Various bits and pieces that have been tucked away for a rainy day:
Calvin 09 – Reading through the Institutes in a year: a nice looking resource from Princeton, in which you can read or listen to a different section every day. Don't worry if like me you are late starting, we are still only in Book 1.
What did Paul Really Write in Philippians 1.11?: see the discussion over at Evangelical Textual Criticism, especially in the comments. I am still of the view that Paul could well have written here, 'for the glory of God and my praise / honour" – but most commentaries dismiss it. Perhaps I should get a Short Note together summarizing the arguments in favour of the harder reading.
On John Updike: I have always been haunted by the opening scenes of In the Beauty of the Lilies, in which Clarence Wilmot loses his faith just like that. As usual, Ben offers an insightful pointer to Updike's role as a theological novelist including this great quotation, directed to a ministerial colleague, from Rabbit, Run:
“Do you think this is your job, to meddle in these people’s lives? I
know what they teach you at seminary now: this psychology and that. But
I don’t agree with it. You think now your job is to be an unpaid
doctor, to run around and plug up holes and make everything smooth. I
don’t think that. I don’t think that’s your job…. I say you don’t know
what your role is or you’d be home locked in prayer…. In running back
and forth you run away from the duty given you by God, to make your
faith powerful…. When on Sunday morning, then, when you go out before
their faces, we must walk up not worn out with misery but full of
Christ, hot with Christ, on fire: burn them with the
force of our belief. This is why they come; why else would they pay us?
Anything else we can do and say anyone can do and say. They have
doctors and lawyers for that…. Make no mistake. Now I’m serious. Make
no mistake. There is nothing but Christ for us. All the rest, all this
decency and busyness, is nothing. It is Devil’s work.”
What is Theological Commentary?: Halden offers his usual provocative thoughts, which I read having just done some work with Joseph Fitzmyer's new commentary on 1 Corinthians which, in many ways, felt rather outdated. The thesis I am unsure about in Halden's list is no.6:
"Theological commentary is an offering to the church for
consideration, dissection, correction, and edification. It is to be
done in the mode of gifting, not in the mode of confrontation. Unlike
the role of the preacher who is called to confront the church with the
Word of God, theological commentary is a humble attempt to engage with
the Word of God, not knowing how such engagement will turn out. It is
prior to and grounds the practice of proclamation."
I am not sure that this distinction is as clear cut as Halden's formulation suggests.
Ten Virtues for Theological Students: from Ben, who will no doubt be trying to encourage the formation of such virtues in his students, as i will in mine, as a new academic year begins.