Daily Archives: 7 Apr 2019

Zwingli: On Statues and Paintings

ZwingliBullingerDevotionalBook2The notion that Zwingli despised art is as ridiculous and uninformed as the belief, still widespread, that he despised music.  Nothing was further from the truth.  What Zwingli despised was the exaltation of anything above God or even towards God.  Zwingli once remarked

Images which are misused for worship I do not count among ceremonies, but among the number of those things which are diametrically opposed to the Word of God. But those which do not serve for worship and in whose cases there exists no danger of future worship, I am so far from condemning that I acknowledge both painting and statuary as God’s gifts.

Don’t allow anti-Zwingli partisans and nitwits and uninformed angry Lutherans distort your understanding of the man.  Read him for yourself.

Jerome: On The Text of the Bible



Signs of the Times

Fad Theology

This is what happens when exegetes stop caring about the interpretation of scripture and find themselves looking for something to do to occupy their time: faddism and ‘WhatIfIsm’.

Judas and Pilate: A Reminder

Neither Judas Iscariot nor Pontius Pilate left behind any written material.   Any words put into their mouths on tv are both purely speculative and highly suspect.

Pat Robertson is Not a Christian

If you support him or his ministry, you are an enabler of evil.

Human Trafficking…

If human trafficking is the exploitation of humans for the enrichment and benefit of the traffickers then every corporation in America that pays the CEO more than the average worker is involved in human trafficking.  And politicians who rail against human trafficking but who take donations from and serve the interests of their corporate masters and lobbyists are hypocrites.  If they really cared about human beings they would do everything they could to ensure income equality.

You Reap What You Sow

A suspected rhino poacher met a gruesome end when he was trampled to death by an elephant before being eaten by a pride of lions.

The unnamed man was in a group of several poachers stalking endangered rhino in South Africa’s Kruger National Park when they were ambushed by a furious pachyderm on Tuesday evening.

The man’s family alerted Don English, the Skukuza regional ranger,  after the surviving poachers told them what had happened.

But a search for the man’s remains had to be called off because of failing light, and it was not until Thursday evening they discovered the man’s bloodied head and a few items of clothing, including trousers and a shoe.

“Indications found at the scene suggested that a pride of lions had devoured the remains leaving only a human skull and a pair of pants. Skukuza police were notified immediately and are currently busy with further investigations into the incident,” the park said in a statement.

You reap what you sow.

Today In Lutheran History

Our friends in Sachsen-Anhalt write

friedrich myconiusFriedrich Myconius, a church reformer and friend of Martin Luther, died in Gotha on April 7, 1546.  Myconius’ schooling was in Lichtenfels and at Annaberg, where he had a memorable encounter with the Dominican, Johann Tetzel, his point being that indulgences should be given pauperibus gratis. His teacher, Andreas Staffelstein, persuaded him to enter the Franciscan cloister. That same night a pictorial dream turned his thoughts towards the religious standpoint which he subsequently reached as a Lutheran. From Annaberg he passed to Franciscan communities at Leipzig and Weimar, where he was ordained priest; he had endeavored to satisfy his mind with scholastic divinity, but next year his “eyes and ears were opened” by the theses of Martin Luther, whom he met when Luther touched at Weimar on his way to Augsburg. For six years he preached his new gospel, under difficulties, in various seats of his order, lastly at Zwickau, from where he was called to Gotha by Duke John at the general desire. He was intimately connected with the general progress of the reforming movement, and was especially in the confidence of Luther. At the Convention of Smalkald (1537) he signed the articles on his own behalf and that of his friend Justus Menius. In 1538 he was in England, as theologian to the embassy which hoped to induce Henry VIII on the basis of the Augsburg Confession, to make common cause with the Lutheran reformation; a project which Myconius caustically observed might have prospered on condition that Henry was allowed to be pope. Not the least important part of his permanent work in Gotha was the founding and endowment of its gymnasium. In 1541 his health was failing, but he lived until the 7th of April 1546.

Zwingli on Those Who Will Only Do, If In Doing They Receive a Reward

Those who so persistently demand a reward for their works, and say that they will cease working the works of God if no reward awaits the works, have the souls of slaves. For slaves work for reward only, and lazy persons likewise. But they that have faith are untiring in the work of God, like the son of the house. — Huldrych Zwingli

Geneva Was a Wretched Place in 1538

On Feb. 3, 1538, the anti-clerical party succeeded in the election of four syndics and a majority of the Council.

The new rulers proceeded with caution. They appointed new preachers for the country, which was much needed. They prohibited indecent songs and broils in the streets, and going out at night after nine. They took Bern for their model. They enforced the decision of the Council of Lausanne concerning the Church festivals and baptismal fonts.

But the preachers were determined to die rather than to yield an inch. They continued to thunder against the popular vices, and censured the Council for want of energy in suppressing them. The result was that they were warned not to meddle in politics (March 12). Courauld, who surpassed even Farel in vehemence, was forbidden to preach, but ascended the pulpit again, April 7, denounced Geneva and its citizens in a rude and insulting manner, was imprisoned, and six days afterwards banished in spite of the energetic protests of Calvin and Farel. The old man retired to Thonon, on the lake of Geneva, was elected minister at Orbe, and died there Oct. 4 in the same year.

Calvin and Farel were emboldened by this harsh treatment of their colleague. They attacked the Council from the pulpit. Even Calvin went so far as to denounce it as the Devil’s Council. Libels were circulated against the preachers. They often heard the cry late in the evening, “To the Rhone with the traitors,” and in the night they were disturbed by violent knocks at the door of their dwelling.

Calvin was eventually driven from the vile pit.  He would later return, of course, and take charge in a way which earned him the eternal contempt of those who dislike order and decency.

It’s a shame Calvin isn’t alive today and living in Washington, DC.  Those people are in need of a good trouncing.

The Anniversary of Tyndale’s Ordination

It’s Molty’s Birthday!

#ICYMI – Expertise Matters

Read this.

The attack on expertise was given its most visceral form by British politician Michael Gove during the Brexit campaign last year when he famously claimed, “people in this country have had enough of experts.” The same kinds of issues, however, are also at stake here in the U.S. in our discussions about “alternative facts,” “fake news” and “denial” of various kinds. That issue can be put as a simple question: When does one opinion count more than another?

By definition, an expert is someone whose learning and experience lets them understand a subject deeper than you or I do (assuming we’re not an expert in that subject, too). The weird thing about having to write this essay at all is this: Who would have a problem with that? Doesn’t everyone want their brain surgery done by an expert surgeon rather than the guy who fixes their brakes? On the other hand, doesn’t everyone want their brakes fixed by an expert auto mechanic rather than a brain surgeon who has never fixed a flat?

Every day, all of us entrust our lives to experts from airline pilots to pharmacists. Yet, somehow, we’ve come to a point where people can put their ignorance on a subject of national importance on display for all to see — and then call it a virtue.

Read it all.