Daily Archives: 19 Dec 2017

The Current State of Theology

Too many theologians are cowards.   And too many cowards are theologians.  Our world needs more of the sort like St. Jerome.  Martin Luther.  John Calvin. Huldrych Zwingli.  William Tyndale.  John Foxe.

An Interview with Marvin Pate

This is worth reading.  Even if it is on a somewhat questionable blog…  bless their hearts….  😉

The Bible, The Government, And The Disconnect Between the Two

A US Senator tweeted out this passage from the Bible this morning-

Better to be poor and walk in integrity than rich and crooked in one’s ways. Proverbs 19:1

Ironically, that same Senator supports a bill which gives massive tax breaks to the wealthy and makes up for them on the backs of the Middle and Lower classes…

It fascinates me to observe the disconnect between what the Bible teaches and what so called religious people do in their actions.  Honestly, either they have no clue as to what the Bible means, or they’re quoting it contemptuously, as if to say- ‘I know what I’m supposed to do- but I just do not care’.

I think it’s the latter.

But to be fair, it isn’t just politicians who despise the Bible- it’s average Christians too.  Christians who cite Scripture but have no intention at all of abiding by its teachings.  Both camps are abhorrent.

The ‘Gospel’ Everyone Wants… But That Saves None

New Gospel Fragment Reveals Part Where Jesus Affirmed Everybody’s Sins

A newly unearthed portion of the gospel of Mark, discovered in an ancient pottery piece dating from the first century, reveals at long last the part of the gospel narrative in which Jesus affirmed everybody’s pet sins, reports confirmed Tuesday.

The new fragment of the gospel relates in great detail a story of Jesus confronting sinners and Pharisees and encouraging them to follow their hearts and be true to themselves.

For example:

And so Jesus went up to the mountainside to preach to the crowd, saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, you’re beautiful no matter what they say. Don’t ever change.”

The text further records Jesus listing off various sins named in the Scriptures and confirming that they’re no longer considered sin, as long as the wider culture affirms and celebrates them.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that love is love, and whoever commits adultery is really just living their own truth and not settling for less. Don’t be haters.”

The scrap of parchment has already sent shock waves through modern Christendom, with thousands of pastors and theologians switching positions on a plethora of controversial social issues.

“It’s pretty clear in this new text that Christ came alongside the marginalized, like sinners and tax collectors, and told them to just go ahead and keep sinning,” Pastor Tim Keller said of the discovery. “As a student of the Bible, I have to affirm people in their sins now.”

“It’s loving like Jesus did, after all,” he added.

Keep Up Your Greek, Hebrew And Aramaic


We all know a lot of people who, if they took the biblical languages at all, soon let them go through indifference and failure to keep up by reading.  This is a great tool to correct that failure.  Hendrickson has sent each for review.

First, the volumes are really lovely aesthetically.  The binding is neither soft cover nor hardback but a kind of padded (if I can use that word) sort.  The books, as you grasp them, have a soft but firm feel to them.  Immediately upon opening them the user encounters not a plain white paper stuck to the boards but a lovely patterned print, unique to each volume.  The font used in each is clear and sharp and they all sport two cloth ribbon bookmarks sewn into the binding itself (in the style of the old Bibles which had those lovely ribbon bookmarks as standard equipment).

As to the contents themselves, they are an arrangement of daily readings intended to build vocabulary through usage (the way we actually learn words rather than simply repeating words from flash cards).  Each volume (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek) are comprised of an English rendering of a verse (with key Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek words in parentheses) followed by a couple of vocabulary words (in descending order of usage in the Bible [so that vols 1 of the Hebrew and Greek works start with the 365 most used words and vols 2 of the Hebrew and Greek works start with the 366th most used word and continue in descending usage for the remaining 364 words]), which are defined.

This is followed by the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek verse (depending of course on which volume the reader is using).  And finally, there is a phrase by phrase breakdown of the verse, with the original on the left and the English on the right.

At the very top of the page there is a ‘Day’ ‘week’ and ‘Date’ provided so if, for instance, one wishes to read the page for December 19, one locates that page and finds week 51 and day 353.  This arrangement allows users to follow the calendar or their own system of days or weeks.

The benefit of such a tool can’t be exaggerated.  It is simply ideal for the busy student who has already acquired a year or so of the Languages but who doesn’t have an hour each day to devote to translating.  It will enable such a student to keep up with what they’ve learned and expand upon it.  It is also ideal for the Pastor who took the Languages but who has let them ‘lapse’.  Reading will achieve regaining.

If the works have a weakness I haven’t been able to discover it yet.  They are just simply brilliant and so I can heartily commend them to students and Pastors.  That said, they should not become an end in themselves but must achieve their real goal- of provoking Pastors and students to further reading of the Biblical texts in their original languages.  This tool is a means to an end: reading the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.

Used correctly, after a year or two of spending a couple of minutes a day in the Bible, users of these volumes should find a student or Pastor to give them to as a gift and take in hand the Bible itself.

Today With Zwingli: Proceeding With Caution and Care

hottinger.jpgAs Reform moved forward in late 1523, and the Mass was being eliminated, Zwingli acted with caution and care.

“God knows,” said Zwingli, “that I am inclined to build up and not tear down. I am aware that there are timid souls who ought to be conciliated; let the mass, therefore, for some time longer be read in all the churches, and let us avoid insulting the priests who celebrate it.”

In the chapter of the Great Minster there was a division of opinion concerning the mass. An appeal was made to the Council, and that body referred the subject for final decision to the parish priests—Zwingli, Engelhardt, and Jud. Their decision, as was to be expected, was wholly in favor of reform, but the Council subsequently manifested an unwillingness to entertain any changes further than to allow the pastors of Zurich to celebrate the Eucharist in their own parishes according to either the old or the new form.

On December 19 the Council invited the clergy of the city to appear before them nine days later for a public disputation on all matters under dispute. At this conference nothing was done, and an adjournment was taken until January 19, 1524. In the meantime the Council had banished from the canton Hottinger, the iconoclast of Stadelhofen, and forbidden him to return without their permission.*

Zwingli’s view was Scripturally oriented- everything should be done decently and in order and not chaotically and destructively.  That was his methodology of Reform.

*Samuel Simpson, Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (New York: Baker & Taylor Co., 1902), 134–135.

Quote of the Day

erfurt-03When Martin Luther entered the monastery-

Nicht christliche Liebe herrschte, sondern das altvertraute Leistungsprinzip. Jeder Mönch bewegte sich wie der Hamster im Rad. Martin wollte der schnellste Hamster sein. – Joachim Köhler