Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Image of God or god?

“As we look around us, we see in our society the generally increasing humanization and leveling of the image of God. In this connection, all the emphasis falls on the love, pity, or even powerlessness of God. Increasingly people tend to filter out of their image of God notions such as wrath, punishment and judgement. That’s something I can no longer buy, says the modern theologian. I can’t picture that says the man in the street.”— Shadow Sides, pages 72-73.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Some great new titles

UPDATE (7/30):
Carta just notified me that they dropped the price on the Ahituv to $124.00 and on Cogan to $78.00. So, your feedback had some effect.

I just got the newest Carta catalog today, and there are a few great new titles in it. Here are a few of them (sorry, no graphics yet).

An abridged version of The Sacred Bridge, Heather has dubbed it The Sacred Abridgment :)

Carta's New Century Handbook and Atlas of the Bible
Abridgement of The Sacred Bridge
by Anson F. Rainey and R. Steven Notley
Carta, Jerusalem, Forthcoming, November 2007
280 pages + full color illustrations and maps,
Cloth, 9 x 12 inches
ISBN: 9652207038
Your Price: $50.00

And two translations from the Hebrew:

The Raging Torrent
Historical Inscriptions from Assyria and Babylonia Relating to Ancient Israel
Carta Handbook
by Mordechai Cogan
Carta, Jerusalem, Forthcoming, winter 2007
ca. 224 pages + illustrations,
Cloth, 6 x 9.25 inches
ISBN: 9652207071
Your Price: $84.00

Ancient Inscriptions
Hebrew and Cognate Texts from the Holy Land in the Biblical Period
Carta Handbook
by Shmuel Ahituv
Carta, Jerusalem, Forthcoming, early 2008
ca .480 pages + illustrations,
ISBN: 965220708X
Your Price: $150.00

And a new wall chart from Ada Yardeni:

Hebrew Scripts
A Carta Wall Chart
Folds out to 70×100 cm (27½×39 in.); laminated; case: 27×35.5 cm (10½×14 in.)
by Ada Yardeni
Carta, Jerusalem, Forthcoming fall 2007
Your Price: $19.95

But, that's not all! I also got the latest Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft catalog, which had this little gem in it:

Originaltext mit Kommentar
by Uwe-Karsten Plisch
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, Forthcoming early 2008
ca. 300 pages,
ISBN: 9783438051288
List Price: $49.00
Your Price: $44.10

Where is God, part 2

"We do not hear much about 'guilt' towards God. Modern human beings are not afraid of God any more—they rather shape him the way they want, if indeed they have not yet declared him to be dead. But at the same time people lift their accusing finger towards heaven ('Where is God?') and not towards themselves...Modern humans sometimes hardly know what prayer is; they have discussions about God, whereas the Old Testament believers cried out to God from their loss and pain."— Shadow Sides, pages 35-36


It happened again last Friday! Just a little over 15 months ago, my laptop died. At that time it took two new motherboards to get it fixed (the first replacement board was defective). Hopefully this time it will only take one!

Although I am normally not in favor of extended warranties, this laptop has more than used up the cost of one. I don't know if that reflects on the cost of the warranty or that the laptop is a problem. Seems it might be the laptop, since it has required a new modem, a new memory module, 3 new motherboards, and a new LCD screen. I asked them last time if it wouldn't just be cheaper to give me a factory refurb, but they said it couldn't be done.

So, I limp along...

Friday, July 27, 2007

The new, where is it?

<idle musing>
I have been musing for quite some time now about II Corinthians 5:17:

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! (NRSV)

Pretty straight forward, but I think most christians act as if it were translated a bit differently, more like this:

So, if anyone does all kinds of christian things, such as reading their bible, going to church, attending bible studies, praying, evangelizing, then they are becoming a new creature, eventually: everything old is hanging on for dear life and we have to work real hard at getting rid of it by prayer, fasting, and bible reading; see, sometime, in the far distant future, if we groan real loud in prayer, the new might start coming, if we live long enough. But, never mind all that, because I prayed the prayer and I'm going to heaven, but meantime I need to convert all kinds of people so they can enjoy being as miserable as I am in my continuing losing battle against sin.

Sounds preposterous, doesn't it? But isn't that the trap that we so easily fall into? As a friend of mine says, "We know we are saved by grace, but we spend the rest of our lives trying to prove we didn't need it!" Saved by grace, sanctified by works? Hardly!

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly exhibited as crucified! The only thing I want to learn from you is this: Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? Having started with the Spirit, are you now ending with the flesh? Did you experience so much for nothing?-- if it really was for nothing. Galatians 3:1-4 (NRSV)

By the way, I looked at the Greek for II Corinthians 5:17, and sure enough, the NRSV is accurate! I also noticed that Grace Roots has a similar post. I like his variations:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a repaired creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a fixed up creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is an overhauled creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a polished up creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a reorganized creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is an improved creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a PhotoShopped creation. LOL

How about using these words: reconditioned, refurbished, mended, patched, adjusted, renovated, recalibrated, tuned up, enhanced, modified, revised, altered, corrected, balanced, refitted, revived, refreshed, rejuvenated, made over, covered, doctored, reshaped, spruced up, changed. I'm sure you can think of more.

Personally, I prefer the original, it allows God to do the work that he already has done, if we would just get out of the way.
</idle musing>

Thursday, July 26, 2007


"The charge that Arminius denied the sovereignty of God or in any way diminished it is impossible to sustain. He held a very high view of God's providence. It would be impossible to hold a higher or stronger view without falling into divine determinism. According to Arminius, everything is governed by God's eternal, though not equal, decrees, and nothing at all can happen without God's permission and cooperation. God's dominion is comprehensive even though some things, such as sin and damnation, take place within it that God only permits and does not approve. God can and does limit sin and evil, and he makes them fit into his overall plan for history."—Arminian Theology, page 124.

Update: Thanks to Andy for alerting me to the misspelling of the title :)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

New book?

When I got back from lunch today, I went into the warehouse to see what new books might have arrived. Sure enough, there were some boxes there, with a few that looked promising. At first I didn't even notice the one, since it was sitting on the floor behind the cart that holds our new arrivals.

Once I did see it, though, it caught my attention. Sure enough, it was a mailbag. What's more, it wasn't just any mailbag, it was a mailbag from Germany. Could this be the real thing? Well, this time I slowed down and checked the packing slip. No sense getting all excited about nothing. Sure enough, this was it—well at least half of it. The packing slip said that there were two boxes, but only one arrived today.

I cut the ropes on the mailbag, pulled the box out of the mailbag, cut it open. Drat, double box again! So, I managed to open the bottom of the box instead of the top, but hey, nothing was damaged, so who cares. There they were, in three rows, the latest fascicle of BHQ. I opened the shrink wrap on one of them and began looking through it. I promise you that I didn't drool on it :)

So, for those of you waiting with bated breath, standing orders will ship tomorrow.

Biblia Hebraica Quinta - BHQ
Edited by Carmel McCarthy
Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft Stuttgart, 2007
xxxii + 104 +190* pages, Hebrew
ISBN: 9783438052650
List Price: $99.00
Your Price: $74.25

God's goodness

"Arminius based his whole theology on metaphysical realism in which ‘God is not “freely” good because God is good by nature.’ This may seem to Calvinists to limit God, but for Arminius and his followers it only means that God’s goodness is as fundamental to this nature as his power. In fact, Witt [in Creation, Redemption and Grace in the Theology of Jacob Arminius, page 292] avers, Arminius thought that Calvinism tended to limit God by making the world necessary for God’s self-glorification: ‘The transcendent God of voluntarism “needs” a creation over which to be sovereign every bit as much as the God of immanentism “needs” a creation in which to be present.’”— Arminian Theology, page 89

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What is church?

Out of Ur reports on one of those "I'll pay you to go to church" experiments that happen every now and then. After logging the subjects' responses to "church" (which varied from "huh?" to "this place is real."), Out of Ur asks the important question that rarely gets asked: "Why does the majority of most churches' resources get funneled back into Sunday morning (facilities, staff, programs)? And, in a culture growing increasingly suspicious of 'razzmatazz' is a spectacular worship production still the best way to draw people to God? (Has it ever been the best way?)"

<idle musing>
Exactly! Is church just Sunday morning? Is it a a place? Are all the ceremonies and accretions to that ceremony necessary, let alone biblical?

I submit to you that church is people; that it occurs everyday; that God is in daily life just as much, if not more, than He is in the Sunday morning highly scripted affairs that are supposed to be the highlight of the christian week.

Label me a heretic, if you wish.
</idle musing>

Monday, July 23, 2007

A New Toy!

Well, after drooling over it for more than a decade, I finally did it. I got BibleWorks last Thursday.

BibleWorks 7.0 on CD-ROM (Windows)

BibleWorks 7.0 on CD-ROM (Windows)
Bibleworks (LLC), 2006
Your Price: $349.00

I knew I would like it, but I didn't realize how addicting it could be. I'm like a video gamer with a new game—I just have to figure out one more feature, download one more text, and on and on it goes.

I'm just a newbie at it right now, still finding new features and new tools, but one of the tools that I didn't realize it had is Lust's Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, which I have been debating buying for a few years. I will probably still buy it, just because I like having the physical book, but now I can use it for my Septuagint reading instead of having to use the unabridged LSJ A Greek-English Lexicon.

I'll probably write more later, but right now I hear it calling me...

Friday, July 20, 2007

So what's the difference?

Contrary to popular belief, then, the true divide at the heart of the Calvinist-Arminian split is not predestination versus free will but the guiding picture of God: he is primarily viewed as either (1) majestic, powerful, and controlling or (2) loving, good, and merciful. Once the picture (blik) is established, seemingly contrary aspects fade into the background, are set aside as "obscure" or are artificially made to fit the system. Neither side absolutely denies the truth of the other's perspective, but each qualifies the attributes of God that are preeminent in the other's perspective. God's goodness is qualified by his greatness in Calvinism, and God's greatness is qualified by his goodness in Arminianism.—Arminian Theology, page 73.

I ran across this quote the other day while reading. I asked both a Calvinist friend and an Armininian friend if they thought it was accurate, and they both agreed. Hard to believe! So it must be true.

Personally, I find it to be the best summary of the differences that I have come across in some 30+ years of reading theology—the plus is an undefined variable :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

God? Where?

I am going to make all kinds of people mad at me with this, but, hey, I didn't write it :)

From the latest Time magazine:

Rowling's work is so familiar that we've forgotten how radical it really is. Look at her literary forebears. In The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien fused his ardent Catholicism with a deep, nostalgic love for the unspoiled English landscape. C.S. Lewis was a devout Anglican whose Chronicles of Narnia forms an extended argument for Christian faith. Now look at Rowling's books. What's missing? If you want to know who dies in Harry Potter, the answer is easy: God.

Harry Potter lives in a world free of any religion or spirituality of any kind. He lives surrounded by ghosts but has no one to pray to, even if he were so inclined, which he isn't. Rowling has more in common with celebrity atheists like Christopher Hitchens than she has with Tolkien and Lewis.

What does Harry have instead of God? Rowling's answer, at once glib and profound, is that Harry's power comes from love. This charming notion represents a cultural sea change. In the new millennium, magic comes not from God or nature or anything grander or more mystical than a mere human emotion. In choosing Rowling as the reigning dreamer of our era, we have chosen a writer who dreams of a secular, bureaucratized, all-too-human sorcery, in which psychology and technology have superseded the sacred.

<idle musing>
Far cry from holy love, isn't it?
</idle musing>

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The new birth

An immediate and constant fruit of this faith whereby we are born of God, a fruit which can in no wise be separated from it, no, not for an hour, is power over sin; — power over outward sin of every kind; over every evil word and work; for wheresoever the blood of Christ is thus applied, it “purgeth the conscience from dead works;” — and over inward sin; for it purifieth the heart from every unholy desire and temper. This fruit of faith St. Paul has largely described, in the sixth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans. “How shall we,” saith he, “who” by faith “are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” “Our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”—“Likewise, reckon ye yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign” even “in your mortal body,” “but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead.” “For sin shall not have dominion over you.—God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, —but being made free,” —the plain meaning is, God be thanked, that though ye were, in time past, the servants of sin, yet now— “being free from sin, ye are become the servants of righteousness.”

The same invaluable privilege of the sons of God is as strongly asserted by St. John; particularly with regard to the former branch of it, namely, power over outward sin. After he had been crying out, as one astonished at the depth of the riches of the goodness of God, — “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God! Beloved, now are we the sons of God: And it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is;” (1 John 3:1, etc.;) —he soon adds, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: And he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (Verse 9.) But some men will say, “True: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin habitually.” Habitually! Whence is that? I read it not. It is not written in the Book. God plainly saith, “He doth not commit sin;” and thou addest, habitually! Who art thou that mendest the oracles of God? —that “addest to the words of this book?” Beware, I beseech thee, lest God “add to thee all the plagues that are written therein! “especially when the comment thou addest is such as quite swallows up the text: So that by this artful method of deceiving, the precious promise is utterly lost; by this tricking and shuffling of men, the word of God is made of none effect. O beware, thou that thus takest from the words of this book, that, taking away the whole meaning and spirit from them, leavest only what may indeed be termed a dead letter, lest God take away thy part out of the book of life!

Suffer we the Apostle to interpret his own words, by the whole tenor of his discourse. In the fifth verse of this chapter, he had said, “Ye know that he,” Christ, “was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.” What is the inference he draws from this? “Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not, Whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.”(1 John 3:6.) To his enforcement of this important doctrine, he premises an highly necessary caution: “Little children, let no man deceive you;” (verse 7;) for many will endeavor so to do; to persuade you that you may be unrighteous, that you may commit sin, and yet be children of God! “He that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning.” Then follows, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: And he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this,” adds the Apostle, “the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” By this plain mark (the committing or not committing sin) are they distinguished from each other. To the same effect are those words in his fifth chapter, “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (Verse 18.)—John Wesley, The Marks of the New Birth

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Twinkies again

Some of you may remember that two years ago Marti, our customer service manager, set aside some Twinkies to test the urban legend that they have no expiration date. I published the results in two posts. Well, another year has rolled around. Here is Marti’s e-mail:

Hard to believe it has been another year since the great Twinkie experiment began! For those of you who were not here last year here is the background….

In July 2005 there were some extra Twinkies in the break room that were nearing their expiration date. Dave reduced them to $.10 to try to sell the remaining Twinkies. There had been some debate as to whether or not Twinkies have a shelf life of 12 years so I decided to conduct my own little experiment. I purchased 5 Twinkies and put an "open on" date on each of them, spreading out the dates by one year each. Today I have opened the second of five, which means this Twinkie is now 2 years old.

I think after a year it was safe to say that Twinkies really do not have a shelf life of longer than a few months. Now, two years later the Twinkie looks more like corn bread. It is starting to crack, and if you hit it against a hard object it sounds as if it has solidified and is no longer a sponge-like object.

Not content to just look at them, Andy, our webmaster, once again took the plunge:

I got out a knife, and tried to cut a piece off. It split like a graham cracker. It's crunchy and dry, a bit like a shortbread cookie, and only slightly sweet. Taste-wise, cornbread is the closest thing I can compare it to. The filling isn't terribly different from the, um, shell, but has a slightly silkier texture and a hint of flavor like butter frosting. There is a faint, but bitter metallic aftertaste.

We really should have gotten a video of this and put it on You Tube, because the pictures don’t have sound. Marti took and pounded the Twinkie against her desk. It sounded like a block of wood.

I can’t wait until next year!

By the way, if Andy starts mutating, I’ll let you know.

Does sin have dominion?

But even babes in Christ are so far perfect as not to commit sin. This St. John affirms expressly; and it cannot be disproved by the examples of the Old Testament. For what, if the holiest of the ancient Jews did sometimes commit sin? We cannot infer from hence, that ‘all Christians do and must commit sin as long as they live.’—John Wesley, A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

Monday, July 16, 2007

Prevenient Grace

I'm finally getting around to reading Arminian Theology by Roger Olson. I will be dropping quotes here from it every now and then.

I found one statement very interesting; he claims that most evangelical preaching, even by supposed Calvinists, is actually semi-pelagian. Interesting claim, but he backs it up with quotes from sermons that I'm sure we've all heard: "You take the first step and God will meet you." and other ones like that. As if we can do anything without God's prevenient (Latin, coming before) grace. Here's a great quote from the book:

...prevenient grace does not interfere with the freedom of the will. It does not bend the will or render the will's response certain. It only enables the will to make the free choice to either cooperate with or resist grace. Cooperation does not contribute to salvation, as if God does part and humans do part; rather cooperation with grace in Arminian theology is simply nonresistance to grace. It is merely deciding to allow grace to do its work by laying down all attempts at self-justification and self-purification, and admitting that only Christ can save...Arminianism holds that salvation is all of grace—every movement of the soul toward God is initated by divine grace... Arminian Theology, page 36.

Quote for today

You are really changed; you are not only accounted, but actually “made, righteous.” “The law”—the inward power—“of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made” you “free” —really, actually free— “from the law” or power “of sin and death.” This is liberty, true gospel liberty, experienced by every believer: Not freedom from the law of God, or the works of God, but from the law of sin and the works of the devil. See that ye “stand fast in” this real, not imaginary “liberty, wherewith Christ hath made you free.” —John Wesley, A Blow to the Root

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Bicycling craze?

OK, it's July and the Tour de France is going on (which I no longer follow, thanks to the doping scandals), so we expect a few articles on bicycling, but the latest Time magazine has an interesting little article on the increase of bicycling in the U.S.:

People ages 45 to 64 account for 20% of all those over age 7 who rode a bike at least six times last year, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. That's up from 13% a decade ago. Yes, this age bracket is expanding as a percentage of the overall population, but demographics can't tell the whole story. After all, golf--the quintessential 50-plus sport--is moving in reverse, at least in some respects. Last year, for the first time in 60 years, more golf courses shut down than started up, and the number of frequent golfers declined.

The appeal of cycling is most pronounced among the youngest baby boomers (ages 45 to 54), who are also tackling other vigorous leisure activities including hiking and running marathons. Such pursuits embody the active later lifestyle that much of the boomer generation has come to adopt, and which has been embraced as the ad media's new image of older Americans at leisure. Certainly, semi-seniors wake up the morning after a vigorous outing with more aches and pains than they had in their 20s, but the physical benefits exceed the cost.

<idle musing>
Does that mean that all of a sudden I'm doing something trendy? Wow, 45 years after taking up bicycling, I'm involved in a trendy sport!

Actually, my next door neighbors, who haven't had a bicycle in over 40 years, are in the process of buying two. I think this is a very good trend, and hope it lowers the nasty trend towards weight gain and sedentarism amongst boomers.
</idle musing>

Friday, July 13, 2007

Quote for today

“Unconventional in many respects, John Wesley violated parish boundaries, employed lay preachers, and proclaimed a message of good news to the poor that offered them genuine hope today—all of which resulted in censure from a more “settled” clergy who were more than comfortable with the way things were.”—The Theology of John Wesley, page 153

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Quote for the day

“How far is love, even with many wrong opinions, to be preferred before truth itself without love! We may die without the knowledge of many truths and yet be carried into Abraham’s bosom. But if we die without love, what will knowledge avail.”—John Wesley

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The next big thing

Ok, blogging is now passé; everybody is doing it, or has done it, or thought about it. Time for the "next big thing" to come sweeping through the waters. (insert relevant Acts 17:21 reference here). Are you ready? I think I know what it is...drum roll please.

<marketing mode on>
This last two days have seen a plethora of bibliobloggers joining Facebook. Yep, either they have recently joined or have recently decided to become active there. So, Chuck Jones, former Research Archivist at University of Chicago and now in Athens, Greece, formed a new group— The Ancient World Bloggers Group. All are invited to join in the fun. It was a conscious decision on Chuck's part to call it "Ancient World" to avoid being too narrow and limiting it to bibliobloggers only.

So, come one, come all and join the latest thing! Yes, you too can be a part of the new buzz and gain bragging rights (or is that rites?) as someone on the bleeding edge of what's new and cool!
<marketing mode off>

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Dan Kimball almost always writes stuff worth reading. Today is no exception. As a member of the "emerging" church, he sometimes takes flack. I found this comparison interesting (and too accurate):

I have found it at times fascinating, strange, helpful and hurtful when certain watchdog types of Christians write on blogs pretty mean things about other Christians and 98% of the time they are grossly inaccurate. I am aware that it is a pretty small slice of Christians who think like that and do those things, but as my theory goes - the small % are the most vocal ones. At first I was caught off guard by the tone and spirit of the "watchdogs" as I had never experienced that level of tone and words from Christians before. But then I realized, most of them are just trying their best in their own way to protect what they feel should be protected. But after reading enough of how many of them think, they really aren't watchdogs as in trained watch dogs like Doberman pinschers, but are more like little barking poodles. I like poodles actually. But the tiny ones sure can be mean and bark loudly and bare their fangs at anyone who doesn't live in their home. We owned a poodle growing up, so I have seen how you could have your best friend over and even relatives over, but the poodle didn't like anyone they were unfamiliar with. Poodles would then bark and growl in the way little poodles do even at friends and family members. It seems that many of the "watchdogs" out there, are like the poodle where they growl and bark at anything that is unfamiliar to them - even if it is the best friends or other family members of the family they live with. The poodle has good intentions, but anyone different and unfamiliar that isn't in their particular world or way of thinking gets barked and growled at.

He goes on to reflect on how Hudson Taylor took a lot of flack for his unorthodox presentation of very orthodox Christianity. Please, do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

Website woes

Don't you love technology?

Of late we have been having problems with our website. It would return multiple instances of the same title on a search, which is bad enough. But, to make matters worse, it would multiply the shipping charges on an item 2, 3, or even 6 times. Talk about a recipe for disaster! The poor customer would see shipping charges more expensive than the book! Ouch! We were fixing it before charging the card, but I'm sure we lost some sales.

Anyway, we got that fixed this morning (long story, not worth telling), only to have all the items in our database disappear totally from the website for about 20 minutes. Yikes! How can you sell something that doesn't appear? Well, it seems that one of the work-arounds that we had created until we fixed the original problem was still running halfway, just enough to erase everything, but not put it back...nice graphics, but no books.

So, if you were looking for something on our website around noon EDT today, and it didn't show up, try again. It should be back to normal now, I hope...

Monday, July 09, 2007


It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such rememberance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.—Ernest Hemingway

Friday, July 06, 2007

The price on your soul

<idle musing>
At what price do you value your soul? Most people would say they value their soul quite highly. If someone offered them a million dollars to do something they knew was wrong, would they take the money? Lots of books and movies have been made on that storyline. Most people would probably say it depended on how bad the thing they were to do was. After all, God grades on a curve, doesn’t he?

In actual fact, I have found that most people value their soul much less highly than they say they do. For example, the other day I went into a store to purchase a lawn mower blade. It is an odd size, 22 inches, and the store didn’t have any on display. The sales person offered to look in the back room for one, a noble gesture. Sure enough, he found a 22 inch blade, still in the package. Now, the blade I had brought in to show him was plainly a mulching blade, but the blade he was selling me very plainly said “bagging blade” on the package. He saw it, but he was willing to sell his soul for about $14.00 by pretending that this was what I needed.

You might think he sold his soul much more cheaply than you would, but stop and think about it for a minute. I will give you another example: Wednesday night we went to the grocery store and the cashier failed to charge us for 2 gallons of filtered water and mis-rung our fresh broccoli as cucumbers. We didn’t notice it until we got home and looked over the receipt. The total bill was off by about $1.60 in our favor. What would you do?

Would you just blow it off and say, “It was their mistake. God clearly blessed me with an extra $1.60!” Suppose the total were off the other way, and you were overcharged $1.60, would you just blow it off and say, “Oh well, God clearly blessed me!” You are the rare one if you would!

Well, I went back Thursday afternoon (it was too late on Wednesday) and pointed out that I owed them money. The reaction was what it always is—astonishment. That alone is an indictment against our society. It shows that our real god is money, but that is another story for another day...

I submit to you that if you didn’t go back and point out the error and pay the balance, you sold your soul. Further, I would venture to say that most people would sell their soul for a quarter. What do you think?
</idle musing>

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Our main doctrines, which include all the rest, are three, that of repentance, of faith, and of holiness. The first of these we account, as it were, the porch of religion; the next, the door; the third is religion itself.— John Wesley

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Eisenbrauns monthly sale

Wow, who'da thunk? Out of curiosity I checked the rating on our monthly sale, to see if it was "kid-safe."

I'll give you a hint: It's not; so make sure you keep your kids away :)

Online Dating

Well, I kind of expected that; after all, there is a title called Hell: A Hard Look at a Hard Question. Fair enough. But, they give you the list of words that are considered bad. What? missionary and dangerous! You've got to be kidding! Hell didn't even make the list, missionary did? Strange times we live in.

New books?

I walked into the warehouse this afternoon on my way to lunch. This is part of my normal procedure; I like to see if there is anything new. My eyes caught sight of two mailbags; this could be interesting. The address tag said Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft on it. My heart quickened in excitement as I grabbed a blade to cut the ropes holding it shut. Could this be it? Of course they had to put about 8 plastic bands around the box! I cut through those quickly; sliced the tape open...they double boxed it! Oh well, I cut the tape on the second box; yanked the box open; pulled off the packing material—only to discover it was just a reorder!

But, there was another mailbag, also from the DBG. Quickly, I repeated the procedure, missing the packing list in my haste. Sure enough, it had the familiar graphic of the BHQ fascicles! Could this be it, the long awaited and highly anticipated Deuteronomy? Wow, it sure is thin! Oh no! It is just a reorder of Ezra-Nehemiah.

The whole time, Jessica (remember Jessica, the warehouse employee?) was looking at me, wondering what in the world could be this important. She innocently asked, "Did you find what you wanted?" Talk about anti-climactic!

I went to lunch and hoped for more mailbag deliveries on Thursday.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Of decks and mildew

Over the weekend, I pressure-washed the deck at Debbie's parents' place. I don't believe it had ever been done before; the mildew was so thick it was black instead of green. They were gone for a week, visiting in Wisconsin, so we wanted to have it done before they got back.

Wow! You wouldn't believe it was the same deck. It now looks like it was built last month; I can't wait to see what it looks like once it is sealed. But, the clean deck came at a cost—no, not financial. I wore a tank top, knowing that it would be hot and wet work. I am in the sun enough on my bike that I figured I wouldn't burn. What I forgot is that the back of my neck is always covered because I am looking up on my bike. Well, the back of my neck burned royally. It hurts, even today, two days later.

But, I still think it was worth it. I was worried that the mildew would get slippery when it was wet and they might fall. That would not be a good thing, since they are in their upper seventies.

New month, new sale

The July sale is now going on at Eisenbrauns. This month we are offering 30% off on selected titles in these Paternoster monograph series:
* Paternoster Biblical Monographs
* Paternoster Theological Monographs
* Rutherford Studies in Historical Theology
* Studies in Baptist History and Thought
* Studies in Christian History and Thought
* Studies in Evangelical History and Thought

All the details are available here

There should be a little for everyone in the selected titles, from OT/HB to NT to theology to ethics to church history. I'm sure you'll find something you can't live without :)