Daily Archives: 16 Oct 2017

The Guardian’s Take on ‘The Museum of the Bible’

It is a museum of biblical proportions – and it is stirring controversies to match.

Opening next month in Washington, the Museum of the Bible cost half a billion dollars to build, spans 430,000 sq ft over eight floors and claims to be the most hi-tech museum in the world. Reading every placard, seeing every artifact and experiencing every activity would take an estimated 72 hours.

But while it is not the monument to creationism that some liberals feared, the sprawling museum has attracted scepticism over both its ideological mission and the provenance of its collection. It is the brainchild of evangelical Christian Steve Green, the billionaire president of Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts chain that won a supreme court case allowing companies with religious objections to opt out of contraceptive coverage under Barack Obama’s healthcare law.

Green, who since 2009 has amassed a vast collection of biblical texts and artifacts, is making a big statement with the museum’s location: two blocks south of the National Mall, home to the US Capitol and Smithsonian Institution museums – including the National Museum of Natural History, which has exhibits on dinosaurs and human evolution – and could hardly be closer to the centre of power.

Read the whole.  Very much worth your time.

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Modern Culture


Silence is Sin

[When sin abounds] we must not be silent, lest we disgrace religion and the church, simply in order to curry favor with sinners. — Richard Baxter

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Theology


Yes, Some Trump Supporters Are Actually This Ignorant

Yes, Alicia is serious.  And, she’s from Texas…

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Modern Culture


No Majority of any Age Group Approves of Trump

Gallup on Trump job performance by age:

  • 18-34 approve 22%, disapprove 73%;
  • 35-54 approve 35%, disapprove 59%;
  • 55+ approve 46% disapprove 50%

The younger the more disapproving. Say farewell to the House and the Senate if these kids get up off their parents’ couch and vote, GOP.

Of course, to be fair, if they had gotten off the couch and voted before, Trump wouldn’t be in office in the first place. So the kids who disapprove have only themselves to blame.

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Modern Culture


News Novice ‘Worship Leaders’ Can Use…

via Facebook bro M.R.

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in mockery


If You Have $185 Laying Around You Can Pay it To Go Hear NT Wright

At Perkins School of Theology (Methodists…. in Texas….)

Well at least the Woman’s lecture is free……..

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Eisegete This!


Studies in Barth’s Ethics… That’s Rich….

I wonder if it contains a chapter on Barth’s sexual ethics….

NB- DON’T email you angry Barthians.  I know it’s about the volume published by Barth titled ‘Ethics’.  Save your faux outrage for Barth’s actual victim.

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Karl Barth


The Bee Mocks Facebook’s ‘Privacy Policy’

Because it really is a joke.  Facebook sells everything you post.

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Modern Culture


Self Love Rules the World

Because Christ’s teachings contradict the interests of selfish men, that’s why the world so generally rises up against it with indignation, even as a country will rise against an invading enemy: for he comes to take away that which is dearest to them; as it is said of Luther, that he meddled with the pope’s crown, and the friars’ bellies; and therefore no wonder if they swarmed all about his ears. Selfishness is so general and deeply rooted in our world that (except with a few self-denying saints) self-love and self-interest rule the world. — Richard Baxter

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Theology


America’s Moral Bankruptcy…

Is best demonstrated by the fact that pop singers and jocks are seen as the clearest moral compasses inhabiting our land.

Evangelicals have abandoned their posts, people of faith are silent or worse, complicit in society’s decay and supportive of the reprobate in the White House, and elected officials are as vile as the people they represent.

America is already dead and just doesn’t realize it.

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Modern Culture


Fun Facts From Church History

luther_bibel_revLuther lectured on 1 John and did so so meticulously that on October 16, 1527, he managed to cover four whole verses- 4:17–21.

Luther- the exegete.

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Church History, Luther


The Day Jerome Bolsec Began Spewing His Heresy

At a general meeting, held October 16, 1551, the minister of Jussy, Jean de Saint André, in preaching from the words of St. John, (8:47,) “He that is of God heareth God’s words …,” took occasion to develop the doctrine of eternal election, declaring that “those who are not regenerated by the Spirit of God, continue in a state of rebellion even to the end, because obedience is a gift accorded only to the elect.” He had scarcely finished speaking when one of the hearers rose up, and pronounced this doctrine false and impious, accompanying his discourse with coarse abuse of those who make God the author of sin, and exhorted the people to guard against this new doctrine as a detestable piece of folly.

This man was the old Carmelite monk, Jerome Bolsec, a physician, preacher, and poet, who, wandering by turns in France and Italy, had retired to Geneva some months previously, where he had already frequently attacked the doctrines of Calvin. Unnoticed in the crowd, the Reformer, whom Bolsec had thought absent, immediately rose up, and by a succession of testimonies borrowed from the writing of Augustine, eloquently refuted his adversary.

Arrested on account of the temerity of his language, and interrogated by the magistrate, Jerome refused to retract, and was thrown into prison. The case was brought before the Council, where he boldly maintained his opinion, adding, besides, that many of the Swiss ministers shared in his sentiments. Before pronouncing a judgment, which the ministers of Geneva earnestly desired, the magistrates wrote concerning the subject to three reformed towns, namely, Zurich, Berne, and Basle, furnishing them with a list of the errors of Bolsec, and asking their advice as to how they should treat him.*

Later Calvin wrote this letter (in the name of the reformed pastors of the city) to the Reformed ministers of Switzerland (and it’s rather long, but very much worth the read) :

There is one Jerome here, who, having thrown off the monk’s cowl, is become one of those strolling physicians, who, by habitual deception and trickery, acquire a degree of impudence which makes them prompt and ready in venturing upon anything whatever. He made an attempt, eight months ago, in a public assembly of our church, to overthrow the doctrine of God’s free election, which, as received from the word of God, we teach in common with you.

Then, indeed, the impertinence of the man was regulated by some degree of moderation. He ceased not afterwards to make a noise in all places, with the intention of shaking the faith of the simple in this all-important doctrine. At length he openly disgorged what poison was in him. For when one of our brethren, not long since, was expounding, after our ordinary custom, that passage in John where Christ declares that those who do not hear God’s words are not of God; he remarked that as many as have not been born again of the Spirit of God, continue in a state of stubborn resistance to God, even to the end, inasmuch as the gift of obedience is peculiar to the elect of God, on whom it is bestowed.

That worthless wretch rose up, and affirmed that the false and impious opinion, that the will of God is the cause of all things, took its rise during the present century from Laurentius Valla; but that in this he acted wrongly, for he charged God with the blame of all evils, and falsely imputed to Him a tyrannical caprice, such as the ancient poets fancifully ascribed to their Jove. He then took up the second head, and affirmed that men are not saved because they have been elected, but that they are elected because they believe; that no one is condemned at the mere pleasure of God; that those only are condemned who deprive themselves of the election common to all. In dealing with this question, he inveighed against us with a great deal of violent abuse. The chief magistrate of the city, on hearing of the matter, imprisoned him, especially as he had been tumultuously haranguing the common people not to allow themselves to be deceived by us.

On being brought before the Senate for trial, he proceeded to defend his error with no less obstinacy than audacity. He, moreover, made it his boast that a considerable number of the ministers of the other churches sided with him; on which we requested the Senate not to give its final decision until, having heard from your church, it should ascertain how this worthless wretch had wickedly abused your name by making you sanction his error. Overcome by shame, he at first did not decline the decisions of the churches, but began to jest about having good reason to mistrust you from your familiar intimacy with our brother Calvin.

The Senate, however, according to our request, resolved upon consulting you. Besides, and in addition to this, he was implicating your church. For while denouncing Zwingli above all others, he said that Bullinger was of precisely the same opinion with himself. He has craftily watched for a handle of discord among the Bernese ministers. We are really anxious to have this plague so removed from our church, that it may not infect our neighbours when we have got rid of it ourselves. Although it is of very great importance to us and to the public tranquility, that the doctrine which we profess should meet with your approval; yet we have no reason to entreat your confidence in many words.

The Institutes of our brother Calvin, against which he is especially directing his attacks, is not unknown among you. With what reverence and sobriety he has therein discussed the secret judgments of God, it is not for us to record: the book is its own bright witness. Nor in truth do we teach anything here but what is contained in God’s holy word, and what has been held by your church ever since the light of the Gospel was restored. That we are justified by faith, we all agree; but the real mercy of God can only be perceived when we learn that faith is the fruit of free adoption, and that, in point of fact, adoption flows from the eternal election of God.

But not only does this impostor fancy that election depends upon faith, but that faith itself is originated as much by man himself as by divine inspiration. There can be no doubt, on the other hand, that when men perish, it must be imputed to their own wickedness. But by the case of the reprobate whom God, from His own mysterious council, passes by and neglects as if unworthy, we are taught a striking lesson of humility.

Yet such is this Jerome, that he will not admit that God does anything justly unless he has palpable evidence of it. In fine, this much is fixed and conceded by us all, that when man sins, God must not be regarded as having any share in the blame, nor that the word sin can in any sense be applied to Him. Yet this does not hinder Him from exercising His power, in a wonderful and incomprehensible way, through Satan and the wicked, as if they were the instruments of His wrath, to teach the faithful patience, or to inflict merited punishment on His enemies. This profane trifler cries out that we bring an impeachment against God when we allege that He governs all things by His providence.

Destroying, in short, in this way, all distinction between causes as remote and concealed, on the one hand, and as near and patent on the other; rendering it impossible to regard the sufferings to which holy Job was subjected as the work of God, but that He may be held as equally guilty with the Devil, the Chaldeans, and the Sabæan robbers.

Our mutual relationship, therefore, demands that you will not consider it troublesome to uphold and maintain, by your countenance, that doctrine of Christ which has been outraged by the profanity of a wanton and ill-disposed man. As we confidently trust that you will do this gladly and of your own accord, we consider it useless to ply you with anxious and earnest requests; and, on the other hand, should our services be at any time of advantage to you, you will ever find us prepared to discharge every brotherly duty.

—Adieu, most beloved and esteemed brethren. May God guide you by His Spirit, bless your labours, and defend your church!*

* J. Bonnet, Letters of John Calvin-IV (Vol. 1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Calvin, Church History


What Are You Supposed to Do If You Have an Ignorant Pastor?

If he be intolerable, through ignorance, heresy, disability, or malignity, forsake him utterly: but if he be tolerable, though weak and cold, and if you cannot remove your dwelling, then public order and your soul’s edification must both be joined as well as you can. In London, or other cities where it is usual, you may go ordinarily to another parish church: but in the country, and where it would be a great offence, you may one part of the day hear in your own parish, and the other at the next, if there be a man much fitter within your reach: but communicating with the church you dwell with. — Richard Baxter

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Theology


Today With Zwingli: Writing a Friend

At the end of a letter discussing such fun theological topics as ‘synechdoche’, Zwingli makes this interesting remark about the Eucharist-

In eucharistiae re gratulor vobis, te nostrum esse factum. Verum gratiam meretur novitas; brevi enim spero omnes, qui adhuc obstrepunt, tropum, qui nullo negocio videri vobis debebat, visuros esse, ac sententiae nostrae simplicitatem ac claritatem. Una est spiritualis manducatio, quo filio dei, pro nobis delitato, fidimus, non duę; quarum altera nescio quod verborum figmentum prodimus, carnaliter, corporaliter, spiritualiter.

That kernal of thought would bear fruit in 1529.  And forever after.

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Posted by on 16 Oct 2017 in Zwingli