10 Reasons Why Christianity Is NOT A Philosophy (Sorry Mr. O'Reilly!)

I'm starting to hear from more and more Christians (and, sadly, some family members and friends who should know better) who are all excited and praising Bill O'Reilly's Killing Jesus bestseller again.

I guess it's because it's back in the news since the movie version of the book starring several big name actors is scheduled to air soon as a miniseries on National Geographic and premiere globally in 171 countries and in 45 languages, because it's not that hard to translate Wolf-speak to the masses who are already deceived and dead in their sins (Ephesians 2; Colossians 2:13).

We wrote about the book way back in September 2013 in a piece titled "Why Would Any Christian Be Excited About Bill O'Reilly's 'Killing Jesus' Book?" and I think it's worth revisiting again if only to try and cut off the controversy at the pass.

In true apologetics form, I thought I'd share an appropriate list of reasons why Mr. O'Reilly is wrong, which is based on an old broadcast of Wretched TV I remembered seeing. 


It was actually a segment that was in direct response to the following sound byte from O'Reilly's program on Fox News or, as I like to call it, Mr. Bill's gross perversion of our shared and cherished faith.





Does such a pronouncement by a so-called "Conservative Christian" remind you of anything at all from the New Testament?




2 Timothy 4:2-4 (ESV) 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 


In response, here are the "Top 10 Reasons Why Christianity is NOT A Philosophy" courtesy of Wretched TV and in direct response to Bill O'Reilly's ridiculous statements you just heard.



10 Reasons Why Christianity is NOT A Philosophy

10.
Jesus never claimed to be a philosopher. He claimed to be God. That's why they killed Him.

9.
A philosopher who claims to be God and isn't, is not a philosopher. He is a nut.

8. Philosophy seeks truth, but Jesus proclaimed He Himself is the truth. Jesus did not ponder what might be right. He proclaimed what was absolutely true.

7. Philosophy is the pursuit of rational wisdom. Religion is the pursuit of supernatural wisdom.

6. Christianity, while rational, is a belief system.

5. Philosophy has no authority. One philosopher's claims are as valid as the next. Not so in Christianity. The Bible claims that the inspired Word of God is the sole standard of truth.

4. Philosophy changes with the times. Christianity does not.

3. Philosophy typically rejects the supernatural. Christianity embraces it.

2. Philosophy is man-made. Christianity is God-inspired.

1. Philosophy does not offer forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. Christianity does.



Now, I know that Wretched TV and it's host are not "Lutheran" and so we have to be careful (and might even wish for further explanation when it comes to the points made in the above list), but they're right in this case, and it's a sufficient rebuttal that should at least give you a place to start if this topic should come up in conversation soon like it did for me.

Clearly, each of the 10 points made carry with it it's own commentary on the subject, but I hope that you will be able to use these as conversation starters (or like O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo") with others when confessing and contending "
for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3). 

My dear friends, this erroneous belief about Jesus Christ and Christianity is actually quite prevalent, and it has been here long before Bill O'Reilly decided to start redefining things recently.

Here are a few more things to prayerfully consider in relation to this subject. A few quotes I had written down over the years on this subject, but couldn't tell you where and/or who they came from.




"The one most valuable lesson humanity ought to have learned from philosophy is that it is impossible to make sense of Truth without acknowledging God as the necessary starting point."


"Philosophy claims to be true but is utterly deceitful, like a fisherman who captures his unwitting prey by concealing a deadly hook within a tasty morsel of food. The fish thinks it’s getting a meal but becomes one instead. Similarly, those who embrace a human philosophy about God or man might think they’re getting truth, but instead they get empty deception, which can lead to eternal damnation."
 

"Philosophy has always been the cause of the church going astray, for philosophy means, ultimately, a trusting to human reason and human understanding. The philosopher wants to encompass all truth; he wants to categorize and explain everything, and that is why...(philosophy is) diametrically opposed to the preaching of the gospel."

 

"A Christian has no need of human philosophy. It is unnecessary and, more often than not, misleading. Where it happens to be right it will agree with Scripture, and is therefore unnecessary. Where it is wrong it will disagree with Scripture, and is therefore misleading. It has nothing necessary or reliable to offer. By nature it is speculation, based on man's limited and fallible insights and understanding. It is always unreliable and always divisive. If we want answers to what life is all about -- answers about where we came from, where we are going, and why we are here, about what is right and what is wrong -- then human learning cannot help us. If we want to know the ultimate meaning and purpose of human life, and the source of happiness, joy, fulfillment, and peace, we have to look beyond even what the best human minds can discover. Man's attempts to find such answers on his own are doomed to fail. He does not have the resources even to find the answers about himself, much less about God. In regard to the most important truths - those about human nature, sin, God, morality and ethics, the spirit world, the transformation and future of human life - philosophy is bankrupt."


There you have it. The truth about philosophy. The truth about Christianity. The truth about why they are not both one-in-the-same with a different name.

The Gospel is a life-saving, unmerited gift to us undeserved sinners and not just a "moral call" or an "intellectual idea" that is supposed to motivate us to be "good people" if not "political revolutionaries" also.

Bottom line, philosophy can only ask questions and speculate about the answers. Christianity gives the answers, because Christianity is truth as embodied by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

Yes, there is a battle for truth being waged out there right now, and sadly, it's often a battle with those we think are on our side in such a fight. Be discerning (Acts 17:11). Contend and defend (Jude 1:3). Speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

At the end of the day, and from a Confessional Lutheran perspective, the Christian message speaks beyond philosophy.



"What the Christian faith has to say is beyond all philosophy; it rests upon another presupposition, which no philosophy understands, the acknowledgment of which no man can require. This presupposition states clearly: God speaks in His Word. That the Holy Scriptures are not merely a collection of documents from the history of religions, rather that the living God speaks in them; that God in Jesus Christ speaks His word of redemption; that Jesus Christ is the Word of God become man. These are the propositions, which have no place in philosophy, propositions which are not accessible to reason and whose acknowledgement therefore cannot be demanded of anyone. A conscientious philosopher, who is duty bound, to put a question mark behind every assertion, and to express no proposition which he can not 'reasonably' substantiate, could at best come to the conviction, that we possess in the Bible the charter of a unique religious life; and therefore to the thinking man it is an indication of a super-worldly reality; that Jesus Christ is an incomparable form of historic event [Weltgeschichte] and that a metaphysical mystery stands behind his person. A conscientious philosopher could say all of this. In doing so he would certainly place himself in contradiction to other philosophers; for of course, all those facts could be interpreted differently. But he could never go further. That we in the Bible have not one revelation of God, not something which belongs in a general history of religions category of revelation, rather thee revelation, that we in the Bible have thee Word of God; this one can no longer express as philosopher. He has to be a believer to assert such things." 
*- Hermann Sasse, "What is the State?" 1932; trans. Matthew Harrison


Just as we are always talking about "A Proper Distinction Between Law And Gospel" there also needs to be "A Proper Distinction Between Christianity And Philosophy" too.

What do we mean by "A Proper Distinction Between Christianity And Philosophy," you ask? Why is that even important?


 
[Source]


There you have it. Hope this has helped some.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, there's a reason why Martin Luther said that "Philosophy is the Devil's Whore."


NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 inconsistent 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 Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). 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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The Twitter Patter Five (Week #2)

So, according to that bastion of truth known as Wikipedia...


Patter is a prepared and practiced speech that is designed to produce a desired response from its audience. Examples of occupations with a patter might include the auctioneer, salesperson, dance caller, or comedian. The term may have been a colloquial shortening of "Pater Noster", and may have referred to the practice of mouthing or mumbling prayers quickly and mechanically. From this, it became a slang word for the secret and equally incomprehensible mutterings of a cant language used by beggars, thieves, gypsies, etc., and then the fluent plausible talk that a cheap-jack employs to pass off his goods. Many illusionists, e.g., card magicians, use patter both to enhance the show and to distract the attention of the spectators.


If we're talking about Christians on Social Media, and Twitter in particular, then we must add "sinners" to that list of titles above.

And so, with that, the "Twitter Patter Five" is born! Cheesy? Maybe, but I do love cheese (especially Dubliner!), and I also love to have a little fun when it comes to learning and then sharing what I've learned with others, and if there's one thing we've seen from our friends at Table Talk Radio, it's that such an approach can be highly effective (even if you're only "mediocre" too).

Despite the somewhat negative connotations to the term "patter" (not to mention the negative perception associated with the often unholy marriage between Christians and Social Media), there's actually a lot of thought-provoking Biblical truth that can be found that is shared in a 140-character tweet.

My goal in this weekly series is to highlight the "good" from the "bad" and to promote the ones we should prayerfully consider from the ones we should "mark and avoid" (Romans 16:17) since they pervert our cherished and shared faith.

Here's how this will work.

I'll select just 5 Christian tweets from the week (hopefully, 1 from each day of the week leading up to and perhaps even including Saturday and Sunday) and give you the "Twitter Patter Five" Finalists for that week.

Then I'll select the one that I like the best as that week's "Twitter Patter: 'This Is Most Certainly True' Top Dog" (yeah, I know it's a MOUTHFUL, but please gimme a break, because I'm trying to incorporate some distinctly Lutheran language here! haha).

The best part of this weekly feature? It's also a contest that every single one of you with a Twitter account can play at any time! Just include #TwitterPatter in your tweets (if you can; helpful, but not necessary though).

At the end of the year, we'll take a look at all the Weekly Winners and select only 1 to be the best of 2015...but we'll do it "Bracket Busters" style (think the NCAA March Madness Tournament!) by setting one Weekly Winner against another! Should make for some fun and entertaining theological discussions once we get to that time of year!

Oh yeah, the 2015 Champion will receive, courtesy of A Lutheran Layman, the ultimate Twitter tool: What Luther Says... It's a $60 value and "this book contains more than 5,100 quotations on 200 subjects from the writings of Martin Luther. All quotations are alphabetically and topically arranged for quick and easy reference. The introduction explores Luther's life and writings, gives a historical perspective for this volume, and provides a description of how Ewald Plass went about producing this book."

Here are this week's Twitter Patter Five Finalists (in no particular order)...




TWITTER PATTER FIVE - WEEK #1






Wow! Choosing ONLY five tweets each week is going to be very tough for me!

Ok, drum roll please...

This week's Winner?


'THIS IS MOST CERTAINLY TRUE' TOP DOG - WEEK #2


"This is most certainly true."

Congratulations! Friends, please reach out to congratulate and follow 
@ArvakMarshall . 

In case you're wondering, I chose that tweet since I can relate in the sense that it was a paradigm-shifting time when I first realized that being a Christian DID NOT mean that I would somehow reach a state of "sinless perfection" in this life (or sin less and less until I didn't sin at all, which would probably happen right before I died -- yeah right!).

Seriously though, this is what I wrongly believed for far too long, and it's also why @ArvakMarshall's profile image of Yoda with the words "You Must UNLEARN What You Have Learned" resonates with me too (in fact, I'm still trying to "unlearn" a lot of the Baptist, Calvinist, Evangelical, Non-Denominational, Anti-Denominational nonsense I picked up and assimilated over the years).

Daily repentance or "Drowning That Old Adam Daily!" is what my life is like today. Remarkably (to me anyway), is how just when you start becoming prideful by thinking "Ha! Guess that particular sin is no longer a problem for me!" is PRECISELY the moment that the Lord decides to reveal another sin that was lurking in your heart that you didn't even know was there.

As much as I hate those moments, I've come to appreciate them too, because it has helped me to appreciate even more the unmerited gift of salvation all because of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, or just as this tweet said.

On a quick side note, it looks as though he @ArvakMarshall lives in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, which is REALLY COOL, because I'm a lifelong Baltimore Orioles fan, and my Aunt just moved to that County a couple years ago! Who knows, if he wins it all at the end of the year, I might be able to deliver his prize in person!


Remember, as fun as this little weekly contest is, it's NEVER about us and ALWAYS about Jesus Christ in the sense that we should want to point people to Him and not ourselves by proclaiming Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind.

Unfortunately, one of the real dangers of having a Social Media presence of any kind (whether on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and/or with a blog like this one) is that you quickly become susceptible to the sin of pride setting in.

If you're not careful, you can become disillusioned into thinking it's all about you, your words, and your followers when it needs to remain all about Jesus, His Words, and His followers (of course, this can occur even without the use of Social Media).

Sure, we're all sinners, which means we're all bound to fall into this trap from time-to-time. The key, as you know, is repentance and recognizing when it's becoming a serious problem so you can detach and take a step back if you need to.

So, yes, use online tools like Twitter to confess "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) and let the Holy Spirit do His work when and where He pleases (John 3:7-8; 1 Corinthians 12:11; Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration II, 56). Just remember it's Him who does the work of converting others through preaching of the Word and administering of the Sacraments, not you through your witty tweets (John 6:44).

Well, that's it for this week's edition of Twitter Patter. Please feel free to let me know if you come across any tweets that you don't want me to miss so that they can be considered for next week's edition (@LutheranLayman).

In a Lutheran layman's terms, keep it short, keep it sweet, but above all, keep it Biblical in all your "Christian" tweets!


[TWITTER ICON IMAGE SOURCE HERE]


NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 inconsistent 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 Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). 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 Do Lutherans Believe About Creation?

What do Lutherans believe about Creation?

In short, "Evolution cannot be 'baptized' to make it compatible with the Christian faith."


"The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod believes, teaches and confesses that Adam and Eve were real historic individuals and that the Genesis account of Creation is true and factual, not merely a 'myth' or a 'story' made up to explain the origin of all things. We would also be making a very serious error simply to accept the theories of science without question. Many aspects of evolutionary theory are directly contradictory to God’s Word. Evolution cannot be 'baptized' to make it compatible with the Christian faith. Those who attempt inevitably wind up watering down the teachings of the Bible. Christians have no need to fear the findings of science, nor do they have any reason to give 'science' more credence than they give the Word of God." 
*- Dr. A.L. Barry, Former President of the LCMS

Read More About... 
*- What Is The Point of Evolution? 
*- What Challenge To Darwin Is Found In The Details of Life? 
*- Has Science Accepted Intelligent Design? 
*- What Stands In The Way of Intelligent Design? 
*- What Is Happening In The Scientific Community? 
*- Is There Room For Intelligent Design? 
*- Can We 'Baptize' Evolutionary Theory?


In a Lutheran layman's terms, yes, call me crazy, but "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1) is more than enough for me on this subject.


NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 inconsistent 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 Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). 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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Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 1/24/15)

Remember when Saturday mornings used to be so much fun when you were a kid?

For me, I'd usually stay up as late as I could the night before (after what I thought was such a "hard" and "long" week at school), and then sleep in as late as I wanted to on Saturday morning.

The best part? Whether Dad would make us breakfast or not (his French Toast!), the even better part of my Saturday mornings growing up was plopping myself down in front of our TV to watch cartoon after cartoon! You know, the kind that were only on once-a-week and not available in an instant through YouTube and/or Netflix?

I thought about that recently and decided it might be cool to come up with a new weekly tradition of sorts for us adults to enjoy each and every Saturday morning now that we're all grown up (ok, at least some of us more than others anyway). I mean, isn't it time for us to look forward to Saturday mornings again?

Besides, it will be good for us to recall that childlike faith in fun and laughter if only for a few moments each week. You'll remember that laughter was, for Luther, a sign of divine grace and also an antidote against the devil too.

From the very beginning, humor had been a theological topic for Martin Luther, embracing the dramatic scope of his whole world view. He himself explained: "When I was unable to chase away the devil with serious words of with the Scripture, I often expelled him with pranks." And so this unique concept is born! Ok, so it's really not all that "cool" or "original" or "fun" to be sure, but it will be our new tradition here, and I'll try to make it worthwhile too. So who's with me then?

Please keep in mind, it won't be flashy, and it will hardly grab and hold your attention like a classic episode of the Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, or Voltron would, but these "Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane" should satisfy the Confessional Lutheran's appetite for a balanced breakfast that includes your VDMA Vitamins which include Vitamin A (Amusement), Vitamin B (Best of the Blogs), Vitamin C (Confessional), Vitamin D (Doctrine), and Vitamin E (Everything Else).

Each Saturday morning, God willing, I'll do my best to share some of the things I remember coming across in my unpredictable journey through Cyberspace during the week (hence, the "Along Memory Lane" part). For the most part, these will be things I either bookmarked, read, wrote down, and/or simply couldn't get to myself during the week. Of course, this is also where the things you send me via email (if any) will show up too.

Ok, enough with all the "commercials" when all we want is some "cartoons," right? Let's get the show started already, shall we?



8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): In case you missed my mention of this on my Facebook page, this is hands down my new favorite video! I can't tell you how many times I've watched this since discovering it. Need a laugh? Need to be cheered up for some reason? Then enjoy watching this cow dancing in a Mexican supermarket! The best part for me (besides the dance moves and that catchy tune, of course) is how oblivious the people are to this guy/gal! I mean, they just pass right by and don't even look at the dancing cow like this sort of thing is normal down there (maybe it is). Me? I would've stopped to watch. Enjoy the next 2 minutes, friends!


8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS):
Because we live in a world where most self-identifying Lutherans are completely clueless about what's going on in their Synod (unless, of course, it somehow directly impacts them and their local church on a Sunday-to-Sunday level), I feel it's extremely important for us to stay on top of the current events taking place in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) that do have a significant impact on all of us whether we acknowledge and realize it or not. Case in point, please familiarize yourself (and your fellow church members) with the truly sad case of one Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker and a complete lack of discipline and leadership within the North Dakota District. Trust me, you won't believe what you're reading because, as Pastor Joshua Sheer wrote, "This is sad, but shows how utterly broken the Synod is to handle even the most open and shut cases." Indeed. Lord, have mercy! Pray, pray, pray for repentance and restoration! In the meantime, if you'd like the full scope of this story, then read the following articles in order (thank Ann M Moe!): "Paging Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison..." AND "You Should Be Defrocked" AND "'It's Time' To Suspend Me From The Missouri Synod" which appropriately states "If Dr. Becker is not a false teacher, I am. Someone needs to bring charges against me. I openly invite it." This is what it's come to all throughout the LCMS. Sadly, my Eastern District is not the only one experiencing an attack by the wolves in sheep's clothing.


9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): 
In light of the previous section about Rev. Becker and your likely feelings in response to it (if you're anything like me), I thought it would be helpful to read what Luther wrote in his Lectures On Galatians (Chapters 1-2 from 1535; Halle 8:1588) and found in my copy of The Church & The Office of The Ministry by C.F.W. Walther on Page 70. It comforts me to remember that we're not the first generation of Christians to experience this disturbing and heartbreaking scenarios. "Therefore, the Church is everywhere holy, even in places where it is rules by fanatics [Schwarmer] and factious spirits [Rottengeister], as long as they do not deny and reject the Word and the Sacraments altogether. For those who reject these things altogether are no longer church. But where the Word and Sacraments remain essentially, there also remains a holy Church. That is true even if Antichrist himself rules there, for he sits not in a devil's stable nor in a pigsty nor among crass infidels but in the most noble and holy place, namely, in the temple of God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). This shows definitely and clearly that the temple of God must be and remain, even if it is ruled by spiritual tyrants who have the upper hand and are raging in it. Everywhere, even among such tyrants, there are found such as rightly believe. Hence there is a brief and easy answer to the question [of Jerome]: The Church is found everywhere in the whole world if only the Gospel and the Sacraments are present. But the Jews, Turks, enthusiasts, factious spirits, and heretics are not the Church; rather, they deny and destroy these things [the Gospel and the Sacraments]."



9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Romans 16:17-18 (ESV) "17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,f and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive." I felt it was fitting to take a quick look at these verses in light of current events within the LCMS right now (my goodness there are so many!). Here's what my Lutheran Study Bible has to say about this text: "Unnamed people divided the Church from within, probably along Jew/Gentile lines. No false teaching is acceptable for God's Church, whether it contradicts the Law or the Gospel. As in Galatians, believers are to reject any false teachings and refuse to associate with those who advocate them. Some have applied this to any and every different teaching, but here it refers specifically to issues that strike at the heart of the Gospel. Unlike Paul, false teachers snare hearers with false praise (1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6)." It also cites Ignatius of Antioch who wrote, "Some are in the habit of carrying about the name [of Jesus Christ] in wicked guile, while yet they practice things unworthy of God, whom you must flee as you would wild beasts" and Polycarp who wrote, "Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offence, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away vain men into error."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): From a June 2013 photo and write-up by Rev. Todd Wilken: "That’s Dr. Matthew Becker. He is a rostered pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The woman he is helping to install as pastor at the University chapel at Valparaiso University is Charlene M. Rachuy Cox. The officiant is Rev. William Gafkjen, bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In addition to installing female pastors in unionistic worship services, Dr. Becker also enjoys denying the Biblical account of creation, advocating for the ordination of women in the LCMS, advocating for acceptance of homosexuality, and long walks at sunset. Somehow, Dr. Becker has come into possession of a letter. The letter was written by LCMS president Matthew Harrison to the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR), the theological think tank of the LCMS. Dr. Becker is circulating Harrison’s letter along with an email expressing his outrage that Harrison would presume to exercise his duties of ecclesiastical supervision. Read Dr. Becker’s email and Harrison’s letter here. Dr. Becker writes in his email: 'The CTCR has certainly not convinced me and many other synodical members that the contents of my dissent are contrary to the Word of God.' To paraphrase our Lord, If they will not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced, even by the CTCR." 


Sorry, but that's all I have for you this week.


In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed a balanced spiritual diet this morning so I hope you're full and wide awake and ready to face the day.


Grace and peace to you and yours!
 


NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 inconsistent 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 Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). 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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The Gospel According To You? No! Nothing About You Is The Gospel!

I was absolutely thrilled to read this powerful piece by Tullian Tchividjian yesterday.

Here's a snapshot...


 
Nothing About You Is The Gospel...And That's Good News 
If the narrative we’ve adopted says that in order for our relationship with God to be legitimate, our life has to get better, we twist the gospel into a moral improvement scheme. The Gospel is not “you must become like Jesus”; the Gospel is “Jesus became like you” (2 Corinthians 5:21). That’s not to say that “Jesus becoming like you” doesn’t change you. It does. But the Gospel is NOT our transformation. The Gospel is Christ’s substitution. 
There’s a difference between “the Gospel” and our response to the Gospel. It’s an important distinction. Nothing about you or your life or the way you live is “the Gospel.” Which, by the way, is very good news. My life will exhibit the fruit of believing the Gospel, but the fruit is not the Gospel itself. And when we fail to make this distinction, we rob the good news of “Jesus for you” from it’s purity and power. In theological terms, it’s a mixing of Law and Gospel. 
As I’ve said before, the failure to distinguish the Law and the Gospel always means the abandonment of the Gospel because the Law gets softened into “helpful tips for practical living” instead of God’s unwavering demand for absolute perfection, while the Gospel gets hardened into a set of moral and social demands we “must live out” instead of God’s unconditional declaration that “God justifies the ungodly.” As my friend and New Testament scholar Jono Linebaugh says, “God doesn’t serve mixed drinks. The divine cocktail is not Law mixed with Gospel. God serves two separate shots: Law then Gospel.”


I hope you took a moment to read the whole thing.

It's short, but it packs the kind of Law-Gospel punch that we all need.

Frankly, this is the kind of message that earned me the "divisive" and "unloving" labels at the LCMS church that I've been attending for the past 3-4 years now.

I shared it on my Facebook page PRAYING that some of the eyes from that place will see it, but I'm not expecting to receive any indication that anyone there actually agrees with me (and agrees with what Mr. Tchividjian wrote).

Instead, and if past history is any indication, I'm likely to receive argumentative replies, criticism, and open rebuke (although I hope not). Worse, it may serve as "proof" to my old chums why they were "right" to tell me that me and my family should just find a new local church to call home (definitely hope that's not the case either).

What is there not to love about this piece though? I mean, it has it all: a proper assessment and diagnosis of the all-too-common problem with preaching and teaching a "YOU For Christ"-centered message rather than a "CHRIST For You"-centered message as well as the the proper distinction between Law and Gospel.

Oh, and did I mention that it was written by a non-Lutheran too?

If you think the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) doesn't have the kind of problem he identifies, then think again!

Back in September 2014, I came across this quote...


"You are not the Gospel. Proclaiming the Gospel of Christ in your vocation and claiming to be it are not the same. Demonic to think that we are the Gospel."


I forgot who wrote that, and where I saw it, but I wrote it down at the time (I think it may have been in response to the FiveTwo/Wiki14 folks when the news was just breaking about them and their controversial conference).

That prompted me to reply to it with...


Now I don't feel so bad for objecting to my church's multi-week Small Group Series recently that's titled "The Gospel According To YOU" that espoused this same kind of nonsense in an attempt to encourage evangelism and missions by making "Relationships" the most important "sacrament" while proclaiming "Every Member A Minister" more loudly than "Christ Crucified For The Sins of All Mankind." Sadly, this is the only kind of "Lutheran Catechesis" we're regularly fed here. In fact, the LCMS Pastor of 50+ years wrote this mind-boggling statement in the Church Newsletter about this very series that he authored himself: "He's given each of us a different life story...and that is what you share. This is not teaching, not preaching, but making God real to others. It is 'The Gospel According To You!' Live and be more like Jesus! The more you/we all do, the more the Holy Spirit will bless each and all of us at Trinity to serve Him." Truly heartbreaking indeed to see this type of teaching becoming more prevalent not only in the church that I've called "home" for the past few years, but also around the country. Lord, have mercy!


Feeling alone and lost among the wolves in sheep's clothing and those who want to keep wolves as house pets, I took to a Confessional Lutheran Group on Facebook to share the above sentiments.

Thankfully, I received this quick reply from Pastor Matt Richard at the time...


Jeffrey, that is most unfortunate, for in Christ we are crucified -- thus we no longer live. In other words, Christ doesn't become fragmented into our autonomous individualistic stories, but we are Crucified into Christ and given the Lord's story. The Scriptures are our story of salvation -- the one in which we are grafted into.


My gosh, why is it so difficult to find faithful, solid, Christ-centered preaching and teaching like that these days? Trying to find a "Confessional Lutheran Pastor" let alone one or two "Confessional Lutheran Parishioners" (at least, here in the LCMS-Eastern District) is like hunting for the legendary "Purple Squirrel" I'm sure you've heard of before.

Please join me in praying that Lutherans and non-Lutherans alike will be convicted unto repentance by this important message.

In a Lutheran layman's, it's just as Mr. Tchividjian said, "nothing about you or your life or the way you live is 'the Gospel.'"

I really can't emphasize that enough, especially as an ex-Evangelical turned Confessional Lutheran who was masquerading as a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" in a church where the only thing distinctly "Lutheran" about it was the church sign out front.

If you can relate in any way, then please heed this message so that you don't inadvertently cause "shipwreck with regard to the faith" like I almost did (1 Timothy 1:19).


NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 inconsistent 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 Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). 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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More (Bad) 'Church Sign Theology'

You'd like to think that the stuff that appears on Christian church signs -- regardless of the denomination -- is actually going to express a basic tenet of the Christian faith.

At the very least, you'd like to think that the stuff that appears on church signs -- regardless of the denomination -- is actually going to make some sense too.

Is that too much to ask?

Well, we know better, don't we? For those of us who regularly listen to Table Talk Radio, we know how bad "Church Sign Theology" can be.

Case in point, boy, did I see an awful message on a church sign the other night! Here's the message that appeared on it and my comments on Facebook since I had to vent about it.


 
Church Sign: "God Wants Full Custody, Not Just Weekend Visits" 
What!?! SMH! So, we're supposed to view God as a "divorcee" in this awful analogy then? How does that work exactly? And if we're supposed to be the "innocent child" affected by their parent's divorce (since we're His children who He wants "full custody" of), then who is the other "divorcee" in this one if we follow it to it's logical end? Jesus? The Holy Spirit? The World perhaps? Makes my brain hurt. Why don't Pastors think these through before putting them up in public? I mean, seriously. You expect me to trust that you can faithfully understand and communicate God's Word to me, and yet, you have trouble with a simple statement like this? Even my 9-year-old said, "But Daddy, God doesn't like divorce, right?" Right, little man. Anyway, I almost crashed the car driving home last night after I saw that one. Unfortunately, it was too dark to see what denomination it was. My guess is that it was some "Non-Denominational Community Church" knowing the demographics of the neighborhood it was in. Is that "scandalous" of me to assume something like that? No more scandalous than a Christian church putting up an un-Christian statement like that. Had a good discussion and teaching opportunity with the wife and kids who were along for the ride though.


To even consider making an analogy like this one involving divorce is absurd, especially when you consider all the passages of Scripture where God condemns divorce and expresses His hate of it (Genesis 2:24; Deuteronomy 24:1-4; Ezra 10:10-11; Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:3-10; Luke 11:4; Ephesians 4:32; Ephesians 5:31-32; 1 Corinthians 7:15; 1 Corinthians 7:32-35; Hosea 2:19).

Yes, of course, He forgives the sin of divorce -- no sin is outside of Jesus Christ's saving grace and atonement upon the cross. But we're not talking about that. We're talking about how idiotic many of these church signs can be and how often they butcher the holy Word of God like it's no big deal.

Sadly, nowadays, even the Christian church sign can't be trusted to faithfully express the truths found in Scripture. Why? Because the same false teachers who peddle a perverted version of God's Word at that particular church are often the same ones putting that perversion on full display for the public to see (and if it's not them, then it's one of the poor souls who are being fed a steady diet of this spiritual poison week-in-and-week-out). Pray for those churches, their so-called Pastors, and their congregants when you see a sign like that.

At the heart of this horrible trend in "Church Sign Theology" is an unholy desire to please man more than wanting to please God.

Hey, that's funny, because I remember reading something about that!


Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV) 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.


Now there's a passage that accurately describes this ridiculous business with the non-Christian views often expressed in far too many church signs across America today.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, the pursuit of the kind of humor and wit that only a pun can deliver has replaced the pursuit of truth that only faithful, sound Biblical exegesis can deliver. 


There's nothing wrong with fun, humor, and laughter, but these so-called Pastors at these offending churches are guilty of wanting to be "Ministers of Funny" as opposed to "Ministers of the Word" as they should be.

Please make sure you don't just trust whatever it is you're reading on church signs in your community and neighborhood. Trust, but always verify that it's consistent with God's Word (Acts 17:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:21).


NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 inconsistent 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 Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). 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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Have Evangelicals Been Listening To Table Talk Radio!?!

Well, this is encouraging!

If I didn't know better, I'd say that Evangelicals have been listening to the "Praise Song Cruncher" segments from Table Talk Radio.


Let's Stop Singing These 10 Worship Songs 


Praise the Lord! Evangelicals calling out their own is no small thing, my dear friends. I mean, even Corrie Mitchell's opening line is spot on: "Some of the most popular songs churches use each Sunday aren't worth singing."

Now let's bring it home for us Lutherans, because a piece like that is also an Incredible Hulk-sized kick to the "Contemporary Worship" gut if you ask me!

My local LCMS church is guilty of singing 8 of the songs from that list of 10 on any given week -- yes, a total of 8! Not so good.

What always gets me though is the repetition in these types of songs -- I can't stand it and will actually stop singing if the song and/or Worship Leader/Praise Band goes on for too long!

What always gets me though is the repetition in these types of songs -- I can't stand it and will actually stop singing if the song and/or Worship Leader/Praise Band goes on for too long!

What always gets me though is the repetition in these types of songs -- I can't stand it and will actually stop singing if the song and/or Worship Leader/Praise Band goes on for too long!

What always gets me though is the repetition in these types of songs -- I can't stand it and will actually stop singing if the song and/or Worship Leader/Praise Band goes on for too long!

What always gets me though is the repetition in these types of songs -- I can't stand it and will actually stop singing if the song and/or Worship Leader/Praise Band goes on for too long!

Ok, I'm sure you get the point.

Reminds me of that parody of our modern church services. Haha! Remember that one?




Funny, because it's so true.

And who could forget the "Me Worship Album" for those who regularly attend the "Me Church" too?

 


Again, hilarious, but only because it's the sad truth.

The problem, in many cases, is that our churches think that just because a song shows up on Christian Radio, then it must be "good" theologically and, therefore, worthy of our use in church each week during the Worship Service.

In reality, taking the popular Christian songs you hear on the radio and singing them in church is doing nothing except creating shallow Christians with no substance (remember the Pollyannas and Peter Pans?).

As one person put it...


The poor theology found in the songs on Christian Radio can really screw up your faith and your concept of the Triune God. It would take a heavy dose of Lutheran liturgy and songs out the the hymnal to get back on track again. Dumb theology makes dumb Christians.


I tend to agree and have witnessed this firsthand in my own private life let alone within the church I've attended for the past 3-4 years now.

Here's Pastor Tim Rossow's response to the topic...


I listened to contemporary Christian music for years (from age 16 to almost age 40) but gave it up when my Biblical discernment for good doctrine finally overcame my desire for a pleasing musical sound with semi-biblical lyrics. My answer to Richard is this. When you get beat up by the law all the time by Contemporary Christian music, which almost to a performance, demonstrates no proper distinction between Law and Gospel, you will start performing good works and give the appearance of a super Christian. (What is a “super Christian?”) The pharisees are not the liturgical folks, although there are certainly Pharisaical liturgical types. The pharisees are the ones doing the good works by motivation of the constant droning of the law in Contemporary Christian music and doing the pseudo good works of home schooling and shutting down those bad people like Abba, Chicago and The Who.


Back to that article. Look, I realize that it's not a complete list. I also realize that some of the reasons given for why we should stop singing these songs may be up for debate, according to some of you.


However, as far as I can tell, this is an American Evangelical who wrote this piece (or, at the very least, someone who may be Non-Denominational even) and so this was a bold and courageous move for this young woman. In fact, just take a look at the kinds of responses she's received on her Twitter page. See what I mean?

We've said it before and it needs to be repeated: Doctrine informs practice. What we sing in church does matter since it's actually a confession of our faith. The words we sing informs and reinforces our beliefs too.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, there are many legitimate reasons why we need to ditch the "Contemporary Worship Service" once-and-for-all and I hope a commentary like Ms. Mitchell's simply serves as another prime example of why that is the case (and it's all from a non-Lutheran point of view).

For additional resources about this topic, be sure to check out the following:


AUDIO: The Sources of Contemporary Church Music

AUDIO: The Current State of The Contemporary Christian Music Industry (CCM)

AUDIO: In Defense of Historical Worship – From A Former Advocate of Contemporary Worship

'Lutheran' Contemporary Worship As A Gateway Drug

Debunking A Myth: Contemporary Worship Is Not 'Inclusive'

Why Are Those Who Listen To Contemporary Christian Music Bolder In Their Faith?

Writing Contemporary Worship Music: A Webinar

Analysis: Contemporary vs. Traditional Worship

Anywhere, Anything: On Worship And Hyperbole

My Journey Away From Contemporary Worship Music



NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 inconsistent 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 Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). 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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