form of Protestantism commonly associated with the teachings of Martin Luther
In this episode, Rachel leads Sarah, Erin, and Bri in a recap discussion of the latest Lutheran Ladies' Book Club selection: Gene Edward Veith Jr.'s The Spirituality of the Cross: The Way of the First Evangelicals. Why would a Christian author at the height of his career choose a pagan setting (replete with false idols and human sacrifice) for his most mature novel? Why would a man known for both his historical erudition and his devotion to traditional gender roles retell Greek mythology's greatest love story from the perspective of a single woman who is also a reigning queen? What's with all the veils and mirrors (actual and metaphorical) in this book? And what does “till we have faces” mean, anyway? What is so refreshingly distinctive about the way Lutherans understand the concept of vocation? How does the Lutheran doctrine of Two Kingdoms offer us a different way of thinking about what it means to be "in the world but not of the world"? How does a Lutheran view of Christology help us counteract the misguided “prosperity gospel” and reframe the way we understand and experience our own earthly suffering? At the end of the episode, the Ladies choose their next book club pick from a list of lesser known classics by beloved lady novelists: Persuasion by Jane Austen An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery Which book will the Lutheran Ladies read next? Listen to the end of the episode and find out! Click to learn more about Gene Edward Veith Jr.'s The Spirituality of the Cross, to see a complete list of Lutheran Ladies' Book Club picks and runners up, or to revisit past online book club events in the Lutheran Ladies' Lounge Facebook group. Connect with the Lutheran Ladies on social media in The Lutheran Ladies' Lounge Facebook discussion group (facebook.com/groups/LutheranLadiesLounge). Follow us on Instagram @lutheranladieslounge, and also follow Sarah (@hymnnerd), Rachel (@rachbomberger), Erin (@erinaltered), and Bri (@grrrzevske).
We're back! After a crazy summer with full time jobs and Blake getting married, we've finally settled back into a groove and we're releasing episodes recorded in the mini "hiatus." Also this episode marks TWO YEARS of Distilling Theology! A warm "Thank you" to everyone who has listened, joined our discussion group, left us a review, or helped support us on Patreon! It's time. We've finally crossed the threshold that every Reformed podcast must eventually cross: an episode (or series of episodes) on Baptism! With the 1689-credo-affirming Justin in the left corner, and the WCF-paedo- affirming Blake in the right...just kidding, no epic throw downs this week. This episode is more of an overview of the major views of baptism, an affirmation of all that Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians have in common over and against the views of Southern Baptists on the one hand and Lutherans on the other. The guys celebrate the common ground before we jump into specific episodes on 1689 Credobaptism and WCF Paedobaptism respectively after a few week hiatus! You won't want to miss these upcoming episdoes!Enjoy extended episodes, watch us live stream our episodes before they are released, and get access to exclusive bonus content on Patreon, starting at just $4.99 per month: https://patreon.com/distillingtheologyWe've introduced a new $14.99 per month level with some extra perks, including a Patreon-exclusive coffee mug after your first 3 months as a thank you for your support.Distilling Theology is a proud member of the Society of Reformed Podcasts - a network of doctrinally sound podcasts from a Reformed perspective. You can get all the shows in the network by subscribing to the megafeed at https://reformedpodcasts.com/Thanks for listening and as always, whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.Soli deo Gloria!Support the show (https://www.patreon.com/DistillingTheology)
Wretched Radio | Air Date: October 8, 2021 Segment 1 First, Wayne from Namibia writes, “It is tradition for cousins to get married in my tribe…is this a sin?” Segment 2 Then, Why can’t Christ be present in communion? (Catholics, Lutherans, Protestants, and Transubstantiation) Evan from Texas asks what the role of the Holy Spirit is […] The post Why You Can Trust the Bible appeared first on Wretched.
Rev. Dr. Matthew Heise — Executive Director of Lutheran Heritage Foundation, and Rev. Peter Anibati — bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan, join Andy and Sarah to talk about the needs of Lutherans in South Sudan and Sudan, how these needs are being met through Lutheran Heritage Foundation, and how this partnership has been integral in growing Lutheranism in South Sudan and Sudan. Learn more about the Evangelical Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan at elcss-s.org. Learn more about Lutheran Heritage Foundation at lhfmissions.org.
Hagiography happens. Even if you're Protestant. In this episode, we review the history of the saints as both products of the gospel and pathways to the modern practices of science and biography, make the case for why Lutherans and other Protestants should embrace hagiography in an evangelical key, disambiguate veneration from invocation, and, of course, we mention Bonhoeffer. Notes: 1. Among the things I've written on this topic, see "Saints for Sinners," "Luther's Hagiographical Reformation of the Doctrine of Sanctification in His Lectures on Genesis," and my Lutheran Saints series. 2. See also Dad's inadvertent hagiography, Between Humanist Philosophy and Apocalyptic Theology: The Twentieth Century Sojourn of Samuel Stefan Osusky 3. Bartlett, Why Can the Dead Do Such Great Things? 4. Brown, The Body and Society 5. The One Mediator, the Saints, and Mary (Lutheran-Catholic dialogue statement) 6. Haynes, The Bonhoeffer Phenomenon 7. Hendrix, The Faithful Spy 8. Melanchthon, Augsburg Confession and Apology Article XXI on the saints 9. Delehaye, The Legends of the Saints 10. Mattox, Defender of the Most Holy Matriarchs 11. For All the Saints (evangelical Lutheran breviary) 12. I didn't mention it but also see Kolb's study For All the Saints 13. Related episodes: Perpetua and Felicitas, Athanasius against the World, Faith Just Faith, Justification by Faith Revisited, Faith to the Aid of Reason, The Empiricists Strike Back, Slovak Theologian Samuel Stefan Osusky And hey! If you've made it this far in the show notes, you're probably a super fan and should consider declaring yourself as one on Patreon. You can start at just $2 a month (which is basically a buck an episode). Give more monthly and you get swag. Or just pay us a visit at sarahhinlickywilson.com and paulhinlicky.com!
ARCHIVE (circa 2003) The Jesse Lee Peterson Show on God's Learning Channel: Jesse interviews Lutheran Pastor Chris Conner in Odessa, Texas. They touch on the notion that Sundays are the most segregated day of the week in America, and whether it's because of "racism," and false guilt and fear of telling the truth. Can you be born again and have fear? They also talk about men who've become weak. (Program 31-32) TIME STAMPS 0:00 GLC: JLP 0:38 Pastor Chris Conner 1:25 What's Lutheran? 3:10 "Segregated" Sundays? 6:46 Why feel guilty? 12:08 "Racist" no matter what 14:24 Why not be honest? 17:57 Fear when born again? 22:42 Appeasement 24:40 St. Paul church story 27:38 PART 2: Chris Conner 28:11 What is salvation? 31:35 Jesse Jackson: Good or evil? 34:54 Lutherans: same-sex marriage 37:02 On Jesse Jackson 38:55 If Jesus had fear 40:34 Why aren't pastors protesting? 42:43 Because of fear 44:54 Joining forces? 46:05 Most men are weak 47:58 Why are men weak? 50:03 Solution to madness? 51:17 Home first: Spiritual order 53:20 Thank you! Jesse Lee Peterson hosted a show and made numerous appearances on God's Learning Channel between late 2002 and late 2005.
Ted asks about the idea of being centered on Christ. Rod talks about different how non-Lutherans sometimes perceive ‘Christ-centered' to mean vs. the Lutheran perspective, and what a Christian SHOULD be hearing and where the focus SHOULD be in a Christian church. SHOW NOTES: Support the show - https://www.1517.org/donate
We chose to record today's DL just in case the connection went wonky and broke up. But, it didn't, and we managed to get about 70 minutes in today, mainly on two topics -with a brief trip report at the start-. First, we discussed William Lane Craig, his views on Adam, and why this is pretty much just par for the course given the long interaction we have had with Dr. Craig's foundational positions. Then we addressed the baptism debate, raging yet once again due to Jared Longshore's departure from Founders due to his embracing of paedobaptism. Hopefully balanced and useful observations of the key issues in the debate, at least as the debate rages between Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists. I think that debate is very, very different than the debate with, for example, Lutherans on the same topic.
Rev. Terry Kyllo is a Lutheran pastor serving as the director of Paths to Understanding: Bridging Bias and Building Unity. He is the founder of Neighbors in Faith, answering Islamophobia with building the beloved community and recognizing and honoring one another's humanity. A graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, he began his pastoral career in 1991 and has served in partnership between Episcopalians and Lutherans since 2004. Terry was the recipient of the Faith Action Network Interfaith Leadership Award in 2016, the Interfaith Leadership Award from the Muslim Association of Puget Sound in 2017, and the Sultan and Saint Peace award in 2017, and the Called to Lead award in 2018 by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.
The Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton was reelected to serve a second six-year term as ELCA presiding bishop at the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Eaton is the ELCA's fourth presiding bishop and was first elected at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. Eaton earned a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the College of Wooster. As presiding bishop, Eaton travels extensively, representing the ELCA in a variety of capacities. This has included a visit to a Syrian refugee camp; commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with Lutherans from around the world in Namibia; participating in an ecumenical service to commemorate the Reformation in the Lund, Sweden, cathedral with Pope Francis; visiting with migrants in Honduras; and attending the fifth consultation of women pastors and theologians in Tanzania.The Religica Theolab is now at home at The Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement at Seattle UniversityMore from The Religica Theolab at https://religica.orgMore from The Center for Ecumenical and Interreligious Engagement at Seattle University at https://www.seattleu.edu/thecenter/Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Religica.org/Twitter: https://twitter.com/religicaYouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPuwufds6gAu2u6xmm8SBuwSoundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-religicaSpotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/3CZwIO4uGP1voqiVpYdMas?si=0k2-TSmwTkuTQC2rgdGObQApple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/religica/id1448005061?mt=2The Religica Theolab is a comprehensive online platform at the axis of religion and society that provides non-sectarian, coherent, integrated and accessible awareness about the role of religion in society, with a focus on strengthening local communities.
Did Luther Actually Say...? “If men only believe enough in Christ they can commit adultery and murder a thousand times a day without periling their salvation.” — MARTIN LUTHER “This is truly one of the most disturbing things Martin Luther ever said. He would have done well to remember the words of St. Paul, ‘Shall we go on sinning that grace may increase? God forbid it!' Romans 6:1-2. I know that Luther is a very important figure for those in protestantism, for those in the cults, and even for secularists, since all of them trace their movements to a great degree to what Luther did. However, the idea that a person can rape and murder their [sic] way into heaven because they [sic] have ‘imputed' righteousness should be abhorrent to anyone who has the Holy Spirit dwelling in them [sic]. And I think statements like this should at least make us pause and reconsider whether his influence has been for better or worse.” — A SOCIAL MEDIA WRITER WHO DESCRIBES HIMSELF AS A "THEOLOGIAN, MYSTIC, AND PHILOSOPHER" The above quote attributed to Luther was used by a Facebook friend to make a case against forensic justification. It seems this is from Table Talk, though I did not invest the time to run down the quote and secure a page number. But assuming that the quote is true, Dr. Luther's critic puts words into the Wittenberg reformer's mouth, that Luther is expressing a belief that “a person can rape and murder their [sic] way into heaven.” It should be obvious to any scholarly opponent of Luther that this is clearly not the argument that he is making. He is clearly employing the literary device of hyperbole to make a point. It is apparent to anyone willing to be fair-minded about the whole thing that Luther nowhere argues that a person can rape and murder his way into heaven, but rather the argument is that God's grace is greater even than the sins of the world. The use of hyperbole and other figures of speech is nothing new when it comes to theology. In fact, our Lord shocked His hearers by saying that they should poke out their own eyes and chop off their hands and hate their parents, wives, children, and siblings. St. Paul cited an old saying that people living on the Greek Island of Crete “are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons,” adding, “This testimony is true.” One of Paul's more amusing turns of phrase intended for effect is that he wished the guys making such a fuss about circumcision would go big or go home, so to speak, and chop off the whole kit and caboodle. That is, of course, a paraphrase, and it has nothing to do with certain surgical procedures that are all the rage right now. For as long as men have put pen to paper, or chisel to stone, there have been figures of speech. Our Lord often spoke in this way, to the point where the disciples one day were stunned when he spoke to them literally, “Ah, now you are speaking plainly and not using figurative speech!” So I find it hard to believe that a self-professed theologian and philosopher should be dumbstruck by something like a figure of speech on the part of a theologian - especially one as prolific and playful with language as Dr. Martin Luther. In fact, there's a whole lot more where that came from! It's certainly not an honest way to frame someone's beliefs based on a figure of speech pulled out of context. And in fact, this treatment of Luther is not unlike the stunt pulled on our Lord at His trial before the Sanhedrin, when one of His figures of speech was trotted out and trumped up as evidence to suggest that our Lord should be tried as a terrorist under Imperial jurisdiction (where there was conveniently a death penalty). After all, Jesus was conspiring to start an insurrection by talking about destroying buildings. Yes. I'm sure it was an honest mistake on their part rather than the deliberate and dishonest placing of words into our Lord's mouth. And by the way, what I just said was sarcasm, another literary device. As far as defending Luther goes, it goes without saying that Luther was wrong about many things. By definition, he was a poor miserable sinner just like the rest of us, with his own foibles and errors, poor judgment, subject to mental lapses, and with more than enough ability to be wrong about things. That's the nature of being a fallen human being. And many non-Lutherans are under the impression that we canonize Luther's words or treat his writings like sacred oracles. Though history has tagged us with the label “Lutherans,” it does not follow that we are “Lutherists” or “Lutherolatrists.” And it also goes without saying that Luther was a brilliant and prolific theologian, professor, scholar, church father, lecturer, preacher, and debater. But again, we do not impute infallibility to him, even though his name was put upon us. But Luther's greatest work was not in the scholarly realm, but in the pastoral. For when He spoke the words of Holy Scripture, he was infallible. When he pronounced absolution, he spoke as an oracle of God - as do all pastors. His greatest works were his evangelical proclamation, baptizing, absolving, and administering the Holy Eucharist, speaking and acting ex officio in the stead and by the command of Christ. Perhaps some Lutherans go too far in their admiration of Luther. And perhaps this is an unfortunate result of his name being placed on those of us whose churches confess the Augsburg Confession. All that said, Luther is as entitled as anyone else of being quoted fairly, in having figures of speech interpreted as they were intended, and not in a comical, cartoonish literal sense that would make him out to be a monster - which is precisely what this writer did. As far as the author's invocation of Romans 6:1-2, Luther did indeed “remember the words of St. Paul,” and what's more, he preached, lectured, and wrote on these very verses - even as he lectured extensively on the Epistle to the Romans. Lecturing on Genesis 29:1-3, probably in 1542, Luther cites Romans 6:2: “For promises are not given for the purpose of snoring, loafing, and sleeping, or for doing what is in conflict with the promise. No, they are given for working, being watchful, and bearing fruit. Thus I am not baptized, do not partake of the Lord's Supper, and am not absolved for the purpose of sleeping and snoring at home in idleness. But if you have the promise, Baptism, and absolution, remember that you have been called to be watchful and to be anxiously concerned about the things that pertain to your faith and calling. ‘How can we who died to sin still live in it?' says St. Paul (Rom 6:2). We are not absolved from sins in order that we may live for them and serve them, but in order that we may fight against them and stoutly persevere in the promise, in order that I may chastise and mortify my flesh and bear it with a calm mind when God imposes a cross, in order that we may be purged and bring forth richer fruit. ‘By this,' says Christ, ‘My heavenly Father is glorified, if you become my disciples,' (cf. John 15:8); that is, if you suffer as I did, and if you become like Me. For he who is not a ‘Crosstian.' so to speak, is not a Christian; for he is not like Christ, his Teacher.” — AE 5:274 Or consider Luther's lecture on Isaiah 43 (covering verse 24, probably in 1529) in which he posits: “Only this teaching of Christ frees us from our burden. One has sinned, another bears the punishment…. The sinner does not make satisfaction: the Satisfier does not sin. This is an astounding doctrine.” He goes on to say how this doctrine of Christ's satisfaction for us can well be abused: “This teaching opens window and door to carnal people, who say, ‘Let us do evil that good may come of it, because we have someone to make satisfaction' (cf. Rom 6:1). Although this offense arises, this teaching must not be silenced. Scripture fights against it altogether. If we are freed from sins, it is not proper for us to take them up again. As if one cured and freed from a fever should embrace it again by an evil and extravagant life.” — AE: 17:99 In his 1539 treatise On the Councils and the Church, Dr. Luther also famously railed against antinomians who might have said something like “Listen! Though you are an adulterer, a whoremonger, a miser, or other kind of sinner, if you but believe, you are saved, and you need not fear the law. Christ has fulfilled it all!” To this, Luther replied: “For there is no such Christ that died for sinners who do not, after the forgiveness of sins, desist from sins and lead a new life.” So our self-described theologian, mystic, and philosopher - who deduces that Luther was somehow teaching the ability to “rape and murder [one's] way into heaven”, and that this is the result of the doctrine of imputed righteousness - has either not read very much of Luther's works, or he is deliberately lying to defame and debase, and to win people dishonestly to his side. The charitable thing would be to conclude the former (that is, ignorance) rather than the latter (that is, malice).
On today's program, a controversial pastor has been banned from Twitter, and the Boy Scouts have reached a massive $1.8-billion agreement with sexual abuse victims, but will it hold up? We begin today with news that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America installed its first openly transgender bishop in a service held in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral last Saturday. And the United Methodist Church is suing one of its own congregations. The producers for today's program are Rich Roszel and Steve Gandy. We get database and other technical support from Cathy Goddard, Stephen DuBarry, and Casey Sudduth. Writers who contributed to today's program include Christina Darnell, Rod Pitzer, Kim Roberts, Steve Rabey, Randall Chase, Anne Stych, and Bob Smietana. Until next time, may God bless you.
Rev. Sean Daenzer, LCMS Director of Worship and International Center Chaplain, joins Andy and Sarah to talk about the festival of Holy Cross Day in our church year, including the history of this festival in greater church history, how we as Lutherans observe this festival that seems a bit odd in our Lutheran doctrine, and a beautiful hymn for this day, "Sing My Tongue, the Glorious Battle."
Kimmer Show #314, Password issues, Busy sports weekend, Drone strike gone bad, Nice comments from the internet, Dahmer party - reservation for 3, Same ole Falcons, Well Fargo shady as ever, Cat saved by the American flag, Covid numbers revealed to be misleading for political purposes, What's up with Lutherans, Lib magazine shows woke culture craziness, bad texting theatre and more fun stuff on today's Kimmer-cast Support the show (http://Patreon.com/KimmerShow)
Just in time for the 2021-2022 academic year, Bri's asking a “Big Question” for back-to-school season: Does Lutheran education make you a Lutheran? Every Lutheran's educational journey is different—and in this open and honest conversation, the Lutheran Ladies share their own Lutheran school stories as well as those of their listeners online. From pre-K through university, Lutheran schools provide academically excellent, spiritually formative education to Lutherans and non-Lutherans alike. But are they worth it? (Spoiler alert: yes.) Click to learn more about LCMS K-12 education and the Concordia University System, or to find a Lutheran school near you. Connect with the Lutheran Ladies on social media in The Lutheran Ladies' Lounge Facebook discussion group (facebook.com/groups/LutheranLadiesLounge). Follow us on Instagram @lutheranladieslounge, and also follow Sarah (@hymnnerd), Rachel (@rachbomberger), Erin (@erinaltered), and Bri (@grrrzevske).
We look at calls to make English the capital's official language, ask why registered Lutherans have to study religion in school and explore the complexity of human nature. This week's show was presented by Zena Iovino and Egan Richardson. The producer was Mark B. Odom and the sound engineer was Laura Koso. Let us know what you think via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909. 2 September 2021 / All Points North / Yle News
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13) 53 The other night, was so amazed. A little woman come up to the platform. That big three-hundred-thousand-dollar place there, and she had a little make-up stuff on her face. She stood there and she started trembling. I said, “You're a Lutheran,” by the Holy Spirit. She said, “Yes, sir.” 54 And I said, “You're here to be prayed for. And the reason you're walking the way you are, both knees had been broke.” I said, “That was caused by a car accident, and a car that you were driving in, four years ago.” She said, “That's true.” 55 I said, “Your doctor is a little, short fellow, bald-headed and wears glasses.” Said, “That's right.” 56 And I said, “He is doctoring because of in the—the knees, the bone has become tubercular, and even the flesh is a rottening around the bone.” She said, “That is right.” And she says, “Is there a hope for me?” 57 I said, “That depends on your approach to the Lord Jesus.” I said… She said, “Can you help me?” 58 I said, “No, ma'am. No one can help you now. But you have to help yourself to God's provided blessings for you.” And she said, “I now believe with all my heart.” 59 I said, “The Lord healed you, sister. It's THUS SAITH THE LORD. You're healed.” 60 She said, “Mr. Branham, I haven't been able to kneel,” she said, “for four years.” While weeping, standing there, rubbing her hands. And a great audience of people weeping, watching her; Lutherans, Presbyterians. And I said, “Why don't you go down to the altar and kneel down?” 61 She said, “Let me kneel right here, right where I'm healed.” She had never moved from her steps, but she knew she was healed. Something took place. See? She knew it. There wasn't any guessing about it. I said, “Kneel down.” 62 And for the first time in four years, with both knees broke and all calloused over, made over, the bones together; that woman, like a young woman, knelt on her knees with the tears streaming from her cheeks, raised up her hands to God. Well, just raised right up from there, just as easy, like a little girl, and tipped off the platform. What was it? God had to make a way for that. 63 Now, He sent doctors, that's right. And doctors are fine, and they had done all they could do. But God had made a way. That's it. See? After the doctor had failed, in his way, God's way is so much higher than our way. What a wonderful thing! 56-0304 - "Making A Way" Rev. William Marrion Branham ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Order your own copy of the Family Altar at http://store.bibleway.org Appreciate what we do? Consider supporting us: https://anchor.fm/ten-thousand-worlds/support --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/ten-thousand-worlds/message Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/ten-thousand-worlds/support
J.P and Aimee Cima, who serve the Lord as missionaries in the Kingdom of Cambodia, join Andy and Sarah to talk about the challenges of serving during the pandemic, the joys of partnering with Lutherans in the Kingdom of Cambodia, and home service in the United States. Read their story and how to support their work at lcms.org/cima and on their photo blog at cimafam.com.
The Future is Now “Based upon the logic I've heard from other pastors over the past 15 months, if experts & elected officials declare Climate Change a global emergency, pastors will close their churches again. After all, “gathering isn't essential”, “we're not climatologists”, “love your neighbour”, “it's life or death”, “zoom church is suitable”, “the $ fines will be too high”, & “Rom 13”. ” — THE REV. AARON ROCK Pastor Aaron Rock, a Neo-Evangelical minister who serves Harvest Bible Church in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, who wrote the above on Facebook, seems to understand ecclesiology better than a lot of Lutherans - even lacking the belief that what happens at the altar and in the sanctuary during Holy Communion is a literal miracle in which Christ is truly present in His body and blood. Canada is becoming quite an oppressive state. One recent example is the severe lockdown that went into effect just hours before Easter Sunday this year. On Good Friday, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau acknowledged the “long weekend” (a wonderful euphemism for the holiest day of the year to some two billion people) and that “we're all going to have to do things differently again this year.” Article Two of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees that “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly; and freedom of association.” Well, sort of. For Article One preemptively takes away those freedoms when the State decides citizens don't have freedom of religion, thought, belief, opinion, expression, press, assembly and association: “only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.” The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (the first ten amendments of which are known as the Bill of Rights) does not include such a disclaimer - such a disclaimer implying that one's “rights” are not rights at all - which come from God - but are actually State grants of privilege. That said, we have seen our governments - federal, state, and local - act as though they did have the Canadian Loophole in them. In fact, many countries - including Communist China - also “guarantee” religious freedom, albeit with the Canadian Loophole. And this shows the real value of such lofty government “guarantees.” The past couple years caught the Church by surprise, and we learned not only a lot about our governmental leaders, but also about our church leaders. We have learned a lot about ourselves, and what we really believe, teach, and confess regardless of what we say on paper: in Scripture and in the confessions. Whether or not you agree with Pastor Rock regarding the danger of government overreach related to “climate change,” it is hard to be so Pollyannish as to believe that we will not have future conflicts with the State in whether or not our services are “essential,” whether our God-given rights trump positive law, whether their constitutional limitations are real or only theoretical, and whether or not the Ekklesia (Church) can long exist where there is no ekklesia (assembly). Sadly, some people will never return to assemble with the saints again, seeking instead convenient Zoom sessions that they can watch in their pajamas. We have opened the proverbial can. But as for future government “emergencies,” we need to start talking about this now. At what point do we comply? And for how long? At what point do we resist openly? At what point do we take the Divine Service underground in defiance of the State? These are questions for individual believers, families, congregations, districts, synods, and the church catholic. And we confessional Lutherans need to crush underfoot any and all heretical and oxymoronic suggestions such as lay-communion or remote electronic consecration, not to mention granting the State unconditional authority based on a flawed reading of Romans 13. The time to wrestle with these issues is not in the middle of a crisis when pastors, congregations, and families have a window of opportunity to do whatever they want with impunity - whether out of well-intentioned ignorance, or by carefully planned stealth. After all, as the saying goes, never let a crisis go to waste. Thank you to Pastor Rock for calling Christians to deal with future “emergencies” by talking about them now.
It's a back-to-school special in our third installment of "Ask the Armed Lutherans." The cast answer the question "What did you want to be when you were a kid and how/why did that change?" And we share advice for young people (and their parents) who are looking ahead to their futures. Segments [00:00] - Blooper [00:40] - Opening and welcome [02:35] - Thanks to our Patrons [03:59] - Introducing the Topic [05:19] - Lloyd's Answer [22:27] - Mia's Answer [29:48] - Sgt. Bill's Answer [33:47] - Pastor Bennett's Answer [41:02] - Show Close Meet the Cast Lloyd Bailey - http://www.armedlutheran.us/about/ Mia Anstine - http://www.armedlutheran.us/mia/ Sergeant Bill Silvia - http://www.armedlutheran.us/bill/ Pastor John Bennett - http://www.armedlutheran.us/pastor/ Prayer of the Week Almighty and everlasting God, who are always more ready to hear than we to pray and give more than we either desire or deserve, pour down upon us the abundance of Your mercy, forgiving those things of which our conscience is afraid and giving us those good things that we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Christ, our Lord; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. Use these Links to Support Armed Lutheran Radio Armed Lutheran Radio is a listener-supported podcast. If you value the information and entertainment we provide, consider supporting the show by joining our membership site, or shopping at your favorite online stores using the links below. Join the Reformation Gun Club! - http://gunclub.armedlutheran.us BUY the new Armed Lutheran Book - Duty to Defend Check out the other Great Armed Lutheran Books - http://www.ArmedLutheran.us/Books Shop at Amazon* - http://www.armedlutheran.us/amazon Shop at GunMagWarehouse* - http://www.armedlutheran.us/mags Get Regular Refills Coffee Subscriptions at Dunkin' Donuts* - www.ArmedLutheran.us/Coffee Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network - https://www.armedcitizensnetwork.org Get in Touch Visit our Feedback Page - http://www.armedlutheran.us/feedback Please tell your friends about us, leave an iTunes review, and like us on Facebook Join our Facebook group - http://www.armedlutheran.us/facebook Subscribe to us and follow us on Youtube - http://www.armedlutheran.us/youtube Follow us on Twitter - http://www.armedlutheran.us/twitter And search for us on Instagram - http://www.armedlutheran.us/instagram Check Out More at our Website- http://www.armedlutheran.us Disclaimer The links above which are indicated with an asterisk (*) are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these items, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you. Keep Shooting, Keep Praying, We'll Talk to you Next time!
Luecke Contra Baptism I would like to thank the Rev. Dr. David S. Luecke for providing a stark contrast between his Church Growth Movement (CGM) approach to liturgy and sacraments vs. what Gottesdienst has been not only advocating, but putting into practice for going on thirty years. His undated piece “Avoid Sacramentalism in Ministry” from his What Happened to our Churches? blog is a case in point. This article is a valuable example of why Gottesdienst exists, and why the work of pastors and the laity in the ongoing restoration of biblical theology and reverence in worship is not only needed, but is making a difference. He begins his piece by pointing out that the local Baptist Moody radio station “dropped broadcasts of the Lutheran hour” because of The Lutheran Hour's emphasis on “Baptism as a key to salvation.” He laments this as a “first-class communications problem,” and the fault for this “error” was “with Lutheran preachers.” He accuses Lutheran pastors of holding to an ex opere operato theology of Holy Baptism divorced from the Word and from the Holy Spirit. Luecke sums up his explanation of how salvation works, that the Holy Spirit works through the Word, and the water merely “visualizes” the Word. He never mentions Jesus or the cross in his mini-presentation of the ordo salutis in his own words. In fact, Dr. Luecke has a strange articulation of his confession of the Holy Trinity: All Protestants affirm the Trinity of Three Persons in One God, a concept very hard to understand. Calvinist focus on the First-Person God the Father. Lutherans emphasize the Second-Person God the Son. God the Spirit has been much neglected mostly because his role as Lord and Giver of church life was not needed when lively church life was heavily institutionalized. The rapidly growing Pentecostal movement of the last 100 years features the Third-Person Spirit. For Paul Christ and the Holy Spirit are inter-changeable. He attributes the same function in one place to Christ and another place to the Spirit. For Paul the Spirit is Christ present with us now [emphasis added]. Dr. Luecke's assertion of Lutheran pastors severing faith from Holy Baptism is a straw man argument. He never sites any source of this apparently rampant false doctrine among Lutheran clergy, in which Baptism is treated as a magic ceremony independent of the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, and presumably, our Lord Jesus Christ who told us to “make disciples” by baptizing them in the first place. And Dr. Luecke blames the Lutherans (Walt Kowalsky was right!) and acts as if being removed from the Moody radio station is a bad thing. In reality, The Lutheran Hour deserves kudos for not being afraid to confess our theology. Were a Baptist to read the Small Catechism's seven questions and answers on the Chief Part of Holy Baptism, he would reject it as false doctrine. I was raised in the Baptist Church. I'm grateful for the biblical instruction that I had as a child, as well as learning who Jesus is and why the cross matters. The people of my little Baptist congregation were confessors of the Gospel. That said, Baptists and Lutherans believe entirely different things about Holy Baptism. Moody's doctrinal statement is utterly silent about the sacraments. Dr. Luecke admits that Baptists reject infant baptism, mirroring their snarky tone about “sprinkling water on a baby” having nothing to do with one's “relationship with God.” Dr. Luecke also uses the curious term “water baptism” - a distinction often used among charismatics to distinguish actual baptism from a laying on of hands that accompanies “speaking in tongues” (which they call “baptism of the Spirit”). As an aside, Dr. Luecke says that he doesn't have the “gift of tongues,” but he recognizes modern glossolalia as valid in a response to a person who claims to “speak in tongues”: I did not intend to belittle something that has been a defining feature for millions of enthusiastic believers. I intended just to say that I have not been given that gift. I am appealing to a much broader audience than those who have had the experience of speaking in tongues. I gave my understanding of it as an emotional expression. Many Lutheran pastors have hostility toward charismatics from the conflicts involving charismatics in congregations in the 60s and 70s. I respect charismatics for their energy. Yours is the first expression of your prayer language being very rational. God bless your gift and the Giver. Moody is also to be commended for their faithfulness to their theology. They recognize what Luecke doesn't want to: that neo-Evangelicals and Lutherans have incompatible theologies of baptism, and of the sacraments in general. Dr. Luecke longs for a kind of faux unity by having The Lutheran Hour either compromise our theology, or dishonestly put it under a bushel. Dr. Luecke recognizes the inroads of the liturgical renewal that began in the middle of the twentieth century, as North American Lutherans began to dig out of the Pietist hole that their forbears, trying to fit in with a contemporary Protestant culture, fell into decades earlier - a cultural upheaval when the English language displaced the German during and after World War One. He describes his discomfort with “young pastors” and their “tendency toward sacramentalism” - which he defines as “treating the sacraments as more important than the Word.” Again, this is a straw man. The problem is actually the opposite of Dr. Luecke's complaint. While it is still not uncommon for a Lutheran congregation to have a Service of the Word without Holy Communion, I have never heard of a Service of the Sacrament without the Word. Can Dr. Luecke point to a single example of a Lutheran Divine Service that skips the Bible readings, omits the sermon, and heads right into the Eucharist? But we do see, again and again, especially in non-liturgical “church growth” congregations, the omission of the Sacrament rather than the omission of the Word. In some cases, non-liturgical churches boast about their “seeker sensitive” approach that pushes the Sacrament of the Altar to the fringes, perhaps only celebrating it once a month. I cannot imagine how malnourishing such a bland diet would be. It is a repudiation of our confession that Holy Communion strengthens our faith. And this is why Christians from time immemorial gathered on the Lord's Day for the “breaking of bread” - that is until men of Dr. Luecke's generation and inclination decided that what we needed was less Holy Communion. As to the accusation of “treating the sacraments as more important than the Word,” Gottesdienst's print journal is immersed in the Word of God. I've been the sermons editor for more than a decade. Every issue includes sermons. We insist that preaching be bound by, and centered on, the biblical text, the Word of God, as opposed to anecdotes, cutesy stories, emotional glurge, object lessons, or pop culture commentary. We also have regular columns devoted to the exegesis of Scripture. I have been to many Divine Services and other prayer offices at Gottesdienst events. The Word is always powerfully preached and proclaimed. I have never seen Dr. Luecke in attendance at any of them. This is a common straw man among our critics, that we - as I heard recently - pay more attention to “the proper form of a stole to proclaiming the pure Gospel” - and that this explains the decline of Christianity in our country, in the west, and around the world. This mirrors Dr. Luecke's Theology of Glory, in which he asserts that the number of the butts in the pews is in direct proportion to the faithfulness of the preacher and the correctness of the church's method of worship. The fact of the matter is that the editors and bloggers of Gottesdienst are parish pastors, some having been for decades - not primarily professors, experts in industrial organization, bureaucrats, theorists, academicians, or consultants about how to grow a church. And in the course of years of actual parish ministry, one sees the power of the Word of God, through preaching, through Baptism and the Lord's Supper, through Confession and Absolution, through praying the Psalms, through the liturgy, on deathbeds, in times of personal and family angst, in tragedy, in bringing Christ to bear in the midst of the Culture of Death and a world that is repulsed by the cross. Actual parish pastors baptize the babies - sometimes with an eye dropper. They also bury the babies and console the grieving parents who are comforted by our emphasis on baptism. They also baptize adults, and in some cases, the elderly. They teach the Word in Bible classes, in youth catechesis, and in sermons - week in and week out. They bring both Word and Sacrament to shut-ins and to the hospitalized. They proclaim the Word of God as their parishioners breathe out their final breath on this side of the grave. And in fact, we are so focused on the Word of God, we use the traditional liturgy! Your Lutheran Service Book (LSB) has the biblical references embedded in the liturgy on every page. The Church has used the liturgy for well over 1,500 years precisely because the liturgy is grounded in the living Word of God. In fact, the deviants from the liturgy are those who move away from the Word into the realm of either reason (as many of the Reformed do), emotion (as many neo-Evangelicals do), phony signs and wonders (as many Pentecostals and Charismatics do), or magisterial mysticism (as many Roman Catholics do). Dr. Luecke suffers from the Grass Is Always Greener syndrome - as do many cradle Lutherans who take their treasure for granted. As a convert, I see the futility of lusting after popularity by adopting worship alien to our confessions. I have been there, and done that - with all of its strengths and weaknesses. The reality is that we have the best of both worlds in our Lutheran confession: a rigorous cruciform theology informed not by direct revelation, the magisterium, or by a complex matrix of popes and councils, not by logic and reason, not by ginned up emotion and navel-gazing, but by the Word of God, sola scriptura. And we retain the biblical practice of baptismal regeneration and of the Lord's own words concerning His Supper (as the great I AM proclaims the great THIS IS), as well as retaining the biblical practice of Holy Absolution according to our Lord's institution. Dr. Luecke presents a false either/or dichotomy that offers us only option A) The Word or option B) the sacraments, without an option C) all of the above. And in fact, the real, fully-lived Christian life is not a multiple choice quiz, but rather an essay, a narrative, that is, the Gospel of Jesus Christ: His incarnation, birth, ministry, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, and the consummation of His coming again in glory. I would agree with Dr. Luecke if his critique were a caution against the danger falling into ex opere operato (seeing baptism and all other liturgical acts as a work severed from faith). For this warning is strewn about the Book of Concord. It is one of the chief criticisms of Rome. And where I see it is in the good intention of grandparents whose faithless children will not baptize or raise their own children in the faith. And so pious grandparents, lovingly desperate for the salvation of their grandchildren, will sometimes inquire about bringing their grandchildren to church to baptize them independent of the parents' wishes or intention to raise them as Christians. Sometimes grandparents will ask about doing a sort-of secret emergency baptism themselves (a situation so common that an episode of All in the Family depicted Archie Bunker doing this very thing). Their motivation is love. But we have to gently remind them that baptism is not a silver bullet, that faith matters, that like a seed that is watered, the ongoing life of the seedling requires ongoing care lest it die. Those with any time in the pastoral office has had to encounter this real-world situation. But Dr. Luecke is instead condemning those who worship by means of the liturgy, in “traditional churches,” and especially in “highly liturgical churches” and their pastors who emphasize Holy Baptism in the life of the Christian. Dr. Luecke refers back to Dr. Luther's famous dictum that when he was tormented by the devil, he would made the good confession: “I am baptized.” Dr. Luecke cautions, “This can be taken to mean he relied on the act of water baptism for his identity as a believer.” This shows that Dr. Luecke doesn't understand the Lutheran confession of Holy Baptism. Baptism is our identity as a believer. It is how disciples are made. It is the objective declaration of God of His objective work of regeneration. Otherwise, Dr. Luther would not refer back to it, but would rather exclaim, “I have faith.” The problem is that faith is subjective. It is impossible to quantify. Holy Baptism is objective. It is binary: you either are, or you are not. And Holy Baptism delivers faith. Nowhere in the Scriptures are we taught to sever the two, nor are we to treat baptism as a mere human act publicly acknowledging our faith (as is the Baptist confession). Rather, we confess baptism as “the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” To be baptized is to be born again. And in our first birth, we draw our first breath in the world. In our second birth, we draw our first breath in eternity. How can a Lutheran remove baptism from his identity? Baptism and faith are intertwined, but it is baptism that is the objective, extra nos reality to which a person whose faith may be tried and frayed can point. And that reality delivers faith as a gift. The remembrance of baptism strengthens our faith. Faith is not substitute for baptism. This is a theology alien to our Lutheran confession. I remember listening to the radio on a long drive across the entire state of Pennsylvania and the only thing I could pick up was a religious station. A Baptist pastor was preaching a thunderous fire-and-brimstone sermon, but at one point in his preaching, he broke down in tears. He could not determine if his faith were sufficient. He was broken and demoralized, and had no objective means of faith, nothing outside of himself and his own sinful works to which to anchor himself. This is the crabgrass that Dr. Luecke is peering at over the fence, convincing himself that it is greener. And it is, like the “sign” of “speaking in tongues,” a navel-gazing subjective self-validation of one's salvation as opposed to the objective, divinely-focused nature of Holy Baptism as a reality of the New Birth in a Christian's life. Dr. Luecke criticizes the mid twentieth century rediscovery of the liturgy as a blessing to the faith and life of the individual Christian and of the Church, as a “wrong turn.” He creates another straw man that emphasizing “renewing the forms and rituals of public worship” is antithetical to “the Word of God itself” and to “relationships.” This is not only factually untrue, it is a weird display of mental gymnastics. For ritual doesn't take away from relationships. In fact, all forms of relationships involve ritual. For example, I don't know if Dr. Lueke is married or not, but if so, I would be willing to wager that this entrance into a sacred relationship with his wife was accompanied by ritual, and it was probably quite traditional. She probably wore a wedding dress as opposed to a pair of blue jeans. Likewise, he was probably wearing, if not a tuxedo, some form of suit and tie (a form of male vesture dating back to the Pagan French Revolution). The wedding service was likely liturgical, as opposed to being ex corde. Interestingly, in my experience, weddings are an example in which Baptists actually follow a more liturgical form than the usual loosely-liturgical Sunday service. Words are read out of the book, and the couple and the pastor engage in a formal rote recitation. And likewise, married- and family-life involves a lot of rituals. I don't know if Dr. Luecke has children or not, but if so, I would bet that every year on the natal anniversary of his wife and children, the family would gather for a liturgy of sorts, a ritual involving a special meal, candles, and the singing of a particular traditional song. And far from standing in opposition to the idea of relationship, such rituals are like glue that bonds relationships. I wonder what Dr. Lueke thinks of the traditional ritual of celebrating one's baptismal birthday with the lighting of a candle and saying certain prayers. And of course, there are many social liturgies, like the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem, fireworks on the fourth, handshakes, retirement dinners, clinking glasses together in a toast, the seventh-inning stretch, the starting pistol at the beginning of the race, clapping at the conclusion of a recital, eating popcorn at the movie theater, etc. All of these rituals foster relationships. They do not impede them. In the Church, we often refer to the Lord's Supper as “Holy Communion.” It is a “communion,” a ritual act of relationship between believers and God as well as believers to each other. How liturgy is seen in opposition to such relationships beggars belief. Nearly every act of human relationship involves rituals, formal and informal. Social iconoclasm leads only to the breakdown of civilization and the destruction of the faith - not to mention a destruction of relationships through deracination and atomization, creating a vacuum to be filled with a selfish desire for personal entertainment and the treating of “butts in the pews” as an impersonal, ego-driven barometer of faith and faithfulness. Dr. Luecke displays a shocking ignorance of history and of the Bible itself by arguing that “the roots” of our liturgical rituals: go back to the fourth century when the now-official Christian church began adopting special rituals, robes, and parades with incense of pagan worship. Pagan worship was meant to impress the gods, so they would look favorably on human efforts. Quality was important for that purpose. Emphasizing those rituals led to the sacramentalism that forms were more important than the Word of God itself. And herein lies the heart of the matter of Dr. Luecke's iconoclastic rebellion against the liturgy and the sacraments - and to be blunt, his rebellion against the Word of God itself. While some of our specific clerical vestments have their roots in the Greco-Roman world of our Lord, the apostles, and the Pagan (and later Christian) Roman Empire, the idea of liturgical vestments when ministering in the presence of God is an Old Testament idea. That which Dr. Luecke dismissively calls “robes” and other liturgical accoutrements are, per his argument, of Pagan origin to “impress the gods.” If Dr. Luecke were to read Exodus and Leviticus, he would learn what God's preferences are. When He appeared to Moses in the burning bush, God instructed Moses to remove his sandals, as this was a place of holiness - set apart from the ordinary because of the miraculous presence of God. He did not tell Moses “come as you are” or champion casualness as a virtue in the presence of God. And our Lutheran confession of the Lord's Supper is that it is a miracle, that Jesus is truly present in an incarnate, physical form occupying space and time. It is His same body born of the Virgin Mary, the same blood shed on the cross. It is not a symbol. It is not a “spiritual presence.” It is a miraculous manifestation of God in our midst: God in our sanctuary, God on our altar, God given to us to eat and drink and take into ourselves bodily, according to His Word and institution. This is why our churches are called “sanctuaries” - holy places - no less holy than the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle and temple. Why we would treat this most sublime gift and reality with anything less than complete awe and wonder and reverence can only be described by one word: disbelief. When the time came for the Lord to dwell among His people by means of His miraculous presence, the Lord Himself instructed that a beautiful tabernacle be constructed, with specific instructions for top quality items of beauty to be used in a liturgical setting. The priests were to be vested as they carried out their ministry, with fine linen, gems, and colorful cloth of superlative workmanship. God's house was to be adorned in the finest of silver and gold and other metals, with beautiful fabrics and artwork. And there are also liturgical instructions regarding ordinations, daily and weekly worship, and an annual calendric cycle. And it is impossible to read the Lord's worship preferences and not come away convinced that God prefers liturgy, ritual, beauty, reverence, and yes, “quality” when it comes to His presence on earth. There are no examples in Scripture of the miraculous presence of God being accompanied by come-as-you-are casualness and an entertainment emphasis. And there was also incense. Incense is a powerful image, the use of which is mandated in Old Testament worship, is referred to in Psalm 141 as symbolic of prayer, was presented to our Lord by the Magi, was part of our Lord's ritual of His burial, and is also mentioned numerous times in the Book of Revelation. Incense is not of Pagan origin, but Pagans copied it from the worship of the true God. The words “incense” and “frankincense” appear 110 times in the ESV translation, including both God's delight in it, as well as his condemnation of it being offered to false gods, or even to Himself by those who were not called to lead worship. Dr. Luecke's brand of de-emphasis of baptism, his anticlericalism and his innovationism is the real problem in the Church. It must be stamped out by constant and consistent catechesis (including by the teaching that happens by means of ceremonies), by a renewed biblical literacy, by a rediscovery of our Book of Concord and our Church History, by liturgical preaching, by embracing not American sectarianism but our Evangelical Catholic confession of the traditional, unchanging, apostolic faith, and by rejecting the idea that popularity is what determines righteousness. This latter one is the rotten fruits of the Church Growth Movement's libido numerandi and lusting after the ego-stroke of big churches and big budgets. Can you imagine if we raised our children to cultivate a desire to be popular? Would we advise our sons to do drugs? Would we advise our daughters to be promiscuous? Why do CGM advocates embrace worldly popularity as a gage of “church success.” Have they not read our Lord's words? Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. These two verses are a repudiation of Dr. Luecke's entire career as a CGM advocate. I would posit that if he has baptized one baby in the course of his ministry, he has done more good for the growth of the kingdom than his entire corpus of books and articles. And when our Lord returns to this decimated, fallen world finding only a remnant of believers, He will not scold us for not being worldly enough, with our churches being too small, with not enough butts in the pews - but will commend His Bride for her faithfulness to His Word, promise, and command: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
On Gran Torino I used to enjoy movies, that is, before they all became preachy and “woke,” eager to push a Critical Theory Neo-Marxist narrative, and turning Christians and other demographic groups, into villains. In 2008, as the Hollywood Revolution was moving into overdrive, and as filmmaking was quickly descending into the septic tank, actor/director Clint Eastwood produced a gem of cultural iconoclasm: a movie truly worth watching, called Gran Torino. Eastwood plays the main character, Walt Kowalski, a crotchety Korean War veteran who lives in a changing suburban neighborhood in Detroit. His once-white neighborhood is being repopulated by Hmongs, who are people of a stateless Southeast Asian nationality who live in Cambodia and Vietnam, and who allied themselves with South Vietnam and the Americans during the Vietnam War. Many Hmongs were resettled as refugees in the United States following the communist takeover of Vietnam after the US withdrawal. In fact, at my baptism in 1982, I was given the washing of regeneration and renewal with seven other adults: all Hmong. There is an interesting conversation in the film between Kowalski and his neighbor Sue (the young adult Hmong woman whom he rescues from a dangerous situation). She explains to him about the Hmong, and said that “the Lutherans” resettled them in the United States. The Roman Catholic character Kowalski retorts with the memorable line: “Everybody blames the Lutherans.” Without resorting to spoilers, the theme of the movie is sin and redemption - with clear and unmistakable Christological symbolism. The persistent Roman Catholic pastor is actually a heroic figure in the movie, unlike the usual Hollywood paradigm of presenting Christians and clergy as predators or criminals. Father Janovich, who recently buried Kowalski's wife, nags Kowalski to unburden himself in confession, knowing that his soul is scarred by incidents that happened in the war. There is imagery of the baptismal font that Eastwood places into the picture at crucial moments. There is also the symbolism of the cross and of blood - though the movie is not gratuitously violent or gory (though it does have a good bit of profanity, just so you're aware). The title comes from the name of the car that Kowalski not only owns, but had assembled in his days as a Detroit Ford auto worker. It symbolizes a kind of freedom and innocence of an era that has passed. The car becomes the object of an attempted crime, later, a symbol of friendship, trust, forgiveness, and love - and once more as the physical manifestation of redemption, of returning to the state of freedom and innocence. The movie deals with racism, but not in the usual stilted, politically-correct, scoldy, cartoonish way that has become the norm, but rather in a refreshingly human and sympathetic way that allows for forgiveness and growth - one at odds with the current Social Justice Warrior approach of cancel culture, of the perpetually-offended, and the destruction of people's lives. Kowalski's character is complex and authentic: a man who is brutally honest, bearing the scars of warfare, bigoted, but one whose bigotry is overcome by human contact and his own sense of honor. He finds common ground with his Hmong neighbors over and against the hypocrisy of his own kith and kin. The movie is also filled with ethnic humor, which shows the clear distinction between the playful and even affectionate acknowledgement of ethnic and cultural realities between friends vs actual racism. This honest portrayal of normal collegial banter has been panned by contemporary viewers who are scandalized by the words used in the film. Of course, they cry that the film is “racist” - when in fact, it is the diametric opposite. This misrepresentation is because our immediate culture is afraid of normal, human interaction and is on a hair-trigger looking for forbidden thoughts at every turn, even vilifying, if not criminalizing, normal interpersonal interaction. Of course, in the real world of sanity and normalcy, friends, colleagues, and co-workers recognize our differences, and we acknowledge them with humor across the board, equally, instead of the current politically-correct paradigm of banning all such humor and replacing it with genuine, targeted, and debilitating hatred against certain “acceptable” demographic targets for genuine racism and abuse. Gran Torino cuts through all of that, and presents a normal, complex, lovable man underneath a gruff exterior while making use of clear imagery of the atonement and the sacraments to show God's transformative mercy at work. The movie is funny, touching, gritty, honest, and uplifting, but not in the usual contrived Hollywood way. The end of the film comes around to the beginning, as most great storytelling does. It is a master class for Social Justice Warriors to learn the difference between actual racism and healthy human banter and affectionate humor that naturally emerges where people are free. It is also a confession of the atonement, of redemption, of the forgiveness of sins, of love, and the peace that surpasses all understanding. If you have not seen the film, I highly recommend it. And never forget the dictum: “Everybody blames the Lutherans.”
After their discussion with the Lutherans, the brothers reflect on the priority of the Word for the Lord's Day service.
"I believe what I believe is what makes me who I am". In this episode, Daniel explains how the world of science and technical achievement is not enough to place our hope. Those with Parkinson's understand how little is known about how the brain works. There is so little that is understood about Parkinson's. Research does not always bear encouraging fruit. In the darkness, we must answer the question of whether the Lord is who He says He is. Denominations have strived to have the answers we are looking for. Catholics, Baptist, Methodist, Lutherans, Assemblies of God, etc. Nor does Science. God is not bound by these limitations. Through creative analogies, Daniel describes how we sabotage the blessings in our life because of our distrust in the supernatural. We dig empty wells in the sand to discover that we can't find water on our own. This leads to exhaustion and apathy. The Lord is offering us a cup of living water. Yet, we continue to dig new wells. How can we hand over such an important part of our life to a God that we do not see? Many of us harbor great resentment and anger toward God due to the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. It's understandable. Parkinson's is an unforgiving taskmaster. However, we are the children of a huge God and we can beat on his chest. Parkinson's disease does not have an exit strategy at this time. The Lord is never early and never late. Help is on the way. Add your experience and suggestions to the conversation in this Parkinson's podcast. If you would like to leave Daniel a voice message and you live in the U.S. Call 1-706-873-1656. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our site parkinsonsand.me --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/parkinsonsandme/message
When God gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When God gives the brothers Lutherans, they make a podcast episode.
The Augsburg Confession is clear; the aim or purpose of repentance is the application of Christ to the sinner. In articles 11 and 12 of the Augsburg Confession and the Apology, the Lutherans took a stand on the declarative forgiveness of sin. Support the Show The Christ Key
This July, the Lutheran Ladies are celebrating Hymnapalooza in the Lounge with a blowout #hymnnerd giveaway and four fun hymn-related episodes. In this second installment, Rachel takes the lead, with a Rachel's Trivia (non)Challenge highlighting “11 things you may not have known were in Lutheran Service Book.” From operatic superstars to A-list poets, from “dudes with Greek and Latin names writing really old hymns” to “people alive today whom you may actually know in real life,” Rachel's list highlights a few of the most interesting and the even downright unexpected sources for the 635 hymns in the LCMS's signature service book. “Lutheran hymnwriters, like Lutherans in general,” says Rachel, “look a lot of different ways. They come from all over history and all around the world. Many of them may not even consciously identify as ‘Lutheran,' despite having written texts that jive perfectly with Lutheran doctrine or tunes that jive perfectly with those Lutheran hymn texts. Some of those hymnwriters liked to set make-up on fire. Yet thanks to the careful theological work and frankly enormous imaginations of the people who put our hymnal together, we have a beautiful, varied, sometimes surprising, and altogether remarkable collection of hymns.” Look for more Hymnapalooza content in future episodes, and click here to enter our fabulous #hymnnerd giveaway now! Connect with the Lutheran Ladies on social media in The Lutheran Ladies' Lounge Facebook discussion group (facebook.com/groups/LutheranLadiesLounge). Follow us on Instagram @lutheranladieslounge, and also follow Sarah (@hymnnerd), Rachel (@rachbomberger), Erin (@erinaltered), and Bri (@grrrzevske).
Argumentum ad Repetitium When I get into discussions with people over the liturgy and traditional hymnody (over and against so-called “contemporary worship,”) a lot of the same arguments and assertions pop up. First is the charge that I just want traditional worship because it is “just what I like.” In other words, it's a matter of personal preference and taste. This accusation is more a revelation about what the one making the accusation believes, for “contemporary worship” is typically based on pop-music forms that are, well, popular. People want pop music because it is what they like, not because of its theology or particular confession, not because it reflects what God prefers from the Scriptures, or because it promotes the Word of God. No, people like pop music in worship because they like pop music elsewhere. If it's good enough for listening to while driving to work, it's good enough to listen to in the church service. So the charge that traditional church music is “just what you like” sounds like a projection. For are there any people arguing that they don't really like pop music, but it is the best music for worship? Is there anyone who champions guitars and drums in the chancel who leaves church and turns on the radio to listen to organ music and chorales? Admittedly, this is just a hunch, but I suspect that most proponents of “contemporary worship” actually prefer those music forms, and listen to them outside of the church service as well. In other words, “It's what they like.” One finger pointed at me, three fingers pointing back at thee. To the contrary, my desire to uphold the traditional liturgy and hymnody of the church has nothing to do with my musical tastes. In fact, the vast majority of the music that I listen to is pop music. I like what is today called “classic rock.” I like hard rock and 1980s heavy metal. I do listen to some classical music as well, but the vast majority of my musical tastes are the very types of music that I would loath in the Divine Service, and would consider its use to be blasphemous against the Lord and a degradation to rock and roll. As the cartoon character Hank Hill famously told a Christian rocker, “You're not making Christianity better, you're making rock and roll worse.” I'm a stickler for traditional liturgy and hymnody for several reasons. One of them is that this is what God likes. He is a God of order. He is a God of dignity. He is a God of beauty. He is a God of sacrifice, atonement, and forgiveness. One would be hard-pressed to find the self-serving desire to be entertained in Biblical examples of worship. In fact, after recording God's worship style preferences over the course of seven chapters (Exodus 25-31): the beautiful tabernacle covered in magnificent fabric, an altar of bronze followed by a courtyard also outfitted with beautiful textiles and precious metals, exquisite priestly garments (as well as rubrics for ordination), the altar of incense, the bronze basin for ceremonial washing, the anointing oil and incense, and specific instructions for fine craftsmanship, we come to chapter 32: the rejection of all of this for a more entertaining worship style around the golden calf, “and the people sat down to eat and drink and rose of to play.” They played at their worship. There was no indication that God wanted the priests to “play” in the holy of holies, or that the laity should “play” while sacrificing animals as a type of the Lamb to come. Some believe the word translated as “play” may be a euphemism for erotic overtones in this worship service - something that comes to the fore in many popular “praise and worship” songs, many of which that can be embarrassing to read the lyrics out loud or to watch the gyrations of the often-female performers - or “ministers of music", “worship leaders”, or “worship pastors” as they are sometimes called. By contrast, we see the Israelites who worshiped the true God repeating their ritual and liturgical actions of remembrance each year - and they were commanded to keep various feasts as a memorial. And to be a memorial, there must be continuity, both in ritual, and in the passing along of those rituals through the generations. Every year, a lamb was slaughtered and it was cooked with bitter herbs. It was eaten on the same day each year, and the same ceremony was repeated again and again, century after century. There were readings, there were hymns, there were psalms to be chanted. Why? Because God commanded that it should be done each year. Why should it change, since ultimately, the Passover meal was a type of Christ, pointing us to the Eucharist and to the cross? The message doesn't change, and therefore the rubrics of the meal do not change. For if they were to change even a little every year, in a hundred years it would look nothing like what it was supposed to remember. And when God interacts with mankind, there is a coming of heaven down to earth. Something otherworldly, something holy is happening. “Holy” means “set apart.” So when Jacob saw the vision of the angels ascending and descending on the ladder, he set apart that place as holy, and marked it with a pillar that was anointed with oil. That place was no longer just a spot to bed down for the night, it was the gate of heaven. God is also a God who is concerned with esthetics. He is the author of beauty. He is not indifferent about matters of style. For again, when God tabernacled with the children of Israel, he commanded a tent to be made up to His standards, with magnificent furniture, with gold and silver and fine-twined linen, beautifully woven fabrics of purple and scarlet. His tabernacle, and later his temple, was epitomized by exquisite beauty beyond what one normally had in his house and daily life. God ordered the priests to be vested, also in beautifully crafted textiles, rare jewels, and fine detailed ornamentation. This is not my idea or preference. This was not the preference of the priests or architects of the House of the Lord. This was done according to God's order. And God likes beautiful art - the cherubim above the mercy seat, the intricate carvings of almond flowers, palm trees, and pomegranates. Why? Because God likes this design. It's what He wanted. It is not because the congregation liked it, or the priests, or the leaders. God also likes bells and incense. Why? I don't know. He just does. He likes craftsmanship and high art. And this level of ornateness was not how ordinary people lived in their day to day life. The place where God made Himself present for, and with, mankind, this holy place, was set apart and beautiful. How anyone can actually read the Bible and come away thinking that God prefers people to just “come as you are” and “don't go to any trouble to make things nice” when they come into His presence? Or how can anyone conclude that God's attitude is “do whatever makes you happy, whatever you like,” or “do whatever is cheap.” This is not the God of the Bible. And related to this idea of God becoming present with His people, this is one major difference we have with Protestantism. We, along with the historic communions of Christianity, confess that a miracle happens on our altars when we celebrate the Mass, that Christ, the living God and King and Creator of the Universe, the Man who is perfect, comes to us literally and in incarnate form, as the bread and wine that are blessed by His Word are truly His body and blood. And so, that Presence takes us out of our ordinary, pedestrian existence and places us at the table with God. So is informality called for in times like these? Did Isaiah behave casually when he found himself in the throne-room of God, when the angels purged away his sin by bringing him a coal from the altar and placing it upon his lips? Did Peter, James, and John behave the same as they always did when Jesus transfigured before them on the mountain? Do military men behave differently around an officer than when they are hanging out with their fellow soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines? What about when a general enters the room? How about the president? Are there different protocols and ways of behaving around one's superiors? And how would it be received if a soldier did not treat officers differently than their friends? Do these rituals and ways of carrying oneself communicate something? Are they for the good of the entire corps, the whole body of men united in service? What if you were invited to a banquet at Buckingham Palace? Would you comport yourself the same as if you were at home in front of the TV with a bucket of KFC? Or would you maybe be more formally dressed, perfectly groomed, more aware of those around you, especially those of high social rank? Would you like to know what the rubrics for such an important meal are? Or would you be content to carry on the same way that you do at home? Our formality in worship as Lutherans is crucial, because it is a confession that we do confess that Christ is miraculously present with us. We do not confess, as do many Protestants, that the Lord's Supper is a symbol, or that our Lord's flesh is far off in the heavens, leaving us with mere tokens that are at best some kind of “spiritual” presence. No, we confess that this is the eternal banquet that Jesus is always talking about, or at least a foretaste of it. The Divine Service is eschatological and brings us into contact with eternity. He is present under our roof, though we are unworthy. He says the Word, and we are healed. The King, God Himself, deigns to dine with us! This is not watching TV with KFC eaten out of a plastic container with a spork. Rather, this is the Holy of Holies, and Christ incarnate is present with us. And we not only eat with Him, but we feed miraculously on the true Passover Lamb, even as His blood is poured into us to mark us as His own, protected and saved from condemnation, from the Angel of Death. And so, our worship is different than our day to day lives. The hymnody comes from our rich tradition and is unbounded by fads or notions of what is popular today, but may well fall out of favor tomorrow. Our hymns not only praise God, but confess our faith rigorously and boldly. Our worship is dignified, and like the liturgical actions of remembrance of the children of Israel, it doesn't change again and again, becoming unrecognizable in just a few years. Nor is it play - whether motivated by a desire for fun, or even tinged with eroticism. Jesus said, “Do this in memory of Me.” He did not order us to change the liturgical action to bend it to our standards of entertainment, or to prevent it from not being “special.” And this is why the Church's liturgy remains the same. It is a remembrance, just as the liturgical actions of the Old Testament Church were. Any changes are not made to reflect theological change, but perhaps to accommodate linguistic or technological shifts. And over the centuries, we have developed a corpus of the very best that the Church has in terms of liturgy and hymnody, not subject to fads and fashions. Our progressive culture routinely gets rid of the old in search of the ever-new. Our church's heritage is a blend of the old and the new, not subject to “chronological snobbery” or Critical Theory that denigrates our own forbears. And as a pastor, I want people to be taught (as ceremonies teach the people what they need to know about Christ, as our confessions teach us). I want my parishioners to have no doubts about what it is that we Lutherans confess about Jesus, and about what He Himself says in Scripture. This is communicated verbally in what is said, and nonverbally in what is done. Research suggests that 60% of what is communicated between people is non-verbal - meaning what we do and how we speak is as important, and perhaps even a bit more, than what is said in words alone. An informal liturgy belies what is really happening: the miracle of heaven meeting earth and of Christ tabernacling with us. Pop music lowers the level of dignity, perhaps to the depths of frivolity and impropriety. And when we have centuries of magnificent hymnody, to settle for what is sung in Pentecostal or non-denominational churches is like choosing to eat cold Vienna sausages instead of the luxurious spread of delectable delicacies that you have been invited to partake of at the feast. So far from being a matter of personal taste, the traditional liturgy and hymnody is what God wants, is a confession of who Jesus is and what He does, and is good pastoral care in terms of teaching and confessing our faith. And this is why our forbears included Article 24. They did not just say, “Do whatever you like.” For while our Roman opponents were lumping us in with radical reformers that abolished the Mass, we vociferously deny such a scurrilous charge. To even suggest it is a gross insult, and resulted in an angry retort by Melanchthon, as well as a master class on what real worship is all about in the Augsburg Confession and the Apology. It all boils down to Jesus, and what you believe about Him. Do you believe the Bible when it confesses that Christ is present with us? Do you take Jesus at His word when He says, “Do this in memory of Me?” Are you humbled at the Lord's miraculous presence with us, like Moses, like Isaiah, like Peter, James, and John? Do you believe, teach, and confess that the presence of Jesus is the fountainhead of holiness, and so our worship in the holy place must itself be holy - as opposed to common and ordinary? Are you willing to sacrifice your own personal tastes and desire to be entertained in the style to which you were accustomed in order to submit to Him and to receive His gifts - and to give Him thanks in return in the setting of His choosing? Do you actually believe what He says, and what the Church says about Him? Or do you hold the faith of another tradition, whose informal and casual worship is more fitting?
"Lutheran" Confessions Not Lutheran, Used by ELCA, Contain Hyper-Euro Sacerdotalism and Romanism, Authors Do Not Reply to Questions from GN Gottesdienst News (GN) has learned that the “Lutheran” Confessions (the Book of Concord) are not Lutheran. The Book of Concord is used in an official capacity by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) - which denies the inerrancy of the Bible, ordains women, and is in fellowship with Greenpeace. Both LCMS seminaries: Concordia Seminary Saint Louis (which was named after a Roman Catholic saint - Roman Catholics deny the doctrine of justification and the inerrancy of the Bible) and Concordia Seminary Fort Wayne (founded by Wilhelm Loehe, hyper-euro opponent of C.F.W. Walther who did not believe in voters assemblies) use the ELCA approved texts in their seminary classes. Why would Bible-believing seminaries teach using the Book of Concord that is used by the ELCA? Letters to both Dr. Thomas Egger and Dr. Larry Rast were not answered as of this publication. The Book of Concord is a Romanizing book that never mentions the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod or C.F.W. Walther. The Book of Concord never mentions Walter A. Meier, nor does it denounce Seminex, Nadia Bolz-Weber, or Matthew Harrison. The Book of Concord never mentions the Brief Statement, and as far as we can tell, none of the authors of the texts even wore briefs. Catholic The Book of Concord never uses the word “Lutheran” or “Protestant,” but the word “Catholic” is used 13 times, and in the 1921 Triglotta translation, often even using an uppercase C. The Triglotta was published by Concordia Publishing House. Letters to Concordia Publishing House - demanding why a CPH product has uppercase-C “Catholic” being used to describe Lutherans - were not answered at the time of this publication. The Athanasian Creed (which was not even composed by Athanasius) is included in the Book of Concord. The modernist Matthew Harrison-approved Lutheran Service Book (LSB) includes a translation of the Athanasian Creed that contains the following examples of Romanism: “Whoever desires to be saved must above all, hold the catholic faith.” This means that non-catholics go to hell. The Athanasian Creed says nothing about voters assemblies. The Athanasian Creed refers to the “catholic religion” and that “this is the catholic faith; whoever does not believe it faithfully and firmly cannot be saved.” Letters to Pastor Athanasius were returned to GN unopened. The Roman Catholic Church - which denies the doctrine of justification, believes the pope to be the head of the church by divine right, and endorses funny hyper-euro hats, also approvingly confesses the Athanasian Creed. President Matthew Harrison, who supports the use of Lutheran Service Book (LSB), has a mustache. Hitler and Stalin had mustaches. Many of the liberals who walked out of seminex had mustaches and long sideburns. C.F.W. Walther and Francis Pieper were clean shaven. Harrison is accused by some of not believing that congregations matter, that he, like Adolph Hitler, believe in centralizing his power. Letters asking why President Harrison continues to wear a mustache have not been answered as of this publication. Pastor John Brentz, Minister of Hall, signed one of the documents in the ELCA-approved Book of Concord (the Treatise - which actually mentions “the Pope” in its official title - the Pope is the head of the Roman Catholic Church, which denies biblical inerrancy, the doctrine of justification, and does not celebrate Reformation Day) refers to the Lutheran Church as “the true and genuine catholic Church” and desribes Pastor Bugenhagen as “revered Father” (see below). Neither Brentz nor Bugenhagen have responded to GN's requests for an explanation. Call No Man Father The Book of Concord contains unbiblical language for pastors. Jesus said, “Don't you be callin' anyone yo' daddy, y'all” (Matthew 23:9, ACT - A Confederate Translation). But the hyper-euro sacerdotalist Romanizers in the Book of Concord do not follow the words of Jesus. Pastor John Brentz called Pastor Johannes Bugenhagen “Father” (see above). Pastor Brixius Northanus of Christ Lutheran Church - Soest referred to “the Reverend Father Martin Luther” in his signature to the Smalcald Articles. The authors of the Formula of Concord (Pastor Jake Andrae, Pastor Marty Chemnitz, Pastor Dave Chytraeus, Pastor Nick Selnecker, and Pastor Andy Musculus) referred to Pastor Luther as one of “our dear fathers and predecessors.” Letters to Brentz, Bugenhagen, Luther, Northanus, Andrae, Chemnitz, Chytraeus, Selnecker, and Musculus have not been acknowledged or replied to by the time of publication. Sacerdotalism The word “priest” is used in the Book of Concord to refer to pastors more than a hundred times. The Latin word for “priest” is “sacerdos.” This is about double the amount of times the word “pastor” is used by the authors of the Book of Concord to refer to pastors. The Latin word for “pastor” is “pastor.” Often, especially in the Augsburg Confession and Apology, the expression “our priests” is used to refer to Lutheran ministers. Calls to Mister Melanchthon's office at Wittenberg University were not returned. Ordination as a Sacrament Professor Melanchthon's Apology (which is misleading, because he never says that he is sorry) includes other instances of sacerdotalism consistent with the hyper-euros when he calls ordination a sacrament: (“neither will we refuse to call the imposition of hands a sacrament”). Melanchthon also allows for marriage to be called a sacrament. The Roman Catholic Church, which denies the doctrine of justification and biblical inerrancy, as well as cheers for Notre Dame, likewise considers ordination and marriage to be sacraments. As of this publication, Professor Melanchthon has not written to GN to respond to our simple questions. Mass The Church Service is called “Mass” by sacerdotalists, Romanizers, and Hyper-Euros. The Augsburg Confession and the Apology both have an entire article (24) called “The Mass.” Melanchthon (see above) writes, “We have not abolished the Mass.” Roman Catholics use the term Mass. Roman Catholics deny the Doctrine of Justification, worship Mary, and often do not have red doors on their churches. Letters to both Melanchthon and the Pope in Rome seeking an explanation have not been answered. Science professors in the Concordia University System often refer to how much something weighs as “Mass.” Calls to Dr. Dean Wenthe and Dr. Daniel Gard, both formerly linked to CUS - both of whom have connections to Notre Dame University - have not been answered as of this writing. Hyper Euro Polity Instead of the biblical practice of having supreme voters' assemblies, the Book of Concord advocates a hyper-euro system of bishops. Professor Melanchthon writes in the Apology (Article 14), “it is our greatest wish to maintain church-polity and the grades in the Church [old church regulations and the government of bishops]” and “we will gladly maintain ecclesiastical and canonical government, provided the bishops only cease to rage against our churches.” The Roman Catholic Church, which denies the Doctrine of Justification, teaches the unbiblical doctrine of Purgatory, and provides pointy hats for bishops, also has hyper-euro polity. It should be noted that the Ku Klux Klan has pointy hats as well. Calls to the KKK seeking an explanation were not answered. Approvingly Quoted The authors of the Book of Concord approvingly quote Bernard of Clairvaux and call him a “holy father” and a “saint.” Roman Catholic “Saints” Anthony, Dominic, and Francis are also called “holy fathers.” Pastor Clairvaux referred to Mary as a “shining and brilliant star” and that we should “call upon Mary” and that when we are troubled by sins to “think of Mary, call upon Mary…. invoking her.” The Matthew Harrison-approved LSB (which uses the English Standard Version as its biblical text) approvingly includes three hymns by Bernard of Clairvaux, and two by Thomas Aquinas (who taught Transubstantiation and engaged in philosophy). Pastor Augustine of Hippo (whom, GN has learned, never even owned a hippo), a Roman Catholic bishop, is quoted approvingly in the Book of Concord - even in Latin, which was the language used by the Roman Catholic Church in its services (the Roman Catholic Church cheers for Notre Dame and does not have voters assemblies). Pastor Augustine is referred to as a “holy father” and a “saint” in the Book of Concord. The Matthew Harrison-approved Lutheran Service Book has a day of “commemoration” for Augustine, “Pastor and Theologian,” as well as another day to honor Bernard of Clairvaux, “Hymnwriter and Theologian.” LSB also honors Hyper-Euro opponent of C.F.W. Walther, Wilhelm Loehe as well as various popes, including Gregory the Great (whom the Book of Concord quotes approvingly), Leo the Great (whom the Book of Concord also quotes approvingly), and Clement. Pope Gregory the Great and Hyper-Euro Wilhem Loehe both have a hymn each in the mustached-Harrison-approved LSB. Roman Catholic bishop Ambrose of Milan, who allowed himself to become a relic in a Catholic Church in Italy, is also approvingly quoted, has a “commemoration” in the Harrison-backed LSB, as well as three hymns. The Book of Concord often approvingly quotes Roman Catholic canon law (which is misleading, as canon law has nothing to do with large mounted guns or a competitor to Nikon, the Roman Catholic Church also denies the Doctrine of Justification, Anathematizes the Gospel, and sings awful hymns). The Book of Concord never approvingly quotes the Brief Statement, the bylaws of synod, or Roberts Rules of Order (revised). Letters to General Roberts were returned to GN unopened. Luther is Not Lutheran! Pastor Martin Luther, author of three texts of the ELCA-approved Book of Concord, believed in “semper virgo,” the belief that Mary did not have other children (a belief shared by the Roman Catholic Church, which denies biblical inerrancy and does not cheer for any of the Concordia sports teams). Semper virgo is believed by the hyper euros today. Luther prayed a version of the Hail Mary prayer even after he became a Lutheran. Luther was baptized and ordained a priest in the Roman Catholic Church - and he was never called or installed to serve as a pastor by a proper voters' assembly. Luther advocated for “high church hyper euro” worship practices, such as genuflecting and elevating and making the sign of the cross. Luther believed that the bread and wine are the body and blood of Christ even if they were not consumed. Luther urged people to go to private confession and equated it with being a Christian. Luther called his German liturgy the “German Mass.” Luther never submitted a resolution to the LCMS convention. Silent But Deadly The silence is deafening. Not a single author or defender of the Book of Concord has returned GN's calls, letters, emails, semaphores, texts, communications by radio, missives, epistles, unsavory implications, inquisitions, demands that they stop beating their wives, requests for high school year books, or simple questionnaires inquiring if they have renounced Communism, Matthew Harrison, and the heartbreak of Psoriasis. Note: This is satire. As much as I hate to have to say so, if I don't, Aunt Pitty will get “the vapors,” countless boomers will write to Fritz demanding that he fire me, millennial pastors will burn themselves on their soy lattes and send me nasty emails telling that their wives demand that I “be kind,” and even some of our loyal readers will miss the whole point. So here it is, boys and girls and purple penguins: this is a tongue-in-cheek homage to Christian News. And if you took the time to write without reading to the end, the joke's on you! Thank you, ~ The Management
Often when we're tired and burdened, Jesus shows up in unusual ways, inviting us to find rest in him in the midst of difficult circumstances. Keep reading to learn How to Find Rest in Difficult Circumstances. Have you ever found yourself so weary and tired because of a relationship issue, where there didn't seem to be any attractive options to deal with that issue? I bet you have. Today's episode is about a time I was in this situation, where I just wanted to find rest from a nagging concern and not deal with it. I eventually learned, in a most unusual way, a surprising relationship solution to my relationship problem. I know what I learned could help you, too. It starts here. A summer job In last week's episode, no. 110, Relationships We Didn't Choose, I mentioned the summer job my guidance counselor found for me after I graduated from high school. It was a factory job at a small manufacturing company that made folding tables for school cafeterias. Recently I checked online and discovered they're still in business. I thought of stopping in to say, “Hi,” but then realized anyone I had worked with would have been dead for decades by now. I was so fortunate that Mrs. Roller told me about this job. It paid well, over $2.00 an hour, double what I earned in my after-school restaurant job. I got to learn a variety of things, like running a punch press, spot welding, and working a drill press. None of the jobs were terribly hard, but being in a factory, it was hot, and it made me sweat a lot. I also worked there during Christmas break from college, because they need help counting all their inventory of parts by the end of the year. The good people I worked with The men I worked with were all very nice. There was Harlow, the manager, a kind man with a mid-century crew cut, who ran the place. Gil, the foreman who always wore bib overalls, and who spent most of his day fixing machines that broke. Adam, the man who taught me how to use the punch press, and who told me, “If when you're done with college that teaching thing doesn't work out, you'll have this to fall back on… as long as you don't get your hands stuck in the punch press.” Then there was Carl, who was from Lithuania and walked with a slight limp and spoke with a thick European accent. Another guy with an even thicker accent, who could barely speak English, was Fritz. He was from Germany. Rumor had it he was a German soldier during WWII whose job it was to drive a Nazi officer around in a two-person motorcycle. This could explain why he and Carl from Lithuania never spoke to each other. Finally, there was Eddie, an older single guy with a limp four times worse than Carl's. He appeared to have been a stroke victim because he had to use one of his arms to move the other. I admired all the things he could do in spite of his handicap. These were the people I worked with. They accepted me as one of their own, even though we were so different. They had more history than future; I had more future than history. A scene I remember to this day One scene in particular from this factory job the summer of my 19th year comes to my mind every now and then. It happened on a late Saturday afternoon at the end of a 53-hour-work-week. We had all been putting in a lot of hours, and I was grateful for the 13 hours of overtime pay. It was going to be a big help in paying for my college tuition for the upcoming fall semester of my sophomore year. I got to work in those days using the city bus. To return to my home in the suburbs I had to take 2 different bus routes. This particular Saturday afternoon I got onto the second bus exhausted, hot, and sweaty from my factory job. I dragged my body to the rear of the nearly empty bus, and sat down on one of two bench seats, perpendicular to the rest of the forward-facing seats. I then stared out the window directly across from me and noticed the ads placed along the top of all the windows. They were about 3 feet wide by 18 inches tall. One of the ads in particular caught my eye. It was stuck between two other ads, for things like Chesterfield cigarettes and Cutty Sark whiskey. An ad from the Lutherans The eye-catching ad for me was from the Lutheran Church, displaying a picture of Jesus and the words from Matthew 11:28-30 in the Bible. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Hmm. That's me, I thought. I'm weary and I'm carrying a heavy burden. I was so tired from all the hours of heat and sweat from my summer job. And now I was heading home, a place where I did not want to be because of the strife and tension there. But as much as I liked my co-workers, I didn't want to be at work either. So I kept staring at that ad, reading the words from Jesus several times. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Jesus said, “Come to me” Maybe these Lutherans were on to something. Maybe I should follow their advice from their ad, and the Bible, to come to Jesus. I didn't exactly know how to do that. Just a few months earlier I had become a Christ-follower at a Campus Crusade for Christ meeting. So I had already come to Him. But many things about Jesus were all so new to me. There was so much I didn't understand. Nevertheless, I found a strange sense of peace from that Bible verse the Lutherans advertised. “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” What I learned that afternoon at the back of the bus was the rest I so deeply wanted is found in a person, not a place. I wasn't exactly sure how it worked, but I found comfort in the word choice from the Bible verse the Lutherans shared in their bus ad. Calming words Weary. Rest was mentioned twice. Learn from me. Gentle. Humble in Heart. An easy yoke. A light burden. I like these words, don't you? They calmed my spirit. They gave me hope that my relationship with Jesus would help me manage my physically tiring factory job, and at the same time He would help me to emotionally cope with the tension in my home I was heading to. I learned that when I focus on my relationship with Jesus it makes the burdens I'm carrying much lighter. It doesn't make the problems go away, but it puts them in perspective. I see the burdens for what they are: a temporary blip in light of eternity. My summer job eventually came to an end. And in forgiving my parents for their lack of skill in raising me, I developed compassion for them and the burdens THEY were carrying. So what does all this mean for YOU? I wonder what relational burdens you are carrying that are making life weary for you? Where there are no easy answers. Where there's nowhere to go for you to find rest. Regardless of your circumstances, coming to a relationship with Jesus certainly helps. His gentleness stands in sharp contrast to the strident nature of the times in which we live. Like the contrast I saw in those city bus ads so long ago. The Lutheran ad for Jesus in the middle of a cigarette ad on one side, and an ad for whisky on the other. There's something quite appealing and comforting about someone calling us to himself to find rest, who describes himself as gentle and humble. The main point of today's episode I'll leave you with this final thought: When we're tired, weary, and burdened, Jesus will sometimes do unusual things, like pacing an ad inside a city bus, inviting us to find rest in him, rest for our souls. For when our souls are at rest, the weight of the burdens we carry eases. I'd love to hear any thoughts you have about today's episode. Just send them to me in an email to john [at] caringforothers [dot] org. You can also share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Closing In closing, if you found the podcast helpful, please subscribe if you haven't already done so. I hope your thinking was stimulated by today's show, to both reflect and to act by entering into a relationship with Jesus to find the rest you need. Because after all, You Were Made for This. Well, that's all for today. I look forward to connecting with you again next week. Goodbye for now. You Were Made for This is sponsored by Caring for Others, a missionary care ministry. We depend upon the generosity of donors to pay our bills. If you'd like to support what we do with a secure tax-deductible donation, please click here. We'd be so grateful if you did. Related episodes you may want to listen to 100: Relationships We Didn't Choose 056: Changing How We Think 094: Self-Awareness Deepen Our Relationships
Ted asks about the possibility of Lutherans delivering hard-hitting sermons. Rod talks about what Lutheran pastors are called to do, contrasts that with what can be preached in other churches, and discusses the differences between the law and the Gospel and what Scripture calls preachers to deliver to Christian believers. SHOW NOTES: Support the show - https://www.1517.org/donate
A Tale of Two Synods When someone posted the above video of the Texas District that was shown at the Texas District Convention, I responded on social media in a tongue-in-cheek manner, saying that Lutherans would do well to have such polished productions as this obviously non-denominational presentation. I thought about responding here at Gottesblog with satire, sarcasm, and gallows humor. After all, the jokes do just write themselves. The Texas District logo not only appears to depict three martinis, they get increasingly out of proportion and dizzying as you navigate from the first to the third. This could not have been by accident. Some graphic designer was obviously being cheeky. For in a very real sense, this illustrates a practical way to deal with the district - especially at convention. Although the genuine Texas beverage might be a 64 ounce bucket of margaritas, I don't know how well that would translate to a logo. So the three-martini motif will just have to do. I thought about comparing the entertainment-based music and emotional imagery in this video - rooted in the spoken word of vague non-sequiturs instead of the incarnational reality of Christ coming to us to forgive us and transform us for eternity by means of His physical presence. And this is manifest not only in His historic enfleshment, His birth, cross, death, and resurrection, but also in His ongoing sacramental presence with us in the miracles of Holy Baptism and the Holy Eucharist - two themes that, though central to the faith, are pushed to the margins in this video. Instead, this objective ground of faith is jettisoned in favor of emotion and slick production. In this, the comparison to the Texas-sized Neo-Evangelical megachurches of the highways and byways of the Lonestar State - where indeed everything is Bigger - is unavoidable. It is no accident that the Reverend Father Joel Osteen is a Texas pastor with a Texas-sized church that is the envy of Church Growth Movement moguls everywhere. Indeed, the lust of our baby-boomer CGM experts for Bigness and the reduction of individual human souls to a Big number in a ledger or on an annual statistics form is insatiable. No Cialis needed for this passion. I thought about performing a Rick-roll-like trick by inviting my reader to click on the link to the Texas District highlights, but replace it with the magnificent satirical video called “Contemporvent” or perhaps “The Worship Song Song.” Both make the point well. I also thought about all the angles I could play because it is Texas. And I do love Texas. I love the history and heritage, the independent streak of the people, the sense of Bigness in everything, a zest for life, the unique foods and cultures and byways. Texas is a quintessential part of the South, which I hold dear. And Texas is (along with South Carolina) a state where you are just as likely to see the state flag as the US flag - and it may well even be flying on a pole of the same height as Old Glory. It is a state where people, following the observation of President Obama, “cling to their guns” and “religion,” not to mention to their Whataburger, beef brisket barbecue, and big honking belt buckles. When I once traveled to Texas on business in my former life a long time ago, being on a company per diem, I ate a one-pound T-bone for lunch, and a two-pound T-bone for supper. You can get away with such things when you're in your twenties. I also bought myself some cowboy boots. I did not buy a cowboy hat, but did wear my boots up north. My Texan friend who lives in North Carolina always brought his pregnant wife to Texas to give birth many times in the Lone Star State, thus assuring the transmission of his Republic of Texas citizenship to posterity. And I think that is a good and noble thing. It is part of what makes Texas unique. These delightful quirks of Texas and Texans could have provided fodder for explaining the quirkiness of the LCMS in the Republic. Lutheranism has a long history in Texas - both in its German and Slovak heritages. But sadly, there is nothing endearing in the modern context about jettisoning the liturgy and our rich theology that are truly evangelical, and trading them for the pottage of non-denominational Christianity. Besides, those accents in the video suggest that there is a lot of carpetbagging going on. But after considering all of these angles, I decided to take a different tack. I'm still a big fan of dark humor and throwing stones at the dragon, for if nothing else, it breaks up the monotony, and sometimes gets other guys hurling a pebble or two. And who knows, there might even be a David out there whose stone hits the beast in the right spot. And even if it doesn't put the monster out of our Missouri, the encounter could end up in a viral Steve Inman video for entertainment purposes. And that's not for nothin'. But there is also something very serious and sad about this video. It shows that Pietism is still very much alive and well in our synod: the ginning up of emotion and the downplaying of the sacraments, the transformation of worship into entertainment instead of the Church's timeless participation in the eternal liturgy that binds heaven and earth together - that unites the Church Militant with the Church Triumphant, offering a sacrifice of praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the sacrificial Lamb whose blood saves us and who breathes the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, into us. And this is not a metaphor, but rather a flesh-and-blood reality by means of the ongoing miracle of God performing signs and wonders in our midst because His Word is still sounding forth, still creating, still redeeming, still sanctifying - still reconstituting the universe, and still drawing us into the incense-filled inner-sanctum of the very throne-room of God, where Isaiah once lay prostrate in fear, but where he was comforted by the purification delivered to his lips by a messenger bearing a burning coal from the holy altar. Of course, to the Pietist, this is just boring stuff from an old book. That's our grandfather's church. To them, we need music, really exciting, awesome, fist-pumping, epic music - guitars and drums and emoting vocalists and a guy running a sound-board. And that music should be repetitive, it should cause one's heart to skip a beat, it should tug at the heartstrings, it should induce dopamine so that a proper decision for Christ can be made. It should be the kind of music that fills the modular interlocking church seats the same way that stadiums are filled - thus also paying homage to the CGM Fetish of Bigness. This is Texas, after all. According to Pietism, we need pastors dressed just like us, who are excitable, who are dynamic, who are not stuffy and reverent and catholic. We need awesome vision-casting, leadership, leadership, leadership, and apps. We need high-tech. We need screens and PowerPoint. We need passion and programs and fun. Did I mention excitable pastors? We need to use the word “amazing” a lot - and new turns of phrase, like “on ramps for Jesus” (which is perhaps a Texas response to Oklahoman Carrie Underwood's “Jesus Take the Wheel”). We need to de-emphasize “what goes on in these four walls” and focus on drawing people into the church from the world by not only going into the world, but by looking like the world. The centrality of the Sacrament and the traditional liturgy really just get in the way of being “missional.” The video had a lot to say about mission work, but it lacked authenticity. It just looked like well-heeled Texas suburbanites getting together with other well-heeled Texas suburbanites for brisket and music. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but that's not really “missions.” Being missional is a big buzzword, but real mission work doesn't much resemble watching NFL games while scooping peanuts from a tin bucket at a Texas Roadhouse. One fellow brought up the topic of Christian worship during communism and compared it to using Zoom during the pandemic. As the kids say, “Yeah, no.” In fact, authentic Lutheran mission work is being done in the former Soviet Union. Here is a video showing how this missionary endeavor is carried out in Siberia, and how it is done in an authentically Lutheran way: Note the Christological and sacramental focus of Siberian mission work. (Let's just keep this between us girls, but Siberia is even bigger than Texas). As a bonus, here is a video of Siberian Bishop Vsevolod Lytkin speaking at a faithful Texas congregation, Faith Lutheran Church in Plano. This is quite the contrast to the Texas District video of the Cult of Bigness and the desire to adopt Neo-Evangelical worship. Sadly, I often hear from faithful confessional Lutherans, seeking authentic Lutheran worship using the hymnal, who drive sometimes up to a hundred miles on Sunday morning, passing a wasteland of non-liturgical LCMS congregations, all in order to find a church that is liturgical, confessional, and reverent. It is a huge sacrifice, but it is worth it - especially to young families who want their children learning the catechism and being formed by the miraculous presence of Christ instead of being molded by vacuous entertainment. Sometimes, people have to face hard choices of either finding a Wisconsin Synod congregation (and promising to break prayer fellowship with the rest of the family and be subjected to a low view of the office of the ministry), or even attending Masses of a continuing Anglican tradition and forgoing the Holy Sacrament for a while. As I noted earlier, this desert of decent LCMS congregations in some places has led some of our laity - often young families with children - to physically move to where the liturgical parishes are. As my colleague Fr. David Petersen advises, there is another option: to start a new church. We need faithful lay people to consider such a drastic step - even if it means foregoing the Bigness and suburban wealth of the Texas-sized LCMS church up the road. For this isn't about everything being Bigger - in Texas or elsewhere - it is about fidelity to Word and Sacrament, in doctrine and ceremonies. It is about teaching the people what they need to know about Christ. And even Osteen's Texas megachurch began very small - as did most of our LCMS church plants. In hostile districts, a confessional and liturgical congregation may well get snubbed by the districtocracy, even as money flows like the mighty Mississippi to church plants that downplay authentic Lutheranism and instead employ gimmicks. But remember, that the confession of the “one holy catholic and apostolic church” is located within the third article of the Creed - as the Holy Spirit is the “Lord and giver of life.” It is not mammon or district bureaucracy that quickens the church. It is not gimmicks or marketing that grows the church. For God Himself “has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate.” Man does not live by District alone, and in fact, in our Lutheran tradition, both its history and its confessional writings, church bureaucracy is sometimes a hindrance to the Gospel. And when it is, it is best ignored. Certainly, our sixteenth century ancestors, who were attacked and harried by the worldwide, rich, and powerful church bureaucracy of the day, knew what it was to oppose them and stand as a “little flock” being implored to “fear not the foe.” The adoption of Neo-Evangelical practices indeed leads to Neo-Evangelical doctrine. Lex Ordandi, Lex Credendi is not just a tee-shirt slogan for seminarians and geeky pastors. It is an ancient and wise observation that bears out our Lutheran forbears' retention of the ancient ceremonies rather than throwing caution to the wind in search of something new. That is why Article 24 begins with the bold statement: Falsely are our churches accused of abolishing the Mass; for the Mass is retained among us, and celebrated with the highest reverence. Nearly all the usual ceremonies are also preserved, save that the parts sung in Latin are interspersed here and there with German hymns, which have been added to teach the people. For ceremonies are needed to this end alone that the unlearned be taught [what they need to know of Christ]. ~ AC 24:1-4a One thing that is hammered home by this video is that we are two synods (at least). Can you even imagine one of the pastors in the above video standing in the pulpit and reading the above quote from our confessions to his parishioners? Or how about the Texas District President reminding his congregations that they are committed to this confession. We can lie to ourselves that we are actually united as a synod. It just isn't so. There is no way that I would visit and commune at the kinds of LCMS churches shown in this video. Nor would my parishioners. They would be scandalized. And there is no way that most of those folks would ever commune from my hand at the altar that I serve. We have a paper fellowship, at best, and a tenuous unity and koinonia based not on doctrine and ceremonies, but on a common bureaucracy and shared employment benefits. And as more and more congregations jettison Concordia Plan Services, even that link is being weakened. In some cases, the only thing holding the synod together is a sense of nostalgia and branding. The Rev. Prof. Kurt Marquart of blessed memory suggested that we need a divorce in our synod. That would certainly be more honest than what we have now. And as painful as “The Walkout” and the subsequent breakup of the LCMS was in the 1970s, it was the honest thing to do. But maybe there is another way that we could order ourselves more honestly. Perhaps what we need is to abolish the districts and circuits as they exist (as they reflect 19th century technological limitations). But why must our districts be geographical today? Why not reorder ourselves according to what we have in common - especially in matters of worship. And if we have two or three, or even five or six, subdivisions of synod, so what? We currently have two non-geographical districts. We could have non-geographical “districts” where there is genuine agreement in doctrine and practice, and we could all keep the name and the benefits package. And if, down the road, it would be better to actually cut our ties, it would be easier to do in such a system. For right now what we have is not unlike what we have in the United States. Instead of federalism, we now have nationalism. And so US elections become a “winner take all” endeavor. And the losing side, which is typically very near fifty percent of the population - is held hostage to the faction that is bigger by only a percent or two (if that). Instead, we could decentralize our synod and let congregations have closer ties with other congregations that share their doctrine and practice - not unlike the situation in 19th century America, where small synods went into fellowship with one another. One “district” may specify that only the ordo and hymns in the hymnal may be used. Another “district” may make it all optional. Yet another “district” might compile its own requirements as to what is permissible. Our “district” conventions would be much less the way of power struggles, and the Divine Services at the same would not be places of protest, either against the services with guitars and streamers, or with chasubles and incense. Such a scheme would provide homogeneity in matters of doctrine and practice, while allowing the synod branding and employment benefits to be shared by all. In such a structure, synod would not dictate from above, and “districts” could recognize fellowship with other “districts” based on their own criteria. There are certainly dangers in such a polity. And there are likely unintended consequences. But what we have now is not working. We are engaging in a Mister Rogers style Land of Make-Believe fantasy that we are not in a state of impaired fellowship, and we are not involved in a power struggle between at least two opposing factions. By decentralizing the conflict, we can encourage church plants by “districts” without regard to geography, and our “district” mission funds could actually go to new congregations that reflect our confession and worship - whether Pietistic or confessional, whether normed by guitar or organ. For what we have now is 35 civil wars and games of one-upsmanship - where the winners are determined by political means: running for office, navigating parliamentary procedure, and engaging in backroom arm-twisting of the kind we see in the secular political world. At any rate, though we in The Gottesdienst Crowd are often marginalized and mocked by our Bigger brethren in synod (and sometimes that is a matter of the waistline and not only the waste-land), though our churches are generally smaller and often face financial struggles, let us not lose heart. Let us continue to be normed by the Bible and the Book of Concord, and let us continue to confess in Word and deed not only what Jesus has done for us, but what He continues to do for us in the Divine Service, where He comes to us in a literal and miraculous way that needs no distraction by entertainment or some Big New Awesomer Way of Doing Church. We don't need a new way of doing church. We need Jesus. We don't need entertainment. We need authentic worship. We don't need gimmicks. We need faith. And for you, dear reader, both layman and pastor, the following video (Have you seen the video?), produced by Gottesdienst, thanks to a grant from the LCMS, is an example of how “ceremonies teach the people what they need to know about Christ,” and how our bureaucracy can indeed teach the ceremonies to the pastors and laity alike. Instead of “contemporvence” grounded in entertainment, you will find reverence grounded in the reality that Jesus continues to join us in the miracle of the Holy Sacrament. And that reality is even bigger than Texas.
Feminism Began... The new face of conservatism and the GOP? …with a question that wasn't really a question: “Did God actually say…?” Feminism changed the world. For with this rhetorical question, “Did God actually say…?” the first woman and her husband were enticed to deny God's Word with the promise of changing the order of creation, with the opportunity to “be like God,” to have one's eyes “opened,” or to put it into modern parlance, to be “woke.” This was the very first instance of “Smash the Patriarchy” - and the Patriarch was God. Adam participated in feminism even though it sought to remove his leadership of the family, but there was a lot in it for him: the chance to likewise escape the hierarchical limitations of his own created order, his own vocation given to him by God. Feminism changed the course of history, and not for the better. This act of rebellion against God's created order of divinely created roles of the binary sexes of male and female, this Luciferian inversion of order into an unnatural chaos lured by the lust for self-gratification, brought death into the world, unleashed the forces of chaos and violence among all creatures in what was a perfectly harmonious existence, and placed the world on a trajectory of warfare in this life and enmity with God - a cosmic conflict that places mankind in the crossfire. And the serpent continues to deceive, continues to ask, “Did God actually say…?”, continues to call into question the order of creation - especially in matters of sex and sexuality. Today, chaos has been mainstreamed, even in defiance of the science that so many claim to believe in. Male and Female are considered social constructs. The natural family is considered no better for children - or perhaps even worse - than unnatural configurations. God's created order of patriarchy and complementarily between men and women is attacked in both the secular and ecclesiastical realms. Biology is held in contempt. Natural Law is disdained. That which a normal person can posit by observation is denied. And of course, all the while, the serpent continues to lure men and women into questioning divine revelation by what is in it for them: be it money and power for women, or the lure of easy recreational sex devoid of responsibility for men. Men especially “benefit” from feminism, for they are absolved from their duty to love their wives and be willing to give up everything for her sake. Instead, they are free to pursue their lusts and treat their wives as cash cows, buying toys or funding the man-cave. There is nothing in our culture and society that has not been corrupted and putrefied by the serpent's original intersectionality. Especially in our western civilization, and especially in America: once the world's beacon of freedom of belief, of speech, of writing and publishing, of political liberty, and of course, freedom of religion. One example is the military: an institution whose purpose is to use violence to protect the country from invasion, from enemies both foreign and domestic. Note how feminism has shifted the raison être of the military from being an order of warriors formerly bound by an ethos of service to the nation and a chivalrous defense of the weak into being a grand radical social “Did God actually say…?” experiment. If you haven't seen the juxtaposition of recent military recruitment ads by China, Russia, and the United States, you probably should have a look. Even Atheistic China still retains some moorings of natural law, as the masculine and feminine roles shown in their ad, as well as the unmistakable appeal to the warrior ethos of men to protect and serve, is apparent - even though this warrior spirit takes on a collectivist feel. The Russian ad likewise appeals to a man's natural biological, psychological, and spiritual urge to protect and serve. But the Russian ad is aimed at the individual rather than the collective. The American ad begins in the form of a cartoon and the story of a young girl raised by a couple of lesbians. There is no appeal to the warrior ethic, only a ginned-up feminized and radicalized message to appeal to so-called social justice issues, tugging on the heartstrings, as though the military's job is to provide emotional sensitivity training and sexual propaganda instead of blowing things up when that is what is needed to defend our liberties and existence as a country. The only concession to a warrior ethic is the cartoon girl's climbing up a rope. And at the end, the cartoon gives way to live video of the young woman, who inexplicably, in spite of her impressive academic credentials, is not an officer. Perhaps her decision to serve in the enlisted ranks regardless of her qualifications is yet another way to fight back against the notion of hierarchy. At any rate, the contrast is stark. And should other countries become a military threat to the United States, one can only imagine how ill-prepared our country will be, with our warrior institution emasculated and our military turned into an institution of social re-education and a jobs program for people who reject traditional societal norms - not to mention reality itself. “Did God actually say…?” The serpent has also slithered up to the Bride of Christ and has posed the same question. He has gotten once-faithful church bodies, including Lutherans, to question God's Word - from the days of Higher Critical Theory right down to today's all encompassing Critical Theory (which manifests itself in matters of sex and race, imposing chaos and rebelling against the orderly goodness of God's Word and His will). When the push for women's “ordination” began among historic communions of the church in the twentieth century, there were prophetic voices, like Bishop Bo Giertz, the great Swedish Lutheran churchman who appealed to the Bible and the church's confessions. Giertz and others who shared this commitment to the Scriptures were pilloried and reviled as reactionaries and misogynists. The Bishop took the slings and arrows and mounted a defense against this Satanic invasion, but that battle was lost, as Swedish society had embraced progressivism over and against submission to the Word of God. And the winners have written the history and pushed their own narrative. Today, priestesses outnumber priests in the Church of Sweden. Secular society is dominated by female leadership. And it goes without saying that Scandinavia has led the way in the feminization of society and the normalization of sexual deviancy in the Nordic countries. The results have been disastrous, as the cancer of the rejection of the order of creation has become dominant, even to the point of the Lutheran lesbian “bishop” of the Church of Sweden ordering crosses removed from a church to make Muslims feel welcome. This corresponds to the feminized secular leadership of Sweden, naive, emotional, and lacking the God-given instinct to protect the nation, opening the borders of the country, creating violent no-go zones and an active rape culture - apparently an acceptable price to be paid for pushing a “woke” agenda. And the often pooh-poohed argument that the male pastorate mirrors the maleness of Christ is vindicated, and sadly so, by the re-creation of God in the image of woman by an ELCA congregation in San Francisco - one that prays to the goddess and employs a special goddess rosary. One of the former pastors of this “church” (so-called) has since become the world's first transgendered “bishop” (so-called). The gender issue has spread like a cancer, and there is more to come. Another ELCA priestess gave an Easter Sermon that was all about self-pleasure - including in the sexual sense. If you don't believe me, you can watch the video - especially beginning about at the 24:50 mark. It goes without saying that viewer discretion is advised. The canard that a church can be both feminist and orthodox is disproven by simple observation of the fruits of the tree. And far from making us like God, knowing good and evil, it has distanced us from God, as we have rebelled and used our ill-gotten knowledge to choose evil. This is apparently what is known as “empowerment.” And so in the face of the feminist heresy, let us join one and all and answer the serpent's question with a hearty confession: “Yes! God did actually say! Amen.”
Questions Covered: 05:00 – If evolution is true, were the first humans imbued souls immune from physical death? 07:00 – What do Catholics believe about the clarity of Scripture, particularly the Old Testament? 14:40 – Does the Church teach that abortion should be illegal? 19:53 – Can Jesus, as God, in his resurrected body, change? 33:05 – I have a boyfriend who is a Protestant who is interested in the Catholic Church. I feel a lack of confidence in sharing the faith with him, especially about free will and predestination. Can you help me to improve on this? 36:10 – Can the evidence of Christ's empty tomb and His appearances after the Resurrection be proved wrong by simply saying that the apostles made those things up? 46:30 – Do Catholics and Lutherans agree on justification? …
In this conversation with Rev. Dr. Timothy Saleska we dive deeply into the text of Psalm 22:3 - as a Lutherans trying to understand what it means for God to be "enthroned on the praises of Israel" (ESV). - We discuss: 1. the exegesis of Psalm 22, 2. the discrepancy between the Septuagint and Hebrew in regard to Psalm 22:3, and 3. what it can tell us about the relationship between God's presence and the praises of His people. If shownotes do not appear, follow this link: https://theologyinmotion.libsyn.com/psalm-223-and-gods-presence-in-worship-saleska
It's difficult to remember the great George A. Romero as anything other than the father of the modern zombie movie and one of the best horror directors in the history of cinema. But after his breakout film “Night of the Living Dead” became a smash success, Romero found very little interest from audiences in his next two films. As he was preparing production on another feature length film that would become “The Crazies,” Romero was approached by the Lutheran Society about directing an informational movie that would deal with the subject of society's terrible treatment of the elderly. Writer Walton Cook provided the script — one of the only times Romero wasn't the author of his own films — and what he created was a 53-minute short film called “The Amusement Park.” The idea was that Romero's finished product would serve as a public service announcement that would be shown in Lutheran community centers. Unfortunately, the Lutherans were so disturbed by Romero's vision for the film that they shelved the project and ultimately the movie fell into obscurity for more than 40 years. Finally unearthed thanks to Romero's wife, the film received a 4K restoration and now his so called “lost” film has been made available again. In the latest episode of Rewind of the Living Dead, we're going to buy our tickets and hope to receive better treatment when we're in our golden years as we review the “lost” George Romero movie “The Amusement Park”…
How is the #Catholic #Church holy?, when was the Sign of the #Cross first used?, a listener is having a hard time leaving the #Methodist Church, and do Lutherans have validly ordained bishops? #Jesus #Catholicism #Christianity #God
Pop Goes the Liturgy “it [sic] think it would be awesome to hear rap in [the] worship service, especially if the context calls for it and it communicates the Gospel in a way the community will hear it.” — COMMENTER AT THE LCMS FACEBOOK PAGE “I agree 100%. It would be awesome in a worship service. It's communicating the gospel incarnationally in the cultural context of the community. However, it would need to be in the right context, because some congregations have shallow, exclusive, self-focused worship where their faith is a compartmentalized part of their life outside of the culture to which they belong.” — REPLY TO THE ABOVE COMMENT Modern pop music arguably began with jazz in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jazz gave way to rock and roll in the 1950s. Rock music evolved quickly into many subgenres over the next few decades. Today's pop music is dominated by rap. But one thing that remains constant is the fact that there are those who desire to bring pop music into the Divine Service. Here in Louisiana, Jazz Masses (and even funerals) are popular among Roman Catholics. Among Lutherans in the Wisconsin, there are Lutheran churches that conduct Polka Services. And who can forget the pinnacle of Boomer Worship: the Chicago Folk Service? Rumor has it that the CIA had been using it to interrogate suspected terrorists. I don't believe it, though. Not even the CIA would violate the Geneva Convention so brashly. Kyrie eleison, indeed! And then there are the Episcopalians leading the way with the Beatles Mass (complete with John Lennon's ode to Communism and Atheism: “Imagine.” The Beatles Mass was championed by an ELCA “pastor” named Megan Rohrer, who has recently made headlines by being the first transgender “bishop.” He was formerly one of the pastors at Ebenezer Lutheran Church (Herchurch) in San Francisco, where God is addressed as the goddess, and where the Lord's Prayer begins “Our Mother.” For fans of U2, Episcopalian priestess Sarah Dylan Breuer has created a U2charist. An Episcopal congregation, St. Mary's - headed up by Mother Kim Culp, lists other services that they have done, including the above-mentioned U2charist and Beatles Mass, a Blue Grass Mass, Coldplay Mass, CASH Mass (featuring Johnny Cash music), and a Stevie Wonder Mass. Of course, it goes without saying - which means I have to say it because there are always readers looking to tilt at straw men - that pop music is not in and of itself evil. Some of it is, some of it isn't. It is what it is: entertainment. And it is entertainment that can indeed be thoughtful and intellectually stimulating. I remember many years ago one of our Gottesdienst editors - who is known for his intensity and excitability - waxing eloquent on how Led Zeppelin's song “No Quarter” reflected themes related to the office of the holy ministry. Some of the early songs by the band Evanescence confessed Christian themes - as the former writer for the band was a Christian. The band Kansas's Kerry Livgren is a Christian, and many of his compositions reflect the faith. He even fooled the unbeliever and dabbling Satanist Ronnie James Dio to record two songs with him in which the Christian confession is hard to miss: “To Live For the King” and “Mask of the Great Deceiver.” The Christian rock band Skillet gets airplay on secular stations as well. The list goes on. There is nothing wrong with entertainment. It is a gift of God that brings families and friends closer together and brings joy to our lives. But our sinful flesh often corrupts things that are good, turning them into idols. Satan's most effective tactics are those which blur the line between good and evil, or perhaps more accurately, introduce the leaven of the common into the loaf of the holy. Holiness means separation. Holiness is a wall that divides the divine from the ordinary. Christian worship is holy according to Scripture - that is, unless we have removed Exodus and Leviticus from the canon. God Himself teaches us about worship, how He would fill out His PIF if He were on the LCMS roster. There is indeed time in our daily lives for singing the glory of God “with trumpet sound… with lute and harp…. with tambourine and dance… with strings and pipe… with sounding cymbals” and “with loud clashing cymbals” - as we sing in Psalm 150. But then there are those times when God comes to us in His most holy presence, such as when Moses found himself at the burning bush, or Isaiah stood in the throne-room of God, the high priest's entry into the Holy of Holies, and our Lord's miraculous presence with us in His body and blood. Can you imagine Moses holding up a lighter and screaming “Freebird!” when God revealed His name to him and told him to remove his sandals? Can you imagine Isaiah freestyling a hip-hop beat when the seraph approached him “having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar”? Can you imagine the high priest cheerfully whistling a hippy folk song while coming into proximity with the Ark of the Covenant on the Day of Atonement? The reality is that we have lost touch with what holiness means. Most people would probably say that it means “being good” - however that is defined, whether by not drinking or dancing or playing cards, or by being appropriately politically-correct, sensitive, and concerned with “social justice.” And how often do we Lutherans take the Sacrament of the Altar for granted? How often do we fail to appreciate that a miracle happens at our altars? Of course, when pastors conduct the liturgy in a pedestrian or even slovenly way, when they behave like stand-up comedians or clowns, and when our churches schedule Sundays to not have the sacrament and then justify it because “it's a lot of work for the volunteers” (I actually heard that as an explanation for deviating from our confessional standard of every-Sunday communion) - who can blame our laity for not considering the Divine Service to be a miracle? And if it isn't a real manifestation of God coming to us, why bother? Or to put it in the words of Flannery O'Connor, “If it's only a symbol, to hell with it.” And when the people lose faith in what the plain Words of Institution teach us, that is when pastors and congregations (and even some in our hierarchy) turn to gimmicks, to rock and roll, rap, dancing, and other entertainments to hold the attention of the parishioners, to gin up emotion, and to “get the butts in the pews” with the kinds of things that draws a crowd in a stadium or concert hall. We must not discount the power of entertainment, especially pop music. I have had several parishioners leave my congregation and join one of our local non-denominational churches that has a pop band and a stage instead of hymns and an altar. These former parishioners outright told me that they like the music better. There were no theological considerations driving them, no crisis of whether or not what we teach is true. One said, “I gotta have a beat to move my feet.” One parishioner - whom I had baptized along with her daughter - said that her daughter enjoyed “fun church” instead of our Divine Service. But in gaining entertainment, what did they give up? In other words, what was the cost of this Sunday morning rock show? These churches do not confess Baptismal regeneration. And for them, the Lord's Supper (so-called) is indeed only a symbol. There is no confession and absolution. The giving up of these means through which God works miraculously in our lives was, to them, a price worth paying for a beat to move one's feet. In our culture, entertainment is king. It is our drug of choice. It is our 24-7 companion. It gives us the dopamine we need to get through life in these gray and latter days. It is as addictive as crack cocaine, but even easier to acquire. Even our news programs are entertainment. Our schools are entertainment. TV screens adorn the walls of our doctor's offices, airports, banks, restaurants, auto-repair shops, and our phones. Why shouldn't our churches likewise have screens on the sanctuary walls? Why shouldn't our church services also be entertainment? If we are entertained 24-7, 365, why should there be a single hour on Sunday morning in which we aren't being entertained? At the heart of the matter, this is a First Commandment issue. As George Thorogood famously posed the question - albeit with bad grammar: “Who do you love?”
We look at the life and work of one of the twentieth century's most influential and controversial Lutherans, Rev. Herman Otten. Pastor Otten served his congregation and his church for more than a half-century and was one of the staunchest opponents of liberalism in the Lutheran Church. Join us for a look at his words, his warnings, and how they apply to our day. Host: Rev. Willie Grills Regular Guest: Rev. Adam Koontz Episode: 138 Find articles and other podcast episodes on our website: wordfitlyspoken.org Follow us on Twitter: @wordfitly Send us a message: email@example.com Subscribe to the podcast: RSS Feed, iTunes, Spotify, or your favorite podcasting app.
A god has died, German Priests defy Vatican, Hindu sect engages in forced labor, shop owner hides crosses in furniture, Lutherans ordain new bishop, Southern Baptists ordain new pastors, and we try to give some credit were credit is due (with a couple of caveats).
A god has died, German Priests defy Vatican, Hindu sect engages in forced labor, shop owner hides crosses in furniture, Lutherans ordain new bishop, Southern Baptists ordain new pastors, and we try to give some credit were credit is due (with a couple of caveats).
DOCUMENTATION AND ADDITIONAL READING PART 1 (0:0 - 10:10): ────────────────── Martin Luther Wouldn’t Recognize the Evangelical Lutheran Church Today: Lutherans Elect First Transgender Bishop in United States RELIGION NEWS SERVICE (PAUL O'DONNELL) Lutherans elect Megan Rohrer first transgender bishop PART 2 (10:11 - 18:39): ────────────────── The Southern Baptist Convention Faces a Familiar Test: Women Pastors, Women Preachers, and the Coming Test of the SBC PART 3 (18:40 - 26:14): ────────────────── The Great Liberal Death Wish: There Are Deep Worldview Issues at Stake in the Decision of Whether or Not to Have Children NEW YORK TIMES (ELIZABETH BRUENIG) I Became a Mother at 25, and I’m Not Sorry I Didn’t Wait NEW YORK TIMES (MARY KATHARINE TRAMONTANA) Women Who Said No to Motherhood
Episode 695 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions. Show Notes CoreChristianity.com 1. Did Judas repent before he died? 2. How do we discern God’s will? Is God’s will spoken of differently in Romans 12 and 1 John 2? 3. What are the differences between Presbyterians and Lutherans? 4. Can someone who has a mental illness, but it is well managed through regular medication, can they become leaders in the church? I have heard some say these people should not lead and I think that is unfair. What are your thoughts? 5. Is Jesus actually Jehovah? 6. How involved should the church be in politics? Today’s Offer 9 THINGS EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT DEPRESSION Request our latest special offers here or call 1-833-THE-CORE (833-843-2673) to request them by phone. Want to partner with us in our work here at Core Christianity? Consider becoming a member of the Inner Core. Resources Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story by Michael Horton
“Jesus-plus” theology has always been popular. People add things to the gospel and to Jesus in order to legitimize their Christian lives. Is Jesus really enough for us? Not just for our salvation, but for our Christian lives? Aren’t there other things we need to be concerned for? Jon and Justin consider this and more.Semper Reformanda: They guys begin by giving give more information about our plans for Semper Reformanda. And then, Jon and Justin talk about the woke church. Is the woke church preaching a different gospel? The guys also talk about marriage, complementarianism, and other things Christians tend to get worked up over.Resources: “Ordinary” by Michael Horton Is the Woke Church Movement a False Gospel? | ask Theocast FREE Ebook: Theocast.org/primerSUPPORT Theocast: https://theocast.org/give/FACEBOOK: Theocast: https://www.facebook.com/Theocast.orgTWITTER: Theocast: https://twitter.com/theocast_orgINSTAGRAM: Theocast: https://www.instagram.com/theocast_org/ Podcast TranscriptJon Moffitt: Hi, this is Jon. I’m here with Justin in Knoxville, Tennessee. We’re actually together. Today is an important subject on the insufficiency of Jesus. We have a pretty lively conversation about, I would say, why people have to grasp onto something other than Christ when it talks about their legitimacy and their relationship to God.And then we’ve started a brand new membership. We have a brand new ministry called Semper Reformanda. We’ll talk about that a little bit later in the podcast. Stay tuned.Justin Perdue: So the title of the episode, because you’ve already seen it, is The Insufficiency of Christ. And we were aiming to be provocative with that title and hope that many will give this episode a listen. So we’ve had a number of conversations in our time together today here in Knoxville, Tennessee, working on a lot of stuff. But in between our work, we’re talking theology, and we’re talking about the Christian life, and we’re talking the church, and all these kinds of things. We say this humbly; we hope that this comes across very clearly: we don’t mean to come across as though we have this all figured out or that we don’t struggle and sometimes be distracted by other things ourselves. And we certainly don’t want to come across condescending, so we pray we don’t. But it is very clear to us that for many people in the church, Jesus and the gospel actually are not enough for their Christian life. There always has to be something else for people to feel right about their Christian faith, about their Christian life. And so this could take any number of forms.Jon Moffitt: We can use different words, too: right, safe, excited.Justin Perdue: They need to be validated. They need to feel legit about their Christian life and their Christian faith. And it seems that for many people, for that to happen, Jesus and the gospel are not enough. There has to be additional things thrown on top of it in order for me to feel right, to feel validated, and to feel legit about my life as a Christian. And so that’s what we’re going to talk about today.Jon Moffitt: I want to go back. There are really two goals that I have when we’re doing this podcast and we’re having this conversation. One, this episode is for the person who’s probably brand new. Someone recommended this to you. You’re being introduced to Theocast, Reformed theology, or maybe the concept of resting in Christ for the first time from a confessional Reformed perspective. I also want to talk to the person who’s been listening to us for a while. Because what happens is that when you get out of the boat and get into the water, and you’ve been swimming in the water for a while, you forget what it’s like to be out of the water. You forget that the weightlessness that we feel in the water is we love to be here, and we don’t remember the dredge and the fear that exists within Christianity.We get to a point where we look at those who are adding things to Jesus. We get angry with them. We get upset with them. We can even start arguing with them, which I see happening in the Facebook group, things are sent to me all the time. So I think when you can see where someone’s coming from and why it is that they feel the need to add something to the sufficiency of Jesus, saying that he’s insufficient, then it’s helpful to obey Paul when he says be gentle, kind, patient, forbearing, long-suffering, because you’re understanding the perspective they’re coming from. So the point of this is to demonstrate the danger of looking at Jesus as insufficient. And also for those of us who are coaching and bringing people this direction—or I would say coaching is a bad word—but really loving people as they’re making this transition to rest in Christ, looking at it from their perspective.Justin Perdue: Helping people see ways that they are prone to add things on to the gospel too, cause we all are. And to help people maybe even make some sense of what they see going on broadly on Christian Twitter. And we could do a podcast one day called Christian Twitter. I don’t know. That would be a discouraging conversation.Hopefully, this is some diagnostic stuff, some discerning type stuff, and clarifying stuff. And then we’re gonna end up talking about Christ and the gospel. In as much as it depends on us, that’s what we want to keep doing, is just preaching Christ.Jon Moffitt: Right. So what does the insufficiency of Jesus look like? What does it sound like?Justin Perdue: It depends on the scenario, but basically what we’re trying to get at is a situation where in the church, or just amongst Christian friends, or it may be your Christian community, whatever those communities might look like. There’s this posture where we all agree on the gospel; amen to Jesus, he is our Savior, we never move on from the gospel, we’ve got the gospel, we believe the gospel, we need the gospel. All of that is agreed on. But then, functionally, nobody feels validated, nobody feels legitimate, nobody feels appropriately challenged even if there’s not all this other stuff then added to Christ and his sufficiency and what he has done for us. And then the exhortations that accompany that live under that, live in that; love each other, right?Let’s maybe start with something that came up here with our group as we were just beginning to move toward recording this. A lot of people, when they think about preaching, when they sit and listen to sermons—you and I’ve gotten this critique from people who have visited our respective churches, I think, where they’ll say, “Oh my gosh, the preaching of Christ and the gospel was incredible. But where’s the application?” Or “When, pastor, are you going to tell me stuff that I need to be doing? Because that’s what I really need to hear. I got the gospel. I know the gospel. I know that Christ is my righteousness, but tell me what I need to do.” That’s one way that this creeps in, and this is very common.Jon Moffitt: I know you and I both love to do this: we’re going to bring out the criticism, but we don’t just want to criticize bad thinking or bad theology. I want to go behind the thinking behind it, because then that helps someone walk this direction.I understand when someone says, “Justin, I love everything you’re saying, but when I leave here,” and it comes from a good heart, “you aren’t giving me things that I can do for the Father. You weren’t encouraging me to be a better husband,” or a better wife, or a better father, “you’re not giving me exhortations to actually then obey the very commands and Scripture that we see.” That’s the heart behind it.Justin Perdue: Just a brief interjection here. I’m preaching Ephesians right now. I’m preaching the last sermon in that book on Sunday. I think if you ask any person who’s attended our church through the course of this sermon series, there has been plenty of exhortation to love each other, to love one another in your marriage, to love your children, to think about how you speak with one another, to flee from sin, etc. All of that’s there. It’s in the text, right? But your point is still made that week in and week out, what do you and I aim to emphasize unashamedly as the primary takeaway? Jesus. Christ for you. The sufficiency of Christ—how he is enough, and when we say enough, we don’t mean something sentimental. We mean that he is enough for your salvation, he’s enough for you to have peace and rest and to be safe.Jon Moffitt: He’s enough for everything: your salvation, your sanctification, and your glorification. Because what people misunderstand in what we’re saying—and those who don’t go to our church, or maybe don’t listen to Theocast long enough, and this is the criticism of the Reformed world, those who are Christ-centered. What they think we’re doing is we’re only preaching sermons that are about the work of Christ or the nature of Christ and that’s it. And that is not what we’re doing because I believe that Genesis three 15 absolutely is about the sufficiency of Christ, and every book after is about the sufficiency of Christ. Because if God does not fulfill His promises in his covenants, which was first promised to us at the very beginning of the event, post-fall to Eve saying that from her will come the one who is going to make all things right. So the sufficiency of Christ is seen through Genesis 3:15 all the way through the end. So it doesn’t matter where you’re preaching. If you’re new to this, when we talk about our focus being the sufficiency of Christ, we are not saying we only preach Christocentric passagesJustin Perdue: Or that we only preach justification. Because, you’re right, 1 Corinthians 1:30-31, Christ has become to us wisdom from God, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. And so we do understand that our union with Christ handles everything; not just our justification, being declared righteous and reconciled to God, but also our sanctification, and it secures our glorification as well.And so, yes, ultimately for us to preach Christ, we understand we are preaching the Christian life and we are preaching what makes the Christian life possible, we are preaching what makes sanctification a reality. And that’s what we want to clarify. And we do as we exhort people from the Scriptures to love each other, to serve one another, and to consider others as more significant themselves, etc. We’re doing that always under the banner of Christ in the gospel.Here’s the thing: we do application, but we are always doing application in a way that is clearly connected to Christ and what he’s done for us. That’s our goal anyway. And we’ll fail as preachers, but that’s what we mean to do. And so even those things that might feel more practical, like boots-on-the-ground kind of takeaways, are all driven by Christ and what he’s done for us.Jon Moffitt: Right. So going back to this criticism, we understand the heart behind it now. It’s a good desire. It’s a good posture.Justin Perdue: I want to glorify and honor God.Jon Moffitt: But I will tell you that when I start sitting down with these—I have a congregation full of them and so do you, because we are constantly counseling them, shepherding them, and encouraging them—we have to peel back the layers of the why. So I never criticized the heart behind it. There is a genuine desire to do what is right. But I think the theology of why they want to do what’s right is what’s off. For instance, I’m going to go off of experience here. This is a comment that was made recently in the last year or so. Someone was thinking about my sermons. They were thinking about it in such a way where they said, “I understand what you’re saying, but you don’t ever give us application of things to do.” He was in a context that was so different for him. I was giving them application every single week, but they didn’t want to obey the application I was giving them because their ear was so trained to hear more of the application of confirming your salvation, this is how you sustain your salvation, or this is how you sanctify yourself, this is how you validate yourself. Jesus is great to get you into the team, into the family, but now here’s your role, and the role is not in relationship to what we say is biblical Christianity—which we’re going to get to into in a minute, but the role is in doing these things to validate you are truly a child of God. The entire list of obedience is about finding assurance of salvation.Justin Perdue: People are wanting application in a way that I think—again, good motivations, but I think misunderstands the real battle and, and the real challenge of the Christian life, which is to trust Christ. I would say all the time, the most difficult thing to do, and the thing that is most impossible for us to do on our own strength, is to simply trust Christ and only him. And so what we’re doing is aiming to preach Christ in such a way where we help people see that to trust Christ, to rest in Christ, to be even fueled and motivated by that peace, rest, and that security, and the fact that your sanctification is certain. Now go love people: love your wife, love your kids, love your neighbor. Consider how you talk to each other because you need to build each other up. Forgive each other because God in Christ has forgiven you.But all of those things are driven ultimately by that preaching of Christ, rather than us up there simply telling people something that they need to be doing, like you’re saying, in order to validate them. In all of these, we’re aiming to use the law lawfully. We use it on the front end to crush sinners and bring them to Christ, to show them their sin and then offer them Christ.But then even in using the law as the guide, we use it in such a way where Christ now is driving that sanctification piece of your life. You’re trusting him for that. The law is simply your guide in what that looks like.Jon Moffitt: It’s scary.Justin Perdue: It’s frightening for people. It’s disorienting.Jon Moffitt: When you have been trained your entire life, that the preaching of God’s word, your time, the word books you listen to, books you read, podcasts you hear, are all designed to equip you for, I would say, a performance-based Christianity or a Jesus-plus Christianity. It’s almost like we’re hitching our wagon to Jesus by our own efforts.Justin Perdue: Right. Or people will say, “I need to be equipped so that I can do the work of ministry, but I think there’s a misunderstanding of what that even means. Because the work of ministry that we are equipped for is the building up of the body of Christ.Jon Moffitt: It’s to each other; ministering to each other, not to yourself.It is very disorienting when you begin to hear sermons and theology and you’re in a community, and the community is not focusing on what you’re doing to assure yourself, focusing on what you’re doing to progress in this concept of affirming that you’re truly a child of God. It terrifies people.I will tell you this right now. The criticism we get is that if you’re not careful—and they don’t say it this way but this is how it comes across—if you’re not careful in giving people rest in Christ, they’re going to live however they want. They’re going to take this freedom that they have, and this is what they hear.I have had people tell me over the years that they’re afraid of not doing these things; for instance, not reading their Bible or literally, the words out of their mouth were, “I want to go to a church where the pastor is telling me I must read my Bible, I must do these things. Otherwise, I’m afraid I won’t do them.”They are living under law and Jesus isn’t sufficient enough for them to say, “I am good with the Father. I will be sanctified. I will be glorified. He who began a good work in me will complete it. Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.” That is not enough for them because they have been so trained. It’s almost like the Stockholm syndrome of Christianity. Like they need that slavery in order to feel safe.Justin Perdue: It’s basically that response when Christ is being held out and he is being heralded as the point of everything. People deep down are wrestling with, “Okay, when are you going to give me the rest of it?” He is the whole thing. Now, there are stuff underneath we can talk about, but he is it; he is all we ultimately have to offer.I’m going to pivot us and maybe transition to another observation here that I think is related to this same concern. We don’t need to like date this and timestamp it or anything, but if people have been looking at social media much at all in the last week, there’s been a lot going on on Christian Twitter over various issues, particularly right now surrounding complementarianism and what that looks like—how men and women relate to one another in the church and the home and all that. It becomes very clear in times like now—and it’s not just over complementarianism; you pick your secondary issue—when stuff like this happens, people come out of the woodwork it seems. Quite literally, Christians crucify each other on social media. And it seems that many people are almost addicted to controversy. And I’m not trying to sound punchy or jerkish in saying this, but it’s like they don’t know how to live the Christian life if there’s not something to argue with, and there’s not something to argue against. I need to always be defining myself by what I’m against. I need to always be polemical in the way that I think about Christianity. And I’ve always got to have an opponent in view, who I am trying to take down in order to feel legitimate and to be invigorated as a Christian. It’s like to simply believe in the Lord Jesus, to simply rest in the Lord Jesus Christ, and to love my neighbor, to love the saints is not enough.Jon Moffitt: To be about the work of the local church.Justin Perdue: Right. It’s not enough because what I need to be doing is I need to speak the truth, I need to be a bulldog for truth, I need to stand on the wall and make sure that nobody is in error. And I think that part of what’s going on for people like that is this issue that to rest in Christ and be about the business of the local church is not enough for me to feel legitimate and good about myself as a Christian, and so I need to be making sure that all these other people are orthodox and I’ve got to be fighting with people all the time. There’s always an argument to win. There’s always a battle to be waged.What I want to say is that as much as it depends on us, one, we’re going to be over here preaching Christ and seeking to love our neighbor. But then, two, I want for people who are doing this and engaging in this… Secondary issues matter a lot; it’s not that they don’t, but they really matter in your own local church where you have a shared confessional standard and you are all submitting yourselves to the discipline and doctrine of that church and these pastors. We need to agree about these things, but then when it comes to other people out there, it’s okay that there may be some disagreement and we want to keep the main thing the main thing.Jon Moffitt: That’s right. I have two thoughts on that. Those people that are what I would call “watchdog junkies”.Justin Perdue: They’re orthodoxy police.Jon Moffitt: Right. All they do are watch YouTube video after YouTube video about how there are all of these theological errors. And don’t get us wrong: Theocast has no problem with pointing out theological error.Justin Perdue: And we care about the doctrine.Jon Moffitt: But the goal is not to point out the error. We never want that. The tagline of our ministry is “Encouraging weary pilgrims to rest in Christ”. We’re more designing or peeling back that which is weighing you down. Like Hebrews 12 says, setting aside the weight, and the sin that easily besets you. We’re trying to help point out these weights that we put on us, pietism, and we want you to pull those off. But there’s a difference when the end result is we want the person we are talking to to rest in Christ. When I hear these watchdog junkies or these orthodox police, they just want to shred these people.Justin Perdue: They want to mow people down in Jesus’ name.Jon Moffitt: They throw the word “heresy” so fast and so quick that if you ever even wanted that person to listen to you, there’s no way they would because you have so quickly mowed them down. These are the two things I was talking to Andrew about on the way up here. He asked me the question, “What does pietism produce?” It produces three things: it produces fear, it produces a lack of assurance, but it also produces self-righteousness. What happens in these watchdog, attack mode type of a thing—and you can see people are invigorated, they’re excited, they’re standing for the truth, they are protectors of the who are not going to compromise—but what it really does is create this unbearably stingy self-righteousness that I honestly can’t stand.Justin Perdue: In some situations, Jon, it destroys unity around the gospel. It destroys the unity around Christ. And I agree with you—I think a lot of the identity in that kind of a situation, for people that are engaging in this, a lot of their identity is derived from this stand for truth. Like my stand for truth is validating me as a believer. I am dedicated. I am of the number who are sincere and zealous and committed. The line of thinking in that situation often, too, for people, is they say things and people get angry with them. And the takeaway for them always is, “Well, people are only getting mad at me because I’m speaking the truth.” Again, it’s this validation thing. “People are mad at me because I’m saying the truth and people hate the truth and they hate God.” They might be mad at you because you’re being a jerk and maybe you haven’t considered that. But again, what we’re trying to drive at here is where is your identity found? Where is your sufficiency found? It’s not found in this stuff and how many people you mow down on Twitter; your identity and your sufficiency is always and only found in Jesus. And then what I pray we would all engage in is to maintain our doctrinal standards and our confessional heritage, but then look for unity in any place we can because we have Christ in common.Jon Moffitt: That’s right. When we talk about doctrinal standards, sometimes I think people hear me or Justin say that it is almost an either-or scenario. You were either gracious in unifying froo-froo. So it’s all marshmallows and fluff and puff. There are people over here who are like, “Oh, we’re going to drop the rock, bro. We don’t care if you shatter. Truth is truth, and we’re going to stand for truth.” It’s not either-or.Justin Perdue: It’s truth and love. They actually go together.Jon Moffitt: The rock of our salvation, the God in the flesh, the living Word was surrounded by sinners, surrounded by sin. So there’s no way God compromised His beliefs, His doctrine, His theology. He did not set them aside. He did not lower them. He did not excuse them. And yet the very nature of who God is drew sinners to Himself. So I have to take note of this and that even when Paul says speaking the truth in love, our significance, this rest that we find in Christ, doesn’t cause us to be less excited about the truth. It causes us to be more excited about the truth.When I listen to these people, the goal is to be right. “We’re right, and you’re wrong.” No, the goal is to love these people, and the way to love them is of course to give them the truth. And they’ll even say, “Well, I am loving them by telling the truth.” But it’s telling the truth in love, though. The goal at the end of it, even though they may disagree with you and say, “Yeah, I hear your truth and I don’t agree with it. I reject it,” they should still feel loved.Justin Perdue: Honestly, I think that if we’re going to offend people, we want to offend people with the preaching of Christ in the gospel. He is a stumbling block, and he is a cornerstone; those who fall and crash against him will be broken. That’s true. But they’ll be broken because they’re trusting in something else other than him, they are proud and arrogant in their sin and don’t see their need for Christ. We want to offend people with the preaching and the proclamation of Jesus and his sufficiency in the place of sinners, not alienate everybody over these secondary issues.Not that we shouldn’t contend for truth. Amen, we should. Like you said, it’s not either-or, it’s both. We want to love people and be clear about what matters most, and then be charitable about the things certainly that we can disagree about. And then even in the ways that we engage conversations on secondary issues, let’s be charitable and gracious and keep the main thing the main thing.The way that we aim to operate here at Theocast is intentional. There’s a reason why we have Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, and all kinds listen to us because we aim to never divide over issues like that. Now it matters for our local churches how we understand baptism or covenant theology.Jon Moffitt: Don’t confuse that we don’t have doctrinal standards that we hold to.Justin Perdue: For our own local churches, those things matter very much. If you’re gonna be a member of Covenant Baptist Church, or Grace Reformed Church, they matter tremendously. But when it comes to this and what we’re doing here, and when it comes to Christianity broadly, like in America, for example, or Christian social media, our posture is to keep heralding Jesus. And we are going to be very charitable about things that we know we have disagreements with other brothers and sisters about. We’re not going to beat those drums. We’re going to beat the drum of Christ because he is ultimately the person who we all unify around because we all know we need him; he’s our hope, he’s our peace, he’s our sanctification, he’s our salvation. And so let’s do that. Jesus is enough even to unite us, and then in our own local churches, let’s absolutely hammer these things out.Jon Moffitt: That’s right. And I would even say there’s nothing wrong. You and I have had wonderful conversations with our brothers in Christ that are Lutheran, who are Anglican, who are Presbyterian. And some of my dearest friends fit all of those categories—men that I love and I trust. So what ends up happening though, and I would say fundamentalism and pietism are great examples of this, where we blur the lines on primary and secondary issues. What is a secondary issue, and something that you and I should be able to disagree over but not necessarily separate over—we blend those two.Justin Perdue: Just be clear: the primary issue would be something you need to believe to be a Christian. Secondary issue would be—the way I would define it is you need to agree about this to be in the same church. But it’s not a test of whether or not you’re a Christian.Jon Moffitt: Primary is an orthodoxy issue.Justin Perdue: It’s an issue of orthodoxy and heresy.Jon Moffitt: These are just for the listeners who may not understand that you’re talking about the nature of Christ, the Trinity, the nature of justification, sanctification, and all of those things.Justin Perdue: Secondary issues would be things like complementarianism, baptism, church government, things like that.Jon Moffitt: Justin and I are openly 1689 London Baptist Confession, Covenantal Baptists.Justin Perdue: And we are unashamed of that.Jon Moffitt: We are very convicted in those beliefs, but we understand that when we look at the theology of our other brothers in Christ, that some of them that are not even confessional, we will look at them and say they do understand this, and they are a properly heralding sufficiency of Christ. Let’s encourage that. Let’s not tear them down.Justin Perdue: Sufficiency of Christ, distinction between law and gospel, justification, theology of the cross. There are so many things that we agree on. Why would we, even on a podcast like this, take shots at other Christians over stuff and argue over these things when we can promote unity around the Lord Jesus and how he has saved us?Jon Moffitt: Because the goal is to help people see that Jesus truly is sufficient. So when you ask Justin, Jimmy, or I what we’re trying to do at Theocast or what we’re trying to do in our churches, we want people to know, trust, and rest in Jesus as being enough. We’re even starting a conference called Enough.Justin Perdue: Hopefully coming next year.Jon Moffitt: Yeah, very soon. Because this message, we believe, has been cluttered and it has been, I think, damaged because we now live in a culture of Jesus-plus. And the reason is because we have started fighting about secondary issues. We started losing sight of the sufficiency of Christ and preaching Christ’s sufficiency.Even your quote by Bayes a couple of weeks ago. We were talking about how when we don’t distinguish the law and the gospel, it causes all kinds of damage. So we want to pull the clutter off of that and say, no, the sufficiency of Christ is enough. And we understand that it’s scary to trust something other than just Christ. We want to somehow say, “I’m good because of this.” And if this isn’t Jesus, then we’re here to say then you’re not good—and that’s scary to hear.Part of the podcast today is to say that if you feel that tug and you feel that war within you where it sounds scary to think you can… When we say rest, people hear quit. When people hear rest, people hear stop. That’s what they hear. They hear quit trying, stop, or even say they also hear we’re not concerned about holiness.Justin Perdue: So I do think when we say rest in Christ, or when we say that Jesus is sufficient, those are the two phrases that you and I use the most when we’re just talking to each other. And when we’re thinking about anything that we want to put out broadly related to Theocast or our ministries, rest in Christ, the sufficiency of Christ, by those things, we certainly don’t mean quit in terms of quitting seeking to honor God with your life. We do mean quit trying to save yourself with God’s help. We do mean quit trying to validate yourself before God, because He’s already told you what He thinks of you.Jon Moffitt: There’s nothing that can separate us.Justin Perdue: He has told us who and what we are. We have a new identity now. We’re not chasing after that. We have a new status now; we’re justified, we’re declared righteous. We’re not chasing after righteousness. So in that sense, we are saying quit running like a hamster on a wheel after your identity, because God’s given it to you in His Son. Quit running after your status in terms of righteousness, because God’s given you that in His son. No righteousness will ever be required of you that Jesus hasn’t provided for you. No debt will ever be demanded of you that Jesus has not paid in full. So quit trying to do that. But by all means, try to love your neighbor. Try to give your life away for the good of your brothers and sisters, pursue all of that stuff knowing that you’re safe in Christ and that you have rest in him.And so that’s what we mean. It’s not give up and quit wholesale; it is give up on trying to justify yourself because we all try to do that. And we’re exhorting people to rest in Jesus, see the sufficiency of Christ, and now that you’re free and you’re safe, you know that your sanctification is certain, and you know that your glorification is certain. We need that reminder all the time. Even as I’m saying this and these words are coming out of my mouth, I’m like, “Lord, give me faith to do just that.” But as we preach that message to one another from the Word all the time, we now are free to go and love one another, and to build up the body of Christ, and to love our neighbor, and to consider them as more significant than ourselves, because my eyes are now not just simply fixed on me and my own performance. I can actually fix my eyes on other people.Jon Moffitt: That’s right. So when you start hearing sermons, you’ll be able to pick out the difference of when someone believes that Jesus is insufficient to provide for all that you need versus someone who truly believes that Jesus is sufficient. The person who believes that Jesus is sufficient is trying to pull out of your hands all that you are claiming, brings you clarity and hope, and puts Christ in there. And the person who is confused—they are going to be handing you means by which you can prove your sufficiency, and it comes in the form of lists of the five ways of doing this and the seven ways of that.I think the easiest way of knowing the differences between sufficiency in self versus sufficiency in Christ is where they are pointing you towards, where you can say this is where safety is found.Justin Perdue: And this is where legitimacy is found.Jon Moffitt: That’s right. “I am legitimately safe and can rest because I am doing this.” That right there believes Jesus isn’t sufficient. But if you can say, “I am legitimate and safe, and I can rest because of what Christ has done for me,” that, at that moment, Jesus is sufficient—and that is a message that you want to embrace.So we have a new podcast. We announced it earlier in the Facebook group, and by now it’s already been out a couple of weeks. We got rid of our old membership. It was great. We loved it. But now we have something new called Semper Reformanda. If you are loving what you’re hearing and you want to be a part of this conversation, there are two ways that you can do it. One, Justin and I are about to do a second podcast—it’s called Semper Reformanda—where we take these weekly episodes and we take it to the next level. I definitely would say it’s a step up and unfiltered, where we are going to pull up a chair around the table and say, “Sit down and let’s process this with you.” How did we get here? How did we come to these conclusions? What can we give you that you can help other people come to this conclusion as well? So that’s Semper Reformanda. And then we are providing ways for you to go and meet in your local community and discuss this with other listeners. We have an app that you can download and you’ll be able to use that app to find a local either online community if there’s not a community in your area, or you can go and start one and continue this conversation about furthering the Reformation. So we’re going to head over to that conversation. If you want to know more about it, you can go to theocast.org. It’ll be right there on the top. It’ll say Semper Reformanda. Join the Reformation.We look forward to having you as a part of our team, a part of those who are helping other people find the sufficiency of Christ.We’ll see you next week.