Daily Archives: 10 Jul 2017

Nope, and No Points For Trying Either

Sorry but the Jesus you wish for isn’t the Jesus who was. You’ll find it utterly impossible to mold him into your postmodern pro leftist ideological image.

No, Mr Keller, He Never Said That

The Articles Concerning Predestination

Articles concerning Predestination

  1. Before the first man was created, God in his eternal counsel had determined what he willed to be done with the whole human race.
  2. In the hidden counsel of God it was determined that Adam should fall from the unimpaired condition of his nature, and by his defection should involve all his posterity in sentence of eternal death.
  3. Upon the same decree depends the distinction between elect and reprobate: as he adopted some for himself for salvation, he destined others for eternal ruin.
  4. While the reprobate are the vessels of the just wrath of God, and the elect vessels of his compassion, the ground of the distinction is to be sought in the pure will of God alone, which is the supreme rule of justice.
  5. While the elect receive the grace of adoption by faith, their election does not depend on faith but is prior in time and order.
  6. As the beginning of faith and perseverance in it arises from the gratuitous election of God, none are truly illuminated with faith, and none granted the spirit of regeneration, except those whom God elects. But it is necessary that the reprobate remain in their blindness or be deprived of such portion of faith as is in them.
  7. While we are elected in Christ, nevertheless that God reckons us among his own is prior in order to his making us members of Christ.
  8. While the will of God is the supreme and primary cause of all things, and God holds the devil and the godless subject to his will, nevertheless God cannot be called the cause of sin, nor the author of evil, nor subject of any guilt.
  9. While God is truly wrathful with sin and condemns whatever is unrighteousness in men since it displeases him, nevertheless all the deeds of men are governed not by his bare permission but by his consent and secret counsel.
  10. While the devil and the reprobate are ministers and organs of God and promote his secret judgments, God nevertheless in an incomprehensible way operates in and through them, so that he restrains nothing of their wickedness, just because their malice is justly and rightly used to a good end, while the means are often hidden from us.
  11. They are ignorant and malicious who say that God is the author of sin, since all things are done by his will or ordination; for they do not distinguish between the manifest wickedness of men and the secret judgments of God.*

*J. K. S. Reid, Calvin: Theological Treatises (Louisville, KY; London: Westminster John Knox Press, 1954), 179–180.

The Corruption of Biblical Studies

This is a fantastic essay by Jonathan Berman of Bar Ilan.  With thanks to William Ross for the heads up.

Midway through we read

The point: in biblical studies, there are two types of practitioners: genuine scholars, and conservative scholars. The former are presumed innocent, motivated only by the disinterested and rigorous search for truth and guided solely by the dictates of rational inquiry, unmodified and uncontaminated by ideology. The latter are presumed to be agenda-driven, and to have donned academic cap and gown only to achieve a surreptitious panache of legitimacy for their cherished and unreconstructed religious dogmas. To those it wishes to marginalize and delegitimize, the mainstream establishment will apply the label “conservative.”

Scholars can be slapped with the conservative label if they argue one or more of three things. The first concerns the coherence of the biblical text. So-called genuine scholars—source critics, here—underscore the incoherence of the text. By contrast, a “conservative”—or, worse, “uncritical”—scholar is one who puts forth evidence for a text’s unity and coherence. Such a scholar may readily admit that the text could have a prehistory. But if such scholars—among notable exemplars are Robert Alter and Meir Sternberg, the latter a winner of the coveted Israel Prize—also claim that the received text, which is the only actual text we have, can still be read as a coherent work, and that many of the “problems” that other modern scholars see in it are an imposition of anachronistic aesthetic sensibilities, they will not be spared opprobrium as “uncritical.”

Really, do read the whole.

Salon on the Greens, With Multiple Nods to Mazza

Here.  Great read.

Corbyn and the Development of the Bennite Bible

James Crossley writes

I’m going to try and livestream ‘Corbyn and the Development of the Bennite Bible’ on Wednesday, July 12, from BCTR in Birmingham. The paper is due to start at 5pm (UK time) and will last about 30 min with a little extra time for questions. It worked once and it can work again. Here’s the timetable.

Last time James live streamed a paper it was a big success. Tune in.

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.

Dogmatic volumes are multiplying like bunnies on a farm in Spring. And many of them are what I would deem ‘niche’ volumes.  That is, there are volumes for feminists, volumes for Orthodox, volumes for Barthians, and volumes for agnostics (or at least that’s what they very much seem to be).

This volume is not a niche volume.  It is, as its title professes, an introduction to Christian Dogmatics.  Its appeal doesn’t lie in a narrow focus for a special interest group.  It appeals to all who wish to learn the basics of the Christian faith and in that respect reminds me of the widely ignored but immensely valuable dogmatics of Dale Moody titled ‘The Word of Truth’.

My fear is that the present volume, worthy of wide attention and a large readership will simply be ignored merely because the sea of dogmatics swells too full.  It is part of an ocean of volumes and unlike some of the flotsam and jetsam which occupies the shelves of too many students and pastors, it is brilliant.

The style of the volume is instructional.  That is, it seeks to be used in discussions.  Each chapter opens with a series of thought provoking questions and a series of ‘aims’ which are intended to be achieved.  Then follows all of the standard discussion about God, mankind, Scripture, evil, the Church, the Last Things, and all the rest.  But with a substantive difference: readers are offered options and then left to decide for themselves which they deem most sensible.  Also included are very useful bibliographies at the end of each section.

The authors are quite good at summarizing important doctrinal issues.  Indeed, the discussion of Theodicy is one of the most sensible in any dogmatics that I’ve encountered.  Similarly, the section on the Devil is also incredibly interesting, including the segment where the authors talk about the reality of demonic possession as a phenomenon far more common in the developing world than in the developed world.  Not only will this portion of the book raise eyebrows, it will raise pulse rates.

Readers will benefit too from the ample citations of other scholars and theologians but mostly readers will benefit from the cogent and sensible, as well as sensitive presentation of Christian faith.  Note along these lines especially the section on human sexuality and, intriguingly, the discussion of Millenialism.

The indices are quite thorough and the authors are to be commended for this as well.  Unfortunately, however, they are not to be commended for the accuracy of their citations in all cases.  For instance, on page 284 the authors tell us that ever since Calvin, Reformed theology has been sensitive to idolatry.  They cite as evidence for this the Institutes, 1.1.12.  The problem, of course, is that Book 1, Chapter 1 of the Institutes does not have 12 sections, it has but 3.

I do not wish to dwell overmuch on this aspect of the volume, but certainly it is worth reminding ourselves and one another that references should be checked.  Because somewhere someone is going to want to look up that source and if it isn’t accurately represented, sorrow will ensue.

Still, in spite of this shortfall, the volume really is just brilliant.  And again, I hope it will find a wide readership.  It genuinely deserves it.

It’s Funny Because It’s True

The entire church body at Grace Valley Church tragically suffered from heat exhaustion Sunday morning, as an usher mistakenly set the thermostat to just above 72 degrees Fahrenheit before the church’s 10:30 a.m. service, sources confirmed Monday.

The error was reportedly caught several minutes into the service, as congregants began to sweat profusely, desperately trying to fan themselves with church programs and Bibles to cool down from the sweltering environment. But it was too late, as heat exhaustion and severe dehydration began to set in and church leaders were unable to reach the thermostat to lower the temperature before collapsing and passing out.

Dumping water bottles and iced coffees on themselves, congregants attempted in vain to stave off the effects of the desert-like environment, according to rescue crews who arrived on the scene after a brave usher was able to call authorities from his nearly melted phone.

According to the Valley Ridge fire chief, a SWAT team responding to the call rammed an armored vehicle through the sanctuary wall, and a fire truck doused the churchgoers with a fire hose, saving them from perishing at the last moment before EMTs began reviving and treating them.

The way some folk act you’d think 72 was actually the fiery temp of hell itself.

The Church Is Still Trusted By A Majority of Americans…

Although evidently not enough for most Americans to make it a regular part of their lives…  Funny how that works.

The Green collection and the Museum of the Bible: 443,000 square meters of mess

The best thing you’ll read on the Green’s their Museum, and the present fiasco.

Roberta Mazza

One of the tablets confiscated by US customs. Source: the United States Department of Justice.

Readers who have followed my blog could have imagined my reaction to last week’s press release concerning the civil forfeiture complaint filed by the United States attorney’s office of New York Eastern District. I am not surprised. Along with other people, I have been raising concerns about the Green collection’s acquisition methods and unprofessional habits since the beginning of 2014. It was then that I first learned about its existence as it came out that they were connected to the discovery of new Sappho papyrus fragments. These fragments are now housed by an anonymous London collector and the Green collection: we still haven’t had access to any of the documents proving that they come from a lot sold through a Christie’s auction in November 2011. Their provenance rests on the word of the…

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Learn About Calvin

With this.

Calvin Congress 2018 Call For Papers

I’ll be there.  DV.

Calvin and Birthday Whistles



Calvin Doodled

Brill write on their facebook page-

Happy birthday, John Calvin! This doodle of the French reformer was made by one of his students, thought to have been Jacques Bourgoin. It adorns the cover of Jon Balserak’s book “Establishing the Remnant Church in France: Calvin’s Lectures on the Minor Prophets, 1556-1559.”  www.brill.com/establishing-remnant-church-france

That is one fantastic book!



Natural Selection is Clearly Bogus Nonsense…

If it were true, these amazingly dumb people would have been weeded out of the gene pool by now.  They are literally too stupid for words.

The Birth of Calvin

daubigneJohn Calvin was born on the 10th of July, 1509, in the small town of Noyon, in Picardy. His grandfather was a cooper, and owned a small house on the banks of the river Oise. His father, Gerard Cauvin—the name was later Latinized into Calvinus, Calvin—attained by his perseverance and industry to an honorable situation. He was Secretary to the Bishop of Noyon, and Notary to the Chapter of the Cathedral. His mother, Jeanne Lefranc, was noted as a goodlooking and pious woman. John Calvin had four brothers, and two sisters. Two of them followed him later on to Geneva, and settled down near their more famous kinsman.