Daily Archives: 3 Oct 2019

This Is Precisely Why Blanket Statements Like ‘Believe the Women’ Are Both False and Evil

Because, hold on to your seat, some women are liars!

Claims of abuse have to be taken case by case and all allegations thoroughly and honestly investigated. Lives are at stake.

Distraught Kevin Stewart sat on the ledge of his 14th-storey flat window seriously contemplating whether life was worth living because of the vicious lies that had “destroyed” him.

The 20-year-old, who has learning difficulties, had been moved to the flat “for his own safety” after receiving threats from enraged individuals who believed Airdrie teenager Shannon Maley’s poisonous smear campaign.

Maley had accused Kevin of sexual assault and then gone on to concoct an abhorrently elaborate plan to see him jailed.

After saying he molested her in Centenary Park in June 2017, she created fake social media profiles in Kevin’s name and sent herself scores of depraved and threatening messages.

Read the whole.

Charlotte Hempel interviews David Clines


David Bentley Hart’s Horrible Book Reviewed Brilliantly

The reviewer really took one for the team when he agreed to review Hart’s universalistic rubbish.  I’m glad he has the stomach for it.  I don’t.  I’ve reached that stage in life where I don’t waste my time on what will invariably turn out to be total garbage.  And I was evidently quite right to follow my gut and avoid Hart’s whinings.

Our reviewer remarks

These pages breathe an atmosphere of weary resignation. Hart depicts himself as a lonely battler for the truth of universalism—which hardly seems to be the case, given that many academic theologians today share his views. Here’s another oddity: the total absence of joy in this book. Someone who is genuinely convinced that everyone is finally saved (including the misguided Calvinists!) should show happiness and peace at the prospect of heaven for all. If Hart’s argument is truly correct, then he should be gladly anticipating his final vindication—before God and before all humanity. But this book exudes bitterness and rancor, so much so that one wonders whether the author is convinced by his own arguments.


In its unbounded rage against historic Christian teaching, Hart’s book reads mostly like a “new atheist” book by Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens. As for the atheist authors, so too for Hart, the “God” preached and taught by the church through the centuries is “inventively sadistic” (23), “theatrically grotesque” (23), a “heartlessly capricious gamester” (45–46), and so a “monstrous deity” (167).

That All Shall Be Saved could thus be read as a “new atheist” argument—but with a universalist happy ending tacked on at the end of the cosmic narrative to escape the otherwise-compelling conclusion that the Christian God does not exist. The universalist eschaton is Hart’s deus ex machina—in a literal sense—inasmuch as the world as Hart sees it today doesn’t show much evidence that there is any loving God who cares for us. Hart’s back is to the wall and he battles fiercely, because he’s fighting for a kind of theological Alamo—a last stand, as he conceives it, for Christian theism, or at least for a faith that makes sense to him.

Read the whole.  It’s very good.  Hart’s is a book worthy of avoiding.  The review is worthy of a reading.

The Most Moving Condolence Letter You’ll Ever Read

Is this one, sent by Althaus to Brunner when the former received word that Brunner’s son had died:

Erlangen, 16. Sept. 1952

Mein lieber Freund Brunner!

Durch meinen Schüler Gottfried Hornig höre ich von dem schweren Schlage, der Sie und Ihre Gemahlin getroffen hat, durch den jähen Tod Ihres Sohnes Thomas. Meine Frau und ich sind bewegt von der Nachricht, zumal Sie schon einen anderen geliebten Sohn durch einen Unglücksfall verloren haben. Wir wissen etwas, wie dem Vater und der Mutter bei solchem Geschehen umsHerz ist –unserenÄltesten haben wir 1940 hergebenmüssen – aber was Sie erleben, ist ja viel dunkler und sinnloser.

Wir gedenken Ihrer. Diese Zeilen sollen es Ihnen sagen. Gottes Trösten erweise an Ihnen allen seine starke Kraft! Gott sorgt dafür, dass uns dieses Leben nicht zu lieb wird. Er nimmt uns geliebte Menschen hinauf in seine Ewigkeit – und lockert unsere Erden-Wurzeln. Wir müssen uns ihm auch dabei ganz still anvertrauen – es tut sehr weh, Er tut sehr weh. Aber es ist seine gute Hand.

Treu Ihnen verbunden, mit Ihnen trauernd

Ihr P. Althaus

Oh – Sick Burn on the Barthians

Paul Althaus writes Emil Brunner on 8 July, 1950-

Daher freuen sich auch meine Schüler, die nach Zürich gehen, immer so sehr Ihres Unterrichtes und müssen nicht, wie in Basel, eine „Bekehrung“ vollziehen oder ablehnen.  Sie glauben kaum, wie verheerend sich Basel und sein Terror oder seine Suggestion bei uns im „Reichsbruderrate“ auswirkt. Diese Leute sind über haupt nicht mehr fähig zu der Freiheit, eines Ihrer oder meiner Bücher zu studieren. Ein genaues Gegenbild zu dem politischen Exklusivismus und Totalismus.

Snap!  The Barthians of the 50’s sound very much like the schemers of our own time who try to control thought by marginalizing others.  There’s nothing new under the sun.

I Know This is a Longshot…. The Longest of Shots…

But still, it’s worth a try-

Does anyone have a copy of Das menschenbild im Lichte des Evangeliums. Festschrift zum 60.Geburtstag von Prof.Dr.Emil Brunner in PDF? I know there are print editions out there and I’ve contacted a couple of book stores regarding it. But if anyone knows of a PDF that would be super. I’ve tried Google Books as well as Archive.org, to no effect.

Thanks, and if you don’t mind, could you ‘retweet’?

Empty ‘Forgiveness’

It has become commonplace for people, as soon as a vile violent act takes place, to say ‘I forgive’ whoever/whatever.  Such forgiveness is thoroughly empty and utterly meaningless.  Forgiveness which is based on nothing at all is permission and forgiving someone who shows neither sorrow nor regret and who hasn’t even asked for it is to offer something empty and pointless.

In other words, as I’ve suggested before, forgiveness without repentance is permission.

What, after all, is the point of telling a murderer who has not expressed either regret or sorrow “I forgive you’?  So what?  How does that change him or you?

Oh to be sure, it makes people feel better about themselves.  “So and so did something terrible but I forgive them”.  So what?  Now you feel that you’ve done something, but tell me, what exactly have you accomplished other than giving yourself a pat on the back?

Refusing to require repentance simply enables the murderer.  Empty forgiveness is enabling and there’s no biblical basis for it at all.  Indeed, quite the contrary- ‘God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance’.  God doesn’t grant facile forgiveness because God knows that if people aren’t sorry for what they’ve done, they’ll do it again just as soon as they get the chance and God is not an enabler of sin.

Empty forgiveness isn’t strength.  It’s weakness.  It is surrender to evil.  It is acceptance of wrongdoing.  It is the turning of a blind eye to perverse cruelty.  It’s only real purpose is to make people feel better about their own sin and it’s the delusion that suggests that if I blindly ‘forgive’ others maybe that’s the way God will forgive me.  Maybe, I hope, God is like me and I can do whatever I want and he won’t really hold me responsible.

Empty forgiveness.  It’s another one of those things that’s only designed to make people feel good- about themselves.  Other than that, it’s quite pointless.

Forgiveness Without Repentance is Permission

The belief that forgiveness can be given where repentance is absent turns those who hold it into universalists and in that scheme Christ becomes unnecessary, as does the Gospel.

Attention, Theologically Uninformed Souls Who Toss the Word ‘Forgiveness’ About

Please do stop talking about forgiveness if you don’t know the meaning of the theological concept.  Forgiveness isn’t a vague blanket permissiveness which effectively winks at wrongs.  Forgiveness is the erasure of transgression’s personal consequences based on a change in behavior (called repentance) in the offender.

‘Forgiveness’ without repentance is permission.  It is the granting of permission to do the same evil again with the result being precisely that.

Nina Burleigh’s Engaging Lecture titled ‘Unholy Business’

Give it a viewing here.

The ‘House of David’

J’ai répondu aux questions du Monde de la Bible sur la stèle de Mésha.

La journaliste scientifique Estelle Villeneuve évoque la fameuse mention de la “maison de David” qui a récemment été remise en question, cependant que ma propre étude (effectuée sans connaissance de l’article que mes collègues comptaient publier) confirme que cette mention reste la lecture la plus probable.

Je vous invite à lire le dernier numéro du Monde de la Bible (n° 230, septembre-novembre 2019, notamment p. 8) et, bien sûr, mon article scientifique à ce sujet.

Etc.  As always, Michael is the best.

The Post-Marburg Glow…

Zwingli reached home on the 19th of October. In reporting the conference at Zurich he claimed the victory for himself. “The truth,” said he, “has so manifestly gained the victory that if the shameless and obstinate Luther be not beaten, there never was anyone beaten, although he never ceases boasting to the contrary.” Despite the boasting of both leaders, they refrained, as they had agreed to do, from the unseemly abuse in which they had so freely indulged previous to the conference.*

Luther too claimed the palm but he also suffered pretty acute depression on his way home.  All in all, the conference was pretty much like presidential debates: no one changes their mind but it’s interesting to watch just so you can read the funny tweets.

*Samuel Simpson, Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (New York: Baker & Taylor Co., 1902), 207–208.

Summarizing the Marburg Colloquy

Walter Koehler wrote a fine essay for Zwingliana in 1930 on the colloquy which took place in Marburg at the behest of Philip.

It commences

„Um den Glauben wird der Streit gehen und um das Geheimnis des göttlichen Wirkens in uns” —• de fide erit contentio et de mysterio divinae operationis in nobis —, so schrieb im Frühjahr 1527, als das schon längst zusammengeballte Gewitter des Abendmahlsstreites zwischen Luther und Zwingli unmittelbar vor der Entladung zu stehen schien, der Süddeutsche Theobald Billikan nach Basel an Johannes Oekolampad.

The conclusion of the matter was agreement between the parties on 15 counts (though on the 15th they would continue to see things differently the moment the conference ended). They put their names on that agreement on 3 October, went home, and wrote very uncharitable things about each other.

If you’d like to read all about it, go here.

Signing the Marburg Articles

Below is the German copy of the Articles.  In the Swiss edition, the Swiss Reformers signatures appear first.


Oecolampadius and Brenz: On the Marburg Colloquy

marburg1Œcolampadius in his account of the Colloquy is very much milder than Luther and milder than Zwingli. He believed that “there was no victory on either side since there was no fighting or contending.” Brenz is very explicit in regard to the split which was so plainly manifested between the speakers, and which surprised and grieved the Landgrave. He says:

marburg2“Afterwards, when the meeting had been disbanded, the Prince tried every possible way to secure agreement between us, speaking to each one of us by himself without witnesses, and begging, warning, exhorting, demanding that we have regard to the Republic of Christ and put strife away. [Failing to secure the absolute submission of the Zwinglians] we decided with one voice that they were outside the Communion of the Christian Church, and could not be recognised by us as brethren and members of the Church. This our opponents thought very hard indeed.… But when the Prince also thought it hard we modified our decision so far as to be willing to recognise our opponents of the Zwingli and Œcolampadius following as friends, but not as brethren and members of the Church of Christ.”

Johannes… such a nice guy.  Brenz, such a – well – Lutheran…

Zwingli Defeated Luther at Marburg

When Zwingli propounded his view of the Lord’s Supper at Marburg he defeated Luther’s.  How?  Because more Protestant / Reformed Christians now hold Zwingli’s view than Luther’s.

Remember- Baptists outnumber Lutherans in America by huge margins and Baptists are Zwinglians in eucharistic theology.

Poor Luther – a sad loser to this very day.

A Quite Fair Historical Analysis of the Marburg Fiasco

zwingliA careful and dispassionate study of the Sacramental Controversy cannot fail to impress one with the utter needlessness of its disastrous termination, permanently dividing as it did the entire evangelical body into two factions, Lutheran and Reformed, thus crippling through a division of forces and a perversion of religious energy the progress of the reform work, which, up to this time, had been prosecuted with such vigor and success. In the early stages of the contest the specific differences of belief between the Germans and the Swiss were not of sufficient importance to preclude essential harmony.

lutherThe fact is, these excellent men were at the start ignorant and suspicious of each other’s views. The true state of the question was lost in the heat of passion, constantly augmented by some new violence of language or mutual recrimination. Luther, who in his heart of hearts hated the mystical and verbose quibbles of the scholastic philosophers, when pressed to the wall by the clearer reasoning of his opponents, became a veritable Zeno in his use of subtle and sophistical distinctions. In violence he was not a whit behind Paul the persecutor. He permitted himself to become “exceeding mad” against his opponents, and condescended to employ epithets so gross as to put even that rude age to blush.

zwingliThe candor and moderation which Zwingli displayed in the Supper contest has added not a little to his fame. It must not be supposed, however, that Zwingli was entirely free from those excesses of language for which Luther has been so justly blamed. More than once in his letters he refers to his opponents in terms of doubtful courtesy. The difference in education between these men may account in some measure for the marked contrast between their methods of disputation.

Zwingli was a scholar, and had a mind saturated with the learning and culture derived from a lifelong study of the ancient classics. All this had a mellowing effect upon his heart, and gave grace to his manner. He was such a master of language that under shelter of polite phrases he could inflict wounds much deeper than by resorting to the coarse invective of Luther. Zwingli’s methods were quite like those of the modern pamphleteer. He was an adept in detecting fallacy, in pulling arguments to pieces, and understood well the art and advantage of concession where it was impossible to withhold assent.*

Spot. On.

*Samuel Simpson, Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (New York: Baker & Taylor Co., 1902), 181–183.

The Third Day At Marburg

Day Three

The next day, Sunday, Oct. 3, [the discsussion] was renewed.

Zwingli maintained that a body could not be in different places at once. Luther quoted the Sophists (the Schoolmen) to the effect that there are different kinds of presence. The universe is a body, and yet not in a particular place.

Zwingli: Ah, you speak of the Sophists, doctor! Are you really obliged to return to the onions and fleshpots of Egypt? He then cited from Augustin, who says, “Christ is everywhere present as God; but as to his body, he is in heaven.”

Luther: You have Augustin and Fulgentius on your side, but we have all the other fathers. Augustin was young when he wrote the passage you quote, and he is obscure. We must believe the old teachers only so far as they agree with the Word of God.

Oecolampadius: We, too, build on the Word of God, not on the fathers; but we appeal to them to show that we teach no novelties.

Luther, pointing again his finger to the words on the table: This is our text: you have not yet driven us from it. We care for no other proof.

Oecolampadius: If this is the case, we had better close the discussion. The chancellor exhorted them to come to an understanding.

Luther: There is only one way to that. Let our adversaries believe as we do.

The Swiss: We cannot.

Luther: Well, then, I abandon you to God’s judgment, and pray that he will enlighten you.

Oecolampadius: We will do the same. You need it as much as we.

At this point both parties mellowed down. Luther begged pardon for his harsh words, as he was a man of flesh and blood. Zwingli begged Luther, with tearful eyes, to forgive him his harsh words, and assured him that there were no men in the world whose friendship he more desired than that of the Wittenbergers.

Jacob Sturm and Bucer spoke in behalf of Strassburg, and vindicated their orthodoxy, which had been impeached. Luther’s reply was cold, and displeased the audience. He declared to the Strassburgers, as well as the Swiss, “Your spirit is different from ours.”

The Conference was ended. A contagious disease, called the English sweat (sudor Anglicus), which attacked its victims with fever, sweat, thirst, intense pain, and exhaustion, had suddenly broken out in Marburg as in other parts of Germany, and caused frightful ravages that filled everybody with alarm. The visitors were anxious to return home. So were the fathers of the Council of Trent, when the Elector Moritz chased the Emperor through the Tyrol; and in like manner the fathers of the Vatican Council hurried across the Alps when France declared war against Germany, and left the Vatican decrees in the hands of Italian infallibilists.

But the Landgrave once more brought the guests together at his table on Sunday night, and urged upon every one the supreme importance of coming to some understanding.*

*History of the Christian church (Vol. 7, pp. 642–644).