Daily Archives: 5 Jun 2017

Russia Tried to Hack Voting Machines; And We Need to Use Paper Ballots

Russia has been trying to dig its way into our elections for years.  Which is why we need to return to paper ballots.  Because electronic voting machines are far too vulnerable to hacking.  And yes, anything can be hacked.

Russia’s military intelligence agency launched an attack before Election Day 2016 on a U.S. company that provides voting services and systems, according to a top secret report posted Monday by The Intercept.

The news site published a report, with redactions, by the National Security Agency that described the Russian spear-phishing scheme, one it described as perpetrated by the same intelligence agency — the GRU — sanctioned by the Obama administration over the 2016 cyber-mischief.

Intelligence agency leaders say that Russia’s attacks did not change any actual votes in the 2016 race, but election technology experts have been concerned for years that hackers could attempt to manipulate not only individual voting machines but other equipment used to run elections, such as those that tabulate votes or keep track of voter registrations.

While the machines that voters use to cast their ballots are not connected to the Internet, the computers used to program these machines, or to run elections, can be connected at some point, leaving them vulnerable to cyberattacks.

J. Alex Halderman, a computer security expert from the University of Michigan, is among those who have been sounding the alarm for years.

“It’s highly significant that these attacks took place, because it confirms that Russia was interested in targeting voting technology, at least to some extent. I hope further investigation can shed more light on what they intended to do and how far they got,” he says.

Paper ballots.  Or none of us will be able to trust any election results again.

Well Louisiana, You Guys Just Out Texased Texas and Out Floridaded Florida

Your insane Congressman Higgins, who you will no doubt now send to Washington in perpetuity, has uttered insanity the likes of which we’re only used to seeing from the worst politicians in the most unstable States.  Congratulations…  I sure hope you ‘Christians’ down there who support this madman are happy about your betrayal of the Gospel.

On Sunday, Louisiana Congressman Clay Higgins posted a disturbing message on his verified personal Facebook page calling for “all of Christendom” to hunt down and kill every single “radicalized” Islamic suspect:

The free world… all of Christendom… is at war with Islamic horror. Not one penny of American treasure should be granted to any nation who harbors these heathen animals. Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. Their intended entry to the American homeland should be summarily denied. Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identity them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.

The message was attached to a photo of British police standing over the bodies of the terrorists responsible for the recent terrorist attacks in London.

Using a Facebook post to publicly call for the genocide of an entire religious group would be unthinkable for most congresspeople—not because they’re especially smart or moral, but because they seem to enjoy getting reelected. For Louisiana’s Clay Higgins, however, this hardly constitutes the worst abuse of power in his short lived career serving the public.

Face it folk, there’s a sickness in this country and the threat isn’t Islam, it’s our own little homegrown terrorist nutbags.

This Looks Quite Interesting

Christian Dogmatics: An Introduction.

This one-volume systematic theology presents an accessible, orthodox overview of the Christian faith for students, teachers, pastors, and serious lay readers. Cornelis van der Kooi and Gijsbert van den Brink not only cover all the traditional themes-creation, sin, Jesus Christ, Scripture, and so on-but also relate those classical themes to contemporary developments like Pentecostalism, postfoundationalism, and evolutionary theory.

Consisting of sixteen chapters, the book is ideal for classroom use. Each chapter begins with engaging questions and a statement of learning goals and concludes with a list of recommended further reading. Written in a student-friendly tone and style and expertly translated and edited, van der Kooi and van den Brink’s Christian Dogmatics splendidly displays the real, practical relevance of theology to the complexities of our world today.

Don’t let the endorsement by Horton put you off.

Luther and Calvinism

This new work was unveiled at the Refo500 Conference in Wittenberg some weeks back.

In this volume renowned authors in the disciplines of Reformed theology and scientific Luther-research document the international scientific research on the reception of Martin Luther in Calvinism. Comprehensively they analyse the image of Martin Luther in different calvinistic contexts. As experts they succeed in depicting the main relations between Lutheran and Calvinistic thinking in a precise and transparent manner. They outline Luther’s immense influence on Calvinism and thus, provided a milestone on the way towards an exploration of Luther’s importance within the European intellectual history.

The publisher has been kind enough to send a review copy, and they have made available much of the front matter including the table of contents and 26 pages of the book itself here.  A glance at the contents allows readers and potential readers the chance to decide whether or not it is something they would find valuable.  The present reviewer certainly does.

The collection is well edited and well organized and the essays are impressive and expressive.  Essayists write in either German or English, in about equal measure and are penned by many of the leading Reformation scholars including Ballor, Opitz, Frank, Balserak, and Campi.

The aim of the book is nicely summarized by the editors, who write

Der vorliegende Band versteht sich als ein weiterer Meilenstein auf dem Weg zur Erforschung der Bedeutung Martin Luthers für die Geschichte und Geistesgeschichte Europas und darüber hinaus. Zudem geben die Herausgeber der Hoffnung Ausdruck, dass der mit der zugrunde gelegten Fragestellung beschrittene Weg nunmehr weiterfortgesetzt und in einem internationalen Kontext erweitert werden möge.

I enjoyed reading this collection.  I am continually impressed by the work of Campi, Balserak, Opitz, and Ballor and their essays in this book just add more fuel to that fire.  It’s a privilege to have access to such intellectual skillfulness.  You’ll be impressed too, when you read this volume.

Fun Facts From Church History: The Reformation of the Church Requires an Educated Clergy

Zwingli was among the first to recognize the fact that without a learned clergy there would be no use in attempts to reform the Church.  Consequently…



Zwingli sought to reform the Carolinum as well as the churches, as a necessary part of the great work of the Reformation.

Accordingly, on the 19th of June, in the same year [i.e., 1525], he substituted for the choir-service what he called “prophecy,” according to 1 Cor. 14, thus engrafting upon the Carolinum a higher institution which transformed it into a remarkably practical school of theology, ancient languages, and elementary science.

It is here that Zwingli accomplished his greatest work, as an educator. The school was in session every week-day, Friday excepted, and was opened at 7 o’clock in the morning, in the summer, and at 8 o’clock, in the winter. A month’s vacation was granted three times a year.

pellicanThe course of study centered on the Bible. The first hour, i. e. the “prophecy” proper, was given to exegesis, with some elements of systematic and practical theology to meet the wants of the Reformation.

The second hour consisted of a divine service, in which the people of the city took part with the students, among whom were also town-parsons, predicants, canons, and chaplains. Here the same Scriptures were treated again, but so simplified that the people could understand them; and we may add that the students themselves not only obtained a clearer knowledge from this repetition but they also learned, in a most practical manner, how to present the truth in their future charges.

Friday was market-day, and the people from the country came to hear the preaching, which was largely intended for their special benefit. The afternoon of each school-day was devoted to the study of the languages and elementary science.

judThe first professor chosen to assist Zwingli was Ceporin, a Greek and Hebrew scholar of great merit. He was elected, June 5, 1525, but he had been teaching at Zurich, in 1522, and later, at Basel, where his Greek grammar was printed.  At the Carolinum, he filled the chair of professor of Hebrew, but only till December 20th of the same year, when he died from over-exertion, at the age of 26.

In March, the following spring, the learned Pellican became his successor. Jacob Ammann was, at the same time elected professor of Latin and Rudolph Collin, professor of Greek. Megander, Leo Jud, and Myconius also assisted Zwingli. Myconius, however, taught at the Fraumunster School, but he conducted an exercise in New Testament exegesis there, every afternoon at three o’clock, which crowds of the laity and students attended, whereas Zwingli had charge of Old Testament exegesis, at the Carolinum, besides being its head and also the pastor of a congregation.

The call of Pellican includes the salary to be paid him, which was to be equal to Zwingli’s, namely, sixty to seventy florins and lodging.*

Without an educated clergy, the Church can never be reformed.

*Zwingli, U. The Christian Education of Youth, (pp. 45–48).

Fun Facts From Church History

bezaIn 1558 the city of Geneva established a College, and Beza was called, at Calvin’s suggestion, to the Greek professorship. Much to the regret of Viret and his colleagues, he accepted. He was influenced by various considerations, the chief of which were his desire to escape from the trouble caused by Viret’s establishment of the Genevan church discipline, which had led to a falling out with Bern, Lausanne’s ruler, and from the embarrassments still resulting from his well-meant attempts at union among the Protestants, and probably still more by his desire to labor at the side of Calvin, whom he so greatly revered and whose doctrines he so vigorously and honestly defended.

He was honorably dismissed to Geneva and warmly commended to the confidence of the brethren there. When on June 5, 1559, the Academy was opened, he was installed as rector. Thus, in his fortieth year, he entered upon his final place of residence and upon his final labors. Henceforward he was inseparable from the work of Calvin, and however far and frequently he might go from Geneva, it was there that he left his heart. – Schaff

Money as the Instrument of Satanic Corruption

„Geld ist das Wort des Satans, durch das er alles in der Welt schafft, wie Gott sich alles durch das wahre Wort schafft.“ (Martin Luther). „Du darfst kein riesiges Maul sein, das alles gierig in sich hineinfrisst und verschlingt.“ (Johannes Calvin). Ob Calvin, Luther oder Zwingli, die Reformatoren würden ohne Zweifel ihr Maul angesichts der Schere zwischen arm und reich nicht halten. Massloses Streben nach Gewinn, millionenschwere Boni, intransparente Geschäfte und Korruption sind aus reformatorischer Sicht damals und heute zu verdammen. Sie argumentierten unterschiedlich, doch alle argumentierten theologisch.

Read the rest in this month’s Schattenwurf Zwingli.