Christendom, Christianity, and Evangelicals

Christendom is the Church married to the state- a godless abomination invented by the damnable heretic Constantine.

Christianity, on the other hand, is the Church, the body of Christ, the crucified and resurrected Son of God.

And Evangelicals today are the servants of Christendom, not members of Christianity.

Fox News Slams Jesus for Never Standing For the National Anthem

Shocking really!!!

In a broadcast Monday evening, several Fox News commentators slammed Jesus Christ for never once having stood for the United States’ national anthem, whether before a sports game or otherwise.

Fox News researchers couldn’t find a shred of evidence proving that the Lord solemnly stood and removed His cap during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner, prompting the cable news network to take him to task for the duration of an evening program.

“It’s just sad that Jesus of Nazareth never showed respect for America throughout his ministry,” one host said. “Is that really the kind of guy we should be holding up as an example for future generations? I don’t think so.”

Historical findings cited during the program also suggested that the Christ never owned a “Make America Great Again” hat, celebrated Memorial Day or Independence Day, and never even opened his messages with the Pledge of Allegiance. Fox News commentators verbally slammed the Savior for nearly a full hour, bringing up instance after instance where the Jewish Rabbi failed to show any patriotism toward the United States of America.

Sprüche (Proverbia) 1-15

Bernd U. Schipper reads the book of Proverbs within the context of ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature and at the same time as an integral part of the Old Testament. As a work of literature from the Second Temple period, the book of Proverbs takes part in the theological debates of its time over issues such as the significance of the Torah (and particularly the Deuteronomic law) or whether humans are capable of living in accordance with the divine will.

The analysis of ancient Near Eastern parallels gives special attention to textual material that has previously not been applied to the exegesis of the book of Proverbs: the sapiential texts from the Egyptian Late Period (6th–2nd c. B.C.E.).

On the whole, the final form of the book of Proverbs emerges as a text from the late Persian and early Hellenistic periods that can be ascribed to a circle of “scribes” who were well-versed in the scriptures of ancient Israel.

The publisher, V&R, have sent a review copy. My thoughts are below, and to save space you are encouraged to visit here for the TOC and front matter.

Two words spring immediately to mind concerning this volume:  Lengthy and thorough.  The volume is 870 pages long plus indices, and it only covers just less than half of the Book of Proverbs!  By contrast, the entire Book of Proverbs itself runs from page 947 to 972 in Dothan’s edition of Codex Leningradensis, a paltry 25 pages.

Schipper fills the space with 116 pages of introduction leading up to his discussion of Pr 1:1-7.  Each pericope is prefaced by a bibliography and includes a new translation of the text, copious text critical notes, an ‘orientation’ to the passage, the ‘Form’ of the passage, and a word by word and phrase by phrase commentary proper.  Each pericope is then discussed as to its ‘Aim’ (or goal).

This pattern is repeated throughout the volume with occasional insertions of ‘Forschungsgeschitliche Skizze’ when needed.

English readers need no despair; the present volume will also appear in English in the Hermeneia Commentary series (though at the moment it does not yet appear on the Fortress Press website).

This is a historical critical commentary in the best sense of that phrase.  It is classic in style and presentation and offers scholars (though not casual readers) a state of the art critical commentary on one of the Bible’s most intriguing books.  Schipper writes clearly and in spite of the size of the work, precisely.  He wastes not a word.

Readers of the volume are encouraged to take special note of the ‘Aim’ of each pericope.  Here Schipper makes some of the most interesting and relevant observations found in the volume.  In short he shows with stunning clarity the utter relevance of the Book of Proverbs.  Yet he does so whilst avoiding completely any eisegetical tendencies.  Proverbs is shown to be relevant- but without the gymnastics usually performed by eisegetes.

Weisheitliche Bildung hat zwar ihren Wert, kann jedoch den Menschen nicht allein zum Leben führen.  Dazu ist JHWH nötig, denn neben der weisheitlichen Kompetenz gibt es den Weg der Torheit, der genauso machtvoll ist wie die personifizierte Weisheit (p. 578).

Readers of German will want to obtain a copy for themselves or encourage their library to do so and English readers will want to watch for the publication of the Hermeneia edition.  This is a commentary well worth consulting.

A Reasonable Argument Against Baptism By Immersion…

If you live in Africa, and you go to a body of water frequented by crocodiles, you should definitely avoid full immersion as the mode of baptism.  Indeed, you should receive a special dispensation to be sprinkled or drizzled from a water fountain or something.  Furthermore, if someone climbs in that murky water with you up to their waste to submerge you, you should find a new Church to attend:  that dude is INSANE.

A water baptism ceremony held near a lake turned into a horrific tragedy when the pastor was reportedly grabbed by a crocodile Sunday.

Pastor Docho Eshete was baptizing at least 80 members of his Protestant congregation at Lake Abaya, in southern Ethiopia, an area known to have a huge crocodile population, when one of the creatures leaped out of the water and grabbed him.

“He baptized the first person and he passed on to another one,” a local resident told the BBC. “All of a sudden, a crocodile jumped out of the lake and grabbed the pastor.”

Pastor Docho died from injuries on his legs, back and hands despite efforts from the congregation, fishermen and residents trying to save him, policeman Eiwnetu Kanko said.

The crocodile escaped as the group used fishing nets to prevent it from taking the pastor’s lifeless body.

Nope.  100% nope.  Baptize by drizzling in such cases.  I draw the line at being chewed in half by a crocodile.

Remembering Philip Davies

I don’t recall when Philip and I first met, but it must have been in the early 90’s when Tom Thompson and Niels Peter Lemche along with Philip and Keith Whitelam were busily developing the new historical methodology known as ‘minimalism’ and alternatively as ‘ The Copenhagen School’ (if you asked Tom or Niels Peter) and ‘The Sheffield School’ if you talked to Keith or Philip.

When we met in the flesh, at a meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, after having been ‘list buddies’ on the Biblical Studies Discussion List (back then on a site called e-groups which was bought by someone else who was then bought by Yahoo), I remember thinking how very Monty-Pythonesque Philip was.  To tell the truth, he always and still reminds me of John Cleese: tall, funny, and profoundly intelligent.

We, I think, hit it off immediately.  We had both grown up Baptist (yes, Philip grew up Baptist) and we both had a deep love of things historical and biblical.  So we had a lot to talk about.

Over the years we stayed in touch, met up at SBL, corresponded with weekly regularity, and I learned so much from him and his books that I can describe him to this day as one of my chief influences.  It was a pleasure to proof some of his work and I can’t fully describe the pride and honor I experienced every time I got an email from him asking if I might look over his latest essay or monograph for infelicities of expression or lack of clarity of thought.  He sometimes typed fairly badly (!)(there were typos…) but he never failed to deliver the intellectual goods.

Philip was the one who encouraged me to join the Society for Old Testament Study, a society of scholars primarily in the United Kingdom whose focus is – surprise, surprise, the Old Testament.  He was one of the two required co-sponsors and it was he who invited me as his guest to the first meeting of the Society I ever attended (you have to be invited to a meeting if you are not a member of the Society), at the University of Chester.  That first meeting was the very meeting where I was voted unanimously into membership (and since non-members are not allowed in the Business meeting, it was Peter Williams who advised me of my acceptance, curiously, whilst we were both making use of the facilities…).

Many of my happiest memories in life have a Philip connection.  Discussing the so called ‘Deuteronomistic History’ in Cambridge or chatting about The Chronicler in San Diego at a little cafe are thoughts that now fill me with both joy and sadness.  Never to have the chance to chat with him again is nothing short of a dark cloud over my mind.

Philip was a friend to me; a genuine friend.  Ben Sira described Philip (without knowing it) when he wrote

A loyal friend is a powerful defence: whoever finds one has indeed found a treasure.  A loyal friend is something beyond price, there is no measuring his worth.  A loyal friend is the elixir of life, and those who fear the Lord will find one.  Whoever fears the Lord makes true friends, for as a person is, so is his friend too. (Sir. 6:14-17)

Philip the Elixir.  May you rest in peace eternal, friend.

Below is a gallery of photos I took at the Chester meeting of SOTS; my first, and the meeting whereat I was voted into membership, 10 years ago, in 2008.

Meet the Faculty: Professor Gareth Jones

The man in charge!

HKSKH Ming Hua Theological College eNews

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Ming Hua Principal Professor Gareth Jones explains why theology is so important to him.

Professor Gareth Jones, Principal of HKSKH Ming Hua Theological College, has a sense of urgency when it comes to theology.

He explains that theology is so important because it is about God telling His own stories, through His Son, about how He loves the world and about how that world should respond to Him.

“Our job as theologians, very simply, is to navigate that relationship with God. We are given very special privileges and opportunities to bring it to life,” he says.

“Sharing with people the sense of the Holy Spirit’s presence makes theology the most urgent, the most decisive way of speaking about God’s presence in this world.”

Prof Jones adds that it is helping people to make those connections and bring that life into their own world that makes teaching theology so exciting for…

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