Daily Archives: 21 May 2018

The Trump Administration is an International Laughingstock

A new cache of emails obtained by the AP, show an advisor to the crown prince of Abu Dhabi mocking Jared Kushner as the “clown prince” in an exchange with his partner, a Trump fundraiser.  “Nobody would even waste cup of coffee on him if it wasn’t for who he is married to,” George Nader wrote.

This is sad.  Trump isn’t draining any swamp.  He is the swamp.

More Pentebabbleist Nutbaggery

On April 28, 2011, Mark Taylor—a recently retired firefighter—woke at 2 a.m. Unable to return to sleep, he turned on his TV. Clicking through channels, he stopped at C-Span. The man on his screen was Donald Trump.

At that moment Mark heard God say, “You are hearing the voice of the next president.” Little did Mark know several dozen video recordings of others documented that they also heard the same message and were equally convinced it came from God.

Years later, while receiving treatments for post-traumatic stress—remnants from his work as a firefighter—Mark’s therapist, Dr. Don Colbert, an expert in the treatment of PTS, asked permission to share Mark’s unusual journal entry with his wife, an international ministry networker, Mary Colbert. Mary immediately recognized the rhythm and cadence of the April 28 journal entry as a message that was very important and special.

After seeking counsel and much prayer, Mary created the Nation Builders prayer network, which grew organically to hundreds of thousands of Christians uniting in prayer for our nation and its leadership.

Mark and Mary eventually co-wrote a book chronicling his remarkable journey from his stressful work as a firefighter, through the evening election night, 2016. Part of that book is the basis for The Trump Prophecy, a film focusing on the power of prayer and the biblical mandate to pray for those in authority over us.

Ugh.  The madness people will suck up when they have not even the most basic understanding of Scripture.

He Certainly Doesn’t Seem to Comprehend Catholic Doctrine (Like it or Not)

In an honest, impromptu homily delivered Monday, Pope Francis admitted he is just making most of his theology up as he goes, ignoring thousands of years of official Church doctrine in favor of “whatever pops into my head at the time.”

Where past Popes have been careful in their attempts to stay in line with official Catholic teaching, Pope Francis confessed he doesn’t really know much official doctrine, stating that he’s more of a “shoot from the hip kind of guy” when it comes to weighty topics of morality, salvation, God, and eternity.

“People ask me questions, and I’m not always sure what to say, so honestly I’m just winging it,” the Pope said in his candid, unscheduled address. “This job is really hard, when you think about it. Trying to be the Vicar of Christ and deal with everybody’s complicated theological questions all at the same time? Ugh. It gives me a headache. So I just start talking. Even I’m surprised with what comes out sometimes.”

“I just want everyone to know about, like, love and God and stuff,” he added thoughtfully before beginning to take questions from those gathered in the Sistine Chapel, with the Pope signing off on Christian fornication, adultery, and polygamy during the short impromptu Q&A session.

At publishing time, frantic Catholic leadership had located the Pope and tackled him to the ground to prevent him from saying anything further.

Honestly, Franky, if you don’t want to be a Catholic, you can always leave and become an Episcopalian.

The Scorching of the Foul Rag ‘The Federalist’

Some day, when the Trump administration is over and the true extent of its corruption has become part of the public record, the right-wing website The Federalist and its leading promoters and writers (especially Sean Davis and Mollie Hemingway) will receive proper recognition for the significant and distinctive contribution they made to polluting the waters of American public life.

Along with Sean Hannity’s prime time show on Fox News, the House Intelligence Committee under Devin Nunes, and the president’s own lie-filled Twitter feed, The Federalist is a leading disseminator of pro-Trump conspiracies and up-is-down, funhouse-mirror distortions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and potential Trump involvement.

Etc.  Glorious etc.  The Federalist has not an honest bone in its diseased body.

That’s What Things Are Like Right Now

You may be quite sure that in the last days there will be some difficult times. People will be self-centred and avaricious, boastful, arrogant and rude; disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious; heartless and intractable; they will be slanderers, profligates, savages and enemies of everything that is good; they will be treacherous and reckless and demented by pride, preferring their own pleasure to God. They will keep up the outward appearance of religion but will have rejected the inner power of it. Keep away from people like that. (2 Tim. 3:1-5)

The Supreme Court isn’t On the Side of Justice, or The People. It serves the Wealthy

Need proof?  Here it is.

In a case involving the rights of tens of millions of private-sector employees, the U.S. Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, delivered a major blow to workers, ruling for the first time that workers may not band together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said that the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act trumps the National Labor Relations Act and that employees who sign employment agreements to arbitrate claims must do so on an individual basis — and may not band together to enforce claims of wage and hour violations.

Did you catch that?  A law passed right before the Great Depression has been chosen as the go to precedent for this court.

Lest you labor under the delusion that America is a land of opportunity- it isn’t (unless you already possess great wealth and then you have every opportunity to enslave your workers and consumers).

Icky Eck: The Best the Papists Could Manage at Baden

To give modern readers an idea of how despised Eck was in the German speaking areas of Switzerland, Austria, and Germany, allow me a simple comparison:  Eck was to the Reformed and Protestant theologians of his day what Joel Osteen is to Reformed and Protestant Theologians today.  When he appeared at Disputations he was regularly defeated and his normal response was preening self importance.

So, who was this drivel of a man?

eckJohn Eck, more correctly Johann Maier, was born at Eck (now Egg, near Memmingen, south of Augsburg) in Swabia, November 13, 1486. When twelve years of age he began his studies at Heidelberg and continued them at Tuebingen, Cologne and Freiburg. When fourteen years of age he became Magister Artium, when nineteen bachelor of theology, when twenty-two priest at Strassburg, and in 1510, when twenty-four years, doctor and professor of theology in the University of Ingolstadt.

Having studied under humanistic teachers he advocated at first liberal views in theology and philosophy and as early as 1517 entered into friendly relations with Luther. But his unbounded ambition to be regarded as the leading theologian of Germany caused him to become the defender of the papacy and of Catholic doctrine. In 1519, he began his fight against Luther. In 1520, he visited Rome at the invitation of the Pope, when he presented to him his work on the Primacy of Peter against Luther, Ingolstadt 1520, for which he was awarded with the appointment as papal prothonotary. When on June 16, 1520, the papal bull, Exsurge Domine, appeared, in which forty-one propositions of Luther were condemned, Eck was entrusted with its execution in Germany.

At the Diet of Augsburg, Eck took a leading part as defender of the Roman Catholic position. He extracted 404 articles from the works of the reformers and with seventy other theologians collaborated in the Confutatio pontificia, in which the Catholic refutation of Protestantism was embodied.

Against Zwingli and his party, Eck first appeared at the public disputation at Baden, in Catholic territory, twelve miles northwest of Zurich, on May 21–June 18, 1526. The affair ended in favor of Eck, who induced the authorities to suppress the reformation at Baden. The dispution of Berne, which was conducted in the absence of Eck in January 1528, was won for the reformation.

When Zwingli’s account of his faith had been submitted to the emperor in July 1530, it was turned over to Eck for answer. He sat down at once and within three days, as he boasts, he produced what he intended to be a crushing reply. It was completed on July 17, 1530, dedicated to the Cardinal of Liege and printed most likely in the same month at Augsburg.

Eck was more highly esteemed as the champion of the true faith in Rome than in Germany, where he had many enemies. He was accused of drunkenness, immorality, unbounded greed for money and passionate desire for honor and preferment. When Rome did not gratify all his ambitions, he made overtures for peace to the Protestants, but they failed through hatred and contempt by which he was generally regarded.*

John Eck- self aggrandizing Papist tool.**
__________________
*The Latin Works of Huldreich Zwingli. (Vol. 2, pp. 62–63).
** For further reading: Die Einladung Zwinglis an Johann Eck zum Berner Religionsgespräch: Ein ungedruckter Zwinglibrief  — PDF

Johannes Eck, Enchiridion locorum communium adversus Lutherum et alios hostes ecclesiae (1525-1543), mit den Zusätzen von Tilman Smeling O.P. (1529, 1532), hg. von Pierre Fraenkel, in Verbindung mit dem Institut d’Histoire de la Réformation Genf, Münster i.W. 1979 (Corpus catholicorum, Werke katholischer Schriftsteller im Zeitalter der Glaubensspaltung 34). — PDF

Die Badener Disputation von 1526

9783290177577Die im Rahmen einer Eidgenössischen Tagsatzung vom 19. Mai bis 8. Juni 1526 im aargauischen Baden in deutscher Sprache abgehaltene Disputation war ein Grossereignis der Reformationszeit, vergleichbar der Leipziger Disputation 1519 und dem Reichstag zu Worms 1521, und von entscheidender Bedeutung für den weiteren Verlauf der Schweizer Geschichte. Sie war der mit der österreichischen Regierung und dem Bischof von Konstanz abgestimmte Versuch der damals noch mehrheitlich altgläubigen schweizerischen Orte, Zwingli zum Schweigen zu bringen und Zürich zurückzugewinnen. Über Realpräsenz, Messopfer, Heiligenverehrung, Bilder und Fegfeuer stritten Johannes Eck auf katholischer und (anstelle Zwinglis) Johannes Oekolampad und andere auf reformierter Seite. 

badenJetzt liegt erstmals ein kritisch edierter Text vor – samt Sprach- und Sachkommentar, einer historischen sowie einer philologischen Einleitung und einem bio-bibliografischen Verzeichnis von ca. 60 der namentlich bekannten rund 200 Teilnehmer: eine erstrangige Quelle für Historiker, Theologen und Germanisten.

It’s available from TVZ or, in North America, ISD.  And, if you’re in Switzerland, there will be a formal presentation of the book on the 19th of May.  All the details are available here.

The disputation which took place at Baden was extremely important for the development of the Reformation in Switzerland.  As Philip Schaff notes

The disputation was opened in the Catholic city of Baden, in Aargau, May 21, 1526, and lasted eighteen days, till the 8th of June. The cantons and four bishops sent deputies, and many foreign divines were present. The Protestants were a mere handful, and despised as “a beggarly, miserable rabble.” Zwingli, who foresaw the political aim and result of the disputation, was prevented by the Council of Zurich from leaving home, because his life was threatened; but he influenced the proceedings by daily correspondence and secret messengers. No one could doubt his courage, which he showed more than once in the face of greater danger, as when he went to Marburg through hostile territory, and to the battlefield at Cappel. But several of his friends were sadly disappointed at his absence. He would have equalled Eck in debate and excelled him in biblical learning. Erasmus was invited, but politely declined on account of sickness.

The arrangements for the disputation and the local sympathies were in favor of the papal party. Mass was said every morning at five, and a sermon preached; the pomp of ritualism was displayed in solemn processions. The presiding officers and leading secretaries were Romanists; nobody besides them was permitted to take notes.1 The disputation turned on the real presence, the sacrifice of the mass, the invocation of the Virgin Mary and of saints, on images, purgatory, and original sin. Dr. Eck was the champion of the Roman faith, and behaved with the same polemical dexterity and overbearing and insolent manner as at Leipzig: robed in damask and silk, decorated with a golden ring, chain and cross; surrounded by patristic and scholastic folios, abounding in quotations and arguments, treating his opponents with proud contempt, and silencing them with his stentorian voice and final appeals to the authority of Rome. Occasionally he uttered an oath, “Potz Marter.” A contemporary poet, Nicolas Manuel, thus described his conduct:—

“Eck stamps with his feet, and claps his hands,
He raves, he swears, he scolds;
‘I do,’ cries he, ‘what the Pope commands,
And teach whatever he holds.’ ”

Schaff continues

Oecolampadius of Basle and Haller of Berne, both plain and modest, but able, learned and earnest men, defended the Reformed opinions. Oecolampadius declared at the outset that he recognized no other rule of judgment than the Word of God. He was a match for Eck in patristic learning, and in solid arguments. His friends said, “Oecolampadius is vanquished, not by argument, but by vociferation.”1 Even one of the Romanists remarked, “If only this pale man were on our side!” His host judged that he must be a very pious heretic, because he saw him constantly engaged in study and prayer; while Eck was enjoying rich dinners and good wines, which occasioned the remark, “Eck is bathing in Baden, but in wine.”

The papal party boasted of a complete victory. All innovations were forbidden; Zwingli was excommunicated; and Basle was called upon to depose Oecolampadius from the pastoral office. Faber, not satisfied with the burning of heretical books, advocated even the burning of the Protestant versions of the Bible. Thomas Murner, a Franciscan monk and satirical poet, who was present at Baden, heaped upon Zwingli and his adherents such epithets as tyrants, liars, adulterers, church robbers, fit only for the gallows! He had formerly (1512) chastised the vices of priests and monks, but turned violently against the Saxon Reformer, and earned the name of “Luther-Scourge” (Lutheromastix). He was now made lecturer in the Franciscan convent at Lucerne, and authorized to edit the acts of the Baden disputation.

The result of the Baden disputation was a temporary triumph for Rome, but turned out in the end, like the Leipzig disputation of 1519, to the furtherance of the Reformation.

I cite this rather long passage in order to set the stage for the volume presently under consideration. It is, after all, best to return to the sources themselves, no matter how useful and insightful secondary sources may be. Schaff’s work is impressive, but it pales to insignificance in comparison to the first hand accounts. And that is exactly what this impressive book amply provides.

This very large volume weighs in at over 700 pages and is comprised of a Foreword, a thorough list of abbreviations, a historical introduction (from pages 27- 200), a philological introduction (pp. 249-253), the Baden Disputation texts (the first hand accounts of the events which took place at Baden and the reactions of those who were there) (pp. 249-542).  There next follows a series of indices covering the biblical text, persons, places, and authorities and sources (pp. 543-642).  Finally there’s a marvelously useful and really immensely interesting biography/ bibliography of all the major persons discussed in the texts.

The volume also contains a number of illustrations.  The book is festooned with valuable footnotes which direct readers to the copious literature available from the Disputation’s participants and witnesses.  Indeed, there are enough footnotes to make even the most meticulously minded Germanic scholar proud.

The amount of work it took for the editors to produce this volume is staggering.  From sifting through original hand written ‘minutes’ taken during the disputation itself to the examination of the official and not so official protocols later published by the Catholic and the Reformed participants and adherents must have taken many years to achieve.  Yet the careful scholarship pays huge dividends for Reformation researchers and students of history.

Extremely interesting especially to the present reviewer is the material presented in the historical introduction concerning Zwingli’s absence from the proceedings themselves and yet his presence through swiftly transported letters from Zurich to Baden and back.  Zwingli’s absence was not his wish but that of the Zurich council which knew that, had he gone, some harm would have befallen him.  As we read on page 101

Zwingli hatte sicherlich keine Angst vor einem Zusammentreffen und einen Kräftemessen mit Eck, aber die Badener Disputation hatte von Anfang an den  Charakter einer gegen ihn gerichteten Aktion und stand von Anfang an unter dem Vorzeichen einer altgläubigen Dominanz.

The texts of the disputation are presented in 16th century Swiss German but there are sufficient notes to assist modern German readers to comprehend the unusual vocabulary and orthography.

This volume is an utterly remarkable and thoroughly commendable work.  The Reformation cry Ad Fontes is here realized in an amazing way.

If I were to recommend any improvement at all it would be to add a cd-rom with the contents of the protocols (at least) on them so that searching any term or phrase would be quite simple and easily accomplished.  Several of the volumes published by TVZ contain cd’s (I’m thinking of the records of the Reformation in Zurich and Basle in particular).  Such a tool would add significantly to the already significant usefulness of this volume.

Still, I love this book.  It is scholarly, it is meticulous, it is brilliant.

My Bestie Has a New Book Forthcoming: “Cults, Martyrs and Good Samaritans: Religion in Contemporary English Political Discourse” by James Crossley

Pre-order here.

The Opening of the Baden Disputation

The disputation was opened in the Catholic city of Baden, in Aargau, May 21, 1526, and lasted eighteen days, till the 8th of June. The cantons and four bishops sent deputies, and many foreign divines were present. The Protestants were a mere handful, and despised as “a beggarly, miserable rabble.” Zwingli, who foresaw the political aim and result of the disputation, was prevented by the Council of Zurich from leaving home, because his life was threatened; but he influenced the proceedings by daily correspondence and secret messengers. No one could doubt his courage, which he showed more than once in the face of greater danger, as when he went to Marburg through hostile territory, and to the battlefield at Cappel. But several of his friends were sadly disappointed at his absence. He would have equalled Eck in debate and excelled him in biblical learning. Erasmus was invited, but politely declined on account of sickness.

The arrangements for the disputation and the local sympathies were in favor of the papal party. Mass was said every morning at five, and a sermon preached; the pomp of ritualism was displayed in solemn processions. The presiding officers and leading secretaries were Romanists; nobody besides them was permitted to take notes. The disputation turned on the real presence, the sacrifice of the mass, the invocation of the Virgin Mary and of saints, on images, purgatory, and original sin. Dr. Eck was the champion of the Roman faith, and behaved with the same polemical dexterity and overbearing and insolent manner as at Leipzig: robed in damask and silk, decorated with a golden ring, chain and cross; surrounded by patristic and scholastic folios, abounding in quotations and arguments, treating his opponents with proud contempt, and silencing them with his stentorian voice and final appeals to the authority of Rome. Occasionally he uttered an oath, “Potz Marter.” A contemporary poet, Nicolas Manuel, thus described his conduct:—

“Eck stamps with his feet, and claps his hands,
He raves, he swears, he scolds;
‘I do,’ cries he, ‘what the Pope commands,
And teach whatever he holds.’ ”

Schaff continues a brilliant description which is very much worth reading.

The Day Tyndale was Tricked, and Arrested

This just reinforces my firm belief that people cannot be trusted. Especially ‘friends’.

We Really Are, and they Are All In Washington, DC – and Manchester, UK

Refo500 Meeting

The Eighth Annual RefoRC Conference is hosted by the University of Warsaw and will take place May 24-26, 2018.
Theme of Plenary Lectures: Reformation and Education

The Reformation was closely tied to the renovation of educational models from its very beginning. By questioning the model of the medieval university and establishing new pedagogical solutions, early modern scholars and teachers shaped subsequent generations of clergy and laity, enabling them to work for their local communities and engage in the public sphere. Often these educational agendas went well beyond changes in curricula and were oriented towards much deeper goals, such as the shaping of confessional identity or the achieving of universal religious peace through the advancement of learning. As one of the leading research and educational institutions in Poland and East-Central Europe, the University of Warsaw is the perfect venue to ask further questions about the complex relations between early modern religious and pedagogical reforms. The plenary papers will offer a multi-faceted approach to this topic and will be accompanied by a series of short papers discussing all kinds of subjects related to the history of the Reformation. The aim of the conference is thus to broaden and contextualize the intersections between religious and educational reform.

Quote of the Day

Truth