Archive for Steadfast Lutherans

Where Are You Going?

tongueThere is an old saying that goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The one who came up with that was never hit with a dictionary.
James reminds us of one small organ of our bodies that we don’t think about too much, but it does have a great influence; not just in our lives, but in others’ lives as well: the tongue. James likens our tongue to the rudder of a ship. Just as a massive ship is steered through the water by a seemingly small and insignificant piece of the ship, so we are steered and defined by our tongues. How’s that for an image?
How much time and effort do . . . Read All

Trinity: World-famous Humble Little Country Doctor

Many ask, “If God exists, why He doesn’t show himself? Then we would worship him.” Answers have been given from reason, philosophy, and piety, but God is not impressed with that. His reasons are personal.

Linus told Charlie Brown what he was going to do when he grew up. “When I get big I’m going to be a humble little country doctor. I’ll live in the city, see, and every morning I’ll get up, climb into my sports car and zoom into the country. Then I’ll start healing people. I’ll heal everybody for miles around. I’ll be a world-famous humble little country doctor.”

We laugh, but that’s us, and we expect God to be like us and show off. If . . . Read All

A Concordia Pitches a No-Hitter. The Final Score: 0-34

Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 5.27.13 PM

 

Not that long ago I read through a Concordia University’s glossy biannual magazine. I was struck by how little Jesus there was in it. I went back and took another look. I saw no Jesus. I downloaded it and did a search. Zero Jesus. Zero. By comparison, the word innovation, or one of its derivatives, was used 34 times. That’s right. Thirty-four. Luke 12:34 comes to mind: “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” There’s a systemic problem when Jesus can’t be found in the span of thirty pages of a university claiming “Lutheran” as a core theme.*

My point is not to pick on any particular Concordia. My point is to . . . Read All

Satan’s Angelic Disguises

wolf sheep

If you were to stop and consider the devil’s appearance for a moment, you might imagine something frightening.  He very well may show up in your mind’s eye complete with horns, hoofs, and pitchfork. Maybe you’d dream up something that looks like it came out of a horror movie.  The last thing we’d probably expect is for the devil to clothe himself in a godly appearance. But this is exactly how St. Paul describes him in 2 Corinthians 11:13.  He says Satan “disguises himself as an angel of light.”

This makes good sense.  The devil is crafty (Genesis 3:1). He certainly will not risk scaring off potential victims by breathing fire out of his mouth!  The evil one doesn’t show . . . Read All

ACELC — If Not Now, When? — DVD now available

He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Titus 1:9

It has only been a short time since the release of the ACELC Film Project, “If Not Now, When?” but in that time the response has been overwhelming. The most common response has been one of gratitude, thanking us for addressing the topics honestly and head on. We have received comments ranging from, “The divisions among us are real, here is an example…” to “I had no idea things were this bad…” to “You have given us a good introduction to the issues, but we need more…”. . . Read All

If you are a pietist …

IF YOU ARE A PIETIST, FOR THE SAKE OF THE LUTHERANS, PLEASE REMAIN ONE. PLEASE.

PietistAs you can see from the photo, the bottle is nearly empty. That’s not entirely my fault. I purchased this whisky on my way to visit a good friend. He played a big part in its demise.

But anyway…

I received a Facebook message from a fellow pastor who suggested that I spend more time writing about theology and less about whisky. He appreciated the hymn study postings on my blog, and he delighted in the sermons and poetry offered there as well, but he was a little put-off by the devotion to Scotch whisky. He suggested that mixing theology and whisky was a . . . Read All

The Purple People Eater Rides Again

KITThe Jehovah’s Witnesses interlinear Bible, titled The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures (KIT), was first released in 1969.  Called “the purple people eater” by many Christian apologists because of its purple cover, it contains the Westcott-Hort Greek text along with the Watchtower’s New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures (NWT).  The NWT, released in 1961, twists Holy Scriptures to suit the doctrinal views of the Watchtower.  Some of the lowlights, quoted from the 1969 KIT, include Colossians 1:15-20:

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter

. . . Read All

Believing and Confessing the Forgiveness of Sins: Sermon on Matthew 18:21-35

True unity is found only in pure doctrine. This is because the center of all Christian doctrine is the death of Christ for the forgiveness of sins. True unity is found in the gospel. To forgive your neighbor when he sins against you is to confess what you believe: the gospel. To refuse to forgive your neighbor is to say that you do not believe the gospel. It is to say, “Jesus is accursed.” But St. Paul says, “no one, having the Holy Spirit, says, ‘Jesus is accursed.’” Therefore, to refuse to forgive your neighbor who sins against you is to prove that you do not have the gift of the Holy Spirit; that is, that you do not have . . . Read All

“But We Preach Christ Crucified” (Sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

“But We Preach Christ Crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)

You’ll notice that the color of our paraments today is red–in other words, something different from the ordinary green that we use in the non-festival half of the church year. This means that we’re observing a special festival today, one that happens to fall on a Sunday this year. And this festival is called Holy Cross Day. What is Holy Cross Day, you ask? Well, let me tell you the background of this observance.

Back in the early 300s, the Roman Emperor Constantine became a Christian. Then in the year 326, his mother, Helena, made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, and there she discovered what was believed to be the true . . . Read All

2013 Convention Resolution Update

Found on lcms.org

The 2013 Convention Resolution Update outlines the work that’s been done to complete the 95 resolutions passed at last year’s convention.

To download the report, click here.

 

. . . Read All

Steadfast Media Pick of the Week — Theological Crossdressers

 

 

Theological Crossdressers

This pick is from an episode of Table Talk Radio entitled “Beware! Theological Crossdressers.” Pastors Wolfmueller and Goeglein critique a video from the Five Two Network’s Sacramental Entrepreneurship series.

 

Preamble starts at 13:40 and the main discussion starts at 19:50.

Video being critiqued.

. . . Read All

Good Storytellers Make Good Apologists

lion-300x126What makes a good apologist? We know some of the usual suspects.

Eyewitnesses make good apologists. Matthew, John, Peter, and Paul, come to mind in the New Testament. These eyewitnesses—and hundreds more according to Paul—testify to the truth of the events they witnessed and recorded. Eyewitnesses are good apologists because they report the facts, hand down the events as they happened, and ensure that the reliable testimony is communicated to others.

Close associates of eyewitnesses to the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection are also good apologists: think about Mark and Luke. Mark wrote much of the Gospel that bears his name on account of the eyewitness testimony of Peter. And Luke, like a good journalist and historian, did his

. . . Read All

Sermon — Pr. Tony Sikora — A Foolish, Silly, Stupid Little Word really Does Save You

Holy Cross
September 14, 2014
Bible Text: 1 Corinthians 1:18-25
A Foolish, Silly, Stupid Little Word really Does Save You

 

 

Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  AMEN!  Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 1.

Beloved in the Lord,

Steadfast Sermons GraphicWords Really do Hurt

Some of my favorite TV commercials are those Gieco commercials.  Those commercials tell me things I didn’t know before. Not only can I save 15% on car insurance but I’ve also learned that

owls are not that wise,
pinnochio is a bad motivational speaker,
Old McDonald was a really bad speller,. . . Read All

Twice More to John 6: An Analysis of the Sacramental Interpretation

Twice More to John 6:

An Analysis of the Sacramental Interpretation

Rev. Philip Hale – St. Paul, Bancroft and St. John, Lyons NE

 

John 6 is a controversial touchstone because it is here that different understandings and methods of interpretation meet so concretely.  Both Charles Gieschen and David Scaer, from their essays in the January/April 2014 CTQ, have similar views of the text, though they argue in different ways [Gieschen, "Baptism and the Lord's Supper in the Gospel of John,'' 23-45; Scaer, "Once More to John 6,'' 47-62].  The result appears to be in line with Lutheran theology, but the interpretation itself is not historically Lutheran.  This is due to modern assumptions and approaches to Scripture and the interpretive . . . Read All

Memorial Moment — Love the Truth

It’s been a while, but BJS periodically puts out sources of daily study helps or thoughts that are available to help our readers. One of these is from Synod Fifth Vice President Pastor Scott Murray titled “Memorial Moments” available here. Pastor Murray can be on facebook here. You can subscribe to these by clicking here.

If you have suggestions for us to post in this area please contact us.

 

Love the Truth
Thursday after Pentecost 13
11 September 2014

When I was a college student there was a debate that raged on campus about the importance of doctrine in the Christian Church. One party argued that teaching was not all that important, but rather love . . . Read All

Some Thoughts on Synod, Mercy, the Divine Service and a Restored Church, by Pr. Rossow

St. Paul Lutheran Church, Hamel, Illinois dedicated its restored sanctuary on Sunday. It was devastated months ago by a fire in the church basement. The smoke from that fire ruined the sanctuary. (You can see some pictures of the restored sanctuary here on the blog of former St. Paul Pastor William Weedon.)

I learned of the dedication when Pastor Ben Ball sent out a message to the email list of the Northern Illinois Confessional Lutherans. He mentioned that the redo would be highlighted in LCMS communications. I emailed him back congratulations on the dedication and also mentioned that it is too bad that the LCMS would turn the story into a mercy thing.

I was just making an educated guess. . . . Read All

Fun and Faith

vbs-craftsBefore tossing the catalog into the circular file I skimmed over the outside cover and noticed the words “fun and faith” joined together in an alliterative effort to illustrate what their catalog was all about.  Well, guess what?  It was all about fun and faith and how they go together.  Cutesy puppets, bunnies, crosses, prayer boxes, angels, etc. – all for sale and all designed to make faith fun for the youngsters!

I thought back to my own childhood.  I guess there was some of that in Sunday school when I was a boy, though that was a very long time ago!  It’s called crafts.  We did that back in the fifties and sixties.  I know we did.  When I . . . Read All

Right To Life article by Pr. Christopher Thoma

322395_life_7_to_12_weeksI was asked by Right To Life of Livingston County Michigan to write a “brief” article, and these were the simple parameters given in the email: “We would like your article to address how to reach other pastors to attend our church outreach meetings which are held only three times a year… The article would help our church representatives know how to better approach their pastors about this.” These are pretty clear instructions, but they assume three things. First, they assume that as a preacher, I can be brief. Second, they assume that I will leave the task of reaching out to pastors solely in the representatives’ hands. When it comes to doing the work of saving babies, born or . . . Read All

“Love Is the Fulfilling of the Law” (Sermon on Romans 13:1-10, by Pr. Charles Henrickson)

“Love Is the Fulfilling of the Law” (Romans 13:1-10)

Do you want to know what you should be doing this week? I can tell you with sure confidence what God’s will is for you this week. It’s pretty simple, actually. I can sum it up in one word: Love. That’s right. Love. In terms of how you deal with the people you encounter this week, that’s about the size of it: Love them. How can I be so sure of this? Because God’s Word tells me this is so, that this is God’s will for each one of us. It’s no mystery. It’s quite clear.

We heard it in the Epistle reading for today, from Romans 13, where St. Paul . . . Read All

Steadfast Throwdown — Round 21

FB-ThrowdownCoverImageRound 21 of Steadfast Throwdown has now been published! It includes the following:

 

CATECHISM SERIES, PART 9 (link)

Pr. Joe Abrahamson joins us to resume our series on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. In Part 9, we discuss the Fifth Chief Part (or is it the Sixth?) on the Office of the Keys and Confession. Who can hear confessions? Who actually forgives? And why would a Christian actually want to go to his or her pastor to confess sins?

 
For the full catechism series, click here.

 

THE GALESBURG RULE (link)

In this segment of Round 21, Pr. Matt Richard joins us to discuss matters of church fellowship and “The Galesburg Rule”–the rule . . . Read All

The Power of Alien Faith

Unborn BabyImagine a loved one undergoing the tragedy of losing a child soon after Baptism.  What comfort would you extend to the grieving parents?  No doubt you would say something like, “Thank God, your child was baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection.  Now he rests with his Savior.”  Few Lutherans would leave room for doubt that the child was in heaven, would they?

But change the chronology a few months.  The child dies just prior to Baptism, while still in the womb.  Here, for lots of Lutherans, even pastors, the water becomes a lot murkier.  Maybe the child is saved, goes the thinking of lots of Lutherans.  God is gracious, after all.  Perhaps the baby received the gift of faith in . . . Read All

Steadfast Media Pick of the Week — Text and Authority

 

 

Text and Authority

A few months back there was a dust up here regarding a paper that Dr. Jeff Kloha of Concordia Seminary – St. Louis. Part of the confusion lay in the fact that the paper people were responding to was a draft. Here is Dr. Kloha’s presentation of this paper at the Day of Exegetical Reflection 2014.

 

. . . Read All

Updates from St. Louis on Work of Task Forces, by Pr. Tim Rossow

A few months ago I complained that most of the email coming out of synod and district was weighted toward the mercy end of our denominational theme of “witness, mercy and life together.” I was pleased to get a mass email the other day from President Harrison with updates on the work of the task forces appointed by the last synod convention. You can see these updates by clicking here. Two of the four task forces deal with the doctrine of the office of the ministry.

I have not had time to study the details of each task force so I invite our readers to search them out and leave your comments here.

I did peruse the page on . . . Read All

Sermon — Pr. Tony Sikora — Little Ones Follow in Faith with Love

Sermon Text: St. Matthew 18:6-14
Sept 7th, Proper 18

 

Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. AMEN!  Our text for this morning’s sermon is taken from St. Matthew’s gospel account the 18th chapter.

Beloved in the Lord,

Faith and Love

Steadfast Sermons GraphicThe Christian life is always one of faith and of love.  As Christians we are bound to the Word of Scripture in all matters, both faith and love, what we believe and how we live.  . . . Read All

Another District Men’s Retreat – more guns and Church/State

Wyo_DistBelow you will find the text of my presentation given to the men of the Wyoming District a couple weeks ago in beautiful Sheridan, Wyoming.  The man also enjoyed once again the fun of having range time with their choice of weapons.  This year’s theme was focused on some church and state issues as well as firearms in the sanctuary.  Here is my presentation on the Two Kingdoms in relation to Church and State.

 

TWO KINGDOMS AND CHURCH AND STATE

Two Kingdoms in a nutshell

Kingdom of God (Right Hand Kingdom)

-          All believers in Christ (the baptized)

-          Rule is by the Gospel

-          Eternal

-          Kingdom of Grace (and Glory)

-          Souls (First Table of the Law). . . Read All

Much Ado about Something

Pastor-HeadlessI referenced in an earlier blog post Dr. Dale Meyer’s article “Pedagogy for a Politicized Church” in the Winter 2014 Concordia Journal, pp. 6-13.  He references there a report to the 2010 convention that said the task force involved repeatedly “heard that the problem of disharmony is the LCMS is primarily a clergy problem” (6), and I believe it.

C. F. W. Walther said that a congregation better perceive that their pastor is more concerned with doctrine than they are. Don’t you want your doctor to be more concerned with disease than you are?  Don’t you want your lawyer more concerned with legalities than you are?  Do you want your doctor to overlook that mole you do? . . . Read All

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