Monthly Archives: December 2018

Quote of the Day

Borrowed from Ralph Keen-

Wiewol das Leipische Interim nicht so fast der Adiaphoristen / als des Antichrists / oder viel mehr des hellischen Lucifers gifftiger stinckender Teuffelsdreck ist.  – Flacius

My Single New Year’s Resolution

I hereby solemnly resolve and vow to be more forthcoming with my opinions about people, places, and things in 2019.  Amen.  Away with shy hesitancy once and for all.  Amen and Amen.

‘Get Out, 2018…’

‘And don’t come back…’

Lawmen in Alabama Sure Have a Lot of Slime in their Numbers

Top of the list is the pedo Moore.   And now this guy, again.

For more than 20 years, the US has held immigrant detainees in Etowah County Detention Center, a jail in Alabama.  As part of a Depression-era state law, Alabama sheriffs are allowed to keep half of surplus jail funds meant to go toward food budgets.

Since Etowah County Detention Center is the only Alabama jail that houses immigrant detainees, this means that any extra money left behind after feeding Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainees must be split 50-50 between the county’s sheriff and the county’s fund.  Thanks to surpluses in 2016 and 2017, Todd Entrekin, the county’s sheriff, legally collected $750,000. Earlier this year, Entrekin admitted that he bought a $740,000 beach house with the money after Al.com, the online version of Alabama’s largest newspaper, The Birmingham News, questioned him about it.

He went on to lose reelection this year, a loss he credits to the newspaper’s investigation.  But in a new report, Al.com found that Entrekin might have taken twice as much money home from the surplus.  According to the report, the county jail has, since 2011, built up a $3 million surplus from the federal inmate food budget. Half of that has gone to the county, half of that to the sheriff.

Is there no one in Alabama’s legislature bright enough to write a bill that changes that stupid law?  No one?

America…. God isn’t your god.  Money is.

God Is, it Seems to Me, Deserving of our Best

‘The son honours his father, the slave stands in awe of his master. But if I am indeed father, where is the honour due to me? And if I am indeed master, where is the awe due to me? says Yahweh Sabaoth to you priests who despise my name. You ask, “How have we despised your name?”  By putting polluted food on my altar. You ask, “How have we polluted you?” By saying, “The table of Yahweh deserves no respect.” 

When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is this not wrong? When you bring the lame and the diseased, is this not wrong? If you offer them to your governor, see if he is pleased with them or receives you graciously, says Yahweh Sabaoth. In that case, try pleading with God to take pity on us (that is what you have done), and will he take any notice? says Yahweh Sabaoth. Why does one of you not close the doors and so stop the pointless lighting of fires on my altar?

I am not pleased with you, says Yahweh Sabaoth; from your hands I find no offerings acceptable. But from farthest east to farthest west my name is great among the nations, and everywhere incense and a pure gift are offered to my name, since my name is great among the nations, says Yahweh Sabaoth. ‘But you have profaned it by saying, “The table of the Lord is polluted, hence the food offered on it deserves no respect.” You say, “How tiresome it all is!” and sniff disdainfully at me, says Yahweh Sabaoth. You bring a stolen, lame or diseased animal, you bring that as an offering! Am I to accept this from you? says Yahweh Sabaoth  …

Ever since the days of your ancestors, you have evaded my statutes and not observed them. Return to me and I will return to you, says Yahweh Sabaoth. You ask, “How are we to return? Can a human being cheat God?” Yet you try to cheat me! You ask, “How do we try to cheat you?” Over tithes and contributions. A curse lies on you because you, this whole nation, try to cheat me. Bring the tithes in full to the treasury, so that there is food in my house; put me to the test now like this, says Yahweh Sabaoth, and see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you and pour out an abundant blessing for you. 

For your sakes, I shall forbid the locust to destroy the produce of your soil or prevent the vine from bearing fruit in your field, says Yahweh Sabaoth, and all the nations will call you blessed, for you will be a land of delights, says Yahweh Sabaoth.  (Mal. 1:6-13, 3:7-12)

Creationism and Science… Together…

Lester L. Grabbe’s new book, ‘Faith and Fossils,’ says evolution doesn’t contradict the Genesis story — but unlike similar arguments, comes from a theologian, not a scientist.

In an ambitious new book, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible uses his knowledge of Scripture and science to contend that people can believe in both religion and evolution.

“Faith & Fossils: The Bible, Creation & Evolution” by Lester L. Grabbe surveys ancient religious texts from Gilgamesh to Genesis, and more contemporary scientific research. He concludes that one can accept that God created the universe, and that life operates according to principles that include the theory of evolution.

Well there you go then. Etc.

Remembering Emil Egli

egli2Emil Egli was a brilliant historian and though his name is nearly forgotten in all but the dustiest corners of academia, he was a giant in the field of Reformation studies. Born on the 9th of December, 1848, he died on the 31st of December, 1908.  Egli

… was a Swiss church historian. He studied theology, was ordained in 1870, and served in several villages of the canton of Zürich. In his student days he was deeply interested in historical studies. In 1873 appeared his important work, Die Schlacht bei Cappell 1531; in 1879, Die Züricher Wiedertäufer zur Reformationszeit, a brief product of his Aktensammlung zur Geschichte der Züricher Reformation in den Jahren 1519-1532, which he published (1879) with the support of Zürich and offers an uncommonly rich source on the early history of the Anabaptist movement. In 1887 followed a smaller volume, Die St. Galler Täufer.

And

Egli occupied himself principally with the Reformation in Switzerland. In 1879 he began his work at the university of Zürich as lecturer in church history, and in 1892 he was made a full professor. In addition to a series of shorter works he published Heinrich Bullingers Diarium des Jahres 1504-1574in the second volume of the Quellen zur schweizerischen Reformationsgeschichte, which he founded. After 1897 he published a semiannual periodical, Zwingliana, and after 1899 two volumes of Analecta Reformatorica (documents and treatises on the history of Zwingli and his times; also biographies of Bibliander, Ceporin, Johannes Bullinger). In 1902 he provided for a new edition of the Kessler’s Sabbata (a publication of the historical association of St. Gall). With G. Finsler (Basel) he began the publication of the new edition of Zwingli’s works (Zwingli’s Werke, Leipzig, 1905 ff., in Corpus Reformatorum).

He was astonishing.  He is remembered.

Dear Churches…

Stop calling Pastors who aren’t properly and thoroughly educated.

Another Film Poster

When You Choose A King, You Only Get Enslaved

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges of Israel. His eldest son was called Joel and his second one, Abijah; they were judges at Beersheba. His sons did not follow his example but, seduced by the love of money, took bribes and gave biased verdicts. 

The elders of Israel all assembled, went back to Samuel at Ramah, and said, ‘Look, you are old, and your sons are not following your example. So give us a king to judge us, like the other nations.’ Samuel thought that it was wrong of them to say, ‘Let us have a king to judge us,’ so he prayed to Yahweh.

But Yahweh said to Samuel, ‘Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you: it is not you they have rejected you but me, not wishing me to reign over them any more. They are now doing to you exactly what they have done to me since the day I brought them out of Egypt until now, deserting me and serving other gods. So, do what they ask; only, you must give them a solemn warning, and must tell them what the king who is to reign over them will do.’ Everything that Yahweh had said, Samuel then repeated to the people who were asking him for a king.

He said, ‘This is what the king who is to reign over you will do. He will take your sons and direct them to his chariotry and cavalry, and they will run in front of his chariot. He will use them as leaders of a thousand and leaders of fifty; he will make them plough his fields and gather in his harvest and make his weapons of war and the gear for his chariots. He will take your daughters as perfumers, cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields, your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his officials. He will tithe your crops and vineyards to provide for his courtiers and his officials. He will take the best of your servants, men and women, of your oxen and your donkeys, and make them work for him. He will tithe your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. When that day comes, you will cry aloud because of the king you have chosen for yourselves, but on that day Yahweh will not hear you.’ The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel. They said, ‘No! We are determined to have a king.  (1 Sam. 8:1-19)

Signs of the Times

The War Against Heresy

Luther writes

[There is a] war against heresy, against heathenism, against human traditions.  That the [heretics] use Scripture as we do gives them a very wicked weapon. The battle, then, is over the correct use of Scripture, not over Scripture itself.

Citing Scripture isn’t sufficient.  Even the devil and his heretics can do that.  Correctly citing Scripture is the key, and that the heretics cannot do since they lack the Spirit.  As Paul puts it

The Spirit we have received is not the spirit of the world but God’s own Spirit, so that we may understand the lavish gifts God has given us.  And these are what we speak of, not in the terms learnt from human philosophy, but in terms learnt from the Spirit, fitting spiritual language to spiritual things. The natural person has no room for the gifts of God’s Spirit; to him they are folly; he cannot recognise them, because their value can be assessed only in the Spirit.  The spiritual person, on the other hand, can assess the value of everything, and that person’s value cannot be assessed by anybody else.  For: who has ever known the mind of the Lord? Who has ever been his adviser? But we are those who have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:12-16)

Fun Facts From Church History: When Luther Wrote a Preface For a Book He Hadn’t Read

The editor of Luther’s Prefaces writes

It is hard to imagine these “sermons” being preached in the length at which they were printed: even without the given title pages and Luther’s brief prefaces their span is formidable. Otto Clemen questions whether Luther even read the whole of both sermons. Nonetheless, he used the opportunity to address some of the pressing issues brought to the fore by the Diet of Augsburg.

Clemen remarks-

“[T]he great Christian teacher Dr. Martin Luther of godly erudition” would hardly have approved of himself being referred to (without irony) as the “pope, sovereign head of them all” (i.e., the ministers of the church), “servant and chief” in the “Evangelical Church,” or of the notion that all Christians might undertake to administer the Supper in an emergency

In the Preface Luther writes

[I]t must be confessed that the Church neither became nor can become the holy Church through works or merit. Otherwise, what good would Christ and His death be for us? So, too, the holy Church cannot be without error and sin with respect to life. Otherwise, it would be lying and mocking God when it prayed in the Our Father: “Forgive us our debts” [Matt. 6:12]. And Christ would Himself have to be lying when He refers to His dear apostles, who were holy, saying, “You are evil and without understanding,” etc. [cf. Mark 7:18ff.; Matt. 7:11; 15:16].

It seems that Luther couldn’t help himself when it came to having something to say about the papacy. Even if that meant writing a preface for a book he hadn’t really read (in the same way that some today write reviews of books they have never opened).

With Notes by NT Wright…

Signs of the Times

Plus Tunnels Under It…

This Is What Pretend Christianity Looks Like

It has no connection at all to historic Christianity; it lacks theological insight; it has no notion of the Church; and it is not Christianity.  If you’re a Christian and your ‘church’ cancels services at its ‘campuses’ (I’ll leave aside for now a discussion of the self-aggrandizing ego maniacs who imagine themselves managing various branch locations) simply because there’s a holiday around the corner, get out.  It isn’t a Church.  It is pretend Christianity.  It doesn’t worship God, it worships something else.  In this instance, family.  But as we all know (or should know) familyolatry is idolatry.

It’s Better to be a Becket Than it is to be a Court Evangelical

Via Gareth Jones on the Facebook-

Today the Church remembers Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Becket’s attempts to assert and extend the rights of the Church brought him into great conflict with Henry II, King of England. The rift between them deepened and in 1164, Becket was forced to flee to the continent in exile. Eight years later, his return was negotiated by papal legates. That same year – #OnThisDay in 1170 – four knights, followers of the king, confronted Becket in Canterbury Cathedral. He refused to submit to their demands and was brutally murdered. Only two years later, Pope Alexander III made Thomas Becket a saint, and his cult, centred on his tomb at Canterbury, became one of the most extensive and renowned during the Medieval period.

Illumination from the 15th century St Albans Chronicle [MS 6]

It’s better to be a Becket than it is to be a Court Evangelical.

‘The Body’

The current fascination with the ‘body’ in some corners of theological and biblical studies has more to do with the abandonment of the soul/ spirit than anything else. Simply put, paltry, empty, ultimately meaningless materialism is in fashion again.

A Sense of Shame

When a healthy sense of shame is lost, so is a sense of morality. And when morality departs, so do ethics.