About Jim

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

Johannes Bugenhagen: Friend of Luther

bugenhagenJune 24, 1485: Close friend of Martin and Katie Luther’s, Johannes Bugenhagen was born in Wollin, Pomerania, now a part of Poland.

Bugenhagen became a supporter of Luther in the early 1520s and soon moved to Wittenberg. On October 25, 1523, he was named the pastor of St. Mary’s church in Wittenberg, making him Luther’s pastor. He also became a lecturer and professor at the University of Wittenberg. Luther often affectionately referred to him as Dr. Pommer in reference to the location of his birth.

Luther and Bugenhagen soon became close friends. It was Bugenhagen who performed the marriage ceremony for Martin and Katie. They also gave him the honor of being named one of the god-fathers of their first born Hans.

Bugenhagen proved himself useful to the spread of Lutheranism as well. He was often sent out by Luther to advise various territories in Northern Germany and Scandinavia. He also revised the church orders in these areas, removing the papistic abuses and including more congregational singing.

In this painting from the altarpiece from the City Church (St. Mary’s) in Wittenberg, Bugenhagen is depicted administering the office of the Keys – forgiving the sins of the penitent and retaining the sins of the impenitent. The painting is by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

-Rebecca DeGarmeaux

Fun Facts From Church History: The Augsburg Confession

“Melanchthon began the preparation [for the Confession] at Coburg, with the aid of Luther, in April, and finished it at Augsburg, June 24. He labored on it day and night, so that Luther had to warn him against over-exertion. “I command you,” he wrote to him May 12, “and all your company that they compel you, under pain of excommunication, to take care of your poor body, and not to kill yourself from imaginary obedience to God. We serve God also by taking holiday and rest.” – Schaff

These days folk take years to write considerably less and considerably less important.

Today With Zwingli: The End of the First Kappel War

On June 24, 1530, the treaty [that ended the First Kappel War] was signed, and Zwingli on that day expressed himself as satisfied and thankful. The treaty contained eighteen Articles, of which these were the chief:

  • 1. Neither side was to persecute anyone for his faith’s sake. The majority in each canton was to decide whether the Old Faith was to be retained or not.
  • 2. The alliance with Austria was to be dissolved and the papers pertaining to it “pierced and slit.”
  • 3. The six cities of Zurich, Bern, Basel, St. Gall, Mülhausen, and Biel, all Reformed, renounced definitely for themselves and their dependencies all pensions and foreign subsidies of every description, but merely recommended a similar course to the Five Forest Cantons.
  • 7. Schwyz was to support the children of Jacob Keyser (or Schlosser), whom she had burned for his faith’s sake.
  • 10. Abusive speech on both sides was to cease.
  • 13. The Forest Cantons were to reimburse Zurich and Bern for the cost of the war inside of fourteen days from the date of the treaty; on penalty for failure to do so the six cities would refuse to sell-them food.

So SM Jackson.  Regrettably the peace didn’t hold and not too much later Zwingli would be killed while serving as Chaplain to the Zurich troops in the same little meadow at Kappel.

Who is A Theologian?

“Anybody who wishes to be a theologian must have a mastery of the Scriptures, so that he may have an explanation for whatever can be alleged against any passage.”  –  Martin Luther

If someone has no skill in accurate exegesis he or she is no theologian.

The Hunt for Ancient Israel: Essays in Honour of Diana V. Edelman

The Hunt for Ancient Israel celebrates the contribution of Diana V. Edelman to the field of biblical studies and celebrates her personally as researcher, teacher, mentor, colleague, and mastermind of new research paths and groups. It salutes her unconventional, constant thinking and rethinking outside the box, and her challenging of established consensuses.

This volume includes essays addressing biblical themes and texts, archaeological fieldwork, historical method, social memory and reception history. Contributors include Yairah Amit, James S. Anderson, Bob Becking, Ehud Ben Zvi, Kåre Berge, Anne Fitzpatrick-McKinley, Susanne Gillmayr-Bucher, Lester L. Grabbe, Philippe Guillaume, David Hamidović, Lowell K. Handy, Maria Häusl, Kristin Joachimsen, Christoph Levin, Aren M. Maeir, Reinhard Müller, Jorunn Økland, Daniel Pioske, Thomas Römer, Benedetta Rossi, Cynthia Shafer-Elliott, Jason Silverman, Steinar Aandahl Skarpnes, Pauline A. Viviano, and Anne-Mareike Schol-Wetter.

There is Only One Christian Response to Evil

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For,”Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3

Quote of the Day

The LORD said, “Jeremiah, don’t ask me to help these people. Although they fast, I won’t listen to their cry, and although they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I won’t accept them. Instead, I’ll put an end to them with the sword, with famine, and with a plague.” Jer 14:11-12

Congratulations to Amy-Jill Levine, First Recipient of the Seelisberg Prize

Prof. Amy-Jill Levine to be awarded first “Seelisberg Prize”
HEPPENHEIM, GERMANY AND SALZBURG, AUSTRIA – June 22, 2022.

On Sunday, June 26, 2022, the widely praised New Testament scholar, Prof. Amy-Jill Levine, will be awarded the first ever SEELISBERG PRIZE for the major role her scholarship and teaching over several decades has played in building a new and mutually enriching relationship between Jews and Christians.

Seelisberg Prize webA joint endeavor of the International Council of Christians and Jews and the Center for Intercultural Theology and the Study of Religion at the University of Salzburg, the SEELISBERG PRIZE will be bestowed annually on a person who has contributed to Jewish-Christian understanding through their academic excellence and the outstanding communication of their research and insights to a wide audience.

“We would like to offer exemplars of interreligious rapprochement to the general public,” says Prof. Gregor Maria Hoff of the University of Salzburg. “We want to spotlight those individuals who have been its champions.”

In its inaugural year, the SEELISBERG PRIZE marks the 75th anniversary of the ground-breaking gathering that occurred in the small Swiss village of Seelisberg from 30 July to 5 August 1947. This conference not only led to the establishment of the International Council of Christians and Jews, but also issued the very influential statement “A Call to the Churches: The Ten Points of Seelisberg” to address perennial Christian teachings of contempt for Jews and Judaism.

“This statement,” observes ICCJ President Liliane Apotheker, “is widely recognized as launching the transformation in relations between Jews and Christians that has unfolded over the past seventy-five years. It is very important that people today recognize and celebrate this transformation.”
“An international selection committee quickly determined that Prof. Levine would be the ideal recipient of this first Seelisberg Prize,” says Anette Adelmann, the ICCJ’s General Secretary. “Honorees will be research fellows for part of the academic year at the University of Salzburg, featured speakers at the annual ICCJ conference, and will receive an award of €10,000, generously donated by a foundation supporting Jewish-Christian and interreligious dialogue.”

Levine_A-J_2022.gifDr Amy-Jill Levine is the Rabbi Stanley M. Kessler Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies at Hartford International University for Religion and Peace, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies Emerita, Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies Emerita, and Professor of New Testament Studies Emerita at Vanderbilt University; she is also Affiliated Professor at the Woolf Institute, Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations, Cambridge UK.

Holding a B.A. from Smith College, M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, and honorary doctorates from the University of Richmond, the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest, the University of South Carolina-Upstate, Drury University, Christian Theological Seminary, and Franklin College, Professor Levine has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies and received in 2019 the Shevet Achim Award of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations (CCJR).
In spring 2019 she was the first Jew to teach New Testament at Rome’s Pontifical Biblical Institute; in 2021, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Beside authoring nearly two dozen monographs and books, she co-edited The Jewish Annotated New Testament, edited the 13-volume Feminist Companion to the New Testament and Early Christian Writings, and is on the editorial board of the Encyclopedia of Christian-Jewish Relations. She is also the New Testament editor of the new Oxford Biblical Commentary Series.

“Her astonishing productivity,” Hoff notes, “stems from her lifelong commitment to bringing the fruits of her scholarship to the general public and to promoting positive interactions between Jews and Christians.”

At the award ceremony in Frankfurt am Main, Germany on June 26th, Prof. Levine will deliver an address entitled, “Learning about Jews by Reading the New Testament,” which reflects her conviction, expressed several years ago, that in studying the New Testament she enriched her own Jewish identity.

This enrichment that results when Jews and Christians learn from each other’s texts is a reality that the ICCJ and the University of Salzburg are dedicated to promoting among Christians and Jews alike.

Godlessness Produces Fear

And the punishment of the godless is nicely described in Lev 26:36-

The sound of a shaken leaf shall cause them to flee; they shall flee as though fleeing from a sword, and they shall fall when no one pursues.

Fear as punishment.  Fear as an abiding unrelenting condition is divine punishment for the godless.

You show me someone who is constantly afraid and I’ll show you someone utterly godless.

America

‘America is a Christian nation’ is just a lie. It’s always been a lie, because nations can’t be practitioners of religion, only people can be.

There are, however, a lot of fake Christians in this country, but only a tiny tiny minority are actually Christians.

The Pope Writes Zwingli: And Zwingli Responds to the Bearer of the Letter

Pope Adrian wrote Zwingli on 23 January, 1523-

“Adrian, Pope, the sixth [of the name], to his dear son salutations and the Apostolical benediction: We send the venerable brother Ennius, Bishop of Verulam, our domestic prelate and Nuncio of the Apostolic See, a man distinguished for prudence and fidelity, to that unconquerable nation most completely linked unto us and to the Holy See, in order that he may treat with it respecting things of the highest importance to us and the Holy See, and to the entire Christian commonwealth. Although he is enjoined to conduct our affairs with your nation openly and in public, yet because we have a certain knowledge of your distinguished merits and especially love and prize your loyalty, and also place particular confidence in your honesty, we have commissioned this Bishop, our Nuncio, to hand over to you in private our letter, and declare our best intentions toward you. We exhort your devotion in the Lord, and that you have all confidence in Him, and with the same disposition, in which we are inclined to remember your honour and profit, to bestir yourself also in our affairs and in those of the Apostolic See. For which you will earn no small thanks from us.

“Given at Rome at St. Peter’s, under the ring of the Fisherman, January 23, 1523, of our pontificate the first year.”

Zwingli wasn’t about to agree to abandon Reform just to get a plumb reward from the Pope. So he read it, and, according to a letter he wrote his mentor and friend Thomas Wyttenbach, ‘The Pope is the Antichrist’ (letter of 23 June, 1523- SS VII,300)-

zwingli_7-300

Get Yourself Some Christian Friends

Woe to him that is alone. David was alone when Satan drew him to defile his neighbor’s wife. While the sheep flock together they are safe, as being under the shepherd’s eye. But if one straggle from the rest, it is quickly a prey to the ravenous wolf. It is no hard matter to rob that house that stands far from neighbors. The cruel pirate Satan watches for those vessels that sail without a convoy. — George Swinnock