Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Las Vegas and the Obvious

Everything I observe in this short piece belongs to this writer’s favorite category: The Obvious. Why is that my file-folder of choice? That, too, should be obvious.

Por exemple: It’s the easiest. No need for laborious research or meditation to prove sequential assertions. Dealing with “Duh”-stuff relieves you of the burden of anticipating, collecting, ranking and overcoming the MLOs (Most Likely Objections). Of course, new writers (or preachers) who wish to be believed must fix it in their minds that unconvinced readers/hearers can be pearls of great price—if they can tell you why/where your argument failed. A regular diet of OPHOs (other people’s honest opinions) will become your best laboratory. Just remember what the first five letters of ‘laboratory’ spell because those precious lessons do mean arduous work. But when all you’re doing is pointing out the obvious, you might even have time to write a good “So what?”

Ahh, the blessings of the obvious! No struggling for clarity, no worrying about adjectival sufficiency (enough to keep loonies from running off the deep end, but not so much that they weigh the piece down). Etcetera. Etcetera. All those etceteras—gone! Therefore, with your permission, let me relish this too-infrequently indulged exercise in observing what requires no special talent to observe.

For today’s instance we call upon Newsweek, which continues to be a reliable source of grievous violations of honesty and logic—often stupendously obvious in its defects. Yes, ever since their days in print, Newsweek has been known as “the trope’s best hope.” Now, by the grace of God, out of print and confined to the realm of 1s and 0s, they continue (apparently) to spend most waking moments proving to readers they are asleep, with a fractional reserve devoted to the (delusional) insistence that they are different from Time Magazine. Their motto—which all staff reporters are required to tattoo on a secret body part—is, “Above all: Predictability!” And are they ever good at it! Long ago it got so some readers could tell you what the cover story would be based solely on the date. The issue nearest December 25th would tell of “Christmas Traditions Tearing Families Apart.” Is springtime nearing? Count on a cover story about “New Evidence Proves Easter Never Happened,” with a subhead, “But why your family should continue to make believe it did.” With a record like theirs, I know you won’t flinch for disbelief when I tell you the Newsweek headline which headed my Smartnews (it is neither) app’s coverage of yesterday’s Las Vegas mass murder:


What is a thoughtful, considerate human being to say in response to a banner like that, coming, as it does, as the LEADING consideration of a “respected” news organ?

First, it is a fine reminder that thoughtful, considerate human beings must RESPOND—as in, INTERACT— when reading (or listening or, perish the thought, watching) the so-called news, rather than simply, passively imbibing or absorbing the claptrap they circulate. Like never before in Christian history, reading the news demands earnest, combative engagement.

Second, why continue any discussion or blaming-project dealing with “fake news”? Could contrivance reach any higher (or lower) than this? And don’t stop there. Think—really, earnestly think—what this tells you about the gliberal, progressive HEART. In the immediate aftermath of 59 human beings suddenly and horribly slaughtered, after 500+ suffer injury, story #1 from MSM—America’s storytellers—forgoes any semblance of reporting but instead unabashedly runs into EXPLOITING. These dogs imagined it their duty to mislead and/or manipulate their fellow Americans more deeply into a brain-damaged leftist worldview in which the answer to every ailment is the removal of white men from the chessboard. This self-serving representative of an unelected and unresponsive, yet controlling, societal entity, IMMEDIATELY turned its attention and resources to playing shill and provocateur in such a base and degraded manner, one is struck with wonder that no one at the rag died of embarrassment when the editor assigned the spin. Did no one challenge him/her/it with a, “That’s sick. You can’t be serious, boss”? Can you TRUST these garbagemen? (Apologies to those who handle garbage—you, I happily acknowledge, perform a real and valuable service and are therefore prized and most necessary.)

Third, quite apart from all else which might be said, the heading, as it reads, is untrue. “More than any other group.” If ever a line called for, “The jury will disregard what that shmuck just said,” this is it. More than non-handicapped bipeds? More than humans above the age of eighteen? In ten minutes a journalism freshman could recite thirty-seven “groupable” traits other than white and male which encompassed MORE shooters. So why? Why the LUST that drove them to get this slander into text? Obvious.

Fourth, let’s continue that “Why” line of inquiry just a tad. There is only one reason the mainstream media distort truth to fit their politicized packaging: It is to gain control. To increase THEIR power. It is obvious. It is a crucial part of their zero-sum power game. There is just so much power in the political realm. MSM seeks to get and keep more than its share by their daily stab at gerrymandering: they seek, with all their resources and all their skills and technologies, to redraw the lines of power so that more is REMOVED from the people, generally considered (say, as all citizens of the USA) and is then REDISTRIBUTED to a certain number of their DESIGNATED (victim) groups.

(We will keep to the side the idiocy of their supposition that the members of these groups will remain full of gratitude even after overdosing on entitlement juice.)

Obviously, they wish to drain white Christian men of all power. Who are their chosen groups, lined up to receive all that liberated power? Well, if you think for a moment, you’ll see the one feature shared by all their chosen beneficiaries is this: They looked to the State and revolution, not themselves, God or labor, to give them what they lust after. In this transaction, MSM is the Grand Enabler. And  they do this in the belief that they will ever hold the reins of the beasts they’ve set free. This, too, is obvious.

Many, many fail to see the game for what it is. But seriously, is it not obvious that gliberals with eight-bedroom mansions who have not invited illegal aliens to live in, say, three of those, are not plowing sincere love into their proclaimed love of illegal immigrants? Or maybe, about the same amount of love that Mary Jo Kopechne’s murderer (Ted Kennedy) had for women and their “rights.” The hypocrisy of the left is so thick, it couldn’t be cut with nuclear powered tools. Their activities must be interpreted, therefore, in terms of a real and discernible agenda. Each day they stand at the top of news-gathering machines. Why does NBC and ABC and CBS, etc., report the same events in the same assigned order of importance, every day? Because they TREAT the news to prepare it for a purpose—not the edification of a population, but for the redistribution of power, taken from the general population and deposited into their personal accounts. Of course, they may find that their perception of controllability proves defective, but they have many, many methods for cultivating loyalty. The two majors are: Pay Attention and Ignore. Obvious.

Last, critical reading is often enough to discover something was up the sleeve. At the beginning of the Las Vegas Newsweek article, we encountered the rather pathetic, blessedly brief, effort to make the headline credible. Here it is: ‘There’s a feeling of entitlement that white men have that black men don’t,’ criminologist James Alan Fox told The Washington Post in 2012.” I’m not kidding. That IS it. They are so arrogant and evil, they think all they need to do to justify that OUTRAGEOUS headline is get one “expert” voice speaking out of an unknown context FIVE years ago. But by the end of the article, it turns out even the writers recognized that, with 90% of murders committed by men, and 98% of all mass shootings committed by men, a country wherein whites are a significant majority (63%), makes it a technical sure bet that the headline could be defended—technically. But it becomes indefensible when you act like a reporter yourself and ask, “Why?” Why did they use a tragedy of such immense proportions to run such a headline. If you don’t know yet, I hope you soon know the answer. It is


One last note: SO WHAT?

For all the consciousness raising on the political left and right, for all the money being spent on political office and lobbying efforts of diverse kinds, in spite of everything Christians may be doing or wish they might do to serve our God and country, NO ONE is even talking about the most needful thing of all: replacing the voice which continues to mendaciously define reality day after day after day: the New York Times. That is the single greatest generator of evil in our lifetime. Their motto: All the news that misfits print. They excel at everything in journalism—except impartiality and truth telling. Are we going to be led to judgment without having even made the effort to do news right? It was once a noble profession. Seems to me it could be, should be—must be—again. It is the noble task of Mediator—positioned between what happens under God’s direction and how it is interpreted. Hasn’t the Devil had the job long enough? The answer is obvious. (The hot flashes of right-tilting coverage are, for the most part, puerile or jaundiced or amateurish or ill-spoken.) In all the prescriptions regarding, “What we should do now,” this, the most needful thing of all, is never mentioned. Replace the cancer distribution which is the NY Times with journalistic excellence and truth. Is that what’s needed? Obviously.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Thursday, 3 October 2013

An Egalitarian Hat-trick + Exemplary Erudition from Harvard


The Schlissel Retort: 10.03.13

Keeping up with The Times.

An Egalitarian Hat-trick + Exemplary Erudition from Harvard

While we await the appearance of a news periodical determined to report news,  we’ll settle for catharsis via semi-occasional comments on “all the views the misfits print.”[1] 

1. It seems to me that an American newspaper ought to regard itself as honor bound, solemnly obliged to provide service to the American public. I know that’s a lot to ask of a paper unable because unwilling to learn. If the Times found a Venn diagram making plain that the rights of citizens belong solely to citizens, they’d think it must mean gay citizens . To grasp the dynamics of the reality gap, always bear in mind that

        a. There is no neutrality.

        b. All thoughts and their fruits are either for or against the true God.

        c. The spring of all human activity is religious conviction.

        d. Whether such conviction is true and beneficent or false and mischievous, it’s there.It is this a priori religious conviction which decides what is or is not evidence.

e. Christianity in our time and place has been displaced by anti-Christianity.

f. Anti-Christianity is Egalitarianism, exponentially strengthened through ties to an Enlightenment notion of human autonomy operating in a theater of impersonal Evolutionary predestination: Ethics, Epistemology and Ontology in all their apostate splendor.

f. The New York Times may claim a megachunk of credit for this revolution’s success.

If there is an obligation to the American public, I’d hold it necessarily includes information–both accurate and up-to-date–about known, sworn enemies of our nation who are determined and even now engaged in destroying it by any and all means, especially including vicious and sudden violence and destruction, randomly delivered in the name of their deity to any place associated with America, her people and/or beliefs. Such is the threat of Islam today. Yet in reporting on the terrorist attack of late September in Nairobi, it was eight paragraphs into the story before even the egal-ized, sanitized word “Islamist” appeared. An act of Muslim terror, in which an effort was made by the murderous punks to chase away shopping Muslims so as to confine the bloodshed  to “infidels,” even that is obscured in its actual character. I regard that as criminal and traitorous.  

Now it seems rather easy to distinguish such acts from the Times’ imaginary Islam which is so peaceful and gooshy-love-dumb. Simply give a standard denunciation space to the top 100 Muslim clerics after each violent act by their fellow Muslims. Give them the chance to DENOUNCE and condemn the terror. Why don’t we see such denials, routine in all civilized corridors? Three guesses. Make that two.

2. NYT readers are indoctrinated in the Egalitarian Catechism with no letup. Like the catechisms of the Reformation, positive assertions about what is true are nestled among refutations attacking known “error.”  As an elite, purified source of Egalitarian dogma, the Times earns its anti-Christian stripes, however, by keeping laser-guided sights set on all cardinal components of Christian truth, beginning with the belief that there is truth. Seemingly determined to match the Inquisition in zeal to stamp out “heresy,” the paper often–I mean often–resorts to a nameless magisterium, a mysterious authority or set of “doctors” who have supposedly established the Times’ version of “obvious,” leaving peons to simply obey and exercise a little implicit faith. You’ll see this in their ubiquitous “Scientists say…” allegation.

3. With the recent coronation of anti-Christianity, however, it has become de rigueur for the Times to write as if they, you and everybody else already and assuredly believes the truth of their Confession of Faith. Consider, for example, their front page notice of the leading national story. The headline: A Brawl Over Textbooks.” The text: “A Texas panel that reviews high school biology textbooks is stirring controversy because its members include creationists and climate skeptics.” Of course, for as long as I can remember, the Times has been actively at war with this same Texas panel, and for essentially the same reason–that it exhibits evidence of thought .  What is different is how light a burden it has become to get an “Amen” to their assumption that the panel is peppered with Neanderthals.

I would love sometime to shine a light on this propaganda technique, which could be called the “prevail by presupposing a shared faith” method. I mean, just think of the horror! Among those charged  with giving an imprimatur to Texas Religious State Instruction Manuals, you will find people who actually believe God created the world! But “climate skeptics” is more awkward. Do they mean there are panelists who don’t believe we have a climate? Uh, no. They mean there are people who question  the holy white-coated fathers and their conclusions about global warming and carbon foofs. Where, I ask, is Torquemada when you need him?

4. The September 29th front page feature story, above the fold, right, four columns wide with headline (Children and Guns: The Hidden Toll) and prominent photo, plus four cameo photos of deceased children. The problem: There is not even an effort to pretend that this “story” is news. It is pure advocacy, editorial masquerading as news, and in the process, avoiding every meaningful question which failed the test of serving their agenda.

On this topic, consider: Of the issues resolutely and invariably described as “rights issues” by the New York Times, none have a vintage older than my generation. No story touching abortion fails to mention abortion “rights,” none about homos fails to mention “homo-” or “homo marriage rights,” etc. The only subject with a rights pedigree, however, one stretching back 240 years to our nation’s founding, is gun rights, but it is the single issue never presented under that heading. This is reporting? It is editorial and disease on every page. It is never reporting.

5. Not House Republicans but NYT policymakers are insane. The terrorist attack in Nairobi, Kenya, oozed facts proving one remarkable, unavoidable conclusion: It was the armed CITIZENS–members of gun clubs, retired and off-duty officers, ex-army, and Plain Joe Does who, armed and brave, went INTO harm’s way and effected the actual END of the crisis, risking their lives separately and together. It is an AMAZING testament to the truth concerning armed citizens, especially in perilous times. It was Founding Fathers’ Wisdom on display, thus guaranteeing it would be ignored (the Times and woman punish the same way). How did the Times spin it? The Kenyan federal government failed, not, the Kenyan people succeeded!  All attention OFF truth and armed citizens to the rescue. The goal of such jaundiced coverage is tyranny–for our own good, of course.

6. The hat-trick. The wife of mayoral hopeful de Blasio has created orgasmic seizures at the paper. In a salute with the tone of a junior high-school tribute to, uh, Lady Kaka, the praise gushes for this woman who was once “a smoldering teenager who took to writing poems everyday to wrestle with her isolation and anger.” Picked by them to be a darling and a spokesman they are determined to use as leverage for their candidate, we have in Mrs. de Blasio a woman, to hear them tell it, who is the incarnate egalitarian “victim” supreme, the Colored Krishna walking among us to save. How perfect is she? Oh my, you’ll be sorry you asked. She is a “onetime student of powerlessness, a woman whose early identity was profoundly shaped by feelings of alienation [here come the pucks]–because of her race, her gender and her evolving sexuality…” How great she art. I admit to being clueless as to the meaning of #3; after all, she is the wife of a male candidate for mayor. What are they saying? Does he know that her sexuality is evolving? I shudder to think. But who needs reality or accuracy when maudlin is available. Again, front page. Her only flaw? Her hubby is vanilla white. Apparently his being “an avowedly activist, tax-the-rich liberal” has secured the indulgence necessary to wipe even that stain from the (paper of) record.

7. Last place goes to the sinking flagship for its amazing helpfulness, offered in an  October 2nd  piece that was actually news. Sort of. The Supremes have decided to hear the case of a man challenging limits on direct contributions to candidates of his choice. Apparently alarmed at the wafting scent of liberty, joined to the litigant’s self-description as a conservative, the Times brought in a heavy hitter, a top expert to help us morons understand the threat facing us (the thing they are unable to do when it involves maniacal Muslim murderers). I ask you to bow your head in a moment of non-contemplative silence to prepare yourself for the full impact this quote will make on your psyche. Ready: Here it is, from no less a knowledge-macher than “Charles Fried, a Harvard law professor who was solicitor general in the second Reagan administration” (see how unbiased? Trust us! A Reagan maven!) Ready? This is heavy:

“Without aggregate contribution limits, the amount of money that a contributor can hope to direct to a given candidate is virtually limitless.”

You get it? Without limits on the amounts you can give, the amount you can give is limitless. Wow.

Well, that’s what he should have concluded. By hedging with the “virtually,” he turned what was oh-so-close to being just another meaningless articulation of a self-evident truth into just another stupid error. “Professor sir, if an amount is without limits, the amount is actually, not virtually, limitless.” But someone will suggest the “virtually” referred to a donor’s resources. Sorry, no exit. His predicate was not an individual’s income or resources, but limits imposed by law. The prof and The paper join to teach the world to sing in perfect tautology.[2] 

But he’s from Harvard. And don’t you forget it.


[1] No pedantry intended. If you are not familiar with the boxed-boast in the top-left corner of every NYT front page, it reads, “All the News That’s Fit to Print.” Like my friend John Hultink says, “Yeah, right.”

[2] Tautology: a statement which conveys no useful information whatsoever, regardless of its length or polysyllabic glory.



Friday, 27 September 2013

Martha and the Vandellas & the Regulative Principle: My Annual Misery on the Jewish Night of Joy

      I went to Shul tonight. I’m happy I did. Since I’m a Calvinist, I suppose it’s incumbent upon me to deliver three reasons for that happiness. OK.
      On second thought, let me give three reasons for the joy while taking a stab at explaining how so much misery made its way into the mix. It’s still three, and three is just right for a Wilhelmina Mint.

ARIDI_FONTS_WOW_266irst: I was happy for seeing the oh-so-appropriate and effusive joy of the ancient covenanted people as they were infected with the spirit which had animated David Hamelech to dance on even in the face of a jeering cohort—make that jeering consort. For this evening, you see, was Simchas Torah in the Jewish Calendar—”Rejoicing in the Law”—which marks the last day of the final and greatest of the three Pilgrim Feasts which God commanded Israel to keep as a record and witness of His great deeds on behalf of His beloved people. I must defer to already recorded material if you wish to know more about this Feast, or about Israel’s calendar in general (contact, tell him what you’d like to learn, and tell him where the green is). Though Christians are too often quick to condemn Israel for ignorance of the true meaning of the Feasts, how many Christians (beside G.I. Williamson) could tell you that Succoth (the third of the major Feasts) has yet to find historical fulfillment. Passover? You know. Pentecost? You know. Tabernacles? You don’t know. That is a pretty pregnant fact for a Bible-believer, especially one who reads Paul’s breathless anticipation of that fulfillment to come in the 11th of Romans. But greater pathos came for recognizing that, say what you will about my people’s Divinely-placed blinders which prevent their seeing the One about Whom all the Feasts speak, at least they know how to respond to a complete disclosure from God instructing post-fall humans in how they ought to live. They BOOGIED, baby, and so rightly so! But my other people, the newcomers, get the heebie jeebies at just the mention of law—even though it is God’s Law for us. Behold those whose zeal is unaccompanied by real knowledge! Go figure. I’ve been ciphering that insanity for 37 years and it still won’t add up.

ARIDI_FONTS_WOW_279econd, how many Regulativists have I heard reduced to spurting out inanities like, “Well, without a Regulative Principle of Worship, how can you prevent dance from being introduced in the worship service?” But why would I want to? Tonight, as each Torah scroll was lovingly and carefully removed from the Ark, then held up for all to behold what love God had shown to Israel through an invitation-only Self-disclosure, then, as each scroll was paraded around the synagogue, flaunting the great Distinction the Lord had given to a people, every person present was permitted to make appropriate and reverent gestures of devotion to the Words of God, and as any sensitive soul would anticipate, the dancing began. In many synagogues, the dancing spills out into the streets with exuberant revelers following the Leader (the Torah).

Dance: the God-placed impulse for expressing total emotion bodily (the only way humans can express anything at all, by the way). Dance: the one “area” which those who talk about the redemption of every area—the one area these dudes silently hope will never be mentioned. For then we’d be talking about BODIES. OOOH! Well, if you want to see what bodies may lawfully do in public service to God—beside sit and stand (and davan)—go to a Simchas Torah service. The rising, the movement, the excitement, the joy, the SINGING, the dancing continued—in the parade around the synagogue. It became increasingly fervent, electric, but always genuine, not to mention dignified. The synagogue, of course, was partitioned, so there is no “do-si-do and swing your partner” jazz. Egalitarians have somewhere else to go—and it can’t be soon enough.

I LOVE Simchas Torah. Talk about covenant renewal worship? The worship in synagogues on this evening is like an annual, worldwide covenant reproof, a testimony to the Gentile church (no offense) that too much of her Chalcedonian treasures remain stuck in the bottle in which she stores them. Yet they were not delivered to be penuriously shelved, but applied, spilled out on a parched earth for its only hope of renewal. Failure to apply them—in the real world for real life—has left said church in an overall clueless condition: instead of cultivating transcendent norms, rising above petty border wars, and spreading answers—particularly concerning worship and liturgical matters—the Gentile church struggles to discover just which questions stand in need of an answer.

We should add, the church must learn where to place her ear if she hopes to actually hear whatever answers God might graciously provide. So, again, happy/sad.

ARIDI_FONTS_WOW_280hird, and Wilhelmina is fast melting, I witnessed something I don’t believe I’ve ever seen in a church—any church—and I’ve been in more than I can count. This year, like every year, this local synagogue was beneficiary of a sizable number of orthodox Jewish visitors—non-members, as we Christians might say, but unusual visitors by any reckoning. For they were not spec-ing out the joint, not considering a transfer of membership, not members of the same “denomination,” not there to pass judgment on the ignorance or inadequacies of the small group this shul is able to assemble. No. These visitors—I figure there were about 20 or 25—making them about half of the attenders or a bit more than 50% if just the men are counted—these visitors were there for a single purpose: to do all within their power AS FELLOW JEWS to insure that that synagogue on this hallowed evening would be a place sanctified by infectious joy, derived from being of that number called by the only God for a purpose. THIS IS LIVING COVENANT, and while I’ve seen abounding evidences of true and holy love in any number of wonderful churches, I’ve never seen such institutional indifference as was tonight exhibited (just as it was last year and the year before and…).

The visitors ranged in age from about 12 to (I’d say) 40, but the majority were just into theirs. These young people trailed the leading, bobbing, circling Torah scrolls, while reaching out their hands into every pew, taking both hands of this most senior member, then that quite advanced attender, and any others who needed help or encouragement to do what is for many not easy to do. A boy who appeared to be the youngest of the visiting Chasidim tried to coax/drag me and my buddy out of the pew on one of the circuits. So I punched him in the face. Just kidding! I mention it only to show that individuality may survive even in such settings, for I did lovingly decline the urging of this young man—initially (Jews have lots of practice saying no to other Jews—and it happened that I was then trying to understand something about the service and needed another minute). These kindly joy-mongers would help men gently to their feet, while virtually forcing smiles by contagion and example, then lead or just join seniors and juniors and youngsters into grand and fitting activity—at customized and sensitive paces—all natural, as they say—in celebration of having in their possession the actual and real will of God Almighty. Would that they did! But if this is how those with blinders can rejoice, albeit once each year, but still—is it never meet for us so to do? Balderdash! But as I hinted a moment ago, what really twists me is how—with the church charged with the task of provoking Israel to jealousy, it is Israel who keeps coming up to the plate and hitting ’em out of the park. These people—vilified by Christians as the incarnation of blind provincialism—leave their comfort zones with no greater agenda, no gain in view beside enabling a fellow Jew to be joyful before God. Where is anything close to this among those upon whom has come the Fulfillment of all these things? Just who is provincial?

I do love this festal day, you know? O, how I hate it! Know what I mean? Fischtay?

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Intro Thoughts on Dods

The men who have deeply influenced my thinking have been several, and I’d gladly list them if asked, telling particular ways each has contributed to my understanding of Scripture and life. Those who influenced my preaching, however, are fewer (which may partly account for its deficiencies). Few or many, the influence of Marcus Dods upon this minister and his ministry (34 years in May, D.V.) have been disproportionate.

At the risk of sounding like I’ve drunk too deeply at the well of charismania, I would put it this way: many have taught me much about the history, inspiration, contents, organization and place of the Bible in the life of the Church and its members, enabling me to apprehend that which, had it been promised before the lessons, would have seemed an exaggerated claim. In short, I was taught to look and see. But Dods (I’m not drunk, as you suppose) showed me how to listen and feel.

In preparing for my sermons through the Gospel of John, I’d typically consult many volumes of commentaries and studies, but I’d save Dods for last. Why? Because after reading his casting of the events, I’d be so deeply touched by the overwhelming humanity, universality, personalness, pathos—by the people God was moving, drawing, changing—I’d end up sobbing uncontrollably, drenching the pages, leaving me with splattered notes and one exhausted Jewish body. I had known before picking up a commentary that the Bible was the Word of God. It was by means of the eye and words of Marcus Dods that I came to see for whom the Word was given.

Now, I realize what I’ve just said is posted at the head of a transcribed sermon which will doubtless be read as, if not dry, then at least unsaturated, even by a favorable reviewer. But I am here only trying to explain how I’ve come upon this piece and a bit about why we are featuring it here.

Marcus Dods was born in Northumberland on April 11, 1834, the youngest son of Rev. Marcus Dods, minister of the Scottish Kirk there. Marcus would eventually have a son named…but you guessed. Our hero was licensed in 1858, ordained in ’64, and served as minister in the Free Church of Scotland kirk in Renfield for a quarter-century, i.e., until he was appointed, in 1889, Professor of New Testament Exegesis at Edinburgh’s New College. In 1907 he was made Principal of the school. This last position he occupied briefly for in April of 1909 he was permanently transferred to the number of Those Who Truly Know.

If my experience speaking to others about Dods holds true, you probably never heard of him. Those who (vaguely) recall his name generally associate it with heresy. It is a sad propensity of our race to look for the worst in others, and an even sadder one which allows an instance of actual evil to become the only handle which can retrieve a name from their memory. In Dods’ case it is more the pity since the accusation of heresy serves the memory as if a verdict. If this is common to human nature, it ought to be rare among those with natures made new. The 1878 charge was dropped by a large majority of the General Assembly delegates to whom he gave account. A dozen years afterward he was made an honorary Doctor of Divinity by Edinburgh University, not the sort of gesture made to heretics at that time. Yet, from where I sit, whether the initial charge had much merit or none, it is altogether beside the point at which his life touched mine.

Of his significant writings, the most important were done for editor W. Robertson Nicoll. His expositions of Genesis, John and 1 Corinthians can be found in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, published in the last years of the nineteenth century (an identical American edition, hard to get, was published in Connecticut, 1911). Dods’ notes on John, however, can usually be found on good used book sites. Although I dug up a one-volume edition, it is easier to find in a two volume format. If you feel a need to feel some of the emotional power packed into the holy Word, I don’t know a better bet.

A favorite Dods saying: It isn’t that God needs our sin to accomplish His purposes –but we offer Him so little else.

As to the piece here virtually reproduced, it’s a killer in its own right. Read it. I had seen it referenced in another book—I think by MacGregor—about 30 years ago and eagerly desired to read it. But it had to wait years and years, until a friend from Waco—a Mr. Davenport, now Dr. D. Davenport—had mercy and gumption and managed to get and send a reprint to me. I kvelled. I remain grateful. The original of what you find here was taken from another source, however. I’ll tell you more about it if you read this, then contact us. And send money, wouldja?



(The entire piece is in-line below, but if you’d prefer to read it via pdf-viewer, just click this link: Presbyterianism Older than Christianity)