Author Archives: Jim

About Jim

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

March 29, 1549 Was a Tragic Day in Calvin’s Life

ideletteCalvin’s married life, though happy in mutual companionship, was one of sorrow through the trials incident to human experience. His only child, Jacques, born July 28, 1542, lived but a few days; and his wife’s health was always feeble after the birth of their son. On March 29, 1549, she, too, was taken from him. In spite of the severe repression of Calvin’s references to his affliction,—a fortitude of mind worthy of admiration in the judgment of his intimate friends at the time,—it would be an injustice to regard his sense of bereavement as other than profound and lasting. His marriage, though having little of romance in its beginnings, had in it much of the satisfaction that comes from mutual trust, and of loving absorption, at least on the part of the wife, in the other’s interests and work.*

Who was this little known woman? The best description is that found in Smyth’s excellent volume –

There was in Strasburg a pious lady named Idelette de Bure. She was a widow, and all her time was spent in training the children she had had by her first husband, John Storder, of the Anabaptist sect. She was born in a small town of Guelders, in Holland. She came to the capital of Alsace as a place of refuge for victims of persecution. The learned Dr. Bucer knew Idelette de Bure, and it was he apparently who recommended her to Calvin’s attention.

Externally, there was in this woman nothing very attractive. She was encumbered with several children of a first marriage; she had no fortune; she was dressed in mourning; her person was not particularly handsome. But for Calvin, she possessed the best of treasures, a living and tried faith, an upright conscience, and lovely as well as strong virtues. As he afterwards said of her, she would have had the courage to bear with him exile, poverty, death itself, in attestation of the truth. Such were the noble qualities which won the Reformer.

The nuptial ceremony was performed in September, 1540. Calvin was then thirty-one years old and two months. He was not constrained by juvenile passion, but obeyed the voice of nature, reason and duty. The papists who constantly reproach the Reformers are mistaken. Luther and Calvin, both of them, married at mature age: they did what they ought to do and nothing more.

No pomp in Calvin’s marriage, no ill-timed rejoicings. All was calm and grave, as suited the piety and gravity of the married pair. The consistories of Neufchatel and of Valengin, in Switzerland, sent deputies to Strasburg to attend this marriage; a striking mark of their attachment and respect for Calvin.**

She was, by all accounts, the perfect wife for Calvin. Sadly, their marriage lasted very little time at all due to her untimely death. Still, she’s a person with whom you ought to become acquainted. Smyth’s volume already cited contains an entire lengthy appendix which is devoted completely to her biography.

*W. Walker, John Calvin: The Organiser of Reformed Protestantism (p. 237).
**T. Smyth, Calvin and his enemies: A memoir of the life, character, and principles of Calvin. (pp. 170–172).

Happy 74th Birthday, Israel Finkelstein!

Today is Israel’s birthday. He’s an incredibly influential Israeli archaeologist and he has overseen the excavation of most of Israel’s most important sites. Over the years he’s been a great friend and I appreciate his great work. Check out a plethora of posts in celebration of his birth-iversary and a gallery of images:

Happy birthday!

Pleasant Dreams from Martin Luther…

In his book responding to Emser Luther writes

Have you never heard the fable about the roaring match between the ass and the lion? When some animals fled at the sound of the ass’s braying, the lion turned to him, saying, “If I didn’t know you are an ass, I myself would have been afraid of you.”

Every day you can see that I am not afraid of those who have more skill and intelligence in one hair than you have in your whole body and soul together, and yet you dare defy me and try to scare me! Thus you really prove that you confuse stupidity with reason and have changed from a man into a goat.

Sweet dreams to you too Martin.

Jesus on Judgement Day

Jesus to the @HouseGOP @SenateGOP @HouseDemocrats @SenateDems @gop @DNC on judgement day- ‘Depart from me, sinners. I don’t know you. For children were dying in mass shootings and you did nothing. Instead of helping, you shoved your hands at the @nra and it paid you for your silence.

So off with you to the place prepared for the devil and his angels, for you genuinely belong with them. Go there with your empty thoughts and prayers to molech, your true god.

Mystics are Weirdos

@jdmccafferty – St Catherine of Siena Exchanging Her Heart with Christ by Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia, c.1460-1482 Catherine, a Dominican tertiary, was a mystic as well as minister to the poor and #plague-stricken. (Met Museum)

Weirdos.  I mean seriously, if she ripped her heart out she’d be dead before she handed it off.  It’s just so unrealistic.

Signs of the Times

The America we want, or we would remove EVERY POLITICIAN beholden to the NRA.  Every single one of them.

Kids die because voters vote for people who get money from the gun lobby.  You put your vote in their pocket and the gun lobby fills the other pockets with cash and Congress giggles all the way to the bank, stepping over the corpses of children.

God judge America.

Total Depravity: The ‘Youth Pastor’ who Molested 14 Girls Barely Spent Two Years in Prison

The youth pastor found to have sexually abused 14 girls at Denton Bible Church and another church in Little Rock, Arkansas was released from prison early for good behavior.  Robert Shiflet was released from prison on January 11, 2023, after serving 25 months behind bars for repeatedly sexually assaulting two girls.

Robert Shiflet with his good buddy Josh McDowell

Remember that name.  He will be going to a church soon to find more victims and if you let this depraved evil wolf anywhere near your congregation, he will abuse again.  Once a pedophile, ALWAYS a pedophile.

So remember the name and the face.  Robert Shiflet.

Oh, and ‘good behavior’?  There really is no justice in the American justice system.

Jesus v His Followers

It’s a good thing Jesus wasn’t as selfish as most of his followers (nominally at best) in America. He wouldn’t have done much of anything except send along thoughts and prayers and lived only for himself.

The Anniversary of the Birth of Kurt Aland

It is the anniversary of the birth of that great Text Critic and Church Historian (yes, he wrote an extensive history of Christianity which spanned two large volumes) Kurt Aland.  He was born on 28 March, 1915 (and regrettably passed away on 13 April, 1994).

I corresponded with him a bit in the late 80’s early 90’s and he was always terribly congenial.  I regret that I never did have the chance to meet him though.  And that makes me sad.

Aland surely needs no introduction, does he?  Here’s a smattering of his impressive publications, just in case you aren’t familiar enough with him.

Here’s a tiny little interview which aired on German tv in which he explains in the briefest of terms the importance of textual criticism.

And here’s a great little explanation of the institute for textual criticism for which he was responsible.

Happy birthday, Professor. All of those who know your work, treasure it, and you.

‘Do Your Own Research’

Reminder: ‘research’ means

  • 4 years for a bachelor’s degree
  • 3 years for a master’s degree
  • 2-4 years for a doctorate
  • 5 years for postdoctoral research
  • The remaining years of life in continuous study.

It doesn’t mean google.

Quote of the Day

Our children are hostages in our political tug-of-war. Our babies. Those who look to us to protect them. We’ve failed every single one of them and we have no one to blame but ourselves. – April Fiet

A Country That Won’t Protect its Children Isn’t a Country Worth Preserving

@shannonrwatts tweets – AMERICAN DEPRAVITY: A child weeps while on a school bus leaving the Covenant School to go to a reunification center after a mass shooting. Three students and three adults were killed by a shooter who was killed by police. 📸 by Nicole Hester

May that image BURN into your soul.

The Ugly Truth About America’s Politicians and Guns

Here’s the truth- our politicians would rather watch kids be slaughtered than turn down gun lobbyist cash and pass sensible gun laws:

1- Training for all those purchasing guns

2- Licensing of gun owners

3- Background checks

4- Insurance requirement

Exactly, in other words, what we require for the drivers of cars.  WHY IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

Because the gun lobby pays Congress to ignore common sense and decency.  And Congress is happy to do it.  That’s why this country is finished.