via the twitter
From time to time (oh alright, just about every day) someone (who doesn’t know what they’re talking about) will insist that theology doesn’t matter because the disciples were just simple fishermen and villagers who followed Jesus around and they just loved him so much that they didn’t need any theology to be faithful.
What the ‘ignorant fishermen’ mythicists don’s understand, because in their deep silliness they don’t know it, is that the disciples were precisely that. Disciples. And what is a disciple? A learner. A student.
Jesus was a rabbi. He’s described as such and as such he had studied with rabbis and been himself a rabbinic student. And what is a rabbinic student? A theologian.
Jesus was a theologian who gathered around himself theological students (rabbis) to whom he taught – what was it – oh yes, theology.
Accordingly, Jesus didn’t have ignorant illiterate hicks following him around he had serious students who were expected to do their homework, learn their lessons, and apply those lessons.
So at the end of the day the people who think theology doesn’t matter and who love to say that they are just ‘simple followers of Jesus’ have absolutely no idea how Jesus worked. Nor how the disciples worked. Nor how the early church worked. They really, to be fair to them, just have some weird notions they cooked up in their own heads to justify their own theological ignorance. They delude themselves and in their delusions wish to deceive others.
They are dilettantes. If they want to be dilettantes, super. They just shouldn’t pretend that their views of Jesus matter to anyone.
Luther, in 1523, laments the crude treatment of the Jews by Rome, writing
“Our fools, the popes, bishops, sophists, and monks—the crude asses’ heads—have hitherto so treated the Jews that anyone who wished to be a good Christian would almost have had to become a Jew. If I had been a Jew and had seen such dolts and blockheads govern and teach the Christian faith, I would sooner have become a hog than a Christian.”
That pretty much sums it up…
Leo Jud produced one of the earliest Reformed catechisms and he did so, unsurprisingly, in Zurich. It’s known as the Zurich Catechism of 1534 and you can read it here.
If you’ll note the bottom of the title page you’ll see the Scripture which served as the motto or theme of the document.
“At that time, some people came and reported to Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. And He responded to them, “Do you think that these Galileans were more sinful than all Galileans because they suffered these things? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well! Or those that the tower in Siloam fell on and killed — do you think they were more sinful than all the people who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as well!”” (Lk. 13:1-5)
When Jesus was asked about the problem of suffering through disasters his response turned the issue away from the ‘why’ to the ‘what’. That is, instead of attempting to explain WHY God allows terrible things (like the slaughter of worshipers in the Temple or the deaths of many in the collapse of a tower) to the ‘what’ of our own reaction to disasters.
When something terrible happens- whether it’s caused by a weird accident, a malicious human act, or a natural event, what do we ‘do’ with the fact of that happening? Does it make us remember our own mortality? Does it draw us to repentance and a renewal of life in the presence of God? Does it make us better people? Or do we focus all of our attention on trying to discover why it happened?
We need to admit that there are many things in life that are mysteries. The plan of God is sometimes completely hidden from our eyes and that, frankly, is ok. Our reaction to disasters is the only issue which really matters. Do we rise to the event and by the strength of God endure, or are we destroyed by it? The answer is up to each of us.
Bones attributed to St. Peter have been found by chance in a church in Rome during routine restoration work, 2,000 years after the apostle’s death.
The relics of the saint, who is regarded as the first Pope, were found in clay pots in the 1,000-year-old Church of Santa Maria in Cappella in the district of Trastevere, a medieval warren of cobbled lanes on the banks of the Tiber River.
The bones were discovered when a worker lifted up a large marble slab near the medieval altar of the church, which has been closed to the public for 35 years because of structural problems.
He came across two Roman-era pots with inscriptions on their lids indicating that inside were not only bone fragments from St Peter but also three early popes – Cornelius, Callixtus and Felix – as well as four early Christian martyrs.
The workman immediately notified the deacon of the church, Massimiliano Floridi. “There were two clay pots which were inscribed with the names of early popes – Peter, Felix, Callixtus and Cornelius. I’m not an archaeologist but I understood immediately that they were very old,” he told Rai Uno, an Italian television channel. “Looking at them, I felt very emotional.”
It had been known for centuries that the relics might exist – they are recorded on a stone inscription in the church, which claimed they were kept alongside a fragment of a dress worn by the Blessed Virgin. But until now, the relics had never been found.
The remains have been handed to the Vatican for further study. Without proper analysis, it is impossible to say whether they belong to St Peter. “We’re waiting for a detailed study to be undertaken,” said the deacon. “A DNA comparison between these bones and those kept by the Vatican would shed light on the issue.”
A Vatican spokesman said it was too early to comment on the discovery.
Here’s a couple of photos. I’m going to go ahead and express serious doubts concerning the inscription. It does not have the appearance of antiquity. Chances are 90% it’s a modern forgery.
On 9/11/01 A group of largely Saudi terrorists and radical Islamists hijacked planes and crashed them into important symbols of American economic and military power. Our response was to ignore the fact that Saudis were chiefly responsible and instead bomb Afghanistan because it was our belief that someone there had planned the attack. A Saudi.
All of this would seem odd to anyone observing it. It was like attacking Mexico when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor because someone involved in the planning had visited Mexico on their vacation that year and had done some planning while there.
Yes, I am aware that the 9/11 attack wasn’t a Saudi national act. But neither was it an Afghani. And to this day our government has continued to whitewash the fact that the terrorists came from Saudi Arabia and so did their backing.
Lest we forget…
A Christian family is preparing to sue their sons’ Church of England school after boys were allowed to come to class wearing dresses.
Nigel Rowe, 44, and his wife Sally, 42, removed their six-year-old son from the unnamed school after a male classmate was allowed to attend the primary school in a dress.
They intend to educate him at home on the Isle of Wight alongside his eight-year-old brother. The older boy was pulled from the same school – which has a uniform – a year ago when a boy in his class also started wearing dresses.
The couple are going to mount a legal challenge against the school, arguing it has not respected their rights to raise their children in line with biblical values. One option open to the couple is a judicial review at the High Court, which could have wide-reaching implications for schools’ responsibilities to transgender pupils.
Mr Rowe told The Sunday Times: “A child aged six would sometimes come to school as a girl or sometimes come to school as a boy.
“Our concerns were raised when our son came back home from school saying he was confused as to why and how a boy was now a girl.
“We believe it is wrong to encourage very young children to embrace transgenderism, boys are boys and girls are girls.
“Gender dysphoria is something we as Christians need to address with love and compassion, but not in the sphere of a primary school environment.”
The school in question said transgender pupils were protected under the Equalities Act of 2010, and that it had policies in place to tackle transphobic behaviour. It defined transphobia as including a failure to use a person’s adopted name or to accept he or she was a “real” boy or girl.
Read the whole.
In which Larry reviews a review. Now, someone needs to review Larry’s review of Kirk’s review.
A newly-published article gives an incisive discussion of recent publications by Bart Ehrman, Richard Bauckham, and Michael Bird on memory, tradition and the historical Jesus: Alan Kirk, “Ehrman, Bauckham and Bird on Memory and the Jesus Tradition,” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 15.1 (2017): 88-114.
Given the wide readership acquired by all three authors and their works reviewed by Kirk, this is an article that also deserves a wide reading. Kirk is both appreciative and critical of each of the scholars, his criticisms supported by what appears to me a fair citation of their works. The thrust of Kirk’s critique is that, in varying ways and degrees, all three scholars could benefit from more attention to “social memory” theory and its effects in the framing and transmitting of traditions in groups.
Kirk’s critique of Ehrman (Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and…
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And my favorite Saints because of their fun story:
Der Legende nach soll das Geschwisterpaar Felix und Regula und ihr Diener Exuperantius um 300 n. Chr. in der Thebäischen Legion im Walis gekämpft haben. Da sie sich nicht von ihrer christlichen Überzeugung anbringen liessen, mussten sie vor ihren Verfolgern fliehen. Sie entkamen über die Furka und das Reusstal, überquerten den Klausenpass, folgten dann der Linth und kamen bis nach «Turicum» am Zürichsee. Hier wurden sie überwältigt und auf der damaligen Insel in der Limmat, wo heute die Wasserkirche steht, enthauptet. Mit den Köpfen in der Hand seien sie noch einige Meter den Hügel hinaufgelaufen. Dort, wo später das Grossmünster erbaut wurde, sind sie gemäss der Überlieferung endgültig zusammengebrochen.
It’s the only Papist observance I like. So every year on 11 September I think about their legend. Because it’s fun. Who else was beheaded and picked their heads up and walked around? Who? That’s right, nobody! I wish I was back in Zurich….
Auch in diesem Jahr wird der Märtyrer gemäss römischem Kalender am dritten Tag vor den Iden des September, also am 11.September, feierlich gedacht. Zehn orthodoxe Kirchen der Region Zürich laden gemeinsam zur Prozession und zum orthodoxen Abendgebet ein. Die Prozession startet um 18.15 Uhr beim Fraumünster, stoppt dann bei der Wasserkirche, dem Ort des Martyriums der Zürcher Stadtheiligen, und zieht weiter zum Grossmünster, wo sich einst die Grabesstätte der drei Märtyrer befand.
Happy Feast of Felix and Regula. Beheaded, and still able to romp around Zurich.