Thursday, January 31, 2013

Should Christians Boycott Discriminating Universities?

Now two schools, and many others unnamed, are openly discriminating against Christians (though many who have attended many state and private universities in the past know the discrimination was not to far below the surface).  Most know of Vanderbilt's threats earlier last year to kick off such Christian students groups such as Campus Crusade.  Now the University of Michigan joins the mix by kicking the Inter-Varsity chapter off of their campus.  Both of these schools are discriminating against evangelicals under the guise of non-discrimination acts.

So my question: Should Christians begin to boycott these universities?

These are prestigious universities.  It will take a 'Bonhoeffarian' stand which will require costly discipleship.  Is it worth it? Is the world really ready for "equal rights," or selected-audience rights?

Everyone worships something.  It is beginning to become more clear what our American universities worship.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Luther on Project Gutenberg

One might find it odd that I post so much on Luther, since I am Reformed, Presbyterian, a Covenant Theologian and a NT scholar, but at the end of the day he is my homeboy - ethos and pathos speaking.

Here is a link I was informed of where another good collection of his works are posted electronically. Enjoy!

And a good quote:
"When Christ has the trumpet blown at the Last Day, everyone will pop up and be resurrected like flies who lie dead in the winter."

And appropriate for the blogosphere:
"Some people need a fig-leaf on their mouths."

Saturday, January 26, 2013

When (not) to Publish - Imitatio Martinus Lutherus

There are many circumstances that compel a biblical scholar to publish as much as humanly possible, but last night I read a handful of good reasons not to publish.

In a letter to Wolfgang Capito, dated July 9th, 1537, Luther informs Capito of his wish not to have his works published.  Luther says, "Regarding [the plan] to collect my writings in volumes, I am quite cool and not at all eager about it because, roused by a Saturnian hunger, I would rather see them all devoured." (LW 50, 171-173).

The volume editor notes five reasons for Luther's "cool" feeling towards publication (per, E. Wolgast, Die Wittenberger, 1971), which when broadly applied can be instructive:

1) his worry that reading his works might reduce the study of Scripture.

2) his realization that some of his writings originated in temporary, restricted circumstances.

3) his changed attitude toward the papacy.  (this one may be hard to apply)

4) his conviction that writings by other theologians were more significant than his own writings.

5) his realization that such an edition would be so expensive that the edition would collect dust in libraries, and only the rich could afford to buy it, while the common man could by no means afford it.

(click here for a list of Luther's works available electronically - the internet may be even better than the Gutenberg Press!)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Covenant Theological Conference noted on Wheaton PhD blog

First, here is the 2013 Covenant Theological Conference conference schedule.

Over on the Wheaton blog, For Christ and His Kingdom, the 2nd Annual Covenant Theological Conference gets some air time.  Check it out.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Prestigious Ethel M. Wood Lectures Online

An anthology of the prestigious Ethel M. Wood Lectures are online here.  Included in this anthology are many of the most well known names in biblical studies from past generations, and present.  Many of these lectures are even available in downloadable PDFs.  This is a great resource!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Received: Peter, Paul and Recategorization in the Book of Acts

Just received is Coleman A. Baker's Brite Divinity School (TCU) dissertation entitled, Peter, Paul and Recategorization in the Book of Acts: Identity, Memory, and Narrative in Early Christianity.  In this monograph, Baker seeks to demonstrate
"that the narrative of Acts attempts the recategorization of Judean and non-Judean Christ followers and those on either side of the debate over non-Judean inclusion in the Christ movement into a common ingroup by presenting Peter and Paul as prototypical of a common superordinate Christian identity in the midst of diversity and conflict within the Christ movement in the last decade of the first century CE."
With a thesis  this packed (which is also the first sentence of the book!) I am interested to see what the rest of Baker's work has to offer!

This book was published in 2011 by Pickwick Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers.  Thank you to WS for this copy for review.

Also on a personal note, I was uncharacteristically impacted by his preface and the words he had to say to his family - it was a good change of pace from typically perfunctory prefaces.  "My sons...patiently waited for their daddy to finish reading and writing so that we could jump on the trampoline, play a video game, throw the ball, or watch a movie; my daughters...added so much joy, excitement, and distraction during this project and in doing so, consistently reminded me of those things that are most important."  I appreciate the perspective.

2nd Annual Theological Conference

As announced earlier last week, The Theological Fellowship @ Covenant Seminary is hosting its 2nd Annual Theological Conference in just a week (January 22nd).  Here is a brief article on it in Covenant Seminary's The Thistle

I just got a sneak peak on some of the papers topics.  I am excited.  Here is a sample:

"Is Inerrancy Modernistic? Biblical Epistemology of Testimony and the Prophetic Office"   

"What Did Paul Mean by 'I Do Not Permit a Woman to Teach or to Exercise Authority Over a Man'?"

"The Development of Puritan Sacramental Theology in New England"

"Exploring the Huguenot Legacy in South Carolina:  How an Exiled French Acadian Family Made Baptist and Textile History"

"Why can’t we Hear the Music? Five Common Objections to the Imitation of Christ"   

"Sin and Atonement: What the Pentateuch Teaches Us"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Distance Theology/Biblical PhD Blog

Our blog post on pursuing a distance PhD in theology/biblical studies is still our most popular.  I am glad to see that it has been helpful.  These programs are still relatively unknown, but can be a great option for those who are seeking to study for their PhD.

Here is the post.

Also, I would like to ask you help on something.  Could we assemble a list of British and schools on the Continent that offer such programs?  I would covet such help highly!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Metaxas Speaking Tour

This just came across the wire to me.  Eric Metaxas, best known for his Bonhoeffer book, but also author of the William Wilberforce biography, Amazing Grace, that led to the movie of the same name, and also children's book writer, and long-time writer for the series Veggie Tales, is starting a speaking tour in early February.

This tour is about Bonhoeffer.  I believe he will also be speaking about his upcoming book entitled, 7 Men and the Secret to Their Greatness.  Sounds good.

I personally loved Bonhoffer, and boo to you who poo-poo the book because Bonhoeffer looked too much like this or that (as if anyone has actually been able to successfully pin Bonhoeffer down!).  Also, his Wilberforce bio was incredible.

PS. anyone studying for the GRE. Read these two books! It is as if Metaxas took the Kaplan GRE vocab box and included them all tastefully into his narrative.  That was the only fun, non-despairing, times I had studying for that exam.  Thanks, Eric!

Here is the link to the site.  The prices are very nice, and they come with a book (students $20).

A couple Metaxas vids:

Metaxas intros himself at "Socrates in the City":

At National Prayer Breakfast: (got to say, he does not pull punches here.  At 25minutes he lays into the issues.  Remember, Obama is two chairs over from him... I respect this man highly.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Words we read by ... 2

The second installment.  Again, common enough words, I simply found that I had never paid enough attention to their precise use and definition...


  ELIDES – Join together, merge; omit
FIAT - A formal authorization or proposition; a decree; An arbitrary order.
QUAGMIRE - a difficult, precarious, or entrapping position

SYNECDOCHE - a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole, the whole for a part, the species for the genus, the genus for the species, or the name of the material for the thing made

DENOUEMENT - the final outcome of the main dramatic complication in a literary work; the outcome of a complex sequence of events

Monday, January 7, 2013

Is Ignorance Really "Bliss"? 2012 edition...

So some say "ignorance is bliss."  I will say that from time to time, but I rarely believe it.  I think that addage is normally just another reason to ignore reality.  However, sometimes 'ignorance is bliss' just happens!  2012 was that year for me.  It can likely be attributed to me living my own life, and not others' lives.  That is, I graduated from grad-school, entered post-graduate (and those of you in post-grad know you dont just 'enter' - you know all the work that goes into that!), we moved 400 miles, and started a new job - oh! and we are expecting our fourth child; nothing big...

But once things began to slow down a bit, relatively, I realized I missed some cultural 'things.'  First, apparently some crazy Korean guy came over and taught Americans a dance, even our President (no comments), that bears a lot of resemblance to dances that often take place in the end-zone each Sunday afternoon in the Fall in America.  Ray Lewis comes to mind. It is called the Gangnam Style. 

And secondly, today I was informed of 'YOLO.'  I was reading the Her-meneutics blog.  I guess it means "You Only Live Once."  Her-meneutics calls it the new WWJD.  I prefer the line attributed to Jack Black (the guy is pretty insightful), "I am fairly certain that ‘YOLO’ is ‘Carpe diem’ for stupid people." 

I wish I actually had time to analyze what these two trends mean about our bored and uninspired culture, but again, I have a life to live.  I guess, I will dance on out of here Gangnam Style and realize YOLO! 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Review: What Luther Says

[This is a review wrote many years ago for Amazon, and just updated it.  I thought it may be helpful]

The Blurb:
"...the yeoman's labor of a single editor, Ewald M. Plass, contained within this volume speaks for itself. The German language abilities of the editor, with regards to his copious reading of Luther, selections of texts, organization of texts, and original translations speaks to the skill and erudition that went into the production of this tome!"

Ewald M. Plass (ed.). What Luther Says. Concordia Publishing House, 2006. 1667pp. $49.99.

I am very glad to see the re-release of this book. The original publication was a shelf-filling three volumes, each of which was the same thickness of this newly published one volume edition. One volume, for me, is always better than three! The inside-matter seems to have the same type set and layout as the three volume set, the paper thickness is simply thinner; much like Bible paper. This volume, as I will also note below, came before many of the English translations of Luther's written works, notably the ground-breaking American Edition (vols. 1-55; ed. Jaroslov Pelican and Helmut T. Lehmann). At the time of the original publication of this book, no other volume existed that provided such a helpful tool to the arm-chair to schooled Luther-scholar.  Therefore, its impact was immediately felt.  Also, the yeoman's labor of a single editor, Ewald M. Plass (et. al. - that is, an advising committee), contained within this volume speaks for itself. The German language abilities of the editor, with regards to his copious reading of Luther, selections of texts, organization of texts, and original translations also speaks to the skill and erudition that went into the production of this tome.

Though the content is helpful, and the work contained here in this volume is astounding, I have some hesitance about the volume. First, the new edition of this book could have been updated (actually updated, not simply re-released) and made more conversant with the American Works of Luther, now entering their second dispensation (vols. 56-75, ed. C. B. Brown - prospectus for this series). The original edition of this book was published in 1959 - before Luther's American Works were all published and released. So not having an English collection of Luther's written works to cross reference for the original release of this book is excusable. The re-release of this volume, though, would have furnished the present-day reader with a better tool by adding cross references especially to the American Works (LW), and maybe even to the other earlier, less extensive Works of Martin Luther (The Philadelphia Edition), if Concordia PH felt like being completely thorough. Many laborers, I imagine, would have been more than ready and willing to build upon the already astounding database of Plass' original edition of this work.  As it stands, this volume has no reference to an English translation to Luther's written works; a sure deficiency to this new edition, and a hindrance to a broad audience seeking to know the context of Luther's sayings. The written works of Luther's this volume cross references only German, the Weimar, Erlangen, and the revised Halle or Walch editions; of course, like its previous edition.

Second, this volume, like any compilation volume of this type (those characterizing an author or theologian via sayings on topics), runs the risk reflecting the views and convictions of the editor(s), rather than the character of the author/theologian, her/himself. I think in some places that this could be true for this volume. It seems this volume projects upon Luther the sentiments/convictions of the editor, rather than the man himself, i.e., Luther (this work came from a Wisconsin based wing of the LCMS if that helps at all). For example, look up "drink". We do not find in this entry any of the spicy and cavalier sayings of Luther on drink and drunkenness. It sounds like one side of Luther, the tame, agreeable-to-'fundy'/conservatives-Luther, not the one who spoke clearly of Christian freedom. And who was at times too a sinner (or, per Luther, was "Simul iustus et peccator" - "At the same time righteous and a sinner"). See Eric W. Gritsch, The Wit of Martin Luther (also, 2006), (a little pamphlet-sized book) for many sayings that may in some cases characterize Luther better than those you may not find in this presently reviewed tome. Luther was anything but tame, therefore those sayings should also be included.  But of course, this criticism is true of the previous edition as much as it is for this new release, since they both contain the same content.

Overall, this work, like its previous edition, has to be commended for all the work that went into it. At the point of the original publication (1959) nothing like it existed! Many helpful studies will be drawn from this classic work.  But, in the end, an actual update rather than simply a reformatting of the volume size, then publication, by Concordia may have been more helpful to the modern reader, who presently has access to English translations of Luther. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

ANNOUNCING: The Theological Fellowship @ Covenant Seminary's 2nd Annual Theological Conference

On January 22nd, The Theological Fellowship @ Covenant Seminary will be hosting their 2nd annual theological conference.  I am excited to be attending and presenting.

The theological fellowship scored big by landing Esther Meek as their plenary speaker.  Meek is known for he work in Reformed Epistemology.  Her address is entitled "Longing to Know: Covenantal Epistemology."

Previous speakers for The Theological Fellowship @ Covenant Seminary have included: Robert Yabrough, professor of NT at Covenant Seminary and the 2012 theological conference plenary speaker; C. John Collins, professor of OT at Covenant Seminary and the Fall, 2011 Bantam Lecture Series lecturer; and Nicholas Perrin, Franklin S. Dyrness Professor of Biblical Studies at Wheaton College and the Spring 2012 Bantam Lecture Series lecturer.

The conference will include students and faculty from Covenant Seminary, Concordia Seminary, Wheaton Graduate School, Trinity College (Bristol), and other institutions.  It will be held on Covenant Seminary's campus, on January 22nd from 8am to 12noon.

Admission is free, and it would be great to see you there if you have availability!

Poster designed by Kyle Keating

Seeking Community is Counter-Cultural

Yesterday, I was inspired to write to the young adult community I serve as pastoral intern.  I felt the message had a broader application, so I share it here.  It is nothing new, simply a reminder I think of what many already know to be true.  I leave out the personal address, so the letter starts mid-stream; and I leave out the application... sorry, you will have to apply it as the Spirit leads in your community.  Feel free to share how you see that happening...


By the reception such social networks as Facebook, Twitter, and other forums have received, community is clearly a felt need in our society.  Another interesting thing about our generation is that we strongly desire to be counter-cultural.  So we desire community and to be counter-cultural.  It is peculiar as I meditate on these two points, and how they interface with each other, that seemingly the most counter-cultural thing to do in our society right now is to seek community.  I conclude this because as many of you know, Facebook or Twitter do not satisfy all your connection/relationship longings, do they? But our hearts are oddly satisfied by the 'friendships' we have through such mediums. Our connection is 'made'.  It is almost as if we have checked 'the friendship box' when we sign in to Facebook each day, isn't it?  Or that we have got the encouraging status 'like' shot in the arm that will propel us to the next 'like'.  But in the end our hearts are still lonely and missing something...

So, why am I randomly emailing you with this philosophy of social networks?  Well, first, it is not primarily a philosophy, nor principally about Facebook or Twitter (those are illustrations), it is about our hearts, and the hearts of those we work with and live around.  We live in a society of folks that have been affected by the Fall.  At the Fall we were not simply separated from God when we sinned, we were separated from nature, but also separated socially from ourselves and others.  We live and breathe around folks (and live with, and are!) who have been affected by the Fall.  We live in a society that is at the same time becoming the most connected society the world has ever seen, but at the same time the most disconnected that the world has ever seen.  We are connectedly-disconnected. But God did not leave us in this state.  He gave us community in the death and resurrection of Jesus, His Son.  How? Dietrich Bonhoeffer says, "We belong to Christ in eternity with one another.  We who live here in community with Christ will one day be with Christ in eternal community." In the community of the controversial Messiah, we are at the same time counter-culturally sought out by others, and seek others, to be part of a vital, Christ-centered and counter-cultural community.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Words we read by ...

"Inconceivable!" (If you get the reference, kudos!)

I realize now more than ever, that is, in a season when I am reading so much, that I can often read by words for which I do not know an accurate definition.  In other words, I can get lazy and just read by a word without doing the work of learning the meaning of what I am reading.  I can often do one of two things when I don't know a words precise meaning.  (1) I can attempt to let the context speak to the word's likely definition, which may or may not give me an accurate definition.  Or, (2) I can get REALLY lazy and I give little care to the word, and ignore it...

I have a feeling I am not the only one that takes these two all too common paths, so I decided to start a third, more healthy option for my reading and learning.  I start logging words that I either do not know in the English language, or have seen many times before (and maybe used, albeit inaccurately) and never taken the moment to obtain an accurate definition for (please feel free to critique my brief, and possibly bad definitions).  Thus, below is the first entry of:  

Words we read by

DE FACTO – according to practice or effect, not necessarily ordained by law (as opposed to de jure, which is according to law)

EX POST FACTO – after the fact; from after the action

MISPRISION - Erroneous judgment, esp. of the value or identity of something.

TROPE – a word or expression used in figurative language

ARRESTING – eye catching; attention grabbing.

CONCOMITANT - Naturally accompanying or associated.

HEURISTIC – an aid to learning through trial and error

“BEG/BEGGING THE QUESTION” – Assuming a statement or claim to be true/proven before furnishing proper evidence (NOT the same as – “leads to the question,” which is a common misuse)

What Bible Do You Read?

I found this canon comparison chart interesting/helpful:

The First Year of MosisMose

...or, that is, six months.

This blog was founded for some specific reasons, most that involve the aim of providing a forum of fellowship and edification of those pursuing PhD degrees at Trinity College, Bristol.  However, we have been surprised at the reception in the broader biblio-blogosphere. And we are glad to have others read and contribute.  Thanks for joining us on our journey!

Here are a couple highlights:

Michael Bird mentions MosisMose on Euangelion 

For Christ and His Kingdom blog by Wheaton PhD students highlights our most popular post.

Ray Van Neste recognizes MosisMose's review of New Testament Theology in Light of the Church's Mission: Essays in Honor of I. Howard Marshall.

A couple favorite blogs posts of mine:

Book buying series (this link will take you to the whole series).

A post on scholarship and marriage (sort of...).

And check out the others and blog roll us if you want to see more.  Blessings in the new year!