I’ll Believe them When I See Them Do Something

I’ll believe JD Greear and the SBC elected ones are serious about cleaning the SBC house up when they denounce the celebrity pastor mentality made possible by megachurches. Which celebrity allows so many pastors to get away with abuse because no one questions them.

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Handling the SBC Abuse Scandal Through ‘Disfellowshipping’ Is An Empty Gesture

When a church is disfellowshipped it is simply no longer allowed to send representatives to the Local, State, or National annual meetings.  Nor is its money accepted by those entities.  Nor can its members be elected to office in those entities.

In short, punishment by disfellowship means that ‘you can’t come play with us anymore’.  Nothing more.

Further, if a church is disfellowshipped by the National SBC that doesn’t mean it has been by the State or Local associations.  Each must vote on its own relationship to the church.   A State or Local association may well remain in fellowship with a church even if the National SBC cuts off fellowship.

The SBC isn’t the papacy.  We have NO mechanism for accountability outside of the rather banal and meaningless act of disfellowship.  We can’t punish churches or pastors for bad behavior beyond disfellowship.

The only, and I mean the ONLY way to address clergy and staff sex abuse in SBC churches is to establish a database of offenders so that churches can be aware of the sort of person they are calling before they do so.  That’s it.

And anyone who tells you otherwise simply doesn’t know how the SBC works.

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When I Get Books To Review That I Don’t Wish to Review…

I trash them if they look to be rubbish. Such a book arrived today:



What nonsense.

No, The Tower of Babel Hasn’t Been Found. I Don’t Care What Any Numbskull Claims in His Documentary

THE Biblical story of the Tower of Babel could be proved to be true after ancient remains were discovered in Iraq, an Amazon Prime documentary has claimed.

Amazon Prime’s Bible Conspiracy says ruins uncovered at the Borsippa archaeological site have similarities to the tale.

What these tragically ignorant souls don’t understand at all is that the tale of Babel is an etiological tale intending to explain the existence of Ziggurats and to explain the variety of languages. Accordingly, if some Ziggurat is discovered, it doesn’t prove the Tower existed, it proves Ziggurats did! Further, there is simply no way to demonstrate that any one Ziggurat is THE Tower. It’s all just mindless speculation by ignorant imaginers. And if you believe them, you deserve to be fooled.

Get your biblical scholarship from biblical scholars.  Not nitwits on Amazon Prime.

Ignorant Persistence, or Persistent Ignorance

Either way, the Turin Shroud Crowd simply cannot let it go

In an attempt to prove that the Turin Shroud—a strip of linen that some people believe was used to wrap Jesus’s body after his crucifixion and carries the image of his face—is real, researchers have strapped human volunteers to a cross and drenched them in blood. Most mainstream scientists agree the shroud is a fake created in the 14th century,

The mock crucifixions are the most reliable recreations yet of the death of Jesus, the researchers suggest in an online abstract of a paper to be presented next week at a forensic science conference in Baltimore, Maryland (abstract E73 on p. 573 here). And they are the latest in a tit-for-tat series of tests, academic rebuttals, and furious arguments over the provenance—or lack thereof—of the centuries-old religious artifact. But the researchers hope the experiment will “support the hypothesis of Shroud authenticity in some new and unexpected ways.”

The research team from the Turin Shroud Center of Colorado in Colorado Springs would not comment on the crucifixion experiments before presenting them to the American Academy of Forensic Sciences’s (AAFS’s) annual meeting on 21 February. But the abstract describes “an experimental protocol by which special wrist and foot attachment mechanisms safely and realistically suspend the male subjects on a full-size cross.”

Bloody loons.  In the words of ‘Frozen’, ‘Let it go….’  With thanks to Bible and Interpretation for the tip.

Understanding the Gospels as Ancient Jewish Literature

Understanding the Gospels as Ancient Jewish Literature places the Gospels in the context of contemporaneous Greco-Roman Jewish texts (4th cent. BC–3rd cent. AD), a collection that includes the Dead Sea Scrolls and the literature of the early Rabbis.

While decades of research into the “Jewish backgrounds” of the Gospels have proven to be fruitful, little attention has been given to their function as a witness to the evolution of ancient Judaism. Comprehending this evolution sheds new light and meaning on the Gospel narratives, as well as on the core message of the Jesus movement. Understanding the Gospels as Ancient Jewish Literature argues that when viewed through the lens of ancient Judaism, the Gospels become a source for the geographical, historical, and religious reality of ancient Judaism, some of which would have otherwise been missing from the historical record. And in turn, the study of ancient Judaism clarifies some of the teachings attributed to Jesus by the Evangelists.

While slim (it’s just 38 pages in length plus endnotes) this little volume is filled with very important first class historical detail, and like all Carta volumes, richly, richly illustrated with photos and maps and charts and such.  Jeffrey Garcia offers details every student of the New Testament needs to have well in hand before beginning study of the text.

Garcia divides his work into these short major sections

  • Introduction
  • Sources for Understanding the Gospels
  • Geography of the Land of Israel in the Gospels
  • Jewish Political History in the Gospels
  • Jewish Life in the Gospels
  • Jewish Styles of Teaching in the Gospels
  • Charity, Deeds of Reciprocal Kindness, and the Image of God in the Gospels
  • The Gospels as the First Literary Witness to Jewish Practice

The work concludes, again, with extensive endnotes, rich in bibiographic references.

The sections above include sometimes few and sometimes many and in a few cases none when it comes to subsections.  The introduction is one page.  The sources for understanding the Gospels take up but three pages, etc.  Each topic is scraped across the surface and then Garcia moves on.

Each section serves, so far as I am concerned, as an introduction to the topic at hand and an encouragement to further, deeper reading on those topics which interest individual readers.

The little work is the ideal tool for classroom use and Sunday School students to find themselves face to face with the strange and foreign world of the New Testament.  I recommend it to undergrad courses and church workers as well as to interested layfolk of all levels.  It is a delightful volume.

Christoph Heilig’s Doctoral Dissertation: “Paul as Narrator/Paulus als Erzähler”

Christoph has posted the table of contents here.

I read through the book last year and in a very brief review would say of it that Heilig’s careful and meticulously crafted thorough examination of the work of NT Wright and Richard Hays is the clearest and most sustained critique of Pauline studies yet written.

Heilig’s masterful grasp of the material (both in its primary and secondary sources) is breathtaking. And whilst at times the pages turn slowly and readers are required to concentrate quite vigorously, such concentration is richly rewarded by the end of the tome.

It’s the work, in sum, of a genius and one of the most brilliant young minds presently at work in New Testament studies. Watch this young man, he is going to turn the theological world inside out.

And when his dissertation is published, and it will be, get it.