July 27th, 2014: 'Hey Siri, The Lord Is My Light And My Salvation!'

So, the "old" me would've been sitting on pins-and-needles all day today while watching the news headlines.


Luke: "Daddy, can you play catch with me?"

Me: "Sorry son, but Daddy's got some very important work to do..."

Luke: "But you're just sitting on the couch on your computer!"

Me: "I know, buddy, but something important's about to happen..."

Luke: (Thinking To Himself) "I thought playing catch with me was important..."


Sure, that's intentionally a tad dramatic for effect, but the gist is spot on.

Yes, believe it or not, there was a time (not so long ago I'm sorry to admit) when that would've been exactly how that conversation would've went on a day like today.

Why, you ask? What's so important about today? You mean to tell me that you didn't know that the Apple iPhone's "Siri" is now a prophetess akin to the Old Testament prophets we read about in the Bible? Didn't you hear what she has predicted for today -- July 27th, 2014? Have a listen...


Siri Says The Gates of Hades Will Open On July 27th, 2014?!?



See, this is what happens when we fail to look to God's Word and Sacraments (not to mention His Son, Jesus) on a regular basis. This is what happens when our faith is misplaced and why just doing anything "In Jesus' Name!" doesn't automatically shield us from criticism that is warranted.

Part of me wants to blame guys like Tim LaHaye of the Left Behind fame, John Hagee, Hal Lindsey, Perry Stone, and a number of Christians who have taken to YouTube with their predictions and warnings of impending doom (and I would be right to lay some of the blame there), but I know better.

I know, from my own past experiences, that part of the blame must land at the feet of people like you and me, or Christians who take such false teachings at face value without testing them against the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21; Acts 17:11).

Yes, we should look outside of ourselves when it comes to finding assurance and confirmation of our faith, but we should never look for "signs of the times" and that's why it's such a clever deception indeed.

We shouldn't be looking outside of ourselves for "signs" in the world's news headlines at all (Matthew 12:39; Matthew 16:4). I didn't quite understand that back then, but I do understand it now, thanks be to God.

Those who used to read my material at the Look Up Fellowship blog years ago would probably respond to my statements here today in anger and disbelief since it's such a complete departure from the things I used to believe and teach as "Biblical truth" and that's why I was glad when the website mysteriously went away let alone why I ultimately decided to seek out and remove any traces of my own false teaching that still existed online from those days.

Today, I don't really want to write a "Tell-All" about my personal story from back then though (that will be for another day I'm sure), but I simply want to reassure my dear brothers and sisters in Christ that they shouldn't give a single thought to Siri's so-called "prediction" for today or even worry should something "unprecedented" or "paradigm-shifting" occur at some point today (or between now and September 3rd, 2014 I suppose, according to many prophetic prognosticators on YouTube who have rightfully "deciphered" Siri's unusual message).

To make my case, I'd kindly refer you to Psalm 27 and what Martin Luther had to say about it as found in Reading The Paslms With Luther.

Why Psalm 27? Well, I figured I might gain some instant credibility with some of you who are "Symbolism Junkies" like I used to be. So, the fact that today's the 27th of July and the content of Psalm 27 is the perfect antidote for anything and everything that many of you believe is in store for this day could be looked at as no coincidence, IMHO.


PSALM 27 -- THE LORD IS MY LIGHT AND MY SALVATION

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strongholda of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. 3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. 4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple. 5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD. 7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me! 8 You have said, “Seekd my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” 9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! 10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in. 11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies. 12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence. 13 I believef that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living! 14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

***********************************************

Martin Luther On Psalm 27: "The 27th psalm is a psalm of thanks. However, it also prays much and gives us comfort against the false teachers who give a false witness, blaspheming without any hesitation. For only entirely foolhardy saints would give a witness, bold and impudent, before God -- from whom they have no command! Yet we see it daily: the more foolish and unlearned the people are, the more bold and audacious they are to preach and to teach the whole world. No one knows anything; they alone know all. They prepare themselves to make war and revolt against the true saints and God-fearers. This psalm belongs in the Second and First Commandments and in the First and Second Petitions."

Martin Luther's Prayer After Reading Psalm 27: "Lord, our God, You are merciful and kind, true and faithful. Preserve us in Your Word, and guard Your Church against all oppressors and faithless leaders. Grant peace to our country, and wisdom to our government to protect right and truth, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen."


Now, you'll have to resist the urge to respond to all of this by saying, "Ah-ha! I knew it! See, the content of this Psalm as well as Luther's comments about it only prove that Siri is right, and that something will happen today like some kind of significant persecution against the Christian Church if not some public action by the Antichrist himself!"
My dear friends, there's always been persecution against Christian saints in all times and in all places and there always will be. It's nothing unique to our day-and-age. Plus, the person of the prophesied Antichrist is not merely a political figure upon the world stage, and the Lutheran Church has historically identified the Papal Office as being anti-Christ and, therefore, held by the Antichrist (settle down you Tom Horn enthusiasts!).

Instead, I pray you respond to all of this with humility and repentance, and rest assured that the Lord is in complete control since nothing man does will ever take Him by surprise, and He's certainly not handcuffed in Heaven without the power to act within His creation simply because this country hasn't attacked that country yet, or because this political figure hasn't risen to power yet.

Again, I get it, because I used to think like that too -- for a really, really long time. It's just not as Biblically sound as you think it is (as I thought it was) and I encourage you to prayerfully consider what I'm trying to tell you here today.

Jesus Christ can return at any moment that He wants to (a moment we can never know in advance; Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32), and He certainly hasn't been sitting on His throne at the right hand of the Father simply waiting for Siri's prediction about today to take place before He can finally do something.

Bottom line? Psalm 27 tells us that David recognizes that when the Lord is on his side, he has nothing to fear. We human beings are prone to fearful responses. We worry about problems in this life, acting as if we face them alone. Yet God is our light and our salvation. Since He has redeemed us, we have nothing to fear.


Romans 8:31 (ESV) If God is for us, who can be against us?


We must pray that Christ, our light and our salvation, comforts us and strengthens our faith.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, no, the "Gates of Hades" will not open up today, but even if they do, then the great news is that "the Lord is my light and my salvation." Believe that!

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Evangelizing The Evangelical: Revelation 3:20 Is Not About The Lost, Unbeliever

As a former Evangelical, I think I might start a new series called "Evangelizing The Evangelical" to help confess "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) to those who believe the things I once believed.

After all, the thought of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering from a lack of assurance due to a conscience that is never comforted by their works "In Jesus' Name!" brings back far too many bad memories.

It makes me think about how I wish I would've been exposed to the Lutheran faith a lot earlier in life and how that would've made all the difference given the Biblical, Christ-centered focus (not just who Martin Luther was, but what makes being a Lutheran different from all the other confessions of the Christian faith).

So, I can't think of a better entry for our first installment of such a series than to take a closer look at a popular Evangelical verse found in Revelation 3.


Revelation 3:20 (ESV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.


How many of you former (or current) Evangelicals out there know this verse by heart?

 How many of you former (or current) Evangelicals out there believe that this is Jesus referring to one's salvation?

How many of you former (or current) Evangelicals out there know that that's flat out wrong and a clear misreading of the text?

 I could go on for days about the Book of Revelation's role in my own faith formation over the past 10 years or so (and probably will do that some day, but not today).

I could also go on for hours about how a Christian bestseller, Crazy Love, written by Francis Chan devotes an entire book centered around this one verse, and how my local LCMS Church embarked upon a 6-week Small Group Bible Study based on this book last Fall (despite my pleas and protests).

Instead, I would much rather defer to the apologetics acumen of both Pastor Todd Wilken and Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller who discussed this very same topic on an old episode of Issues, Etc.



AUDIO: Revelation 3:20, "I Stand At The Door And Knock"


I really hope you take the time to sit down and listen to this 30-minute podcast closely, without interruption, and with your Bible open in hand, because it is one of the clearest confessions of the truth regarding what the Bible actually teaches as it pertains to this popular Evangelical verse.

Even more importantly than that, it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this verse is not about what we can and must do for Jesus, but about what He can and has already done for us.

I like the footnotes my Lutheran Study Bible includes for this verse...


"the door" In this particular case, the image of Christ standing and knocking at the door may be related to the parable about the servants whose master is at a wedding feast (Luke 12:35-40). They are expected to be ready and waiting for him when he appears, with the promise that those servants whom he finds ready will be blessed.

"I will come...eat with him." Best understood as referring to both the Church's weekly celebrations of the Eucharist and the eternal, messianic banquet in Heaven (Isaiah 25:6-9).

Martin Luther on Revelation 3:20 said the following: "The righteous always act [in fear] as if the Lord saw them. But the ungodly walk along smugly, as if God had His eyelids closed and did not see them, even though He examines them, too, and knocks, warning their conscience, as Revelation 3:20 says." Luther's Works 10:99

"Hasten as a bride to meet Him / And with loving rev'rence greet Him. / For with words of life immortal / He is knocking at your portal. Open wide the gates before Him, / Saying, as you there adore Him: Grant, Lord, that I now receive You, / That I nevermore will leave You. He who craves a precious treasure / Neither cost nor pain will measure; But the priceless gifts of Heaven / God to us has freely given. Though the wealth of earth were proferred / None could buy the gifts here offered: Christ's true body, for you riven / And His blood, for you once given." Amen. Lutheran Service Book 636:2-3


In short, rather than allowing for the common misinterpretation of Christ's knocking on a person's heart, the context of Revelation 3:20 demands that Christ was seeking to enter this church that bore His name, but lacked a single true believer.

This poignant letter was His knocking. If one member would recognize his spiritual bankruptcy and respond in saving faith, He would enter the church.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, this is the kind of Bible study that I wish I had been exposed to some 10 years ago, because perhaps then I would've been able to avoid sailing the "Works Righteousness Waters of American Evangelicalism" for as long as I did (almost making a shipwreck of my faith; 1 Timothy 1:19) before I came to rest upon the "Saved By Grace Alone, Through Faith Alone, In Christ Alone Shores" of the catholic, historic, traditional Confessional Lutheran faith.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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VIDEO: Youth Group Cliches

Some of you may have seen this already, but this is another "instant classic" from Blimey Cow (thanks to my FB Friends for sharing it)!




I'm glad someone else criticized the "Lock-In" concept too, because I always thought it was weird whenever our church hosted one when I was in Middle School.

 You know, as funny as that video is, it's really no laughing matter though.

That's why it made me recall a piece I saw several months ago titled "'For All The Young Dudes And Gals': A Lenten Midweek Sermon On Youth" by Pastor Sam Schuldheisz who was chosen to preach on the section of "youth" from the Table of Duties back in March 2014.

 Here's a brief excerpt to whet your appetite a bit...


Peter tells the church that the youth need shepherds. Sadly, American Christianity has spent decades giving the youth of the church everything but shepherds: they’ve been fed a steady diet of emotionally and subjectively manipulative bible studies and worship services; they’ve been offered theological junk food and moralistic animated talking vegetables; they’ve heard plenty of gimmicks but not enough Gospel. No wonder we’re witnessing a teenage wasteland in the church.

The youth don’t need a salesmen to bait and switch them into believing Christ’s word and sacraments. They need a shepherd who will deliver Christ’s wholesome, life-giving water, word, body and blood to them at the pulpit, font, lectern, and altar, in bible class, youth group, or in casual conversation.

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not bad to have fun activities. The youth need that just as much as the rest of us. But that’s not all they need. Pizza is great but it isn’t the Gospel. Fun isn’t going to anchor and sustain their Christian faith when they have a rough day or week at school, or when a friend commits suicide, or a family member is diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Peter is teaching pastors and the church to give the youth what they really need: a steady diet of spiritual meat and potatoes, not junk food, even when that may sound more appetizing; the solid food of the Scriptures, the Catechism, the hymnal.

And though we may think they speak a different language (texting and whatnot), we should never dumb-down our teaching or water down worship. Our Lutheran youth are smart and they love Lutheranism; we just need to give it to them, early and often.

The youth I spend time with know that the church should look and sound different than the world they see on Facebook, Netflix, or their smart phones. They know the difference between Disney Land and the Divine Service. Our youth are smart and they want to be Lutheran, but like us, they need to be fed.

St. Peter wants pastors to shepherd the flock and churches to lead our fellow members of the flock to the still waters of the font and to the table overflowing with Christ’s bodied and blooded promises.

Peter wants the church to give our youth a faith they can grow into, not out of.


In a Lutheran Layman's terms, "pizza is great but it isn't the Gospel" so give 'em the Gospel, the only "food" that can nourish and save their souls (Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4; Romans 10:17) my dear friends.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Dog Days of Summer Series: Does Singing In Church Matter?

In the well-known words of Will "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" Smith:


"Summer, summer, summertime / Time to sit back and unwind" 


Summer. Perhaps this is as good a time as any to begin clearing out my Inbox which contains hundreds of emails dating back to 2012, and to share with you the Christian gems that I come across.

I read that the "Dog Days of Summer" is the name for the most sultry period of Summer (from about July 3rd to August 11th). So, we're going to call this our "Dog Days of Summer Series" for as long as it takes to get that Inbox down to 0 emails!

One important note. Obviously, I don't want to ever encourage a lackadaisical approach to Bible study and prayerful consideration, but since I'm likely to overwhelm you with one post after another (posts that are also automatically fed to the Lutheran Layman Twitter feed), I'm going to be creating a lot of "noise" as they say, which means I'm going to at least try not to to go too deep with the analysis of the content in this series. I'm gonna try.

Instead, I think I prefer to merely reference an item, maybe make a quick comment and observation or two, and then allow for all of you to chime in with your thoughts in the hopes of getting a friendly discussion going so I can learn more about the Lutheran perspective on things myself. So, whether you ultimately decide to go deeper with the subject on your own and in your own time this Summer is entirely up to you, my friends.

As always, please "test everything" (1 Thessalonians 5:21), always respond to whatever it is that you find here like the Bereans would (Acts 17:11), be sure to exercise discernment, and do let me know if you think my old "Evangelical Adam" is trying to reassert himself here.




DOG DAYS OF SUMMER SERIES:
DOES SINGING IN CHURCH MATTER?
(7 BIBLICAL REASONS WHY SINGING MATTERS)


As a young man (35-years-old), tainted by American Evangelicalism for many years, this is one email that deserves our close scrutiny I think. 

Sure, while I don't think it's shocking (or scandalous) for someone like me to point out that most Christian men do not have a predisposition to singing in church, have you ever wondered why it is that when many of us do attempt to do so it's often often muffled and barely above a whisper?

I thought about that when I came across this commentary sitting in my Inbox. At the same time, I want to be very careful here. We've discussed "Pietism" at length in past posts and a part of me wants to make sure a position one way or another on this subject doesn't tacitly endorse some kind of legalism or piety that is not good for us. Needless to say, I would love to get your thoughts on the Lutheran perspective on music in liturgy and worship services so I can personally better understand whether or not this writer was on to something or not.

My LCMS church (while "Lutheran" in name only) does an outdoor service in the Summer and it's eye-opening how this truth about us males in the congregation is amplified when we're all in the great outdoors together since there are no four walls to keep the singing voices of others in, and so, the lack of singing Christians can't be hidden as usual.

But let's continue this brief study from a "gender neutral" position. Let's simply look at 7 Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters as put together by
Unlocking The Bible (a non-Lutheran source) and prayerfully consider these truths as they apply to our own confessional, historic, and orthodox form of worship each week.



Have you ever wondered why God desires for his people to sing? What role should singing play in the life of a Christian? What is it about worshiping through song that is so important to God?

You may not know it, but God has already answered these questions in the Bible. The seven reasons below answer these questions and unpack more important truth about singing in the life of an individual Christian and the church.

7 Biblical Reasons Why Singing Matters

1. When you sing, you obey.


Singing isn’t an option in Scripture. It’s a command.

Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”

Ephesians 5:18-19 “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…”

God’s people are more than just invited to sing – we are commanded to sing. When we sing, we’re doing what God asks of us!

2. When you sing, you dig deep roots in the Word.

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” Colossians 3:16

The Apostle Paul lays out this exhortation to let God’s Word dwell in us richly, and then, he tells us how to live out that command. The first, of course, is teaching. But the second, is singing!

Singing is one of the two chief ways that the Word of God dwells in us richly. And, as we observed in the last point, singing is a command. But also that this command comes with a promise: as we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs together, we are promised that the Word of Christ will dwell in us richly – which is what we should crave as believers!

Our singing is more than a warm-up for the sermon or a filler in the service. Colossians 3:16 is clearly laying out for us that: Singing stands alongside of preaching as one of the two great ways that God has ordained for His Word to dwell RICHLY in each one of us!

Some have called church singing “Take Home Theology,” because the best songs we sing together end up serving you as a 3 minute, easily memorizable, deeply biblical summary of important truths from Scripture. Take for example, “In Christ Alone.” There, in an easily memorizable form, you’ve got a thorough theology of the cross of Jesus Christ with clear and practical applications that you can use for your life this week!

3. When you sing, you build up others.


First, you build up fellow believers when you sing.

Ephesians 5:19. Note specifically here that it says: “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…”

We see the same thing in Colossians 3:13-16: the exhortation to sing comes on the heels of bearing with one another (13a), forgiving one another (13b), putting on love (14), being at peace as one united body of Christ (15), and teaching God’s Word to one another (16).

When we do what the Bible says and sing together as a church family, we are hearing confessions of faith all around! We are hearing hundreds join with us and sing, “In Christ alone, MY hope is found!” We are hearing hundreds of testimonies of faith all around us!

Also know that as you sing, you’re helping unbelievers. In Psalm 105:1-2, the Lord is calling the Israelites to be a light unto the nations, and to do this He tells them: “Sing to Him, sing praises to Him; tell of all his wondrous works!”

Think of the impact on someone who doesn’t know Christ to hear those hundreds of testimonies, those hundreds of confessions of faith as we sing together!

4. When you sing, you make war.

Chances are you didn’t connect singing and warfare together, but it’s a theme visible in Scripture. In Colossians 3, Paul is challenging the Colossians to literally put sin to death in their lives – to kill sin. And so all the commands to love and peace and forgiveness and teaching and SINGING, are therefore, the Bible is teaching, attitudes and habits of the believer that will kill sin!

We see the same thing in Ephesians 5, the command to address one another in song comes right on the heels of “[make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16).

And the more you think about this, it makes total sense. What posture must be more hated by the evil one than the posture of a believer who is singing? I can’t think of many stances you can take that identifies you with Christ and against Satan more than eyes, heart, mind and voice lifted to heaven in song!

It’s very hard to lie, be greedy, or to look at something inappropriate when, you’re “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart” (Ephesians 5:19). Simply, a heart that’s doing that will not easily give in to temptation. A singing heart is a heart at war with the work of the evil one and the power of sin.

5. When you sing, you are spiritually strengthened for trial.


Often times, we think only of singing when we’re happy and times are good, but singing bringing strength for trial comes out in Acts 16. Paul and Silas are unjustly imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel, and what do they do while they’re in prison? Sing! (Acts 16:25)


And this truth is confirmed in the lives of persecuted believers throughout history. Hear the words of one pastor recently imprisoned for his faith:

“…When we were in prison we sang almost every day because Christ was alive in us…they put chains on our hands and feet. They chained us to add to our grief. Yet we discovered that chains are splendid musical instruments! When we clanged them together in rhythm, we could sing, ‘This is the day (clink, clank), this is the day (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank), which the Lord has made (clink, clank).”

Our persecuted brothers are showing us the truth we see in Acts 16 with Paul and Silas. Singing strengthens you and helps you persevere in the face of trial. If it can strengthen them in the face of these trials – what can it do for you?

Even in suffering, SING!

6. When you sing, you walk a God-designed pathway to joy.


Here is a sample of what the Psalms say about singing:

Psalms 5:11: “Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you.”

Psalms 9:2: “I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.”

Psalms 51:14: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.”

Psalms 59:16: “I will sing of your strength; I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning. For you have been to me a fortress and a refuge in the day of my distress.”

Psalms 63:7: “For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.”

If you still don’t believe me, here’s a clincher from James 5:13: “Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.”

And as you study Scripture on this point you’ll notice that sometimes singing gives birth to joy and sometimes joy gives birth to singing. But persistently in Scripture, joy and singing are bound together. You can’t study one of those two biblical themes without encountering the other.

If you struggle for joy – SING! If you are joyful – SING! In God’s perfect design and in His perfect understanding of the human condition He has bound joy and singing together for His people.

The first 6 reasons get summed up with this:

7. When you sing, you glorify God.

Truly obedience, deep roots in the Word, building up others, making war against Satan and sin, persevering, finding joy in God – all of these things bring glory to God – each person’s chief goal and chief purpose in life.

Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5 bring this out simply but powerfully telling us to sing “to God” and “to the Lord” because He is the object of our praise. Ephesians 5:19: “singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart.” It is to HIM and about HIM that we sing!

Singing has such a unique way of bringing your heart, soul, mind, and strength together to focus entirely and completely on God. In an age of distraction – singing grabs the attention of all our senses and focuses us on God.

In Revelation 7:9-10, the Apostle John describes a glimpse of eternity with a great multitude of people from every tribe, peoples, and languages singing before the Lamb, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Eternity awaits.

Will you on that day be one of the great multitude that no one could number, singing the song of the Lamb, singing His praises? I hope you’ll be there, singing the song of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sing now. Sing forever.

Singing matters. And it matters that we do it together.


Certainly, that piece makes some good points, doesn't it?

In turn, I recalled another commentary I saw roughly a year ago about this same subject.



Great Stuff — Why Men Have Stopped Singing In Church

June 2nd, 2013 Post by Norm Fisher

A “Great Stuff” post found over on Patheos.com by David Murrow


It happened again yesterday. I was attending one of those hip, contemporary churches — and almost no one sang. Worshippers stood obediently as the band rocked out, the smoke machine belched and lights flashed. Lyrics were projected on the screen, but almost no one sang them. A few women were trying, but I saw only one male (other than the worship leader) making the attempt.

A few months ago I blogged, “Have Christians Stopped Singing?” I did some research, and learned that congregational singing has ebbed and flowed over the centuries. It reached a high tide when I was a young man – but that tide may be going out again. And that could be bad news for men.

First, a very quick history of congregational singing.

Before the Reformation, laypersons were not allowed to sing in church. They were expected to stand mute as sacred music was performed by professionals (priests and cantors), played on complex instruments (pipe organs), and sung in an obscure language (Latin).

Reformers gave worship back to the people in the form of congregational singing. They composed simple tunes that were easy to sing, and mated them with theologically rich lyrics. Since most people were illiterate in the 16th century, singing became an effective form of catechism. Congregants learned about God as they sang about God.

A technological advance – the printing press – led to an explosion of congregational singing. The first hymnal was printed in 1532, and soon a few dozen hymns became standards across Christendom. Hymnals slowly grew over the next four centuries. By the mid 20th century every Protestant church had a hymnal of about 1000 songs, 250 of which were regularly sung. In the church of my youth, everyone picked up a hymnal and sang every verse of every song.

About 20 years ago a new technological advance – the computer controlled projection screen – entered America’s sanctuaries. Suddenly churches could project song lyrics for all to see. Hymnals became obsolete. No longer were Christians limited to 1,000 songs handed down by our elders.

At first, churches simply projected the songs everyone knew – hymns and a few simple praise songs that had come out of the Jesus Movement. People sang robustly.

But that began to change about ten years ago. Worship leaders realized they could project anything on that screen. So they brought in new songs each week. They drew from the radio, the Internet, and Worship conferences. Some began composing their own songs, performing them during worship, and selling them on CD after church.

In short order we went from 250 songs everyone knows to 250,000+ songs nobody knows.

Years ago, worship leaders used to prepare their flocks when introducing a new song. “We’re going to do a new song for you now,” they would say. “We’ll go through it twice, and then we invite you to join in.”

That kind of coaching is rare today. Songs get switched out so frequently that it’s impossible to learn them. People can’t sing songs they’ve never heard. And with no musical notes to follow, how is a person supposed to pick up the tune?

And so the church has returned to the 14th century. Worshippers stand mute as professional-caliber musicians play complex instruments, sung in an obscure language. Martin Luther is turning over in his grave.

What does this mean for men? On the positive side, men no longer feel pressure to sing in church. Men who are poor readers or poor singers no longer have to fumble through hymnals, sing archaic lyrics or read a musical staff.

But the negatives are huge. Men are doers, and singing was one of the things we used to do together in church. It was a chance to participate. Now, with congregational singing going away, and communion no longer a weekly ordinance, there’s only one avenue left for men to participate in the service – the offering. Is this really the message we want to send to men? Sit there, be quiet, and enjoy the show. And don’t forget to give us money.

There’s nothing wrong with professionalism and quality in church music. The problem isn’t the rock band, or the lights, or the smoke machine. The key is familiarity. People enjoy singing songs they know.

How do I know? When that super-hip band performed a hymn, the crowd responded with gusto. People sang. Even the men.


Thankfully, there's no shortage of material on this subject from trusted Lutheran sources.

That being said, I strongly encourage you to take some time to check out the following links before chiming in with your comments and thoughts.


Singing Praise: The Proud Past And Bright Future of Lutheran Music...
"Singing And Making Melody To The Lord" (Sermon On Ephesians 5:18-20, By Pr. Charles Henrickson)

VBS Kids Singing "Morning Prayer" Is Quite A Contrast To Convention Worship, By Pr. Rossow


Another Liturgical VBS -- Singing The Catechism In Worden, Illinois, By Pr. Rossow


In addition, here's what Martin Luther wrote in his Preface to the Wittenberg Hymnal...


That it is good and God pleasing to sing hymns is, I think, known to every Christian, for everyone is aware not only of the example of the prophets and kings in the Old Testament who praised God with song and sound, with poetry and psaltery, but also of the common and ancient custom of the Christian church to sing Psalms. St. Paul himself instituted this in I Corinthians 14 and exhorted the Colossians to sing spiritual songs and Psalms heartily unto the Lord so that God’s Word and Christian teaching might be instilled and implanted in many ways.

Therefore I, too, in order to make a start and to give an incentive to those who can do better, have with the help of others compiled several hymns, so that the holy gospel which now by the grace of God has arisen anew may be noised and spread abroad.

Like Moses in his song [Exodus 15], we may now boast that Christ is our praise and song and say with St. Paul, I Corinthians 2, that we should know nothing to sing or say, save Jesus Christ our Savior.

And these songs were arranged in four parts to give the young–who should at any rate be trained in music and other fine arts–something to wean them away from love ballads and carnal songs and to teach them something of value in their place, thus combining the good with the pleasing, as is proper for youth. Nor am I of the opinion that the gospel should destroy and blight all the arts, as some of the super-religious claim. But I would like to see all the arts, especially music, used in the service of Him who gave and made them. I therefore pray that every pious Christian would be pleased with this and lend his help if God has given him like or greater gifts. As it is, the world is too lax and indifferent about teaching and training the young for us to abet this trent. God grant us his grace. Amen.

*- Via Luther’s Works Vol. 53, pp. 315-16.


So what do you think? Does singing in church matter?

Personally, I think it matters a lot, and this excerpt from "Singing The Psalms" is a good Lutheran summary as to why I believe that.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, I think Ephesians 5:18-20 is pretty clear too, isn't it?

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


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'Smiley Face' Gospel Tracts Are No Match For Word And Sacrament Ministry!

We've all seen them, haven't we?

In fact, some of us may have even used them at one time or another (guilty as charged!).

I'm talking about the "Smiley Face" Gospel Tract.




Now, this isn't going to be a post about the pros and cons of Gospel Tracts per se.

However, I think the popularity of Gospel Tracts today -- yes, even within some Lutheran Churches -- is doing more harm than good, and though I am far from being any kind of an "expert" on this subject (let alone someone who has significant statistical data to back up his point), I was an Evangelical myself and can speak from experience.

I know, that's ironic, isn't it? Because it's precisely this un-Biblical emphasis on SUBJECTIVE EXPERIENCES that makes modern day attempts to "evangelize the lost" so dangerous.

So let me just cut to the chase then.

Pastor Sam Wellumson published an excellent piece titled "I Will Show You My Evangelism By My Word And Sacrament Ministry" at Steadfast Lutherans yesterday that is very, very good.

Here are a few excerpts worth our prayerful consideration...


The call to be "evangelistic Lutherans" is being emphasized again in the circles in which I run. When this adjective get tacked on to the noun, the tendency is to make evangelism something tangible for us to do and less about what Scriptures and the Confessions say it is. Be a Lutheran and you are going to be "evangelistic."
To obtain such faith God instituted the office of preaching, giving the gospel and the sacraments. Through these, as through means, he gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when he wills, in those who hear the gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe. (AC: V)
Scripture does not call pastors or lay people to “win souls” or “convert” people. The Gospel is not something we go out to sell. The Gospel is simply stating, “Your sin is forgiven by Christ. Yes, even your sin. Here’s some water with Jesus’ promise of forgiveness, and here’s some bread and wine with the same promise. God has put it right here in the Church for you to receive.”

You want to evangelize? Talk about the Gospel; talk about forgiveness. “We live in an age in which everything is permitted and nothing is forgiven.”[4] We hear celebrities giving so-called ‘apologies’ for their statements or actions, “I’m sorry if I offended anyone…” As Christians, let’s talk about the forgiveness we have received from our neighbors but especially of the forgiveness we have received in Christ. And let’s talk about where that forgiveness comes from – Word and Sacrament, nowhere else.

What are we doing to the Church when we point people to the time when they went forward for an altar call, when they were “on fire” for God, or when they prayed the sinner’s prayer? We are pointing people to places where there is no promise of forgiveness. We are pointing sinners to themselves and not to Christ crucified for them.


Here's a comment I left in response...


"The call to be 'evangelistic Lutherans' is being emphasized again in the circles in which I run."

That's true for me too! And, quite frankly, as an ex-Evangelical turned Confessional Lutheran, I'm getting tired of "running in circles" within "the circles in which I run" b/c I keep having the same conversations with people about this to no avail. I became a member of the Lutheran Church expecting my dear brothers and sisters who were already a part of it to understand these fundamental truths.

Wyldeirishm, I couldn't agree more. I'm finding that those within "the circles in which I run" who want "to push the paradigm of the 'evangelistic Lutheran'" have started to verbalize this not so subtle notion that attending church is "bad" since it's only "outside the 'church bubble'" where "God does His best work through us" they say.

Word and Sacrament. It took roughly 10 years due to my stubbornness, but I'm grateful that the Lord finally broke me, the miserable sinner that I am, and removed the scales from my eyes so I could finally see that my pursuit of Evangelism's Pietism was a poor substitute for His blessed Word and Sacrament ministry.

Grace And Peace, Jeff


Hopefully, you can see that to be Lutheran does not mean that you somehow don't care about the lost or about sharing the "Good News" that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them, but that you're only concerned with doing so in such a way that it's Biblical and that it exults the Person and work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

We began today's entry by referencing those "Smiley Face" Gospel Tracts that are so popular. Here's something I once came across that I think says it all about why we should refrain from using them.


Smiley-Face Christianity: The Gospel For The 21st Century

Modern man wants a modern Gospel, a more palatable plan of salvation, one that has a more seeker-friendly message accompanied by a happy-face delivery boy. And such a Gospel -- which is no Gospel at all -- must adhere to certain socially acceptable guidelines to be acceptable to today's "tolerant" generation, the generation that tolerates anything OTHER THAN Biblical truth.

Here are those modern guidelines:
*- Do your best to preach without hurting anyone's feelings
*- You must be "doing it wrong" if you upset or offend your listeners
*- Be sure to present your views as no more valid than anyone else's
*- Never tell anyone that their religion or their views about heaven are wrong
*- You cannot preach about hell...that word must be totally avoided
*- Do not refer to people as sinners, but simply as fallible human beings
*- Avoid using the word sin...Call sins "mistakes" instead
*- Never talk about damnation, only about God's "unconditional love"
*- Use a modern Bible that has been edited to remove offensive words and doctrines
*- If you must talk about sin, never use specific examples, just speak in general terms so that no one will think you are talking about them


Based upon the above guidelines for modern evangelism, John The Baptist would never have been beheaded if he had not been so "intolerant" about the behavior of others. He should have just minded his own business. But instead he had to go out and "judge" others, making himself a "bad example" for witnessing. The evangelist Stephen would never have been stoned to death if he had not made the Jewish religious leaders so angry by his "mean-spirited" speech about their hypocrisy and sinfulness. And the apostle Paul would have gotten many more "converts" and a lot less flack if he had only avoided certain subjects (like the exclusiveness of salvation by Jesus Christ). But he had to be "obnoxious" and tell people the truth. And of course Jesus Christ destroyed so many people's "self esteem" by constantly telling them to "go and sin no more." If he had only stuck to miracles and healings, he would have been much more "popular" and would never have been crucified. In fact just about everyone would have liked him...At one point during his ministry the Jews even wanted to make him their king. But he ended up "upsetting" too many people in high places by violating the evangelism guidelines above. Perhaps Jesus was not familiar with "friendship" evangelism, where deeds are preferred over creeds.

If you are in a church that uses the "modern" approach to sharing the Gospel, run from it as fast as you can and find a church that preaches the whole counsel of God and that loudly and clearly warns the lost to flee the wrath to come.


As an ex-Evangelical, I can assure you that that's good advice.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, just make sure you also find a church that makes Christ the focus by elevating the Word and Sacraments to their rightful place (rightly dividing the Word and rightly administering His body and blood); the place that God always intended them to have in the believer's life.

For me, I've found that there's one confessional body of believers that does that more faithfully than all the rest...and I'm not ashamed one bit to admit that publicly.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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What Luther Says About...THE HOLY TRINITY

One very cool book I got for Christmas is titled What Luther Says: A Practical In-Home Anthology For The Active Christian compiled Ewald M. Plass.

Basically, it's a huge collection of all sorts of topics from A to Z and what Luther said or wrote about them, which is absolutely fantastic for me since I love good Christian quotes.

Perhaps this excerpt from the Foreword will excite you...


"Nothing like this anthology can be found anywhere in the English-speaking world. There have been one or two brief collections of Luther's most famous utterances. This present set, however, contains no less than 5,100 quotations on more than 200 subjects, from 'Absolution' to 'Zeal.'"

*- Martin H. Scharlemann Chairman, Committee For Scholarly Research


In addition, Plass wrote Introducing Martin Luther: "He Being Dead Yet Speaketh" as the Introduction and it contained these many gems...


"These people hold that in the course of history few men have more honestly and successfully set themselves to seek knowledge concerning the will and the ways of God, as Scripture reveals them, than did Martin Luther."

"Both friend and foe testify that Luther did exert an exceptionally strong influence upon all who met him. His was a personality so strongly marked that it was difficult to remain neutral toward him. Yet Luther's strength lay in what he said, not in what he was."

"A man may tell how far he has advanced in theology by the degree in which he is pleased by Luther's writings"
*- Martin Chemnitz (quoted in Krauth, The Conservative Reformation, p. 57)


"In subsequent generations the interest in Luther's writings was a veritable theological barometer which indicated the falling or rising interest in loyalty to Scripture. 'Back to Scripture' implied and involved, if it did not consciously call for, a return to Luther; for the two are often correlatives. The increased interest in the writings of Luther at the time of the revival of orthodoxy in the last century was, therefore, not a meaningless coincidence."

"Thousands have recognized in Luther the greatest witness of the truth since the day of the apostles and prophets"
*- C.F.W. Walther (quoted in F. Pieper, Christian Dogmatics, I, 290)


"It is true, Luther has been accused of being repetitious; and what seems to aggravate the charge is the fact that at times he himself makes it. Luther himself one day remarked concerning the doctrine of salvation by faith alone that a good song deserves to be heard more than once. So thought St. Paul (Philippians 3:1). But let us concede that at times Luther is repetitious to a fault. We hold that an investigation will reveal that the Reformer most frequently lapses into repeating himself when he treats of matters that are particular concern to him. Prominent in this group of topics were the sanctity of the Word, and salvation through faith in Christ alone. His repetitiousness at such times seems to have been largely the result of an intensity of conviction concerning which we may say that 'out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh' -- and the pen writeth."

"Martin Luther took no royalties; he neither asked for them nor received them. The fact of the matter is that he did not want them. He never wrote a book to make money on it. He took up his pen for the love of his God and His people; and he once said that the Savior had already repaid him a thousandfold for anything he might write."

"Probably to most people of his day Luther was, above all, the preacher of the Gospel, although he entered the lecture room before he ascended the pulpit."

"Martin Luther's supreme interest in life was to glorify the God of grace, whom he had finally found in Christ, and to lead men to His Word. We know of no man's writings that are more saturated with Scripture than those of this great champion of the Bible."

"The Reformer had no desire to impress anyone in or out of the pulpit with an air of professional dignity. There was nothing stiff or unctuous about the man. He was very human; and he could afford to be what he was. His character was great enough and his personality impressive enough to dispense with any artificial props. In consequence, a subtle humor now and then is at play in the discussion of the most serious matters, a humor that adds lightness but not levity to the subject."

"A voice and a pen -- this is all. But there is more power in this voice and this pen to shake and mould the world than in all the bulls of a pope or the armed strength of emperor and kings."
*- James Mackinnon in his Luther And The Reformation (III, 138)

"Luther never wrote anything merely to satisfy his scholarly urge, merely because his research in a field in which he was interested had discovered something of significance to the learned world. Luther held that God had revealed nothing merely to gratify the curiosity of man. He was sure that the Christian religion was, above all, practical and functional and that all the golden truths of Scripture were to be coined into conduct, were designed to make man not merely wiser but also better. A Christian's love is practical; it goes to work, and all the world becomes its beneficiary. These qualities made his writings not academic treatises but tracts for the times."

"Luther disavows everything and anything that does not square with Scripture. What is not Scriptural should not be considered Lutheran. In this respect therefore 'Lutheran' is in reality a personal and dated name for an impersonal and undated principle: unquestioning loyalty to Scripture as the Word of God."

"He wrote to direct men not to himself but to Christ in the Word."

"He meant, above all, to instruct and to inspire, to confirm and to comfort people in general; he addressed men as his fellow sinners rather than his fellow scholars. To Martin Luther learning was the means to an end, not an end in itself; it was the scaffolding, not the building."

"In his own days Luther expressed a complaint about Scripture study which is not out of place in our own times. He said that there was an unfortunate tendency to rush to commentaries before carefully studying Scripture itself and basing one's faith on its bare text without comment."

"We see, then, that Luther himself cautioned against a translation that is slavishly literal. But it is as necessary to avoid the other extreme, paraphrasing instead of translating."

"I am well aware of the fact that others might have handled the situation better than I did, but since they are holding their peace, I am doing it as well as I can. It is certainly better to have spoken on the subject, however inadequately, than to have remained silent altogether" *- Martin Luther (Weimar Edition 15, 49)

"'For the sake of my Lord Christ' is a fitting motto for the life and labors of Martin Luther. How the man learned to love Christ! How he glorified Him in his writings! He knew of no other God, wanted no other God, needed no other God. Indeed, 'there is no other God, He holds the field forever,' holds it forever also in the writings and in the theology of Luther. This intense love of the Reformer is infectious. Luther has a way of making you feel the nearness of God and filling you with the love of Christ. But this love is far from being a dreamy emotionalism that evaporates in rapturous phrases. It is decidedly virile; there is nothing morbidly maudlin or mystical about it. It makes me want to be something and do something 'for the sake of my Lord Christ.'"

"Truly, Luther's writings are never outdated; they are as modern as the love of God in Christ, which they glorify. 'He being dead yet speaketh.'"


I know that's a lot to digest (and we haven't even gotten to today's main quote from Luther yet!), but how great were those excerpts from that Introduction by Plass?

Anyway, now that the formalities are out of the way, please allow me quickly explain my intentions with lengthy and weekly posts like this one.

Simply put, I just thought it would be edifying and fun to share some of Luther's finest statements with all of you on a weekly basis.

Better yet, I also thought it would be a good way to help me to continue to learn Lutheran doctrine (a.k.a. orthodox Christianity) in the process.

So, here's today's offering for your enjoyment and prayerful consideration...



What Luther Says About...THE HOLY TRINITY

4466 HISTORY'S SAD TALE OF OFFENSE


Here the foolishness of God and the wisdom of the world clash. For when the world hears God speaking of Himself as being one God and yet three distinct Persons, it considers such declarations very offensive and foolish; and all who listen to reason and hear this consider people who believe and teach this doctrine downright fools. Consequently, this article of faith has been assailed continually, from the times of the apostles and the church fathers to the present day, as histories testify, particularly the Gospel of Saint John, which he wrote for the special purpose of confirming this article against Cerinthus, the heretic who began the attack during the very lifetime of the apostles and tried to prove from Moses that there is only One God. Therefore, he said, our Lord Jesus Christ cannot be true God, because God and man cannot be one. Thus he continued to prate according to reason and imagined that matters in heaven must be carried on as he devised them and in no other way.

But shame on you, disgraceful reason! How can we miserable, poor mortals comprehend this mystery? We do not know the how of our own speaking, laughing, or sleeping, although we daily perform and experience these natural functions. And yet we want to speak of God and the conditions existing within His divine Being. We want to do so without the Word of God, solely according to our own mind. Is it not blindness above all blindness for a man who cannot explain the most insignificant function he daily observes in his own body to presume to know what is beyond and above all reason and of which no one except God alone can speak, and to have the audacity to state so rashly and bluntly that Christ is not God?

(Weimar Edition 41, 270 f -- Erlangen Edition 9, 20 f -- Revised Halle or Walch Edition published at St. Louis 12, 646 f)


The comments by Plass that introduced and preceded this quote are worth noting...


YET, the Reformer declares in a Trinity Sunday sermon of 1535 on Romans 11:33-36, this offense set in very early in the Christian era.

4465 THIS SPECIFICALLY CHRISTIAN ARTICLE AN OFFENSEOnly Christians know and believe this article. The world cannot bear it. Jews, Turks, Tartars, and heretics forcefully oppose it; they are offended at it; they ridicule and mock us Christians for being so mad and foolish as to believe in more than one God and worship Him. Let them ridicule and mock. Whoever deems God's Word a fable and a fairy tale . . . will, of course, not believe this article. But he will find out in due time what he will gain by his denial.

WE MUST believe this article, which, to be sure, makes the Christian religion seem absurd to natural man, Luther remarks in his explanation of John 1:2 (July 7, 1537).



In a Lutheran Layman's terms, forget about figuring out what a fox says!

Spend some time figuring out what Martin Luther said about various topics, because he will always point you to Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and the Lord's Sacraments.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a Lutheran-In-Name-Only at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that perhaps wouldn't be too big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in interpreting a specific portion of Scripture exegetically, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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SERMON: 'Rejoicing In The Confession of The Trinity'

It's a couple of weeks old now, but this sermon from Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller at Hope Lutheran Church in Aurora, CO is very, very good.

My kids and I listened to it this morning and even they had several good comments about it (Luke will be 9 and Amelia will be 8 next month).


It was the sermon given for Trinity Sunday and it was based on the following passage of Scripture...



Romans 11:33-36 (ESV) 33
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! 34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?" 35 "Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?" 36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

"There is an old quip, attributed to different wits, something like this, 'In the beginning God created man, and ever since man has been returning the favor.' There is some truth to this. We are tempted to fashion God after ourselves, to have a god to suit us."

[Sermon Text]


Please CLICK HERE to listen to the MP3 file of this sermon via streaming or download.


Just a few additional words about that passage from Romans 11 from the footnotes in my Lutheran Study Bible...


*- Romans 11:33-36 is an ascription of praise in doxological form as Paul ponders in awe God's inscrutable ways (Ephesians 3:21).

*- Romans 11:33 speaks of the wealth of God's grace and glory (Romans 2:4; Romans 9:23; Romans 10:12; 2 Corinthians 8:9), the wisdom of His purposeful actions in history to save (1 Corinthians 1:18-31; Ephesians 1:8; Ephesians 3:10; Colossians 2:2-3), and His intimate knowledge of us (Romans 8:29; Romans 11:2; 1 Corinthians 8:3) are too deep for human beings to fathom.

*- Romans 11:34 are rhetorical questions highlighting the absurdity of anyone teaching God anything. We have no access to God's thinking except what He chooses to reveal to us.

*- Romans 11:35 rules out any thought that the Creator God owes us anything.

*- (Romans 11:36) With 3 prepositions, "from Him and through Him and to Him," Paul declares God, Creator and Savior, to be the source, means, and goal of everything. He is Alpha and Omega.

*- (Romans 11:25-36) In ways beyond our understanding, God has acted in mercy to bring salvation to Jews and Gentiles. Human beings cannot exchange roles with God, presuming to sit in judgment of Him. But we in whom His Spirit dwells praise Him for His inexhaustible kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.


In a Lutheran layman's terms, faithful sermons are hard to come by these days, and so I'm going to continue to call attention to any that I find.

I hope you are blessed and edified by it as much as I was.

NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a "Book of Concord" containing our Confessions even existed. In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by common Evangelical concerns/criticisms that aren't that big a deal for us Lutherans. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Finally, please know that any time we engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible unless otherwise noted. Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!


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