Zone.

Coffee With Calvin

At Southeastern Seminary:

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This year is the 500th anniversary of Luther’s 95 Theses. Dr. Bruce Gordon from Yale divinity school will be talking with our own Dr. Stephen Eccher about how we can read theologians so far removed from our time. It will be a great time to reflect on a key time in the history of the Protestant Church! Come and join us for great discussion and snacks. Where: Library Commons Area, Sign-up: Eventbrite. Organization: Library. Wednesday, March 15, 2017, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM.Library – Commons Area.

The National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion Executive Board Statement

February 27, 2017

From the undersigned members of the Executive Committee of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion:

As scholars who are committed to studying and understanding texts, religious groups and faith commitments, which take many forms, it seems worthy and right to respond to recent actions, which have such important implications for religion and the study of religion. We believe it is crucial to be on record stating our concern and opposition to actions taken recently by executive orders from the office of the president of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump. We express our concern and urge membership of the NABPR to consider the following statements offered by the American Academy of Religion and the Society for Biblical Literature. These statements demonstrate the seriousness of the recent restrictions and exclusion of people from visiting, living or traveling in the U.S. based on their religious commitments.

As professors of religion we recognize, acknowledge and uphold the benefits of the longstanding Baptist commitment to religious freedom and toleration of other faith groups. Our religious freedom depends on the religious freedom of all individuals of faith groups.

Eileen Campbell-Reed
Doug Weaver
Mikeal C. Parsons
Philip E. Thompson
R. Scott Nash
Adam D.J. Brett

AAR Board Statement on U.S. Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”

Statement Issued by the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Religion on January 30, 2017

President Trump’s recent executive order limiting and banning Muslim immigration to the United States from seven countries strikes at the heart of the mission and values of the American Academy of Religion, a learned society of some 8,500 members.

Our organization is committed to excellence in the academic study of religion and to making our scholarship freely available in order to foster the larger public understanding of religion.

The ban impedes that mission. Faculty members, students, and independent scholars who study religion depend on the freedom of travel to pursue their work. Already we have received reports of scholars who have been prevented from returning home to the United States from research trips abroad. The ban will also impede international students who hope to study in the United States and to American students who plan to study abroad.

At a more fundamental level, the ban conflicts with our values. We hold dear diversity, mutual respect, inclusion, and free inquiry, all of which the immigration ban jeopardizes. The ban erodes our hope that these values will serve as the foundation for all governmental decisions regarding our members as well as our colleagues around the globe.

Finally, the ban poisons the public’s understanding of Islam in particular and religion in general. It blatantly and explicitly discriminates against Islam and Muslims, and appears to provide special treatment of Christianity. It violates our national commitment to welcome persons of all religions.

With learned societies, colleges and universities, and educational leaders across the nation, we call on the President and Congress to retract the Muslim immigration ban and to denounce religious intolerance in all its forms.

***

Statement on the 27 January 2017 U.S. Executive Order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”

The Society of Biblical Literature’s mission is to foster biblical scholarship in accordance with our core values, which include scholarly integrity, critical inquiry, respect for diversity, inclusivity, and tolerance. This mission of fostering biblical scholarship rests on the firm belief that the study of sacred texts and traditions involves unhindered intellectual exchange among scholars. Such open, scholarly exchange serves the common good by contributing to a broad public understanding of religious texts, traditions, and practices in the modern world. It is for these reasons, for example, that SBL does not endorse academic boycotts.

In 2012, SBL received a grant to explore the establishment of an international and independent network of scholars of the Qur’an. That grant led to the formation of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) in 2014, now an independent affiliate of the SBL and an invaluable partner in the study of sacred texts. As a learned society, IQSA, like SBL, seeks to promote peace through understanding. We thereby stand with our colleagues in Qur’anic and Islamic studies to protest the ban on immigrants and refugees from Muslim countries.

Moreover, the ban encourages discrimination and promotes misleading and sometimes dangerous caricatures of religious people, practices, and texts. It also places obstacles to the travel of Muslim scholars in and out of the United States, and threatens the free exchange of ideas among the Society and partnering and affiliating organizations that advance learning and help make peace and understanding possible. Thus, the Society strongly opposes the ban and its implementation.

Quote of the Day

datenus„Visibilis Ecclesia Christi, est congregatio eorum omnium, tam vere fidelium, quam hypocritarum qui profitentur purum Euangelium, fugientum impuram doctrinam, agnoscentum Christum unicum Summum caput Servatorum, Pontificem & Mediatorem, rite utentiu Sacramentis & clavibus Christo traditits.“ – Petrus Dathenus

The Most Accurate Representation of Luther to Date

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Total Depravity: More Pastoral Misconduct

One question- why did he have to be a Baptist?

The Aleppo Codex Online

Here.

aleppo

Lent Commences Wednesday- So Celebrate with Sausage

 

What Zwingli Thinks of Lent

zwingli1011.jpgNo one shall reject you or consider you good on account of any food, or holyday, whether you rest or not (always excepting Sundays, after God’s Word has been heard and communion administered). Let the new moon fast and the Sabbath go; for these things have become only symbolical of a Christian holiday, when one is to cease and leave off sinning, also that we, repenting such works, become happy only in the mercy of God; and, as Christ has come, the shadows and symbols are without doubt done away with.

One thing more, notice as to the time: It surely seems to me (I cannot help thinking so) that to keep certain times with timidity is an injury and harm to unchanging and everlasting justice, thus: simple people think that everything is right, if only they confess the fasts, fast, enjoy God (i.e., take the sacrament), and let the whole year pass away thus; whereas one should at all times confess God, live piously, and do no more than we think is necessary in the fast. And Christ says again, Matthew 25:13: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour.”

My Gift To You This Lent: Zwingli’s “Sermon on the Free Choice of Food”- Zurich, 1522

From the brilliant collection of Zwingli’s Works which also counts among its constituent parts this utterly fantastic introduction to the life and work of Zwingli– which is described thusly by Peter Opitz-

Jim West’s book on Zwingli can be highly recommended to everyone who wants to learn more about the faith and thought of the man whose works contain the seed of Reformed theology. It bears all the traits of a good introduction to the subject: short, easy to read, and true to its title pointing out what was most important to Zwingli himself, not leaving the darker sides of Zwingli’s biography unattended, and last but not least, letting the Reformer’s own voice be heard. — Peter Opitz, Professor of Church History, Universität Zürich

Happy Anti-Lent! You’re welcome!