Tim Cook is a Hypocrite, And So Is Apple

Tim Cook hates Indiana’s new #RFRA.  Lots of people do.  But lots of people don’t run companies that rake in BILLIONS of dollars in profit whilst paying slave labor wages to the people who make those products.  Tim doesn’t like discrimination, but his sliding corporate pay scale discriminates every single day.

Furthermore, Tim, and Apple, discriminate against the poor every day by pricing their products out of the reach of most citizens of the world and many Americans.  We all know that Apple could easily distribute, for free, an iPad to every kid in the third world and still have money left over for their stockholders to grovel for.

So, Tim, go ahead, continue to complain about discrimination.  The only people who don’t see the hypocrisy are those of like mind who are driven more by ideology than by compassion for those discriminated against.


The Marginalia Review of Book Hates Doug Boin’s Book

I’ve not read it so I have no idea whether or not it’s hateworthy.  I would note, though, that the steam its generated for Marginalia has been astounding- because no such outrage has been expressed publicly by these very concerned academics concerning the recent spate of misinformation about the Bible and Christianity on TV (for the Easter season).

It makes me wonder, frankly, why it’s ok for TV to distort the Bible and Church history but not ok for whatever it is Doug has done in his book.  Could it really be that bad?  Will it really reach more people than the bad tv shows will?

It’s almost like Doug is being treated as a persona non grata whilst Burnett and Downey and all the other tv hacks are hands off.

Why would that be?  Hmmm?  Personality cult much, academia?

Der Majoristische Streit (1552–1570)

978-3-525-56016-7Are good works necessary for salvation, or, on the contrary, even detrimental to salvation? How important is deliberate ethical action for the Christian life? What should Christians do to avoid the danger that the message of justification by grace alone might lead to moral indifference?

Over such questions the so-called Majoristic Controversy evolved (1552-1570), which caused some unanticipated confrontations on the field of scholarly disputes among the followers of Luther and Melanchthon in the second half of the sixteenth century.

An echo of this dispute can be heard in the fourth article of the Formula of Concord.  In volume 3 of the edition  “Controversia et Confessio” readers find the most important texts produced during that controversy, by authors including Georg Major, Nikolaus von Amsdorf, Matthias Flacius, Stephan Agricola, and others.

Readers of the volume will need a fairly good grasp of the issues involved and so as far as online resources are concerned, this excerpt (and it’s quite long) from the Book of Concord provides all the information one might wish.  What the present volume provides, then, is the first hand, primary source documentation of the events and disputes as they unfolded and were played out between 1552 and 1570.  The table of contents, preface, and an excerpt of content are all available here in the V&R flipbook.

In a nutshell, do Christians perform good works in such a way as to contribute to their own salvation or do they do good works as a consequence of their salvation?  The issue, surprisingly, is not a dead one or merely a relic from past dry and dusty theological disputations.  It is alive and well and manifests itself in everything from the questions of those undergoing Confirmation to those who inhabit pews as well as seats in lecture halls.

Readers of this volume will be taken back in time and permitted to sit in on the discussions held between many of the leading theologians of the mid to late 16th century.  If this were a modern television special on the Bible, the talking heads appearing would be Georg Major (after whom the contention was named), Nikolaus von Amsdorf, Matthias Flacius Illyricus, Nikolaus Gallus, Stephen Agricola, Justus Menius, and various theological faculty statements along with several others.

One of the rallying cries of the Reformation was, as everyone knows, Ad Fontes.  What the editors here provide is precisely that- primary sources which ought to be taken into account by anyone researching the late 16th century theological landscape.  Each document is prefaced by a historical introduction along with a short description of the piece’s author and an overview of the contents.  Finally, before the primary text appears, the various editions in which it has appeared up to the present is provided.

The language of the documents is predominantly German (not modern, but 16th century).  Latin texts are also present, although in the minority.  Footnotes are abundant and there are even facsimiles of title pages scattered throughout the text.  There are also the usual end materials like a list of abbreviations and various indices.  Even Zwingli is mentioned.  At least once (and here only once).  Little more can be asked of any volume.

A sample:

An den Christlichen vnd gutigen Leser.

Christlicher vnd Gutiger Leser, wir zweiffeln nicht, das dir wol wird furkomen sein, wie das in der alten vnd loblichen Graffschafft Mansfelt sich ein widerwillen vnd zweispalt zugetragen hat zwischen den Predigern vnd Kirchendienern von wegen zweier reden, in dieser Landen Kirchen vngewonlich vnd vngebreuchlich sind der zeit des reinen Euangelij, welches rechten verstand vns Gott widerumb durch den wirdigen Herrn Doctorem Lutherum… (p. 361).

The debate unfolds and readers are left to decide for themselves whether they see things as Luther saw them or as Melanchthon did.  Remembering the statements of the Book of Concord

Though not personally mentioned and attacked by the opponents of Majorism, Melanchthon must be regarded as the real father also of this controversy. He was the first to introduce and to cultivate the phrase: “Good works are necessary to salvation.” In his Loci of 1535 he taught that, in the article of justification, good works are the causa sine qua non and are necessary to salvation, ad vitam aeternam, ad salutem.

While Luther had written

… in his Church Postil of 1521: “No, dear man, you [cannot earn heaven by your good works, but you] must have heaven and already be saved before you do good works.Works do not merit heaven, but, on the contrary, heaven, imparted by pure grace, does good works spontaneously, seeking no merit, but only the welfare of the neighbor and the glory of God.”

Who was right?  Who was wrong?  The book in hand explores every possible permutation of the issues and as a result gives supporters of either viewpoint enough ammunition to trade volleys with their opposites for a very long time.

At the end of the day, we can confidently say, salvation is by faith through grace; but knowledge of theology and church history are obtained only by work.  This book makes that work a pleasure, as there is nothing more pleasurable than reading primary sources.