Category Archives: Theology

Spread the Word

There is no biblical or theological justification for a ‘religious exemption’ from vaccination.

Quote of the Day

“Mensch, du bist nicht von dir selbst entsprungen, sondern von dem ewigen und allmächtigen Gott…”  — Johannes Tauler

Quote of the Month

“My plea is simply this: every theological idea which makes an impression upon you must be regarded as a challenge to your faith. Do not assume as a matter of course that you believe whatever impresses you theologically and enlightens you intellectually. Otherwise suddenly you are believing no longer in Jesus Christ, but in Luther, or in one of your other theological teachers.” — Helmut Thielicke  — (Via Leo Percer)

Take that seriously.

Christian Twitter and Facebook Aren’t All That Into Christian Theology

Christian twitter and facebook are 9 times more likely to ‘retweet’ and ‘like’ a non-theological post than they are to retweet or like a theological post. #FactsOfLife

Need proof?  Post a cute kid pic or funny meme and then a little later post a theological quotation or observation or even a verse of Scripture and see which one Christian twitter / facebook shares…

Fun Facts from Church History: Sitting on God’s Lap, We Often Befoul Him

Sitting at his table,

luther09The doctor [Luther] took his son on his lap, and the child befouled him. Thereupon he [Luther] said, “How our Lord God has to put up with many a murmur and stink from us, worse than a mother must endure from her child!”

Luther’s greatness lay in the fact that everything was theologically instructive for him. Everything. Would that a generation of theologians would rise up today who actually, like Luther, thought theologically!

Part Time Faith: A Parable in a Picture

Let the reader understand:

Part time faith is as useless as a partially built fence.

Quote of the Day

“In the last resort I do not trust any theological teacher—except perhaps a professional in exegesis or history—who has not spent a long time as a pastor, visited the old and sick, buried children and young people and had to preach to the congregation every Sunday.” – Dietrich Ritschl

Indeed, because such ‘theologians’ are Monday morning quarterbacks at best.

‘Never Forget…’

I’ve been thinking about the events in American history that we are constantly told we should remember.  ‘Remember the Alamo.’  ‘Remember Pearl Harbor’.  ‘Remember 9/11’.   And I’ve been wondering exactly why it is that we should do so.

The answer, generally, is ‘so that it never happens again’.   So what never happens again?  An attack?  How, pray tell, will our remembering inhibit or stop an attack?  ‘We can be prepared’.  Really?  We were prepared for the Alamo and it didn’t do us much good.  We had some hints of Pearl Harbor but of course that didn’t matter.  We even had intimations of 9/11 when terrorists attempted to blow up the world trade center a decade earlier.  But none of that prepared us for any of those events, did it.

No, I think the reason America wants to remember events like those is so that we can hold on to our mistrust or even hatred of Mexicans, or Japanese, or Muslims.  And, by the way, why don’t we want to remember the slaughter of Native Americans?  The trail of tears? The internment of Japanese Americans during world war 2?  Why don’t we want to remember those?  Because we weren’t victims.  Others were.  We want to remember our victimhood and our prejudice.

The funny thing is that the Bible only asks us to remember two things:  The Passover, and the Last Supper.  The only time Jesus ever says ‘remember’ is when he says ‘remember me as often as you eat it…’.  When it comes to remembering terrible things it explicitly says that God ‘remembers our sins no more’.

So why do we want to remember terrible things?  We can’t prevent other terrible things by doing so.  I think, again, that we do it so that we can justify our prejudices.  Against Mexicans, Japanese, Muslims, or whoever wrongs us.  Never mind the wrong we do…

We’re a people in contradiction.  We are Menschen im Widerspruch.  And we will always be such, until we ‘remember their sins no more.’

Why Commemorating 9/11 Matters, Theologically

Because 9/11/2021 may be the day that the whole world finally comes to its senses, the lightbulb finally snaps on, and it realizes the folly of war, and every government on the planet ‘beat their spears into pruning hooks’.

God willing.

Things the Angels Say: On 9/11

angels

Bullinger, on Suicide: Or, Why You Need to Read W.P. Stephens’ ‘The Theology of Heinrich Bullinger’

Stephens writes

With suicide Bullinger begins with those whose minds are sound, but who, governed by impatience, greed, and weariness of life, do not turn to God but kill themselves in their despair. They are, he says, the most wretched people in the world, having shown that they have no faith or hope in God. By contrast, those who end their own lives through sickness and madness must be protected and be given medical care.We are to pray God to have mercy on them and we are not to condemn them, even when they speak improperly of God. Those who do not care for their own, so that they take their life, are more guilty than those who take their own life, but who do not know what they are doing. God will not hold this against them. At the same time Bullinger urges people while they are of sound mind to put their affairs in order with God, so that if their minds are later disturbed their salvation will not be affected.

And that’s just one gem in a literal mine of them.

Quote of the Day

Cherry-picking evidence to uphold my prejudice is a sin. Willful ignorance of evidence to uphold my prejudice is a sin. “Yeah-but-ing” arguments to uphold my prejudice is a sin. – Michael Svigel

Worship Leaders

Reminder: if the Holy Spirit isn’t your ‘worship leader’ and some word strangler is, you’re not at a Church, You’re at a show.

Quote of the Day

When you read ancient Christians, you notice: We talk a lot about Christ sharing in our sufferings. They talk more about our sharing in his. – Andrew Wilson

The difference between the ancient Church and the modern in one simple sentence.

Quote of the Day

“Theology, viewed as a discipline and concretely, is a divinely given discipline, bestowed upon man by the Holy Spirit through the Word, whereby he is not only instructed in the knowledge of divine mysteries, by the illumination of the mind, so that what he understands produces a salutary effect upon his heart and the actions of his life, but so that he is also rendered ready and expert in informing others concerning these divine mysteries and the way of salvation, and in vindicating heavenly truth from the aspersions of its foes; so that men, resplendent with true faith and good works, are introduced into the kingdom of heaven.” – Johann Gerhard

Quote of the Century

“What is the good of words if they aren’t important enough to quarrel over? Why do we choose one word more than another if there isn’t any difference between them? If you called a woman a chimpanzee instead of an angel, wouldn’t there be a quarrel about a word? If you’re not going to argue about words, what are you going to argue about? Are you going to convey your meaning to me by moving your ears? The Church and the heresies always used to fight about words, because they are the only thing worth fighting about.” – G.K. Chesterton

(With thanks to Christian Brady)

Mega Churches Reap What they Sow

The existence of mega churches (like Mars Hill, for instance) is the greatest evidence of the failure of churches to call theologians and biblical exegetes and instead call business gurus and get rich schemers. Those churches reap what they sow.

If your church, or any church, calls a pastor who isn’t a theologian and biblical scholar, you should leave and find a church that has.

The church isn’t a business, and the only way that a business major knows how to lead is as a businessman. Accordingly, there is nothing in the future of that church but marketing and fundraising. And that, dear friend, means that it will soon no longer be a church, but a means by which its businessman ‘pastor’, a wolf in sheep’s clothing can fleece the flock, destroy it, and leave it broken and ruined.

Calling a business major to a church is like hiring a mechanic to be chief of surgery at a hospital.  The only result will be pain and suffering for all.

Zwingli on Hypocrisy

Zwingli astutely notes, concerning hypocrisy-

… those who are a prey to obstinate hypocrisy can never be persuaded by the most skillful argument to confess what they really feel and have in their hearts. Yet the more persistently they refuse, the more certainly are they understood by the spiritual physician. For “he that is spiritual judgeth all things” [1 Cor. 2:15].

Now – as a friend of mine says – ‘that’s some deep thoughts there dear heart’.

Why Are Mega-Church Pastors so ‘Successful’ And Have Such Large Audiences?

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Tim. 4:3-4)

That’s Never Been My Problem, Mr Spurgeon

“I fear that, sometimes, in our endeavours to be sweet in disposition, we have not been strong in principle. ‘Charity’ is a word that is greatly cried up nowadays; but, often, it means that, in trying to be courteous, we have also been traitorous.”— Spurgeon