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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Education without a moral compass, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

“Education without a moral compass is like a cancerous tissue. It will grow, but only to the eventual destruction of its host.” -- John Asquith

“Worship must be regulated by God’s Word. Silence is not permission.” -- Kent Brandenburg

“If we’re not ready to die, we’re not ready to live.” -- Gary Chapman

“Much better it is to be humble with Christ in a barren desert, than to be proud with Adam in a delicious paradise.” -- John Hacket

“Were it not for temptations, we should be concealed from ourselves; our graces, as unexercised, would not be so bright, the power of God should not appear so in our weakness, we would not be so pitiful and tender towards others, nor so jealous over our own hearts, nor so skillfully of Satan’s method and enterprises, we should not see such a necessity of standing always upon our guard.” -- Richard Sibbes

“Trust and faith do not mean that you don’t think, or that you don’t examine the evidence – but it does mean that you know enough to trust the Creator for all you do not know.” -- David Robertson

“I used to be paid to be good; now I am good, for nothing.” -- Steve Brown

“Jesus was tempted in every way that man is, excepting by that class of temptations that are sinful because originating in evil and forbidden desire.” -- W. G. T. Shedd

“God’s word meets every condition in the world which confronts us.” -- S. Franklin Logsdon

“There is no education in the second kick of a mule.” -- credited to Mark Twain, L. Mendel Rivers, et al.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Sadducees and the Resurrection

About the Sadducees
In connection with the Pharisees
  • They were also religious leaders, Acts 4:1, Acts 5:17
  • They spuriously came to John’s baptism, Matthew 3:7
  • They tempted Jesus for a sign, Matthew 16:1
  • They espoused religious leaven, Matthew 16:6, 11-12
In distinction from the Pharisees
  • They denied the resurrection, Matthew 22:23, Mark 12:18, Luke 20:27
  • They denied angels and spirits, Acts 23:6-8
  • They filled the high priestly offices, Acts 5:17

Matthew 22:23-33 (See also Mark 12:18-27 and Luke 20:27-38)

The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

The Sadducees make a phony inquiry. They did not believe in the resurrection, yet posed a fanciful question based on harmonizing the law of levirate marriage with the resurrection.[i] Their assumption was that Jesus would be confused by and unable to answer the question.

The Sadducees provide a legal foundation for their query, “Moses said or wrote.” These instructions may be found in Deuteronomy 25:5-6. History indicates the practice existed before the law (Genesis 38:6-10). The appeal to Moses would strike fear into the average person, but Jesus is great than Moses!

Jesus gives an unexpected answer. Their question is fictional in their own minds, and in truth! They err both in understanding the scriptures and the power of God (cf. Hosea 4:6). “In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.” God has the power to resurrect, but marriage is irrelevant in the resurrection.

Jesus gives them an additional explanation (Old Testament scripture for the resurrection, again more than they bargained for). Concerning the resurrection itself, God “is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.” Read Exodus 3:6a, Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Intriguingly, the point made hinged on the tense of a verb. The liberals Sadducees here were silenced and could say no more.

[i] The levirate marriage preserved the name and inheritance of a man who died childless. “Levirate” comes from the Latin word levir, meaning a husband’s brother, or brother-in-law. Despite its sound, the word is unrelated to the tribe of Levi, or their ancestor. https://www.lexico.com/definition/levirate | https://www.yourdictionary.com/levir

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Mute donkey

Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness...but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

Proper decorum–and the avoidance of an unnecessary distraction–demands that we substitute “illegitimate” for “bastards” in Hebrews 12:8, and “mute donkey” for “dumb ass” in 2 Peter 2:16.
When I read this comment of Doug Kutilek, I thought “mute donkey” sounds really weird. However, I have since found that several Bibles have that rendering in 2 Peter 2:16 (including the New American Standard Bible). Intriguingly, according to a few dictionaries that I checked, both “dumb” and “mute” are now considered offensive, when referring to a person incapable of speech. (It is hard to keep up.) That may account for newer Bibles going with words like “speechless.”
  • Dumb, noun or adjective. Offensive. Of a person incapable of or lacking the faculty of speech.
  • Mute, noun or adjective. Dated, offensive. Of a person incapable of lacking the faculty of speech.
I suppose the donkeys and asses do not mind!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

3 Reasons I Changed My Mind, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Baptismal Formula

Before he ascended back into heaven, Jesus commanded his disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). After this, in about ten days’ time, the apostles baptized the first of their converts. Luke mentions “in the name of Jesus Christ,” (Acts 2:38, for example) but not “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Does the Lord’s command in Matthew 28:19 demand that a specific “formula” be spoken at the time of baptism? Must the administrator of baptism speak certain words in an exacting way in order for the immersion to be scripturally valid? Did the disciples carry out Christ’s command of Matthew 28:19?

Mentions in the book of Acts

  • Acts 2:38 be baptized...in the name of Jesus Christ
  • Acts 2:38 baptistheto ekastos humon epi to onomati Iesou Christou
  • Acts 8:16 they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus
  • Acts 8:16 bebaptismenoi huperchon eis to onoma tou Kuriou Iesou
  • Acts 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord
  • Acts 10:48 baptisthenai en to onomati tou Kuriou
  • Acts 19:5 they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus
  • Acts 19:5 ebaptisthesan eis to onoma tou Kuriou Iesou
The Jews and proselytes on Pentecost, the Samaritans, the Gentiles at Cornelius’s house, and the twelve disciples at Ephesus were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5).

See also:

  • Acts 8:37-38 I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God...and he baptized him.
  • Acts 22:16 arise, and be baptized… calling on the name of the Lord.
  • Romans 6:3 baptized into Jesus Christ
  • 1 Corinthians 1:13, 15 …were ye baptized in the name of Paul?...lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.
  • Galatians 3:27 baptized into Christ
Some History and Practice (briefly)

The Didache (an early writing similar to a “church manual”) in 7:4 says, “But concerning the baptism [immersion], thus immerse; having stated all these things, immerse into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” [i]

Tertullian, writing “Against Praxeas, Chapter 26” circa AD 216, said, “After His resurrection He promises in a pledge to His disciples that He will send them the promise of His Father; and lastly, He commands them to baptize into the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, not into a unipersonal God.”[ii]

Cyprian of Carthage (Epistle 72:18, circa AD 253) also invokes baptism under the Trinitarian formula, writing, “Finally, when, after the resurrection, the apostles are sent by the Lord to the heathens, they are bidden to baptize the Gentiles in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost…Christ Himself commands the heathen to be baptized in the full and united Trinity?”[iii]

Intriguingly, in Summa Theologicae (circa AD 1265–1274), Thomas Aquinas argued that “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” was the suitable form of baptism and that “in the name of Jesus” was only valid in the primitive church: “It was by a special revelation from Christ that in the primitive church the apostles baptized in the name of Christ.”

The 1644 London Baptist Confession does not mention the formula of names used in baptism. The Standard Confession of 1660 advised “to Baptise (that is in English to Dip) in the name of the Father, Son, and holy Spirit, or in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” However, the more influential London Baptist Confession of 1689 and Philadelphia Confession of Faith of 1742 assert, “The outward element to be used in this ordinance is water, wherein the party is to be baptized, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

The New Hampshire Confession of Faith of 1833, once in widespread use in the United States, declares, “We believe that Christian Baptism is the immersion in water of a believer, into the name of the Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost.”

Some denominational groups, such as the United Pentecostal movement, use the Acts passages as a baptismal formula – that is, the words spoken when baptizing a person. United Pentecostals are Unitarians rather than Trinitarians, so that the “Trinitarian formula” of Matthew 28:19 is inimical to their theology. To them, “Jesus Christ” is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. E. W. Bullinger, an ultra-dispensationalist theologian who finds the origin of the church after the end of the book of Acts, believes there are two different formulas. In Matthew 28:19-20 he finds “the commission of the Jewish ministry at the end of this age” and then “the baptism ‘in’ or ‘into’ the name of the Lord Jesus in Acts, &c, was the continuation of John’s baptism for a while, i.e. during the transitional period of Acts until the mystery was openly revealed and fully proclaimed. Then, the baptism of Eph. 4:5 supervened and still maintains.”[iv]

Some views of “the baptismal formula”

  • “In the name of” means “by authority of” (as in, “Stop, in the name of the law!”)
  • Baptism “in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” and “in the name of Jesus” mean the same thing. Both/either is valid.
  • Only baptism when the administrator says “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost” is valid. 
  • Only baptism when the administrator says “In the name of Jesus” is valid. “When Jesus said to baptize ‘In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,’ he was referring to his own name.”
  • The formula, or words spoken, should (or may) combine both ideas, such as, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, and into the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
A majority of Christian groups seem to agree that the phrase ‘in the name” means to baptize under or with Christ’s authority. See Acts 4:7 “by what power or by what name.” It is important that in Matthew 28:19 Jesus says “in the name (singular)” for the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – signifying the concept is authority, not simply an exact replication of names.

[i] The Didache of the Twelve Apostles, J. Louis Guthrie, 1938, p. 10.
[ii] Tertullian advocated “trine immersion,” continuing, “And indeed it is not once only, but three times, that we are immersed into the Three Persons, at each several mention of their names.”
[iii] Cyprian seems to hold baptism as a means of salvation: “How, then, do some say, that a Gentile baptized without, outside the Church, yea, and in opposition to the Church, so that it be only in the name of Jesus Christ, everywhere, and in whatever manner, can obtain remission of sin…”
[iv] Bullinger, “The Formulae of Baptism in Acts and the Epistles (in relation to Matt. 28:19, 20),” in The Companion Bible, Appendix 185, p. 206. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

In other words, bimble to wimble

  • bimble, verb. (intransitive) To move at a leisurely pace, esp. on foot; to amble, wander.
  • blower, noun. (British, informal) A telephone.
  • cakelet, noun. A small cake.
  • chreia, noun. A succinct anecdote embedding a pointed saying, so called because designed for use in rhetoric.
  • corrupt, noun. Having or showing a willingness to act dishonestly in return for money or personal gain; Evil or morally depraved; (of organic or inorganic matter) in a state of decay; rotten or putrid.
  • dia duit, interjection. God be with you (Irish greeting, equal to America’s hello).
  • mackintosh, noun. A raincoat; a lightweight, waterproof fabric that was originally of rubberized wool or cotton; a garment, particularly an overcoat or cloak, rendered water-proof by a solution of India-rubber; rubber cloth of the kind used in making a mackintosh.
  • misotheist, noun. A person who express misotheism, a dislike or hatred of God or gods.
  • nonce, adjective. (of a word or expression) Coined for or used on one occasion.
  • pakamac, noun. A lightweight mackintosh that can be folded up into a small pack when not in use.
  • parish pumpery, noun. Concern with local matters exclusively, parochialism; (also) people having such concerns collectively (rare).
  • risible, adjective. Provoking laughter through being ludicrous.
  • tabor, noun. A small drum formerly used to accompany oneself on a pipe or fife.
  • whinge, verb. To complain persistently and in a peevish or irritating way.
  • wimble, noun. A device used especially in mining for extracting the rubbish from a bored hole; any of various other instruments for boring. (verb) To bore or perforate with or as if with a wimble.

The text above all texts

Until recently, most people in traditionally Christian countries lived in the linguistic and imaginative world of the Bible. It was not the only world in which they dwelt...Yet the text above all texts was the Bible. Its stories, images, conceptual patterns, and turns of phrase permeated the culture from top to bottom. This was true even for illiterates and those who did not go to church, for knowledge of the Bible was transmitted not only directly by its reading, hearing, and ritual enactment, but also indirectly by an interwoven net of intellectual, literary, artistic, folkloric, and proverbial traditions...
George Lindbeck, late Yale University professor

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Knotty whips and jagged thorns

Contrition. Zech. xii. 10., Common Meter.
Look on him whom they pierced and mourn.

1. Infinite grief! Amazing woe!
Behold my bleeding Lord!
Hell and the Jews conspired his death,
And used the Roman sword.

2. O! the sharp pangs of smarting pain
My dear Redeemer bore,
When knotty whips and jagged thorns
His sacred body tore!

3. But knotty whips and jagged thorns
In vain do I accuse;
In vain I blame the Roman bands,
And the more spiteful Jews.

4. ’Twere you, my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were;
Each of my crimes became a nail,
And unbelief the spear.

5. ’Twere you that pulled the vengeance down
Upon his guiltless head;
Break, break my heart,—O burst mine eyes,
And let my sorrows bleed.

6. Strike, mighty grace, my flinty soul,
Till melting waters flow,
And deep repentance drown mine eyes
In undissembled woe!

This hymn came to my attention through a writing by Gilbert Beebe on the “Spirits in Prison, I Peter 3:18-20” (Elder Gilbert Beebe, Editorials Volume 5, pages 23-32). He mentioned stanzas three and four. I found the full hymn in A Selection of Psalms and Hymns from Various Authors (Henry Mead, London: Robert Hindmarsh, 1795).

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Satan tempts, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

“Satan tempts, and then he tempts a man to think it is no temptation.” -- William Bridge

“You cannot prevent the birds from flying in the air over your head, but you can certainly prevent them from building a nest in your hair.” -- Attributed to Martin Luther

“You are a lot worse than you think you are.” -- Jack Miller

“In those temptations that arise from our own hearts, we are never without fault” -- Richard Gilpin

“Temptation may even be a blessing to a man when it reveals to him his weakness and drives him to the almighty Savior.” -- F. B. Meyer

“It isn’t biblically accurate to say that temptation is only sinful when we yield to it.” -- Kyle Borg

“Christ’s temptations were all of them sinless, but very many of the temptations of fallen man are sinful: that is, they are the hankering and solicitation of forbidden and wicked desire. The desire to steal, to commit adultery, to murder, is sinful, and whoever is tempted by it to the act of theft, or adultery, or murder, is sinfully tempted.” -- W. G. T. Shedd

“And in nothing the sinfulness of sin appears more than this, that it hides all it can, the knowledge of itself.” -- Richard Sibbes

“When such a temptation comes from without, it is unto the soul an indifferent thing, neither good nor evil, unless it be consented unto; but the very proposal from within, it being the soul’s own act, is its sin.” -- John Owen

“The eye...is the broker between the heart and all wicked lusts that be in the world.” --  Lancelot Andrewes