Thursday, November 30, 2017
To what end suffering?
Wednesday, November 29, 2017
What of the violence in those prayers?
Thus, two patterns have emerged. On the one side, we have those who want to exclude these prayers from the functioning Christian canon, because of their time and culture-bound characteristics, while, on the other side, are those who tend to reinterpret or spiritualize the material in order to maintain its abiding witness for the Church. Traditionally, the Church expects that the Bible in its full complexity has relevance for its contemporary readers. This is what gives the Bible its vitality.—Standing in the Breach, page 413
An enduring problem, indeed. I certainly don't have the answer! But it does seem ironic to me that a culture that is as warlike as ours, sending drones on innocent citizens, carrying on wars all over the world to "protect American interests," and that allows 33,000 people every year to be killed by hand guns has a problem with violence in the Bible!
Stop to think about that for a minute. It's like the current rage of firing people for sexual misconduct—which I think is totally justified!—in a culture that glorifies sex. Does anyone see the irony in this?
Ah well, just an
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
What about Jeremiah?
Monday, November 27, 2017
It's not automatic
one gains the impression that it (the curse) acts quite independently of the relationship between the individual and his gods. The many symbolic actions connected with the oath could, much more than in Israel, also be understood as magical manipulation to render the curses automatically efficacious.There is, however, hardly any evidence for such a reading in the Old Testament.— Standing in the Breach, page 408
Friday, November 17, 2017
Monday, November 13, 2017
I am weary of holding it in…
Friday, November 10, 2017
Intercession is a family affair
Not even Moses and Samuel!
Have we reached that point yet? I don't think so, but we do need to intercede more. See this. Here's a snippet:
If church history teaches us anything, it is that prayer meetings, seemingly out of style today, possess more potential to transform societies than vote counts.And most "prayer meetings" that do happen end up being at least 90% singing and talking and at best 10% praying. Nothing wrong with singing and talking, but don't call it a prayer meeting if you aren't going to reverse the percentages!
Thursday, November 09, 2017
Yesterday evening we went to the library. We hadn't been there for a while now, so I spent a good bit of time looking over the new books. One especially caught my eye, a short little 70 page book entitled Roots of Violence: Creating Peace through Spiritual Reconciliation, so I read it : ) Here's good little snippet that I managed to pull from it:
It isn’t easy to be a prophet. The prophet of doom prays like mad that his prophecy not be true. Any prophet of doom who isn’t praying like mad that it not happen is just on an ego trip. That was Jonah’s problem.—Krister Stendahl, Roots of Violence: Creating Peace through Spiritual Reconciliation (Brewster, MA: Paraclete, 2016)Jonah sounds like far too many "prophets" doesn't he? : (
Accordance for Android!
To install it, I downloaded it via the link, copied it into Dropbox, and then accessed it on my phone to install it. Log in to your account, and do the Easy Install. Seems to run fine on my small phone, so I'm sure those of you with more memory will have no trouble.
Standing before the Lord
About that timeline of yours…
Wednesday, November 08, 2017
The inner life of God revealed
Tuesday, November 07, 2017
Anthropomorphism from a different angle
I like that—especially the point made by Heschel!
Monday, November 06, 2017
Your walk betrays your talk
Why don't we pray more?
Saturday, November 04, 2017
What is faith?
Friday, November 03, 2017
Gone too far
Review of Irenaeus of Lyon for Young Readers
Simonetta Carr, Irenaeus of Lyon (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2017) is a nicely illustrated and well-written biography of an important early church father. In a little more than sixty pages, she does an excellent job of filling in the background of why he is important and how he obtained his source material (he was a student of Polycarp, who was a student of John the Elder).
Beginning with his birthplace in Smyrna (modern İzmir, Turkey), she gives background on what a typical male child’s education was like and why it seems that Irenaeus had that education (he shows a good knowledge of the Greek classics in his writings). She explains the importance of Polycarp, highlights Irenaeus’s time in Rome before he arrives at his final destination of Lyon in Gaul (France), where he became bishop.
If I still had children at home, I would definitely enjoy reading this book to them. What’s more, I’m sure they would enjoy it, which is quite an accomplishment for an author!
That being said, there are two places in the book where I take issue with her. The first is on the first page of the book. She seems to imply—no, she comes right out and says—that Paul was considered one of the Twelve. Unfortunately, that reflects the highly Pauline-centric view of too many in the Reformed world. There are many definitions of “apostle” in the New Testament, but Luke’s was the most restricted, as described in Acts 1, where the disciples choose a new twelfth member. Needless to say, it wasn’t Paul. Ok, maybe I’m nitpicking.
The second issue is in the final background information, where she states the common misinterpretation of Augustine’s comment about Ambrose reading silently. From that little statement has grown a common misconception that almost no one in the ancient world read silently. Wrong! That view was rightly put to rest back in the 1960s by Bernard Knox, but it has maintained a life of its own. It was considered in bad taste to read silently, largely because so many were illiterate, but it was not unheard of or unknown. I know, only a Classicist would get all bent out of shape over that. Color me guilty, but I’m tired of having to always correct that mistake—even in articles by New Testament scholars who should know better.
Irenaeus is an important source for the early church, especially in his refutation of gnosticism and witness to the rule of faith. But one other thing that I wish she had developed was his doctrine of theosis or divination, the process by which we become more godlike (without becoming God). In his Against Heresies 3:19, he has the amazing statement
For it was for this end that the Word of God was made man, and He who was the Son of God became the Son of man, that man, having been taken into the Word, and receiving the adoption, might become the son of God. For by no other means could we have attained to incorruptibility and immortality, unless we had been united to incorruptibility and immortality.This idea would later be summed up by Athanasius (3rd century) as, “God became man that man might become god.” Mind you, not gods independent of God, but only in the likeness of God because we are adopted into God through Christ. The Eastern Orthodox have a wonderful theology of theosis that those of us in the West could do well to adapt and adopt. Indeed, if you look, you can find it in Luther to an extent, moreso in Calvin, and to a much greater extent in Wesley, who had the advantage of being at Oxford during a time of the rediscovery of the Eastern Fathers, which then influenced his idea of Christian perfection. If you do a search on theosis on this blog you will find a good bit more information. : )
Well, it seems we’ve gone far afield from the book at this point, but to sum it up again, this book, despite the two minor errors (and they are minor despite the space I gave to them), is highly recommended. In fact, this book has encouraged me to take a look at the other biographies for young readers that she has written. They might make good gifts for the grandkids!
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by Reformation Heritage Books. Needless to say, that didn’t influence my review.
Thursday, November 02, 2017
It gets complicated
Wednesday, November 01, 2017
Prayer as (honest) dialogue
I'm working through a commentary on Habakkuk right now, and this resonates very well. There are many similarities between Habakkuk and the confessions/prayers of Jeremiah.