Daily Archives: 26 Feb 2019

Love isn’t God

God is love, but love is not God. When love is a god it is an idol.

Just Because, Again

The participle is found still more abundantly used as an additional clause in the sentence, either referring to a noun (or pronoun) employed in the same sentence and in agreement with it (the conjunctive participle), or used independently and then usually placed together with the noun, which is its subject, in the genitive (the participle absolute). In both cases there is no nearer definition inherent in the participle as such, of the relation in which it stands to the remaining assertions of the sentence; but such a definition may be given by prefixing a particle and in a definite way by the tense of the participle (the future). The same purpose may be fulfilled by the writer, if he pleases, in other ways, with greater definiteness though at the same time with greater prolixity: namely, by a prepositional expression, by a conditional, causal, or temporal sentence etc., and lastly by the use of several co-ordinated principal verbs.*

*Friedrich Blass, trans. Henry St. John Thackeray (London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1911), 247.

Just Because

The oblique cases of the Pers. pron. appear in the form of suffixes to nouns, verbs, and particles. (a) Suffixes to nouns are in gen., and are equivalent to our possessive pron. Gen. 4:1 אִשְׁתּוֹ his wife, 4:10 אָחִיךָ thy brother. This gen. is usually gen. of subj., as above, but may be gen. of obj., Gen. 16:5 חֲמָמִי my wrong (that done me). 18:21.*

*A. B. Davidson, Introductory Hebrew Grammar Hebrew Syntax, 3d ed. (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1902), 2.

More Pentebabbleist Nutbaggery

South Africa funeral firm to sue pastor for ‘resurrection stunt’

A group of funeral directors in South Africa say they will sue a self-styled prophet who claims to have resurrected a dead man.  A viral video of Pastor Alph Lukau shows him shouting “rise up” to a man laying down in a coffin who then jerks upright to cheers from worshippers.  The funeral companies say they were manipulated into being involved.  The spectacle, seen outside Pastor Lukau’s church in Johannesburg, has been ridiculed and condemned by many.

“There are no such things as miracles,” the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) told South Africa’s national broadcaster. “They are made up to try to get money from the hopelessness of our people.”

Three funeral companies who say they were manipulated by the “scheme” are now taking legal action for damage to their reputation.  Kingdom Blue, Kings & Queens Funeral Services and Black Phoenix told local media that church representatives tricked them in different ways. “Alleged family members of the deceased” told the Kings & Queens Funeral Services they had had a “dispute with a different funeral service provider”.  The customers also allegedly placed “Black Phoenix stickers on their private car” to look credible to Kings & Queens Funeral Services when they went to hire a hearse from them.


Glaube in Karl Barths ‘Kirchlicher Dogmatik’: Die anthropologische Gestalt des Glaubens zwischen Exzentrizität und Deutung

The study systematically analyzes Karl Barth’s understanding of human faith in Church Dogmatics. Barth’s anthropology founded on Christology is presented with special attention to the doctrines of creation and justification. Applying Barthian dialectics, Schüz shows how the “eccentric” nature of faith “extra nos,” and its free and historical adoption, is transmitted through interpretations.

In nine chapters this revised 2016 doctoral dissertation leads readers through the complex web of Barthian theology with the skill of an Amazon jungle tour guide.  Hacking with an intellectual machete sharpened by extreme giftedness, Juliane lays bare Barth’s understanding of ‘faith’ in a way that is both extraordinary and clear.  This is, if I may be so bold, the best analysis of Barth since John Webster’s work.  Indeed, in some respects it is better.

Following the introduction, the volume is outlined thusly:

  1. Problemaufriss und Thema der Arbeit
  2. Einführung in die Textgrundlage
  3. Die Unmöglichkeit und Fremdheit des Glaubens
  4. Die exzentrisch-christologische Bestimmung zum Glauben
  5. Glaube als frei Tat des Menschen
  6. Die geschichtliche Realisierung des Bundes im Glauben
  7. Das Sein des Glaubens im Werden
  8. Die menschliche Glaubenstat
  9. Glaube als Verstehen zwischen Exzentrizität und Deutung

Then follows a bibliography, an index of persons, and an index of subjects.  Each chapter is subdivided into major and minor sections and is heavily annotated, which is great for those interested in the source material which our author is investigating.

The present reviewer was most taken with the third chapter and the seventh.  These two sections are so extremely useful for one specific reason: they explain the more complex Barthian notions better than any rival volume has yet done.  Put another way, Juliane understands Barth better than most and because that is the case, she can explain his views better than anyone else, in language precise and unencumbered by unnecessary accretions.

Citing examples or distilling the essence of the volume in a few sentences would be a disservice to it.  To pluck out one brick of the carefully constructed argument would necessitate the plucking out of another and yet another, one after the other until the entire volume would end up reproduced here.  And that, of course, cannot and should not be done.

Instead, take my humble word for it, get a copy and read it from cover to cover.  Then you’ll understand my enthusiasm for this volume.  And you’ll see why it cannot be distilled.

Those who make the effort to read this work will find themselves both richly rewarded and even better informed about the theology of Barth than they have been before.  Barthians and non Barthians alike must read it.  It will become, in my view, one of the most important and influential works on Barth published in the 21st century.

Quote of the Day

‘Enter by the narrow gate, since the road that leads to destruction is wide and spacious, and many take it; but it is a narrow gate and a hard road that leads to life, and only a few find it.’ (Matt. 7:13-14)

Today With Luther: His view of Large Churches, and Singing in Them

luther_wartburgAfterward there was mention of large churches which are not suited to preaching. “Cologne has a cathedral [Martin Luther said] that is so large that it has four rows of columns, each row consisting of twenty columns. These are extraordinary buildings, but they aren’t suitable for listening to sermons. Good, modest churches with low arches are the best for preachers and for listeners, for the ultimate object of these buildings is not the bellowing and bawling of choristers but the Word of God and its proclamation. The cathedral of St. Peter in Rome and the cathedrals in Cologne and Ulm are very large but inappropriate.”

I love Luther’s “the ultimate object of these buildings is not the bellowing and bawling of choristers but the Word of God and its proclamation

Bellowing and bawling.  No phrase has ever captured the true nature of most of what passes for singing in churches better.

Calvin Planned the Wedding Before He Had a Bride

Calvin wanted a wife. He asked several of his friends to help him find one- but he especially depended on Farel to do it. So he wrote him

“Would that it were permitted me to pour out my feelings on your friendly bosom, and again to hear your advice, that we might be better prepared! You have the best opportunity for coming hither, if our hopes respecting the marriage be accomplished, for we expect the maiden immediately after Easter. But if you will really promise me to come, the ceremony shall be put off till your arrival, there being still time enough to let you know the day. First then, I ask it of you, as the greatest kindness, to come; next, that you write word definitively that you will come, for it is necessary, at all events, that some one come to bless the marriage. I would fain however have no one but you. Consider therefore whether I seem worth enough to you to undertake this journey.”

It almost sounds like he is engaged, doesn’t it? Except he isn’t. There isn’t even a prospective wife at this point.

In another letter to Farel, dated June 21, 1540 (MSS. Gen.), there is a strange piece of news respecting the approaching marriage. The time was fixed, Farel invited, but still no bride was there. “The bride is not yet found, and I doubt whether I shall continue to seek one. Claudius and my brother formed a contract for me with a young lady; but three days after they returned, something was told me which induced me to send my brother back, in order to loose me from the engagement.”*

Of course he did eventually marry. But, and this is fair to say, he was a strange dude.

*Paul Henry and Henry Stebbing, The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer, vol. 1 (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), 260–261.

Believe What You Want- That’s Between You and God…

But please don’t call yourself a Lutheran when you reject everything Luther taught and Lutheranism has believed.

Be brave. Leave the Church and find one to your liking. The Unitarian Universalists are happy to have you.

Be honest and admit you reject the faith you pretend to hold.

Be truthful, and get out. Stop being such a hypocrite and claiming to be something you aren’t.

Evangelism is More…

Than just saying ‘God loves you’. It also says ‘repent! Believe the Gospel!’ If you never move beyond ‘God loves you’ you aren’t preaching the Gospel you’re condemning people to hell.