Daily Archives: 16 Oct 2018

The Fate of All Godless (Politicians)

“They are the most exquisite pains of soul and body (for both had sinned), arising from the fear and sense of the most just wrath and vengeance of God against sins, the most sad consciousness of which they carry about with them, the baseness of which is manifest, and of which, likewise, no remission afterwards, and, therefore, no mitigation or end can be hoped for. Whence, in misery, they will execrate, with horrible lamentation and wailing, their former impiety, by which they carelessly neglected the admonitions of their brethren and all the means of attaining salvation; but in vain.

For in perpetual anguish, with dreadful trembling, in shame, confusion, and ignominy, in inextinguishable fire, in weeping and gnashing of teeth, amidst that which is eternal and terrible, torn away from the grace and favor of God, they must quake among devils, and will be tortured without end to eternity.

These future torments of the damned far surpass all the penetration of the human mind, so that we are not sufficient to ever comprehend in thought their greatness; therefore, what they will be, or of what nature, cannot be at all expressed in words. Scripture, nevertheless, in order to show that these tortures are the greatest and most exquisite, likens them to those things by which, in this life, pain both of soul and body is accustomed to be excited. For this reason they are compared now to the gnashing of teeth, now to worms, now to the most sorrowful darkness, and whatever other matters of sadness and of the most complete pain can be mentioned.*

_____________
*Heinrich Schmid, The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, pp. 659–660.

Now Go And Apply This Sage Advice, mutatis mutandis, to Every Bible Themed ‘Discovery’

Because what she says her, applies there.  Especially when you read reports in the media and in BAR, where sensationalizing always trumps scholarship.

If They Don’t Act Like Christians, They Aren’t Christians

And they should be denounced as the wolves in sheep’s clothing that they are.  The silence of too many Christians simply to be ‘polite’ has led to a situation where any heretic and false teacher can claim to be a Christian and collect a following of Christians.  It’s time to crack down on them.  It’s time to tell people that Joel Osteen isn’t a Christian.  That TD Jakes isn’t a Christian.  That Paula White isn’t a Christian.  That Benny Hinn isn’t a Christian.  That Pat Robertson isn’t a Christian.

And that’s not ‘judging’ them.  That’s simply pointing out that the rotten theological fruit they produce proves that they are rotten trees and no true Christian.

It’s time, in sum, to take Scripture seriously.

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. “Not everyone who says to Me,`Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  (Matt. 7:15-21)

Could Jesus be any clearer?  The why don’t Christians today act like it?

Zeal For Your House? Or Something Else?

I have become a stranger to my brothers, And an alien to my mother’s children; Because zeal for Your house has consumed me, And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.” (Ps. 69:8-9)

The Psalmist means of course that his love for God has set him apart from even his family and caused him to literally identify the cause of God with his own life’s work. God, the worship of God, and serving God are all consuming for him. How many people who call themselves Christians today can say that? And is that inability to confess an all consuming love for God the reason so many take their Christianity so lightly? Is it the reason so few bother with Sunday School and worship? Is it the reason so few support the critical financial needs of their Churches and their ministries? Is it the reason that God just isn’t that important to even His own people?

Today there are a lot, an awful lot, of Christians who if they are honest can easily confess ‘zeal for the ball game has consumed me’. But can they with equal honesty say ‘zeal for your house has consumed me? As Jesus said, ‘you will know a tree by the fruit which it produces’. Whatever we are most zealous for is what we love most. There’s just no escaping that simple truth. And the world knows it too. And is watching.

Self Love Rules the World

Because Christ’s teachings contradict the interests of selfish men, that’s why the world so generally rises up against it with indignation, even as a country will rise against an invading enemy: for he comes to take away that which is dearest to them; as it is said of Luther, that he meddled with the pope’s crown, and the friars’ bellies; and therefore no wonder if they swarmed all about his ears. Selfishness is so general and deeply rooted in our world that (except with a few self-denying saints) self-love and self-interest rule the world. — Richard Baxter

You Evangelicals Are Heretics

Kindly stop calling yourselves Christians. You aren’t.

Millennials Don’t Want To Vote?

Millennials will pay for it. Literally.

You guys and gals might want to start voting the politicians out who are screwing you.

Silence is Sin

[When sin abounds] we must not be silent, lest we disgrace religion and the church, simply in order to curry favor with sinners. — Richard Baxter

Dogmatik

Dogmatik als gedankliche Rechenschaft des christlichen Glaubens ist eine soteriologische Interpretation der Wirklichkeit. Sie analysiert ihre Erlösungsbedürftigkeit unter der Voraussetzung der biblisch bezeugten Erlösungswirklichkeit. Das ist der Grundgedanke des renommierten Wiener Systematikers Ulrich H. J. Körtner in seinem umfassenden Lehrbuch, das fünf Hauptteile ­umfasst.

Anhand der Leitbegriffe Gott, Welt und Mensch bietet es eine kompakte Darstellung aller Hauptthemen christlicher Dogmatik, ihrer problemgeschichtlichen Zusammenhänge und der gegenwärtigen Diskussion. Leitsätze bündeln den Gedankengang. Das dem lutherischen und dem reformierten Erbe reformatorischer Theologie verpflichtete Lehrbuch berücksichtigt in besonderer Weise die Leuenberger Konkordie (1973) und die Lehrgespräche der Gemeinschaft Evangelischer Kirchen in Europa (GEKE).

A review copy has been graciously provided by the publisher.  It’s now on my to do list, so look for it soon (because procrastination is of the Devil).

Fun Facts From Church History

luther_bibel_revLuther lectured on 1 John and did so so meticulously that on October 16, 1527, he managed to cover four whole verses- 4:17–21.

Luther- the exegete.

The Day Jerome Bolsec Began Spewing His Heresy

At a general meeting, held October 16, 1551, the minister of Jussy, Jean de Saint André, in preaching from the words of St. John, (8:47,) “He that is of God heareth God’s words …,” took occasion to develop the doctrine of eternal election, declaring that “those who are not regenerated by the Spirit of God, continue in a state of rebellion even to the end, because obedience is a gift accorded only to the elect.” He had scarcely finished speaking when one of the hearers rose up, and pronounced this doctrine false and impious, accompanying his discourse with coarse abuse of those who make God the author of sin, and exhorted the people to guard against this new doctrine as a detestable piece of folly.

This man was the old Carmelite monk, Jerome Bolsec, a physician, preacher, and poet, who, wandering by turns in France and Italy, had retired to Geneva some months previously, where he had already frequently attacked the doctrines of Calvin. Unnoticed in the crowd, the Reformer, whom Bolsec had thought absent, immediately rose up, and by a succession of testimonies borrowed from the writing of Augustine, eloquently refuted his adversary.

Arrested on account of the temerity of his language, and interrogated by the magistrate, Jerome refused to retract, and was thrown into prison. The case was brought before the Council, where he boldly maintained his opinion, adding, besides, that many of the Swiss ministers shared in his sentiments. Before pronouncing a judgment, which the ministers of Geneva earnestly desired, the magistrates wrote concerning the subject to three reformed towns, namely, Zurich, Berne, and Basle, furnishing them with a list of the errors of Bolsec, and asking their advice as to how they should treat him.*

Later Calvin wrote this letter (in the name of the reformed pastors of the city) to the Reformed ministers of Switzerland (and it’s rather long, but very much worth the read) :

There is one Jerome here, who, having thrown off the monk’s cowl, is become one of those strolling physicians, who, by habitual deception and trickery, acquire a degree of impudence which makes them prompt and ready in venturing upon anything whatever. He made an attempt, eight months ago, in a public assembly of our church, to overthrow the doctrine of God’s free election, which, as received from the word of God, we teach in common with you.

Then, indeed, the impertinence of the man was regulated by some degree of moderation. He ceased not afterwards to make a noise in all places, with the intention of shaking the faith of the simple in this all-important doctrine. At length he openly disgorged what poison was in him. For when one of our brethren, not long since, was expounding, after our ordinary custom, that passage in John where Christ declares that those who do not hear God’s words are not of God; he remarked that as many as have not been born again of the Spirit of God, continue in a state of stubborn resistance to God, even to the end, inasmuch as the gift of obedience is peculiar to the elect of God, on whom it is bestowed.

That worthless wretch rose up, and affirmed that the false and impious opinion, that the will of God is the cause of all things, took its rise during the present century from Laurentius Valla; but that in this he acted wrongly, for he charged God with the blame of all evils, and falsely imputed to Him a tyrannical caprice, such as the ancient poets fancifully ascribed to their Jove. He then took up the second head, and affirmed that men are not saved because they have been elected, but that they are elected because they believe; that no one is condemned at the mere pleasure of God; that those only are condemned who deprive themselves of the election common to all. In dealing with this question, he inveighed against us with a great deal of violent abuse. The chief magistrate of the city, on hearing of the matter, imprisoned him, especially as he had been tumultuously haranguing the common people not to allow themselves to be deceived by us.

On being brought before the Senate for trial, he proceeded to defend his error with no less obstinacy than audacity. He, moreover, made it his boast that a considerable number of the ministers of the other churches sided with him; on which we requested the Senate not to give its final decision until, having heard from your church, it should ascertain how this worthless wretch had wickedly abused your name by making you sanction his error. Overcome by shame, he at first did not decline the decisions of the churches, but began to jest about having good reason to mistrust you from your familiar intimacy with our brother Calvin.

The Senate, however, according to our request, resolved upon consulting you. Besides, and in addition to this, he was implicating your church. For while denouncing Zwingli above all others, he said that Bullinger was of precisely the same opinion with himself. He has craftily watched for a handle of discord among the Bernese ministers. We are really anxious to have this plague so removed from our church, that it may not infect our neighbours when we have got rid of it ourselves. Although it is of very great importance to us and to the public tranquility, that the doctrine which we profess should meet with your approval; yet we have no reason to entreat your confidence in many words.

The Institutes of our brother Calvin, against which he is especially directing his attacks, is not unknown among you. With what reverence and sobriety he has therein discussed the secret judgments of God, it is not for us to record: the book is its own bright witness. Nor in truth do we teach anything here but what is contained in God’s holy word, and what has been held by your church ever since the light of the Gospel was restored. That we are justified by faith, we all agree; but the real mercy of God can only be perceived when we learn that faith is the fruit of free adoption, and that, in point of fact, adoption flows from the eternal election of God.

But not only does this impostor fancy that election depends upon faith, but that faith itself is originated as much by man himself as by divine inspiration. There can be no doubt, on the other hand, that when men perish, it must be imputed to their own wickedness. But by the case of the reprobate whom God, from His own mysterious council, passes by and neglects as if unworthy, we are taught a striking lesson of humility.

Yet such is this Jerome, that he will not admit that God does anything justly unless he has palpable evidence of it. In fine, this much is fixed and conceded by us all, that when man sins, God must not be regarded as having any share in the blame, nor that the word sin can in any sense be applied to Him. Yet this does not hinder Him from exercising His power, in a wonderful and incomprehensible way, through Satan and the wicked, as if they were the instruments of His wrath, to teach the faithful patience, or to inflict merited punishment on His enemies. This profane trifler cries out that we bring an impeachment against God when we allege that He governs all things by His providence.

Destroying, in short, in this way, all distinction between causes as remote and concealed, on the one hand, and as near and patent on the other; rendering it impossible to regard the sufferings to which holy Job was subjected as the work of God, but that He may be held as equally guilty with the Devil, the Chaldeans, and the Sabæan robbers.

Our mutual relationship, therefore, demands that you will not consider it troublesome to uphold and maintain, by your countenance, that doctrine of Christ which has been outraged by the profanity of a wanton and ill-disposed man. As we confidently trust that you will do this gladly and of your own accord, we consider it useless to ply you with anxious and earnest requests; and, on the other hand, should our services be at any time of advantage to you, you will ever find us prepared to discharge every brotherly duty.

—Adieu, most beloved and esteemed brethren. May God guide you by His Spirit, bless your labours, and defend your church!*

_________________________
* J. Bonnet, Letters of John Calvin-IV (Vol. 1). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Sometimes There Are Stupid Questions

You say no, without hesitation. A robot has no soul, it needs no redemption, it cannot receive redemption, it takes no part in the sacraments, it has no part in the community of faith, and it does not know God.

Vanity Publishing* and Vanity Conferencing

We all know the academic guy or gal who poo poos the folk who pay to have their stuff published by vanity presses.  ‘Oh, so and so published their work at Smyth and Stock and of course it can’t be taken seriously’ they chortle amongst themselves as they sip their craft beer at the watering hole whilst attending the latest academic conference.

Meanwhile the sad hypocrites have paid airfare or train fare and hotel charges** to present their paper at the academic conference at which they deride the ‘vanity publishers’.  In short, they have paid to read their paper at a conference and simultaneously denounce and denigrate someone else who has paid to have their work published.

Do you see, gentle reader, the utter hypocrisy of such attitudes?  The one pays a publisher, the other pays a hotel and an airline.  So how are they different?  Both are paying in order to spread their views.

Those who attend academic conferences have no business and no right to denigrate those who choose to pay to have their stuff published.  They’re both doing the same thing. They’re both paying to have their ideas put ‘out there’.

If folk want to pay to publish, so what. If folk want to pay to attend conferences and present papers, so what. Just don’t be hypocritical about it all and say that one is somehow ‘less scholarly’ than the other. Because that’s nonsense.

And, by the way, don’t even try to bring in the vaunted ‘peer review’ process and how it guarantees that peer reviewed publications are somehow ‘superior’ to self published stuff, or I’ll be forced to point out to you that peer review is often a joke.

________________________
* Note: I have never paid to have anything published, though I have received payment for many of my published essays and books. So I am not ‘defending’ myself (just in case the academic poo pooers of vanity publishing, as they call it, wish to spread rumors to the contrary. You know how vindictive and spiteful some who fancy themselves learned can be).

**I know in advance that some of the poo pooers will object that their department pays for their airfare and hotel stay, to which I reply, so what. So instead of paying your own way to conferences you’re taking advantage of department generosity and using funds that could be used to provide better pay to Adjunct faculty or buy books for the library or pay the janitor a fair wage. Yay you… Not only are you a hypocrite, you’re a greedy selfish hypocrite.

What Are You Supposed to Do If You Have an Ignorant Pastor?

If he be intolerable, through ignorance, heresy, disability, or malignity, forsake him utterly: but if he be tolerable, though weak and cold, and if you cannot remove your dwelling, then public order and your soul’s edification must both be joined as well as you can. In London, or other cities where it is usual, you may go ordinarily to another parish church: but in the country, and where it would be a great offence, you may one part of the day hear in your own parish, and the other at the next, if there be a man much fitter within your reach: but communicating with the church you dwell with. — Richard Baxter