Daily Archives: 16 Mar 2017

The Rich Man Goes to Hell, The Poor Man Goes to Heaven

‘There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and fine linen and feast magnificently every day.  And at his gate there used to lie a poor man called Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to fill himself with what fell from the rich man’s table. Even dogs came and licked his sores.  Now it happened that the poor man died and was carried away by the angels into Abraham’s embrace. The rich man also died and was buried.  ‘In his torment in Hades he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off with Lazarus in his embrace.

And now the fun bit-

So he cried out, “Father Abraham, pity me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in agony in these flames.”  Abraham said, “My son, remember that during your life you had your fill of good things, just as Lazarus his fill of bad. Now he is being comforted here while you are in agony. – Luke 16.

And best of all?  Eternity is forever- so the poor man will be blessed longer than the rich man ever was and the rich man will suffer more than the poor man ever did.

Let those with ears, hear.

Travel Can Be Perilous…

Just ask these hapless souls attacked by demons as Satan looks on…

BnF, Français 2810, fol. 215r

Gerechtigkeit verstehen

04916_landmesser_popkes_gerechtigkeitMenschliches Leben kann sich nur dort zum Guten entfalten, wo auch Gerechtigkeit herrscht. Was aber ist Gerechtigkeit? Ganz selbstverständlich fordern wir Gerechtigkeit in allen Bereichen unseres Lebens. Um Gerechtigkeit aber auch zur Geltung zu bringen, ist eine grundsätzliche Verständigung darüber erforderlich, was wir unter Gerechtigkeit verstehen wollen.

Diesem Leitthema widmete sich die 18. Jahrestagung der Rudolf-Bultmann-Gesellschaft für Hermeneutische Theologie e. V., deren Erträge durch den vorliegenden Sammelband dokumentiert werden.

Mit Beiträgen von Hermann Spieckermann, Christof Landmesser, Angelika Neuwirth, Rainer Marten, Tom Kleffmann und Bischof Otfried July.

The papers herein were read at the 2016 Rudolf-Bultmann-Gesellschaft that met in Bad Herrenalb.  In total six essays plus an introduction comprise the substance and each addresses the theological concept of ‘righteousness’ from a particular perspective.  Accordingly, the first, by H. Spickermann is an investigation of the concept in the Old Testament. The second, by Landmesser sees the concept through the lenses of Matthew and Paul. The third steps away from the Bible and thinks about the subject from the point of view of the Koran whilst the fourth widens the vista further by broadly discussing the question of righteousness itself.

In chapter 5, T. Kleffmann returns to a consideration of the subject from a theological perspective- particularly from the point of view of Pauline studies and the last chapter F. July attempts to bring the subject to bear on present churchly practice among the Diaconate.

I am happy to confess the first two chapters are nearer my own interests than the others, which is why I am pleased to have encountered those first two and the latter four, for they broaden the reader’s perspective exponentially. I know virtually nothing of the Koran so that I cannot rightly analyze the contents of that chapter and nonetheless am glad to have read it simply because it is so very instructive. Indeed, perhaps Jewish/ Christian/ and Muslim dialogue should and can begin with a colloquium on the subject of ‘righteousness’.

When the Bultmann-Gesellschaft holds its annual meetings the scholars presenting always bring intriguing and helpful ideas to the table.  The publication of those proceedings by the Evangelische Verlagsanstalt Leipzig should be greeted with appreciation as they allow the entire interested theological public to ‘sit in’ on the sessions even if they cannot do so literally.

The Bee Stings the ‘Church Shoppers’

The Babylon Bee is here to help you whittle down the search with this checklist of essentials to look for in a potential church match, and hopefully get you plugged into a congregation sometime in the next decade or two.

1.) Anything less than hand-crafted pour-over coffee is a red flag. Jesus died for the church, and yet they’re only able to muster up an unevenly brewed pot of drip coffee? Puh-lease. This is an indication that they don’t care about the gospel.

2.) Make sure the worship band only plays the genre you like. If you’re into industrial metalcore and the band’s playing late-90s soft rock, it’s time to split. Remember what worship is really about: you and your modern sensibilities and preferences.

3.) If the preacher makes you feel uncomfortable, run. Preachers, above all else, should refrain from sounding preachy. If he starts calling you to self-examination and repentance, make the emergency signal to your spouse, go get the kids, and book it out of there to the nearest restaurant.

4.) Speaking of the preacher: if he doesn’t have at least 20,000 Twitter followers, you’re in the wrong place. You need a church that has a pastor who is not only well-known and cool, but who also specializes in short, sweet, entertaining messages. Look him up on Twitter and verify that he has at least 20,000 followers to confirm both of these attributes.

5.) The youth room must have a fully stocked video game arcade. We’re talking the classics: Galaga, Pac-Man, NBA Jam. This is a non-negotiable if you want your kids to grow up in a Christian environment they love and not walk away from the faith in college.

6.) Shop around for the church with the very best swag to give away. A free donut and complimentary coffee are really the bare minimum at this point. What you’re looking for is a church giving out free T-shirts, stickers, aluminum coffee mugs, carabiners, and those cool pens that can write in space. God gave us every spiritual blessing in Christ—the least the church can do is load up His people with some nice swag.

7.) Pick a church where everyone pretends to be happy. If anyone breaks down sobbing or insinuates that they need prayer for some sort of malady or ill fortune, everyone will understand if you excuse yourself to check out the other church down the road. You want a place where no one will burden you with their personal struggles. You don’t need that negativity in your life!

8.) Remember: it’s not you, it’s them. It helps to keep things in perspective: your specific perception of what a church should look like is probably correct, while their congregation is just jacked up if they don’t fit into that vision. Make sure to let them know this on a comment card or email to the pastor after you leave, so they’ll be edified by your brief presence.

There you have it. Now you have no excuse. Go find your perfect church and get plugged in!

These are the 8 unspoken rules of every church shopper.

The Newest Volume of the ‘Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception’ Is Out

Details, and three free entries, available here.

Our Forthcoming Volume is on the V&R Website!

Hooray!

Not Nearly As Much As They Need Hebrew and Greek, Though

Quote of the Day

Man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he have previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also—He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. — John Calvin

If You’re Going to Be a Pastor, Don’t Attend a Seminary That Doesn’t Offer or Require Hebrew and Greek

Annette Theis tweeted- “Ohne Sprachverständnis kein Verständnis von Texten, Bibel, Glaubensaussagen”.  She’s 100% correct.  And it has to be said, additionally, that Pastors who don’t know the biblical languages are robbing their congregations of a fuller understanding of Scripture and Seminaries which don’t offer, if not require, the biblical languages are robbing Pastors and Churches of their right to comprehend the Bible.

It should even be said that Churches should require their Pastors to know, or learn the Biblical languages as a requirement for employment.  Yes, it’s that important.  Yes, it’s that critical.

No hospital would hire a physician who had no understanding of human anatomy.  Exposition of the Bible requires, yes requires a thorough understanding of the languages in which it was written and no Church should tolerate a Pastor who has no grasp of those languages.  Hebrew and Greek (and Aramaic) are the equivalent of anatomy for Biblical interpretation.  If you don’t know the anatomy of Scripture, you will never be able to explain its meaning and application.

The time for excuses is over.  Take the time, and make the time, if you are a Pastor, to learn Hebrew and Greek (and learn them well). Lay off the gameboy and get to work.

Digitised Hebrew Manuscripts at the British Library: Video Collection

This is worth checking out.  Especially this video.

Video from the Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project Conference held at the British Library on 21 November 2016. Miriam Lewis, HMDP Project Manager, British Library, delivers a presentation on ‘Overview of the Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project and digitisation process’.

It’s Time To Remember St. Patrick

And no one does it better than the Lutherans (ironically).