Calvin on The Problem Of Unbelief

calvin99[Peter] not only calls the unbelieving foolish, but also points out the reason why they slandered, even because they were ignorant of God. But inasmuch as he makes the unbelieving to be without understanding and reason, we hence conclude, that a right understanding cannot exist without the knowledge of God. How much soever, then, the unbelieving may boast of their own acuteness, and may seem to themselves to be wise and prudent, yet the Spirit of God charges them with folly, in order that we may know that, apart from God, we cannot be really wise, as without him there is nothing perfect.*

*J. Calvin, Commentaries on the Catholic Epistles (p. 83).

Why “Isaiah” of the Isaiah Bulla is not the Prophet Isaiah


Remnant of Giants

In an article published this month in Biblical Archaeology Review, Eilat Mazar claims that she may have discovered “a seal impression of Isaiah the prophet, adviser to King Hezekiah”. The discovery was made from wet-sifted material originally uncovered from outside the building at Ophel, Jerusalem in 2009, within an archaeological layer dated ca. 700 BCE. The excavations have been taking place behind the 1949 Green Line, so are illegal in terms of international law.

Isaiah bulla from Ophel, Jerusalem, with hypothetical identification of other letters by Eilat Mazar

In her BAR article, Eilat Mazar expresses some caution in identifying the “Isaiah” of the seal impression (‘bulla’) with Isaiah the Prophet. The top line of writing clearly reads “leyesha‘yah[u]” (Hebrew: לישעיה[ו]; [belonging] “to Isaiah”). But there is more debate about the bottom line, on which the letters n-b-y are fairly clear. This would usually be the place for…

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Read Rollston on The Isaiah Seal Silliness


Ultimately, the conclusion that is there are a number of different possibilities for the second word of this inscription. I have listed some of them here, and there at least five to seven additional ones that could be listed. The “take away” is this. I would like to be able to say that this bulla is that of the prophet Isaiah, but that’s not at all the sole possibility. And it’s important to be forthright about stating this. Alas, we must always attempt to reflect deeply and broadly on restorations and readings. And in the case of this bulla, I think that there are a number of additional options and there is no empirical method of making a decisive determination.

Worth Thinking About…

Is this twitter remark-

Chris Kyle the greatest american sniper in military history was shot and killed when confronted by a “crazy guy” with a gun. So we just have to train the teachers a lil bit better than Chris Kyle.

Today With Zwingli

It was on this date in 1526 that Zwingli published his Ein klare underrichtung vom nachtmal Christi durch Huldrychen Zuingli tütsch (als vormal nie) umb der einvaltigen willen, damit sy mit niemans spytzfündigheit hindergangen mögind werden, beschriben.

They did like the long titles back then…  At any rate, this book appeared three years before the famed Marburg colloquy.  In it Zwingli sets the tone for the debate between himself and Luther that would culminate in that disastrous meeting.

After working through the various parts of his views, Zwingli concludes with a little poem, for the laity-

Sag mir an, ob du ‘s weist,
Das vatter, sun und geist,
Fleisch und bluot, brot und wyn
Als sampt ein got mög sin?


“For me, Yahweh’s word has been the cause of insult and derision all day long. I would say to myself, ‘I will not think about him, I will not speak in his name any more,’ but then there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones. The effort to restrain it wearied me, I could not do it. I heard so many disparaging me, ‘Terror on every side! Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’ All those who were on good terms with me watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error. Then we shall get the better of him and take our revenge!’ But Yahweh is at my side like a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, vanquished, confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.” (Jer. 20:8-11)

I Can’t Believe He’s Been Gone 18 Years

I’m remembering my friend George Beasley-Murray, who died on 23 February, 2000.

In the early 1990’s when George was visiting SEBTS with his wife Ruth we struck up a fast friendship and they invited me to visit them at their home in Hove, East Sussex.  It was my first visit to England (although certainly not my last) and it was wondrous.

I’m thinking of it today because Matt Montonini and I were chatting about the great man a few years ago and I was reminded of my time with him and the very few photos I took while I was there.  These were the days before digital cameras so I had to hunt through the photo books to find and scan them.

They’ve brought back some very fond memories of my two weeks with George and Ruth, our visits to London and Cambridge, and our trip across the Channel to Dieppe, France for a day excursion.  We discussed everything under the sun and I wondered aloud at the fact that the people at the Baptist Church he attended in Hove knew nothing of his international reputation as a leading New Testament exegete, expert on baptism in the early church, and lead translator of Rudolf Bultmann’s commentary on John.  By the by, Beasley-Murray met Bultmann on a number of occasions and shook his hand.  Meaning I too had shaken Bultmann’s hand (once removed).

George was a brilliant man and a good friend to me.  And his wife Ruth was a witty treasure who, like all Brits, loved to swap tales (usually of some fascinating personal tidbit about this or that person).

Here are the photos.  I think of you often, George.  I miss you.  Very much.  (And I miss the fact that, unlike you, no one wears a tie anymore even when sitting in the parlor reading the paper).

Praying When You Can’t Pray

On 22 February 1943, Sophie Scholl was beheaded for conspiring against the Nazis in Munich’s Stadelheim Prison. 

“I’m still so remote from God that I don’t even sense his presence when I pray. Sometimes when I utter God’s name, in fact, I feel like sinking into a void. It isn’t a frightening or dizzying sensation, it’s nothing at all — and that’s far more terrible. But prayer is the only remedy for it, and however many devils scurry around inside me, I shall cling to the rope God has thrown me in Jesus Christ, even if my numb hands can no longer feel it.” – Sophie Scholl

Via Keanu Heydari (or something)