February 1, 2011

Constantine bashing has become an art form since Dan Brown’s The da Vinci Code, so much so that some Christian theologians have taken to defending the man (see now Leithart’s  Defending Constantine).   Sigve Tonstad must be clearly placed in the category of the bash brothers when it comes to Constantine, seen as the instigator of the downward spiral that led to an imperial church, not merely a Christianized Empire. On p. 446  Tonstad says  an emperor is a ruler answerable… Read more

January 31, 2011

A woman from Wisconsin had 50 yard line tickets for the Super Bowl. As she sat down, a man came along and asked her if anyone was sitting in the seat next to her.  “No,” she said, “the seat is empty.” “That is incredible,” said the man. “Who would have a seat like this for the Super Bowl and not use it?” Somberly, the woman said, “Well… the seat actually belongs to me. I was supposed to come here with… Read more

January 31, 2011

It is clear enough that Tonstad is a global thinker, and one of the things he has thought a lot about is creation care in light of sabbath observance.  The problem is that despite the ecological potency of Sabbath observance, the earth is not merely crying out ‘give it a rest’  it is crying out,  ‘we need an extreme makeover, a rejuvenation, a new creation, and Sabbath is not about that.  It is not about resurrection, it’s about ceasing from… Read more

January 30, 2011

The last explicit mention of the Sabbath in the NT is in Hebrews (p. 280)—its theme, there remains a Sabbath rest for God’s people. (4.9). Tonstad suggests that the Sabbath which remains refers to a sabbath which can now be enjoyed by Christians and celebrated by Christians, even though the ‘rest’ that the author has in mind has yet to come to fruition and in fact awaits the return of Christ.   And we hear not one word about the fact… Read more

January 29, 2011

Paul’s writings come in for considerable scrutiny in Tonstad’s book because they are problematic for his case, in the extreme. For example Rom. 14.5-6 (a text Tonstad strangely ignores) has Paul saying of early Christian practice “Some judge one day to be better than another, while others judge all days to be alike. let each be persuaded in their own minds. Those who observe the day, observe it in honor of the Lord.”   Had Paul continued to be a… Read more

January 28, 2011

I must confess I am not in any way a fan of horror movies, and so I had some apprehension that this movie might degenerate into such a film.  And you can tell from many of the reviews that those reviewers who went into the movie hoping to have the Devil scared out of them, were disappointed.  No, this film is a psychological thriller, along the lines of Shutter Island, though without the surprise twist in the tale.   I went… Read more

January 28, 2011

One of the interesting ideas in this book  (Tonstad’s The Lost Meaning of the Seventh Day)  is that the Sabbath is a sign like a flag is a sign,  actually it’s a symbol— something which participates in the reality to which it points.  It points to God’s ceasing from his creative activity, and as such when Israel does the same they participate in such ceasing from creative activity. Just as people react violently in the U.S. to flag burning so… Read more

January 27, 2011

Thanks to my alert colleague Lawson Stone for dredging this up from hoary antiquity. Read more

January 27, 2011

(Continuation of the Review of Tonstad’s book on the sabbath) As is well known, Paul connects the new covenant with the Abrahamic covenant, in distinction from the Mosaic covenant, and thus it becomes important for Tonstad that somehow he connect Abraham to Sabbath observance and the Sabbath commandment.  His attempt to do this is weak, because the most he can muster is the fact that Abraham is said to keep some commandments of God, though there is no evidence whatsoever… Read more

January 26, 2011

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