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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Know Your Enemy (But Remember Your Savior!)

The importance of knowing your enemy...




We must know our enemy. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” Note how close the words “temptation” and “evil” are to one another. With every temptation there is real evil at work and we are powerless to stop it. No amount of human will-power and strength can defend against the onslaught of the devil, world and our own sinful nature. Temptation must be met with a power outside of us, the gospel that is the “power of God for salvation” (Romans 1:16). The power of God’s forgiveness is the remedy for every sick sinner caught up in a transgression. Therefore, if confessing sin and receiving forgiveness is the answer, then hiding sin is a surefire way to exacerbate the problem. The devil loves darkness, but hates the light. The sinful flesh hates the light and flees to the cover of darkness where sin can fester and rot. Keeping sins private may seem like a way of avoiding shame and embarrassment, but it’s just what the devil wants—for you to keep yours sins hidden from yourself, even from God.

The Psalmist speaks about containing sin. “When I kept silent my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long…I acknowledged my sin to you and I did not cover my iniquity; I said ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, and you forgave the iniquity of my sin’” (Psalm 32:4-5). From decaying and groaning to receiving God’s mercy and healing, the Psalmist confesses and receives the grace and absolution God promises.

But the news gets better. Not only does God promise you absolution in Christ, He tells you where you can hear it, and this is vital. Your pastor, a called minister of Christ, is charged to forgive you, the repentant sinner. Your pastor is God’s man working under His authority and divine command to absolve those crushed, burdened, and looking for grace. This means you know exactly where to go when temptation hits. No guesswork and confusion; just go to the pastor and hear what Christ charges him to say: that you are forgiven for the sake of Jesus and that you can depart in peace. There is tremendous comfort in hearing your sins cannot kill you because you are justified and cleansed in Christ, and we mustn’t tire of hearing this message. Take advantage of confession and absolution, in which we are free to bring our sins into His light and receive His peace. Hear the gospel that is the true balm for the wounded conscience—the consolation of knowing the very sins we struggle with have been taken care of by Jesus.

*- Rev. Ryan J. Ogrodowicz


Remember, God presses us toward contrition, confession, and repentance (Psalm 32:4; Romans 7).


"Confession is mentioned at different times in the Psalms. ... Such confession of sin, which is made to God, is contrition in itself. When confession is made to God, it must be made with the heart, not only with the voice, like actors on the stage. Confession is contrition in which, feeling God's anger, we confess that God is justly angry and that He cannot be reconciled by our works. Yet, we seek for mercy because of God's promise."
*- Apology of the Augsburg Confession, XIIB 10


When we intentionally cover our sin it troubles both body and mind. When we confess our iniquity, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins (Psalm 32:5; Psalm 51:1-2; Romans 4:7-8; 1 John 1:8-9).


"He shows that even saints ought to seek forgiveness of sins. They are more than blind who do not realize that wicked desires in the flesh are sins."

*- Apology of the Augsburg Confession, V 47-48


In a Lutheran layman's terms, know your enemy, but remember your Savior, Jesus Christ!

It's like how Psalm 32:1 shows us how we are justified through faith (cf. Romans 4:7-8). The confession found in that Old Testament passage reveals that David was not relying on his works, but on God's grace alone, and that's the key here.

Although we are sinners, God forgives us and covers us with His righteousness.

We just need to remember to repent and confess our sins daily while also receiving His means of grace and believing Him when He tells us what they have done (and continue to do) for us (1 John 1:9).

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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Duck Dodging The Title 'Lutheran' Or Daring To Be Lutheran?

One online Lutheran resource I'm growing quite fond of is Higher Things.

However, it's more than just a website -- it's a full blown ministry!

In fact, I dream of the day when there's enough interest within the LCMS-Eastern District that they choose to partner with Higher Things for a Youth Conference or Retreat, because then it would signal that things are truly starting to change here in my little neck of the woods, and it would signal that many are returning to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

In any event, here's an EXCELLENT 5-minute video posted on the Higher Things YouTube Channel from almost 2 years ago...


Daring To Be Lutheran

Pr. Borghardt answer the question, "What's the difference between a Lutheran and a Christian." He explains that there is no difference. He also talks about the differences between Lutherans and other denominations. If you have questions you'd like answered you can email them to radio@higherthings.org or send them via text message to 936-647-3235.


In short, that's really as simple an explanation of "What is a Lutheran?" and "How are Lutherans different from other denominations?" as you're likely to find anywhere and in a 5-minute segment, IMHO.

Remember,


"Whenever you make a confession, you're making a statement of belief, and that belief causes division. So, although it's sad that their are divisions in Christendom, it's unavoidable as long as people confess what Scripture them to say, and Jesus actually says, 'I didn't come to bring peace, but the sword.' So, there's no way of dodging a confession and even a label.

*- Pastor George Borghardt


In a Lutheran layman's terms, are you duck dodging the title 'Lutheran' or daring to be Lutheran in this day-and-age?

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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Live By Grace, Not Works

One of the things I've noticed more than anything since becoming a Confessional Lutheran is how often people (both family members and friends alike) assume that I'm somehow suggesting that a person can't be a "true" Christian unless they are also a Lutheran.

That's just silly. No, really, that's just not true at all.

Truth is, the Lord keeps a "remnant" of His Church within each denomination (Romans 11:5). This "remnant" exists as a result of God's gracious election and is a sign of hope in the world. True believers are present in various churches in spite of any false teachers and their false teachings (they're certainly not "created" and/or discipled because of them).

I thought about that this morning as I came across this old quote from Jerry Bridges. Now, Jerry Bridges is a popular Christian author, but he's an Evangelical and not a Lutheran.

Given my past, I'm naturally a little wary of promoting an Evangelical in this space even if it is tacitly by merely referring to something an Evangelical has written.

Even so, this quote attributed to him is excellent (and 100% Biblical I might add)! Besides, it's like Rev. Matthew C. Harrison once wrote: "While we must reject what is false, we can also joyously note what is right -- no matter who says it."




"My observation of Christendom is that most of us tend to base our relationship with God on our performance instead of on His grace. If we’ve performed well -- whatever 'well' is in our opinion -- then we expect God to bless us. If we haven’t done so well, our expectations are reduced accordingly.

In this sense, we live by works, rather than by grace. We are saved by grace, but we are living by the 'sweat' of our own performance. Moreover, we are always challenging ourselves and one another to 'try harder.'

We seem to believe success in the Christian life is basically up to us; our commitment, our discipline, and our zeal, with some help from God along the way. The realization that my daily relationship with God is based on the infinite merit of Christ instead of on my own performance is a very freeing and joyous experience. But it is not meant to be a one-time experience; the truth needs to be reaffirmed daily."


*- Jerry Bridges

That reminds me how today's "Self-Help" culture constantly tries to tempt us to try to do it all ourselves...as long as we throw in an "In Jesus' Name!" at the end.

Yet, God saves by grace through faith, apart from any works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Furthermore, our relationship with God is to receive His Son's death and resurrection in daily repentance and faith; to receive His gifts to us that include remembering what He did and does for us in our Baptism, hearing the Word preached, and receiving Holy Communion.


In a Lutheran layman's terms, it's good to remind ourselves of these truths about His unmerited grace each and every morning and throughout the day, isn't it?

It's never about "How Am I Doing As A Christian Today?" but about "How Did Jesus Live The Perfect Life Already And On My Behalf So That I Didn't Have To (Because I Couldn't)?"

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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