The Bee Stings the Pious Meme / Vile Meme Christians

Local woman Cheyenne Phillips displayed a masterful balancing act in alternating profanity and praise on Facebook Thursday, according to sources. Ms. Phillips, 32, had just come home from her moms group when she decided to share with her followers an amusing image of a 1950s-style housewife making a profanity-laden remark about laundry.

Without a missing a beat, Ms. Phillips then reportedly “liked” an acquaintance’s post on 1 Peter 1:16, left a “ROFL” comment on a luridly suggestive image posted by a friend, shared an inspiring video of a “Good Samaritan story” from the local news, and followed up with a tirade on ungrateful men that suggested, in colorful language, a biologically impossible act.

Expertly sensing the scales starting to tip toward the lewd side of things, she then shared an image she had created via the YouVersion Bible app, which superimposed in the words of Psalm 23:1 over a silhouetted figure raising her hands in triumph atop a mountain peak, immediately expiating any guilt from previous posts. Thus cleansed and assured, Ms. Phillips reportedly ended her Facebook session by sharing a marginal public figure’s extreme rant on immigrants, before tagging several friends in a post by her church about an upcoming mom-to-mom sale.

At publishing time, Phillips had reportedly began streaming a custom Pandora station, which consists of pop hits by artists like Flo Rida and Ke$ha, delicately intertwined with classic hymns sung by Fernando Ortega.

And they don’t even notice the incongruity.

Target’s Plan to Help Those Who Self Identify as Old

60 is not far off.

Confirming its commitment to celebrating inclusivity, Target announced in a blog post Thursday that it will now grant a 10% senior discount to any person who self-identifies as age 60 or older.

It’s yet another bold display of progressive policies for the company, which confirmed it will now extend the generous discount based on “customers’ age identity,” which cashiers will trust each patron to disclose truthfully. This amends their previous, more conservative policy which only considered biological age and required valid identification as proof.

Declaring that “everyone deserves to feel like they belong,” and “you’ll always be accepted, respected, and welcomed at Target,” the statement left little doubt that the retail chain is on the cutting edge of equality.

Anyone of any age can self identify as 60.  So take advantage of this new program!

“Die fantastischen Vier” – Philipp Melanchthon, Thomas Müntzer, Huldrych Zwingli und Johannes Calvin

Although I’m not sure why the nutbag Thomas Müntzer is included when Bucer or Oecolampadius is for more fitting...

Luther-Bier, Luther-Brötchen, Luther-Tassen, kaum etwas, was sich nicht eignen würde, um es zum Reformationsjubiläum mit dem Konterfei des Übervaters der Reformation, Martin Luther, zu versehen. Schnell entsteht der Eindruck: Es gab nur Martin Luther, den einzigen wahren Reformator.

Dem ist mit Sicherheit nicht so: Im Mittelpunkt dieses Dossiers stehen zum einen zwei Reformatoren aus dem direkten Umfeld Luthers, Philipp Melanchthon, der die Reformation auch zu einer Bildungsbewegung machte und Thomas Müntzer, der sich mit den entrechteten und unterdrückten Bauern solidarisierte. Zum anderen geht es um die zwei reformierten Reformatoren, Huldrych Zwingli, der Schweizer Reformator, der den Protestantismus im südwestdeutschen Raum, in der Schweiz und Frankreich prägte und Johannes Calvin, der als Begründer des Calvinismus, einer besonders strengen Auslegung der Evangelien, gilt.

Download the booklet.

The College Bookstore Sellback Scam

This pretty much sums up what college bookstores do to students: they sell expensive required textbooks.  Those textbooks aren’t the sort of thing anyone would want to keep.  The bookstore buys them back for a pittance.  Then the bookstore sells them as used for hundreds of percent markup.  It’s theft, pure and simple.

graphic via Erick Van Der Euncle.

Today With Zwingli

Three works were published by Zwingli on April 27-

Eine Antwort, Valentin Compar gegeben, 27. April 1525
Auszug aus des H. von H. Brief, 27. April 1531
Auszug aus dem Brief von dem S. v. H., 27. April 1531

The first addresses four pressing issues (of the day)- the Gospel, faith, images, and purgatory.  The second and third are simple excerpts or brief citations of the works of others.  The first is a theological declaration and the other two are little windows on Zwingli’s interests at the end of April, 1531.  All three tell us a great deal about Zwingli.

In the first one, Zwingli addresses, point by point, the concerns of his interlocutor.  Thusly:

In der vorred Valentin Compar.

“In massen sich ze verwundren, daß durch din wirde und ander  die glertsten zuo diser zyt sölcher irtum sol erwachsen, billicher ze  verhoffen wär, ob etwas irtumb vorhanden xin wäre, das dann der  durch sölich gelerte lüth gantz hynweg thon sölte werden”.

Zuingly.

Diß ist die schwärest schmachred, die du uff mich thuost durch das gantz buoch hyn, aber verzych mir got all min sünd, als ich dir diß bresthafft wort verzigen hab; denn durch mich ghein irrtumb nie erwachsen ist noch gepflantzt, wiewol ich deß von minen mißgünneren seer gescholten wird. Mag aber by denselben min unschuld nit harfürkummen, wirt sy doch am letsten urteyl vor der gantzen welt ersehen werden in dem handel; sust bin ich ein armer sünder gnuog; gott kömm mir al weg ze hilff!

Go, read all three.  Good times.

A Trove of Reformation Studies

In celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, ISD will be highlighting titles on Reformation history and theology throughout the year. Here we present the latest collection of new and forthcoming titles in Reformation Studies from Evangelische Verlag, V&R Academic, Sandstein Verlag, Frommann-Holzboog, Theologischer Verlag Zurich, and others. Special offer prices are available through December 31, 2017.

See the catalog here.

Why Do People Leave the Church?

Every Church has seen the sudden disappearance of some of its members.  Sometimes this happens because people move away.  Sometimes it happens because sometimes Church members cut way back on their attendance.  And sometimes they quit completely.  It’s the latter group that causes the most consternation, and invariably people in the Church ask why.

There are a couple of reasons.  First, sometimes the fire of spiritual interest grows dimmer over time and other things become more important.  Or at least they become more important to the ‘dropout’.  Jesus’ ‘parable of the seeds’ explains how this happens.  Second, sometimes there is a death in a family and when that person, who is the ‘spiritual driver’ of the family passes away the other members of the family either cut down on attendance or drop out completely.  With the ‘spiritual driver’, the person in the family who makes sure everyone else gets up and gets to worship departs this life the family left behind loses its motivation for worship and fellowship (usually because it was never really there in the first place and they simply felt that they ‘had to go’ to ‘keep peace in the family’).

But sometimes people leave the Church simply because their hearts were never really in it in the first place.  The Bible describes this kind of person:  “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.” (1 Jn. 2:19).

In other words, they were never really Christian at all and when a proper ‘excuse’ arises to leave (whether it be a disliking of the Pastor or a perceived sleight or some innocently spoken word by another member of the Church) they take advantage of it and take off.

Devoted Christians put Christ first.  But the truth is, not everyone who sits in a pew is devoted.  And sooner or later that truth shows itself.  Never for the excuse or ‘reason’ given by the departing but simply because the departing want to go.  And so they do.  So pray for them.  It’s the best thing you can do on their behalf.

Standing in Solidarity with CEU

Cambridge and Oxford Universities are teaming up to stand in solidarity with CEU, which is under heavy governmental fire.

Oxford and Cambridge Universities generously offered to organize a series of three seminars entitled „We Stand with CEU: New Directions in History”. The organizers are the two Regius Professors of history: Lyndal Roper at Oxford and Christopher Clark at Cambridge. These seminars are intended not only to show admirable collegial solidarity but to give greater exposure to and convey a closer appreciation of history at CEU.

Visit the link above to see the program and if you’re in the UK, attend.

Today With Bullinger

9783290172862On the 27th of April, 1535, Heinrich Bullinger’s aptly titled Bericht der krancken, Wie man by den krancken vnd sterbende[n] menschen handlen, ouch wie sich ein yeder inn siner kranckheit schicken vnnd zum sterben rüsten sölle appeared thanks to the Zurich publisher Froschauer.

TVZ have published this book, along with lots of Bullinger’s most important works, in their 7 volume Heinrich Bullinger: Schriften, in modern German.

The book at hand gives detailed advice on ministry to the sick and dying.  It’s profoundly pastoral and even still very engaging.

With Biblical Literacy At An All Time Low in America…

It may be time for you to up your biblical knowledge.

The ‘Person in the Pew’ commentary series is the only series of Commentaries written by a single person on the entire Bible and aimed at layfolk in modern history.

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

The books can be obtained now only in PDF format from yours truly for a paltry $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.

Make an investment in your biblical literacy.  Here’s what one reader thinks of it:

Saint Paul knew more than I can ever imagine about Christians living in tension with the Gospel and with each other, and his several letters to the Church in Corinth are pivotal to the entire New Testament. Which is why I am so pleased to mention here some recent commentaries by a friend of mine, Jim West, on I and II Corinthians.

Subtitled ‘for the Person in the Pew’, and published by Quartz Hill Publishing House of Quartz Hill School of Theology, California, these two commentaries are in fact part of a much larger project by West to write similar commentaries on every book of the Bible, and to make them available in print and electronically for everyone to read. That project is now nearly completed and the results are tremendous.

I think there are three main reasons why these commentaries are so successful. First, West is a first-class Biblical scholar, one who makes the intelligent critical study of the text central to his theological interpretation. That commitment is rarer than one might imagine and to have it realized across the entire Bible is an astonishing feat that gives us now a unique resource.

Second, and delightfully, Jim West is a great writer: his pages fizz with sharp words and phrases and he appears incapable of saying anything boring about these texts. This ability keeps us reading along with him and, more importantly, reading along with Saint Paul. I have rarely come across any Christian writing project, aimed at ‘the person in the pew’, that has succeeded so brilliantly in bringing alive its subject matter.

Third, West couldn’t dodge an issue if his life depended on it, which can be an uncomfortable position for a Christian theologian. Corinth, as with most churches in most places, had some strange people believing and practising some odd things. The knack, as West points out, is to engage them endlessly with love and grace rather than self-righteous anger, but to engage them: ‘Paul lived with a purpose. And he urges the Corinthians to do the same. As we all who name the name of Christ must’ (West on I Cor. 9:27, p.60).

I am going to be talking to Jim about making these commentaries available through Ming Hua’s website, but inspect them for yourselves if you have the time: you will find them a superb companion to your own reading of the Bible and, as importantly, a great reminder of just how much the early Church struggled with some of the same problems we face now.

Gareth Jones, Principal
Ming Hua Theological College
Hong Kong

That Papal Pension of Zwingli’s

Ok, here are the facts- which cannot be seriously disputed:

Zwingli’s Papal Pension

zwingli_writing_bullinger_RGBullinger says (i., 8) that the Pope (Julius II.) gave Zwingli a pension, “for the purchase of books.” But this was a sort of euphemism, and was understood on both sides as binding him to some extent to the papal chair, for the Pope was not in the habit of giving pensions to men like Zwingli out of charity or admiration. Yet since Zwingli was then a loyal papalist he could with perfect propriety and in all good conscience accept it. The year of its first bestowal was probably 1512–13.

But when he came out as a severe critic of the papacy, as he did in 1517, then his acceptance was not proper, as he himself allows in the passages to be quoted. But he continued to take the papal pension till 1520, when it had become a public scandal and source of trouble, as his enemies were constantly throwing it in his teeth.

zwingli_lookoutLike mean spirited people do today, I’ll interject… But back to our story-

Why he took it was his poverty, which has been often pleaded in excuse for similar action. Chronologically, the first bit of writing which can be quoted in which he alludes to his fault in continuing to receive the pension is the dedication to the sermon on the Virgin Mary, which he published in 1522.

He says: “My connection with the Pope of Rome is now a thing of several years back. At the time it began it seemed to me a proper thing to take his money and to defend his opinions, but when I realised my sin I parted company with him entirely” (i., 86).

Zwingli124Next and more explicit was his confession in the “Exposition of the Articles” of the Zurich Disputation of January, 1523:

“I had for three years previous [to 1520] been preaching the Gospel with earnestness; on which account I received from the papal cardinals, bishops, and legates, with whom the city has abounded, many friendly and earnest counsels, with threats, or with promises of greater gifts and of benefices. These, however, have had no effect upon me. On the other hand, in 1517 I declined to receive the pension of fifty gulden, which they gave me yearly (yes, they wanted to make it one hundred gulden, but I would not hear to it), but they would not stop it until in 1520 I renounced it in writing. (I confess here my sin before God and all the world, that before 1516 I hung mightily upon the Pope and considered it becoming in me to receive money from the papal treasury. But when the Roman representatives warned me not to preach anything against the Pope, I told them in express and clear words that they had better not believe that I would on account of their money suppress a syllable of the truth.) After I had renounced the pension they saw that I would have nothing more to do with them, so they procured and betrayed (to the Senate), through a spiritual father, a Dominican monk, the manuscript containing in one letter my renunciation and receipt of payment, with a view of driving me out of Zurich. But the scheme failed, because the Honourable Senate knew well that I had not exalted the Pope in my discourses; so that the money had not affected anything in that direction; also that I in no way advanced their plans and had twice declined their pension; also that no one could from the past teaching accuse me of breaking my oath or impairing my honour. On these grounds the Senate declared me innocent” (i., 354).

zwingli109Confirmation of these statements of Zwingli is given in this letter of Francis Zink, the papal chaplain at Einsiedeln: “A little time ago when I heard that you [the Senate of Zurich, to which body he is writing] were about to take up the matter of the people’s priest, Huldreich Zwingli, I met him twice in order to give my testimony. But now that I am sick and cannot come in person before your honourable body, I write to tell exactly all about it.… Huldreich Zwingli received for some years, while at Glarus, at Einsiedeln, and finally at Zurich, a yearly allowance from the Pope; but the sole reason why he has done so is his poverty and need, especially while with you at Zurich. And assuredly he would have lacked provision for his family if this support had been taken from him.… Nevertheless, this was so great a cross to him that he desired to resign his position with you, having it in mind to come back to Einsiedeln.… Moreover, it is perfectly evident that he has never been moved a finger’s breadth from the Gospel by the favour of the Pope, emperor, or noble, but always proclaims the truth and preaches it faithfully among the people. For if he had permitted himself to be turned aside to serve the interests of the papacy in greater measure he might have received one hundred florins a year, not to speak of benefices at Basel or Chur, but none of these enticed him. I was present when the Legate Pucci was frankly told by him that he would not for money advance the papal interests, but would preach and teach the truth to the people in the way which seemed best to him. Under the circumstances he left it entirely to the Legate whether he should grant the pension or not. Hearing this the Legate smoothed him down, saying that even if he [Zwingli] was not inclined to befriend the Pope, still he [the Legate] would befriend him: for he had not made the offer to turn him aside from his purpose [to preach the truth], but had had in view his need and how he might live in greater comfort and purchase books, etc.… I wished, therefore, to make this clear to you, not that I might absolve Master Huldreich Zwingli as if he had not received subsidies, but that you might know how he received them, and at what instance it was brought about, that you might see it from the right standpoint.” (This letter of Zink’s is quoted in the note to vii., 179.)

zwingli092Zwingli was brought before the Senate to explain his inconsistency in taking the Pope’s money while attacking him, but this letter of Zink’s cleared him and he was not forced to resign. As Zwingli had no adequate support from his people’s priest’s office he felt the loss of the pension, but in the next year, 1521, he was made a canon in the cathedral and that made up for the lack of it and more (See vii., 182 sq., and p. 151).*

That, dear reader, is the truth and truly related. Zwingli, whether rightly or wrongly, accepted money from Rome in order simply to survive. When he was properly supported by Zurich, that became unnecessary. The gist of which is, if you don’t support your clergy, they may have to rely on pagans for survival.
________________
*S. Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (pp. 114–116).