Bible Archaeology

Archaeology and the Exodus from Egypt

James K. Hoffmeier is Professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern Archaeology at Trinity International University, Divinity School. Since 1994 he has directed the North Sinai Archaeological Project…

Below is his fascinating lecture from the Lanier Theological Library on what recent archaeological and geological work in North Sinai tell us about the exodus from Egypt:



Homily – Ash Wednesday, Year B (2012)

[Click here for the lessons]

Welcome to the start of Lent!

Lent, as you know, is that period on the Church’s Liturgical Calendar which runs from today – Ash Wednesday – all the way through to Easter. A time marked by intense prayer, fasting, sacrifice and acts of charity, in simplicity we walk the road that leads to the commemoration of the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

On this day, with the imposition of Ashes, signed as a Cross on the believer’s forehead, gathered up from the burnt palm fronds of the year past, our mourning and repentance before God begins, preparing us rightly for the goal: The celebration of the Easter Mysteries. It is our accompanying of Jesus, who goes up to Jerusalem, to suffer, die and be Resurrected in glory.

Sobering indeed are the words:

Remember, O, man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return.’

In this ancient formula we are reminded of our mortality and that we shall one day too return unto the dust from which man was originally drawn. The words take us back to the Book of Genesis, to the dawn of human history, when the Lord told Adam at the fall into sin:

Cursed is the ground because of you! In toil you shall eat its yield all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles it shall bear for you, and you shall eat the grass of the field. By the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, Until you return to the ground, from which you were taken; For you are dust, and to dust you shall return’ (3:17-19).

Frail we are. Weak. Given to sin. The dust of Adam. Ash Wednesday really is a reminder of our humanity.

The distribution of ashes self comes from a ceremony of ages past, when Christians who had committed grievous faults, performed public acts of penance and received ashes on the forehead as part of the official rite of reconciliation – sinners wanting to clean up their act.

Which is exactly what we want to do: We want to leave our sins behind and grow closer and closer to the Lord. This calls for repentance. I always admire the way the King of Nineveh did it: He repented of his sins, put on sackcloth, and sat in the ashes (Jonah 3:16).

Now while you and I may not necessarily feel the call to dress down in sackcloth and sit in ashes, repentance does call for a 180 degree turn in both our thoughts and our actions. To stop doing that which we ought not to do, and instead to do that which we know is pleasing to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Why?

Let me share with you a quick historical account:

The Romans sometimes compelled a captive to be joined face-to-face with a dead body, and to bear it about until the horrible effluvia destroyed the life of the living victim. The ancient poet Virgil describes this cruel punishment:

‘The living and the dead at his command were coupled face to face, and hand to hand; Till choked with stench, in loathed embraces tied, The lingering wretches pined away and died.’

Without Christ, we are shackled to a dead corpse – our sin. Only repentance frees us from certain death, for life and death cannot coexist…’

–         Paul Lee Tan’s Encyclopedia Of 7700 Illustrations

Lent isn’t supposed to be fun. It’s serious… very serious. It is hard-going as we say goodbye not only to our sins, but also to some of our good pleasures. Mortification of the flesh. To work on oneself. To deny oneself so as to overcome both sins and weaknesses. And the season reminds us that we ever have before us a choice: To choose life or to choose death, and that the two cannot coexist. Or, as Moses put it to that nation Israel:

I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: Therefore choose life’ –  (Deut 30:19).

Lent really is one of the most painful seasons of the Church year. But then again, we cannot properly  celebrate Easter – that place where we find life, joy and hope beyond death – without first having experienced Lent. In seeking to emulate Jesus. To focus on God. To make a fresh start.

Branded with the sign of our faith, the Cross, we say to all those who will see us, that we are making a commitment to walk the way of Jesus. Ash Wednesday is a great time for us to share our faith with others. Do stress to them what the ashes mean: A Biblical sign of repentance. What a witness! By wearing ashes, we are calling not only ourselves, but the world, to repentance.

Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.’

But this only the beginning…

May I wish you a very blessed and holy Lent.

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,




TAC Bishop David Moyer Denied Ordination in the Catholic Church

TAC Bishop Moyer Denied Entry into Roman Catholic Church as Priest. Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson tells Moyer he can only enter as layman. Unresolved personal issues remain.

Again, it now remains to be seen if he – like his Archbishop, John Hepworth – will muster and have the humility and conviction of faith to submit to Rome and follow through. Archbishop John Hepworth did not.  I’d be most surprised if Bishop Moyer does.

Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) Bishop David Moyer has been denied ordination into the Roman Catholic Church by Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Citing a number of unresolved issues, he informed Moyer of his decision when he addressed the congregation of the Blessed John Henry Newman parish of Bishop Moyer last Sunday.

“The issues we have been dealing with only pertain to the question of ordination,” Steenson told Virtueonline. “I informed the congregation of the possibility of partnering with St. Michael’s whose rector, the Rev. Dr. David Ousley and congregation is in discernment and study. He is in the formation program.”

Moyer received a nulla osta (no impediment) from the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in early November 2011. However, the local Catholic bishop has to give a votum for someone who resides in his diocese. Archbishop Charles Chaput declined to give Moyer his votum to proceed toward ordination in the Catholic Church.

This was reaffirmed and confirmed by the visit last Sunday of Steenson who told Moyer he could only be received as a layman. It is not known at this time what the congregation will do. Moyer’s leadership now hangs in the balance. Moyer was pinning all his hopes on entering the Roman Catholic Church under the Ordinariate that would have enabled him to retain certain Anglican liturgical practices.

“I told the people on Sunday that they must follow their conscience on the question of coming into full communion with the Catholic Church. Lumen Gentium 14 (the Vatican II constitution on the Church) makes this a matter of salvation: ‘Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved. So, even if the Fellowship was not ready to make this decision, if an individual was convinced about what the Catholic Church teaches about herself, he or she should not be afraid to move forward.

“Catechumens who, moved by the Holy Spirit, seek with explicit intention to be incorporated into the Church are by that very intention joined with her. With love and solicitude Mother Church already embraces them as her own.'” (LG 14),” Steenson told VOL.

Moyer has had years of litigation and authority issues that have cast a long pall over his priesthood. In 2002, Episcopal Bishop Charles Bennison summarily removed Moyer as rector of Good Shepherd on the ground that he had abandoned the communion of the Episcopal Church when the Anglo-Catholic Traditional Anglican Communion ordained him a bishop. Moyer moved variously through Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan to Anglican Archbishop Bernard Malango of Central Africa, finally settling under TAC Archbishop John Hepworth of Australia.

Hepworth, a former Roman Catholic priest, has sought re-entry into Rome’s embrace only to be denied following allegations he had been homosexually seduced by three Roman Catholic priests in his early years. He too was told he could only re-enter the Roman Catholic Church as a layman.

Hepworth now faces ouster as Primate and archbishop when the TAC House of Bishops meets next week in South Africa.

Moyer still faces a lawsuit from his former friend and attorney, John H. Lewis, for fraud following a failed malpractice lawsuit brought by Moyer and several laymen at Good Shepherd. The Church of the Good Shepherd is also undergoing an audit of its books.

Regarding Moyer, Steenson said he hoped that through his efforts to bring reconciliation and contrition, these impediments would be removed someday. At this time, he cannot be ordained in the Catholic Church.

The above was in Virtue Online here.

Msgr Jeffrey Steenson is clearly the right man for the job of establishing an Ordinariate in the United States. He clearly knows what to do (and how to deal) with wayward Anglicans, while pastorally pointing them to the truth.