Daily Archives: 8 May 2019

What an Interesting Juxtaposition of Tweets

On my timeline a few minutes ago- these two tweets juxtaposed:


If someone’s Christology is right, their Ecclesiology, Soteriology, Anthropology, Pneumatology, and all the rest of the theological topoi are right.   If their Christology is wrong, they will be wrong about everything else.


He Put His 3 Year Old In the Car, Chained the Doors Shut, And Set The Car on Fire…

And he will not enjoy hell at all.

A Bit of Luther To Cheer You Up

You curse, blaspheme, shriek, struggle, bellow, and spit, so that, if people really heard you utter words, they would gather with chains and bars, just as if you were possessed by a legion of devils and had to be seized and bound. — Martin Luther

The Birth of Heresy

WHEN THE CURATORS OF LEYDEN UNIVERSITY (in the town of the same name in the Netherlands) appointed Jacob Arminius as professor of theology on this day, 8 May 1603, they did not realize what a controversy they were creating. It initially seemed they had made a great choice. Arminius was not only well-educated, but a popular preacher in Amsterdam. In fact, the real difficulty was getting Amsterdam to let him go. He had a lifelong contract with a church there. Furthermore, he said that he found too much theological study dried up his personal spiritual life.

Arminius considered himself a Calvinist, but he was not comfortable with the strict Calvinist view of predestination. Strict Calvinists believed Christ died only for the elect. Arminius held that Christ died for all, although not all would be saved. Not wanting to stir up trouble, when he had to lecture on the topic, he presented a wide range of Scripture with minimal comment. However, by presenting Scriptures that declared that Christ died for all men, he challenged the strict position. He also argued that people have genuine free will and that God’s grace is in most cases resistible, against the strict Calvinist claim of irresistible grace.



Zwingli for Today, Again

Fear is a cruel adviser. – Huldrych Zwingli

May 8, 2019 – The Day American Democracy Died

*President Trump has obstructed justice again and no one in the Department of Justice has lifted a finger to stop him.  Feel about Trump as you must, this is the end of American democracy.  It is dead.

Zwingli For Today

A coachman does nothing when God burdens and chastises him; he does not acknowledge God until he breaks a wheel or a spoke, and then he says ‘O God!’ –  Huldrych Zwingli

Wittenberg und die frühe Reformation

The anniversary of the Reformation directs our attention not only to Martin Luther as a person, university professor, theologian and preacher, but also to the conditions which made his impact possible, as well as the milieu in which he was acting. For exploring these topics the beginnings of the Reformation and the locale in which they took place, Wittenberg, are of particular interest. 

The essays collected in this volume are dedicated to the context, the conditions in which these historical factors developed, as well as the impulses that were set in motion by the early Reformation and their – long-term – impact. The overarching political and theological conditions, and the associated aspects in popular piety and media, are discussed alongside life in the town and at the university of Wittenberg as a microcosmos of the early Reformation.

The volume at hand is comprised of the following:

I  Frömmigkeit und Kirchenkritik

  • Christopher Spehr- Der Ablass am Vorabend der Reformation- Praxis – Theologie – Kritik
  • Livia Cárdenas- Heilsgeschehen, Seelenrettung, Weltgeschichte: Das Wittenberger Heiltum
  • Wolf-Friedrich Schäufele- Die Kirchenkritik des Hoch- und Spätmittelalters und ihre Bedeutung für die Reformation
  • Rosemarie Aulinger- Die Gravamina auf den Reichstagen 1521–1530 und ihr Vorgeschichte
  • Enno Bünz- Luther und seine Mitbrüder – Das Wittenberger Augustinerkloster in der Reformationszeit

II  Luthers Umfeld

  • Insa Christiane Hennen- Wittenbergs Stadtbild in der Reformationszeit
  • Stefan Oehmig- Wittenberg am Beginn der Reformationszeit- Beobachtungen anhand der Kämmereirechnungen der Jahre um 1517
  • Uwe Schirmer- Verregnete Reformation? Witterung, Wetteranomalien und Klimatendenzen in Mitteldeutschland(1485–1547)
  • Thomas Fuchs- Leipzig und Wittenberg als Zentren von Buchproduktion und Buchhandel in den ersten Jahren der Reformation (1517–1522)
  • Heiner Lück- Die Leucorea im Jahr 1517, Eine Momentaufnahme
  • Ulrike Ludwig- »Zu christlicher Zucht der jungen Studenten« Die Kollegien der Universität Wittenberg und der Beginn der Reformation
  • Mirko Gutjahr- Johan Oldecop- Ein problematischer Augenzeuge der Reformation

III  Beginn der Reformation und frühe Entfaltung

  • Volker Leppin- Martin Luthers Berichte über reformatorische Entdeckungen Johannes Schilling Die Verbreitung von Luthers Ablassthesen
  • Marcel Nieden- Die frühe Wittenberger Flugschriftenpublizistik (1517–1521) Beobachtungen zur Publikationssprache
  • Armin Kohnle- Die ernestinischen Fürsten Friedrich der Weise und Johann der Beständige und ihr Verhältnis zu Martin Luther in den Anfangsjahren der Reformation
  • Irene Dingel- Wie lutherisch war die Wittenberger Reformation? Von vorkonfessioneller Vielfalt zu theologischer Profilierung

Such a wide ranging and comprehensive volume which addresses so many significant aspects of the Reformation among Lutherans as this one, is immediately subject to questions concerning its limits and boundaries.  But complainers should be silent, because this volume does exactly what it needs to do: it sets Luther and his efforts firmly within their historical context.

Beginning with section one, readers are treated to brilliant analyses of the pietism and church/political situation of the lead up to Luther.  How did people believe and act and how did the Church seek to control and guide that action and thought?  What was it like to live in an Augustinian monastery and how would Luther have carried on in his daily existence?  These issues are described along with relevant others.

In section two, our attention is drawn to a series of essays addressing Luther’s environment.  What was Wittenberg like?  What was the geographical environment like?  What kind of books were produced and who was reading them?  And what was it like to be a student in that town?  These topics are not only helpfully addressed but interestingly too.  One can almost smell the sewage in the gutters.

And then in the third division the actual outbreak of the Lutheran reform is described and aspects of it addressed.  The last essay, and the final contribution to the volume by Irene Dingel brings everything to an apex and offers us readers a chance to glance into a question that remains central for Reformation research:  just how Lutheran was the Wittenberg reformation?

That truly is a terribly important question because it leads us to wonder both how much of the Reformation is Luther’s doing and how much would have happened without Luther having even been born.  I wonder- Was the momentum of history already surging towards Reform?  We know that was the case in Switzerland, where Zwingli was coming to conclusions of his own about the Church long before anyone knew Luther’s name.  Erasmus too was prodding the Church to betterment.  And then of course there is the long line of reforming spirits like Hus and Wycliffe.  Would the Reformation look like it does without Luther?  Perhaps not.  We shall never know.  But it’s delightful to ponder.

And this volume is itself delightful and filled with material it is well to ponder.

Tolle, lege!

The Earliest Known Draft of the King James Bible

Cambridge University Library has a gem of a post.

It is rare that archival research makes the national news.  Jeffrey Alan Miller’s identification of a draft of a portion of the King James Bible hit the headlines in October 2015: not only was it the earliest known draft, but was uniquely a draft written by the hand of one of the translators, who was known by name.  The notebook in which Miller found this work – Sidney Sussex College, MS Ward B – had belonged to Samuel Ward (1572-1643), Master of the College from 1610 until his death.  Eighteen months after the discovery, the notebook has been digitised in full and published on the Cambridge Digital Library, in the latest instance of an ongoing collaboration between the University Library and the Cambridge Colleges to make archival and manuscript material available online.


Meanwhile, At Newman University…

Quote of the Day

‘I have appointed you as tester of my people, to learn and to test how they behave. All of them are total rebels, peddlers of slander, hard as bronze and iron, all agents of corruption.  The bellows blast away to make the fire burn away the lead. In vain the smelter does his work, for the dross is not purged out. “Silver-reject”, men call them, and indeed Yahweh has rejected them!’  — (Jer. 6:27-30)

Our Book Has A Cover


Sometimes You Have to Cut in Order to Heal

The medical men called surgeons pass for being cruel, but really deserve pity. For is it not pitiful to cut away the dead flesh of another man with merciless knives without being moved by his pangs? Is it not pitiful that the man who is curing the patient is callous to his sufferings, and has to appear as his enemy? Yet such is the order of nature. While truth is always bitter, pleasantness waits upon evil-doing.  …  It is not surprising, then, that by exposing their faults I have offended many. I have arranged to operate on a cancerous nose; let him who suffers from wens tremble. I wish to rebuke a chattering daw; let the crow realize that she is offensive.  — St Jerome

Jerry Falwell Jr Is Just As Slimy as You Thought he Was

Months before evangelical leader Jerry Falwell Jr.’s game-changing presidential endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016, Falwell asked Trump fixer Michael Cohen for a personal favor, Cohen said in a recorded conversation reviewed by Reuters.

Falwell, president of Liberty University, one of the world’s largest Christian universities, said someone had come into possession of what Cohen described as racy “personal” photographs — the sort that would typically be kept “between husband and wife,” Cohen said in the taped conversation.

According to a source familiar with Cohen’s thinking, the person who possessed the photos destroyed them after Cohen intervened on the Falwells’ behalf.

You only hide what shames you.  Falwell sold his soul to Trump for the silence his fixer promised.  What slime.

Fun Facts From Church History: The Anniversary of the Edict of Worms

It was the 8th of May, 1521, that the imperial denunciation of Luther was promulgated.

lutherThe Edict of Worms was a decree issued by The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V banning the writings of Martin Luther and labeling him a heretic and enemy of the state (see The 95 Theses of Martin Luther). The Edict, issued on May 25, 1521, in the city of Worms in southwest Germany, was the culmination of an ongoing struggle between Martin Luther and the Roman Catholic Church over reform, especially in the sale of indulgences. However, there were other deeper issues that revolved around both political and theological concerns. On a political level, Luther had challenged the absolute authority of the pope over the Church by maintaining that the sale of indulgences, authorized and promoted by the pope, was wrong. On a theological level, Luther maintained that salvation was by faith alone (sola fide) not through the legal mechanisms of the church or by what people did to earn it. He had also challenged the authority of the Church by maintaining that all doctrines and dogmas of the church should be accountable to the teachings of Scripture (sola scriptura).

To protect the authority of the pope and the Church, as well as to maintain the profitable sale of indulgences, church officials convinced Charles V that Luther was a threat and persuaded him to authorize his condemnation by the Empire. Luther escaped arrest and remained in seclusion at Wartburg castle for several years where he continued to write and translate the Bible into German.

While the Edict was harsh, Charles was so preoccupied with political and military concerns elsewhere that it was never enforced. Eventually Luther was allowed to return to public life and became instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Protestant Reformation. -Dennis Bratcher

Thanks to that miscreant and tool of the devil named Constantine, such political intrusions into the life of the Church were a sad and demonic reality.

May 8, 1521- The Cursing of Luther

Schaff writes

After Luther’s departure [from the Diet at Worms](April 26), his enemies had full possession of the ground. Frederick of Saxony wrote, May 4: “Martin’s cause is in a bad state: he will be persecuted; not only Annas and Caiaphas, but also Pilate and Herod, are against him.” Aleander reported to Rome, May 5, that Luther had by his bad habits, his obstinacy, and his “beastly” speeches against Councils, alienated the people, but that still many adhered to him from love of disobedience to the Pope, and desire to seize the church property.

The Emperor commissioned Aleander to draw up a Latin edict against Luther. It was completed and dated May 8 (but not signed till May 26). On the same day the Emperor concluded an alliance with the Pope against France. They pledged themselves “to have the same friends and the same enemies,” and to aid each other in attack and defense. The edict was kept back till the Elector Frederick and the Elector of the Palatinate with a large number of other members of the Diet had gone home.

It was not regularly submitted to, nor discussed and voted on, by the Diet, nor signed by the Chancellor, but secured by a sort of surprise. On Trinity Sunday, May 26, Aleander went with the Latin and German copy to church, and induced the Emperor to sign both after high mass, “with his pious hand.” The Emperor said in French, “Now you will be satisfied.”—“Yes,” replied the legate in the same language, “but much more satisfied will be the Holy See and all Christendom, and will thank God for such a good, holy, and religious Emperor.”

There’s more than a little truth in the notion that the Princes were on Luther’s side only because they saw his reforming efforts as a chance to enrich themselves with Church lands.  Indeed, it’s not at all hard to imagine that had Luther lived in an era without the greed of Princes, he would have been handed over and executed and no one would have ever heard of him.  Luther’s reformation, more than any other, depended on worldliness.