These Rabbis Are More Faithful To God Than Any of Trump’s ‘Evangelical’ Advisers

This is how people of real faith act.

For years, the presidential conference calls were a nonpartisan holiday tradition: President Barack Obama would speak by phone with hundreds of rabbis in advance of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, in what participants described as a meeting of minds, largely free of raw politics.

But that emerging tradition was thrown into jeopardy on Wednesday, in a sign of the still-intensifying backlash against President Trump’s response to the violence this month in Charlottesville, Va. Four coalitions of rabbis, hailing from different strains of American Judaism, publicly spurned Mr. Trump, denouncing him in unusually pointed language, and pre-emptively announcing that they would not participate in any conference call before the Jewish holidays next month.

Mr. Trump has drawn widespread criticism, and in some cases condemnation, from Jewish leaders after a string of public remarks in which he has played down the racist and anti-Semitic views of white supremacist demonstrators in Virginia. Jewish members of his administration have faced calls to condemn the president or resign, and a few have expressed public and private discomfort with his comments, including Mr. Trump’s ambassador to Israel, David M. Friedman.

But the rabbinical groups’ announcement on Wednesday was a rebuke on a different level, and appeared to signal that Mr. Trump will encounter extreme difficulty in any immediate efforts to reach out to American Jews.

In a joint statement, the organizations — which claim the backing of more than 4,000 rabbis and congregations — accused Mr. Trump of having given “succor to those who advocate anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia” with his comments after the bloodshed in Charlottesville, where a young woman was killed after a man drove his car into a crowd of protesters.

All four Jewish groups — the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Rabbinical Assembly, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism — said they could not participate in interactions with Mr. Trump around the fall holidays.

“We have concluded that President Trump’s statements during and after the tragic events in Charlottesville are so lacking in moral leadership and empathy for the victims of racial and religious hatred that we cannot organize such a call this year,” the statement said.

That’s how it’s done, Falwell, Metaxas, Graham, White, and the rest of you wrongly named ‘Christians’.


The knowledge of all that is most excellent in human life is said to be communicated to us through the Spirit of God—John Calvin

So true.

John Calvin, the father of Presbyterian theology, was a master intellect (and had a profound sense of spirituality). Calvin emphasized the importance of knowledge of the world, but always with the reminder, “that the knowledge of all that is most excellent in human life is said to be communicated to us through the Spirit of God.” Knowledge is a gift from God, just like school. So kids, parents and grandparents, learners everywhere, study away. It’s God’s gift. And as the poem below suggests, keep your eyes open, for you might even see God. 

Martin Luthers theologische Grundbegriffe: Von »Abendmahl« bis »Zweifel«

Dieses Lehrbuch bietet eine Auswahl der wichtigsten theologischen Grundbegriffe Luthers, dargeboten anhand von Zitaten, die in der Weimarer Ausgabe nachgewiesen werden. Das Wörterbuch möchte die Theologie Luthers am Leitfaden ihrer Grundbegriffe darstellen. Diese sollen in Luthers eigenen Aussagen zur Sprache kommen, die der Weimarer Ausgabe seiner Schriften entnommen sind, aber in einer modernen, den originalen Sprachduktus durchschimmern lassenden Sprachform wiedergegeben werden. Am Ende der Artikel finden sich Angaben v.a. zur neueren Literatur zum jeweiligen Begriff. Ein Sachregister ermöglicht auch die Suche nach Begriffen, denen kein eigener Artikel gewidmet wurde. Damit füllt das Buch die Lücke zwischen Konkordanzen und systematisierenden Darstellungen der Theologie Luthers und ist als einführendes und orientierendes Instrument für Studierende, aber auch für PfarrerInnen oder ReligionslehrerInnen beim Umgang mit Luthers Schriften gedacht.

Mohr have kindly provided a review copy.   First allow me to mention the fact that this isn’t the sort of book you read through.  It’s a ‘dictionary’ or ‘encyclopedia’ which treats theological concepts in alphabetical order.  A one page overview leads directly into the alphabetical listing which is itself followed by an index of subjects.

The entries are laid out in a very organized fashion.  The word under discussion is ‘linked’ to similar terms at the outset.  So, for example, ‘Kreuz’ is linked to ‘Leid, Sterben, Tod’.  Then the entry itself follows with copious quotations from Luther (and all provided with Weimar Ausgabe volume and page numbers so that those interested in seeing the wider context can easily track it down).

When necessary, each article is subdivided into smaller units.  So, again, using ‘Kreuz’ as the example, under 1. are a series of quotes from Luther about the Cross.  2. The Cross of Christ for the Christian. 3. The Christian’s Cross. 4. Preaching the Cross.  Again, each subsection collects numerous citations.

At the end of each entry readers are offered a brief bibliographic listing of relevant resources for further reading.

I like this volume very much.  It can easily serve as a primer to Luther’s theological ideas and it’s neither too short to be useless nor too long to be burdensome.  It reminds me of Kurt Aland’s now decades old Lutherlexikon which appeared in 1974.  That little volume is also quite useful but I have to confess that Rieger’s is both more thorough and more user friendly.  Things are easier to find and entries are fuller.


There is, at present, as everyone knows, a near glut of Luther books flooding the market.  When the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation subsides after October and the bulk of books are swept aside in a tide of disinterest, be sure to have obtained a copy of this one.  You will refer to it often because it has abiding usefulness.  Indeed, it’s like Luther himself in that sense: he (it) abides.

Free 30 Day Trial Access to the Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, and Other Important Volumes

Test EBR Online, HBR, JBR, ZAW, ZNW and SBR yourself and activate your 30 days of free online trial.  Your access token: ebr0197820.  How to get access:

Additionally, you can find additional information here, including brief ‘reviews’ of certain articles. Other article reviews from Volume 15 are available here.

One simply cannot be working on any aspect of the Bible and its Reception and ignore these volumes safely or wisely.

Jesus Handbuch

The Guide to Jesus provides an outline of current international Jesus research. It presents interpretations of the figure of Jesus in the history of Christianity from its beginnings until the first decades of the twenty-first century. Furthermore, the activity, teaching, and fate of Jesus in its religious, social, and political context are dealt with. Thereby, actual discourses in the hermeneutics of history as well as recent archaeological findings are considered. The last part of the Guide to Jesus is devoted to receptions of Jesus in early Christianity. It therefore provides an overview on the person of Jesus, his activity, and fate as well as receptions of Jesus in the history of Christianity. Because its contributors are all internationally renowned scholars from different countries, the compendium thus provides a representative overview of current Jesus research.

Visit here for the full table of contents.

Biblical Studies, the Academy and the Pew: Public talk by Dr Jim West

I hear he’s adorable too! I’ll definitely not miss it!

Newman Research Centre for the Bible and its Reception

Earlier this year, due to ill health, we sadly had to cancel a public talk by Dr Jim West on the relationship between the academic study of the Bible and the Church. We are delighted to announce that Jim has very graciously offered to come to the UK specifically to give this talk. We are both touched and extremely grateful for such a generous gesture and we would like to invite you to come to what promises to be an informative and fascinating talk on a subject that will be close to the heart of many people.

The Intersection of Academic Biblical Studies and the Life of the Church

25th September 2015


Dr Jim West (Ming Hua Theological College)

Newman University

Time and Room tbc

View original post 433 more words

The Massacre

St Bartholomew’s that is….

Before dawn on the morning of August 24, 1572, church bells tolled in the Saint-Germain-l’Auxerrois quarter of Paris. Just moments earlier, soldiers under the command of Henri, duke of Guise, had overcome resistance and assassinated the admiral of France, Huguenot leader Gaspard de Coligny, in his bedroom. They threw the body from the window to the ground below, where angry crowds later mutilated it, cutting off the head and hands, and dragged it through the streets of Paris. As Guise walked away from Coligny’s lodging, he was overheard to say “it is the king’s command.”

The killing unleashed an explosion of popular hatred against Protestants throughout the city. In the terrible days that followed, some 3,000 Huguenots were killed in Paris, and perhaps another 8,000 in other provincial cities.

This season of blood—known as the Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre—decisively ended Huguenot hopes to transform France into a Protestant kingdom. It remains one of the most horrifying episodes in the Reformation era.

Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2016-03-16 19:47:19Z | |

Read the whole.