Friday, October 31, 2008

I give, that I may receive?

“We see that the elder brother ”became angry.” All of his words are dripping with resentment. The first sign you have an elder brother spirit is that when your life doesn't go as you want, you aren't just sorrowful but deeply angry and bitter. Elder brothers believe that if they live a good life they should get a good life, that God owes them a smooth road if they try to live up to standards.

"What happens, then, if you are an elder brother and things go wrong in your life? If you feel you have been living up to your moral standards, you will be furious with God. You don't deserve this, you will think, after how hard you've worked to be a decent person!...Elder brothers' inability to handle suffering arises from the fact that their moral observance is results-oriented. The good life is lived not for delight in good deeds themselves, but as calculated ways to control their environment.”—Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, pages 50-51

<idle musing>
The Romans defined religion as do ut der—I give that I may be given to. Sounds like some prosperity teaching doesn't it? Not terribly Christian, though...A friend of ours says, “You deserve to burn in hell. Anything else is a blessing, so get over feeling sorry for yourself and be thankful.”

That I can agree with! My work, my good deeds, are garbage (Philippians 3:8 Gr. σκύβαλα, Spicq translates it “It's all crap”!!), used menstrual cloths (Isaiah 64:6), in God's eyes.

Those two verses put it into good perspective. Can you imagine bringing used Kotex™ or a pile of manure to God as an offering? Yet that is what we are doing when we trust in anything we do to make ourselves more acceptable to God.
</idle musing>

A few on church

There is a good take on consumerism and the church over at Out ofUr. Here is a short snippet from the end of the post:

I hear a lot on Christian radio and see a lot of Christian books fighting against postmodernism, relativism, and secularism. But if people are constructing their identities and lives around consumer brands like Apple, is the church fighting the wrong battle? And perhaps more disturbing, are we unknowingly contributing to the problem by encouraging Christians to construct and express their identities via Christ-branded merchandise rather than through characters transformed to reflect the values of Christ himself?

And, along those same lines, Alan Knox talks about the church as a corporation versus being a true body of believers:

It may be pragmatic and efficient and logical to have a human leader, and a set of programs, and a specific meeting place, and tax-deductible status. But, these things do not define the church. We could argue the benefits or the detriments of having these things, but they would be outside the scope of defining what (or WHO) the church is.

Jesus said that he wold build his church... not his charitable organization. We would do well to remember that Jesus cares about his church, not our organizations and programs.

<idle musing>
I am reminded of David Fitch's book, of which I have forgotten the title...but anyway, he says that making disciples is not efficient. People are messy things that don't fit into nice little programs and packages easily. I agree. It is not an accident that C.S. Lewis chose a corporation to depict the enemy in Screwtape Letters. It is the opposite of an organic organization like what the church is supposed to be.
</idle musing>

This might be a good time to link to an older post at the M Blog. Guy discusses what Luther wanted the church to look like:

The following characteristics summarize Luther's "Order of Divine Service" as to the "how" churches should be organized.
Lay led
Full sacramental life
Stewardship and social ministry
Simple catechetical instruction
Ideal context for loving accountability after Matthew 18
"Form and Order" are not imported but emerge spontaneously from community life.

And, Alan Knox mentioned the reformers goal for church the other day, too:

[A]ccording to Chadwick, the early reformers recognized that the whole congregation (not just "the clergy") should take part in the church meeting. They were not content with a passive audience who simple listened to teaching, reading, or singing. Instead, they expected a church that took part in the meeting.

So, what happened? Well, according to Chadwick [in The Early Reformation on the Continent (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)], the reformers could not determine how to have this type of meeting while ensuring that the meeting also stayed focused on teaching the Scriptures. He said that the early reformers emphasized teaching (and a certain style of teaching) to such an extent that it eclipsed their desire to have a participatory meeting.

<idle musing>
Been there. Our agenda eclipses God's agenda. We get scared of what might happen if there isn't a “scripture lesson.” But, in doing that we ignore John 5:39-40 “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.” (RSV) We exalt the scripture above the very one the scripture is pointing too!
</idle musing>

Thursday, October 30, 2008

New mug!

Yep, as promised, we have a new mug, and just in time for me to take it to AAR, too. This year we are doing the Gezer calendar, which was discovered 100 years ago, in 1908.
Eisenbrauns 2008 Gezer Calendar mug

Eisenbrauns 2008 Gezer Calendar mug
Eisenbrauns, 2008
16 ounces
Your Price: $7.50

If you follow the link, you can see other views of it, too. The pictures really don't do it justice. It is a beautiful cobalt blue. The staff here are already fighting to get their hands on them, but I will make sure we have enough to bring to SBL :)

Sin, redefined

“Elder brothers obey God to get things. They don't obey God to get God himself—in order to resemble him, love him, know him, and delight him. So religious and moral people can be their own spiritual Saviors and Lords as much as the younger brothers who say they don't believe in God and define right and wrong for themselves.

“Here, then, is Jesus' radical redefinition of what is wrong with us. Nearly everyone defines sin as breaking a list of rules. Jesus, though, shows us that a man who has violated virtually nothing on the list of moral misbehaviors can be every bit as spiritually lost as the most profligate, immoral person. Why? Because sin is not just breaking the rules, it is putting yourself in the place of God as Savior, Lord, and Judge.”—Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God>, page 43

How blind can we be? Apparently, very, as Keller goes on to show:

“The younger son's flight from the father was crashingly obvious. He left the father literally, physically and morally. Though the older son stayed home, he was actually more distant and alienated from the father than his brother, because he was blind to his true condition. He would have been horribly offended by the suggestion that he was rebelling against the father's authority and love, but he was, deeply.

“Because the elder brother is more blind to what is going on, being an elder brother Pharisee is a more spiritually desperate condition.”—Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, page 47

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The elder brother

“The elder brother in the parable illustrates the way of moral conformity. The Pharisees of Jesus' day believed that, while they were a people chosen by God, they could only maintain their place in his blessing and receive final salvation through strict obedience to the Bible. There are innumerable varieties of this paradigm, but they all believe in putting the will of God and the standards of the community ahead of individual fulfillment. In this view, we only win through to happiness and a world made right by achieving moral rectitude. We may fall at times, of course, but then we will be judged by how abject and intense our regret is. In this view, even in our failures we must always measure up.”—Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, pages 29-30

<idle musing>
Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Too much like what passes for Christianity in many places. But, wait, it gets better, he continues the story...
</idle musing>

“Jesus the story-teller deliberately leaves the elder brother in his alienated state. The bad son enters the father's feast but the good son will not. The lover of prostitutes is saved, but the man of moral rectitude is still lost...The elder brother is not losing the father's love in spite of his goodness, but because of it. It is not his sins that create the barrier between him and his father, it's the pride he has in his moral record; it's not his wrongdoing but his righteousness that is keeping him from sharing in the feast of the father.”—Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God>, pages 34-35

Another one of those test things

OK, I'm a sucker for them. I guess there aren't any surprises here, but I wonder if this will get me tarred and feathered in Indiana. But then, how much can they really tell from a 20 question survey?

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 15% Conservative, 85% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Prodigal God

A few month's ago, one of the publisher reps was making a call and a book caught my eye. I knew it wasn't a book that Eisenbrauns would carry, but I casually mentioned that it looked interesting. Low and behold, the next time he came around he brought me an advanced reading copy (ARC in industry parlance). The book is titled The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller and I will be offering extracts from the book for the next week or so. Because it is an ARC, the page numbers might not match the published version when it appears on October 30.

Keller's basic thesis is that we have misnamed the parable of the prodigal son and caused the word prodigal to morph into meaning “wayward.” In actuality, prodigal means recklessly extravagant, which defines God's relationship with us; scripture calls the parable “the parable of the two sons,” since there is an elder and younger brother. With that as background, I present you with the first excerpt:

Jesus' teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners doesn't have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did. If our churches aren't appealing to younger brothers, they must be more full of elder brothers than we'd like to think.—Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God, pages 15-16

<idle musing>
Ouch! Many of us (me included) started out as younger brothers whom Jesus went looking for. Once he found us, he cleaned us up. Problem is, we think we cleaned ourselves up and we look down on the very people we used to be—and still would be but for God's mercy and grace being manifested to us and transforming us.
</idle musing>

Monday, October 27, 2008

Living in sin?

“A certain individual supposes that Christ's righteousness, having been imputed to him, allows him to go on living in sin. That is, he supposes that he is entirely exempt from the penalty of violating the law. He even thinks that he has the honors and rewards of full obedience while he still has all the self-indulgences of a life of sin. Horrible!

“Examine such a case thoroughly, and you will see that selfishness is at the bottom of the religion in it. The man was worldly before and is devout now, but he is devout for the same reason that he was worldly. His selfish heart is the basis for each system.”—Charles Finney, God's Call, page 104

<idle musing>
Not that you can live without sin without the grace of God. That is the foundation of what Finney is saying, which is why he finds it so horrible. The person is stamping on the grace by which they might be saved, saying it is can have no effect in their life.
</idle musing>


We just received the next printing of A Grammar of Akkadian. Lots of boxes, but not all were healthy:

Forklift through the side of the box. I'm glad this doesn't happen very often.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I think I'm going to be sick

I just read this at Out of Ur. Mystery Worshippers! What is the church? K-Mart?

Lord, bring us to our knees in repentance! We need the Holy Spirit to show us our need for you and you alone. Forgive us for trying to save the world before being saved ourselves.

German quotes

Nijay has some thoughts on writing a dissertation. Along the way, he touches on something that we at Eisenbrauns think is important:

German quotes - OK, we are required to have international breadth in our research, so we must cite and interact with German and French lit. But, do we need to quote the German without an English translation? My question would be, why? The only reasons I can see why we would quote the German is because (1) we feel the wording of it is very important to the argument or (2) the German is rhetorically more appealing (i.e. a good sound-bite). There are those, I guess, who feel if a reader does not know German, he/she is out of luck. That’s just snobby, in my opinion. Are we saying we don’t want MA and undergrads to read our published theses? Are we that elitist? Well, I think we can have it both ways if we do this: Keep the German quotes in, but have an appendix in the back that has English translations of all German quotes.

<idle musing>
Good idea, except in Eisenbrauns books, we do it the other way around. We put the translation in the text and footnote the original. If the original is too long, we put it in an appendix. That way we keep the book accessible—as if Akkadian/Hittite/whatever is accessible!—to the beginner, but allow the purist to check the original. Now, if we could just get a few elitist bloggers to do the same... :)
</idle musing>

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Experience or Atonement?

The redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith on it. If I construct my faith on my own experience, I produce the most unscriptural kind of life— an isolated life, with my eyes focused solely on my own holiness. Beware of that human holiness that is not based on the atonement of the Lord. It has no value for anything except a life of isolation— it is useless to God and a nuisance to man. Measure every kind of experience you have by our Lord Himself. We cannot do anything pleasing to God unless we deliberately build on the foundation of the atonement by the Cross of Christ.—Oswald Chambers My Utmost for His Highest

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

True salvation

Salvation, to be real and available, must be salvation from sin. Everything else fails. Any system of religion that does not break the power of sin is a lie. If it does not expel selfishness and lust for the things of the world, and if it does not generate love for God and man, joy, peace, and all the fruits of the Spirit, it is false and worthless. Any system that fails in this vital respect is a lie, can be of no use, and is no better than a curse.—Charles Finney

Monday, October 20, 2008

Salvation from sin, or salvation from hell?

The impression of many seems to be, that grace will pardon what it cannot prevent; in other words, that if the grace of the Gospel fails to save people from the commission of sin in this life; it will nevertheless pardon them and save them in sin, if it cannot save them from sin. Now, really, I understand the Gospel as teaching that men are saved from sin first, and as a consequence, from hell; and not that they are saved from hell while they are not saved from sin. Christ sanctifies when he saves. And this is the very first element or idea of salvation, saving from sin. "Thou shall call his name Jesus," said the angel, "for he shall save his people from their sins." "Having raised up his Son Jesus," says the apostle, "he hath sent him to bless you in turning every one of you from his iniquities." Let no one expect to saved from hell, unless the grace of the Gospel saves him first from sin.--Charles Finney, from An OnLine site for the Complete Works of Charles G. Finney

True love

Ted over at The Jesus Community has some good thoughts on the place of zeal and love in the Christian life. Here's an excerpt:

I see zealous Christians who talk about the lack of truth and holiness in the church, and often seem to hold other Christians at arm's length. They talk about other Christians and churches derisively. I wonder if whether we love or not shows up in how we look at others and what we say about them. Those who know this deep, deep love of Jesus in their own life, will not throw stones at others who may be failing.

<idle musing>
This is so true. There is no doubt that the church needs to repent; there is no doubt that there is a need for more holiness in individual Christian's lives. But, there is also no doubt that the call to repentance must come from a heart that is full of the love of God and is heartbroken with God's love for His church.

Wesley used to talk about holiness as being perfected in love. For him, the test of holiness was not obeying certain rules and regulations, but how one loved. We need to recover that same standard today.

Lord, fill us with love, your love, that we might shine and be an attractive representation for you. Forgive us for judging others and then using a different standard on ourselves. Pour out your holy love on your church. We know it has to be your love or it won't be real.
</idle musing>

Friday, October 17, 2008

Money-back guarantee?

Our loved ones did not come with money-back guarantees. We did not buy them and we cannot trade them for newer models. This may come as a shock, but we do not own our loved ones.—Francis Frangipane, A House United, page 123

<idle musing>
A humorous way of saying that we are not God.

But, how often do we treat others as if we did own them? We take for granted their service, as if we deserve it. As a friend of mine likes to say, "You deserve to roast in hell. Anything else is a blessing, so treat it that way." But, without Christ in us, we can't. We are curvatus in se, as the reformers used to say—curved in on ourselves. It is only as Christ lives his life through us that we are able to extend beyond ourselves and love those around us.
</idle musing>

Eisenbrauns ASOR/SBL sale in October

Don't want to pay the airlines for those extra books you schlep home from SBL every year? We don't want you to, either! So, we are doing what we can to help:
SBL prices on-line from now until October 31.

These are the same prices you would/will pay in the booth, but you don't have to pay the Boston sales tax, or the airlines' extra suitcase/overweight fees.

Discounts are 20-50% off, including new release and not yet released items. Enjoy the savings and tell your friends. But, don't forget to swing past the booth anyway. We are still giving away two $50.00 gift certificates each day. Besides that, we want to see you :)

Oh, I almost forgot, there are 631 titles on sale! That has got to be some kind of record for us. I know I feel like it was a lot of work, and I'm sure Andy and Shannon both agree with me.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pleasing God

The reason you cannot please God in your outward acts is that your governing purpose is not right. When your leading motive is wrong, everything you do is selfish, because it is all done for the single purpose of pleasing yourself. You do nothing for the sake of pleasing God or with the governing purpose of doing His holy will. Therefore, everything you do, even your religious duties, only displeases God.—Charles Finney

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The sin of offense

Today there are preachers who are afraid to preach truth for fear people will react and leave the church. The end result is a church of easily offended people who cannot grow beyond their inability to accept correction.—Francis Frangipane, A House United, page 119

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


He [God] can never save us by merely taking us away to some place called heaven—as if a change of place would change the human heart.—Charles Finney

Monday, October 13, 2008

Taking offense

People don't usually stumble over boulders; they stumble over stones—relatively small things. It may be that the personality of someone in authority bothers us and soon we are offended. Or a friend or family member fails to meet our expectations and we take offense in our soul.—Francis Frangipane, A House United, page 117

Harvest time, or dodging trucks

It is harvest time for soybeans and corn around here. The combines are running from early morning until late night. It's not so bad when they are doing corn, but when they are harvesting soybeans the dust is pretty bad. The wind takes the dust from the soybean leaves and blows it for quite a ways, clogging your breathing. You can see it billowing across the fields toward you. At least that gives you a warning before you get into the dust cloud.

But, the trucks are another thing altogether. Most of the year, the back roads are quiet and wonderful for bicycling. But, come harvest time they become highways with tractor-trailers full of soybeans and corn. They don't go slow, either, they fly, making runs from the fields to the storage and back for another load. It's kind of fun, but scary at the same time. It only lasts for a few weeks, and then peace descends on the roads until the next fall.

This morning riding in was beautiful. The magical light of predawn was causing the yellows and oranges on the trees appear almost luminescent. I wouldn't have been surprised to have some elves step out from behind a tree and tell me that I was a captive and had to appear before Galadriel and Celeborn.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Credit cards and saving

I was reading this week's Time magazine the other day and ran across this:

Somewhere along the way, THRIFT did not just stop being a value; it became a folly. Saving was for suckers; you'd miss the ride, die leaving money on the table when you could have lived it up. There are no pockets in a shroud, as the saying goes. We once saved about 15% of our income. By the roaring '80s the rate was 4%; now we're in negative numbers...The average American has nine credit cards with a total $17,000 balance. We borrow against our houses and pensions to live in a way that dares us to actually grow old...

There's no way to tell during this current distress whether we're repenting or just retrenching. THRIFT-store sales are up. Cars are shrinking. P. Diddy retired his private jet to save on gas. In hard times, people often rediscover the peace that prudence brings, when you try to spend a little less than you have because tomorrow might be worse. But that feels almost un-American; we're optimists by nature, and we've been living large for so long that solvency feels like a sacrifice.

<idle musing>
That is the highest number I have heard for average credit card balance. The previous one was $12,000, but that was a few years ago. I guess the way to handle a shortage of funds for your favorite toy is to charge it. The scariest thing is that I don't have any credit card balance, and I know at least 3 other people who don't. That means somebody, somewhere, has to make up for it.

I think it is high time that we as a church wake up and repent of the sin of overindulgence, of the sin of loving the world and the things of the world, of serving mammon instead of God. God is a jealous God, and he will not delay his judgment forever. Perhaps 9/11/2001 was a warning salvo across the bow. If so, we missed it and blamed it on somebody else; not our fault, we say...
</idle musing>

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Sobering thought

I noted this as I read it, but forgot to post it. From Israelite Religions:
"...some twenty thousand urns with infant and animal bones cremated and buried in the tophet (sanctuary) at Carthage during a period of six hundred years attest to infant sacrifice. Other cemeteries have children's bones that included both cremated and inhumed examples. The data suggest that such sacrifices were used for purposes of population control, as animal substitution decreased with an increase in population at Carthage."—Israelite Religions, page 293

<idle musing>
Yikes! Population control! That's just plain morbid. Of course, we use abortion for population control in the world today, so what's the difference in the end? One is sacrificed on an altar (presumably), the other on a table with a white cloth over it... I wonder what archaeologists and philologists will be saying about us in 2000 years?
</idle musing>

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Summary of Partakes of the Divine Nature

The last chapter of Partakers of the Divine Nature should actually be the first, in my opinion. In it, Gösta Hallonsten makes an important distinction between a theme of theosis and a doctrine of theosis: “if the doctrine of theosis according to the Greek Fathers or present-day Orthodox theology is examined, it will be realized that deification as doctrine is not solely about the final goal but is conceived of as a comprehensive doctrine encompassing the whole economy of salvation.” (page 284) In other words, there might be a theme of theosis in Western theology, but it is a theme that is an undercurrent because it is a scriptural theme. But, in Eastern theology, it is more than a theme, rather “[t]he whole structure implies that creation and human beings from the very beginning are endowed with an affinity and likeness that potentially draws them to God.” (page 285). And “[i]n the East, creation from its very beginning is seen as a participation in God; hence grace cannot be separated from creation, but inhere in it and potentially leads us to union with God...The world and human beings are seen as caused by God in the sense of formal causality, whereas in the Western view efficient causality takes its place: God and the world are distinct beings, even if the world participates in Being in an analogical sense.” (page 286).

If this chapter had been first, it would have framed the whole book differently. After reading this chapter, it was appears that some of the claims of a doctrine of theosis in Western theology earlier in the book fall flat; it was not a doctrine, but a biblical theme that was used to buttress the main arguments the theologian in question was making. But, perhaps I am being too harsh.

I highly recommend the book; it should give the person reading it some food for thought, at the very least, and it might transform one's outlook on the importance of theosis for Christian life and theology.

OK, Jon, now you can borrow the book and read it :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


“Just as the word of God became flesh, so it is certainly also necessary that the flesh may become word. In other words; God becomes man so that man may become God. Thus power becomes powerless so that weakness may become powerful. The Logos puts on our form and pattern, our image and likeness, so that it may clothe us with its image, its pattern, and its likeness. Thus wisdom becomes foolish so that foolishness may become wisdom, and so it is in all other things that are in God and in us, to the extent that in all these things he takes what is ours to himself in order to impart what is his to us.”—Martin Luther, Christmas sermon of 1514 (quoted in Partakers of the Divine Nature, page 191)

<idle musing>
Whodda thunk!!?? That certainly sounds like Athanasius to me. Hard to believe that such an important insight would be all but forgotten in Western theology for 500 years.
</idle musing>

Monday, October 06, 2008

Quote for today

“Perhaps it is not the case that the West has failed to articulate a doctrine of deification, but that it has failed to understand the nature and function of theology, and to put the vision of deification properly to work. If so, Western theology ironically has neglected its own most important point: deification is doctrinally a constituent of the doctrine of God; and not fully to grasp the implications of this is to forestall and deactivate the fundamental task of theoria—redemptive insight into the perfection of divine esse”&—Nathan R. Kerr in Partakers of the Divine Nature, page 176

The bailout and bicycling

Hey! I might stand to benefit from the bailout. There is an obscure provision in the bill that allows tax credits to businesses with employees who bicycle to work. Granted, it is a whopping $20/month, so it might not even be worth the paperwork for Eisenbrauns to do it...but maybe it will. There are 3 of us who bike to work currently; with a tax credit maybe that will increase, who knows.

Just think, at $240/year it will only take me 30 years to earn back what it is costing me as a taxpayer! Of course, I'm sure there is a time limit on the tax credit, and at 52, I probably won't be bicycling to work for 30 years longer, but with the current economic situation, I might be. Or, it could get worse and I might be forced to sell my bike for food—NEVER! :)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Heaven, or hell?

"If during the Middle Ages a similar effect [audience shock value] was often provoked by references to the burning flames of hell, in patristic writers the attempt to enhance the devotional zeal for spiritual life and the commitment to Christ was carried out by no less shocking, but significantly more positively oriented, affirmations. Not eternal punishment as retribution for sinful life was emphasized, but rather eternal life in God, divine therapeutic forgiveness, and the restored harmony of the whole creation. Emphasis was placed not on what would happen to people if they did not obey the divine commandments, but rather on what awaits them if they reconcile themselves with God."—Vladimir Kharlamov in Partakers of the Divine Nature, pages 127-128.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Barth's new Church Dogmatics

OK everybody. I'm definitely going out on a limb here...I just looked at what CBD is doing with the "new" Church Dogmatics and have decided to play their game—and beat them at it!

Everybody ready? OK, check out this pricing:

Church Dogmatics

Church Dogmatics
31 volume set, New Edition
This is a heavy item and will incur additional shipping!
by Karl Barth
T & T Clark, Forthcoming 2009
English. Paper.
ISBN: 9780567022790
List Price: $950.00
Your Price: $416.25

I can only run this pricing until the end of November, so if you have ever wanted to say you own Barth's Church Dogmatics, this is even cheaper than the existing 14 volume set! I don't think you will find it cheaper anywhere.

We are partakers now!

The participles in [2 Peter] 1:4 do not of themselves indicate whether the participation in divine nature is past, present, or future, but the consensus view that 2 Peter writes solely of the future, of an eschatological entry into a state of divine incorruption, fails to take seriously the juxtaposition of the divine attribute of virtue mentioned in 1:3 and the exhortation for the readers to enter into virtue now (1:5-7). The readers have already now been given everything that is necessary for piety and therefore are no longer subject to the tyranny of passionate desire. The interpretation that 2 Peter envisions sharing in divine nature as something belonging solely to the future cannot be suported from the immediate context and suggests mistakenly that a departure from the physical world is requisite for participation in divine nature. this is clearly not 2 Peter's intention...—James Starr in Partakers of the Divine Nature, page 83


We have been adopted by another stray cat. This one is a tiger striped cat. It appears to have been dumped on the road in the last several days. It showed up on Monday and is very friendly; probably a pet that a family decided to get rid of and hoped that someone would adopt. That makes three now...

No, they are not inside cats; we feed them and let them stay around. One lives under the deck, one in the barn, and the new one appears to have found a place right across the road from us. Unlike some bloggers, I don't think cats are demonic. In fact, I think people who consider them so are themselves deceived :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

An Anastiform gospel

"In chapter 3 [of Philippians], the believer's re-formation or conformation begins with sharing in Christ's sufferings and death, and then with participation in resurrection. Conformity with Christ, then, is first 'cruciform,' and then 'anastiform,' to coin a term derived from ANASTASIS, resurrection. Theosis has to do with 'anastiform' experience, both in this life and the next. If we want to call Paul's gospel 'cruciform,' as Michael Gorman does, we must also call it 'anastiform,' or we leave out half his message."—Stephen Finlan in Partakers of the Divine Nature, pages 74-75

<idle musing>
And that is the problem with what passes for the gospel in many places. We miss the second half; we preach a decapitated gospel. Why is there no transformation? Because most of us don't believe it can happen. Paul would not recognize what we have done to the gospel!
</idle musing>