Marxist ‘Theology’: An Observation

‪Asking a Marxist about theology is like asking a man born blind about colors.‬

On Theology: An Observation

The best theologians aren’t innovators, they are renovators.

Shut Up

The story of Adam and Eve isn’t a marriage relationship manual.  So please, shut up.  Oh, and here’s your Dilly.

Luther Wasn’t Good At Dates

On 16 April 1528 Luther wrote his friend

On Laetare Oecolampadius married a widow, a wealthy one, they say. Good for him!

Laetare was on 22 March that year, but Oecolampadius was actually married March 12 or 15.  Come on, Martin, get it right.  You aren’t Kellyanne Conway!

Signs of the Times

When Marco was in opposition to the Democratic candidate…  I wonder if he’s willing to express the same sentiments now…

Fun Facts From Church History: A Little Known Influence on Luther

You may not be familiar with Johann Hilten, but he was a strange little Monk with some fairly bizarre apocalyptic inclinations who was fairly influential on Luther in terms of the latter’s self understanding.

In the Franciscan Convent at Eisenach, in Thuringia, was a monk named John Hilten. He was a careful student of the Prophet Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John; he even wrote a Commentary on these Books, and censured the most crying abuses of monastic life. The enraged monks threw him into prison. His advanced age, and the filthiness of his dungeon, bringing on a dangerous illness, he asked for the friar superintendant, who had no sooner arrived, than, without listening to the prisoner, he began to give vent to his rage, and to rebuke him harshly for his doctrine, which (adds the chronicle) was at variance with the monk’s kitchen.

The Franciscan, forgetting his illness, and fetching a deep sigh, exclaims, “I calmly submit to your injustice for the love of Christ; for I have done nothing to shake the monastic state, and have only censured its most notorious abuses. But,” continued he, (this is the account given by Melancthon in his Apology for the Confession of Augsburg,) “another will come in the year of the Lord one thousand five hundred and sixteen; he will destroy you, and you will not be able to resist him.”

John Hilten, who had announced the end of the world in the year 1651, was not so much mistaken in the year in which the future Reformer was to appear. He was born not long after at a short distance from Hilten’s dungeon, commenced his studies in the same town where the monk was prisoner, and publicly engaged in the Reformation only a year later than the Franciscan had mentioned.*

When Luther learned of Hilten, and discovered his anti-monastic vitriol, and most especially his ‘prophecy’ of a destroyer of the Monastic orders, it was hardly a stretch for Luther to see himself as the prophesied one. Which he did.

Funny, isn’t it, how people we barely know anything about somehow manage to be some of the greatest ‘influencers’ in Church History.
_______________
*J. H. Merle D’Aubigné, History of the Reformation in the Sixteenth Century (trans. Henry Beveridge and H. White; vol. 1; 1862), 70.

Divine Permission: Or, Why Do We Do Things God Doesn’t Wish Us To Do?

“Permission is an act of governing Providence, by which God does not employ hinderances which no finite agent can overcome, or knows how to overcome, to restrain rational creatures, inclining themselves of their own accord to sin, from an evil forbidden by the law, but, for just reasons, permits them to rush into sins, Ps. 81:12; Acts 14:16; Rom. 1:24, 28.” – Quenstedt.

Quote of the Week

Pastoring is not a very glamorous job. It’s a very taking-out-the-laundry and changing-the-diapers kind of job. – Eugene Peterson

ULRICH ZWINGLI IN RANFT

Es ist nicht nur kalendarischer Frühlingsanfang; das Datum erinnert uns daran, dass 2017 auch Hoffnung auf einen ökumenischen Frühling besteht: Bruder Klaus und Ulrich Zwingli begegnen sich zum ersten Mal – an Niklaus‘ Geburtstag, denn dieser feiert gleich das ganze Jahr seinen 600.

Etc.  Do read it.

 

Call for Papers: From Reformation to Reformations

Amsterdam, 20 September 2017, conference From Reformation to Reformations: On Analogies, Ideals and Ideas. This conference will seek to contribute to the developing field of cross-cultural religious and cultural studies by analyzing the cultural, political and linguistic uses of the “Reformation” in the modern era, from circa 1800 until the present day.

It will investigate how and why modern movements, intellectuals and politicians referred to the “Reformation” as historical event, process, or principle. It will highlight how in modernity, ‘Reformation’ oscillated between a static, historic definition on the one hand, and a dynamic and subjective interpretation on the other. The focus of this conference will be primarily on (post-)modern uses of the term ‘Reformation’ outside the strict context of Protestant theology, but in various other religious traditions and societies.

Go for more information to the website or the pdf.

Via.

Wouldn’t it be Interesting…

If Christians got as worked up by ‘do not forsake the assembly ‘ as they do by ‘man shall not lie with man as with woman’?

Ever wonder why they don’t?

‘On the Trumps and their Lies’: What if Luther Were Alive Today?

I had made up my mind to write no more either about the Trumps or against them. But since I learned that these miserable and accursed people do not cease to lure to themselves even us, that is, the Christians, I have published this little book, so that I might be found among those who opposed such poisonous activities of the Trumps and who warned the Christians to be on their guard against them. I would not have believed that a Christian could be duped by the Trumps into taking their exile and wretchedness upon himself. However, the devil is the god of the world, and wherever God’s word is absent he has an easy task, not only with the weak but also with the strong. May God help us. Amen.

[It is indeed a fascinating exercise to take Luther’s vitriolic essay contra the Jews and replace ‘Jews’ with ‘Trumps’ at every occurrence].

Now, in order to strengthen our faith, we want to deal with a few crass follies of the Trumps in their belief and their exegesis of the Scriptures, since they so maliciously revile our faith. If this should move any Trump to reform and repent, so much the better. We are now not talking with the Trumps but about the Trumps and their dealings, so that our Germans, too, might be informed

Why should one make many words about this? If the boast that God spoke with them and that they possess his word or commandment were sufficient so that God would on this basis regard them as his people, then the devils in hell would be much worthier of being God’s people than the Trumps, yes, than any people. For the devils have God’s word and know far better than the Trumps that there is a God who created them, whom they are obliged to love with all their heart, to honor, fear, and serve, whose name they dare not misuse, whose word they must hear on the Sabbath and at all times; they know that they are forbidden to murder or to inflict harm on any creature.

Etc.  And isn’t it interesting how just the change of a noun makes what was previously deemed vile perfectly acceptable… (for one needn’t look very far to find amens aplenty to these descriptions of Trump… by the very people who are most appalled that Luther said these things of the Jews…)

It’s Still True

‘”We can’t have a president who is under FBI investigation!” — Trump folks, during the campaign’-  George Takei

Reminder: A Conference at Emory Celebrating the Reformation

Posted previously, but worth repeating:

A two-day international conference in Cannon Chapel on April 3-4 will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The conference is convened by Candler and Emory’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion, and sponsored by the McDonald Agape Foundation. Distinguished guest lecturers will include Margot Kässmann, special envoy to the Evangelical Church in Germany; Michael Welker of the University of Heidelberg; and David F. Ford of Cambridge University, among others. Candler faculty members Timothy Albrecht, Patrick Graham, Khalia Williams, and Dean Jan Love will also take part in the conference.

This event is free and open to the public. Complimentary boxed lunches for conference attendees will be served both days. Register here.

The Enoch Seminar

The 9th Enoch Seminar, “From tôrāh to Torah: Variegated Notions of Torah from the First Temple Period to Late Antiquity,” will take place from June 18-23, 2017 at the beautiful Monastero di Camaldoli in Tuscany. Please see the conference site for a detailed description, program, and list of participants:

http://www.4enoch.org/wiki4/index.php?title=Ninth_Enoch_Seminar_(2017_Camaldoli),_conference

Participation in the 9th Enoch Seminar is very limited and by invitation only, but we do have a few open spots. If you would like to participate, please contact Jason Zurawski at j.m.zurawski@rug.nl at your earliest convenience.

Zwingli Was Right About What Must Be Done With Heretics

When he wrote, in a disputation-

So far am I from yielding to you that unless you leave me and mine—that is, the sheep of Christ—in peace and quiet, I shall proceed to deal with you far more roughly, without fear of your words or your frowns. You must deal with me by means of the Holy Scriptures bestowed upon us by God (and do not forget that point), and they must not be twisted. You must not use things devised by the vanity of man, and you must come to close quarters and not fight by laying mines. As soon as I perceive any tricks, I shall expose them.

There it is.

On Those Who Disdain Doctrine or Dogma

Those who despise Doctrine despise Christianity.  There simply is no ‘doctrineless’ Christian faith.  Such is an illusion.  A lie.

A Review of the DBG’s Facsimile Edition of Luther’s 1545 ‘Biblia Germanica’

Published in 2017 for the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, this facsimile edition is an exact replica of Luther’s 1545 German Bible.  And the 1545 German Bible is Luther’s best edition, far superior to the two volume 1534 edition and much better than any of the earlier incarnations of Luther’s version.

This edition is distributed in North America by Hendrickson Publishers, as are all of the German Bible Society’s volumes.

Luther’s translation of the Bible alone makes him a figure of importance and it is not at all difficult to muster the argument that of all the works of Luther, it is the most significant.  To be sure, his great books of 1520 stand as monuments to the beginning of the Reformation and will always be valued for that historical reason alone.  But of Luther’s lasting contributions to Christian theology, they pale in importance to Luther’s rendition of Scripture.

The present facsimile edition is unaltered from its original form with only one exception: the ‘afterword’ provided by the German publisher.  Everything else, from font to woodcuts to prefaces and forwards are all exactly as published in 1545, a year before Luther’s death.  Those seeking Luther’s most mature thought on Amos or Hosea need simply read the preface he provides to those books (and all the rest).  Luther’s Preface to the Old Testament is still one of the best ‘introductions’ to the Old Testament to this very day as is his Preface to the New Testament to New Testament studies.  Luther was at his best and brightest when working directly with Scripture.  Would that he had avoided some of his more controversial efforts and simply stuck with exegesis; what a legacy he would have left behind.

The volume presently under discussion also comes beneficially ensconced in a very sturdy box and comes bound in a lovely and sturdy beige cloth cover.  The paper used in this edition is substantial and the volume thereby avoids the easy creasing so common to bibles published with paper which bleeds through.

The price is not exorbitant for the quality or historical significance of the volume though doubtless many will wish it were less expensive than it is.  Nonetheless, you ‘get what you pay for’ and the quality and importance of this facsimile are well worth the cost.  If potential buyers are stymied by the price, I would advise that they sell their collection of NT Wright’s works or their Joel Osteen volumes for whatever they can get for them and buy this instead.  It’s far more deserving of a place on your shelves and you’ll get more out of if in terms of theological education than either of those modern authors could proffer in all of their books combined together.

What follows below are a series of photos I snapped to provide readers with visuals of this fantastic and highly important and wonderfully accessible Bible.

I could recommend this edition with more than glowing words but I think it speaks for itself.  Students of the Reformation; students of the Bible; and people who love fantastic books will want it.  Crave it.  Need it.  Get it.

Review: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: An Introduction to His Thought

I haven’t read the book so I can’t comment on the accuracy of the review. I simply pass it along for the Bonhoefferians amongst you. Wretched souls that you are.

Sojourner Theology

41rTZTDkfULSabine Dramm received a doctorate in education science from the University of Bonn in Bonn, Germany. She has studied evangelical theology and social science as well as philosophy and education. Dramm is the author of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Resistance (Fortress Press, 2009) and Dietrich Bonhoeffer Eine Einführung in sein Denken (Gütersloher Verlagshaus, 2001). The present volume, Dietrich Bonhoeffer: An Introduction to His Thought (Hendrickson Publishers, 2015), is a reprint (previously published in 2007 by Hendrickson Publishers and 2010 by Baker Publishing Group) of the English translation of Dramm’s latter mentioned title.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: An Introduction to His Thought is a unique and important work for anyone looking to get better acquainted with the life and theology of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Those familiar with Bonhoeffer (which should be many given the success of the biography Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas) will also find much to glean from…

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News from the European Academy of Religion

New panels have been added to the list of the accepted proposals:

  1. Identity, Religion and Culture (Sergio Sorrentino, University of Salerno, Italy);

  2. Between the Horn of Africa and the Caucasus: Ancient Eastern Christianities in Interaction (Igor Dorfmann-Lazarev, SOAS University of London);

  3. Catholic Ressourcement and Orthodox Neo-Patristic Movement in Dialogue: Actors, Themes, and Ecumenical Implications (Carlotta Giametta, Fscire, Italy; Viorel Coman, KU Leuven);

  4. Italian Bishops and Reform of the Church in the Age of Charles V (Matteo Al Kalak, Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Italy);

  5. Mobilità e culti religiosi nel Mediterraneo tra Medioevo e Età Moderna (Marcello Verga, CNR, Istituto di Storia dell’Europa Mediterranea di Cagliari, Italy);

  6. Theology and Media (Gábor Ambrus, Ph.D., Pontifical University of St. Thomas, Rome);

  7. Mapping Religious Diversity (Giuseppe -Pino- Lucà Trombetta, Osservatorio sul pluralismo religioso).

Follow the updates, and take a look to the full list of the accepted proposals HERE.

Etc.