Daily Archives: 23 Apr 2019

When Beset By Despair…

But when we see ourselves beset by so many perils, so many injuries, so many kinds of enemies, such is our frailty and effeminacy, that we might at times be filled with alarm, or driven to despair, did not the Lord proclaim his gracious presence by some means in accordance with our feeble capacities. For this reason, he not only promises to take care of us, but assures us that he has numberless attendants, to whom he has committed the charge of our safety, that whatever dangers may impend, so long as we are encircled by their protection and guardianship, we are placed beyond all hazard of evil. – Calvin

It’s Funny Because It’s True

Quote of the Decade

John Wesley: — “I expect you should show me in plain Scripture for your assertion: Otherwise I dare not receive it; because I am not convinced that you are wiser than God.”

Ezekiel Would Like to Say Something to Washington, DC…

And to the rest of the country-

Your filth is infamous. Since I have tried to purge you and you would not let yourself be purged of your filth, so now you will never be purged of your filth until I have sated my anger on you. I, Yahweh, have spoken; this will happen; I shall act and not relent; I shall show no pity, no compassion. You will be judged as your conduct and actions deserve — declares the Lord Yahweh.” ‘ — (Ezek. 24:13-14)

Just a Reminder

If you leave your ethics and morals aside when you enter the voting booth, the workplace, the home, the school, the mall, or wherever you go, you never had any ethics or morals to begin with.

Christianity Knows No Political Party

And authentic Christianity can never be identified either with a political party nor a political system: because Christianity stands in constant judgment of every system of this world.

If your Christianity can be identified with a political ideology, then it isn’t Christianity at all.  It is politics dressed up like religion.

Thanks Be To God

For this good news about the little boy thrown from the third floor of the mall of American by Satan’s agent.

SECSOR 2020 (SBL Southeast) Call For Papers

The 2020 annual meeting Call for Papers is available now. This promises to be one of SECSOR’s largest conferences ever. Please submit your proposal early.

That seems very optimistic, but, OK.

Signs of the Times

via FB

Dogmatik

This book will be of interest to many:

Dogmatics embodies the nature of Christian faith and reflects the truth content and meaning of the Christian understanding of God and world. Important issues in Christian dogmatics include: the clarity of the terminology used, links to biblical and church traditions, and connections to experience and thought in the contemporary life world.

The first edition of this brilliantly helpful volume was reviewed in 1996 in the pages of Theologischen Literaturzeitung. And that, I’m afraid, is the only academic review I was able to locate, in spite of the fact that the present work has gone through 5 revisions and expansions.  Which really is a shame, as this book really richly deserves far more attention than it has heretofore received.

The extensive (the volume is over 700 pages) Table of Contents is fully available here, and so will not be repeated in the lines to follow.  The volume examines in incredibly helpful ways the core issues of theological inquiry.

Commencing with a 43 page description of the theological task, H. moves on to take in hand the task of reconstructing the essence of the Christian Faith.  Here, what faith is and why it matters is discussed.  God’s revelation in Christ, the place of Scripture, the Confessions of Faith, and even the modern world are all examined in the context of the Christian faith.

H. then takes readers on a tour of the chief themes of Christianity: God, Christ, The Spirit, the Trinity (which is itself a genius descriptive tour-de-force in terms of avoiding the pitfalls of heretical nonsense), Creation, the Doctrine of Sin, the Doctrine of Redemption, and of course Eschatology.

Concerning the latter, H. delves into all the craggy corners of annihilationism, resurrection, judgment, the so called ‘apokatastasis’ of all things, and the other perilous ideas that have floated in Christian minds for a very long time.

Included as well are a very full bibliography (over 22 pages), an index of Scripture, an index of names (outside the Bible), and a subject index.

Since first appearing in 1995, H.’s book has aimed to help both Christians and Skeptics to think about and think through the faith called Christianity.  Consequently, readers aren’t ‘preached at’, they are taught (if, of course, they are willing to be taught).  H. revised the book in 1999, 2006, 2012, and then again in 2017 with the latest result being offered to the public in 2018. He has published on the subject of Ethics and of course theology.

The present work is not, in any respect, merely a monologue.  Instead, readers are here listening in on what can best be described as a multi-logue.  H. is, here, engaged in a conversation with many, many Christian thinkers whom he happily cites and interacts with.  These include such luminaries as Ebeling, Barth, Bultmann, Luther, Irenaus, Jeremias, Tertullian, Westermann, and of course, given the fact that he is learned and astute, H. also interacts with Zwingli.

Readers fearful of tackling a huge volume (though personally I have to confess, I like big books and I cannot lie…) are invited to track down their chief interests in the subject index.  Subjects discussed include but of course are not limited to Anathema, Anfechtung, Biblizismus, ecclesia invisibilis, filioque, imago dei, Mariendogma, etc.

H. is fearless in his examination of Christian doctrine, tackling things that other Systematicians avoid.  For instance, in his discussion of the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, he investigates the ‘gift of healing’ (Sec. 10.3.2.2.)

This is a delightful work and it should be on the shelf of every theologian and even on the shelf of every skeptic.  Indeed, skeptics especially should take notice of it.  All who read it will gain much from the experience.

Protestant Bible Scholarship: Antisemitism, Philosemitism, and Anti-Judaism

Protestant Bible Scholarship: Antisemitism, Philosemitism, and Anti-Judaism (26-27 May 2019, Oxford)

This conference brings prominent biblical scholars and scholars of Judaism together for a conversation about the foundations of our fields. We want to generate a discussion of how a biased understanding of Judaism became integral to the discipline. This conversation is about understanding, healing and changing that discussion through critical thinking and ethical reading.

The conference will take place on Sunday 26 and Monday 27 May in Oriel College, Oxford. To download the conference programme, please click here. This event is organised by the Centre for the Study of the Bible in the Humanities at Oriel College, Oxford. All are welcome and participation is free, but places are limited and registration is required. Please register as soon as possible by filling out the online registration form here.

The Expulsion of Calvin and Farel From Geneva

calvin_farel

Farel urging Calvin to go to Geneva

On Easter Sunday, April 21, Calvin … ascended the pulpit of St. Peter’s; Farel, the pulpit of St. Gervais. They preached before large audiences, but declared that they could not administer the communion to the rebellious city, lest the sacrament be desecrated. And indeed, under existing circumstances, the celebration of the love-feast of the Saviour would have been a solemn mockery. Many hearers were armed, drew their swords, and drowned the voice of the preachers, who left the church and went home under the protection of their friends.  Calvin preached also in the evening in the Church of St. Francis at Rive in the lower part of the city, and was threatened with violence.

The small Council met after the morning service in great commotion and summoned the general Council. On the next two days, April 22 and 23, the great Council of the Two Hundred assembled in the cloisters of St. Peter’s, deposed Farel and Calvin, without a trial, and ordered them to leave the city within three days.

They received the news with great composure. “Very well,” said Calvin, “it is better to serve God than man. If we had sought to please men, we should have been badly rewarded, but we serve a higher Master, who will not withhold from us his reward.” Calvin even rejoiced at the result more than seemed proper.

The people celebrated the downfall of the clerical régime with public rejoicings. The decrees of the synod of Lausanne were published by sound of trumpets. The baptismal fonts were re-erected, and the communion administered on the following Sunday with unleavened bread.

So Schaff, as he recounts the events surrounding Calvin’s expulsion from that wretched pit of iniquity, Geneva.  Calvin was happy to be tossed out.  Nothing could have pleased him more at that point.

Specific Prayers are Better than General Prayers…

Books That Matter, on #WorldBookDay

Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace.  I saw the dead, great and small alike, standing in front of his throne while the books lay open. And another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, as their deeds deserved. (Rev. 20:11-12)

Writing Books… On #WorldBookDay

You must realise that writing books involves endless hard work, and that much study wearies the body.– (Eccl. 12:12)

Boy that’s the truth.

A Prayer

Remind Thy little flock so weak,
So lightly driven apart,
Of Thy last prayer: That we may be
One spirit and one heart.

-Nikolaus von Zinzendorf

A Bible Special I’d Watch that Wouldn’t Be Rubbish…

Would have the input of Israel Finkelstein, NP Lemche, Tom Thompson, Nicola Denzey Lewis, Mark Goodacre, Candida Moss, Chris Tilling, Eric Cline, Gareth Jones, and Deane Galbraith.

That I’d watch.

Make it happen, PBS.

#WorldBookDay

Today!  Read a book.