Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Brumalia--Ancient Latin Sources: Pre 46 BC, Republican Calendar

Bruma/Brumalia and the Old Republic Calendar

There are two basic types of information about the calendar of the Roman Republic: actual calendars themselves, called fasti; and literary references to calendar events. This article covers all available pre-Julian sources which mention Bruma or should mention it if it were a festival in the old Roman Republic.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Brumalia--Ancient Latin Sources: Statistics and Concordance

This article is a posting of all available occurrences of the word "bruma" and its variants in the extant ancient Latin literature available from Packard Humanities Institute Classic Latin Text.

The information is posted here as a research tool and reference for those interested in the question of bruma/Brumalia the winter solstice and its relationship to the origins of Christmas.

O Emmanuel: December 23rd, The “O Antiphons”


O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Hymn Verse:
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Latin Text:
O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
expectratio gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos,
Domines, Deus noster.

English Translation:
O Emmanuel, Our King and Lawgiver,
The Desire of the nations, and their Savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
LSB ”O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1046:

O Emmanuel, our king and our Lord,
the anointed for the nations and
their | Savior: *
Come and save us, O | Lord our God.
Emmanuel is the Hebrew עִמָּנוּאֵל “God With Us.” This title for Christ refers Him as the Restoration of fallen sinful humanity to the presence of God. Drawing on Isaiah 7:14 this title is explicitly incarnational, that is, it refers to the fact of God taking upon Himself human flesh. This final antiphon summarizes the

Christ Myth Theory: Horus? Born of a Virgin? Not!

One of the many points falsely claimed in Christ Myth Theory about the supposed dependence of Christ upon the legends of Egypt is the claim that Horus was born of a virgin.
The claim is utterly false.

Egyptian mythology is not a single, monolithic source. The legends differed from time to time and region to region. But there is a very consistent treatment of this particular point in Egyptian mythology.

This post contains graphic language and visually graphic Egyptian artwork about this particular claim. Both the language and the artwork are necessary to demonstrate the claim as invalid. However some readers may not wish to go further in this post.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Christ Myth Theory Interview on Issues Etc 12/19/14

3. The Christ Myth Theory – Pr. Joseph Abrahamson, 12/19/14

Issues, Etc. Radio interview about my article from last week.

“Christ Myth Theory: Jesus Is a Copy Cat” by Joseph Abrahamson

O Rex Gentium: December 22nd, The “O Antiphons”

christosopantokratorCome, Desire Of Nations

Hymn Verse:

O Come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.
 Latin Text:
O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

English Translation:
O King of the Gentiles, and their Desire,
The Corner-stone, Who madest both one:
Come and save man,
Whom You have formed out of the dust of the earth.

LSB ”O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1042:
O King of the nations, the ruler
they long for, the cornerstone
uniting all | people: *
Come and save us all,
whom You formed | out of clay.

Rex Gentium means King of Nations, based primarily on Isaiah 10:11, though the title for Christ is used in many other passages. This antiphon is a confession that the Christ is the Savior of all nations. The petition is based on the fact that all humanity is descended from Adam, whom God formed out of the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7). Their fall into sin was the fall of all nations from God. The Promise of in the curse on Satan is the Promise to all nations. All nations were

Sunday, December 21, 2014

O Oriens: December 21st, The “O Antiphons”

O Come, Thou Dayspring From On High

Hymn Verse:
O Come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.
Latin Text:

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae,
et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.
English Translation:

O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
Come, shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.
LSB ”O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1039:

O Dayspring, splendor of light
ever- | lasting: *
Come and enlighten those who
sit in darkness and in the shad- | ow
of death.
Oriens means “Dayspring” or “Morning Star” or “Sunrise.” This title for Christ is found throughout Scripture. The purpose of this title is point out that Christ is the light of the world, that His gift of salvation is like the dawn of a new day after a dark night of terror. The theme of the O Antiphons builds again. Here in Oriens the Creator of light on the first day. He is the Creator of the Sun, Moon, and Stars on the fourth day (Wednesday); which He appointed not only to give light to the world, but to be for signs and to mark seasons. He is the Greater Light that has come into this world.

The theme builds from creation, to the Promise to Abraham, to the Incarnation, to Transfiguration, to the Resurrection of Christ, and to the Throne of Christ in His Kingdom of Glory.

Study on O Oriens

In the beginning the world was shapeless and empty. It could do nothing for itself. “Darkness was on the face of the deep.” The Word of God declared “Let

Saturday, December 20, 2014

O Clavis David: December 20th, The “O Antiphons”

O Come, Thou Key of David, Come

Hymn Verse:
O Come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heav’nly home,
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Latin Text:

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel,
qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperuit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
English Translation

O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel,
controlling at your will the gate of heaven:
Come, break down the prison walls of death
for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death;
and lead your captive people into freedom.
LSB “O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1035:

O Key of David and scepter of theHouse of Israel, You open and no one
can close, You close and no one
can | open: *
Come and rescue the prisoners who
are in darkness and the shad- | ow
of death.
Clavis means Key. This title for Christ is from Revelation 3:7 and is drawn from God’s commission of Eliakim son of Hilkiah in Isaiah 22:22. The title Key of

Friday, December 19, 2014

Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies: Christmas and Sigillaria

Do the Nativity sets Christians use actually have their origins in the pagan Roman festival called Sigillaria?

Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies: Christmas and Saturnalia

Did Christianity Steal the Date of Pagan Winter Solstice Celebrations? The Roman celebration discussed in this article is the multi-day festival of Saturnalia.

The Mis-Use of Roman Sources: Saturnalia

In these articles we have seen the texts from the early Christians that show their reasons why they calculated particular dates for the Incarnation and Birth of Christ. These dates were based on the Passover texts. Even their calculation for the dates of the Creation of the universe centered on the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ at the Passover.

O Radix Jesse: December 19th, The “O Antiphons”

O Come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s Stem

Hymn Verse:

Jesse Tree, Matthew 1, Capuchin's Bible, c. 1180, Bibliothèque nationale de France, ParisO Come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
From ev’ry foe deliver them
That trust Thy mighty power to save,
And give them vict’ry o’er the grave.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.
Latin Text:

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
English Translation:

O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
Before You kings will shut their mouths,
To You the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.
LSB ”O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1032:

O Root of Jesse, standing as an ensign
before the peoples, before whom all
kings are mute, to whom the nations
will do | homage: *
Come quickly to de- | liver us.
Radix is the Latin word “Root.” The reference is to Isaiah 11:1 and 10:

1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.
10 “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.”
This title for Christ focuses on the fact that He is the legitimate Heir to the throne of David. He fulfills the promise made to Abraham and renewed in David. The genealogy of Christ in Matthew chapter 1 emphasizes that Jesus is the legal Inheritor of the title “Son of David” the son of Abraham. The prophecy in Isaiah and elsewhere paints the parallel that the Son of God is the Root of Jesse and ALSO the branch that grows from the stem of Jesse. The Tree and its branches represent the inheritance of the Davidic Throne according to God’s Promise.  The tree symbolism also calls to remembrance Christ as the Tree of Life in Genesis 2-3, in Proverbs, and in Revelation 2:7 and 22:2.

The fact that God, the Creator of Jesse and David would choose to become the human Son of David, humbling Himself to offer His life in the place of sinners for

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies: Christmas and Juvenalia

Did Christianity Steal the Date of Pagan Winter Solstice Celebrations? Juvenalia is one of those Roman festivals that is claimed as a winter solstice celebration that was borrowed or baptized by Christians for Christmas. But was it even a winter solstice celebration?

The Mis-Use of Roman Records-Juvenalia

When modern critics of Christian Christmas make claims that Christians stole the solstice celebrations they usually mix together their ideas of Roman, Germanic, Nordic, and Celtic winter celebrations into an anachronistic mash of impossibly conflicting claims. The method is to overwhelm people with their supposed "information." There is just too much data for the average person to absorb. Viewers and readers assume that the people that put the books or programs together must know what they are talking about since they seem to know so much.

O Adonai: December 18th, The “O Antiphons”

O Come, O Come, Thou Lord of Might

Moses On Mt Sinai
The Hymn:
O come, O come, Thou Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times didst give the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.

Latin Text:
O Adonai, et dux domus Israel,
qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

English Translation:
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
Who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
And gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

LSB ”O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1029:
O Adonai and ruler of the house of
Israel, who appeared to Moses in
the burning bush and have him the
Law on | Sinai: *
Come with an outstretched arm and re- | deem us.

Adonai is the Hebrew word “Lord.” The word Adonai/Lord is used in place of the name of God in the reading of the text and in most English translations of the Bible. This antiphon is a confession that Jesus is the same Lord Who revealed Himself by name to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3). He is the same Lord who descended upon Mt. Sinai and declared the Ten Commandments in the hearing of all Israel (Exodus 19-20). He is the Angel of the Lord who protected

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

O Sapientia: December 17th, The “O Antiphons”

O Come, Thou Wisdom From on High

Christ_Cefalu_1145-60The Hymn:
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.

Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

Latin Text:
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

English Translation:
O Wisdom, who proceeds from the mouth of the Most High,
Who reaches from one end to the other,
Who mightily and sweetly orders all things;
Come to teach us the way of prudence.

LSB “O Antiphons” under Hymn 357 and in Treasury of Daily Prayer p. 1025:
O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth
of the Most High, pervading and
permeating all creation, mightily
ordering | all things*
Come and teach us the way
of | prudence.

The Antiphon focuses us on Wisdom as both a title and an attribute of Christ, that He is the Word of God who speaks for God, that He is with God as creator of all things, and ruler of all things through his Wisdom. The petition we bring to Divine Wisdom is that He come and teach us His way of prudence; to teach us to govern ourselves and guard ourselves wisely in this world avoiding danger and evil.

A Study for O Sapienta

Sapienta or Wisdom is the title given to the Messiah in the prophecy of Isaiah 11. Here we have both the Spirit of Wisdom as equated with the Spirit of the Lord, and the fact that He works through the judgements of His mouth and the

The “O Antiphons”

plate of Veni, Veni Emmanuel from Neale's Hymnal NotedThe hymn “O, Come, O, Come, Emmanuel” (TLH 62; LW 31; CW 32; ; ELH 110; LSB 357) is a rendition of the medieval “O Antiphons” also called the “Greater Antiphons.”

An Antiphon is a selection of Scripture and prayer chanted responsively by the officiant and assembly. The purpose of the Antiphon is to set the focus for the reading selected for that particular day of the Church year.

The O Antiphons were to be sung during Vespers one on each day seven days before the feast of the Nativity of Christ: that is, from December 17th through the 23rd. Each Antiphon focuses on a Scriptural title for Christ as He is named in Biblical prophecy and a petition to Christ to come fulfilling the promise made through that title and prophecy.
The Messianic prophecies in Isaiah form the heart of the seven antiphons, which draw particularly on Isaiah 11.

The traditional order of the seven antiphons is
(1) Sapientia: “O Wisdom” Isaiah 11:2-3,
(2) Adonai: “O Lord of Might” Isaiah 11:4-5,
(3) Radix Jesse: “O Root/Branch/Rod of Jesse” Isaiah 11:1 and 10,
(4) Clavis David: “O Key of David” Isaiah 22:22,
(5) Oriens: “O Dayspring” Isaiah 9:2,
(6) Rex Gentium: “O Desire of Nations/King of Gentiles” Isaiah 2:4; 9:6; 11:10-12,
(7) Emmanuel: “O Emmanuel” Isaiah 7:14.

When one takes first letters of the titles for Christ in the antiphons and reads them from right to left they form a Latin acrostic “Ero Cras” which means “I will

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christ-Myth Theory--Copy-Cat Theory

This particular claim toward pagan sources for Christianity and Christian Holy Days goes under various names: Jesus Myth Theory, Jesus Mythicism, Mythicism, Copy-cat Theory, and probably other terms.

The basic claim is that Christ is a fake: an unoriginal copy-cat of some other supposedly more ancient pagan god or gods.

These claims are bunk. Both historians and Biblical theologians have been very thorough in debunking these claims since their earliest times.

A common example that circulates on the web, Twitter, and Facebook is the following graphic:

Most people who share this kind of post do not have the intellectual integrity to bother checking up on these claims. And having a reputation as an Atheist thinker doesn't seem to keep even famous "thinkers" from falling for this fictional bunk.

But the fact is that this falsehood is widely and popularly promoted by people who claim to be objective. Yet they couldn't be bothered to actually do the research.

A short list of recent so-called documentaries that have promoted this falsehood:
A couple of recent books popularizing this fiction written by well known Atheist authors:
 [These are all 2005 and after, list is from Christ Myth Theory.]

But Hitchens, Dawkins, Maher, Atwill, Dan Brown and others are merely repeating the creative fiction of anti-Christian zealots from the 18th century and after. Back then it was hard for people to check up on the scholarship of a published work. Some of these original thinkers were:

  • Constantin François Chassebœuf de Volney (1757–1820) and 
  • Charles-François Dupuis (1742–1809) both argued that Christianity derived from a mixing of various pagan religions. [The Historical Jesus in the Twentieth Century: 1900-1950 By Walter P. Weaver, 1999, pp. 45, 69] [see also here]
  • Robert Taylor (1784-1844) began study to become an Anglican clergyman and turned radically against the Church. He claimed that Christianity was a mish-mash of solar myths in his The Diegesis (1829) and began a society to undermine the Church and challenge lectures and debates.
  • Richard Carlile (1790-1843) joined up with Robert Taylor in 1829 to form the "Infidel Home Missionary Tour", influencing a young student named Charles Darwin. Taylor was dubbed "The Devil's Chaplin" and they began circulating a publication called "The Devil's Pamphlet." Carlile helped form one of the first Atheist groups in England. [A publication of sermons from The Devil's Pulpit with a short biography of Taylor and his work with Carlile]
  • Bruno Bauer (1809-82)--Student of Hegel, associate of Nietzsche, and inspiration for Albert Schweitzer's The Quest for the Historical Jesus [ praise on p. 159 in Chapter 11 describing Bauer here]. Always anti-Christian and antisemitic in his writings, in 1840 his work turned toward described Jesus as a fusion of Roman, Greek,  and Jewish theology. [see also here]
  • Gerald Massey (1828–1907) an English poet and Spiritualist author, affected by the Romantic movement, became interested in Egyptology and creatively asserted that Christ and Christianity was borrowed from Egyptian mythology, particularly Horus. The initial work was The Natural Genesis in 1883 (v. 1, v. 2), which was adopted by Madam Blavatsky and her new religion of Theosophy.
There are many other contributers to this stream of creative fiction. It is apparent by looking at their life and work that they had all their own vested interests in discrediting Christianity. The Wikipedia article on Christ Myth Theory is actually very helpful at gaining source information. It does contain some chronological inaccuracies about the movement. But a bit of careful reading can clear up the matter of who invented which idea when.

For many who pass this falsehood on there is an excellent and short video by Pr. Hans Fiene's video commentary from Lutheran Satire titled "Horus Ruins Christmas" may be enough to help. The video is focused on the Horus variant, but includes Mithra and others.

Pr. Fiene recently revisited this issue with a new video titled "Horus Reads the Internet."

But there is a lot more background to this series of attacks against Christ, Christianity, and Christian Worship.

The following is a list of supposed originals that they claim formed the basis for Jesus. The list is mainly from James Holding's very helpful website. Documentation for sources and rebuttals can be found at that website.
Adonis -- The Greek deity.
Alcides (Or Hercules) --The Greek strongman/demigod.
Alexander of Abonuteichos -- A charismatic figure who started a quasi-religious movement; this is more of a claim of a social parallel.
Apollonius of Tyana -- Pagan performer of miracles and traveller.
Attis -- Phrygian and later Greco-Roman demigod.
Baal -- Ancient Near Eastern deity.
Balder -- Norse deity.
Beddru of Japan  -- a non-existent entity.
Chu Chulainn -- Celtic hero.
Crite -- non-existent figure.
Dazhdbog -- Russian heroic figure.
Deva Tat -- Heroic figure from Siam.
Dionysus [Bacchus] -- Greek god of wine.
The Flavian Dynasty --- Caesars of Rome that supposedly invented Christ.
Hesus -- Deity associated with druids.
Horus -- Egyptian deity. Also covers Osiris.
Krishna -- Hindu deity.
Mithra -- Persian deity.
Osiris -- Egyptian deity.
Prometheus -- Greek demigod.
Quetzalcoatl -- Mesoamerican deity.
Romulus -- co-founder of Rome.
Salivahana -- Indian teacher.
Serapis -- Mediterranean deity.
Tammuz -- Sumerian shepherd-god.
Zamloxis -- Thracian hero.
Zoar -- Unknown figure.
Zoroaster -- Religious founder.
James Holding also published a book dealing specifically with this attack against Christianity.

Holding, James Patrick. Shattering the Christ Myth. s.l.: Xulon Press, 2008.

Finding research online to debunk these claims is not actually a difficult thing to do.

One Example: Jesus is Mithra

The following link is an example of a page promoting this falsehood. The article is by a person named Kevin Williams.

 Jesus as the Reincarnation of Mithra.

What we should note is how academic or scholarly it pretends to be. Consider just for example this point in William's post:

7. Reverend Charles Biggs stated: "The disciples of Mithra formed an organized church, with a developed hierarchy. They possessed the ideas of Mediation, Atonement, and a Savior, who is human and yet divine, and not only the idea, but a doctrine of the future life. They had a Eucharist, and a Baptism, and other curious analogies might be pointed out between their system and the church of Christ (The Christian Platonists, p. 240).
What the text actually says in context is the following:
The disciples of Mithra formed an organized church 
with a developed hierarchy. They possessed the ideas 
of Mediation, Atonement, and a Saviour, who is human 
and yet divine, and not only the idea, but a doctrine of 
the Future Life. They had a Eucharist, and a Baptism, 
and other curious analogies might be pointed out be 
tween their system and the Church of Christ.  Most 
of these conceptions, no doubt, are integral parts of 
a religion much older than Christianity. But when we 
consider how strange they are to the older polytheism 
of Greece and Rome, and when we observe further that 
Mithraism did not come into full vogue till the time of 
Hadrian, that is to say till the age of Gnosticism, we 
shall hardly be wrong in judging that resemblances 
were pushed forward, exaggerated, modified, with a 
special view to the necessities of the conflict with the 
new faith, and that differences, such as the barbarous 
superstitions of the Avesia, were kept sedulously in 
the background with the same object. Paganism was 
copying Christianity, and by that very act was lowering 
her arms. [emphasis mine]
Yes, simply looking up the references used as evidence in support for their arguments usually undercuts what they claim.

There are two websites I'd suggest for rebutals specific to the Mithra claim. But take these with a grain of salt. Tekton, for instance, doesn't accurately deal with the Dec. 25th date in two ways.

First, the establishing of this date for the celebration of Christ's birth is very early in the Church [by the end of the 2nd century].

Second, there is no birth date for Mithra given in the ancient sources. The association of Dec. 25 with Mithra was a conjecture by a scholar named Cumont.

The study of Mithraism is itself very useful. And, in fact, you can in less than a day learn all there is to know about the actual textual evidence left to us about this religion. The iconography and art would take a bit longer, but those are left to wide and wild interpretations.

A valuable website with all you would ever need to know about what is really known about Mithraism has been put together by Roger Pearse.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Catechism Series, Part 14: Christian Questions and Answers

Steadfast Throwdown

In this final part of our Catechism series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we discuss the “Christian Questions with their Answers.” Did Luther really compose them? Why are they not in some editions of the Catechism? How do these questions and answers help us prepare for partaking of Christ’s Body and Blood? Pr. Abrahamson also wraps up our series by saying the Catechism is not just for confirmation, but for all of life.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Redeeming Holy Days: Resources on Christmas Presents and Strenae


A working bibliography of resources relevant to the issue of whether or not Christmas gift giving is borrowed from the Roman old pagan practice of giving Strenae [New Years gift] at Roman New Year.

“A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (1890), STRENAE.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“ANF03. Latin Christianity: Its Founder, Tertullian - Christian Classics Ethereal Library.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“A Testimony Against Several Prophane and Superstitious Customs, Now Practised by Some in New-England.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“CHURCH FATHERS: On Idolatry (Tertullian).” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“C. Suetonius Tranquillus, Caligula, Chapter 42.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“C. Suetonius Tranquillus, Divus Augustus, Chapter 57.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“C. Suetonius Tranquillus, Tiberius, Chapter 34.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“Gifts at Christmas, ‘Strenae’ on 1st January.” Roger Pearse. Accessed December 4, 2014.

Graevius, Johannes Georgius. “Thesaurus Antiquitatum Romanarum : in quo continentur lectissimi quique scriptores, qui superiori aut nostro seculo Romanae reipublicae rationem, disciplinam, leges, instituta, sacra, artesque togatas ac sagatas explicarunt & illustrarunt, / congestus a Joanne Georgio Graeuio. ; Accesserunt variae & accuratae tabulae aeneae.” Academic Library. Bayerische StaatsBibliothek digital, 1699 1694.

“Harry Thurston Peck, Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities (1898), Strenae.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“Latin Word Study Tool.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

Marquardt, Joachim. Römische Staatsverwaltung. New York: Arno Press, 1975.

“Martial, Epigrammata, Book 8, XXXIII.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“Martial, Epigrammata, Book 13, XXVII Petalium Caryotarum.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“Martin of Braga.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, December 3, 2014.

“Martin of Braga.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“NPNF2-14. The Seven Ecumenical Councils - Council of Trullo.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“Ovid Fasti Book I.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“Ovid: Fasti I.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“P. Ovidius Naso, Fasti, Book 1.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“Seneca Epistles Book 2.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“Still Asking for Those Strenae at New Year?” Roger Pearse. Accessed December 4, 2014.

“The Fathers Of The Church A New Translation Vol...” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“T. Maccius Plautus, Stichus, Act 3, Scene 2.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

“T. Maccius Plautus, Stichus, or The Parasite Rebuffed, Act 3, Scene 2.” Accessed December 4, 2014.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Catechism Series, Part 13: The Table of Duties

Steadfast Throwdown

In part 13 of our Catechism Series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we take a brief look at the “Table of Duties” in Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. How does this section of the Catechism instruct us in the “holy orders” to which God calls us? What are the “two kingdoms” and the “three estates” that this compilation of Bible passages present to us for daily living as Christians?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Catechism Series, Part 12: Daily Prayers

Steadfast Throwdown

In part 12 of our Catechism Series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we discuss the Daily Prayers part of the Catechism. How do we live out the teaching that God gives us in the Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer? We pray. Daily. Join us as we discuss how to pray according to God’s Word and in our home and family settings.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Catechism Series, Part 11: The Sacrament of the Altar

In this latest installment of our Catechism Series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we continue discussing the Sacrament of the Altar. Pr. Abrahamson shows us how Jesus’ new covenant meal fulfills the old covenant, and we smack down the false teaching that the Lord’s Supper is only a symbol, or reminder, of God’s salvation.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wachet Auf, P. Nicolai, Guitar Transcription

This is a transcription of J.S. Bach's setting for P. Nicolai's Wachet Auf.

This particular setting is used for Hymn 544 in the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary "Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying."

A slightly less complex transcription of Wachet Auf is used for ELH 518 "Rise! To Arms! With Prayer Employ You."

Lilypond file
Tuxguitar file
Midi file.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Five-Two, Casual Blasphemers

Luther on the Second Commandment in his Large Catechism wrote about how God's name is misused:
54] But, the greatest abuse occurs in spiritual matters, which pertain to the conscience, when false preachers rise up and offer their lying vanities as God's Word.
55] Behold, all this is decking one's self out with God's name, or making a pretty show, or claiming to be right, whether it occur in gross, worldly business or in sublime, subtile matters of faith and doctrine. And among liars belong also blasphemers, not alone the very gross, well known to every one, who disgrace God's name without fear (these are not for us, but for the hangman to discipline); but also those who publicly traduce the truth and God's Word and consign it to the devil. Of this there is no need now to speak further. 
 To claim God said something when He did not, or to deny that God said something when He did is to take the Name of God in vain. To present things as godly and beneficial for the faith which have no promise or word from God is also taking God's name in vain. This happens when people try to demonstrate that something they think is good, so God would like it, and since God likes it it must be good for you.

All of this misuse of God's name and reputation is what the word blasphemey refers to.

And it is frightening how casually it is done and how sincerely it is meant. The FiveTwo network has fallen into this kind of casual misuse of God's name.

As one example among many: a recent post from the FiveTwo network made the claim
"Influence doesn't simply come from position or title, start being in relationships with those around you."
This was above a visual of a pier at sunset with another motivational phrase:
"Leaders, if you want influence, start with relationship."

Perhaps Confessional Lutherans are not familiar with John C. Maxwell, but most of the rest of Mainline American Evangelical Christianity is. Maxwell is a widely established pop-Christian/Business author with more than 60 published books. A large portion of those books deal with leadership. He was a frequent guest preacher at the Crystal Cathedral on Schuller's Hour of Power.

The point is that it is not hard to look him up--AND most evangelicals wouldn't have to, they would recognize his words right away.

I did recognize Maxwell's influence and pointed it out:
Me: That would be John C. Maxwell.
What is astounding in the above exchange is not that FiveTwo denied that there was influence by Maxwell. Whatever, maybe the FiveTwo guy didn't really remember which person it came from. But then again, FiveTwo has a history of making statements that come from others as if they are original.

What is astounding in the above exchange is what FiveTwo said was the source of those words:
FiveTwo: Actually, that's Jesus.
Really!?? I've seen all kinds of this junk in Evangelical Free circles. They generally have no problem attributing their thoughts to Jesus. But FiveTwo was claiming to be a Confessional Lutheran group--well, maybe saying that is a stretch. They actually are removing the word Lutheran from most of their stuff. And they have taken the focus off the Means of Grace and placed it on the individual Christian as an embodiment of Christ to the world. What they call a "sacramental entrepreneur." We've looked at how they cobbed that title from the failed efforts of the Emerging church and the Social Entrepreneurs in a previous article.

Back to the issue: FiveTwo claims Jesus said the words or taught the meaning of the words in the motivational poster and around it!

Which translation of the Bible is that in? What passages, which context?

After all, if one is to claim God said something, one actually ought to be able to go to the written word of God and show where He actually said it.

But FiveTwo couldn't. They deflected the question and went to the Emerging Church method of Bible interpretation.
  • Take something in the Bible that is descriptive, find some principle embedded in it, and tell people that if they do this then they are following Jesus.

Notice how FiveTwo misused God's Word:
FiveTwo: Joe, Jesus spent time with people, building relationships with them, demonstrating His love for them. That love and presence definitely influenced their lives.
 There is no direction toward any specific context of Scripture. This is just a vague appeal to the general knowledge of the reader. And people maybe want to think that Jesus would want to spend all kinds of time building relationships with them. But aside from a few, very few people, Jesus didn't really spend a lot of time with a whole bunch of individuals. He didn't spend a lot of time getting to know them or any such thing.

Tim Wood's response is direct to the point. He is right. The consequence of FiveTwo's words here is promoting a false doctrine of justification by relationship. FiveTwo has fallen into the Reformed false doctrine of Faith and salvation as a relationship rather than God's verdict on account of Christ's life, death, and resurrection.

But did you notice that FiveTwo didn't answer my question? They merely diverted attention away from the question.

So I tried to bring the question back into focus.
Me: I'm still missing the connection, sorry. Your quotation is designed to appeal to leaders who desire to have influence with others. The quotation makes no reference to Jesus, his life, or his preaching. Jesus had all kinds of interractions with people through His ascension, not just the slow-relationship-building kind. And he didn't need to have relationships built up in order to influence people. He just spoke "be clean" "arise" "be opened" and it was done. So where is the biblical mandate for that the OP claims?
OP=Original Post.

 Another reader: Letetia Marie pointed out another Bible example that showed the OP was not really what Jesus taught.

Notice the time stamps above: 34 minutes ago down to 4 minutes ago.

That brings us to the next. Note the time stamps: 17 hours ago.

After the big lapse in time I posted the references to John C. Maxwell's works where the words and sentiments in the OP were to be found.

Shortly after demonstrating what the real source was the FiveTwo network banished me and expunged all my comments from their Facebook Page.

This link will take you to this post on their FB page

It is their FB page. They can choose what goes on it and what does not. But it is important for the wider audience to be able to know what kinds of things they are deleting.

The pattern of deletion shows a casual disregard for the Word of God, the consciences of those who wonder whether FiveTwo's claims come from God or are just human, and a serious rejection of the use of Confessional language.

If, as they claim, FiveTwo's goal is actually to get people involved in the Sacraments, be Baptized, and attend the Lord's Supper, they hide these goals pretty well from people reading their website and facebook page.

FiveTwo doesn't have much patience for people who ask where in God's Word the FiveTwo philosophy or methods are taught. They have two responses: divert to some other issue, or delete.
Comment Deleted by FiveTwo within minutes of posting.
Comment Deleted by FiveTwo shortly after Randy Yo posted.

FiveTwo doesn't have any patience for people who bring up the Lutheran Confessions in an effort to correct or understand what FiveTwo is claiming.

Comment Deleted by FiveTwo.

All Deleted by FiveTwo

Not supposed to ask this question. Comment deleted.

Can't ask about the Lutheran Confessions. Comment Deleted.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Patrologia Orientalis volumes online

Volumes of Patrologia Orientalia available at the Internet Archive.

Patrologia orientalis (Volume 01)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 02)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 02)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 03)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 03)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 04)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 04) Editor: v. 1-27, no. 2, R. Graffin; v. 27, no. 3- F. Graffin
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 05)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 06)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 07)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 07)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 08)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 08)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 09)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 09)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 10)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 10)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 11)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 11)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 12)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 12)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 13)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 13)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 14)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 14)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 15)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 15)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 16)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 16)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 17)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 18)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 19)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 21)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 22)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 23)
Patrologia orientalis (Volume 25)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies: All Hallows' Eve in the Mediaeval Church and the Reformation

On All Hallows' Eve 1517 a monk named Martin Luther posted a list of points for discussion and debate at the University of Wittenberg campus church. The campus church is named All Saints' Church. The regular bulletin board for such announcements was the front church door. All Saints' Church was the largest repository of relics of the saints outside of Rome. Many of those relics would be put on display on All Saints' Day. Indulgences would be granted to those who came to the Church to view the relics of the saints on that day.

The location, the date, the practices: all of these helped focus the issue on and ensure a wide audience to the topic of Luther's posted points.

The topic of the points for discussion: The Saints of the Church, and whether paying for a Papal Indulgence benefits the Saints, whether dead or living.

These points are called the Ninety-Five Theses. You can read them all at this link. As a sample we give points 27-37:

  1. In They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].
  2. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.
  3. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.
  4. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.
  5. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.
  6. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.
  7. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;
  8. For these "graces of pardon" concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.
  9. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.
  10. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.
  11. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon. 
So, on the Eve of All Saints [Halloween], at All Saints' Church, among the relics of the saints, during the veneration of the saints, and probably the reciting of the Litany of the Saints.

From late antiquity the cult of the saints grew within the ChristianChurch. It was lucrative--kind of like a circus side-show where the prize for the price of admission was not just to see the relic of a saint, but also to get some time out of purgatory or some grace to do good works to keep from going into purgatory.

In short, the Christian Church was a mess: plugged chock full of prayers to dead people that were declared by officials of the Church to be saints; overflowing with relics of dead people which were to be venerated, adored, and even prayed to in some cases; teaming with pilgrimages to these relics, artifacts of a nominally Christian Church that had abandoned God's grace through faith in Christ and turned to salvation by other means.

The Church had adopted innumerable pagan practices. And no particular festival day showed the fact more clearly than All Saints' Day. No particular church building could have been a clearer example than All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, the largest focal point for pilgrimage to venerate the relics of the saints outside of Rome.

So it is instructive to see what was done by Luther and the Lutheran Reformation.

All Saints' Church was not torn down. Some of its statuary were removed, but not all. Some of its art was changed, not just to get rid of particular saints, but to add some as well. One in particular was buried inside the church with a visible sepulcher and an image of the deceased.

The Litany of the Saints was not abandoned, but cleaned of its false worship. In fact, the Litany of the Saints is the basis for the Lutheran Litany found in most Lutheran hymnals today.

The observation of All Saints' Day was not prohibited. Rather, it was expanded to include the teaching of God's Word on what a saint truly is through faith in Christ alone. The abuses imported by the Church for the worship of the saints through the ages were rejected. But the value of remembering them, how God preserved them, and what God worked through them is retained, celebrated, and taught.

The attitude of Luther and the Lutheran Reformers was not to throw away everything that the Roman Church had done. Rather the purpose was to retain as much of the historic Christian practice as could be without violating the central teaching of Scripture: that we are Justified by God by His grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as taught only in His Scriptures.

We retain All Saints' Day, All Hallows Eve', the honoring and remembering of the Saints who have gone before us--who pointed to Christ alone as their and our salvation. We confess in the Augsburg Confession of 1530:
Article XXI: Of the Worship of the Saints.
Of the Worship of Saints they teach that the memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling, as the Emperor may follow the example of David in making war to drive away the Turk from his country. 2] For both are kings. But the Scripture teaches not the invocation of saints or to ask help of saints, since it sets before us the one Christ as the Mediator, Propitiation, High Priest, and Intercessor. 3] He is to be prayed to, and has promised that He will hear our prayer; and this worship He approves above all, to wit, that in all afflictions He be called upon, 1 John 2:1: 4] If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, etc.
   5] This is about the Sum of our Doctrine, in which, as can be seen, there is nothing that varies from the Scriptures, or from the Church Catholic, or from the Church of Rome as known from its writers. This being the case, they judge harshly who insist that our teachers be regarded as heretics. 6] There is, however, disagreement on certain abuses, which have crept into the Church without rightful authority. And even in these, if there were some difference, there should be proper lenity on the part of bishops to bear with us by reason of the Confession which we have now reviewed; because even the Canons are not so severe as to demand the same rites everywhere, neither, at any time, have the rites of all churches been the same; 7] although, among us, in large part, the ancient rites are diligently observed. 8] For it is a false and malicious charge that all the ceremonies, all the things instituted of old, are abolished in our churches. 9] But it has been a common complaint that some abuses were connected with the ordinary rites. These, inasmuch as they could not be approved with a good conscience, have been to some extent corrected.
We thank God not by trashing all the heritage of Christian liturgical practice, but by learning it, appreciating the lessons of those who have gone before to shape this practice into a reflection of the bare truth of God's Word.

The Apology XXI states in part:
4] Our Confession approves honors to the saints. For here a threefold honor is to be approved. The first is thanksgiving. For we ought to give thanks to God because He has shown examples of mercy; because He has shown that He wishes to save men; because He has given teachers or other gifts to the Church. And these gifts, as they are the greatest, should be amplified, and the saints themselves should be praised, who have faithfully used these gifts, just as Christ praises faithful business-men, 5] Matt. 25:21, 23. The second service is the strengthening of our faith; when we see the denial forgiven Peter, we also are encouraged to believe the more that grace 6] truly superabounds over sin, Rom. 5:20. The third honor is the imitation, first, of faith, then of the other virtues, which every one should imitate according to his calling. 7] These true honors the adversaries do not require. They dispute only concerning invocation, which, even though it would have no danger, nevertheless is not necessary.

There are many today who, like the church of late antiquity and the middle-ages are tired of the testimony of the Saints who have gone before us. They also reject historical liturgical practice and with it the historical confession of the faith. All in favor of newness and a self-satisfied feeling of genuineness in their own expression of worship. So they add, they tweak, they abandon not for the sake of clear biblical teaching, but for the sake of the audience. Whatever gets them in the door. Whatever can attract them to keep them coming.

That is, in part, how the cult of the saints started and twisted the observation of All Saints' Day off its course before the Reformation.

Blessed Halloween to you all.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Redeeming Christian Holy Days: All Saints' Eve and Day

All Saints' Eve, All Saints' Day: Origins and Samhain-ization

Today it seems that everyone knows that Halloween is originally a Celtic pagan holy day named Samhain [pr. Sow-in] which the Christian Church supplanted for the sake of forcing pagans to convert to Christianity. Obviously, in this line of thought, Christianity has nothing of it self to offer and must co-opt, adopt, adapt, and use non-Christian sources for the sake of gaining converts from the world outside of Christianity.

A read through the Old Testament will show that the people of God have many times adopted religious practices and celebrations from the pagan nations around them: Sometimes in an effort to gain peace with those nations, sometimes to attract members, sometimes so they could fit in better with surrounding nations, sometimes in outright rebellion to God. The Acts of the Apostles, their Epistles, and the book of Revelation also show various ways that the Church adopted the cultural and religious practices of the pagans around them. The writings of the early Church Fathers contain many, many documents against the adoption of pagan practices and writings against those false teachers who adopted aspects of pagan worship and faith.

So, it is not like it would be unusual for the Church to do something like stealing a pagan holy day, claim it for its own, and use this to attract those outside the Church (pagans) by making them feel more comfortable—or by coercion. Both have happened.

Some might wonder what the point is of trying to establish which came first: pagan or Christian. Indeed, one website described this kind of effort as a “pissing match” to establish who's holy day is older. That attitude misses the point of doing the history. The issue is that Neo-Pagans and Wiccans, in an effort to discredit Christianity have made many assertions about the history of these holy days that are patently false. Most of their claims are based on an intellectual heritage that comes through the Folklorists of the 19th and early 20th centuries—which itself was deeply influenced by the wealth of philosophy, arts, and literature from the Romantic movement (particularly Gothic fiction).

When one looks at individual claims about the supposed antiquity of the Neo-Pagan/Wiccan holy day of Samhain one finds the actual historical evidence lacking.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Then You’ll Have a Clean Room

From Steadfast Lutherans
October 16th, 2014
Post by T. R. Halvorson
When I was a kid, my next door neighbor was my best friend. He was a good kid. He excelled at sports and did well in school. But when his mother told him to clean up his room, he asked, “Why?” His mother said, “I’ll give you a dollar.” It was a lot of money. So he cleaned his room and she gave him the dollar.
Like an idiot, I tried that at home. Dad told me to clean up my room. I asked, “Why?” He said, “Because then you’ll have a clean room.” “Well, yeah,” I thought, “but that doesn’t say anything.” Though I could not follow his answer, I cleaned my room. There was no dollar.
Later, I heard my friend’s mother telling him to do his homework. He asked, “Why?” She told him he’d get five dollars for every B and ten dollars for every A on his report card. He did his homework. He got nothing but As, Bs, and one S in a Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory mark. He was rolling in dough.Koraaga_Repairing_Net
Still the idiot, when my Dad told me to do my homework, I imitated my friend and asked, “Why?” Dad said, “Because you’ll learn something.” At first I still was back at that, “Well, yeah …” reaction.
As I put the two instances together, it came to me. Dad believed in intrinsic motivation. He believed in doing things for their own worth, not for some side reason. He believed in upfront, straight ahead appeals. Clean your room to have a clean room. Do your homework to learn something.
The church should act like my Dad. It should use upfront, straight ahead appeals based on intrinsic motivation. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” Acts 16:31. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin.” Acts 2:38
It’s great to feed the hungry, treat the sick, visit the imprisoned, <read the rest at Steadfast Lutherans>