Daily Archives: 8 Jun 2017

Martin Bucer (1491–1551): Collected studies on his life, work, doctrine, and influence

This forthcoming volume will doubtless be of interest to all.

This present volume aims to stimulate Bucer-research as it brings together a selection of the best of De Kroon’s and Van ’t Spijker’s articles some of which appear for the first time in English translation. In the first section Bucer is described as taking his independent stand in the patristic and scholastic tradition. The next five articles go into the close personal and theological relation between Bucer and John Calvin and make clear how much of Bucer works through in Calvin and Calvinism. Bucer’s efforts to bridge theological and ecclesiastical gaps brought him often in discussion with catholic as well as protestant theologians. How he dealt with this is the topic of the third section in this volume. The two following articles deal with his view on discipline and on the right of resistance. The next articles deal with Bucer’s doctrinal legacy and the last section focuses on sanctification as one of the most important characteristics of his theology.The most important issues of contemporary Bucer-research and the outlines of his theology are convincingly presented in this volume by known experts for this topic.

Something Cool from Zurich

If you’re in German Speaking Europe you can order these:  “Huldrychs Reformhaus”: 20 Bildkarten, die Zwingli-Zitate zeitgenössisch interpretieren (Illustrator: Daniel Lienhard).

“Ich sage, dass nichts dümmer ist als der Versuch, sich durch aufwendige Kleider Ansehen zu verschaffen, da ja auf diese Weise sogar die Maulesel des Papstes bestaunenswert und berühmt werden können.” – HZ

Quote of the Day

In the early Church, catechesis led to baptism: it was the prerequisite for the sacrament of initiation into the body of believers. Belief was an adult phenomenon, a conscious choice, made after a process of education. Over time, as Christianity became the majority religion, the practice of infant baptism emerged; as that practice became normal, the relationship between Christianity and knowledge of any kind changed, and with it, catechesis.  – LPW

The Bee Stings Shallow ‘Conversions’

According to sources close to the local man, 32-year-old Peter Neilsen finally came to accept Jesus Christ as his personal butler at a midweek church service.

Neilsen wrestled for years with God’s call to salvation, and finally received the Lord of all creation as his personal servant Thursday, the sources confirmed.

“I’ve fought it for so long,” he said, “but I can no longer resist the call of the God of my imagination, who will serve me and work hard to make all my dreams come true. I know He will always be there for me, and has promised to solve all my first-world problems and make my life happy, healthy, and wealthy.”

The man further stated he had reservations about following Jesus based on popular misconceptions of the Christian life that suggested discipleship might be a long, difficult road, but his misgivings were put to rest at the midweek altar call in which the pastor assured him that Jesus would help him to fulfill his life purpose.

“I can’t wait to start my Christian life on easy street, with Jesus at my beck and call,” the smiling man said.

Their name is Legion.

The Greatest Shame Of All…

It’s a real shame that Jesus’ followers aren’t as devoted to him as Trump’s followers are to Trump.  A real shame.   And the fact that Trump’s Christian followers are more devoted to Trump than they are to Jesus is the greatest shame of all.

Why I Criticize the Governing Authorities

I get email.  Sometimes it’s not very nice email.  I get tweets, and like email, sometimes they aren’t very nice.  Senders often use pretty rank profanity to tell me that as a Christian Pastor I shouldn’t be criticizing Trump or Congress.  I suppose it’s ok for the senders to use profanity to make their Christian point, but that discussion belongs to another time.

For now allow me simply to point out that when the government or our governing authorities cross the line into deception or other evils it is the responsibility of Christian clerics to call them on it publicly.  Public sins require public response.

So, for example, when Trump lies, as he regularly does, it is the responsibility of Clerics to say so.  Why?  Because silence is agreement.  And there’s nothing worse for Christians than agreeing with sin by silence.  If the Church in Nazi Germany taught us anything it taught us that.

Furthermore, there is biblical precedent for ‘calling people out’.  42 times the Old Testament uses the phrase ‘… did evil in the sight of the Lord’.  If it’s good enough for the Deuteronomist, the Chronicler, and Jeremiah to call out wrongdoers and wrongdoing, it’s good enough for me.

Finally let’s suppose that I remain silent when Trump lies or Congress steals health benefits from poor folk or the police beat a black dude senseless or some racist blows up a building or shoots up a school; I don’t have to answer to angry emailers or tweeters for my silence, I have to answer to God.  And, friends, I have news for you, God’s is the only opinion I care anything about.

My pity is reserved for the cowardly theologians who will not speak out.  That lot, they’re completely useless both to God and society.  They are like male nipples: completely cosmetic but of no real worth, value, or use.

Coming Up this Weekend…

A tweetstorm from Trump:

Taking into account a fast-approaching offshore low-pressure system as well as the ongoing James Comey hearing, expert meterologists predict cloudy skies and a high probability of a “brutal” tweetstorm from President Trump over the weekend.

The mad, swirling flurry of tweets is expected to begin any minute, and could last up to the entire weekend, or until Trump gets distracted by something else.

“We’re predicting all this moisture coming up out of the south will probably push on east of us, giving us partly cloudly skies and mild temperatures, while the Trump tweetstorm is on a collision course with the entire Eastern seaboard,” a weatherman at the Severe Weather Center reported Thursday. “Board up your windows and make sure you’ve got plenty of candles, food, and board games to keep you occupied.”

“It’s gonna be a doozy,” he added.

Sources with the Trump administration also confirmed that aides were working around the clock to minimize the damage caused by the inevitable tweetstorm, hiding Trump’s phone from him for as long as possible as he viewed the Comey proceedings.

Allegiances

If you aren’t Satan’s enemy, you are his ally.

The Brill Story

RefoThursday

“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.”—Erasmus

Thanks to the development of the printing press, books were coming down in price during Erasmus’s years (c. 1466–1536), but he was preparing scholarly versions of hitherto unprinted manuscripts for the press, and that was not an inexpensive task. He had to correspond with scholars across Europe, visit libraries, and pay for hand-copying. It’s a cinch he wasn’t picking up ten books for four bucks. In fifteenth-century England, one could still rent a cottage for a year for six shillings—the price of a moderately-priced book. In fact, his work was so expensive he had to beg large sums from patrons all over Europe. He remarked that it cost him and his co-workers more in time and money to restore the works of Jerome than it cost the saint to write them.

Reading the life of Erasmus, one finds a man devoted to learning and willing to risk more than money for it. His preface to his 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament showed concern that he might get into hot water for differing with the Vulgate, the official Latin version of the Catholic Church. He wrote soothingly to Pope Leo X and defended his corrections with citations from early church fathers.

I had been willing to pay a price, too, but never came near Erasmus’s depth of knowledge or his ability to purvey what he had learned. Erasmus was one of the most learned men of his day and by his witty satires on the foibles of his era and his Bible scholarship became a precursor of the Reformation. Following in his steps, many of the great reformers were also profound scholars.

June 8, 1529- The First Kappel War

That’s the day that the Five Forest Cantons (Catholic all) declared war on Zurich and the Zwinglians.  A few days before, Zwingli had written

“Be firm and do not fear war. For that peace which some are so urgently pressing upon us is not peace but war. And the war for which I am so insistent is peace, not war; for I do not thirst for the blood of anyone, nor will I drink it even in case of tumult. This is the end I have in view—the enervation of the oligarchy. Unless this takes place neither the truth of the Gospel nor its ministers will be safe among us. I have in mind nothing cruel, but what I do is friendly and paternal. I desire to save some who are perishing through ignorance. I am labouring to preserve liberty. Fear nothing; for we shall so manage all things with the goodness and the alliance of God that you shall not be ashamed nor displeased because of us.”

So Zurich…

… marched thirty thousand strong to Cappel, a border town ten miles directly south of Zurich. Zwingli accompanied the troops as chaplain, as his office obligated him to do. He went on horseback, carrying “on his shoulder a beautiful halberd.” It was his plan to strike a quick and crushing blow upon the disorganised Five Cantons, and then extort from them the abrogation of the Austrian alliance, the renunciation of foreign pensions, and full liberty to preach the Reformed doctrines within their borders. It was to see that these things were insisted on that he accompanied the host. But as they were directly opposite to the Five Cantons’ ideas and could only be obtained by bloodshed, he was held by them to be their deadliest foe; and the Zurich authorities, knowing that he was considered by them as the cause of the whole trouble, had endeavoured to keep him in Zurich and even appointed another to be chaplain.

But the first Cappel war was over as soon as it was begun. On June 10th the allies received a moving appeal from the chief magistrate of Glarus to await a proposition from the Five Cantons. Zwingli perceived the folly of treating with them and patching up a peace which secured none of the objects of the threatened war. He said to the bearer of the appeal: “You will have to give an account to God for this. While the enemy is weak and without arms, he speaks fair: you believe him and make peace. But when he is fully armed, he will not spare us, and then no peace will he make with us.” The man replied: “I trust in God that all will turn out well. Let us act always for the best.”

On June 11th, Zwingli wrote from the field to the Small and Great Councils of Zurich a long letter, in which he gave his idea of the necessary conditions for a lasting peace: I. The Forest Cantons must allow the Word of God to be freely preached among them. II. Pensions were to be for ever foresworn. III. Distribution of such pensions was to be punished corporally and by fine. IV. The Forest Cantons were to pay indemnity to Zurich and Bern.

Zurich and the Forest Cantons made peace but Zwingli was right.  Within two years they waged war against Zurich again, and killed Zwingli at the same spot at Kappel, on 11 October, 1531.

The Vatican Didn’t Just Put Luther and Zwingli on their List of Banned Books. The Bible Was Banned Too…

Der Index des Papstes war die berühmteste Zensurliste der Welt. Auf ihm standen Bücher über Sex, Häresien und sogar die Bibel. Vor 50 Jahren verkündete der Vatikan das Ende der Liste. Eine Erinnerung.

And

Die besten Chancen, auf dem Index zu landen, hatten religiöse Texte, die von der Theologie der Kirche abwichen (vor allem protestantische Werke), erotische Literatur und, passend zur Apostelgeschichte, Bücher über Zauberei. Kein Werk aber wurde so oft indiziert wie die Bibel: Anders als die Protestanten, die möglichst allen Menschen die Heilige Schrift zugänglich machen wollten, erkannten die Vatikangelehrten, dass sich das Kirchenvolk viel geräuschärmer handhaben ließ, wenn es nicht zu viel nachlas.

Read the whole fascinating essay.  Great fun.

Signs of the Times

A bit of humor for what looks to be a stressful day both here and across the pond.