Round 20 of Steadfast Throwdown has now been published! It includes the following:
CATECHISM SERIES, PART 8 (link)
In this part of our Catechism Series with Pr. Joe Abrahamson, we discuss the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. According to the Bible, what is Baptism and what does it actually deliver? Why do some Christians actually make Baptism a work of us humans rather than God’s work of saving us? What is the role of faith in the Sacrament of Holy Baptism?
FARGO AND THE HIDDEN GOD (link)
Pr. Timothy Winterstein sees Luther’s teaching of “the hidden God” on full display in the television show Fargo. For the producers and characters of Fargo, if God . . . Read All
See the press release which mentions that Dr. Daisy Machado teaches at Union Theological Seminary, but fails to mention the fact that she is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Click here for her biography courtesy of Union Theological Seminary. Her biography also mentions that she is “co-editor of A Reader in Latina Feminist Theology: Religion and Justice” .
From the PR piece on this:
“Christians are being challenged to rethink and to grapple with what we mean by the terms “missions” and “missio dei.” In this lecture, Dr. Machado will explore what this increasingly popular notion of “missions” might entail today and will address the question: What does “missions” look like as the
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“Church Growthers, release your home spun creeds and liturgies, your felt needs, your sermons on ten keys to do this or that and your missional minded leader or we will unleash one million comments from a Confessionally Lutheran blog on you!” He raises his index finger to his pursed lips in the manner of Dr. Evil and says “Yes, I said one m-i-l-l-i-o-n comments.”
Of course it is not about the numbers but it is nice to know that we are just 40,000 comments shy of reaching one million. There may be Lutheran blogs with more than that but probably not more than you could count on your two index fingers.
Thank you to our readers, both pro and con, . . . Read All
Simple Answer: Someone whose religion is in congruence with the canonical Scriptures and the Lutheran confessions found in the “Book of Concord.” The adjective “confessional” comes from the noun “Lutheran confessions,” not from the “confessional” office, i.e., the Office of the Keys.
Historic Examples: Martin Luther, because he wrote three of the Lutheran Confessions: the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and the Smalcald Articles; and because our theology was originally his.
Philip Melanchthon, because he wrote three of the other Lutheran Confessions: the Augsburg Confession, its Apology, and the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope.
Martin Chemnitz, because he was one of the primary authors of the Formula of Concord, and because it was his . . . Read All
When I was in seminary, I went to dinner with some family friends. The conversation eventually turned to what I was learning in school, and I went through my course schedule, which included one of the three dogmatics classes required by the curriculum in Fort Wayne. Because things were simple back then, I was a little blind-sided when one person made a comment that went something like, “Isn’t being dogmatic a bad thing?” In hindsight, this really shouldn’t have surprised me, because my wife and I were the only Lutherans at the table. Doctrine, to them, was akin to a four-letter word that Christians ought not be using.
Now, I won’t make the claim that all non-Lutheran Christians aren’t interested . . . Read All
Great Stuff found over on Pastor Matt Richard’s blog:
Are Christians who advocate for faithful church attendance and advocate to receive the Sacrament of the Altar more frequently, ‘better’ Christians than those who attend and receive less frequently?
It is important to note that a greater frequency in church attendance and greater frequency of partaking of the Sacrament of the Altar does not necessary make one a ‘better’ Christian than the Christian who receives the Sacrament less frequently or attends church less frequently. Otherwise stated, Christians who attend and partake more often are not elevated into a ‘Superior-Christian’ category, resulting in other Christians becoming meager minions. This is obviously a faulty conclusion. Rather, what is interesting . . . Read All
I recently returned from Madagascar where I, Professor John Pless, Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller, and Rev. Evan Goeglein, taught a group of Malagasy pastors the theology of Dr. Martin Luther. I was privileged to teach them Luther’s theology of preaching. While we were there, we had the opportunity to have meals with the pastors, coffee with the pastors, and other times outside of the lectures to discuss theology and church practice. One of the most discussed topics was the pastoral vocation. While here in the LCMS, most pastors have one church to tend to, and some men have as many as 4. I myself am the senior pastor at a church where there is also an associate pastor. In Madagascar, the . . . Read All
Faith Lutheran Church in Wylie recently commissioned the artist Ken Spirduso to paint an altar painting for our congregation. We decided on a painting of Jesus pulling Peter out of the water, from Matthew 14:22-33. Jesus pulling Peter out of the water shows us what faith means. It means clinging to Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. Faith is passive, and Christ is active in our salvation. He draws us out of the waters of death by forgiving us our sins in the Gospel.
The photo doesn’t do the painting justice. When you look at it, you can see movement. It’s beautiful. Mr. Spirduso has done a good job of illustrating the Biblical account for our eyes to see and . . . Read All
Here is a “press release” that just came across my desk that shows a new mission congregation in Moscow, Idaho. This mission plant could use your prayers and support .. read below for more information. We previously asked for donations for this mission on our article Help Supply a new Confessional Parish.
Tradition is the new innovation
MOSCOW, Idaho – July 21, 2014 – Messiah Lutheran Church in Seattle planted a mission church in Moscow, where previously there had been no Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) presence. The mission church officially formed June 22 and is currently home to 36 baptized members.
What to expect
Messiah Lutheran Church, Moscow Mission, is a distinctly Lutheran congregation that deeply respects . . . Read All
The Good Samaritan
I thought the study of “The Good Samaritan” with Dr. Lane Burgland this week was interesting. I’ve also added some other studies on this parable.
Dr. Lane Burgland
Original Air Date: July 23, 2014
Pr. Tom Baker
Original Air Date: July 16, 2013
Deaconess Pam Nielsen
Original Air Date: July 24, 2012
Pr. Bill Cwirla
Original Air Date: January 13, 2009
. . . Read All
Another great post over on Pastoral Meanderings by Pastor Peters:
“Wow! That is a lot to take for someone who has had only a passing association with church before!” So said one visitor to a Sunday morning Divine Service at my parish. She did not say it but clearly her comment meant “I wish the liturgy were more accessible” to a stranger to the church like me…
It would not be the first time someone has uttered those sentiments. It IS a great deal to take in for those who have not had much association with the church before. I will not deny it one bit. Neither will I suggest that it is a fruitful pursuit to try and . . . Read All
Sermon Text: Matthew 13:44-52
July 27, 2014
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 13th chapter.
Beloved in the Lord,
A. Acquiring the Kingdom
Thinking equality with God something to be grasped humanity follows the pattern of Adam’s behavior. Reaching for the wrong fruit from the wrong tree men, women, and children establish in their heart of hearts the wrong gods. This is the way of our nature, fallen and depraved as it is. It is the way of sin and unbelief in the true God, a way which we have trod . . . Read All
Perhaps you have heard the latest from Religious News Services reporting the recent decision of the Anglican Church of England which in the United States is called the Episcopal Church, USA. The Church of England has purged references to the devil and to sin in a new baptism ceremony, saying it is easier to understand compared to the older service. From the Ecumenical News we have:
In the current wording, parents vow to “reject the devil and all rebellion against God,” “renounce the deceit and corruption of evil” and “repent of the sins that separate us from God and neighbor,” Britain’s Independent newspaper reported.
The 16-year-old alternative version agreed by the churches’ General Synod on Sunday, however, only asks
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Dr. Dale Meyer, current president of Concordia Seminary, relates that one of Dr. Dean Wenthe’s favorite stories was of a cab ride he shared with the president of another denomination’s seminary. Wenthe asked what the hottest debate was on his campus, and he answered “whether or not Jesus Christ was/is divine” (“Pedagogy for a Politicized Church,” Concordia Journal, Winter 2014, 6). Well, we aren’t debating whether Jesus was/is divine. We’re doing worse than that. We’re not debating at all, and we don’t regard the debatable things between us as divisive of church fellowship.
We’re not debating at all because resolutions sent in to synodical conventions by congregations and whole districts to get the debate on the table, like whether . . . Read All
Often the topic of how God governs all things comes up in parish life during suffering and struggles. Questions will arise about God being the cause of something (sin is the cause of this damned mess), allowing something (as if He is distant from things and is often merely wordplay), or even sending something. This is of course a difficult topic, and it deserves much attention in the lives of Christians who indeed will suffer in this life.
Recently I had a opportunity to sing and meditate upon one of my favorite hymns, “Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me” (LSB 756, but if you want a longer version check out TLH, although an even older English version includes . . . Read All
“They look so peaceful sleeping. Don’t they?” I remember speaking these words to my wife about our children. After praying, we lay them down to sleep and they sure look peaceful. It almost makes you forget the rest of the day; almost.
If you have any experience with children, you know what I am talking about. From morning to evening, there is only word that comes to my mind: chaos! It is one fight to another, one toy to another, one topic to another, and plenty of not listening to go along with it. During the summer we can send them outside to wear off some energy, but they always seem to find more.
Children remind us of who we . . . Read All
A couple years ago I began asking our college students to be featured in our church newsletter. This was to help the members of our congregation become acquainted with these fresh young faces. Admittedly, I was a little nervous about what they might write! What has ensued, however, has been a special reminder to me of the joy and importance of confessional Lutheran campus ministry.
In the article I ask each student:
Have you been a Lutheran your whole life? If so, what makes you so convinced to remain in the Lutheran faith, especially having been exposed to new worldviews on campus? If not, when and why did you become a Lutheran?
As Luther explains the third article of the . . . Read All
“The Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat” (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)
Last week we heard the Parable of the Sower, from Matthew 13. Today it’s the Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat, also from Matthew 13. In fact, Matthew 13 is a chapter full of parables, seven of them altogether. Some of these parables are shorter, some are longer. Some are explained by Jesus, some of them are left unexplained. Today’s parable is one of the longer ones, and Jesus does explain it. So now let’s consider this parable and what Jesus is saying to us in it, in “The Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat.”
Jesus tells the story: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to . . . Read All
A book review by Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller found over on blogia:
Great Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession: The Mission of the Holy Christian Church. By Rev. Lucas V. Woodford. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2012.
Rev. Lucas Woodford is a pastor on a quest for a strategic plan faithful to the Scriptures and Catechism. Great Commission, Great Confusion, or Great Confession: The Mission of the Holy Christian Church is his travel log. He wallows through the marsh of post-modernism, traverses the crags of the church growth movement, and winds his ways through the twisting streets of the emergent movement, all to end up at the Apostle’s Creed and the great joy and certainty of the Lord’s . . . Read All
Dr. Montgomery Responds to Crossan
An interview with Dr. John Dominic Crossan on the resurrection of Jesus.
Dr. John Warwick Montgomery responds on Issues Etc. to the arguments in the interview with Dr. John Dominic Crossan of the Jesus Seminar. The Crossan Interview was the Pick of the Week for July 10th.
Original Air Date: June 8, 2006
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Many thanks from Ch. James Buckman and Deaconess Carolyn Brinkley to all of you who have so graciously and generously responded to the request for LSBs and Catechisms for AFCENT bases from the Horn of Africa, through the Persian Gulf and up into the Stans. Your response has been amazing!
We invite you to rejoice with us in the establishment of our LSBs and Catechisms at AFCENT chapels in Qatar, Afghanistan, Jordan and two undisclosed locations with more requests coming from other chaplains. These LSBs and LSCs will be used for many years by many denominations. This has been an unprecedented open window to scatter the seeds of Christ’s mercy to those who defend our country’s freedoms and may perhaps . . . Read All
Sermon text: Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43
July 20, 2014
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 (evening’s) sermon is taken from St. Matthew’s gospel account the 13thchapter.
Beloved in the Lord,
Sowing Sons of the Kingdom
Things will not always be the way they are today. Sin will not always infect. Death will not always approach. There will be an end to both and the end of both has already begun. The reign of God is happening, has been happening. The Kingdom of God is now, today, in your midst even. With the advent of Jesus, the Word has . . . Read All
Found over on WMLTblog:
It is quite unique among Christian denominations, in use since 1992 when the LCMS convention adopted Res. 5-01B “To Adopt New Process for Conflict Resolution,” which the floor committee proposed “a. is thoroughly biblical; b. stresses the reconciliation of members within the family of God (encouraging a win-win rather than win-lose resolution of conflict); presents a positive witness to the secular community as to how Christians resolve their conflicts; provides for final resolution of disputes in a timely manner; is less costly in terms of money and time; discourages the secular approach of adversarilal litigation; and requires face-to-face meeting of the complainant and respondent in a spirit of Christian reconciliation.”
The dispute resolution process . . . Read All
Another post found over on Pr. Surburg’s blog:
This creation – this earth – will be your home for eternity. Many Christians do not recognize this fact. When they speak about their future home, they usually say that it is “heaven.” It is a commonplace for Christians to say that a believer who has died has been “called home to heaven.” However this language ignores, and even contradicts, a very clear emphasis of Scripture.
There is no doubt that God’s Word offers great comfort about those who die before Christ’s return. Death cannot separate us from Christ, and instead those who die in the faith are with the Lord. As Paul wrote, “I am hard pressed between the . . . Read All
It’s official! Steadfast Throwdown is now available as a podcast on iTunes. Listen on-demand. Check it out and subscribe to the Steadfast Throwdown podcast.
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“When Sowing the Seed Seems Useless” (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23)
It can be very discouraging to be a Christian these days. It seems like our whole culture has turned against the Christian faith. It can be very discouraging to be a member of a congregation these days. It seems like every church all across the country is having to deal with lower attendance and financial difficulties. It can be very discouraging to be a pastor these days. It seems like all your work is falling on deaf ears, and you wonder where the zeal for the gospel is, even among your own members. Yes, it’s very discouraging, and we can feel deflated and defeated. What’s the use anymore? We’re tempted to . . . Read All