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Karl Barth on the Reformation

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:24

Today's helping of Karl Barth, courtesy of Lewis Spitz's anthology, Interpretations of the Reformation (p. 156):

[T]he Evangelical church in the Reformation sense is there and only there where the concern is for the pure teaching of the Christian truths, where the whole life of the church Is determined and measured by this one task. But one must pay close attention. The Reformers were concerned about the pure teaching of those truths.

Barth challenges the reader as he explores this concept of “pure teaching” and relates it to the proper role of faith in the life of the Christian. The “is there” in the first sentence in the quote is not a careless wording: Barth is astutely aware that the orthodox, Evangelical teaching of the Reformation is always at risk for falling into a cold, dead orthodoxy vacant of living faith.

He is Risen!

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:18

Hallelujah! Christ is Risen!

Calvin and the Mystery of the Eucharist

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:54

In his Commentary on 1 Corinthians, while commenting on 11.24, Calvin pushes back against all those who would seek to explain the inner workings of the Lord's Supper:

“In the meantime, however, drive away gross imaginations, which would keep thee from looking beyond the bread. […]” These few things will satisfy those that are sound and modest. As for the curious, I would have them look somewhere else for the means of satisfying their appetite.

Though Calvin does briefly discuss his own view of the Supper in this work, clearly he puts a great deal of emphasis on the need not to explain too much.

Paraclesis and the Authority of Scripture

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:39

From Erasmus's “Paraclesis,” concerning the authority of Scripture:

It is no school of theologians who has attested to this Author for us but the Heavenly Father Himself through the testimony of the divine voice…

Note that Erasmus does not place the authority he gives to Scripture in the church structure, but in God's attestation. This is huge, even if Erasmus ultimately did not follow the Reformers.

Hermeneutics and Colossians 3.22

By Tim Butler | Posted at 14:19

Jeff Kloha, over at Concordia Theology, offers a very good analysis of the dilemma of reading a passage like Colossians 3.22 in the modern world:

How do we read this in a way that is consistent with the text's own goals and agendas, and not our own goals and agendas? And, if we insist on our own goals and agendas, as quite clearly the people who paid for this billboard will, should we be allowed to read the Bible at all? For ironically, when we read a passage like this we are not free to read it and decide what it means. We are, perhaps ironically, in fact “slaves” who have no choice as to how we read it. Our minds have been made up for us even before we see it. We are not autonomous, rational creatures. Who will rescue us from this body of death?

One of the things a person realizes very quickly when one studies interpretive theory is just how difficult it is for us to do proper interpretation (or even figure out what proper interpretation is). We can work through the “hermeneutical spiral” and build strong support for interpretations of a text, but the process is one that calls for humility and an earnest desire to understand the text instead of merely what we want the text to say.

What is the Lord's Supper

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:47

A little Westminster Shorter Catechism for the night:

The Lord’s Supper is a sacrament, wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to Christ’s appointment, his death is showed forth; and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.

Camping Apologizes

By Tim Butler | Posted at 22:47

Family Radio's Harold Camping has acknowledged and apologized for his error concerning the prediction of the end of the world:

But we now realize that those people who were calling our attention to the Bible's statement that 'of that day and hour knoweth no man' (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32), were right in their understanding of those verses and Family Radio was wrong. Whether God will ever give us any indication of the date of His return is hidden in God's divine plan.

Refreshing. and the Study Bible

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:24

If you own an ESV Study Bible, you have an online access code that allows you to access all the content of that study Bible on for free. If you've never tried the online access functionality, you ought to try it — it is really well done. Moreover, if you tried it long ago, try it again. The new edition that came out last year sports a significantly improved design (while remaining free for all ESV Study Bible owners).


By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:50

My ordination and installation service was tonight. I'll need to write on it, hopefully tomorrow. I am amazed by all of my family, friends and church family that were there tonight and how encouraging they were. What an incredible blessing.

Grace Annual Talent Show

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:41

We had our annual talent show tonight at church. The show, dinner and silent auction serve to raise funds for the youth group's summer trips, which, in itself, is a worthy goal. But, also worthy is just how delightful it is for the portion of the body of Christ placed in this little church to get to spend time laughing together. The event is never anything close to dull! I'm looking forward to next year's show…

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