Daily Archives: 30 Oct 2019

The History and Meaning of ‘Evangelical’

The earliest usage of the term ‘evangelische’ was used by Luther’s opponents the Roman Catholics to denounce his rather un-Catholic understanding of salvation (justification).  These ‘Evangelicals’ preached a Gospel centered on the death and resurrection of Christ by which they asserted that a relationship with God was made possible.

As time progressed the word ‘Evangelical’ came to be used of Christians who were very much like their earlier cousins the Fundamentalists, but with a glossier exterior and flashier church services.  These ‘Evangelicals’ were theologically conservative and accepted various teachings of fundamentalism; without being tied to the culture of fundamentalism.

Now, however, the term has come to mean a person who pretends to be a Christian who nonetheless is more concerned with the acquisition of political power; a person willing to abandon core theological principles in order to align himself or herself with fascism and a fascist head of State.

In sum, whereas Evangelicals were originally Christians striving to be faithful to the principles of the Reformation, today Evangelicals are pretend Christians.

Just Some Random Pictures…

Of an odd drink, a couple of days worth of Fitbit activity, and some buildings and signs.  And if you’re wondering, the Coke apple is vile.

Glarus Loved Zwingli, For the Most Part…

Except, of course, the lovers of war who despised his anti-mercenary service sentiments.  Accordingly, his biographer notes, that even when he took up residence in Einsiedeln in October of 1516, that technically

… he remained pastor of Glarus till he went to Zurich. He so signs himself on October 30, 1517, when writing to the chief magistrate of Winterthur; his name so appears upon the official records, and he drew the parish income and out of it paid his “vicar” or substitute. His people were anxious to retain him and promised to rebuild his house if he would stay. They were proud of his reputation for scholarship, of his large library, of his musical skill, of the friends he had made, and of his devoted pupils, and of his rise from obscurity to prominence among the Swiss. They knew what an excellent preacher he was, how faithful a pastor, how firm a friend, how enthusiastic a patriot, how generous, how jovial, how self-sacrificing, in short, what a fine man he was. But his enemies, though far less numerous than his friends, were equally determined and compelled his departure.

It only takes one or two obnoxious enemies to drive one out no matter how many loving supporters one has.

Ein Meilenstein der Verlagsgeschichte: Meyers kritisch-exegetischer Kommentar über das Neue Testament

Als im Jahre 1827 der Verlag Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht mit dem Dorfpfarrer Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer einen Vertrag über die Herausgabe einer griechisch-deutschen Ausgabe des Neuen Testaments in zwei Abteilungen sowie eines zweibändigen Kommentars zu den neutestamentlichen Schriften abschloss, war das für den Verlag eher ungewöhnlich und wagemutig. Meyer war weder ein ausgewiesener Wissenschaftler noch sonst in der Fachwelt bekannt. Der Pfarrer sollte mit je 25 Freiexemplaren der vier geplanten Bände und einer Pistole – d.h. fünf preußischen Reichstalern – pro gedrucktem Bogen entlohnt werden, ein eher bescheidener Lohn. Damals war noch nicht abzusehen, dass damit der Grundstein für das traditionsreichste Kommentarwerk der neutestamentlichen Wissenschaft gelegt werden sollte. Aus den anfangs geplanten 2 Bänden des KEK wurden im Laufe der Jahre schließlich 16 Bände, 1859 lag schließlich das Gesamtwerk vor.

Etc.  Do enjoy.  And, FYI, the various commentaries published by V&R are available here.

A Lovely Evening Out

Dinner with some of the students was really enjoyable and a visit to a viewing platform was amazing.  And riding in a jag on the way back to the school… well that was very cool too.

On Reformation Day Tomorrow Don’t Read ABOUT the Reformers, Read the Reformers

Hop over here and read Zwingli. And here you can read Calvin. And over here, Luther. It’s well and good to read about the Reformers in secondary sources. But there’s nothing like reading the Reformers themselves, in their own words. Nothing.

Luther Never Nailed Anything to any Door…

Here’s an essay on the topic that you need to read as we stand once more on the cusp of Luther-Madness.  It ends like this:

All this matters because the image of Luther at the door has so much shaped our view not only of when the Reformation started but of what the Reformation was. Of course, we need “events”, periods and concepts (including “the Reformation” itself) to organise our knowledge and understanding of the past. But all too easily they become timetabled stops along the fixed tramlines of historical development.

Luther in 1517 was no “Protestant”. He was a reformist Catholic friar. His theses on indulgences are in some ways surprisingly unradical, articulating the unease many thoughtful churchmen felt about the practice. Only later, through a combination of political circumstances and Luther’s own theological radicalisation, did a breach with Rome become irreparable. At no stage can it be considered “inevitable”.

Anniversaries are by definition commemorative and retrospective occasions. But we should use them to ask searching questions and interrogate old verities, not just to remind ourselves of what we think we already know.

Luther the Ineffective

Luther’s battle against indulgences was a miserable failure.  Not only did the Church continue the practice of indulgence granting then, it continues to the present unhindered and still widely observed-

In the Study With Martin Luther and His Friends on the 10th Anniversary of The 95 Theses


Around and About Before Dinner

I’m astonished at the traffic both auto and foot-  there are no protest interruptions anywhere near Central Hong Kong and there haven’t been at all since I’ve been here.

All of the Above…

I thought I wasn’t having issues… but…

Jet lag symptoms may include:
  • Disturbed sleep — such as insomnia, early waking or excessive sleepiness.
  • Daytime fatigue.
  • Difficulty concentrating or functioning at your usual level.
  • Stomach problems, constipation or diarrhea.
  • A general feeling of not being well.


The Seminar Gang

All went well today in discussions of Paul.  We didn’t make it through much of his work, but we all learned quite well that the work of NTW is a dead end.


Tomorrow, the Book of Hebrews and other Catholic epistles.  Tonight, dinner with students past and present.

Doing My Part

By eating non environment damaging eggs-