About Jim

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

How Desperate is The Clown For Money?

This email came today:



This will be your final offer.

We’ve extended this offer to you in the past and have not heard back from you. President Trump insisted this must be a mistake and instructed us to reach out one last time.

The Official Trump Honor Roll roster is reserved for only the BEST of President Trump’s supporters and there are only a limited number of spots left. You cannot waste any more time if you want President Trump to see your name on it.

Friend, this is urgent. If you do not act NOW we will be forced to offer your spot to another Patriot.

Go ahead and do it. I wouldn’t send you a red cent. Ever. For any reason.

‘If They Had Been of Us, They Would Have Remained With Us’: Zwingli and the Re-Baptizers

H. Wayne Pipkin’s fine essay titled  «They went out from us, for they were not of US»  Zwingli’s Judgment of the Early Anabaptists is as interesting now as it was in 1992, two decades ago.  He begins

zw941.jpgWe will never know what the Reformation would have looked like if the reformers Luther, Zwingli or Calvin had been able to carry out their reforms without controversy. As it was, the theologies and the churches that emerged were fashioned within the context of vigorous interaction with opponents on the left and right. This commonplace judgment was especially true of the reforming efforts of Zwingli, whose work was early circumscribed by energetic adversaries. Zwingli’s early program was directed against the abuses of the medieval Catholic church in Zürich. He hoped to carry out this reform thoroughly and consistently with the assistance of all the evangelical groups in the city and the region. He expected that support for his campaign would be unquestioned. It was not to be.

You’ll enjoy the entire thing. This passage is especially worth highlighting-

The literary activity of December demonstrates how lively the issues had become once again between Zwingli and his internal opponents. In a letter to Vadian, Grebel noted what he had heard of Zwingli’s activity: «Der Zwingli schribt vom gwalt. Ob er denselben kretzen werd, weiß ich nit; ist wol müglich. Er der Zwingli schribt ouch von den ufrüereren oder ufruor; darf wol unß beträffen. Sähend zuo; eß wirt etwas bringen» (this is the volume refereed to earlier today).

Grebel the Syphilitic was on a tear and he would do his best in rending Zurich to pieces had he succeeded.  Read this true gem in the archives of Zwingliana.

Daily Scriptures: 365 Readings in Hebrew, Greek and Latin

Pastors, students, and scholars not in the midst of language coursework often find it difficult to maintain their knowledge of biblical languages like Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. For those looking to do so in a meaningful but manageable way, this devotional offers 365 short daily readings, pairing an Old Testament passage in Hebrew and Greek with a corresponding New Testament passage in Greek and Latin. Lexical notes in English are included as a way of facilitating a comfortable reading experience that will build one’s confidence and ability in reading the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, the Greek New Testament, and the Latin Vulgate.

Cerone and Fisher provide here a series of 365 readings from Hebrew, Greek and Latin, organized by topic and beginning with ‘creation’ and running through a sort of chronological arrangement from Genesis to Revelation, concluding with ‘God’s reign’.

Not only are readings organized ‘chronologically’ through scripture, by topic, each is also assigned a date.  Beginning with January 1 and ending on December 31.  They exclude February 29th (I assume because they don’t care about leap year).

The readings themselves are brief. Just a line or two most of the time, with the Hebrew text lightly represented and the bulk being Greek.  There are readings not only from the Masoretic text but from the LXX, and the Greek New Testament and the Vulgate.  So half of the text is in Greek with a fourth in Hebrew and a fourth in Latin.

A nifty little ribbon bookmark is included, as are indices of the texts utilized.  Words that may not be all that familiar are annotated, but the notes are not located at the bottom of the page, but rather on the sides in the margin.  A bibliography of just over a page in length is also on offer.

Cerone and Fisher each wrote a preface.  Cerone’s is over 3 pages and Fisher’s not quite a page and a half.

The introduction is quite a useful thing and readers should resist the temptation to skip over it like 8 year old girl’s skip over cracks in the sidewalk so as not to break their mothers’ backs.  In said introduction our good editors describe their purpose, explain their pedagogical notes, describe the editions of the biblical texts they use, and go into a good bit of detail concerning their choices for organization and textual selection.  They also help readers understand their choice of words to gloss and give a table of abbreviations for the little grammatical notes that are included in the glosses.

I think this is a fine little book.  I would hope that people serious about keeping up their language skills would read more in the Hebrew Bible, the Greek New Testament, and the Latin Vulgate than just a line or two a day, but a little is better than nothing.  And every little bit helps people hold on to what they’ve learned.  Because languages, like muscles, must be used or lost.

The selection of texts is broad enough that readers aren’t stuck with bits from Paul or the Psalms, as if those were the only texts worthy of attention.  The fonts are really lovely and the page layout is neither cumbersome nor annoying.  The paper isn’t so thin that there’s bleed-through, and the binding is sturdy and well achieved.

I appreciate the editors’ hard work and the publisher’s willingness to take this project on and bring it to the public.  If you make the time to read a little selection each day, you will appreciate it too.

Die Zürcher Reformation in Europa: Beiträge der Tagung des Instituts für Schweizerische Reformationsgeschichte 6.–8. Februar 2019 in Zürich

Here’s  a wonderful conference volume for a wonderful conference!

Im Januar 2019 jährte sich zum 500. Mal der Beginn der Zürcher Reformation und damit der Beginn des weltweiten reformierten Protestantismus als Konfessionskultur und als kulturprägende Kraft. Am Jubiläumskongress im Februar trafen sich die führenden Reformationsgeschichtlerinnen und Reformationsgeschichtler aus aller Welt in Zürich. Die Beiträge präsentieren und bündeln den aktuellen Forschungsstand zur Zürcher Reformation und eröffnen neue Perspektiven in historischer, wirkungsgeschichtlicher und theologischer Hinsicht. Das Hauptaugenmerk der Forschenden liegt dabei auf der Rolle der Zürcher Reformation in der europäischen Reformationsbewegung.

A review copy has arrived.  More anon.

Nehemiah: A Commentary

By my long time fried Liz Fried

Lisbeth Fried’s commentary on Nehemiah is the second instalment of her two-volume commentary on Ezra–Nehemiah. The first instalment, Ezra, was published by Sheffield Phoenix in 2015. Like her commentary on Ezra, Nehemiah too takes full advantage of recent results in archaeology and numismatics, as well as in the mechanisms of Persian and Hellenistic rule, and in the influence of the Hellenistic and Maccabean Wars on Jewish writings.

Like her Ezra, the present volume includes a new translation of the book of Nehemiah, plus text-critical notes on each verse which compare and contrast the Greek, Latin and Syriac versions. The Introduction and extensive chapter commentaries provide a discussion of the larger historical and literary issues.

Although not finalized until the Maccabean period, the book of Nehemiah contains a temple foundation document from the time of Darius I, a story of rebuilding and dedicating a city wall around Jerusalem in the mid-fifth century, and a memoir from a fifth-century governor of Judah. Numerous additions and lists that date from the Hellenistic and Maccabean periods complete the book.

Fried concludes that the book of Nehemiah contains two separate first-person reports—one by the wall-builder, wine steward of Artaxerxes I, whose name we do not know, and one by Yeho’ezer, a fifth-century governor of Judah. We know his name from seals found at the governor’s mansion at Ramat Raḥel. Nehemiah, whose full name was actually Nehemiah Attiršata ben Ḥacaliah, neither built the wall around Jerusalem nor served as a fifth-century governor of Judah, Fried argues. Rather, he was a Persian Jew who had charge of the temple priesthood under Zerubbabel in the days of Darius I.

Fried’s commentary promises to revolutionize how we read the book of Nehemiah.

A review copy has arrived.  More anon.

The Criminal Billionaire Antiquities Collector

In antiquities news:

The Manhattan District Attorney announced on Monday that billionaire Michael Steinhardt will surrender 180 stolen antiquities collectively worth $70 million, following “a multi-year, multi-national investigation into his criminal conduct.” Steinhardt, 80, has also been hit with an “unprecedented” lifetime ban on purchasing additional antiquities. The hedge fund tycoon—and cofounder of the Birthright Israel trip—allegedly purchased art pieces that had been “looted and illegally smuggled out of 11 countries, trafficked by 12 criminal smuggling networks, and lacked verifiable provenance,” the announcement said. District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr. assailed Steinhardt for his “indifference to the rights of peoples to their own sacred treasures,” which he called “appalling.”

In a statement, a lawyer for Steinhardt said that the billionaire is “pleased that the District Attorney’s years-long investigation has concluded without any charges, and that items wrongfully taken by others will be returned to their native countries. Many of the dealers from whom Mr. Steinhardt bought these items made specific representations as to the dealers’ lawful title to the items, and to their alleged provenance. To the extent these representations were false, Mr. Steinhardt has reserved his rights to seek recompense from the dealers involved.”



Quote of the Day

calvin87We must carefully notice these two things—that a knowledge of all the sciences is mere smoke, where the heavenly science of Christ is wanting; and man, with all his acuteness, is as stupid for obtaining of himself a knowledge of the mysteries of God, as an ass is unqualified for understanding musical harmonies.*

*John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians, 1:20.

Remembering Philip King on the Anniversary of his Death (December 6)

A world renowned scripture scholar, more specifically Old Testament scholar, and longtime professor at both Boston College and St. John Seminary, Father Philip J. King died at Regina Cleri Residence, Boston on Dec. 6, 2019.

A Newton native, he was son of the late Patrick and Alice (McCarthy) King. Born on March 26, 1925, he was raised in Our Lady Help of Christians Parish and attended both the parish elementary and high school prior to entering St. John Seminary. His father was a member of the police department in his hometown.

After college and theology studies in Brighton, he was ordained to the priesthood at Holy Cross Cathedral by Archbishop Richard J. Cushing on May 4, 1949. Of the class of 1949, only Msgr. Francis McGann survives and is living at Regina Cleri.

Following ordination, he served for two years at Immaculate Conception Parish in Revere, until he was appointed to the faculty of Cardinal O’Connell Seminary in Jamaica Plain in 1951. According to seminarians at the time, he was task master about Latin and French and especially about observing “The Rule.”

Etc.  He was a fantastic scholar.  😦   May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

When You Feel About Your Work Like Calvin Felt About His…

You express it this way-

IF the reading of these my COMMENTARIES confer as much benefit on the Church of God as I myself have reaped advantage from the composition of them, I shall have no reason to regret that I have undertaken this work. — John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms, vol. 1, xxxv.

Amen.  And speaking of commentaries