Daily Archives: 6 Nov 2019

When There Aren’t any Biblical Scholars or Theologians to Endorse your Rubbish, there’s Volf to the Rescue

More Pentebbableist Nutbaggery

None of these sorts of sign wavers have a shred of theological or biblical knowledge.

How About No

Big Pharma Is Murdering Americans and Congress is Enabling It

Because of corporate greed.  And that’s the only reason.

While 7.4 million Americans rely on insulin to live, the price of that medication is causing some diabetics to ration their medication with devastating risks.

Katelyn Wackerman went seven years without insurance and couldn’t afford her insulin.

The amount patients spend on insulin each year doubled from 2012 to 2016, with the average patient paying about $475 a month, According to Reuters.

Skipping doses and trying to ration insulin eventually caused Katelyn to get diabetic retinopathy, which left her blind.

“I feel like people need to know [about the cost of insulin] because at the end of the day the pharmacutical companies are getting away with murder,” Wackman said. “They are making the prices criminal. It’s killing us.”

Wackman has started a blog to document her journey through blindness.

The American Diabetes Association has a petition calling for lower insulin prices.

Another Celeb Christian Turns out to Be A Reprobate

This time it’s comedian John Crist.

Sickening and sad. Maybe you folk should stop seeking fame. No celebrity Christian remains like Christ.

Maybe People Should Be Smart Enough to Get Their Facts From Reliable Sources and Not Social Media…

It seems ‘Facebook’ is prioritizing lies.  So what.  Maybe adults should get their information from reliable sources and not interactions on SOCIAL MEDIA, whether it be Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, or whatever.  How about that.

Maybe adults should use their brains.

(I know, I know… you can’t expect Americans to do that.  But still, maybe we should require it).

Everyday Prayer with John Calvin

 ‘Everyday Prayer with John Calvin‘, Don McKim’s latest book, is a genuine joy to read.

Drawing from the Institutes and Calvin’s Old and New Testament commentaries, Donald K. McKim comments on Calvin’s biblical insights on prayer and intersperses his short readings with Calvin’s own prayers. Reflection questions and prayer points help you to meditate on Scripture, understand Calvin’s teaching, and strengthen your own prayer life.

Jennifer Powell McNutt likes it-

Everyday Prayer with John Calvin offers a helpful and thought-provoking guide to better understanding the purpose and practice of prayer in the Christian life. . . . There’s no better way to encounter Calvin at his best than in the reverence that he showed for the practice of prayer.”

Professor McKim, a consummate Calvin scholar and an excellent theologian has collected under one roof many of the prayers of Calvin.  I think that if readers are looking for devotional material for the upcoming New Year, this will be the volume to use.

The book is laid out in 85 chapter-ettes, each includes McKim’s devotional observations based on a theological text from Calvin and a suggestion for prayer.  Or, in his own words, in this book

My approach … is to provide a series of short devotional reflections on quotations from Calvin, drawn from the Institutes and from Calvin’s commentaries on Old and New Testament books. My reflections on Calvin try to explain what Calvin is saying, theologically; and to point out its importance for our lives of Christian faith today.

A scripture citation sits at the top of each page, which McKim urges readers to read first.  Following are McKim’s observations on a relevant text from Calvin and a recommendation for a particular prayer.  Interspersed throughout the volume are prayers of Calvin himself.

Allow me to excerpt a complete entry which will give readers a fuller sense of what’s at hand here:

No Distresses Should Keep Us from Praying
Joel 2:28-32

In a picture of the “coming days,” the Joel portrays the pouring out of God’s Spirit “on all flesh” (Joel 2:28) and the coming judgment as “the day of the LORD” (2:31). This is the worst situation imaginable! God’s judgment is coming. But there is a promise: “Then everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (2:32). Those saved call on “the name of the LORD”—they pray for God’s help and deliverance. However this scene may be fulfilled, we cannot miss the implication: There is no distress imaginable to keep us from praying to God. No situation!

Calvin commented, “Since then God invites here the lost and the dead, there is no reason why even the heaviest distresses should preclude an access for us or for our prayers; for we ought to break through all these obstacles. The more grievous, then, our troubles are, the more confidence we ought to entertain; for God offers his grace, not only to the miserable, but also to those in utter despair.”*

This is the word of hope for us today. We can pray to God in the midst of the “heaviest distresses.” The worse our troubles, “the more confidence” we should have in God’s help. We may be miserable and pray to God. But even more—even if we are in “utter despair”—we can (and must!) pray to God. For God gives grace to those in this most dire of all situations. Let nothing deter you from praying to God who helps!

Reflection Question. In what ways do the worst of circumstances lead you to pray even more fervently?

The volume is a spiritual aid, a very useful and helpful guide to some of Calvin’s best thoughts about a variety of topics.

Were I to fault it, I would only say that I wish it were expanded further to 365 readings so that it could be used as a ‘through the year with Calvin’ sort of devotional for each day.  It should, in my estimation, be longer.  Much longer.

Perhaps in the not too distant future that will happen.  Until then (or if it never does), then readers here are urged to find a copy and read it.  Either day by day for 85 days, or through in a couple of sitting sessions.

Either way, it will be of benefit to all.  It’s an authentic delight.

Today With Zwingli: Good People, Don’t Fall For Eck’s Deceptions

On 6 November, 1524 Zwingli published Antwort an den Rat in Zürich über Johannes Ecks Schrift und betreffend den Anschlag der neun Orte in Frauenfeld. Its thesis is simple- Johannes Eck is a deceiver and what he says in his silly book about Reform is foolhardy falsehood.

Zum andren, so Egg – er habe das uß eigner bewegnus beredt oder versoldet anghebt, welchs nit allein Christen, sonder alle wysen wol und offenlich mögend erkennen – überein hatt wellen mit mir disputieren, hab ich imm christenlich erbott zuogeschriben, und one alles leichen, ableinen oder schühen geoffnet, mit was form ich sölchs mit imm an die hand nemen well, und darinn offenlich ußgetruckt, ob er unsere Eydgnoßen darby welle haben, sye mins gevallen, und den platz genennet: Zürich, da ich gelert hab, da sölle ich ouch bericht werden, ob ich unrecht gelert hab, damit die verfuerten, wo imm also wär, widrumb gebessret wurdind. Ja, so die bede stuck so offenlich beschehen sind, vormal gewert und ietz darwider gestritten, und nütz des minder für und für zuo Abentzel und Basel gewert wirdt, und ich mich mit so glychen waffen dem Eggen ze Zürich uff den plan gestellet hab, so verhoff ich, eim yeden vernüfftigen – ich geschwig gotzförchtigen – sye häll und offenbar, was Egg, oder die inn uffrüstend, für sich genommen habind.

Eck… Don’t believe him, he just makes stuff up!

On Finding Myth and History in the Bible: Epistemological and Methodological Observations

B&I has Emanuel Pfoh’s essay from our 2016 Garbini Festschrift volume on their website today.  Give it a read.  It’s great stuff.

Challenging the Spirit of Modernity: A Study of Groen van Prinsterer’s Unbelief and Revolution

I appreciate the good people at Lexham Press sending a copy of this new volume for review (without any expectations for the tone or the outcome of that review).  And for also sending this work (which of course is the precursor of the new volume and its presupposition).

Dutch politician and historian Groen van Prinsterer’s Unbelief and Revolution is a foundational work addressing the inherent tension between the church and secular society. Writing at the onset of modernity in Western culture, Groen saw with amazing clarity the dire implications of abandoning God’s created order for human life in society. Groen’s work served as an inspiration for many contemporary theologians, and he had a profound impact on Abraham Kuyper’s famous public theology.

In Challenging the Spirit of Modernity, Harry Van Dyke places this seminal work into historical context, revealing how this vital contribution still speaks into the fractured relationship between religion and society. A deeper understanding of the roots of modern secularism and Groen’s strong, faithful response to it gives us a better grasp of the same conflict today.


Groen van Prinsterer’s Unbelief and Revolution is a foundational work addressing the inherent tension between religion and modernity. As a historian and politician, Groen was intimately familiar with the growing divide between secular culture and the church in his time. Rather than embrace this division, these lectures, originally published in 1847, argue for a renewed interaction between the two spheres. Groen’s work served as an inspiration for many contemporary theologians, and as a mentor to Abraham Kuyper, he had a profound impact on Kuyper’s famous public theology.

Harry Van Dyke, the original translator, reintroduces this vital contribution to our understanding of the relationship between religion and society.

The primary source titled ‘Unbelief and Revolution’ is here published in a very fine English translation and it includes a thorough introduction and a very important contextualization of van Pristerer’s timely and abidingly relevant work.  In his book, v.P. describes the history of western Europe from the French Revolution through 1845 and the rise of secularism.  It is a work which sees the secularization of the West as the downfall of the West.  Unbelief and revolution (in the sense of a turning away from institutions like the Christian Church) go hand in hand.  They belong to one another and they feed upon one another.  v.P.’s views are succinctly stated in the 13th lecture, where he writes of the years 1789-1794 that they…

… show us the depth of our depravity.  They show us what becomes of a man when a portion of Christian truth, its origin and essence denied, is made serviceable to a false principle: the poisonous seed of error, sown in the well prepared soil, multiplies tenfold and, with circumstances co-operating, bears fruit a hundredfold.

V.P.’s volume, then, strives to show the ultimate danger of Modernity.  History has borne him out.

The second volume of the two here under examination is a detailed study of v.P.’s ‘Unbelief and Revolution’.  It was written by the translator of v.P.’s volume and accordingly was undertaken by a person superbly qualified to understand the sense, aims, and achievements of v.P.’s book.

Herein readers are introduced to the historical period of v.P.’s work and provided a brief biography of the theologian.  Further, the sources and audience of the work are described, along with the style, argument, and editions of the work.

Next, van Dyke compares the first and second editions and various translations of the volume.  And finally, in chapter 13, the controversial issues which the volume addresses.

The second volume also provides a bibliography, an index of names, an index of subjects, and an index of Scripture references.

Van Dyke’s style is informative and engaging and the information he provides is excellent and accurate.  His ability to tell the story of a man, his era, and his work is peerless.

Historical theology matters, and these two volumes are excellent examples of the sources and examination of sources necessary for historical theology to be undertaken and explained.

But most importantly, there are political and cultural ramifications intertwined here as well.  It’s one thing to observe history from afar as though one were a mere disinterested observer.  V.P.’s entire aim is to summon Christians to the examination of history so as to effect changes they deem necessary.  Not in order to ‘bring about a theocracy, but in order to recognize the connection between religion, authority, and freedom’ (as the prefatory note has it).

These two works belong together on the shelves of those interested in theology, and those interested in politics.  And it especially belongs on the shelves of those who are concerned about the theology of politics.

Paul Pressler, SBC Fundamentalist and Architect of the Fundamentalist Destruction of the SBC is a Pedophile

Long-time Southern Baptist lay leader Paul Pressler used religion to sexually abuse a boy in the 1980s, and when that no longer worked began paying him as an adult to keep their relationship a secret, according to a new petition in the Texas Court of Appeals.

brief filed Nov. 4 in the 1st District Court of Appeals in Houston claims that a district judge wrongly dismissed a lawsuit last year against retired appellate judge Paul Presser due to statute of limitations.

During the very period of time when Pressler and Patterson and the rest of the fundamentalists who had taken over the SBC were gutting Southeastern Seminary and turning it into a school of fundamentalism, Pressler was molesting a young boy.

Lawyers representing Gareld Duane Rollins say the lower court ignored expert testimony that their client was mentally unfit to sue for sexual assault until 2015, when with psychiatric help he finally confronted repressed memories of sexual assault in an “outcry” statement while serving time in prison.

Attorneys from Baker Botts LLP, a Houston-based international law firm recognized as one of America’s top law firms, say that Harris County District Judge R.K. Sandhill instead relied exclusively on a confidential settlement between Pressler and Rollins stemming from an altercation in a Dallas hotel room in November 2003.

The lawsuit settled in 2004 was over simple assault, lawyers say, but Pressler regarded the $1,500 per month he agreed to pay Rollins as money to buy his silence about three decades of sexual abuse.

Read the rest.  These fundamentalists are vile.  They destroyed my school and they destroyed boys lives.

Today With Zwingli: The Second Disputation with the Re-Baptizers

November 6, 1525 was the date of the conference. The Anabaptists assembled in great numbers from all the villages of the canton, and their cause was defended by Grebel, Manz, and Blaurock. The debate lasted three days and was confined principally to the doctrine of baptism. Once more the victory remained with Zwingli, and this time it was more decided than before. When the disputation was ended the Council published in substance the following decree:

“The Anabaptists and their followers having for three successive days disputed in the Town Hall, in our presence and in the presence of the whole community, and each and every Baptist without any hindrance having spoken his quarrel, dispute, and opinion, it hath from first to last appeared that Master Ulrich Zwingli, with his followers, has completely overcome the Anabaptists, demonstrated the invalidity of Anabaptism, and on the other hand established the validity of infant baptism. Therefore we hereby command and enjoin all persons, man or woman, young man or maiden, to abstain from such Anabaptism, and we authorize infants only to be baptized.”

The three Anabaptist leaders were called upon to publicly confess their errors. This they persistently refused to do, and the Council ordered them to be placed in prison. All this time Zwingli was laboring diligently in his sermons and writings for the extinction of the Anabaptist errors, persuaded that in this course only lay the hope of final success. Gradually the turbulent and insurrectionary spirit ceased. The public disputations had served to expose the error, and the Anabaptists and their cause became more and more unpopular.

The credit of suppressing the uprising is due almost wholly to Zwingli’s untiring efforts. When the movement had been so thoroughly quelled that it no longer attracted public attention, the leaders were released on Zwingli’s petition, with the admonition to watch their ways more carefully in the future. It was not long, however, before they began once more to hold meetings and incite the people. Manz and Blaurock were again imprisoned, and Grebel would have suffered a like fate had he not fled.- Samuel Simpson’s bio of Z.

Luther’s Thoughts on Personal Libraries

luther 99Isn’t it a crying shame that heretofore a boy was obliged to study for twenty years or even longer merely to learn enough bad Latin to become a priest and mumble through the mass? Whoever got that far was accounted blessed, and blessed was the mother who bore such a child! And yet he remained all his life a poor ignoramus, unable either to cackle or to lay an egg.

Everywhere we were obliged to put up with teachers and masters who knew nothing themselves, and were incapable of teaching anything good or worthwhile. In fact, they did not even know how to study or teach. Where does the fault lie? There were no other books available than the stupid books of the monks and the sophists. What else could come out of them but pupils and teachers as stupid as the books they used?

A jackdaw hatches no doves, and a fool cannot produce a sage. That is the reward of our ingratitude, that men failed to found libraries but let the good books perish and kept the poor ones.

My advice is not to heap together all manner of books indiscriminately and think only of the number and size of the collection. I would make a judicious selection, for it is not necessary to have all the commentaries of the jurists, all the sentences of the theologians, all the quaestiones of the philosophers, and all the sermons of the monks. Indeed, I would discard all such dung, and furnish my library with the right sort of books, consulting with scholars as to my choice.

First of all, there would be the Holy Scriptures, in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and German, and any other language in which they might be found.

Next, the best commentaries, and, if I could find them, the most ancient, in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin.

Then, books that would be helpful in learning the languages, such as the poets and orators, regardless of whether they were pagan or Christian, Greek or Latin, for it is from such books that one must learn grammar.

After that would come books on the liberal arts, and all the other arts.

Finally, there would be books of law and medicine; here too there should be careful choice among commentaries.*

If I might offer a condensed version: fill your library with reference books that you will use more than once. If you are only going to read something once, don’t buy it, borrow it. Buy the most useful commentaries and the language tools which you will find valuable over the course of your life’s work. As Luther remarks, if you study junk, you’ll teach junk. If you study quality, you’ll teach quality.  And you can only do that if you have a decent library.

*The Christian in Society II, (Vol. 45, pp. 375–377).

On Those Who Present Multiple Papers at Academic Conferences: An Observation

No one should present more than one paper at any academic conference.  Yours isn’t the only voice worth hearing.


Leonard Goppelt’s Birthday

On the 6th of November, 1911, New Testament exegete and Theologian Leonhard Goppelt was born.  His contributions to New Testament studies are impressive and cover everything from the use of the Old Testament by the New to commentary to New Testament theology.  He was an exceptionally learned man.

The good news is that he is finally – though belatedly – coming to the public’s attention.  A fine biography was published a few years back and 2 years ago a conference was held which discussed his work.  And then, a Festschrift!

I’ve posted various bits and pieces on Goppelt over time and those posts are available here.  I hope you’ll spend some time today reading a bit of Goppelt.  My first encounter with him was through his amazing Typos: The Typological Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New.  That book…  wow.  A real eye opener.

At any rate- Happy Goppelt Day!

New From Mohr

Mareike Verena Blischke, Der Geist Gottes im Alten Testament

C. L. Crouch / Jeremy M. Hutton, Translating Empire: Tell Fekheriyeh, Deuteronomy, and the Akkadian Treaty Tradition

Kathy Ehrensperger, Searching Paul: Conversations with the Jewish Apostle to the Nations. Collected Essays