Nope, Not Even Close, But Thanks for Trying…

Corrected, this reads ‘The Book of Revelation is a reminder to a persecuted community that no power on earth or in heaven is greater than the power of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus.  It levels a warning against the world’s opposition to His power and comforts His disciples with the assurance that ultimate victory is His and thus theirs’.

So kindly stop trying to hijack Scripture to fit your political agenda.  It means more when you let it speak than when you try to force it into your blinkered perspective.

Vicar in Kent fines brides £100 if late to own wedding

This is the best idea ever.  Except it should be the case with anyone in the wedding party.  If anyone is late, you forfeit the on time charge.  So have your people there on time (because wedding time wasters are really the worst people on the planet).

Reverend John Corbyn, of the Holy Cross Church in Bearstead, said couples who are on time will get their £100 deposit back along with their wedding certificate at the end of the ceremony.

But those who are 20 minutes late will lose their money, and it will be distributed to the staff who were kept waiting for the happy couple to begin the service.

There will be no fine if the delay was unavoidable – so those who get stuck in traffic need not fear.

Rev Corbyn explained he came up with the idea after visiting a church in Uganda where services were performed back-to-back, with couples getting an incentive to arrive on time.

He said he wanted to show he was taking his staff and their time seriously, as many were not doing it for the money.

Bloody genius.  I want to be this guy’s best friend.

Nordic New Testament Conference

The forthcoming Nordic New Testament Conference will take place on 8 – 12 June 2018 at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. The conference supports Nordic scholarship on Early Christianity by facilitating continual Nordic interaction within the scholarly field.

Etc.  Here.  Nordic is one of my favorite countries.  I like it a lot better than I like the country of Texas.

Sad News: Gene Tucker Has Died

Via Jack Sasson-

Gene M. Tucker
Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory
University January 08, 1935 – January 04, 2018

Denver, Colorado. Gene M. Tucker died on January 4, 2018 at the age of 82. He was born on January 8, 1935, on his grandmother’s dining room table in Albany, Texas. He was the first of five sons born to Raymond H. and Lorene Tucker. He grew up in West Texas, moving with his family at age 10 to the desert west of Andrews. Throughout his youth he hunted and fished with his father and brothers, leaving him with an abiding love for spending time outdoors, especially with the tools of those activities in his hand.

Upon graduating from high school, he entered McMurry College in Abilene Texas and became the first member of his family to earn a college degree. While there, encouraged by some of his teachers, he decided to be not only a minister of the United Methodist Church, but also a scholar and teacher of the Old Testament. But he often said that the most significant event of those years was meeting his life-long partner, Charlyne (Charky) Williams. Upon graduation in 1957, they were married in Abilene, Texas. Their honeymoon was the trip from Texas to New Haven, Connecticut, where he had been admitted to Yale Divinity School.

He graduated from Yale Divinity School in 1960 with the B.D. degree, and then the Yale Graduate School with an 1961 and the Ph.D. in Religion in 1963. He then embarked on his career in teaching, scholarship, and—as he would always stress—as an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. In 1963, he and Charky moved from Connecticut to Los Angeles for his first teaching position in the Graduate School of Religion at the University of Southern California. From there he moved to Duke University Divinity School in 1966 and subsequently to the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in 1970, where he taught until his retirement in 1995. In addition to teaching, he served a term as the Associate (academic) Dean at Candler School of Theology.

Tucker became a respected scholar, publishing numerous books and articles as author, co-author, and editor. He wrote for a wide range of audiences, including his academic peers, ministers, and general readers. He took particular pride in facilitating the work of other scholars, particularly by editing several series of publications. His works focused mainly on literary and theological issues in the biblical texts. In his teaching and research he dealt with a wide range of biblical materials, but his work was focused on the prophets and the prophetic literature. He served on the translation committee that produced the New Revised Standard translation of the Bible. In his last years as a teacher and scholar he turned his attention to the issue of the bible and the environment, driven by his concerns for how the human race is abusing its home. He was elected President of the Society of Biblical Literature in 1996. He was honored by McMurry University as a Distinguished Alumnus in 2008.

As a teacher, he was especially proud of a number of his doctoral students who have become distinguished teachers and scholars in their own right in schools and universities around the globe.

When he retired, he and Charky moved to Denver to be closer to their children, and also to be near the trout streams of the Rockies and the open skies of the West.   Gene continued his research and writing until age 76, when he donated his extensive scholarly library to the Protestant Theological Seminary in Puerto Rico. He also taught occasionally, including a semester as Visiting Lecturer at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia.

He and Charky travelled extensively, to Australia several times, to Central and South America, and throughout the American West. The ideal destination included snorkeling, fishing, and birding. It would be an understatement to say that Gene became an avid fly fisherman. He was a founding member of the Old Testament Fishing Society. With friends, he caught salmon in Alaska, bass and bluegill in Virginia, small mouth bass and northern pike in Canada, trout in New Zealand, barramundi in Australia, bonefish, tarpon and permit in Florida and the Caribbean, and—of course—trout in the Rockies. He took special pleasure in catching fish on flies he tied with the feathers of pheasant he shot, or the hair of elk he shot with a muzzle loading rifle. He would tell you a fishing or hunting story at the drop of a hat, whether you had heard it before or not.

He and his family were active in United Methodist churches wherever they lived. He taught the same adult church school class for twenty-five years in Atlanta, and was deeply moved when members of the class established a scholarship fund in his honor at the Candler School of theology. In addition, his volunteer activities included serving as the President of the Council on Human Relations, an organization working for civil rights in the late 1960’s in Durham, NC. For more than a decade he devoted a great deal of his time to leadership roles in the Society of Biblical Literature. He and his family were deeply involved in Ring Lake Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming, a non-profit retreat center beginning in 1974. He served on the board of directors and as president for many years.

Women in Zwingli’s World

Here’s a great essay for your weekend reading pleasure: Women in Zwingli’s World.

Traditional Zwingli scholarship has been fairly unanimous in the assumption that women did not play a significant role in Zwingli’s life. The records are strangely silent on the matter. Neither his writings nor his activities suggest that Zwingli was greatly involved with women and their specific concerns. In fact, one of the archivists of the Zürich Staatsarchiv expressed surprise some years ago when I asked for catalogue entries under the subject heading «women in Zwingli’s world». Nonetheless, the possibility of gaining new insights into the role women played in Zwingli’s world led us to re-examine a number of available sources.

Do enjoy.

Ulrich Jr.

Zwingli’s family tree

Did you know…

William, Zwingli’s eldest son, born in 1526, after studying in Zurich went to Strassburg to complete his education, but there died of the plague in 1541. Ulrich, born January 6, 1528, who is said to have been the image of his father, studied at Basel, became a clergyman, diakonus in the Great Minster in Zurich in his nineteenth year, professor of Hebrew in 1556, of theology in 1557; he married Bullinger’s daughter Anna. She died of the plague in 1565.*

*Samuel Macauley Jackson, Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531), Heroes of the Reformation (New York; London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons; Knickerbocker Press, 1901), 360.

Fun Facts From Church History: Climate Change in Bullinger’s Zurich

Joe Mock writes

bullinger90There was a mini ice age in the middle of the 16th century. Bullinger wrote about it in his Diarium. The mini ice age was so severe that Bullinger considered that it was the judgment of God.

Otto Ulbricht has written “Extreme Wetterlagen im Diarium Heinrich Bullinger” which is to be found in Wolfgang Behringer, Hartman Lehmann dan Christian Pfister (eds), Kulurelle Konsequenzer der kleinen Eiszeit, pp 147-175.

The following is a citation from the summary of the article:

“When looking closely at Bullinger’s diary, it becomes clear that he not only sensed the climatic change beginning in the early 1560’s (coldness, frost, hail frozen over lakes, floods), but he also described it as unique and sometimes even as a breakdown of the natural order of things. Adjectives he applied to characterize these changes have strong (and negative) emotional connotations. The extreme weather conditions – sometimes joined by famine – became the most important expression of God’s wrath in his thinking, thus displacing war and pestilence as secondary.

According to Bullinger, the main reason for God’s scorn was heavy drinking. Therefore, he and his colleagues tried to extend mandates against it to leading and secular authorities in Zurich. Religious reasons also played a role in keeping interest rates down throughout the famine of 1570/71. During this crisis, there was a major change in the liturgy through the introduction of common public prayer.”

I like it.  Climate change isn’t caused by fossil fuels, it’s caused by boozers!  Thank you Heinrich!  Thanks, Joe.

UPDATE:  Christian Pfister’s essay from the book mentioned above is available here.

The Berne Disputation

Schaff writes

The disputation at Berne lasted nineteen days (from Jan. 6 to 26). It was the Protestant counterpart of the disputation at Baden in composition, arrangements and result. It had the same effect for Berne as the disputations of 1523 had for Zurich. The invitations were general; but the Roman Catholic cantons and the four bishops who were invited refused, with the exception of the bishop of Lausanne, to send delegates, deeming the disputation of Baden final.

Dr. Eck, afraid to lose his fresh laurels, was unwilling, as he said, “to follow the heretics into their nooks and corners”; but he severely attacked the proceedings. The Reformed party was strongly represented by delegates from Zurich, Basel, and St. Gall, and several cities of South Germany. Zurich sent about one hundred ministers and laymen, with a strong protection.

The chief speakers on the Reformed side were Zwingli, Haller, Kolb, Oecolampadius, Capito, and Bucer from Strassburg; on the Roman side, Grab, Huter, Treger, Christen, and Burgauer. Joachim von Watt of St. Gall presided. Popular sermons were preached during the disputation by Blaurer of Constance, Zwingli, Bucer, Oecolampadius, Megander, and others.

The Reformers carried an easy and complete victory, and reversed the decision of Baden. The ten Theses or Conclusions, drawn up by Haller and revised by Zwingli, were fully discussed, and adopted as a sort of confession of faith for the Reformed Church of Berne. They are as follows:

1. The holy Christian Church, whose only Head is Christ, is born of the Word of God, and abides in the same, and listens not to the voice of a stranger.

2. The Church of Christ makes no laws and commandments without the Word of God. Hence human traditions are no more binding on us than as far as they are founded in the Word of God.

3. Christ is the only wisdom, righteousness, redemption, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Hence it is a denial of Christ when we confess another ground of salvation and satisfaction.

4. The essential and corporal presence of the body and blood of Christ cannot be demonstrated from the Holy Scripture.

5. The mass as now in use, in which Christ is offered to God the Father for the sins of the living and the dead, is contrary to the Scripture, a blasphemy against the most holy sacrifice, passion, and death of Christ, and on account of its abuses an abomination before God.

6. As Christ alone died for us, so he is also to be adored as the only Mediator and Advocate between God the Father and the believers. Therefore it is contrary to the Word of God to propose and invoke other mediators.

7. Scripture knows nothing of a purgatory after this life. Hence all masses and other offices for the dead are useless.

8. The worship of images is contrary to Scripture. Therefore images should be abolished when they are set up as objects of adoration.

9. Matrimony is not forbidden in the Scripture to any class of men; but fornication and unchastity are forbidden to all.

10. Since, according to the Scripture, an open fornicator must be excommunicated, it follows that unchastity and impure celibacy are more pernicious to the clergy than to any other class.

All to the glory of God and his holy Word.

Zwingli preached twice during the disputation. He was in excellent spirits, and at the height of his fame and public usefulness. In the first sermon he explained the Apostles’ Creed, mixing in some Greek and Hebrew words for his theological hearers. In the second, he exhorted the Bernese to persevere after the example of Moses and the heroes of faith.

Perseverance alone can complete the triumph. (Ferendo vincitur fortuna.) Behold these idols conquered, mute, and scattered before you. The gold you spent upon them must henceforth be devoted to the good of the living images of God in their poverty.

“Hold fast,” he said in conclusion, “to the liberty wherewith Christ has set us free. You know how much we have suffered in our conscience, how we were directed from one false comfort to another, from one commandment to another which only burdened our conscience and gave us no rest. But now ye have found freedom and peace in the knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ. From this freedom let nothing separate you. To hold it fast requires great fortitude. You know how our ancestors, thanks to God, have fought for our bodily liberty; let us still more zealously guard our spiritual liberty; not doubting that God, who has enlightened and drawn you, will in due time also draw our dear neighbors and fellow-confederates to him, so that we may live together in true friendship. May God, who created and redeemed us all, grant this to us and to them. Amen.”

There’s a good deal of material in Zwingli’s Works related to the Berne Disputation.  Those are found in vol. VI/1 of ZW.

Nr. 110 Bittschrift an den Rat, daß man Zwingli selbst und andere Gelehrte an die Disputation zu Bern senden möge, Zwischen 7. und 11. Dezember 1527
Nr. 111 Ratschlag der 4 Verordneten und 3 Leutpriester wegen der Disputation zu Bern, Zwischen 7. und 11. Dezember 1527
Nr. 112 Notizen Zwinglis an der Berner Disputation, 6. bis 25. Januar 1528
Nr. 113 Voten Zwinglis an der Berner Disputation, 6. bis 25. Januar 1528
Nr. 114 Zwinglis Entwurf für Berchtold Hallers Schlußansprache, 25. oder 26. Januar 1528
Nr. 115 Entbietung Zwinglis, Oekolampads, Capitos und Bucers, 26. Januar 1528
Nr. 116 Die beiden Predigten Zwinglis in Bern, 19. und 30. Januar 1528
Nr. 117 Anweisung für das Berner Reformationsmandat, Zwischen 27. und 31. Januar 1528

Read that. It’ll give you some food for thought.

Luther Was a Busy Guy

luther“I am very busy. Four persons are dependent on me, and each of them demands my time for himself. Four times a week I preach in public, twice a week I lecture, and in addition I hear cases, write letters, and am working on a book for publication. It is a good thing that God came to my aid and gave me a wife. She takes care of domestic matters, so that I do not have to be responsible for these too.”  — Martin Luther