Calvin the Impatient

Alas, it is true that with none of my great and numerous shortcomings have I wrestled harder than with such impatience.  Yes, I am making some progress but I have never reached the point yet of keeping this wild best completely under control. — John Calvin

Ulrich Zwingli: Prophet, Ketzer, Pionier des Protestantismus

Peter Opitz’s new book was sent along by TVZ some time back and I’ve finished it and will post my review tomorrow.  Till then just one word: flawless.

9783290178284Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531) ist nicht nur der Reformator Zürichs und der Vater der Schweizer Reformation: Trotz seiner kurzen, dafür aber überaus bewegten Wirkungszeit kann er mit Fug und Recht als Wegbereiter und Pionier des weltweiten reformierten Protestantismus bezeichnet werden.
Die allgemein verständliche und reich illustrierte Biografie des Zwingli-Forschers Peter Opitz zeichnet auf knappem Raum das Denken und Wirken des Zürcher Reformators in den Konflikten seiner Zeit nach. Sie erhellt, welche theologischen Grundüberzeugungen Zwinglis Handeln in der Kirche wie innerhalb der Eidgenossenschaft prägten. Das Buch eignet sich für Lesende mit und ohne Vorwissen gleichermassen: Die anschauliche Biografie vermittelt auf aktuellem Forschungsstand ein lebendiges und zugleich wissenschaftlich fundiertes Bild des Reformators. Viele der gängigen, mit Zwinglis Namen verbundenen Vorstellungen werden dabei kritisch hinterfragt.

Tune in tomorrow for the whole going through.

The Myth that Big Time College Sports Are Self Supporting Debunked

People like to say that big time college sports not only pay for themselves but that they actually fund academics.  Uh oh… false.

At Texas A&M University, the president’s proposal to charge all 50,000 students $72 per year to help pay for a $450 million football stadium renovation brought protests.

At Clemson University, the athletic director’s idea to charge all 17,000 students $350 per year to help him keep up with competition brought pushback from student government.

At the University of Kansas, a walk-on golfer’s push to eliminate a $50 fee all 17,000 students paid the increasingly wealthy athletic department brought a strong — and to some students, vindictive — response from administrators.

And at many of America’s largest public universities, athletic departments making millions more every year from surging television contracts, luxury suite sales and endorsements continue to take money from tens of thousands of students who will never set foot in stadiums or arenas.

Students and their parents should be outraged.  It’s a giant sports scam and the ones paying for it are people who don’t give a rip about the foolsball.

Read the whole report.

2015 Advent Seminar Series


If only they had it on youtube…

Originally posted on Newman Research Centre for the Bible and its Reception:

Ready or not, yesterday marked the beginning of advent and what better way to take time out and reflect upon this season than joining us for our advent seminar series! Last year we explored the origins of the nativity story, spending time with Matthew and Luke and trying to understand it through their words. This year we will be discovering how that blended story continues to exert its influence throughout history.

So let me cordially invite you to:

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John Calvin: A Companion to His Life and Theology, By Donald K. McKim

This one is good and it belongs on the shelf of every student of historical theology, Church History, Reformation studies, Calvinism, and Calvin studies.  In equal measures of clarity and brevity McKim guides readers through the life of Calvin (in part one) and the thought of Calvin (in part two).

The details of Calvin’s life are ably presented and the first part of the volume is certainly a welcome piece of scholarship, but the true value of the volume lies within the second part where McKim analyzes Calvin’s Institutes, book by book, chapter by chapter, section by section and allows readers who may not have read the entire thing for themselves an entrance into its many profundities.  Indeed, the second half of McKim’s work could have been published as a stand alone work and titled ‘A Primer in the Theology of John Calvin’.

The best thing about the segment is the ease with which McKim boils Calvin’s ideas down to their most basic and distilled form without losing any of the substance.  It’s easy enough to summarize anyone’s notions, but to do so in order that the authentic core is retained is a skill few possess.

McKim doesn’t simply summarize, though.  He also quotes Calvin extensively so that readers are drawn in to a direct encounter with Calvin himself.  The true genius of the volume is that when readers complete it they will want more.

To that end, McKim provides a very good up to date modern bibliography and he also makes this book group friendly by providing study questions.  McKim, in this short but useful work, proves once again that bigger is not necessarily better and in fact the small packages often contain the greatest gifts.

calvThis unique book is an introductory guide to the life and theology of John Calvin (1509-64). Calvin’s theology has been highly significant as a major expression of Protestant theology. Reformed churches throughout the world appropriate Calvin’s theological understandings and find his work provides important insights into Scripture and communicates a vibrant Christian faith. The first part of this book describes events in Calvin’s life that helped shape his major work, the Institutes of the Christian Religion. The second part follows the flow of the Institutes and provides a narrative exposition of this major work, with numerous quotations of Calvin’s own words. This enables readers to hear Calvin’s voice as his views are explained. This close reading of Calvin opens the door to further, more thorough Calvin studies.

I commend this treasure to your attention.  Especially if you are unfamiliar with the particulars of Calvin’s life or unsure about some aspect of Calvin’s thought.  Once you are finished with it, follow the trail McKim marks out to further knowledge through the bibliography.  You will certainly not regret the journey.