Zwinglius Redivivus

Quote of the Month

Posted in Modern Culture, Theology by Jim on 14/02/2016

Homily for the First Sunday of Lent. As Bassanio points out, “The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose.” This should be a powerful warning for us here at the Ecole biblique. Are we, in studying the Sacred Page, going about the Lord’s business or Satan’s? For what end do we read and study the Bible? Is it for individual consolation, to support personal opinions, to espouse fashionable positions, to gain academic prestige, to accrue institutional power, to advance a career? (Granted we can’t be accused of doing it for money . . .)

The goal of reading and studying the Scriptures is personal and ecclesial sanctification. As St. Paul points out, the Letter kills, the Spirit gives life. The Letter kills because it is only fleshly, earthly, human, it cannot give eternal life. The Holy Spirit gives life because he unites us to Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of God. In speaking of reading the Old Testament, St. Paul goes on to speak of being transformed from glory unto glory. If this is true of the Old Testament, how much more for the Gospel–the power of God unto salvation.

When we read and study the Scriptures let us invite the Holy Spirit to indwell us and transform, glorify, illuminate, and kindle our minds and hearts. Let us beg him to burn away all carnal misuse of the Scriptures. As we approach the altar to receive the body, blood, soul, Spirit, and divinity of Jesus, let us recognize the Face of the incarnate Word whom we see on every page of the Scriptures.  — Gregory Tatum

Brilliantly and perfectly said.

There’s No Cause for Believers to Be Unduly Fearful of Death

Posted in Calvin, Theology by Jim on 13/02/2016

angel of deathThe faithful ought not to torment themselves above measure with unhappy cares and anxieties; and … they should not be so distracted with fear as to cease from performing their duty, nor decline and faint in such a manner as to grasp at vain hopes and deceitful helps, nor give way to fears and alarms; and, in fine, that they should not be afraid of death, which, though it destroys the body, cannot extinguish the soul. — John Calvin

If You Fast…

Posted in Modern Culture, Theology by Jim on 10/02/2016

And you tell anyone you’re doing it… well, you just arent listening to Jesus, are you…

‘When you are fasting, do not put on a gloomy look as the hypocrites do: they go about looking unsightly to let people know they are fasting. In truth I tell you, they have had their reward. But when you fast, put scent on your head and wash your face, so that no one will know you are fasting except your Father who sees all that is done in secret; and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you. — Mt 6:16-18

Fasting: it’s supposed to be a secret…

Prayer Isn’t Attempting to Prod God

Posted in Modern Culture, Theology by Jim on 09/02/2016

Timothy Bradshaw has hit the nail on the head.  Good stuff here.

… when we ask God for something we are not trying to prod God to what he should do, to beg a rather grumpy and uncaring deity, in fact Blake’s Nobodaddy. Rather we can envisage our prayers as our small human wills seeking to be open to the will and purposes of God, assisting his will to be done on earth as in heaven.  We are not ringing the doorbell of a very reluctant and resentful deity, trying to get him to do the right thing!

Read the whole.  Again, good stuff.

Quote of the Day

Posted in Theology by Jim on 05/02/2016

Hilary_of_Poitiers-webThere are many whose confession concerning God, while it acquits them of ungodliness, yet does not set them free from sin; those, for example, who abide in the Church but do not observe her laws; such are the greedy, the drunken, the brawlers, the wanton, the proud, hypocrites, liars, plunderers.

No doubt we are urged towards these sins by the promptings of our natural instincts; but it is good for us to withdraw from the path into which we are being hurried and not to stand therein, seeing that we are offered so easy a way of escape. It is for this reason that the man who has not stood in the way of sinners is happy, for while nature carries him into that way, religious belief draws him back.  — Hilary of Poitiers

Rebecca Giselbrecht, Ralph Kunz (Hg.) “Sacrality and Materiality Locating Intersections” – Download NOW, Free

Posted in Books, Theology by Jim on 02/02/2016

978-3-525-57043-2Thanks to V&R for offering this volume free for download.

Christian theology traditionally regards the sacramental as the polar opposite of the profane. The polarity is a memorial of contemporary desacralization, profanization, and sacralization that stands as a portal to the story of modern reality. In our liminal space, we neither de-sacralize our environs nor re-sacralize the world. The lines are blurred and our perception of spirituality is neither immanent nor transcendent. While words fail to articulate the condition, stories are told and tales of experiences come together to form new theoretical nets, systems and categories.

The conference volume, “Sacrality and Materiality: Locating Intersections” seeks to reply to the questions: Where does the sacred intersect with the material? What happens when they meet? First, however, does the sacral even exist? Would it be more productive to ignite sacramental discourse at the intersections of a new matrix?
Historically, materiality is other than spirituality— an intersection of the two is an intangible event of the intellect and spirit. We must engage a bipolar setting in the context of its own history in order to speak about the unspeakable.

Despite that spirituality and materiality refuse to assume the categories assigned to the initial polarities of sacrality and profanity, the volume addresses the constrictions. Sacral materialism and sacral spiritualism both exist in their own right, and Christian theology has more to offer than polarities. The sacral is the meeting point for the fission of thought.

Is the sacramental a topos for telling a postmodern story of spiritual experience? Is Evangelical sacramental theology relevant? Does theological talk about holy materiality belong in denominational and inter-religious dialogue?

“Sacrality and Materiality: Locating Intersections” inaugurates a dialogue about these issues.

On Those Who ‘Can’t Make it to Worship Because Of Work’: An Observation

Posted in Theology by Jim on 31/01/2016

Have I ever mentioned how very unimpressed I am when people say they can’t make it to worship Sunday morning because of work but who never bother even attempting Sunday evening worship or mid week?

It’s not that they can’t make it to some service, it’s that they don’t want to make it. It isn’t a priority for them. Work is merely an excuse. Were that not the one they used, they’d find another.

They have done exactly what the author of Hebrews adjures them NOT to do- they have ‘forsaken the assembly’.

Idol Makers

Posted in Modern Culture, Theology by Jim on 28/01/2016

Those who imagine God all love and no judgment are just as heretical as those who imagine God all judgment and no love.  Both create idols.

Moo’s Right, Mostly

Posted in Modern Culture, Theological Quicksand, Theology by Jim on 25/01/2016

In this debate with Doug Campbell, Moo, in my view, is mostly right.  Watch for yourself, with thanks to Chris Tilling for the heads up.

Evangelicals Should Be Utterly Ashamed of Themselves

Posted in Modern Culture, Theology by Jim on 19/01/2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump won glowing praise from a Christian evangelical leader in one of the nation’s biggest battleground states on Monday.  Jerry Falwell Jr., head of the Virginia-based Liberty University, didn’t formally endorse the billionaire, who spoke at the school’s convocation, but his remarks went further than for any other candidate to speak there during this race.  “He cannot be bought. He’s not a puppet on a string like many other candidates,” said Falwell Jr., who said he met with three of Trump’s children this past week. “The American public is finally ready to elect a candidate who is not a career politician.”Falwell Jr. even likened Trump to his father, the late Reverend Jerry Falwell, which the candidate called “an honor for me.” Falwell Sr., a politically influential evangelist, founded the “Moral Majority” that became a conservative force in the 1980s.

How can he get high marks from evangelicals in spite of his wretched theology? Because most evangelicals are as ignorant of the importance of theology for ethics as Trump is. Witless birds of a feather flock witlessly together.

Evangelicals (a now meaningless word, to be blunt) should be utterly ashamed of themselves for their abandonment of core theological principles. Ashamed. I know I am ashamed of them.  And of Falwell.  Who has, by hitching his wagon to a politician and political movement, joined himself to the prophets of Baal.

Prophets of Yahweh stand against political power, not with it.  Never with it.

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