The Bee Stings the ‘Poinsettia / Lily’ Christians

According to sources close to the Johnsons, the family of five was excitedly anticipating their biannual visit to Maple Hill Community Church Christmas morning, where they will get to catch up with fellow church members they have not seen since they attended church on Easter morning, earlier this year.

“I wonder how the Bakers are doing,” Laurel Johnson said as her husband Bill checked what time the special Christmas service would be on Sunday morning. “Chloe will have had the baby by now. Man, it feels like we only get to see them a couple times a year.”

“I heard Greyson went off to college already. I’m so excited to hear how his first semester went.”

Mrs. Johnson even searched for a few of her close church friends on Facebook, so she would be caught up on how their lives were going when she began her twice-yearly interaction with the body of Christ. She reportedly clicked through several dozen photo albums, commenting on how much various people had changed since they last saw them almost nine months ago.

“I can’t wait to see my brothers and sisters in Christ for the first time since March,” Mr. Johnson said. “It sounds crazy, but sometimes I wonder if we should consider upping our church attendance to three times per year.”

Spot on.

Signs of the Times

For this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thess. 2:11-12)

If Ever A Biblical Text Described our Day…

It’s this one-

The faithful man has perished from the earth, And there is no one upright among men. They all lie in wait for blood; Every man hunts his brother with a net.  That they may successfully do evil with both hands– The prince asks for gifts, The judge seeks a bribe, And the great man utters his evil desire; So they scheme together.  The best of them is like a brier; The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge; The day of your watchman and your punishment comes; Now shall be their perplexity.

Do not trust in a friend; Do not put your confidence in a companion; Guard the doors of your mouth From her who lies in your bosom.  For son dishonors father, Daughter rises against her mother, Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; A man’s enemies are the men of his own household.  

Therefore I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; My God will hear me. (Mic. 7:2-7)

The only hope we have, the only one in which we can safely confide, the only one who won’t betray us, is God.

Quote of the Day

lutherDie heilige Schrift wurde für Luther zur zweiten Heimat. Er las in ihr und er lebte in ihr. – Joachim Köhler

And that, simply put, is why Luther was a real theologian and why so called theologians today are by and large anything but theologians.  They don’t know their way around Scripture.

Emil Brunner’s Birth-iversary

Emil Brunner, the greatest theologian since Zwingli, was born on the 23rd of December in 1889.  His breadth of knowledge was astonishing and his theological significance simply cannot be overstated or even exaggerated.  As Kelly van Andel puts it so nicely

brunner_tvz3[Brunner] studied at both Zurich and Berlin universities and received his doctorate in theology from Zurich in 1913. His doctoral dissertation was entitled ‘The Symbolic Element in Religious Knowledge’. In 1916–1917. Brunner served as pastor in the mountain village of Obstalden in the Canton of Glarus. In 1919–1920, he spent a year in New York studying at Union Theological Seminary.

Preaching at the Fraumunster

Preaching at the Fraumunster

In 1921, Brunner wrote what he considered his second dissertation, Experience, Knowledge and Faith. Another book soon followed, Mysticism and the Word, a critique of the liberal theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher. Such work enhanced his academic reputation, and he was rewarded in 1924 with an appointment as professor of systematic and practical theology at the University of Zurich, which he retained until 1955. In the late 1920s, his reputation continued to increase with the publication of two more books, The Philosophy of Religion from the Standpoint of Protestant Theology and The Mediator.

brunnerIn 1932, having fulfilled invitations to visit and lecture across Europe and the United States, Brunner wrote God and Man and The Divine Imperative. Later, in 1937, he published Man in Revolt and Truth as Encounter. In 1938, he again returned to the United States to accept a visiting professorship at Princeton Theological Seminary.

He returned to Europe prior to World War II. Following the war, Brunner was invited to give the Gifford Lectures at the University of St Andrews in 1947–1948. His lecture series, ‘Christianity and Civilization’, was divided into two parts, ‘Foundations’ and ‘Specific Problems’.

brunner8Brunner’s teaching career concluded in 1953–1955 at what was then the new International Christian University in Tokyo, Japan. In the meantime, he published his three-volume dogmatics, including The Christian Doctrine of GodThe Christian Doctrine of Creation and Redemption and The Christian Doctrine of the Church, Faith, and Consummation. On the return journey from Europe to Japan, Brunner suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was subsequently physically impaired, which weakened his ability to work productively. For the next nine years, Brunner suffered from further strokes. He died on 6 April 1966.

Other books by Brunner include: Theology of Crisis (1929); Word and the World (1931);Divine-Human Encounter (1943); Justice and the Social Order (1945), Revelation and Reason: The Christian Doctrine of Faith and Knowledge (1946); Scandal of Christianity (1951);Misunderstanding the Church (1952); Eternal Hope (1954); Great Invitation: Zurich Sermons(1955); Letter to Romans: A Commentary (1959); I Believe in the Living God: Sermons on the Apostle’s Creed (1961).

You haven’t experienced the joy of theology until you’ve experienced it through Brunner’s skillful works.  Happy Birthday, Emil!