Two new Greek Geek Books in November (@kregelacademic and @bakeracademic)

An up-to-date commentary on all the significant manuscripts and textual variants of the New Testament

This small and insightful volume is an essential resource for the committed student of Greek New Testament. Using the same trim size as UBS and NA28 Greek New Testaments, this reference commentary, based on the latest research, is designed to aid the reader in understanding the textual reliability, variants, and translation issues for each passage in the New Testament.

Unlike any other commentary, this volume contains commentary on actual manuscripts rather than a single version of the Greek New Testament. There are nearly 6,000 existing manuscripts, and just as many textual variants, with thousands of manuscripts having been discovered since the time of the King James Version. This commentary is filled with notes on significant textual variants between these manuscripts.

And

This in-depth yet student-friendly introduction to Koine Greek provides a full grounding in Greek grammar, while starting to build skill in the use of exegetical tools. The approach, informed by twenty-five years of classroom teaching, emphasizes reading Greek for comprehension as opposed to merely translating it. The workbook is integrated into the textbook, enabling students to encounter real examples as they learn each new concept. The book covers not only New Testament Greek but also the wider range of Bible-related Greek (LXX and other Koine texts). It introduces students to reference tools for biblical Greek, includes tips on learning, and is supplemented by robust web-based resources through Baker Academic’s Textbook eSources, offering course help for professors and study aids for students.

A mental disease? #transgender

Dr. Paul R. McHugh

Dr. Paul R. McHugh

“…transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.”

(Former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry)

Well, this guy is a doctor on the subject… So, don’t kill the messenger!

read more here

William Law on the effects of a church decree

Benjamin Hoadly by Sarah Hoadly

This guy is being laughed at by Zwingli. Just imagine that scene. Benjamin Hoadly by Sarah Hoadly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Basically, and help me if this sounds familiar, the Bishop of Bangor said that there is no biblical support for church government/authority of the church. William Law did not take kindly to this rank heresy and proceeded to literarily flay the bishop alive.

Again; I presume it may very justly be said, that the Christian Revelation hath some Effect towards the Salvation of Mankind; but then it hath not this Effect always and in all Cases, it is only effectual upon certain Conditions. Now if Excommunication can have no Effect, because it is not effectual when it is wrongfully pronounced, then the Christian Revelation can have no Effect towards saving those who embrace it as they should, because it has no such Effect on those who embrace it otherwise. The Reason of the Thing is the same in both Cases, and anyone may as justly set forth the Vanity and Insignificancy of the Christian Revelation, because it does not save all its Professors, as your Lordship exposes the Weakness and Vanity of spiritual Censures, because they do not absolutely, and in all Cases, throw People out of God’s Favour.1

  1. William Law, The Works of the Reverend William Law (vol. 1, 9 vols.; London: J. Richardson, 1762), 160–161.

Charles Wesley: “I will…prove that…all (Methodists are)…true members of the Church of England’

English: Charles Wesley

“I’m not loyal to every Church, but when I am, it’s to the Church of England. Stay Anglican, my friends.” English: Charles Wesley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take note Charles Wesley’s words here:

I told them I would remain with them as long as they remained with the Church of England but should they ever turn their back on the Church they turn their back on me.

In many places, C. Wesley sought to defend the Methodist societies not as an order distinct from the Church of England, but as an order of worshippers within the Church of England, complete with the loyalties therewith.

I rode to Wakefield, and at eleven waited upon Justice Burton at his inn, with two other Justices, Sir Rowland Wynn, and the Rev. Mr. Zouch. I told him, I had seen a warrant of his, to summon witnesses to some treasonable words, “said to be spoken by one Westley;” that I had put off my journey to London to wait upon him, and answer whatever should be laid to my charge.

He answered, he had nothing to say against me, and I might depart. I replied, that was not sufficient, without clearing my character, and that of many innocent people, whom their enemies were pleased to call Methodists. “Vindicate them!” said my brother Clergyman: “that you will find a very hard task.” I answered, “As hard as you may think it, I will engage to prove that they all, to a man, are true members of the Church of England, and loyal subjects of His Majesty King George.” I then desired they would administer to me the oaths, and added, “If it was not too much trouble, I could wish, gentlemen, you would send for every Methodist in England, and give them the same opportunity you do me, of declaring their loyalty upon oath.”

Justice Burton said, he was informed that we constantly prayed for the Pretender in all our Societies, or nocturnal meetings, as Mr. Zouch called them. I answered, “The very reverse is true. We constantly pray for His Majesty King George by name. These are such hymns as we sing in our Societies, a sermon I preached before the University, another my brother preached there, his Appeals, and a few more treatises, containing our principles and practice.” Here I gave them our books, and was bold to say, “I am as true a Church-of-England man, and as loyal a subject, as any man in the kingdom.” “That is impossible,” they cried all; but as it was not my business to dispute, and as I could not answer till the witnesses appeared, I withdrew without farther reply…[.1 Charles Wesley, The Journal of the Rev. Charles Wesley (ed. Thomas Jackson; vol. 1; London: John Mason, 1849), 358. Every quote herein pertaineth to this series.]

On 23 June 1746, C. Wesley preached on Jeremiah 31, noting the desolute-ness of the Church of England. Here, he used the Methodist focus on prayer (“the Spirit…came down”) to pray that all who had left the Church of England return.

Still yet on 17 September 1756 he writes,

At seven I left Bristol, with John Downes, and came to Walbridge by two. In the evening several attended the word, and seemed stirred up to watch and pray. I spake to each of the little steady Society. Forty-three have kept together for years, under the care of our brother Watts. There are no disputes or disorders among them. I added a few words, exhorting them to continue steadfast in the communion of the Church of England. We were much refreshed, and parted in great love.

A day later, C. Wesley remarks, “I did not forget to confirm the brethren in their calling; that is, to live and die in the Church of England.”

I suspect, heavily, that if John and Charles were alive today, we in the United Methodist Church would be out of connexion and out of communion with them. Yes, there was a time to do what Fr. John did, to ordain in the emergency, men of Christian character to carry out the witness of the Gospel. Yet, John and especially the brother with the more rational deportment, did not ordain schism.

Perhaps, if we are honest with ourselves, the United Methodist Church would rather dispose of John Wesley, perhaps having him as something of a figure head. If this is the case, then the United Methodist Church would likely insist Charles Wesley was a myth created in the wake of Fr. John’s kerygma so as to produce a certain amount of fear  and constriction in the new free-from-orthodoxy societies on the American frontier.

Are Methodists, as they were originally, still members of the Church of England (or the wider Anglican Communion)? Of course not. Should they be, however? Perhaps that is the better question.

a Wesleyan hymn. “For the Church of England”

English: Charles Wesley

“Wait, I wrote that? Heck yeah I did. But you Methodists don’t sing it do you? Did it get lost on the way to the publisher?” English: Charles Wesley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

1 TILL then preserve the faithful seed,
The remnant left in Britain’s land,
The desolate Church, whose cause we plead,
In whose defence we firmly stand,
Her breaches mourn, her burdens bear
In all the agony of prayer.

2 Jesus, her ruinous walls rebuild,
And let them with Thy praise resound;
With peace her palaces be fill’d,
Plenty be in her temples found,
Plenty of unbought milk and wine,
Fulness of living Bread Divine.

3 Her slumbering guides and watchmen rouse,
And on her rising ramparts place;
Give them a voice to shake Thy house,
The rocks to break, the dead to raise,
To bring them up from nature’s grave,
And the whole house of Israel save.

4 For this Thou hear’st Thy Spirit groan,
O that Thou wouldst Thy power display,
Divide the heavens, and come down,
Convert our nation in a day,
And spread our faith through earth abroad,
And fill the universe with God!

John Wesley and Charles Wesley, The Poetical Works of John and Charles Wesley (ed. G. Osborn; vol. 6; London: Wesleyan-Methodist Conference Office, 1870), 114.

William Law on the Authority of the Church – almost sacramental… #UMC

St Peter in Penitence

St Peter in Penitence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m almost convinced that William Law is one of the greatest unsung theological heroes of the past 500 years. Here, he is urging something… using something else…

Remember, he is Anglican. Also, This entire 9 vol set is available on Logos.

I hope, my Lord, it may be allowed, that the Sacraments are Real Means of Grace: But it is certain they are only conditionally so, if those that partake of them are endowed with suitable Dispositions of Piety and Virtue. Glorious Means of Grace of the Sacraments, which is only obtained by such pious Dispositions; and then it is owing to the Dispositions, and not the Sacraments. Now, my Lord, if there can be such a thing as instituted Real Means of Grace, which are only conditionally applied, I cannot see, why there may not be an instituted Real Authority in the Church, which is only to be conditionally obeyed.

Your Lordship has written a great many Elaborate Pages to prove the English Government Limited; and that no Obedience is due to it, but whilst it preserves our Fundamentals; and, I suppose, the People are to judge for themselves, whether these are safe, or not. Glorious Authority of the English Government, which is to be obeyed no longer than the People think it their Interest to obey it!

Will your Lordship say, There is no Authority in the English Government, because only a conditional Obedience is due to it, whilst we think it supports our Fundamentals? Why then must the Church-Authority be reckoned nothing at all, because only a Rational Conditional Obedience is to be paid, whilst we think it not contrary to Scripture? Is a Limited, Conditional Government in the State, such a Wise, Excellent, and Glorious Constitution? And is the same Authority in the Church, such Absurdity, Nonsense, and nothing at all, as to any actual Power?

If there be such a thing as Obedience upon Rational Motives, there must be such a thing as Authority that is not absolute, or that does not require a Blind, Implicit Obedience. Indeed, Rational Creatures can obey no other Authority; they must have Reasons for what they do. And yet because the Church claims only this Rational Obedience, your Lordship explodes such Authority as none at all.

Yet it must be granted, that no other Obedience was due to the Prophets, or our Saviour and his Apostles: They were only to be obeyed by those who Thought their Doctrines worthy of God. So that if the Church has no Authority, because we must first consult the Scriptures before we obey it; neither our Saviour, nor his Apostles, had any Authority, because the Jews were first to consult their Scriptures, and the Heathens their Reason, before they obeyed them. And yet this is all that is said against Church-Authority; That because they are to judge of the Lawfulness of its Injunctions, therefore they owe it no Obedience: Which false Conclusion I hope is enough exposed.

If we think it unlawful to do anything that the Church requires of us, we must not obey its Authority. So, if we think it unlawful to submit to any Temporal Government, we are not to comply. But, I hope, it will not follow, that the Government has no Authority, because some think it unlawful to comply with it. If we are so unhappy as to judge wrong in any Matter of Duty, we must nevertheless act according to our Judgments; and the Guilt of Disobedience either in Church or State, is more or less, according as our Error is more or less voluntary, and occasioned by our own Mismanagement.

I believe I have shown, First, That all your Lordship’s Arguments against Church-Authority, conclude with the same Force against all Degrees of Authority: Secondly, That though Church-Authority be not Absolute in a certain Sense; yet if our Saviour and his Apostles had any Authority, the Church may have a Real Authority: For neither he, nor his Apostles, had such an Absolute Authority, as excludes all Consideration and Examination: Which is your Notion of Absolute Authority.1

  1. William Law, The Works of the Reverend William Law (vol. 1, 9 vols.; London: J. Richardson, 1762), 14–16.

Can John Piper teach the #UMC something about gay marriage?

John Piper (theologian)

John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In one of the UMC fb groups, someone asked a question about how we can handle now-legal marriages that are forbidden by the Book of Discipline. Indeed, the UMC prevents clergy from officiating these (gay) marriages (although there is a proposed, sort of, plan to deal with that) and our BoD equally states that such things are against Christian teaching, although we affirm the sacred worth of these individuals.

But, gay marriage is growing. It is a reality. And, these couples may even want to attend a United Methodist church. So, how do we handle this?

As much as it galls me to say this, maybe John Piper (shudder) has something to teach those who are wondering what to do with these cultural and now legal marriages not recognized by the BoD.

You can read something of that here.

So I think you shouldn’t be married to two women today, or a woman to two men. And yet there are cultures that do it. And so you want to go evangelize those cultures. And you win them to Christ and now they have two wives.

I might say, “OK, those who have two wives, be faithful to both of them until the next generation, or until one of them dies. But never do this again.”

for-profit schools… the latest scam in American Higher Ed?

More than 100 for-profit colleges are so dependent on taxpayer money that they would be violating a law designed to prevent profiteering if not for a loophole that excludes GI Bill funds and Department of Defense tuition assistance to active duty military.

via Taxpayer funds are lifeline for more than 100 for-profit schools – The Center for Investigative Reporting.

Honestly, folks… I understand some of you are displeased with the American education system, especially with higher ed, but the new for-profit ventures aren’t doing you any favors.

In one year, they took just over 9 billion from tax payers. Almost 4 billion of that went to the University of Phoenix.

Sure, they aren’t wasting dollars on sports, but they are still taking our money…

the #rosary as symbol

Irish penal rosary

Irish penal rosary (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The monotony of these repetitions clothes the poor old woman with physical peace and recollection; and her soul, already directed on high, almost mechanically, by her habitual gesture of drawing out the rosary, immediately opens out with increasing serenity on unlimited perspectives, felt rather than analysed, which converge on God.… What does it matter, then, if the humble orante does not concern herself with living over again the exact meaning of the formula she is repeating?… often she does better, she allows her soul to rise freely into a true contemplation, well worn and obscure, uncomplicated, unsystematized, alternating with a return of attention to the words she is muttering, but building up in the long run on the mechanical basis they afford a higher, purified, personal prayer.1

  1. J. Maréchal, Studies in the Psychology of the Mystics, Eng. trans., p. 158.

Wait… Kentucky expects @AiGKenHam to break Federal Law? I’m shocked…

No, I am not a Young Earth Creationist – I take Scripture too seriously to be one. And I have been against this fiasco since the beginning, altogether thankful they didn’t bring it West Virginia.

But this is a hoot.

Tax incentives for the Noah’s Ark theme park in Northern Kentucky are in jeopardy over the state’s concern about possible religious discrimination in hiring, records obtained by The Courier-Journal show.

“The Commonwealth doesn’t believe that Ark Encounter, LLC will be complying with state and Federal law in its hiring practices,” Bob Stewart, secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, said in an Aug. 27 letter to an Ark Encounter attorney.

via Kentucky Ark Park possible discriminatory hiring jeopardizes tax incentives.

Hans Urs von Balthasar on the #Rosary and Life of Mary

Quadtych with scenes from the life of Christ a...

Quadtych with scenes from the life of Christ and Mary – Resurrection of Christ and Nativity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mary’s life must be regarded as the prototype of what the ars Dei can fashion from a human material which puts up no resistance to him. It is feminine life which, in any case more than masculine life, awaits being shaped by the man, the bridegroom, Christ, and God. It is a virginal life which desires no other formative principle but God and the fruit which God gives it to bear, to give birth to, to nourish and to rear. It is at the same time a maternal and a bridal life whose power of surrender reaches from the physical to the highest spiritual level. In all this it is simply a life that lets God dispose of it as he will. From that life Christ chiselled the form he needed: unsparingly he took it, used it and squandered it to the limit, and then, with the greatest consideration, he honoured it and glorified it. The situations of this life are inimitable, unforgettable, both unique and universally valid, universally significant. The three cycles of the Rosary offer these situations to the anamnesis of the Church and of Christians, in strictest unity of form with the life of Christ. And, in fact, Mary’s life possesses no detached form of its own; it is the most intimate possible accompaniment of the Christ-form; it stands in the shadow and in the light of Christ’s form alone. But Mary’s form is not simply outshone by the form of Christ; rather, precisely because Christ exploits Mary, precisely because she bears the Cross with him, her form is inundated in a light radiating from him.1

That, my friends, should be enough to anger just about every one of you.

  1. Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics I: Seeing the Form (trans. Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis; San Francisco; New York: Ignatius Press; Crossroads Publications, 2009), 548.