Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Kevin, God bless him, asked for baptism today and we didn't feel we should wait another minute. Another worker in the Kingdom of God.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Conference preparations

Hello everyone. I want to mention that I had a real nice talk with Jean-Claude last week when he came over to chat. He needs to be encouraged as his job and family situation is rather precarious.

Did I tell you that Andrew, Jacqui and their four children arrived last week? I don't have to tell you how the girls are getting along if you know Becky and Claire, do I! And what about Genereuse, from Luxembourg? She came in last week by train and I picked her up at the station on Wednesday. She's staying down at the hotel with Roo & Debbie, Kevin, and the Stroms so there's getting to be quite a crowd — just the way we like it!

Yesterday Raph asked Andrew if he'd like to share a word with us at this Lord's Day meeting so this morning he gave a good word of exhortation to us all. The thrust was that, as believers, we should remember the poor; the same which we also were forward to do (Gal 2:10). He started by reading passages from Luke that describe the ministry of Christ and emphasized that this is to be our ministry as well. The message was concluded by reading the story of the goats and the sheep from Matthew 25 — as Andrew said, one of the strongest passages in the Gospels concerning the poor.

After this, I read this morning's Sunlit Kingdom newsletter from Peter Hoover (if you're not already signed up to get them, you really ought to: go here). Peter followed on the same topic as last week (the testimony of Elias Chacour of "Blood Brothers") and delivered a wonderfully clear-cut message. It amazes us the experiences he has gone through and his wonderful way with words and we all benefit greatly from his wisdom and honesty.

Following the meeting we ate together, of course, and had some real good time sharing. The girls had prepared a delicious feast of slices of duck breast (magret de canard) — from our own ducks, too! At the end of the meal Camille brought out this month's birthday "cake" in honour of little Suzie and Claire went around the table dishing out sweets that Rosemary had brought so we were well taken care of!

With such a mixed bag of visitors from such varied backgrounds it is to be expected that we would have some pretty lively discussions and today it just happened that way all by itself! But above all our different viewpoints and worldviews we have love and respect for each other and this is so much bigger and more important than anything else. Jesus shall reign where'er the sun. The Kingdom is God is here, now, and only needs us to believe it enough to act like it. Praise God!

Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

We Shall Meet Him in the Air

I've just received a new book I had on order, named as above, and subtitled The Wedding of the King of Kings!. It seems to be an in-depth Bible study of 1 Thessalonians 4:13f and as I read through it I'd like to share choice parts with you. Today I'd like to set the scene by quoting from the FOREWORD.

"This book is for serious Bible students, and specifically for students of eschatology. In the evangelical world today there is a 'New Reformation' taking place in regard to the doctrine of 'last days'.

"The movement called preterism, or Covenant Eschatology is growing and changing lives. Along the way it is challenging the long-standing traditions of the day.

"As a result, prominent theologians such as John MacArthur, popular prophecy pundits like Tim LaHaye, Grant Jeffrey, Thomas Ice, and others have leveled the charge of heresy, Hymenaeanism, etc, against those who believe that Jesus kept His word to return in the first century.

"Preterism is the view that all prophecy of the end times, the Judgement, Second Coming, and Resurrection were fulfilled in the events surrounding the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. In that event, the Old Covenant world of Israel came to an end, as the New Covenant world of Jesus and His Church was fully established.

"This view holds that Biblical eschatology is not about the end of history, but the end of Israel's Covenant World, thus
Covenant Eschatology, not Historical Eschatology.

"Standing at the heart of this controversy is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Our dispensational friends believe this passage is the key to proving a yet-future rapture at the end of the Christian age.

"Our amillennial and postmillennial friends believe Thessalonians is about the end of the church age as well, but are opposed to the millennial view of things.

"The millennialist, the amillennialist, and the postmillennialist all stand together in claiming that 1 Thessalonians 4 refutes the idea that Jesus returned in A.D. 70."

You can get a copy of the book by clicking here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

A Mystery

Here's a real mystery for you and if anyone has a clue, please go ahead and guess because I don't know the answer yet.

Today Claire took an old book down off the shelf and opened it. As she did so, a stack of small papers fell out so, after looking them over, she called me to find out who they belonged to. I hadn't a clue. I don't even know where we got the book from!

The book is a hardback published in 1952 and called "Switzerland, Life and Activity" and, apart from the dust jacket, it is in very good condition. Inside is a sticker that reads, "To [blank] with the compliments of SWITZERLAND Cheese Association, 105 Hudson St., New York 13, N.Y. and SWISS CHEESE UNION Bern, Switzerland."

Inside were the following papers:

1. A 4-page, blue "Standard Bond Report" issued by Standard & Poor's Corportation, Publishers apparently concerning the activities of the New York Central R. R., dated Wednesday, October 26, 1955.

2. A large unused postcard picturing a colourized photograph of the Ladies Cocktail Lounge, New York Athletic Club, 180 Central Park South, New York.

3. An old, folded, opened and empty envelope addressed to "Chef Marcel, New York Athletic Club" with a hand-written notation "clé automobile".

4. An old newspaper clipping (no dateline) as below:

5. An old hand-written recipe which reads "Marinade for Pork Pickles" (recipe available on request).

6. An old, used postcard with a picture of "Avenida Mariano Arosemena, Belle Vista, Panama, R. de P." The card is addressed to Mr. M. Martel, Chef de Cuisine, De Witt Clinton Hotel, Albany, N.Y., U.S and has a postal stamp from ANCON CANAL ZONE dated March 29, 1941.

The message is in French, and reads,

Comment va mon vieux!
Voici déjà trois semaines que je suis ici.
Le changement n'est pas si formidable, mais il fait assez, comme à Albany au mois de Juillet.

T'écrirai plus longuement avant peu.
Cordialement, et mes amitiés à la famille

7. A yellowed page out of the N.Y. Herald Tribune, 1956 obviously torn out to show the four-column article entitled, Artful Dinner Honors Culinary Man of Year — a certain "Frenchman" M. Joseph Castaybert.

8.A clean buff-coloured letter-card with nothing written on it but the seal of the "New York Athletic Club of the City of New York.

9. A tattered envelope containing check stubs from the "Union Dime Savings Bank".

What on earth can we make of such a fantastic muddle of detailed paperwork? Who is / was Marcel Martel? How did his book get in our library? Answers or guesses welcome below!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Odds and ends of news

We use this blog to stay in touch with friends (known and unknown) and family around the world. I've been doing fairly well lately in sharing our thoughts and trails and travels but this is going to be short today since I find myself far too busy doing things to spend time talking about them. :)

In spite of that, a little news is in order.

1. Lots of comings and goings: Kevin got here last week and is proving a great help, especially around the farm, which is what he likes doing best. Rosemary arrived on Sunday for an extended stay and is fitting in very well here and a privilege to have with us. Andrew, his wife, and four daughters are due in here this evening — they plan to stay for a month or so. Also, Debbie's mother Ruth will be leaving tomorrow — I'll drive her up to Beauvais with Debbie in the afternoon.

2. NT Pod numbers 12 and 13 are out. Get them here, if you haven't already:

3. Very old and overdue news is that the final day of the children's adventures (called la Campagne that took place last month) is finally done. Becky finished it a few days ago but it got classified at the date where it was first started, last month. To read it, just click here.

4. Lastest news was the trip to Normandy which we made for a couple of days last weekend. The passenger list included 'Tine and Olly and Davy (Christopher didn't want to come), Claire and Becky, Sarah and I. We stayed at the same B&B we used last year in Ouistream and the kids had a great time on the beach though it was warm but quite windy.

More news to come tomorrow. We're still alive! And as the old song says,

It's so good, that we live together — living and loving one another!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Fresh garden tomatoes and mozzarrella

This photo (and the contents) courtesy of Raph

Very old and overdue, the final day of the children's adventures (called la Campagne that was finished last month) is finally done. Becky finished it this morning but it got classified at the date where it was first started, last month. To read it, just click here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Why use the Septuagint?

Most of you probably know that we became convinced of the importance of the Septuagint several years ago as being the Bible that Jesus and his apostles, as well as the Early Church knew. Forget the translation wars and all the stories of "lost texts" — our position was: if it was good enough for Jesus and the Apostles, it's good enough for us!

(In case you don't have a Septuagint yet, here is a link to the one we like the best; The Apostolic Bible.)

With this in mind, I'd like to reprint a small article I ran across yesterday that presents another case for this Bible. I thought it was interesting enough to share with you.

Why Use the Septuagint?

B Dr. Michael Heiser, Academic Editor at Logos.

Logos recently announced the creation of the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint on the Pre-Pub page. Many pastors, seminary students, and lay people devoted to Bible study might wonder about the value of the Septuagint for Bible study. The Septuagint, of course, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament.

The Septuagint was the Old Testament of the early Greek-speaking church, and it is by far the version of the Old Testament most frequently quoted by Jesus and the apostles in the New Testament. Rather than try to persuade you of the value of the Septuagint by means of these kinds of arguments, I thought it might be helpful to provide a practical example where the Septuagint explains what seems to be a New Testament theological blunder. I'm betting most of us are interested in that sort of thing!

Below is Deuteronomy 33:1-2 side-by-side in two translations. On the left is my literal rendering of the traditional Hebrew text of the Old Testament, the Masoretic text. On the right is an English translation of the Septuagint at this passage. I have boldfaced significant differences for some discussion.

Traditional Masoretic Hebrew Text
1 This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, blessed the Israelites before his death.

2 He said: Yahweh came from Sinai, and He shone upon them from Seir. He appeared in radiance from Mount Paran, and approached from Ribeboth-Kodesh, from his right lightning flashed at them.

3 Indeed, he loved the people, all his holy ones at your hand. And they followed at your feet; he bears your words,

4 the law which Moses commanded us, an inheritance for the assembly of Jacob.

1 This is the blessing with which Moses, the man of God, blessed the Israelites before his death.

2 He said: The LORD came from Sinai, and He shone to us from Seir; He made haste from Mount Paran with ten thousands of Kadesh, his angels with him.

3 And He had pity on his people, and all the holy ones were under your hands; and they were under you; and he received his words,

4 the law which Moses charged us, an inheritance to the assemblies of Jacob.

What Are We Looking At?

Some English translations (ESV, NIV, NASB) are close to the Septuagint or sound like a mixture of the two choices. As the traditional Hebrew text goes, the Hebrew phrase in verse 2 underlying "Ribeboth-Kodesh" is the same (except for spelling) as what occurs at Deut. 32:51 ("Meribath Kadesh"). This is why most scholars today consider the phrase to be a geographical place name, and I agree. The Septuagint, however, obviously has something else going on!

While it is possible to get "ten thousands of Kadesh" from the Hebrew consonants of the traditional Masoretic text, the very common Hebrew word for angels (mal'akim) does not appear in the traditional Masoretic text. The Septuagint translation (aggeloi) came from a different Hebrew text.

One more observation: In verse 3 the Masoretic Text seems to equate "the people" with "all his holy ones." Yahweh's people, his holy people, are under his authority ("under your hand"). They follow at the LORD's feet and receive the Law. Note that the singular pronoun "he" in "he bears your words" likely refers to Israel collectively (i.e., ISRAEL bears your words).

Israel is often referred to as a singular entity in the Bible ("my son," Exod. 4:21-23; "my servant," Isa. 44:1). The Septuagint, however, gives the reader the feel that "his people" and "all the holy ones" are different groups. In the Septuagint, God pities his people and his holy ones—the angels referred to in the previous verse—are under his authority. Israel, of course, receives the law.

So What?

So who cares? Well, the Septuagint here helps us understand an oddity mentioned in several places in the New Testament—the idea that the Mosaic Law, given at Sinai, was actually given by angels.

Check out these New Testament passages:
Acts 7:52-53

52 Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, 53 you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it."

Hebrews 2:1-2a

1 Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?

Galatians 3:19

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary.

Simply put, if you stick to the traditional Masoretic Hebrew text for your Old Testament, there is no place that the New Testament writers could have drawn such an idea. The closest you come to that is in Psalm 68:17.

While that verse has a multitude of angelic beings at Sinai, it says nothing about the Law.

The point is that the New Testament references have provided fodder for biblical critics who want the New Testament to be guilty of either an outright error in thought, or just contriving a doctrinal point out of thin air. The Septuagint shows us that those perspectives are just simply incorrect.

The New Testament writers weren't nitwits or dishonest. They were using the Septuagint.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Ever heard an NT Pod?

Today I want to share with you a very interesting source of spiritual reflection I came across several weeks ago that we are following quite faithfully now. They are little podcasts of only about five or six minutes each concerning the New Testament and Christian origins and they are, logically enough, called NT Pods.

They are put out by a university professor teaching at Duke in North Caroline (though the man is quite obviously from England) named Mark Goodacre and we're up to number 11 already so hurry on over to his site and download them all. Here's the list of titles already done, as a teaser:

Monday, September 07, 2009

Weekend festival in Saint Calais

Yesterday I took the girls (Rebecca, Claire, Céline, and Christine) out for the day to Saint Calais, a town about 35 km from here, to participate in their 379th festival of "Chausson aux Pommes" (apple turnovers, for you Canadians). This year the theme was reconstructions and activities from medieval times.

How we'd missed this festival for so long (this was our first visit) escapes me but suffice it to say that thousands of others seemed to know what to expect as one of the last events of the summer.

The girls were part of a theatrical group in the area that attend events of this type dressed up as washer-women (lavandières) in nineteenth-century garb and all day they manned a lavoir (public wash basins) doing laundry and enjoying themselves immensely.

This is a screen shot from a video clip I took of them gathering outside the church before getting started for the day.

At any rate, it was another great day out with thousands of people milling around. After a colourful parade through the town the streets soon filled up with jugglers, marching bands, groups of hunting horns calling to each other, horse-drawn wagons pulling nobility and a donkey-cart pulling children, old vintage cars on display, folk dancing, mock sword fights, men on stilts, medieval music, and even a huge catapult which threw water-filled balloons at the side of a castle! All this while hundreds of people dressed up in regal costumes as pages, knights, and nobility milled around adding to the festivities.

The mayor had offered free drinks for apéritif and at noon all the tables that lined the side-walks were full with plenty of food and drinks available and, of course, everyone had a hot apple turnovers for one Euro apiece!

Here's a little clip of the start of the parade to give you a feel of the atmosphere:

And through it all, our darling girls beating away on the linen!

Friday, September 04, 2009

A four-page fax just arrived

Page 1
(Thank you! Thank you!)

Page 2

(I often think of the love you showed me
and it gives me great strength
and with love, life is so much easier)

Page 3
(The love from Courtiron has done away
with the desire and the need
to commit certain sins)

Page 4
(Courtiron, thank you so much! Andrea)

The translation is for our Canadian friends. :)

I should just add that Andrea is an Italian boy who spent quite some time here this year but whom we've been without news from for several months. This was a beautiful surprise, right out of the blue! God bless him!