Sunday, October 31, 2010

Of course Obadiah speaks of Christ.

Very clearly in the final verse: "Deliverers will go up on Mount Zion to govern the Mountains of Esau, and the Kingship will belong to YHWH."

Talk like this, of course, would make the pernicious historical critics sneer. Their god Reason is incapable of ascribing lordship to Christ in the law and the prophets.

Since Jesus is indeed YHWH (so Jn 8:58), it follows that the above verse is speaking about none other than Jesus.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What to have in view when talking to or reading a feminist.

"Look," says the Teacher,"this is what I have discovered: Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things- while I was searching but not finding- I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all." (Ecc.7:27-28).

Ecclesiastes.....never lacking in true wisdom. And this is indeed the case. 'Upright woman' is about as oxymoronic as Fast Ferry or Microsoft Works. The two are at odds with each other.

A quote to share with your renewal-eco-theologist friends.

"In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them and they will be discarded." Psalm 102:25-26 (NIV).

They probably don't have this verse in their bibles, but that doesn't matter. Quote it to them anyways and watch them squirm.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


So I was shaving my face this morning with Occam500 triple-blade, and I realized that I'm mighty fed up with all of these endless theories centering around JDEP. I'm gonna do something innovative, rash, and daring: I'm going to read the Torah with the assumption that it is speaking about events which actually happened in history. I'm going to assume that Moses had a hand in writing most of Deuteronomy, parts of Leviticus, Exodus and numbers. I'm going to assume that there really was an Exodus out of Egypt with next to 1 million people coming up out of Goshen, and I'm going to assume that there was a cosmic flood.

Why all these bizarre assumptions? Because I think that humans today are a bunch of idiots....half of these scholars can hardly tie their shoes in the morning much less appropriately handle antiquated documents..much less tell us a thing or two about scripture. To be sure, I am an idiot myself. But for that matter I'm not going to start publishing papers on Bible and Interpretation or pop up on CNN in the evening or write a commentary for Anchor Bible. In the words of Micah from Paranormal Activity: "I'm does with this shit."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Some naive observations about James.

I'm not a James scholar. I'm a sinner, a wicked, feckless, depraved, evil person. I do not have wisdom from God. There's my prolegomena to this discussion.

I'm wondering why no one really reads the infamous justification passage in James in consequence, or possibly with the consequences of the passage directly behind it? In 2:1-13, specifically verses eight through thirteen, James gives us one of the most brilliant expositions of the nature of God's Law. First, and this is what the modern quasi-Pelagians love to fixate on, the Law of God is in effect for the Christian community. It is the royal law of liberty whose summative and binding principle is the flawless love of ones neighbor (2:8). Those who do not keep this principle in the Christian community are evildoers (2:9). But the very next statement is of particular interest for us here: For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it (2:10). Did you hear that? Stumbling at just one point does not mean for James (and in this case God) stumbling at just one point.....the nature of the law and its concrete demand is that one mere, trifling stumble means the whole of it is broken. The whole of it. Or in the words of James,' For he who said "Do not commit adultery" also said," Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.' Hear that? It is a strong either/or. It is God's All or Nothing. Insomuch as you stumble at any point of the Liberating Law which is certainly in effect and binding on all Christians, you have become a worthless lawbreaker in the eyes of God. He will not praise you because on Tuesday you had emotion A which prompted you to perform charity B to homeless person C. Why not? Because the day before you slandered, and the day before that you failed to obey your parents in every matter, and the day before that you failed to make the most of every opportunity afforded to you by the gracious God. These other points of stumbling have rendered your service of charity on Tuesday entirely worthless before God (guilty of breaking all of it).

Taking these words seriously, read through the passage on justification. Do you honestly believe that James is now suddenly reversing all of his thoughts, contradicting everything he just said? Do you now believe God has changed his mind and said," Hmf, I know I just said that I would judge the Christian's actions and speech based on my Law, and I know that I expressly declared that if he stumbles at any point of my commandments I will hold him as being a complete lawbreaker.....but man, that one deed he did really completes his faith. It really pleases me. I'm going to call this fella righteous by what he has done (cf. Jas 2:24)." No!

If our actions receive judgment from God's law, they are always lawless. We do not have any righteous deeds to complete our faith because all of them are worthless on account of our other stumblings. We have broken the whole law on account of a few trifles. James affirms this by saying in the following passage: "We all stumble in many ways." I take this to mean that for James, we..the Christians, are concrete law-breakers, TOTAL lawbreakers, and that none of our deeds nor our faith (2:19), which is really a satanic faith since it produces no act of law-fulfillment, can justify us. We cannot be justified by our deeds nor our faith. And the horrific thing is that we must be justified by our deeds and by our faith. WE MUST.

I think that what James is doing here (with 2:1-13 ever before us) is presenting the true condition of the Christian: As one who simultaneously MUST complete the whole of God's law (faith, speech and action) WITHOUT a single spot of sin, and CANNOT render the faith, speech and action that would ONLY EVER justify him.

Righteous deeds are the life force that sustain faith (2:26). They give life to faith like the spirit of man gives life to his body. And yet if the law of God be true (and it certainly is cf. Rom.2:20), if it be the litmus test of our justice as Christians before God (and it is cf. Rom. 2:13), and if it judges ALL of our righteous deeds as worthless on account of the other points of the law in which we have stumbled (which we have in many ways cf. Jas.3:2) then the situation of the Christian before God, today, is that HE HAS NO DEEDS WHICH GIVE LIFE TO HIS FAITH. And he will never have deeds that perform this work of justifying faith so long as he continues to stumble.

The perfect dialectic of James can be stated thus: It is by faith and deeds alone that man must be justified. Man cannot be justified by faith and deeds because God's holy and binding law shows that he has neither.

If this does not open up a vast and beautiful doorway to the work of Christ on the cross, His resurrection and the procession of his Spirit for ALL talk of justification (both Jamesian and Pauline), I know not what would.

The only consequence of reading James' talk on justification is that the truly saved man is a "believer in our glorious Lord Jesus Messiah" (2:1). He is saved because the righteous deeds of Christ are HIS. He is justified by what he does because what he has done and what he does is what Christ has done and does (1 Cor.1:29-31). Christ says to this man," This is my body given for you...this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." And the man takes and eats, and in the face of this righteousness can only ever say Amen, Maranatha!

The consequence of taking James seriously can be put in the form of a conversation.

Joe: "How are you saved by God?"

Darcy: "By faith and good deeds working together. But mainly by doing good deeds."

Joe: "Really? You have to do good works to be saved?"

Darcy: "Absolutely. And they have to be truly good. They have to be backed by a complete fulfillment of everything which is commanded to be good, without stumbling on any point."

Joe: "How then can anyone be saved?"

Darcy: "With man this is always impossible. But not with God. He sent His Son onto this earth, who poured out His life as a fragrant offering to God on our behalf. And through this righteous act, faith was discharged to us from the hand of the Father, and this righteous act became ours. I am saved by faith and good deeds because Christ's faith and Christ's deeds are truly and forever MINE."

Halloween is almost here, and what's Jim West up to?

No good apparently. Keep your kids out of the fields for a few days.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Background Commentary? Yeah Right.

Sitting before me is the hefty IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by the respected Bible scholar Craig Keener. I took it out from the library yesterday, and was fairly excited about reading some of it. If it's anything like the Old Testament volume by Walton & co. then I'm in! So where do I flip to? Romans chapter nine. Is it possible to give some solid background info on this controversial passage? Can we get a glimpse into Paul's theological worldview without immediately jumping into the calvinist/arminian debate of the last few centuries? The mic is yours Craig:

"Most Jewish people believed that their people as a whole had been chosen for salvation; they viewed predestination in corporate, ethnic terms." False. The first volume of the Justification and Variegated Nomism series has sent that sweeping generalisation into the depths of Sheol. Nevertheless, Keener wrote this volume before JVN's (elementary) investigations into Second Temple Judaism and its various ideological threads. Besides, this still kind of qualifies as background knowledge, even if it's bad background knowledge. Moving on...

"God can sovereignly choose to elect whom he wills, and that need not be on the basis of descent from Abraham. God's sovereignty means that he is free to choose on another basis than his covenant with ethnic Israel (3:1-8); he can choose on the basis of (foreknown) faith in Christ (4:11-13; 8:29-30)." p.433.

Tricky move there Keener. Very shrewd. But the text doesn't say that. The text says," It does not, therefore, depend on mans desire or effort, but on God's mercy." That is the statement which holds together the rest of the passage. Or is faith in Christ something entirely different than the desire or effort to come to God? Keener answers this a page over: "...trusting God, who transforms the heart. Although the term "faith" is rare in translations of the Old Testament...Paul believes that the idea permeates the Old Testament, where God's people must respond to his grace from their hearts." p.434. Oopsies. That sounds alot like desire.

I find it interesting that Keener uses the name of "Background Commentary", not only to not exegete Romans 9, nor to give us any sound background knowledge of why God does not consider desire or effort, good or bad in his electing purposes, but also to give us an aside into his own arminian soteriology. Comb through the text of Romans 9 yourself and tell me where it says that God elects people based on an advanced knowledge of whether or not they will put their faith in Christ. Find anything? Didn't think so.

I get a kick out of reading all these modern sophists who blabber on and on about "fresh perspectives on Paul" that avoid the pitfalls of "anachronistic" readings of his Romans such as those performed through the lens of a calvinist/armian polemic.....before proceeding to give us a very basic arminian or calvinistic exposition.

Look, I'm not asking you scholars to go all calvinist on me in your reading of Romans 9. But if you are going to claim "background" insight into this text, will you please make the effort to say something that hasn't already been said by arminian exegetes for the last 300 years? And can you please try to make it remotely ST Judaistic? Please?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Alister McGrath gets bitten by a feminist zombie.

'"God reveals himself. He reveals himself through himself. He reveals himself." With these words (which I have found to be impossible to translate into inclusive language), Barth sets up the revelational framework which leads to the formation of the doctrine of the Trinity.'
-Alister McGrath. Christian Theology (260).
No need to apologize Mr. Mcgrath. Karl Barth didn't feel the need to apologize, and his books will be floating around alot longer than any of the garbage feminist theology being published today. Or should I speak of Barth in inclusive language to be fair to all of you insecure, wretched women? When Barth spoke of Barthself to the ladies, Barth referred to the Barth-head as if Barth were a neuter. Does that make you feel better? I mean, you obviously have no qualms giving God a gender change, so what is a little human being?

No you evil demon women...I'm not going to neuter God to make you happy.

I'm not going to apologize for speaking about God in a way scripture feels perfectly vindicated in speaking. I'll let Jesus answer this one for me:
When you pray, say: 'Father....' Lk 11:2.
Get over it. God is masculine. God is a He. Not a she. A He. God is our Father. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of the Son. I recognize that these words are mere trifles for our feminist-zombified culture, but to be perfectly frank...I don't give a shit.
Did you hear that feminists? I don't.....give....a.......shit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A history of theology in the context of lawn-mowing.

So I was cutting the grass this evening and pondering what various theologians would say if they were faced with the task of snipping the glumes. Here is the product of my discoveries:

Benny Hinn: I speak to this lawn now and I claim the promises and I tell it to be mowed! (With credit to Acidri for developing the concept of Word-Faith lawn-mowing)

Ben Witherington III: I know that God has justified me by grace and all that, but He actually expects me now to mow this lawn and to do a good job, or I'll pay for it on judgment day.

John Agricola: Christ is the end of the law, so I'll skip this job and do something fun!

Martin Luther: No matter how cheerfully and skillfully I mow this lawn, it is still a damnable and unworthy work!

John Calvin: I will mow this lawn, but I can never really be sure that I was the man for the job.

Menno Simons: Whose the freak that let this sward grow so long? Excommunication time.

Irenaeus: The whole process; trimming, bagging, dumping, weed-wacking...the whole of it will recapitulate the general situation of all lawn-mowers out there.

Ben Myers: Isn't Karl Barth just fantastic?!!!

Jim West: Take care of it yourself Doris! I'm malgabbing on my blog!

Thomas Aquinas: Aut viam inveniam aut faciam! Causa latet, vis est notissima.

Reginald of Piperno: You're right Thomas. All of your work thus far really has been straw.

Marcion: The previous lawn-mower was an evil s.o.b. Fortunately we can now justify a replacement.

Velentinus: From the mystery of the Ogdoad and Duodecad comes an aeon who can rescue us from the material evil of this chore!

Gerhard Von Rad: There is both 'eine Wiese mähen' and 'Heil-eine Wiese mähen'!

Rudolf Bultmann: This grass made such a profound impression on the neighborhood. I admit that it was ripped up and burned, but what really matters is that it lives on in the witness of those who first beheld it.

Karl Barth: Nelly, there is no talk of must here. You may mow the lawn.

Renate Kobler: Hold on, aren't you forgetting Charlotte Kirschbaum? She submitted to this patriarchal swinery as well.

Suzanne Selinger: To be honest, the only realistic response I can make to the subject of any woman having to do this sheit is anger.

Tom Wright: Forget the way it's been done for the past 2,000 years. What we really need is a fresh perspective on lawn care. All of us can take part in putting the world to rights if we keep the grass trimmed my way. Not Luther's way. MY WAY.

Pelagius: I'm sure thankful all those fella's from the New Perspective on Paul are here to help me. Even though I don't need their help. Really. I don't.

Kierkegaard: Through the crisis of my subjective existential sweating I can perceive the objectivity of my work!

Danish peasant: Your mow-job objectively sucks!

Kierkegaard: Leap of faith bro. Blind. Leap. Of. Faith.

Richard Foster: If I center myself appropriately, even cutting the grass can become a sacrament!

Hans Kung: Infallible Lawn-mowing? A Critique.

Schleiermacher: When I smell the grass and hear the humming of the motor and see the beauty of the shrubberies, my feeling of absolute despondence transforms into an experience of inner connection to the nexus of yardwork that unites us all.

Melchior Hoffman: I'd like to. Really, I would. But I'm in prison on charges of blasphemy and sedition.

Arius: Lawn-trimmers simply cannot be the Master of the house. They are lesser beings.

Emil Brunner: I'm really starting to think there's a point of contact here somewhere.

Karl Barth: Nein! From Italy with love (p.s. enjoy the chores suckaaa!)

Pope Leo: Exsurge Lawne Mowere!

Yoder: Don't get the idea that this job has no ramifications for the rest of the world!

John Piper: Even this pathetically menial, wretched, jejune, banal, fetid task can become a discipline of joy!

Scofield: Sure I'll mow the a million years! AHAHAHAHA.

Jack Van Impe: Screw that, its gonna be today!!! Its gonna be today!!!!

Immanuel Kant: I will not replace that divet unless I can also will that my maxim become a universal law of divet-replacement.

Sartre: The Being-For-Itself has been confronted by the hell of the existence of another being-for-itself (ahem....Simone) which has given the Look that signifies its concrete demand that the lawn be mowed. The Being-For-Itself is confronted by the facticity of its being, plunged into the nausea of the knowledge of its powerlessness to say whether or not it shall will to obey this demand in the future.

Heidegger: Being-in-the-midst-of-the-world blows chunks. Where's a good Jew when you need one?!

Richard Dawkins: Unless I have scientific proof that there is someone behind this job, I won't do it. I'll even write whole books against doing it.

Christopher Hitchins: All lawn-mowers are noisy and violent. Therefore God does not exist.

Sam Harris: [Insert random, mind-numbing pseudo-intellectual balbutiations]

Edit: With thanks to Kim Fabricius for alerting me as to what Bill Clinton has to say: That was one fine mow-job.

An excellant addition, Mr. Fabricius.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Jim West is correct: there is nothing new about the NPP

I disagreed with him on this count a few months ago, but I have come to realize that he is essentially correct. The "New Perspective on Paul" is no longer new.

In fact, it never was new (really, it wasn't) for according to Solomon: Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before. Ecc.3:15a.

James Dunn and his thesis about "works of the law" really being boundary markers such as circumcision, the feast days and the Sabbath? Yuup, Roman Catholic apologists were spouting this idea in the 16th century against the Reformers, who interpreted "works of the law" to mean a certain type of meritorious righteousness (that the law gives life based on one's personal merits, which, by the way, is the scriptural view).

N.T. Wright and his silly idea that God rewards us with eternal life on the last day based on our cooperation with the grace of Christ in producing good deeds? Well, one way or another this view has been promoted by the Roman Catholic church for the last 2,000 years. It is also to be found among the semi-pelagians, certain Anabaptist groups and the Holiness camps (also among some types of pentecostals).

The idea that Paul was really not opposing "works righteousness" in his epistle to the Galatians and the Romans? Catholicism.

The idea that sola scriptura gives you an excuse as a scholar to ignore the last two millenia of exegesis of the pauline letters as if they had practically nothing of value to say? As if your reading and the problems it poses have not already been discussed and discarded long ago? Yep, Anabaptists have been terribly guilty of this from the start.

So Jim is correct, we should not call this perspective "New". We could call it "the idiotic perspective on Paul" or the "philistinic perspective on Paul" or even "the new perspective on Pelagius" or we could simply give them a measure of what they have given the rest of the history of biblical scholarship: a cold shoulder. This is likely the best option.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The puzzle of the Doctrine of the Spirit of Adoption.

Examine these two texts from 1 Corinthians side by side:

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." 1:3

"We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did-and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died....These things happened to them as examples for us, and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come." 10:8, 11.

Do you note the very troubling paradox in Paul's letter? God is somehow simultaneously our Father and the one who threatens to destroy us in fire if we do wrong.

I am actually amazed that few people have taken this doctrinal lacuna seriously. Let me put it in the form of a question: "What would be the quality of your relationship with your dad if he threatened to throw you into an incinerator if you grumble, commit a sexual sin, or test his patience? Moreover, lets say your dad pointed to an example in the past where he actually did torch people to death for disobeying him."

This awful paradox has been troubling me for two years. I can't make heads or tails of it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Patriarchal? Suuuuuuure.

"His daughter was Sheerah, who built Lower and Upper Beth Horon as well as Uzzah Sheerah." (1 Chr. 7:24)

Seen any feminists build cities lately? Well, have you? Probably not. They're too busy getting drunk off of the spoils of some such thing called the sexual revolution or sitting in some college campus whining about the way they have been victimized in the past. Meanwhile they just got their bootstraps licked by some poor, marginalized woman named Sheerah who lived in an age of utter male cruelty and bombast....and also found the time to build up two or three cities (no big deal) and get mentioned for it by a Jewish chronicler. Man, those must have been some chauvinistic pigs back then who only let Sheerah build on three sites. How dare they! Thank goodness things are different today, thank goodness for the freedom women have now, what exactly have women done these days that can even stand in comparison to Sheerah?

Quote of the Day

When someone asked me to act out in violence, I said to them:

"I'm a Mennonite. The only thing we harm is doctrine."

What Ignatius of Antioch has to say about the Jewish-Christian dialogue.

"But if anyone expounds Judaism to you, do not listen to him. For it is better to hear about Christianity from a man who is circumcised than about Judaism from one who is not. But if either of them fail to speak about Jesus Christ, I look on them as tombstones and graves of the dead, upon which only the names of men are inscribed." (Phil. 6a)
Well said Ignatius. Well said.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Things pastors say when they want to get laid with a congregant.

No joking here. The following sayings have been reported by actual victims of pastoral wickedness:

"After I told him about the sexual abuse by my father, he said we needed to re-enact it in order for me to get over it..."

"He was the first person to take me seriously as an intellectual person, who would teach me the Torah..."

"I didn't want to do what he asked me to do, but he said it would help my marriage problems. I trusted him."

This one really disgusts me: "He said,'Think of me as Jesus and you are Mary Magdalene.'"

"He said we should 'sin boldly so that grace may abound.'" Was that minister, by any chance, a Lutheran?

"No harm, no foul. But he said it was our special secret."

Extracts taken from Responding to Clergy Misconduct: A Handbook by Rev Dr Marie M Fortune, FaithTrust Institute, 2009.

You'd think someone who makes a living delivering a half-hour speech once a week would be able to develop better one-liners, eh? The Lutheran one cracks me up a little, but the rest are utter stupidity. And why, Mr. Cassanova, would someone find appeal and comfort in you re-enacting their father's sexual abuse? That would be like me suggesting to a victim of drunk-driving that they let me run them over while I'm hammered. It may stop the pain....because I just killed them. Or how would someone who lost their family because an arsonist lit the house on fire like it if I locked her friends in a room and torched the place? Convincing, no? I bet you droves of people would come to me for counsel. I should publish a book.

Fuel for the Zionist flame.

I wonder if modern Zionists and supporters of the current state of Israel read Obadiah?

"Then those of the Negev will possess the mountain of Esau, and those of the Shephelah the Philistine plain.....The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion to judge the mountain of Edom, and the kingdom will be the LORD's."

Luther inculcated a spiritual interpretation of these verses, seeing their fulfillment in the spread of the gospel to the regions surrounding Judea. This is a sober view. It is eisegesis, but sober nonetheless. For if you read these oracles as Obadiah no doubt intended them to be read, you could make a good case for fulfilling God's Word by taking possession of the nation of Jordan and the Gaza strip. Of course, those who actually take scripture reading seriously (qua scripture) know that the author's intent is not the Word of God. The author's intent is a human perception of the Word of God. In other words, it can be just as fallible as any other due to the fact that it is human. The only perception that is infallible is the perception of the God who chose to call these oracles His own.

So anyways, I suspect that neither the Zionists nor the spiritualists have any clue what this text means to God, and we may patiently bide our time quibbling about its meaning until the Lord God takes the initiative and carries through its proper fulfillment (if He hasn't already).