Reformed Protestants Who Pick Nits — Old Life

My favorite part: “Is it too much to ask the New Calvinists to see the hand of God in the old Calvinism that emerged in places like Zurich and Strasbourg well before John Calvin was even a Protestant?”

John Piper posted for the recent anniversary of John Calvin’s birthday about the origin of Calvinism. He went right to John Calvin and his conversion: He was born in July 1509, in Noyon, France, and was educated at the best universities in law, theology, and classics. At the age of twenty-one, he was dramatically converted […]

via Reformed Protestants Who Pick Nits — Old Life

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Prayer for the Third Sunday of Easter

O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Beuckelaer_-_The_Miraculous-mediumOpen the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Source: BCP

Art Source: Miraculous Draught of Fishes, Joachim Beuckelaer (1563)

Art Source:

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Links Roundup (04/08/16): Is America a Christian nation? (Thomas Kidd) Is Ted Cruz a Dominionist? Accordance, Joel Watts o Orthodoxy, and more

Here’s some reading for your weekend:

A team of German archeologists (one of whom was apparently Jewish) found the Star of meme-did-roll-eyes-out-loudDavid carved on a Roman temple in Egypt (twice!) and an Egyptian official accused them of it carving it themselves.

Is Ted Cruz a Dominionist or not? asks Warren Throckmorton

John Fea says Yes

Robert Gagnon and Edith Humphrey say No

Accordance has a killer sale on the Hermeneia Commentaries as well as on the Orthodox Study Bible Notes and some classic commentaries by Eadie, Godet, Hort, Lightfoot and Westcott.

If you’re thinking “Orthodox Study Bible?” Let Joel Watts clue you in. He  knows the importance of “big-O” Orthodoxy.

On a more serious note:

Spiritual Attack or Mental Illness? over at Anglican Pastor

Since I’m a priest, people will tell me of a loved one, friend, or acquaintance that is behaving dangerously, strangely, or self-destructively. They wonder if this is a spiritual problem or a mental health problem.

Why do we so quickly think in such binary ways? After all, we believe that Jesus was God and Man. We believe that he had two natures in one person. We don’t have to choose whether he was Man or God, he was fully both.

So when you, or a friend or loved one, experience depression, or panic attacks, or delusional thinking, or any other experience of mental disorder do not try to choose between a spiritual attack or a mental one. You don’t need to!

The New United States: A “Christian Nation”? by Thomas Kidd over at The Anxious Bench. I usually say, “No,” but as Kidd notes in answer to this question, “Then and now, it depends a lot on your perspective.

The Gospel of Mark and the Sense of an Ending over at Living Wittily

This post raises an interesting point:

“The idea that our earliest Gospel should finish on a note of fear and silence is a scandal to any Christian reader who knows the other four canonical Gospels […] How does the Gospel spread if people ar stunned into silence by fears that make them run away? Mark is like one of those films that leaves you hanging, wondering what happens next, aware of unresolved tensions, frustrated by unanswered questions, and feeling let down by a story that had all the makings of an artistic triumph.”

The post goes on the explain how the “To be continued…” nature of this ending is not the scandal it seems to be at first glance.

And finally, since I’m originally a Florida boy, I had to share this:

Hunters kill 15-foot, 800-pound alligator believed to have attacked cattle. Be glad you weren’t swimming in that pond.

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P. T. Forsyth on preaching as “the most distinctive institution in Christianity”

Please note that I have added the paragraph breaks to make it easier to read. This was all one paragraph in the original.

Preaching (I have said), is the most distinctive institution in Christianity. It is quite different from oratory. The pulpit is another place, and another kind of place, from the platform. Many succeed in the one, and yet are failures on the other.

The Christian preacher is not the successor of the Greek orator, but of the Hebrew prophet. The orator comes with but an inspiration, the prophet comes with a revelation. In so far as the preacher and prophet had an analogue in Greece it was the dramatist, with his urgent sense of life’s guilty tragedy, its inevitable ethic, its unseen moral powers, and their atoning purifying note.

Moreover, where you have the passion for oratory you are not unlikely to have an impaired style and standard of preaching. Where your object is to secure your audience, rather than your Gospel, preaching is sure to suffer. I will not speak of the oratory which is but rhetoric, tickling the audience. I will take both at their best.

It is one thing to have to rouse or persuade people to do something, to put themselves into something; it is another to have to induce them to trust somebody and renounce themselves for him. The one is the political region of work, the other is the religious region of faith.

And wherever a people is swallowed up in politics, the preacher is apt to be neglected; unless he imperil his preaching by adjusting himself to political or social methods of address. The orator, speaking generally, has for his business to make real and urgent the present world and its crises, the preacher a world unseen, and the whole crisis of the two worlds. The present world of the orator may be the world of action, or of art. He may speak of affairs, of nature, or of imagination. In the pulpit he may be what is called a practical preacher, or a poet-preacher.

But the only business of the apostolic preacher is to make men practically realize a world unseen and spiritual; he has to rouse them not against a common enemy but against their common selves; not against natural obstacles but against spiritual foes; and he has to call out not natural resources but supernatural aids.

Indeed, he has to tell men that their natural resources are so inadequate for the last purposes of life and its worst foes that they need from the supernatural much more than aid. They need deliverance, not a helper merely but a Saviour.

The note of the preacher is the Gospel of a Saviour. The orator stirs men to rally, the preacher invites them to be redeemed. Demosthenes fires his audience to attack Philip straightway; Paul stirs them to die and rise with Christ.

The orator, at most, may urge men to love their brother, the preacher beseeches them first to be reconciled to their Father. With preaching Christianity stands or falls because it is the declaration of a Gospel. Nay more—far more—it is the Gospel prolonging and declaring itself.

P. T. Forsyth, Positive Preaching and Modern Mind (New York: A. C. Armstrong & Son, 1907), 3–5.

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Brill Publishers to Launch Reference Work ‘Textual History of the Bible’

From their press release:

Brill, the international scholarly publisher, has launched a groundbreaking Major Reference Work for the study of textual history of the Jewish Bible and the Christian Old Testament: Textual History of the Bible. It aims to bring together all available information regarding the textual history, textual character, translation techniques, manuscripts, and the importance of each textual witness for each book of the Hebrew Bible, including its deuterocanonical scriptures. In addition, it includes entries on the history of research, the editorial histories, as well as its auxiliary fields such a papyrology, codicology, and linguistics. THB is an excellent starting point for text-critical analysis of all biblical versions and books, as it offers the reader information about all the textual evidence for a specific biblical book and all the evidence for a specific textual source in one reference work.

See their page on it here.

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Christ’s Church is more than you and bigger than your wants

I ran into a former church member a while back. (Maybe I should be honest and say “disgruntled former church member.”) They recited a litany of things they had “heard” about our church. It was almost humorous because everything they stated, while factually true, was stated in such a way as to emphasize the worst.

They latched on to the few things that supported their narrative. Yes, the church is numerically smaller than it was (and it was shrinking before I came here, just saying) but not only have the people here grown spiritually by leaps and bounds, we’re starting to see numerical growth as well. Yes, we’ve had some financial troubles but our doors are still open and we pay all the bills every month when many churches in our area are now closed for good. Not only that, but we’re still able to support a pastor full-time, we support missions at home and abroad, and we’re still doing the work of ministry week in and week out.

But they didn’t want to hear the good things that God is doing. In fact, they almost seemed disappointed that God is still working here.

It’s sad, really. How does one get so twisted that they rejoice over bad news in Christ’s church? I think the answer is in what led them to leave in the first place: Pride. When you leave a church because you can’t get your way, you’ve revealed that you think this is all about you. But it’s not.

One of my mentors who retired after twenty-plus years in pastoral ministry said it best. He said, “Everyone who leaves unhappy expects the church doors to close for good behind them, but Christ’s church is bigger than that. Oh sure, you might have to scramble around to get this covered or that covered but the Lord always raises someone up to do what needs to be done so that the work can continue.”

I’ve found that to be right in every respect. And I thank God this is true.

The only Person the Church can’t do without is Christ because the Church is His, not mine or yours.

And if Christ is still here and still working, that’s something to celebrate.

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Prayer for the Second Sunday of Easter

Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Source: BCP

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