Zwinglius Redivivus

The Companion Guide to “This Changed Everything”

Posted in Church History, media by Jim on 15/08/2016

This Changed Everything: 500 Years of the Reformation is a three-part documentary series produced by Christian History Institute in association with Global Story2 Films, Lathika International Film and Entertainment, and Midgett Productions. The series covers the history of the Reformation and its aftermath and offers critical analysis about its relation to important issues facing the church today. Over twenty historians, theologians, and clergy contribute their expert commentary to this project. This companion guide is designed to accompany the video series, allowing the viewer to dig deeper into the history of the Reformation and explore its contemporary implications.

This guide is flexibly designed for both individual study and small group discussion. The Digging Deeper section contains a one-page article reviewing the material from each act and providing hyperlinks to further reading from the extensive archives of Christian History magazine. TheDiscussion section consists of 7–10 questions for each act to facilitate conversation in a small group or classroom setting. The range of suggested questions is broad so leaders can choose questions that will work best for their group. This guide is designed for a 14-part curriculum, but it can easily be adapted by combining shorter segments.

Take a look.  I’ve reviewed it here.

The Month of the Bee! This Month’s Carnival!

Posted in media, mockery, Modern Culture, sarcasm by Jim on 01/08/2016

bb-header-logo4Every month we’ve a theme here and this month is no different at all.  What is different is that the theme is a single source of biblical and theological information.  That source?  The Babylon Bee.  The Bee stings the craziness that tries to pass itself off as sensible Christian thought and it does it so very well that in terms of its ability to mock, it excels.  It surpasses the Eye of the Tiber and the Onion, in fact.  Indeed, it is not even too much to claim that the Bee does a better job at theology than most theologians.

So, for your pleasure and entertainment- here’s the best of the Babylon Bee from the month of July.  Each entry is a teaser and you’re encouraged to read the entire piece:

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July commenced with a right good stinging of the several crazies who think that America is in the Bible!    GRAND PRAIRIE, TX—“Truly inspired and deeply moved” by his church’s patriotic 4th of July service, and particularly his pastor’s message, titled “The Shining City Upon A Hill,” local man Jim Radcliffe announced Monday his intention to launch into a comprehensive study of every mention of the United States of America in the entire Bible.

***

One of the things that’s been happening lately is the boasting of ‘Evangelical’ ‘leaders’ about their relationship with Donald Trump.  Jerry Falwell Jr is a premier example of this sort of thing but James Dobson broke into the top rungs of craziness when he claimed that Paula White led Trump to Christ.   took notice, writing – NEW YORK, NY—Has the elder god Cthulhu become a born-again Christian? That’s what one of America’s most popular evangelicals, Dr. James Dobson, claimed recently during an “Evangelicals For Cthulhu” event in New York City.

***

Along with all the other sorts of nuttbaggery there are also pretend bible scholars who like to find ‘codes’ in the text.  Here, the Bee shows the ignorance of that sort –  GALVESTON, TX—After studying the Scriptures through the lens of numerology for over three decades, Bible teacher and self-proclaimed prophet Jebidiah Benson has announced a stunning find. An ancient Bible code hidden in the Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts appears to record a rudimentary recipe for making chicken casseroles.

***

Scholars sometimes don’t do a very good job of communicating with the average Joe.  Sadly, filling the gap has fallen to the heretics and lunatics and those lot have written a ton of rubbish.  One Church had the good idea, though, of having a heretical book buyback…  SAN ANTONIO, TX—“No questions asked,” the sign reads above the booth proudly set up inside Alamo Heights Bible Church’s foyer. The booth is the heart and soul of the church’s new heretical book buyback program, which pays gift cards, cash, or church bookstore credit in exchange for undesirable books of questionable or downright heretical content.

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Pseudo-scholarly premillennialist rubbish was savaged by the Bee:  ALEXANDRIA, VA—A spokesperson for the Salvation Army Family Store confirmed Wednesday that the popular line of thrift shops will no longer be accepting donations in the rapture fiction genre. “We have enough Left Behind books to pave the parking lot,” the representative stated in a press release. “Our store managers have been instructed to turn away any donations of fictional works set in or around the time of Christ’s return, on sight. We simply cannot afford the liabilities involved with the upkeep and storage of teetering towers of books describing the fiery wrath of God on the earth from the perspective of one-dimensional characters. And don’t get me started on the film adaptations.”

It’s truly sad that ‘Left Behind’ is read more widely than the Bible.  But that says more about the readers than the Bible.

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It’s a truism that many pastors are more interested in exalting themselves than exegeting the biblical text.  So kudos to the Bee for stinging that sort of misappropriation of the bible.  LEXINGTON, KY—By dramatically re-telling a story about his involvement in helping a woman after she was in a car accident, Pastor Chuck Vickery of New Hope Christian Church was amazingly able to make himself the hero of a sermon on election he delivered Sunday morning, sources confirmed.

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Molech is alive and well and should really be on the Supreme Court…   WASHINGTON, D.C.—Growing anxious that the Senate would not approve previous nominee Judge Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama announced Thursday that he would be pushing through newly selected nominee Molech of Canaan to be the nation’s 113th Supreme Court justice.   Extra points to the Bee for their shout out to Molech.

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The terribleness of self centered theological perceptions is lambasted by the Bee in this spectacular pounding–  I say God is an illusion. You insist he is real. Well OK then, Christian—I’ve got a challenge for you. A very simple request. Show me some evidence. Just show me some evidence. That’s all I ask. Show me some clear, undeniable evidence that God’s opinions about everything are identical to mine. Do that and I will gladly believe in your God and commit my life to him. If you can’t prove to me that literally none of God’s thoughts, words, or actions from eternity past until now would bother me, agitate me, or make me uncomfortable in any way, then why are we still talking? What’s the point?   That pretty much exemplifies agnostic/ atheist thought.

***

The Bee is at its best when it recognizes the modern political implications of biblical imagery– as it does in this mid month piece on the Republican National Convention:  CLEVELAND, OH—In what is being called an apparent sign of the apocalypse, Lake Erie turned to blood as day one of the Republican National Convention kicked off Monday, multiple sources confirmed.

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One of the most popular (among the far right) is a movement called ‘complementarianism’.  What is it?  It’s the notion that a woman’s place is in the home raising a quiver full of children and schooling them at home so they aren’t corrupted by the society they inhabit.  And the Bee stings it quite nicely here:  JOPLIN, MO—A local complementarian man, who firmly believes and often espouses that it’s his job to protect his family and love them like Christ loves the church, made an exception to his role of leadership Wednesday morning as a “big scary spider” was spotted under his bathroom sink, sources confirmed. The man, identified as 44-year-old Ivan Rogers, immediately abandoned his deep-seated beliefs and asked his wife, Judy, to take care of the horrifying creature while he hid in the other room.

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One of the most bizarre aspects of ‘theology’ these days is its appearance on Facebook.  So kudos to the Bee for mocking what so richly deserves it:  ATLANTA, GA—What is not known is how Shayna Hinton, 35, knows the sweet little girl in the photo she shared on Facebook Monday. What is known is that the young girl in the picture has a “rare” and “deadly” disease that God will heal as long as Hinton’s Facebook post telling the world about her reaches one million likes.

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Pretty much the worst place you can go to find substantive theological books is the local ‘Christian Book Store’.  So the Bee stings such establishments by suggesting they open a new section called ‘the false teaching’ section.  GRAND RAPIDS, MI—Responding to customer complaints alleging that works from well-known false teachers were mixed in with biblically sound material in the company’s bookstores, Family Christian Stores announced Tuesday morning that all books by apostates will be immediately removed from their shelves and separated into their own easy-to-find section.   It turns out that most of the store has been moved to that new grouping.

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Finis

Once again, it’s important to note (and perhaps it will goad actual theologians into action) that the Bee does a better job than most academics in pointing out the ludicrousness of popularized Christianity.  Theologians and biblical scholars should be doing it.

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Luther to Go: For Smartphones and Tablets

Posted in Luther, media, Modern Culture by Jim on 16/07/2016

Luthertogo_User_Interface_StartbildReise-Apps erfreuen sich derzeit größter Beliebtheit. So planen 60 Prozent der Deutschen ihre Reisen online, 31 Prozent greifen sogar auf Reise-Apps zu. Ein Jahr vor dem 500. Reformationsjubiläum gibt es deshalb jetzt auch eine App zu den Thüringer Wirkungsstätten des Reformators Martin Luther (1483-1546). Seit gestern (12.7.16)  ist die Anwendung „Luther to go“ in den App-Stores von Google und Apple kostenfrei erhältlich.

So there’s something else for you.

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A New Film About Katie Luther

Posted in Church History, Luther, media by Jim on 20/05/2016

katie_lutherAuf dem Gelände von Schloss Reinhardsbrunn im Landkreis Gotha wird seit Donnerstag ein historischer Fernsehfilm zum Reformationsjubiläum gedreht. Das Werk thematisiert das Leben von Katharina von Bora, der Ehefrau Martin Luthers.

Etc.

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The Funniest (In the Sense of Most Absurd) Advert Email I’ve Yet Received

I won’t mention the publisher, because generally they do pretty good work.  But this… this commendation… is just so absurd.

This month also brought the release of the long-awaited next book by Peter Leithart, Delivered from the Elements of the World. According to James K. A. Smith, “When you read Peter Leithart, you suddenly realize how timid most Christian theologians are, tepidly offering us a few ‘insights’ to edify our comfort with the status quo. Leithart is like a lightning strike from a more ancient, more courageous Christian past, his flaming pen fueled by biblical acuity and scholarly rigor.”

BAhahahahahahahahahahhahahahhaha. Not.

“This Changed Everything” – Advanced Screening

Posted in Church History, media by Jim on 19/04/2016

An advanced screening of one hour of This Changed Everything, the forthcoming documentary on the Reformation from Christian History Institute, will be held on May 3 in Philadelphia, PA.  Following the one hour premier, a spirited discussion will be lead by Dr. Frank James, president of Biblical Theological Seminary. This event is part of the “Young, Wrestling, and Always Reforming” conference presented by the Missio Alliance at Liberti Church, Philadelphia, PA.

Etc.

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A Question for the Media

Posted in media, Modern Culture by Jim on 28/03/2016

Which of your religion reporters actually has a degree in biblical studies or theology?  @NPR, @CBS, @NBC, @RNS, @ABC, @Foxnews.  Do any of them?  I ask because it honestly doesn’t seem that they do.  Any of them.

I mean, it’s ok with me if they don’t.  But I think they should say right up front ‘I don’t know what I’m talking about when I offer my views on matters related to Christianity or Judaism or Islam and you should know it’.  That info needs to be in their byline.

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‘The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife’ – Michael Langlois’s Take

Posted in media, Modern Culture by Jim on 24/03/2016

Was Jesus married? I answer Anne Sangin’s questions next Monday on RMC Découverte.  Following the discovery of a fragment of an apocryphal Gospel mentioning Jesus’s wife, TV channel “RMC Découverte” pepared a documentary entitled “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife”.  On this occasion, Anne Sangin interviewed several specialists, including your servant. What are her conclusions? To find out, watch RMC Découverte, Monday, March 28, 2016 at 8:50pm!

If you’re in France- give it a viewing.

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Zwingli Film

Posted in media, Zwingli by Jim on 10/03/2016

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Oh Goodie… ABC is Jumping on the ‘Junk’ Bible Programming

Posted in media, misery, mockery, Modern Culture by Jim on 25/02/2016

“Offerings of Blood” – The battle-weary King Saul (Ray Winstone) struggles to defend his Kingdom from one of Israel’s ancient enemies, the Philistines, by marrying off his daughter, Merav (Jeanine Mason), to Mattiyahu of Judah (guest star Matt Whelan). All are hopeful this strategic marriage will unify the twelve Israelite tribes. In the midst of the wedding preparations, the prophet Samuel (Mohammad Bakri) beckons Saul and relays a message from God that he must destroy the Amalekites, another of Israel’s ancient enemies. Saul dares to challenge the Prophet Samuel, setting in motion a series of calamities that will threaten his rule of the kingdom.

Meanwhile, the shepherd, David (Olly Rix), is determined to settle his family’s debts. He travels to the King’s palace in Gibeah with his cousin Yoab (David Walmsley) and makes the bold proposition that he can kill the lion hunting his flock. Queen Ahinoam (Simone Kessel) scoffs at David, but daughter Michal (Maisie Richardson-Sellers) thinks he just might accomplish this dangerous feat, on the series premiere of “Of Kings and Prophets,” airing TUESDAY, MARCH 8, (10:00–11:00 p.m. EST) on the ABC Television Network.

“Of Kings and Prophets” stars Ray Winstone as King Saul, Olly Rix as David, Mohammad Bakri as Samuel, Simone Kessell as Queen Ahinoam, Nathaniel Parker as King Achish, Haaz Sleiman as Jonathan, James Floyd as Ishbaal, Maisie Richardson-Sellers as Michal, Jeanine Mason as Merav, David Walmsley as Yoab.

Ugh.  It must be Easter.  It’s too late for Christmas…

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