Author Archives: Jim

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.

Luther Fulfills his Vow

July 15 (or 17) 1505: Martin Luther fulfills his vow to St. Anne and enters the Augustinian monastery in Erfurt. The night before, he held a small party for his friends where he said his farewells and gave them his law books.

In the monastery Martin lived under the order’s strict rules including seven worships services held throughout the day. These services began at 3 a.m. with Matins. Services continued during the day with Prime (6 a.m.), Terce (9 a.m.), Sext (noon), None and Vespers (3 p.m.), and Compline (before bed at sunset).

Life in the monastery was not easy. Aside from the worship services, each member of the community had his individual duties. All of this was aimed at making penance for his many sins – real and perceived. Because he felt that he could never be sure that he had satisfactorily fulfilled all that he needed to in order to atone for his sins, Martin regularly fasted and beat himself to appease a God whom he had been taught to be a demanding judge.

It was also in the monastery that Martin also took up an intense study of scripture. Here, then, he began to see some of the inconsistencies between scripture and Roman Catholic canon law. But this was only the beginning.

The drawing is a medieval rendering of the the monastery.

Rebecca DeGarmeaux for Katie Luther

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Posted by on 15 Jul 2018 in Luther


Elon Musk: The More You Know About the Guy, The Less Charming He Seems

Elon Musk Didn’t Help Save The Thai Boys. Now He’s Attacking Someone Who Did.

This is pretty remarkable.

Elon Musk is attacking a diver who helped rescue a group of teenage boys from a Thai cave last week after the rescuer criticized Musk’s mini submarine, which he designed to help with the mission.

Musk is very petty. There seems to be a lot of that going around these days.  Seems that those who can’t, demean, and those who can, do.

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Posted by on 15 Jul 2018 in Modern Culture


I Thought About Removing It…

But I’m not going to for one simple reason: the manipulative tyrants depend on silence to succeed.  They deserve to have the spotlight shined on them so that when they attempt to do to others what they’ve attempted to do to one, those others know who they are in advance.

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Posted by on 15 Jul 2018 in Modern Culture


Tom Bolin: A Vile Backstabbing Wretch

Here’s the kind of stuff the angry little toad does when he’s hell bent to ‘get you’. He also writes editors and tries to get you removed from editorial boards. Sad Tom, it didn’t work then and it won’t work now. But keep trying.



You’re the only one who doesn’t understand what posts are about. But do keep up your campaign.  It’s funny as all get out and you’re exposing yourself as the little small minded tyrant and manipulator we all know you to be.


Posted by on 15 Jul 2018 in Modern Culture


Out of the Depths…

Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD;
Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications.
If You, LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope.
My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning– Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the LORD; For with the LORD there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption.
And He shall redeem Israel From all his iniquities. (Ps. 130:1-8)

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Posted by on 15 Jul 2018 in Bible


The End of the Leipzig Disputation

July 15, 1519 was the last day of the Leipzig Disputation.  Schaff remarks

Luther himself was greatly dissatisfied, and regarded the disputation as a mere waste of time. He made, however, a deep impression upon younger men, and many students left Leipzig for Wittenberg. After all, he was more benefited by the disputation and the controversies growing out of it, than his opponents.

The importance of this theological tournament lies in this: that it marks a progress in Luther’s emancipation from the papal system. Here for the first time he denied the divine right and origin of the papacy, and the infallibility of a general council. Henceforward he had nothing left but the divine Scriptures, his private judgment, and his faith in God who guides the course of history by his own Spirit, through all obstructions by human errors, to a glorious end. The ship of the Reformation was cut from its moorings, and had to fight with the winds and waves of the open sea.

So, what may seem a waste of time to you may be a help to someone else…

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Posted by on 15 Jul 2018 in Luther



For many reasons but primarily because it is an utter misreading of the text and a distortion of history. It is eisegesis on the basis of current events. Nothing more.

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Posted by on 14 Jul 2018 in Modern Culture


A Primer for the Media and The Press and News Services On the Organization of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC)

There’s a lot of ignorance out there in talking head reporter land when it comes to the SBC- so allow me to offer a brief primer on SBC polity and organization:

  • Each SBC Church is independent.  It reports to no one, and is accountable to no other body.
  • Each SBC Local Association is independent.  It reports to no one, and is accountable to no other body.
  • Each SBC State Convention is independent.  It reports to no one, and is accountable to no other body.
  • The President of the SBC is powerless.  He is a figure head, the winner of a popularity contest, nothing more.
  • No Church in the SBC reports to any other entity of the SBC.
  • The Messengers at local, state, and national Conventions are there to do the business of the local, state, or national Convention and nothing else.
  • No action by any local, state or national Convention is binding on any other local, state, or national Convention nor are any actions binding on any SBC Church, at all, ever.
  • Persons employed by various SBC churches, organizations, and entities are answerable only to and strictly to their immediate employer and no one else.
  • We have no Pope.  We have no governing board.  We have no oversight committee.  We have no formal contract with other entities.  We are utterly, completely, pathologically independent each and all individually and in our parts.
  • No one tells anyone else what to do, in other words.  And if they did, no one would listen.

That, for good or ill, is how the SBC works.  So when you make statements like ‘The President of the Convention should have said something to the International Mission Board about employee X’ you betray your utter ignorance of the SBC and its polity.  Please check with someone before making false statements to the public and fools of yourselves.


Posted by on 14 Jul 2018 in Modern Culture


In the Footsteps of King David: Revelations from an Ancient Biblical City

King David is a pivotal figure in the Bible, which tells his life story in detail and gives stirring accounts of his deeds, including the slaying of the Philistine giant Goliath and the founding of his capital in Jerusalem. But no certain archaeological finds from the period of his reign or of the kingdom he ruled over have ever been uncovered—until now.

In this groundbreaking account, the excavators of Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Valley of Elah, where the Bible says David fought Goliath, reveal how seven years of exhaustive investigation have uncovered a city dating to the time of David— the late eleventh and early tenth century BCE—surrounded by massive fortifications with impressive gates and a clear urban plan, as well as an abundance of finds that tell us much about the inhabitants. Discussing the link between the Bible, archaeology, and history In the Footsteps of King David explains the significance of these discoveries and how they shed new light on David’s kingdom. The topic is at the center of a controversy that has raged for decades, but these findings successfully challenge scholars disputing the historicity of the Bible and the chronology of the events recounted in it.

I’m reviewing this one for Reading Religion.  So you’ll find it there some day.

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Posted by on 14 Jul 2018 in Book Review, Books


Another Text Christians Ignore

“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. “And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying,`I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” (Lk. 17:3-4)

‘Rebuke him…’  ‘If he repents…’  The so called ‘forgiveness’ promoted today isn’t real forgiveness at all because it isn’t the result of correction and it doesn’t stem from real repentance.  The forgiveness promoted today is vapid and empty and meaningless.  Forgiveness without repentance is permission for the other, the unrebuked brother, to continue on in their sin.

The forgiveness promoted today is cruelty because it permits the brother to continue in the sin that destroys him and those around him.  And those who feel pious because they ‘have forgiven’ their enemies while their enemies are neither rebuked nor repentant should in truth feel demonic as they are the enablers of iniquity, not the promoters of righteousness.

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Posted by on 14 Jul 2018 in Bible


Sounds Familiar

“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,`These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:  “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; “and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place– unless you repent. “But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”‘ (Rev. 2:1-7)

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Posted by on 14 Jul 2018 in Bible


A Good Essay by Kloppenborg


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Posted by on 14 Jul 2018 in Biblical Studies Resources


Today With Zwingli: The Explanation of the 67 Articles

On 14 July 1523 Zwingli published his very long ‘Explanation’ of the 67 Articles he had put together to explain his Reformatory program. It’s good stuff. You can read the Articles here. If you read German, you can read the explanations published on this date here. If you’re confined to English, you’ll have to get this book.

Here’s my favorite (because in it Zwingli eviscerates the ‘entertainment’ too often found in worship)- (skip to the end for an explanation if you wish) –

Der sechs und viertzigst artickel.

So muoss ie volgen, das tempelgsang oder gschrey,

one andacht und nun umb lon, eintweders ruom suocht vor den menschen oder gwün. Der sinn ist, das die gsang, die man in den templen thuot umb lon und one andacht, allein darumb geschehind, das man oder gruempt werde, wie man geystlich sye oder das man gelt gwünne, welche fürnemmen doch alle böß sind. Darumb noch vil böser ist, das man sölichen gouggel den menschen zuo eim geltkloben für die nasen ußsteckt und inn so tür verkoufft.  Hie sprechend sy zum ersten: So es aber mit andacht geschicht, so ist es ie nit böß. Antwurt: Hast nit ghört, das du kein werck schetzen solt, wie guot es sye; denn so man uns das gestattete, so wurden wir unser werck so tür schetzen, daß uns got die kümmerlich möchte bezalen. Das ein werck guot sye, lyt allein an got; von dem muoß es kummen. Darnach pruelt der andacht nit vor den menschen, wie die unsinnigen buoler thuond, sunder er gadt an sin stille. Da kan er sich aller bast mit got ersprachen; denn inn zücht nitt gsicht, nit ghörd von der guoten betrachtung ab.

Es ist wider aller menschen vernunfft, das man in grossem gethös unnd gthön sinnig oder andächtig sye. Darzuo ist des menschen andacht so kurtz und schnell, das er gar nit lang mit worten und hertzen andächtig ist; aber mit dem inneren sinn und gedancken imm hertzen mag er den andacht lenger verstrecken. Darus man ermißt, das die, die so übel an dem korgsang rüwt, eintweders närrisch sind oder kindisch. Närrisch: das sy noch den rechten, waren andacht nie erlernet hand; denn hettind sy den ie recht empfunden, so möchtind sy nit erlyden, das man sy mit dem mönen irrte. Kindisch: das sy den kinden glych gern singend und hörend singen, ob sy glych nit verstond, was sy singend. Ja, ich sag by der warheit, das ich das umblonsingen mee sündig warlich schetzen mag dann guot. Denn was thuond die kinder minder, die umb die gaß krützend und ouch darzuo singend, und buckent ire münd ouch in seltzame wort, die weder sy noch andere menschen verstond. Also singt der meerteil joch der münch und pfaffen, das sy wenig verstond, was sy singend.

Doch muoß man inen lonen oder aber sy singend nit. Darzuo ist da oben gnuog bewärt, das wir nit durch unsere werck sunder durch gottes erbärmbd sälig werdind, mit dero ouch die todtenpfyffer sälig werden muessend, und nit mit iren wercken. Demnach werffend sy engegen: Ist es aber nit wäger, man sye also in der kilchen, denn das man muessig gang oder imm bretspil lige? Antwurt: Gnad, herr, das ir dahin kummen sind, das ir üwren so schönen gotsdienst nit besser sin könnend bewären, denn das er dennocht besser sye denn muessiggon und bretspilen. Wellend ir üwren andacht dahin rechnen, so wil ich reden: spinnen sye besser dann muessiggon und brätspilen. Wie wär nun, ir spunnind oder haspletind, min andächtiger vatter? Doch sind ir ze starck darzuo, wie wär es, man machte ein holtzschyter oder ein pfluogheber uß üch, so ir doch etwas muessend thuon für muessiggon? So hulffind ir ouch dem gemeinen menschen die arbeit tragen; ir sind schön und fäßt.

Ach got, wie muoß man üch die wyl so kostlich vertryben! Thuond so wol und lesend das 14. capitel 1. Cor. [1. Cor. 14. 19], so werdend ir finden, das Paulus lieber wil fünff wort mit verstand des sinnes reden andren zuo der ler, weder zehentusend wort mit der zungen. Also werdend ir, wie da oben ist anzeigt, nach dem sinn der gschrifft arbeiten und die unverstandnen wort lassen ligen, als ich hoff. Und so ir überein frölich sin wellend in dem geist, so würt das nit lang wären. Darumb thuond es, so lang das gemuet mit den worten hält; hab ich dhein zwyfel, ir werdind nimmerme singen; denn er spricht daselbst [1. Cor. 14. 15]: Wil ich mit dem atem einen psalmen reden, so sol es mit dem gmuet geschehen, das ist: wiltu mit dem mund einen psalmen reden, luog, das munnd und gmuet mit einandren ziehind. Nun ist mund und gmuet, so man bättet, nit lang uff eim weg, vil weniger gemuet und gsang. Lis das gantz capitel daselbst, so findstu, das under den Cristen das höchst ampt ist, daß sy das wort gottes zuo guotem verstand bringind, damit die gantz menge gelert werd. Item es hatt ouch Amos 5. [Amos 5. 23] das singen imm alten testament verworffen: Thuo mir das gmürmel diner gsangen hinweg, und das gsang diner lyren wil ich nit.

Wie wurd der pürisch prophet zuo unseren zyten thuon, wenn er so mengerley musick in den templen sähe, und so mengerley mensuren der basdentzen, turdionen und hopperdentzen und ander proportzen horte, und dazwüschen dis zarten korheren in iren sydinen hembdlinen zum altar gen opffer gon? Warlich, er wurd aber schryen, daß sin wort die gantz welt nit erlyden möcht. Sich, das tockenwerck in den templen kost so vil schweiß und arbeit; noch wil es nieman ze hertzen gon, noch muoß man die glychßnery (ich hatt nach geredt: die abgötery) für und für neren. Unnd beschicht doch nit on merckliche sünd; denn da wirdt eintweders angesehen uppige eer oder wollust oder nutz, und kanst du nienen nüt uß der gschrifft harfürbringen, das den verlonten gotsdienst bevest. Denn das wort: Der arbeiter ist wirdig sines lons Luc. 10. [Luc. 10. 7], dient gar nit dahar.

Darumb sol im nieman grusen lassen, ob er das russen uß den templen laßt kummen, und ordnet an des statt wolglerte, die das gotswort trülich uffschliessind, und gibt das übrig guot den armen, dürfftigen, doch mit sölicher mas, das da nit uffruor enspring, es wellind dann die gotsjunckheren nit anderst. Alde, min tempelgmürmel! Bis mir nun nit schad; guot weiß ich wol, das du mit nit bist.

Aber biß grueßt, o frommes, innwendigs gebett, das vom gotswort erweckt würdt imm hertzen des gleubigen menschen, ja, ein kleiner sünftz, der kurtz bschicht und sich selbs erkent, und bald wyter loset! Bis  ouch grueßt, du gmeines gebett, das alle Christenmenschen für einandren tuond, es sye offenlich imm tempel oder imm kämerlin, doch fry, unverlont! Ich weiß, das du das gebett bist, dem gott geben wil, das er verheissen hat.

To summarize- worship is more about hearing and heeding the Word than it is in hearing shrieking self-promoting buffoons compete with the organ for attention.

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Posted by on 14 Jul 2018 in Zwingli


Luther For Today

God has set before us two ways in his Word, the way to salvation through faith and the way to damnation through unbelief. — Martin Luther

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Posted by on 14 Jul 2018 in Luther


Steven Furtick’s ‘Tithe Your Age’ Campaign Aims to Get Young Kids into Church for a Steep Age Driven Discount

His idea seems to be catching on with other churches too– of the emergent variety.

In an effort to bolster its diminishing youth attendance numbers, Pomona Life Community Church announced on its Facebook page Friday its upcoming “Tithe Your Age Sunday.”

Younger churchgoers are expected to line up around the block to get into the service, so they can worship God while only putting a small bill or two into the offering plate.

“This is a really great deal,” said Pastor Paul. “You get to worship alongside the people of God, all for the low, low price of your age, and no one can even give you a dirty look when you merely drop a 20-spot into the plate.”

“This great deal won’t last, so hurry in, millennials! We’re hip!” he said.

The pastor further stated that there may be up to a 12-hour wait to get into one of the church’s four weekend services, and that security would be standing by to look out for cheapskate older churchgoers trying to claim they are much younger than they actually are.

“I just feel really bad for Gertrude, our 102-year-old regular,” he added, shrugging. “But what can you do?”

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Posted by on 13 Jul 2018 in mockery


Study: Average American Now Complains More In A Week Than People Living Through The Black Plague Did Their Entire Lives

Demonstrating just how bad modern life has gotten, surveys now show that the average American today complains more in a week than people living during the black plague complained throughout their entire 30-year life span.

“There’s just so much more going wrong now,” said Karen Maxwell, a college student. “Things were just much simpler during the Black Death. All they had to deal with was squalor, starvation, and the constant threat of disease. Nowadays we have microaggressions, student debt, gluten, unequal pay for women, GMOs, problematic things like Scarlett Johansson playing a transgender man. The list just goes on and on. So it’s no wonder we complain more.”

“It just makes sense,” she added before going back to using her smartphone, a device that would have seemed like dark magic to people living just a hundred years ago.

Studies backup Maxwell, as there are recorded only a handful of common complaints from the 14th century such as large boils, lack of food, and everyone dying. In the present day, though, there are thousands of things people complain about daily — poor cell service, traffic jams, unripe avocados, obesity, favorite TV shows being canceled — problems no one six hundred years ago had to deal with at all.

“It’s just a miserable time to live in,” Troy Walker said while eating a burrito in an air conditioned food court, something that would probably confuse and scare a 14th century European. “All the disease back in the 1300s sounds bad, but at least they didn’t have high health care costs from it since they didn’t have health care. And look how we’re being exploited by capitalism.” Walker pointed to his iPhone. “But in plague-ridden Europe, most people had pretty much nothing, so they didn’t have to worry about that.”


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Posted by on 13 Jul 2018 in Modern Culture


Signs of the Times

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Posted by on 13 Jul 2018 in Modern Culture


That Awkward Moment That Scripture Trolls You on Twitter

Ἴστε, ἀδελφοί μου ἀγαπητοί· ἔστω δὲ πᾶς ἄνθρωπος ταχὺς εἰς τὸ ἀκοῦσαι, βραδὺς εἰς τὸ λαλῆσαι, βραδὺς εἰς ὀργήν· ὀργὴ γὰρ ἀνδρὸς δικαιοσύνην θεοῦ οὐ κατεργάζεται.  (Jas. 1:19-20)

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Posted by on 13 Jul 2018 in Bible


The ‘God of the OT is Wrathful and the God of the NT is Loving’ is a False Dichotomy and A Lie

The premise of the tweet below is simply false.  The God portrayed in the Old Testament shows love (hesed) to people constantly.  Read Hosea.  Read Exodus!   And the God portrayed in the New Testament can get as angry as he pleases.  Read the Gospels (with their many references to hell and judgment).  Read the book of Revelation!

This false dichotomy has been around too long and casual readers of the Bible need to stop acting as if it were legit, because every time they do, they put their ignorance on full display.


Reasons I Don’t Take a Shower

@ConnectCatholic tweets “A priest in Ireland got tired of listening to people explain why they don’t go to mass on Sundays. He wrote this in the bulletin.”

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Posted by on 13 Jul 2018 in Modern Culture