Saturday, May 14, 2005
Grace and Peace,
Friday, May 13, 2005
The thought that Star Wars Episode III is a rewriting of Nicea is rather amusing.
Grace and Peace,
1 Thessalonians 5
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers and sisters, you do not need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them, as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and there will be no escape! But you, beloved, are not in darkness, for that day to surprise you like a thief; for you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness. So then let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober; for those who sleep sleep at night, and those who are drunk get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, and put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing. But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil. May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. Beloved, pray for us. Greet all the brothers and sisters with a holy kiss. I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all of them. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Also, some interesting articles on capitalism at The Other Journal. The first is by Dan Bell, professor at the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (LTSS). He talks about the problem with the problem with capitalism. His piece is interesting, but I think he could go further with the eschatological implications. If capitalism deforms our desire, so that we are led away from our true end in God, then capitalism (at least as it is currently practiced at any rate) is a system that diverts our vision to the end of time. We work not for this life, but for the eschaton, and the Reign of God which comes then.
The second is by D. Stephen Long, who professor at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary. His main point is that Adam Smith is the father of another kind of "church." Some acquaintance with the economic personalities, Adam Smith and John Maynard Keynes, is helpful. This article is part memoir, part critique. Interesting for sure, but could have some more teeth.
Grace and Peace,
Friday, May 06, 2005
Also they teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ's sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ's sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.
Back to Benedict… With conversations that I have had, things that I have read, and the like, I am beginning to feel somewhat optimistic and hopeful in Benedict. Much of this optimism started with an email that was forwarded to me by one of my classmates at seminary. The email had been written by our systematic theology professor, David Yeago, who had said that Ratzinger was one of the four or five greatest living theologians, and had single handedly saved the JDDJ from being out and out rejected. Then, when reading another blog, Confessing Evangelical (which I really like and heartily recommend), the confessing evangelical quoted a newspaper article by Christopher Howse, who said something similar to Yeago, but with much more detail. Howse wrote,
According to the Lutheran theologian, Joachim Track, Ratzinger made three concessions that saved the agreement from collapse (including a declaration thatjustification and final judgment were God's gracious acts).
If this incident showed Cardinal Ratzinger as an altogether more open and conciliatory figure than the fierce enforcer depicted by his opponents, his actions as pope will be watched almost as keenly by Christians outside his jurisdiction as by the flock of this German Shepherd.
In an article by John Allen, reporter for the National Catholic Recorder, Ratzinger is even mentioned as pondering the status of the Augsburg Confession. Allen writes,
"Ratzinger has been involved in dialogue with Lutherans from way back,” said Br. Jeffrey Gros, ecumenical affairs specialist for the
bishops. “In the 1980s he was even interested in declaring the Augsburg Confession [the first Lutheran declaration of faith] a Catholic document. To think that he wanted to torpedo this [agreement] is a total misread.” U.S.
This in itself is interesting, since the Lutheran World Federation requires only that a body recognize the Augsburg Confession in order to be Lutheran. If Ratzinger were to do declare the CA a “Catholic document”, what would this do to Lutheran bodies across the world? Again, something fascinating, for future pondering.
So what were the three concessions that Ratzinger made? (quoting from Allen’s article, with some comments of mine)
- He agreed that the goal of the ecumenical process is unity in diversity, not structural reintegration. “This was important to many Lutherans in
Germany, who worried that the final aim of all this was coming back to ,” Track said. Rome
- Ratzinger fully acknowledged the authority of the Lutheran World Federation to reach agreement with the
. This concession might seem like a nitpick, but it has much to do with a view of the location from which authority stems, which will be a further issue in ecumenical dialogue. Vatican
- Ratzinger agreed that while Christians are obliged to do good works, justification and final judgment remain God’s gracious acts. Amen and amen… Too often Lutherans have held that we need not do any good works, since we are justified by God’s grace alone. A healthy dose of language that impels us to work for the furthering of the Kingdom is greatly needed. We are freed FROM sin, death and the devil, as well as being freed FOR something… As I reminded my Confirmation students last week, the Kingdom is coming no matter what. We pray “Thy kingdom come” so that it might actually come in and among us.
Being a German, Benedict XVI would surely be looking for some reconciliation in his homeland. On a recent visit to the
Grace and Peace,