Daily Archives: 24 Jun 2019

Still The Case

10 “There is no one who is righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who has understanding,
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned aside, together they have become worthless;
there is no one who shows kindness,
there is not even one.”
13 “Their throats are opened graves;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of vipers is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery are in their paths,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”  (Rom 3)

Ehrman Does a Super Job of Explaining the ‘First Century Mark’ Debacle Farce Nonsense

And he does it here.  Go now and read it.

There Aren’t Enough Micaiah ben Imlah’s In the United States

Micaiah said, ‘As Yahweh lives, I shall speak as Yahweh tells me!’

When he came to the king, the king said, ‘Micaiah, should we go and attack Ramoth in Gilead, or should we hold back?’ He replied, ‘Go ahead! Success is sure, for Yahweh has already given it to the king!’  The king then said, ‘How often must I put you on oath to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of Yahweh?’ Then he spoke out: I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains like sheep without a shepherd. And Yahweh said, ‘These have no master, let them all go safely home!’

At this the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, ‘Did I not tell you that he never gives me favourable prophecies, but only unfavourable ones?’

Micaiah went on, ‘Now listen to the word of Yahweh. I saw Yahweh seated on his throne with the whole array of heaven standing by him, on his right and on his left. Yahweh said, “Who will entice Ahab into marching to his death at Ramoth in Gilead?” At which some answered one way, and some another.  A spirit then came forward and stood before Yahweh and said, “I will entice him.”  “How?” Yahweh asked. He replied, “I shall go and be a deceptive spirit in the mouths of all his prophets.” Yahweh said, “You will succeed in enticing him. Go and do it.”  And now, you see, Yahweh has put a deceptive spirit into the mouths of all your prophets here, for in fact Yahweh has pronounced disaster on you.’

Zedekiah son of Chenaanah then came up, struck Micaiah on the cheek and said, ‘Which way did Yahweh’s spirit leave me, to speak to you?’  ‘That is what you will find out,’ Micaiah retorted, ‘the day you go from room to room, trying to hide.’ (1 Ki. 22:14-25)

A National Disgrace and Shame

It’s Called ‘Right of Association’ And It Means That We Can Associate, Or Not, With Whomsoever We Want…

And no one, including the government can tell us otherwise.  Which is why these knitters are completely within their rights to say who can and who cannot join their group.

A free, 8-million strong social network for knitters, crocheters and others in the fiber arts has banned any mention of support for President Donald Trump and his administration.

The new policy on Ravelry.com was posted Sunday. The post says the site took the action because it can’t provide a space “inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy.” The post went on to say that support of the Trump administration is “undeniably support for white supremacy.”

The site, founded in 2007, said the idea was not to ban Republicans or conservative politics but to distinguish them from “hate groups and intolerance.” The policy makes no mention of similar treatment for registered users who criticize Trump or the administration.

I’m sure there are knitters of another stripe who will now open their group to the Trump admirers, and that’s cool too.  And if they don’t want Nancy Pelosi to be discussed then that’s their right.  It’s the right of all of us to freely associate – or not.  And for groups to freely associate with us.  Or not.

This is America.  Not Nazi Germany.  Yet.

To Have What You’ve Written Be Loved…

Is the most satisfying thing in life.

A History of The Bible

John Barton’s book arrived some weeks back And it’s FANTASTIC.

And while it isn’t my custom to review books that I buy, I’m going to this time.  First, because Barton’s work is worth the time.  And second, because a volume like this is needed at a time like this.

The publisher writes

The volume is comprised of four large sections:

  1. The Old Testament
  2. The New Testament
  3. The Bible and its Texts
  4. The Meanings of the Bible

Each of these large sections are divided into smaller segments which are themselves divided into smaller bits.  A dozen or so illustrations are found within its pages as well as copious endnotes (I wish they were footnotes, but that’s always a publisher’s decision), a ‘Further Reading’ section, a bibliography that is quite extensive, and indices.

In the author’s own words ‘This book tells the story of the Bible from its remote beginnings in folklore and myth to its reception and interpretation in the present day’ (p.1.).   If that sounds like a large project, it most certainly is such.  There are 489 pages of text and 40 pages of endnotes.  And they are all packed with detail.

‘A further purpose is to distil the current state of biblical scholarship’ (p. 2).  Accordingly, in constant dialogue with culture and society as well as the history of the Bible, Barton describes forcefully and insightfully the books now called the Bible.  Where it came from, what it is, what it means, and how it is used by people of faith and people without faith.

Barton accomplishes his goal by taking readers through the history and language of Ancient Israel, and then its narrative literature, legal and wisdom literature, prophetic literature, and poetic literature.  Having written what amounts to an introduction to the Old Testament, Barton then does the same for the New, describing in ingenious prose the beginning of Christianity and its early letters and Gospels.

Once the Bible is ‘introduced’ (in a way that is not remotely boring or uninteresting, which is itself quite a feat), Barton turns to consider how the books of the Bible were transformed into Scripture and how Christians and Jews both came to cherish their collections of texts in a way that was processional rather than procedural.  He even manages to discuss the niceties of textual criticism without provoking so much as a single yawn.  Barton writes, for example, of the ‘canonical process’-

‘The books had assembled themselves without debates or rulings being necessary.  The New Testament writers, like the rabbis who put together the Mishnah, took them for granted as holy texts.  No one ever canonized them, in the sense of taking a positive decision that they should be regarded as authoritative, still less insisted on this against opposition.  They were simply accepted’ (p. 221).

The fourth and final section of the book offers readers a chance to think deeply about the meaning of these sacred texts.  What is the Bible’s theme?  What role did the Fathers and Rabbis play?  How was the Bible utilized and interpreted in the Middle Ages?  The Reformation? Since the Enlightenment?  And today?

The conclusion of the book is called ‘The Bible and Faith’.

What Professor Barton has managed to produce here is a volume which is the ideal work for students of the Bible.  It is perfect for courses on the Bible whether undergraduate or graduate and it is also ideal for those laypeople who wish to understand the Bible.  I will be requiring it for both my Old and New Testament courses along with the much shorter but equally helpful work by Philip Davies’ ‘The Bible for the Curious’.

If you are looking for a volume which opens up the Bible and explains its various genres, themes, and historical development, then this is the work you have awaited.

One of the Proverbs famously declares

“Many daughters have done valiantly,
but you surpass them all!”

Mutatis mutandis, the same can be said of this volume, and its author:

“Many authors have done valiantly,
but you surpass them all!”

Johannes Bugenhagen: Friend of Luther

bugenhagenJune 24, 1485: Close friend of Martin and Katie Luther’s, Johannes Bugenhagen was born in Wollin, Pomerania, now a part of Poland.

Bugenhagen became a supporter of Luther in the early 1520s and soon moved to Wittenberg. On October 25, 1523, he was named the pastor of St. Mary’s church in Wittenberg, making him Luther’s pastor. He also became a lecturer and professor at the University of Wittenberg. Luther often affectionately referred to him as Dr. Pommer in reference to the location of his birth.

Luther and Bugenhagen soon became close friends. It was Bugenhagen who performed the marriage ceremony for Martin and Katie. They also gave him the honor of being named one of the god-fathers of their first born Hans.

Bugenhagen proved himself useful to the spread of Lutheranism as well. He was often sent out by Luther to advise various territories in Northern Germany and Scandinavia. He also revised the church orders in these areas, removing the papistic abuses and including more congregational singing.

In this painting from the altarpiece from the City Church (St. Mary’s) in Wittenberg, Bugenhagen is depicted administering the office of the Keys – forgiving the sins of the penitent and retaining the sins of the impenitent. The painting is by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

-Rebecca DeGarmeaux

Quote of the Day

Footprints in the sand on beach near San José del Cabo, Mexico at sunrise

When asked why there was only one set of footprints, Jesus replied, “It was then that I unfriended you on Facebook.” – Unvirtuous Abbey

Who is A Theologian?

“Anybody who wishes to be a theologian must have a mastery of the Scriptures, so that he may have an explanation for whatever can be alleged against any passage.”  –  Martin Luther

If someone has no skill in accurate exegesis he or she is no theologian.

Fun Facts From Church History: The Augsburg Confession

“Melanchthon began the preparation [for the Confession] at Coburg, with the aid of Luther, in April, and finished it at Augsburg, June 24. He labored on it day and night, so that Luther had to warn him against over-exertion. “I command you,” he wrote to him May 12, “and all your company that they compel you, under pain of excommunication, to take care of your poor body, and not to kill yourself from imaginary obedience to God. We serve God also by taking holiday and rest.” – Schaff

These days folk take years to write considerably less and considerably less important.

Today With Zwingli: The End of the First Kappel War

On June 24, 1530, the treaty [that ended the First Kappel War] was signed, and Zwingli on that day expressed himself as satisfied and thankful. The treaty contained eighteen Articles, of which these were the chief:

  • 1. Neither side was to persecute anyone for his faith’s sake. The majority in each canton was to decide whether the Old Faith was to be retained or not.
  • 2. The alliance with Austria was to be dissolved and the papers pertaining to it “pierced and slit.”
  • 3. The six cities of Zurich, Bern, Basel, St. Gall, Mülhausen, and Biel, all Reformed, renounced definitely for themselves and their dependencies all pensions and foreign subsidies of every description, but merely recommended a similar course to the Five Forest Cantons.
  • 7. Schwyz was to support the children of Jacob Keyser (or Schlosser), whom she had burned for his faith’s sake.
  • 10. Abusive speech on both sides was to cease.
  • 13. The Forest Cantons were to reimburse Zurich and Bern for the cost of the war inside of fourteen days from the date of the treaty; on penalty for failure to do so the six cities would refuse to sell-them food.

So SM Jackson.  Regrettably the peace didn’t hold and not too much later Zwingli would be killed while serving as Chaplain to the Zurich troops in the same little meadow at Kappel.

Happy Birthday Beza!

Theodore Beza turns a respectable 500 today, so happy birthday, cranky old dude!  The folk in Geneva are celebrating.

There is Only One Christian Response to Evil

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,”Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteousand his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3

How Christians Are Supposed to Behave

But I say to you, Love your enemies– Jesus

Remembering Eduard Lohse (February 19, 1924- June 23, 2015)

lohseSeine unverbrüchliche Liebe zum Evangelium hat sowohl Eduard Lohses wissenschaftliche Arbeit als auch sein Wirken als Landesbischof und Ratsvorsitzender geprägt”, heißt es in dem Kondolenzschreiben. Lohse ist am Dienstag im Alter von 91 Jahren in Göttingen gestorben. Er war von 1971 bis 1988 Landesbischof der Evangelisch-lutherischen Landeskirche Hannovers. Das Amt des Vorsitzenden des Rates der EKD hatte er von 1979 bis 1985 inne.

He was a brilliant, readable, gifted theologian.  I always profited by whatever he wrote that I had the chance to read.  If you aren’t familiar with the man and his work, a quick search on Amazon will reveal his impact.