Zwinglius Redivivus

Nihil salvum esse potest, donec rabies. – John Calvin

Archive for January 4th, 2018

When in Doubt, Doubt….

Or more accurately, when you find something you want to doubt because it isn’t convenient for your attitudes or world view- doubt

After being convicted by the clear teaching of Scripture with regards to certain aspects of his deeply ingrained theological and political worldview, local man Lenny Barton took to his social media accounts to declare Scripture to be entirely unclear on the issue, sources confirmed Thursday.

“After carefully reviewing the plain, unambiguous biblical texts that disagree with my own conception of who God should be, I have come to the conclusion that Scripture is unclear,” he wrote to his several hundred internet followers.

Barton wrote that since the Bible was written many years ago, in a different time and place than our own, it was impossible to really know what the authors were talking about, despite the reliable English translation he was using of a relatively simple passage that clearly communicated the original author’s blatantly obvious meaning.

“The Bible was written in the context of ancient cultures, in ancient languages, and by ancient authors,” he wrote, though he had looked up several commentaries written by renowned biblical scholars that addressed these interpretive challenges and unanimously agreed on the plain meaning of the text in questions. “Therefore, whenever it comes into conflict with my personal convictions, feelings, or sins, I will bring up this fact and refuse to confront the obvious meaning of the text.”

“We just can’t know with any certainty what the Bible is talking about,” he concluded.

At publishing time, Barton had quoted several sections of Scripture that seemed to agree with his personal politics and conception of God, declaring these particular passages to be “undeniably clear.”

Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 7:20 pm

Posted in mockery

Professor Scott Davidson and the History of Newman University, Birmingham

Cool stuff-

History at Newman University

To celebrate the start of a year of celebrations to mark the University’s fiftieth birthday, we’ve manage to enlist the help of Professor Scott Davidson, Vice Chancellor of the University, to give us an insight into a little bit of institutional history.

You may have noticed the appearance of the University’s new logo on our entry and direction signs and on some of our publications. Eventually the logo will be placed on all our media, including our new website and intranet, the launch of which is imminent. The adoption of this new symbol is designed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the University’s foundation as Newman College in 1968. In 1988, twenty years after its opening, Newman College received Letter Patent granting it Armorial Bearings (colloquially known as a coat of arms) by royal authority from the York Herald of Arms of the College of Arms

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Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Modern Culture

Americans and their Footnotes

The great Swiss scholar Eduard Schweizer told us in a Seminar once ‘The problem with Americans is that they are afraid to say anything without adding a footnote.  They are afraid to think for themselves’.

He was pretty much right on target.

Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Modern Culture

Who is the Lord of the Church? Christ

I do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.  And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph. 1:16-23)

Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 1:01 pm

Posted in Bible

‘You’re Nearly Perfect’…

According to reports coming out of Hope Community Church, first-time visitor Brittany Wilson remains unsure about why she needed “this Jesus guy” in her life after the pastor spent the entire Sunday sermon reiterating how awesome, amazing, unique, and special she is.

“The message was super-encouraging. It was all about how I need to let the goodness within me shine and ‘just do me,’ without worrying about all the haters,” Wilson said after the service.

“But then the pastor said I needed Jesus, out of the blue. Like, what? It made no sense. I’m not sure what He has to offer that I don’t, based on how wonderful the pastor said I am.”

Wilson, who hasn’t attended church since she was a child, further reported she was “a little hurt” that the pastor would segue into an invitation to add Jesus to her life.

“It really undermined my confidence in myself,” she said, adding she wouldn’t be back anytime soon.

Emergents….

Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 12:01 pm

Posted in mockery

Fun Facts From Church History: Why The State Should Keeps Its Nose Out of the Church

If ever there were evidence that the State has no business dictating to the Church its behavior it is this event of 4 January, 1538-

Although the civil rulers of Geneva at first co-operated to the best of their ability with Calvin, opposition soon arose. Crypto-Catholics, some of them belonging to prominent families, and the so-called Libertines, as well as partisans of Farel like Ami Porral and others, opposed the strict discipline which Calvin sought to impose upon their city.

When on January 4, 1538, the Council of Two Hundred voted “that the Supper be refused to no one,” thus offering a direct affront to Calvin and Farel who had vehemently insisted upon the exclusive right of the church and its clergy to determine admission to or exclusion from the Lord’s Supper, the opposition took on serious character. A few months later, on April 22, 1538, the Council ordered Calvin and Farel to leave the city of Geneva within three days. Thus ended Calvin’s first attempt to put into practice his high church ideal.*

The State has as much business dictating the terms of the celebration of the Lord’s Supper as it does dictating the terms of Church membership.  But when you give the State an inch, it’s happy to take a thousand miles.

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*W. Mueller, Church and state in Luther and Calvin: A Comparative Study (p. 109).

Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 11:40 am

That One Time When Geneva Decided Any Wretch Was Welcome to the Lord’s Supper…

During Calvin’s first stint in Geneva, he insisted that the Church alone be allowed to determine who could receive the Lord’s Supper.   Unrepentant wretches and those living in open disobedience to God were refused entry.

Although the civil rulers of Geneva at first co-operated to the best of their ability with Calvin, opposition soon arose. Crypto-Catholics, some of them belonging to prominent families, and the so-called Libertines, as well as partisans of Farel like Ami Porral and others, opposed the strict discipline which Calvin sought to impose upon their city. When on January 4, 1538, the Council of Two Hundred voted “that the Supper be refused to no one,” thus offering a direct affront to Calvin and Farel who had vehemently insisted upon the exclusive right of the church and its clergy to determine admission to or exclusion from the Lord’s Supper, the opposition took on serious character. A few months later, on April 22, 1538, the Council ordered Calvin and Farel to leave the city of Geneva within three days. Thus ended Calvin’s first attempt to put into practice his high church ideal.*

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*William Mueller A., Church and State in Luther and Calvin: A Comparative Study, 109.

Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 8:43 am

Posted in Calvin, Modern Culture

Calvin: on Illness and Death

Do not, therefore, cast away your consolation, for that it hath pleased the Lord to abase you for a season, seeing that this is no more than what the Scripture forewarns you must come to pass, even that he exalts the humble and the despised, and lifteth them out of the dust, the needy he raises up from the dunghill; that to those who are in weeping and in tears he gives a crown of joy; that he gives light to those who sit in darkness, and raises up to newness of life those who have dwelt in the valley of the shadow of death. Hope, therefore, that this gracious God will open such a deliverance that you shall have good cause to magnify and also to glorify his clemency.  — John Calvin

Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 7:52 am

Posted in Calvin, Modern Culture

Adolf von Harnack on those Ignorant of the History of Christian Dogmatics

vonharnackThere are those at the present day who simply place their imaginary notions about Christology—the Kenotic theory for example—under the protection of the ancient dogma, i.e., who really rule out the latter, but nevertheless play the part of vindices dogmatis. The position of things is not essentially different as regards the doctrine of the Trinity.

A speculation is evolved from one’s inner consciousness, which has in common with the old dogma the contradiction between one and three, but is otherwise different from it toto cœlo, and then one describes himself as orthodox, his opponents as heretical. As if it were not an easy thing for each of these heretics to garnish his criticism of the old dogma with similar fancies!

If they could produce real satisfaction in this way, they would certainly be under obligation to do so. But these adornings have supplanted one another with astonishing rapidity—for a number of years they have almost ceased to be attempted; no one of them really gave satisfaction, each one served at the best to delay the crisis. No further notice is taken to-day as to how one comes to terms with the old dogma, indeed one shrugs his shoulders beforehand in contemplating his attempt. But that one does come to terms, even although it be by the fides implicita tenuissima, which means that one has no wish to disturb what the Church believes—that, is enough.

Thus from the days of Schleiermacher there is a living within the positive theology so to speak from hand to mouth. But even with that we should have to reconcile ourselves—our knowledge being in part—were it not that the old dogma has a fettering, burdening, and confusing influence on the faith of the nineteenth century. Because that is undoubtedly the case, what must be done is to contend one’s self against the whole world for the simple gospel.

The strongest argument urged from the other side is in these terms: “Observe that it is only where the old dogma is that there is to be found at the present time in Protestantism deep knowledge of sin, true repentance, and vigorous ecclesiastical activity.” To this objection the following reply must be given:

  • First, that this self-estimation has a pharisaic and evil ring about it, and that the judgment as to knowledge of sin and repentance falls, not to the ecclesiastical press, but to God the Lord; second, that “vigorous ecclesiastical activity” affords no guarantee for unadulterated evangelical faith;
  • were that alone decisive, Luther was wrong when he brought a revolution upon the old Church, for a long time elapsed before the Lutheran Churches were on a level in respect of vigorous activity with the Post-Tridentine Catholic Church;
  • third, that it is no wonder that the others are in a leading position, who take control of the power of tradition and of all means of rule in the most conservative corporation that exists—in the Church. For the rest, the Christian must find out the good and holy, whatever be the quarter in which it may present itself.

Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 7:20 am

Quote of the Day

Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint. (Prov. 25:19)

Written by Jim

4 Jan 2018 at 1:09 am

Posted in Modern Culture