Zwinglius Redivivus

Nihil salvum esse potest, donec rabies. – John Calvin

Archive for December 7th, 2017

‘Evangelical’ Is No Longer a Theological Term; Now it is Purely a Political Identifier

And it identifies residents of the deep South who are white, racist, insulated, theologically ignorant, and despisers of anyone they consider outsiders to their whiteness.  In short, they are Trump voters and Moore supporters.

For decades, the belief that private morality was essential to assessing the worthiness of politicians and public figures was an animating ideal at the core of the Christian right’s credo. As with most ideals, the movement did not always live up to its own standards. So-called “values voters” pursued a polarizing, multi-faceted agenda that was often tangled up in prejudice and partisanship. They fiercely defended Clarence Thomas when he was accused of sexually harassing Anita Hill, for example, and then excoriated Bill Clinton for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

But even when they were failing to hold their own side accountable, they still clung to the idea that “character counts.” As recently as 2011, a poll by the Public Religion Research Institute found that only 30 percent of white evangelicals believed “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” But by the time Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, that number had risen sharply to 72 percent. White evangelicals are now more tolerant of immoral behavior by elected officials than the average American. “This is really a sea change in evangelical ethics,” Robert P. Jones, the head of the institute and the author of The End of White Christian Americarecently told me.

Conservative values voters seem to have largely abandoned their search for moral exemplars in the political arena—as my colleague Yoni Appelbaum wrote last year—and are now content to settle for any candidate who will fight abortion and protect their religious freedom.

In sum, they are members of the Tea Party.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 7:57 pm

Posted in Modern Culture

The @GOP Is Just a Party Of Self Important Garbage Ripping off The Taxpayers

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 7:50 pm

Posted in Modern Culture

Just a Reminder That the Nonsense Claim ‘Jerusalem Has Been Israel’s Capital for 3000 Years’ Is Pure Rubbish

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 7:15 pm

Posted in Modern Culture

No, Eugene Peterson, He Does Not and We Do Not

So. Much. Wrong.  First, God doesn’t ‘start out’ where we do.  God is the Uncreated Creator of all things and Jesus’ preexistence is a matter of orthodox Christian faith.  And no, second, we can not become what he is, because we can never become God and we can never become eternal.

Peterson’s theology as reflected in this meme is astonishingly poor.  One would expect better of someone who is claimed to be important.  As it stands, the quotation is utter garbage.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 7:09 pm

Larry Hurtado versus Richard Carrier on Jesus Mythicism

Three words: Read Maurice Casey.

Remnant of Giants

There is a curious exchange going on at the moment between New Testament scholar Larry Hurtado and Jesus mythicist and historian Richard Carrier. “Jesus Mythicism”, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, is the position that there was no historical Jesus. Jesus never existed! Instead, Jesus was only ever a mythical figure.

The current exchange began with Hurtado’s largely positive review (27 Nov 2017) of Tim O’Neil’s site, History for Atheists. Hurtado drew attention to O’Neil’s post on Jesus Mythicism, “The Jesus Myth: The Jesus Myth Theory, Again” (31 May 2017).

In that post, Hurtado also mentioned his own earlier discussions of Jesus Mythicism, which he wrote following Bart Ehrman’s book-length response to Jesus mythicism, Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth (HarperOne, 2012). Hurtado’s posts at that time were as follows:

The ‘Did Jesus Exist’ Controversy and Its Precedents

View original post 557 more words

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Modern Culture

It is Impossible to Understand How Any Christian Can Support Roy Moore

Set aside all the things we’ve learned about his immoral 30’s.  Set aside his creepy adultery.  Set aside his clear misogyny.  And just listen to his answer to a question posed to him by a Black man- via the twitter-

@ShaunKing – RED ALERT! I KID YOU NOT!!! A Black man asked Roy Moore “When was the last time America was great?” And Roy Moore said during slavery. I’m dead serious.

No Christian worthy of that hallowed name could support such a man.  He is anti-Christ.  In the most accurate sense of the word.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 6:08 pm

Posted in Modern Culture

Public Lectures at Ming Hua Theological College, Hong Kong

Come join us as we explore the many faces of the faith of St Paul during the daytime sessions and then come back in the evening for our ‘Prime Time’ lectures on the topic of suffering as we examine that subject in the Book of Job.

Both lecture series begin on January 15 and conclude on the 26th.  Time and room number to be announced nearer the series.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 2:01 pm

Mark Through Old Testament Eyes

Through Old Testament Eyes is a new kind of commentary series that opens the New Testament writings in greater depth to anyone committed to understanding or teaching Scripture. In this inaugural volume, the richness of Old Testament allusions and background in Mark clarifies puzzling passages and explains others in fresh ways.

The exodus motif structures Mark. Mark also presents Jesus as the true temple of God in contrast to the existing temple, which has been corrupted. These important themes are hidden to modern eyes without the insight of an Old Testament perspective, and this commentary builds on that insight to emphasize how the gospel applies to the daily lives of Christians today. 

Kregel was kind enough to send a review copy.  I’ve always loved the ‘Old Testament in the New Testament’ aspect of biblical studies and indeed, my ThM thesis was on the use of Isaiah in the Gospel of John.  So this is, as they say, right up my alley.

The bulk of the volume is made up of verse by verse commentary on the Gospel of Mark but it also includes an Introduction and a list of abbreviations and a select bibliography, end notes, and Scripture index.

The introduction covers some unusual topics (for a commentary) such as a few paragraphs explaining the New Testament writers’ familiarity with the Old Testament, the treatment of obscure references, and then the more normal topic of the structure of Mark, who Mark was, and his use of the Old Testament.  It’s a quite helpful guide to what the author is aiming to achieve here.

The Commentary proper is then immediately turned to.  Phrase by phrase and sometimes word by word, Le Peau guides readers not only through the Marcan text but through the Old Testament subtext.  For instance, of 1:4, he writes

In the wilderness.  Allusions to the exodus of Israel in the wilderness that began in 1:2-3 continue here.

And then of course he goes into further detail for another full page on this verse alone.

One of the things readers can expect to find fairly regularly is the phrase ‘See comment at ______________’ (where the blank indicates the passage location where the issue is previously discussed).  Cf, for instance, at Mark 3:1.

Throughout the volume there are ‘blocks’ of material that in other volumes would be excurses or extensive footnotes.  These are set off from the body of the text by use of greyed boxes.  They range in length from fairly short to very long, depending on our author’s perception that a particular issue needs more or less extensive discussion.

The author does not include the long ending of Mark in his exegesis and instead relegates it (rightly, since it is not authentic) to one of his many greyed-box excurses.

Overall, then, this volume does the job it was intended to do.  It explains the text of the Gospel of Mark by paying particular attention to the points of contact Mark contains in connection to the Old Testament.  It is simple and at places simplistic, utilizing fairly standard tropes like ‘the number seven is the number of perfection’ and that sort of thing as well as taking the reconstructed history of Israel based on a simple straightforward reading of the Old Testament as a given.  Readers will enjoy it so long as they don’t expect too much of it.  It doesn’t address textual or historical issues (relating to the Gospel itself) and there are not what one might consider a lot of endnotes (just about 6 pages for 310 page book).

It is not an academic volume, and does not wish to be.  What it wishes to be is a study guide for small groups or churches and in that respect, with that aim in mind, it achieves its goal magnificently.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 1:18 pm

Samantha Bee Does a Better Job Talking About North Korea Than Any News Outlet

You need to watch this-

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 10:22 am

Posted in Modern Culture

The Only ‘Value’ Trump Holds to Is Inconsistency and Hypocrisy

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 9:49 am

Posted in Modern Culture

Truth: There is No Christian Life Apart from Christian Doctrine

Via the Dutch Calvinist.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 8:29 am

Posted in Theology

The Hypocrisy of the Newt

I wonder why Newt didn’t say anything about the importance of the popular vote when Hillary Clinton destroyed Donald Trump in the popular vote and should have, therefore, been the President.

GOP hypocrisy since the election of Trump has reached an all time high.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 8:25 am

Posted in Modern Culture

Pope Francis Errs When He Mangles the Lord’s Prayer

Don’t miss this grand rejoinder by an actual biblical scholar to Pope Francis’s attempt to distort the Lord’s Prayer:

Diskussion um das Gebet der Gebete: Papst Franziskus bemängelt, »und führe uns nicht in Versuchung« sei eine schlechte Übersetzung. Die französischen Bischöfe haben die Bitte bereits geändert. Darf man am »Gebet des Herrn« einfach herumlaborieren? Bibel-Experte Thomas Söding aus Münster rät zu Vorsicht.

Kirche+Leben: Herr Professor Söding, darf man Jesus korrigieren?

Thomas Söding: Wenn man es kann … Aber wer soll das können? Wer will Jesus schulmeistern? Der Papst sicher nicht. Aber im Ernst: Wichtig ist, Jesus zu interpretieren, sodass er heute verstanden werden kann. Der erste Schritt ist dann aber, zu identifizieren, was er zu seiner Zeit gesagt hat und was die Evangelien von ihm überliefert haben. Das ist viel reicher als das, was viele Verteidiger und Kritiker daraus gemacht haben.

Read the rest.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 8:17 am

Posted in Theology

Luther On Suicide

luther30Luther-

“I don’t share the opinion that suicides are certainly to be damned. My reason is that they do not wish to kill themselves but are overcome by the power of the devil. They are like a man who is murdered in the woods by a robber.”

Luther’s view is quite impressive given his Sitz im Leben and society.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 7:46 am

Posted in Luther

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Quote of the Day

calvin87We must carefully notice these two things—that a knowledge of all the sciences is mere smoke, where the heavenly science of Christ is wanting; and man, with all his acuteness, is as stupid for obtaining of himself a knowledge of the mysteries of God, as an ass is unqualified for understanding musical harmonies.*

___________________
*John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, 1:20.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 6:26 am

Posted in Calvin, Theology

‘If They Had Been of Us, They Would Have Remained With Us’: Zwingli and the Re-Baptizers

H. Wayne Pipkin’s fine essay titled  «They went out from us, for they were not of US»  Zwingli’s Judgment of the Early Anabaptists is as interesting now as it was in 1992, two decades ago.  He begins

zw941.jpgWe will never know what the Reformation would have looked like if the reformers Luther, Zwingli or Calvin had been able to carry out their reforms without controversy. As it was, the theologies and the churches that emerged were fashioned within the context of vigorous interaction with opponents on the left and right. This commonplace judgment was especially true of the reforming efforts of Zwingli, whose work was early circumscribed by energetic adversaries. Zwingli’s early program was directed against the abuses of the medieval Catholic church in Zürich. He hoped to carry out this reform thoroughly and consistently with the assistance of all the evangelical groups in the city and the region. He expected that support for his campaign would be unquestioned. It was not to be.

You’ll enjoy the entire thing. This passage is especially worth highlighting-

The literary activity of December demonstrates how lively the issues had become once again between Zwingli and his internal opponents. In a letter to Vadian, Grebel noted what he had heard of Zwingli’s activity: «Der Zwingli schribt vom gwalt. Ob er denselben kretzen werd, weiß ich nit; ist wol müglich. Er der Zwingli schribt ouch von den ufrüereren oder ufruor; darf wol unß beträffen. Sähend zuo; eß wirt etwas bringen» (this is the volume refereed to earlier today).

Grebel the Syphilitic was on a tear and he would do his best in rending Zurich to pieces had he succeeded.  Read this true gem in the archives of Zwingliana.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 5:03 am

Spring Semester Course Offerings

BTh Poster

MTh Poster

Click for the PDF’s.

Written by Jim

7 Dec 2017 at 4:55 am