Daily Archives: 12 Sep 2017


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MacArthur ‘Likes’ A Furtick Tweet

And then he tried to blame it on a staffer.  Can you believe that nonsense?

Hours after Twitter users noticed that the official John MacArthur account had publicly “liked” a Steven Furtick tweet, causing a firestorm of mockery and speculation, the Los Angeles-based pastor removed the like and issued a statement shifting blame to one of his staff members.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning, MacArthur’s account added a “like” to a tweet from Steven Furtick that asked the rhetorical question, “Have you gotten so familiar with your problems that you no longer see your potential?”

“It was a staffing issue, and it was inadvertent, it was a mistake, it was not a deliberate action,” MacArthur told reporters Tuesday. “There were a number of people on the team that have access to the account, and it appears that someone inadvertently hit the ‘like’ button.”

MacArthur claimed he “never looks at Furtick’s tweets” and is “absolutely disgusted” that an employee of his “would view repulsive content like borderline-prosperity-gospel, self-help theology coming from an unqualified preacher.”

“I did not have any relations on Twitter with that preacher,” MacArthur said sternly in a press conference. “The very idea that I would ever look at anything like that online is preposterous.”

At publishing time, a hacker had leaked John MacArthur’s iPhone contents, revealing the shocking information that he has listened to Hillsongs’ “Oceans” over 148 times over the past six months.

The New iPhone’s Most Important Feature for Christians

The new Apple iPhone will now include a “panic button” that will allow Christians to quickly switch from Facebook, other social media, or video games over to the Bible app for whenever they get caught messing around on their phone in church, Apple announced Tuesday.

The feature can be added on for just $299 as an option while purchasing your new iPhone online.

Speaking at the highly anticipated iPhone 8 event Tuesday morning, Apple CEO Tim Cook demonstrated how the easily accessible button will instantly pull up the passage being preached on, hiding from viewers how you were actually goofing off on your phone just moments before.

“No matter if you’re commanding your armies in Clash of Clans or Facebook-stalking an old friend from high school, the iPanic Button will immediately make it look like you’re actually paying attention to the sermon,” Cook said to wild cheers from the audience. “Now you can look spiritual to the ushers, deacons, and passersby without having to hear a single word the pastor preaches each Sunday.”

The Real Reason Ted Cruz ‘Liked’ That Tweet

In the wee hours of the morning Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz ‘liked’ an absolutely filthy tweet from his verified Twitter account in what appears to be the beginning of an effort to woo some of Donald Trump’s voting base to his side for the 2020 election.

According to an anonymous source within Cruz’s camp, this is just the first action in a years-long strategy to beat the President and win the Republican nomination in the next election.

“We’re starting with the tweet, then in a few months we’ll probably leak some illicit audio, which should really pull some of them in,” said the source. “We’ll sprinkle in some affair allegations here and there, and who knows, maybe a compromising phone hack or something, to switch it up.”

“We’re going to be working very hard for the next few years to tarnish Ted’s image as much as possible,” the source added.

Now it all makes sense.

She Nearly Beat Her Baby To Death- But the Judge Let her Go Because ‘The Wounds Would Eventually Heal’…

Justice???? HA!

An Adelaide mother who left her 8-month-old with severe bruising and abrasions has walked away from a charge that carries a maximum of 13 years without spending a day in prison.

Lorien Norman, 26, pleaded guilty to causing harm with intent after she beat her daughter Evie with a slotted spoon.

District Court Judge Jack Costello determined that the extensive injuries would heal completely, so sentenced Norman to a two-year good behaviour bond and a $500 fine.

The court heard that Norman had called the police on October 1 last year, threatening to throw Evie off a balcony.

When police arrived, they found the baby with bruises all over her face and took both mother and child to hospital.

A paediatrician told the court that the baby had bruising on her forehead, cheeks, ears, neck and arm, caused by “at least eight separate blows to the face and body” with a slotted spoon and hand.

Despite initially claiming Evie had received the bruises on the playground, she eventually pleaded guilty to aggravated causing harm with intent.

Judge Costello told the Adelaide District Court last week: “Whilst any assault of a child, particularly one of such a tender age and vulnerability, by a parent stands as a gross breach of trust, your offending is nevertheless far from the most serious of offending of this type in terms of the degree of force involved and the duration of the offending.”

“In this respect I particularly note the opinion of the treating paediatrician to the effect that there was no evidence of bony or intracranial injury and that your daughter’s physical injuries were likely to completely resolve,” he added.

WHAT THE DEVIL IS WRONG WITH THIS JUDGE????????????????????????  I confess, I’m filled with absolute loathing for the ‘mother’ (she should be in prison for life at hard labor) and the ‘judge’ (who should likewise be in prison).  Look what she did to that beautiful child:

It’s a bit of a shame that we don’t do to criminals what they do to their victims.  In this case, that would be justice.

Martin Luther: The Idea That Changed the World

I previewed this film and took part in a panel discussion some months back.  You’ll enjoy it, even though there are a few bits that are inaccurate.  Nonetheless, the good far outweighs the bad.

Check your local listings.  In the Eastern time zone it airs at 8 PM tonight on your local PBS station.


Quote of the Day

Self-love, through the exercise of a mere natural gratitude, may be the foundation of a sort of love to God many ways. A kind of love may arise from a false notion of God that men have some way imbibed, as though he were only goodness and mercy and not revenging justice, or as though the exercises of his goodness were necessary and not free and sovereign, or as though his goodness were dependent on what is in them and as it were constrained by them. Men, on such grounds as these, may love a God of their own forming in their imaginations when they are far from loving such a God as reigns in heaven. — JONATHAN EDWARDS

A Multi-part Interview With Matthew Bates on His New Book, Part Four

Note: Previous entries in the series are posted here.

Q – Would you consider your work ‘conservative’ and if so, how, and why?

AI would consider it conservative. It seeks to advocate for the apostolic deposit as received in Scripture as normative for the church for all time, with it understood that further theological reflection on that deposit can help clarify it. This is the classic view in early Christianity and was the view of the Protestant reformers. I am seeking to recover and articulate afresh the apostolic understanding of faith, works, and the gospel of Jesus the king for today. The idea is not to repristinate, but to reappropriate these ancient concepts authentically in light of our contemporary contexts.

Yet some will feel that I am a radical (or maybe even heterodox) because I am calling into question elements of traditional Reformation-era theology. Although as a Protestant I am deeply gratefully for Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Hubmaier, and other courageous early reformers, we need to be careful that we do not elevate Reformation-era theological conclusions beyond what is warranted.

Fidelity to the Reformation means maintaining the Reformation’s own emphasis on sola scriptura, not that we seek to freeze Reformation-era theology, so that we can microwave it for dinner in today’s postmodern world. If Reformation-era ideas about “faith” and “grace” prove slightly off-target with regard to the biblical evidence, then we need to contend for ongoing revisions to our theological systems as fearlessly as did they.

Speaking as a Protestant, I believe we should also receive the truth gladly wherever we can find it, so we should be attuned to what Catholic and Orthodox Christianity can offer. That’s what I am attempting to do in salvation by allegiance alone by being more exacting about the true relationship between “gospel,” “faith,” grace,” and “works.”

Q – Why is it that you include Calvin and Luther in your consideration but not Zwingli, who had a great deal to say in his ‘On Divine and Human Righteousness’ concerning salvation’s what and how?

AWho is Zwingli? Isn’t he a hockey star? Truly our friend Huldrich is the ugly neglected step-child of the Reformation, is he not?

You will actually find very little on Calvin and Luther in Salvation by Allegiance Alone, so I wasn’t picking on Zwingli. Reformers are mentioned to add interest or provide context in a couple places, but their footprint in the book is tiny. This was a deliberate strategy.

The problem with writing a book on salvation theory is that many readers loudly proclaim sola scriptura, but actual want something considerably different in such books. What are they really after? Readers passionately want to hear that their Christian tribe really and truly got it right. Sadly I’ve been forced to conclude that some would prefer that to the actual truth itself.

Secondarily, readers desperately want to learn what Christian tribal team the author belongs to. Is this guy or gal Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox?—If Protestant, a Lutheran, Calvinist, radical reformer, an Arminian, a fundamentalist, a NPP advocate, an evangelical, a liberal? As an author, my sense is that many want to know this so that they can pre-judge arguments before even hearing them. I tried to curb this by framing the book in such a way as to undercut confessional boundaries from the outset.

Books on salvation theory that treat the Reformation can also get bogged down on internal squabbles and never get to the heart of Scripture’s teaching. An author says “xyz” about Luther, and someone shouts, but we need to qualify that because Luther also said “zyx”! (And this is easy to do since Luther said anything and everything). And statements about Calvinism are sent packing because Calvin himself said something different than his later disciples. In such books energy tends to spiral inward on Reformation-era disputes and contemporary denominationalism, and then to dissipate before really getting to the Bible itself.

By sidelining the Reformation, including our friend Huldrich, I was hoping to alleviate these problems. I wanted to force the reader to deal with Scripture alone in the raw to the degree such a thing is possible. At the end of the day, however, we shouldn’t be hermeneutically naïve in thinking we could or should ultimately neglect the many valid insights of the Reformation era. But many other books explore such things; readers may allow that mine need not do it too.

Q – Do you have plans to offer further thoughts on the subject as part of a larger ‘systematic theology’?

AI suspect I will write another book on salvation theory sometime in the future. I doubt it would be a full-scale “systematic theology.” I won’t say “never” though, especially because I am still an early career theologian. I am saying “early career” to make myself feel better—as I have peaked in other ways¬. I turned 40 this year.

Thanks, Jim, for the excellent questions and dialogue. I’ve enjoyed it.

And thank you, Matthew.

Luther Doesn’t Need Your Papist Help

martin-luther-1539-detailIn his ‘Open Letter on Translating’ (a gem of a work everyone should read) Luther writes

If I, Dr. Luther, could have expected that all the papists taken together would be capable enough to translate a single chapter of the Scriptures correctly and well, I should certainly have mustered up enough humility to invite their aid and assistance in putting the New Testament into German. But because I knew – and still see with my own eyes – that none of them knows how to translate, or to speak German, I spared them and myself that trouble.

It is evident, indeed, that from my German translation they are learning to speak and write German, and so are stealing from me my language, of which they had little knowledge before. They do not thank me for it, however, but prefer to use it against me. However I readily grant them this, for it tickles me that I have taught my ungrateful pupils, even my enemies, how to speak.

Get hold of the open letter and enjoy it. The whole thing is succulently brilliant.

Faith Groups Bear the Bulk of Aid in Disasters- Atheists, Meh, Not So Much

Read the RNS report here.  And the next time an angry atheist blathers on mindlessly about religion ask them what it is exactly that they do besides whine.  They certainly don’t help much.

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Heinrich Bullinger: Briefe von Oktober bis Dezember 1546

Der neue Band des Bullinger-Briefwechsels enthält 130 zwischen Oktober und Dezember 1546 verfasste Briefe, denen jeweils eine ausführliche deutsche Zusammenfassung vorangeht. Involviert sind 42 Briefschreiber, insbesondere Ambrosius Blarer, Oswald Myconius, Johannes Haller und Martin Bucer. Der Band vermittelt Informationen zum Schmalkaldischen Krieg (1546/47), zur politischen Haltung der Eidgenossen, zum Geschehen in Augsburg, zur Schule in Kappel und Chur, zum Kirchenwesen in Basel und Bern, zum Bibliotheksnachlass des Zuger Reformators Werner Steiner wie auch zu zahlreichen zeitgenössischen Publikationen. Ausserdem finden sich im Band viele unbekannte biografische Details, u. a. zu einem Verwandten von Andreas Vesalius und zu den Berner Dekanen Jodocus Kilchmeyer und Johannes Fädminger.

With thanks to the publisher, TVZ, for the review copy.

As I’ve stated before in reviewing these volumes from TVZ, the importance of having primary sources is inexpressible.  Without primary sources, we have nothing of use in historical research.  Indeed, without primary sources, we are incapable of historical research.

Of particular importance are the letters to and from important historical personages.  This is true whether the letters come from the 4th century or the 14th or the 16th or the 20th or the 21st.  Letters allow us into the actual lives of people.  We read over their shoulder and find out the sorts of things that both motivated and troubled, encouraged and discouraged them.

In the case of Bullinger and his amazingly expansive correspondence, we learn that he talks about books a lot.  He talks about books he’s reading, books he has read, books he is writing, and books he wishes others would write (and not have written).  He discusses people, events, places, troubles, victories, joys, sorrows, and every little thing that crossed his mind.

The present volume contains letters Bullinger sent and received between October and December, 1546.  They include the known (Blarer) and the unknown (Bernhard von Cham).  The volume includes a foreword by Peter Opitz and a fantastic introduction by Reinhard Bodenmann extending from page 13 through page 46.

The index at the conclusion of the volume focuses primarily on people and places.  Correspondents are indicated by bold print.  There is no Scripture index.  The great thing about the index is that if a reader wants to consult letters which discuss a particular person (like Zwingli) then one is easily able to do so.  If one wishes to see what Bullinger and his correspondents thought about Luther or Melanchthon that is also quite easy to do.

In two years’ time, the present volume will be integrated into the electronic edition of Bullinger’s correspondence, in which the 2620 letters published so far in the previous 17 volumes are freely available on the website http://teoirgsed.uzh.ch/.

Unfortunately, because funding has been cut for the project, the publication of this invaluable source for European history in the age of the Reformation is at stake! Hopefully some institution or some rich donors willing to eternalize their names will be found in order to avoid such a shameful end!

Jerome’s Disdain for Christian Athletes

Our fine, erect, muscular athletes … hardly make a shadow of a footmark in their swift passage, whose words are in their fists and their reasoning in their heels, who either know nothing of apostolic poverty and the hardness of the cross or despise it [should at least learn about discipleship from Gentile philosophers] — St Jerome

Yeah, pretty much.