The History and Context of the Second Amendment

A Point of Contention

Of Guns, Armies, and Slaves

Today I want to talk about the second amendment. Not gun control in general mind you, but specifically the Second Amendment, it’s history and it’s context. The Second Amendment is frequently invoked in Gun Control debates and I feel that it’s almost a hollow mantra, a slogan, something people say reflexively but lacking the kind of well rounded historically grounded understanding that something like that, I believe, merits. 

So the main question I am setting out to answer today, really the only question, is “Why is the Second Amendment in the Constitution?” We have a good understanding of causes and grievances that drove most of the rest of the items in the Bill of Rights to be placed there. The Old World had been full of State Religions and heavy censorship of the press, so the First Amendment addressed those concerns. England had made…

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Church Write-Up: Home

I went to the “Word of Faith” church and the Missouri Synod Lutheran church.  Here are some notes:

A.  Eschatological hope was a theme in both services.  The pastor at the “Word of Faith” church was talking about how this world is not our home and cannot bring us fulfillment, and how we would be naked and “not us” without bodies, explaining why we will have new bodies at the resurrection.  The pastor at the Lutheran church was preaching about I Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Paul’s exhortation that Christians not grieve the dead as if they have no hope (which is not to say that they should not grieve, but that they should have hope in their grief).  During the children’s part of the service, the youth pastor was saying that being a Christian means never having to say “good bye.”  There is an afterlife.

B.  The pastor at the “Word of Faith” church said that young people look at elderly people, notice their pain and disease, and wonder why the elderly people would want to live, with all the bodily problems that they have to endure.  The pastor said that such young people will feel different once they become elderly: those who reach that age want to live every extra day that they can.

C.  The pastor at the “Word of Faith” church asserted that sexual promiscuity is a misguided search for home, which only Jesus can fulfill.  He provided a quote by John Steinbeck in East of Eden, which said that the brothel and the church attempt to satisfy a similar need, an escape or a relief from the burdens of life.  Steinbeck may have a point.  Is sexual promiscuity necessarily a search for home, though?  I can picture it not being that: it could be based on attraction or appetite.  For some, though, it may be searching for love in the wrong places.

D.  The pastor at the “Word of Faith” church was talking about the Garden of Eden.  It was a sanctuary for God, but Adam and Eve were expelled from it on account of their sin.  Later, God dwelt with Israel through the Tabernacle, which was decorated with images of fruits and cherubim, perhaps echoing Eden.  While God dwelt with Israel and blessed her, access to the Tabernacle was limited and required a strict decorum, due to people’s human limitations and sinfulness.  In the eschaton, God will dwell with people more fully and directly.  A lot of Christians believe this.  It makes sense, but I wonder if it can be consistent with the Documentary Hypothesis.  Maybe it can, if P (who wrote of the Tabernacle) knew of J (who wrote Genesis 2-3).

E.  The pastor at the “Word of Faith” church said that, had Adam and Eve stayed in the Garden of Eden in their sinful state, they would have been on a futile search for home for all eternity, devouring the fruit from the Tree of Life.  It would have been a bottomless pit.  Still, the pastor said that Adam and Eve, after their expulsion, should have stayed right by the Garden of Eden, affirming that God was the home that they desired.

F.  The pastor at the “Word of Faith” church interacted with Hebrews 11:9-10: “By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.  For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (KJV). The pastor was saying that Abraham did not just want land: he wanted God as his home.  At times, the pastor said something else: it’s not so much that God belongs to us, but we belong to God.

G.  The pastor at the “Word of Faith” church was talking about his personal walk with Jesus.  He testified that Jesus is not some dictator towards him.  Rather, Jesus often asks him, “What do you think you should do?”

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A Quick Report on Robert Jenson’s Bultmannesque Demythologized Account of the Resurrection — The Evangelical Calvinist

Reblogging for future reference:

I just finished Robert Jenson’s Systematic Theology: Volume 1: The Triune God; I’d read most of V1 in the past back in 2005, but this is the first time I read it in full. I have mixed feelings about what he communicates via his theological offering; his Lutheran Christology seeps throughout (i.e. communicatio idiomatum), and […]

via A Quick Report on Robert Jenson’s Bultmannesque Demythologized Account of the Resurrection — The Evangelical Calvinist

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Book Review: Michael F. Bird, Jesus The Eternal Son

Reading Acts

Bird, Michael F. Jesus The Eternal Son: Answering Adoptionist Christology. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2017. xv + 155 pages; Pb. $18.   Link to Eerdmans

This new monograph from Michael Bird is the result of a discussion held at the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint forum at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 2016 entitled “How Did Jesus Become God?” and featured Bird and Barth Ehrman.  The seminar discussed Ehrman’s How Jesus Became God (Harper One, 2015) and Bird’s recently edited collection of essays entitled How God Became Jesus (Zondervan, 2015). Larry W. Hurtado, Jennifer Wright Knust, Simon Gathercole and Dale Martin also participated in this conference.

As Bird explains in the preface, in his preparation for this conference he became aware much of what is said about adoptionist Christology is incorrect. It is simply assumed the most primitive Christology was adoptionist and scholars tended to reference John Knox or James Dunn rather…

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Carr-survivors guilt and traumatic chosenness


I was going to post yesterday but didn’t because my DSL went out for a while.   Today is Veterans Day in America and Armistice Day in Europe, so this post is more appropriate for today anyway.

One factor in some people’s trauma is coping with survival.  War veterans, in particular, often report survivors guilt.  “Why did I come home while others didn’t?” Sometimes it is tied to particular friends.  “Why did I survive while my buddy didn’t?” They may struggle with this for the rest of their lives.

This experience is not confined to veterans.  David M. Carr began his book, Holy Resilience, with the story of how he survived a bicycle accident that nearly took his life. Survival heightened his sense of mortality and called for a reevaluation of life.

Moreover, certain out-of-sequence deaths also trigger this.  If a child dies, the surviving parents may feel that they…

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Book Review: Nick Norelli, Christology in Review

Reading Acts

Norelli, Nick. Christology in Review: A Layman’s Take on Books about Christology. Lulu, 2017. 149pp.; Pb.; $10.84. Link to Lulu

Christology in Review: A Layman's Take on Books about ChristologyThis small book collects twenty book reviews written by blogger Nick Norelli on the topic of Christology. Norelli has been blogging at Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth since July of 2006. He offers a short introduction to his journey from AOL chatrooms in 1997 to regularly reviewing books on his blog. He credits Chris Tilling’s detailed review of Gordon Fee’s Pauline Christology as encouraging him to focus on seriously reviewing books.

Christology in Review includes reviews of the following books no particular order.

  • Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel
  • Casey, From Jewish Prophet to Gentile God
  • J. & A. Y. Collins, King and Messiah as Son of God
  • D. G. Dunn, Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?
  • D. Ehrman, How Jesus Became God
  • Endo, Creation and Christology

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Carr-a voice of comfort


I am continuing to write about David M. Carr’s book, Holy Resilience, where he applies Trauma Theory to the formation of the Bible.

Trauma for Judah resulted from the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army and the leveling of the Temple and other public buildings after a two-year blockade involving deprivation and death.  It further resulted from the dislocation of people uprooted from Jerusalem and forced to live as displaced persons in Babylon.

Besides Ezekiel’s personification of trauma, other literature also reflects this. Jeremiah, the weeping prophet, stayed in Jerusalem and then joined refugees in Egypt.  But his oracles reflect both national and personal tragedy.  The Book of Lamentations puts into poetry the despair of the “daughter of Zion” who weeps over the desolation of Jerusalem and the death of her children.

These writings are not very hopeful and they do what many traumatized people do. They blame…

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