REVIEW: 'Why I Am A Lutheran: Jesus At The Center' By Daniel Preus

I feel like every single time I finish reading something that's distinctly Lutheran I end up thinking to myself, "Boy, I sure wish I had read something like that years ago!"

At the same time, I'm starting to have another thought race through my head too whenever I finish nowadays! "Boy, I sure wish I had read this book when I first began to explore what it means to be a Confessional Lutheran let alone to be a Lutheran in general!"
It's ridiculous to me how compelling and reassuring each and every one of these treasures are to me and I'm constantly underlining entire paragraphs, highlighting large sections, and writing notes to myself in the margins!

Then again, maybe it shouldn't be all that surprising.

After all, we Lutherans proclaim that ours is the one confession of Christianity out of them all that maintains "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

Case in point, I just finished reading a wonderful little book that every Lutheran should own as part of their library. Yeah, I know I say that about every book I review on this blog, but this is one of those tried-and-true resources that you can refer to again and again for yourself, your spouse, your kids, your grandkids, and maybe even for your co-worker and neighbor who starts asking you questions about why you're a Lutheran and why that's so different from any other denomination.

It's called "Why I Am A Lutheran: Jesus At The Center" and it's written by Daniel Preus and it contains these exceptional words on the inside cover of the book's dust jacket, which sets the stage quite nicely if you ask me!


 photo Why I Am A Lutheran Jesus At The Center By Daniel Preus Christian Confessional LCMS Lutheran Apologetics Questions Answers D_zpsugynhmgn.jpg 
"I am a Lutheran for the same reason I am a Christian. It is not by choice but by grace. The teachings of the Lutheran Church place Jesus at the center because the teachings of the Scriptures place Jesus at the center. No other confession demonstrates such fidelity to the truths of God's Word. No other confession so glorifies Christ by placing Him at the center of all it confesses and teaches. Being a Lutheran is truly all about Jesus."


It's such simple, straight-forward, and Christ-exulting words like that which makes this book worth every single penny. Plus, Luther's "Small Catechism" is also included in the back of the book too!

One of my favorite chapters is "A Matter of Mountains" where Preus discusses the importance of Mount Sinai (the Law), Mount Calvary (the Gospel), and Mount Zion (the present and future hope we believers collectively rejoice over due to Jesus Christ), because "if we never come to to Mount Calvary, we can never live on Mount Zion" (p. 61).

I also loved how he observed and wrote that so much of contemporary Christianity denies the Scriptural view of Sinai, Calvary, and Zion.


"These heresies not only elevate the ability of human beings vastly above what they are able to do -- namely, nothing -- but also rob God of His glory by minimizing or even eliminating the work of the Holy Spirit in the act of conversion. The Holy Spirit does not come to us in response to an act of our will. He is given to us as a gift of God's grace. We do not grasp the Holy Spirit. God gives us the Spirit." p. 67


For an ex-Evangelical like me, however, who is only recently coming to appreciate the "Means of Grace" (a.k.a. the preaching of God's Word; Baptism; Lord's Supper), I would have to say that Preus' explanation of the Lord's Sacraments is both edifying and thorough, but it's done in such a conversational way that you don't get lost in the weeds so-to-speak.

Take, for instance, this stunning excerpt on Holy Communion...


"Why did this woman so intensely desire to receive the Lord's Supper? Why would any person consider an apparently insignificant meal to be so precious? Why do millions of Christians each week come to the altar with joyful hearts as if they are partaking in a banquet rather than receiving a sip of wine and a wafer of bread? The answer to these questions is simple: In the Lord's Supper, we Christians receive our inheritance. 
In this Sacrament, the Lord Jesus gives us His body and His blood for the forgiveness of our sins. Luther says in his Small Catechism: 'Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is also life and salvation.' With His body and blood, Jesus gives to His church every spiritual blessing He came to give. Once again, at the center of the Sacrament is Jesus." 
pp. 120-121


Once again, I have to say that this is what I've come to crave the most from Lutheran preaching and teaching -- Jesus, Jesus, and more Jesus! You'd think that Christians from any denomination would be focused on Christ, but I'm here to tell you that that's just not so these days.

A lot of people will give lip service to Jesus or tack on an "In Jesus' Name!" for goo measure at the end of a prayer or sermon, but there's just something about a book, a prayer, a sermon, a teaching when it exalts our Lord and Savior as it should that is instantly recognizable as being "something completely different" than anything else that's out there masquerading as the truth.

By the way, that part on the Lord's Supper was more the rule and not the exception in this book. Preus goes on like that for several pages about whatever it is he's truly to present from a decidedly Lutheran perspective, and I love that he did so for each of the Sacraments too.

All I know is that for a guy like me who is still a "Newtheran" and who has only a cursory exposure to all of our Confessional writings let alone what they have to say, this little book has helped to give me a firm foundation with Jesus Christ Himself serving as the "Rock" and the "chief cornerstone" of that foundation, and I couldn't be happier (1 Corinthians 10:4; Psalm 18:2; Psalm 118:22; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6-7; Matthew 21:42).

Friends, this is precisely the kind of book you wish your church's small group would read, study, and discuss. It's just such a breath of fresh air and exactly what many of our churches need to read after allowing so many wolves in sheep's clothing to walk right in the front door and take up residence in our congregations. It really is so do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy today, because you won't regret it. 

In a Lutheran layman's terms, Daniel Preus' "Why I Am A Lutheran" reminds us why we go by that name, and it all has to do with God's grace and the fact that it's because Jesus is always at the center of anything and everything we preach, teach, and confess.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular 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 disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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 both past and present 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 (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). 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 "Christian 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 experiencing and/or 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Martin Luther: A Defiance Of God's Creating

We Christians believe, teach, and confess that God established the holy institution of marriage despite what the rest of the world tells us we should believe, teach, and confess.

My copy of What Luther Says 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.

I took the liberty of looking up what he wrote about "Marriage" and discovered a whopping 78 total entries on that topic alone!

At first, I was going to select just one or two of what I thought were the best to share here, but then I decided that it might be much more beneficial to actually share every single one of those 78 entries with all of you.

Some are really short and some are really long, but all of them are rooted in the truth of God's Word, and that's what we all need to remind ourselves.

We shouldn't be surprised by the U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling to legalize so-called "Same Sex Marriage" and we shouldn't be scared to confess the truth that stands in complete contrast to this new reality.

The answer is as simple as making sure we know not only WHAT we believe, teach, and confess, but also WHY we believe, teach, and confess it to the world.

Otherwise, we end up trotting out into the public square unhelpful platitudes like "It Was Adam And Eve, Not Adam And Steve!" which is a dead horse that you can no longer beat.

Anyway, I hope to publish two or three of Luther's writings on marriage per day to help to arm us with the truth and give us a firm foundation as our soapbox to stand on.





"THEREFORE the Reformer wrote an incisive critique (1522) of the 'spiritual order of pope and bishops, falsely so called.' Here he again points out that enforced celibacy does violence to human nature."
*- Ewald M. Plass


2777 A DEFIANCE OF GOD'S CREATING 
Listen! In all my days I have not heard the confession of a nun, but in the light of Scripture I shall hit upon how matters fare with her and know I shall not be lying. If a girl is not sustained by great and exceptional grace, she can live without a man as little as she can without eating, drinking, sleeping, and other natural necessities. Nor, on the other hand, can a man dispense with a wife. The reason for this is that procreating children is an urge planted as deeply in human nature as eating and drinking. That is why God has given and put into the body the organs, arteries, fluxes, and everything that serves it. Therefore what is he doing who would check this process and keep nature from running its desired and intended course? He is attempting to keep nature from being nature, fire from burning, water from wetting, and a man from eating, drinking, and sleeping.
(W 10 II, 156 -- E 28, 199 -- SL 19, 724 f)


What was true back in Luther's time is still true today, because it's source is God's Word. Yes, enforced celibacy does violence to human nature.

When I think about the so-called "marriage debate" as it exists today, I'm reminded of a verse from the Book of Judges (Judges 17:6) where we read, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

In other words, when there's no absolute authority to decide right and wrong, everyone has their own opinion as to what they should do.

As Christians, however, we know that there is an Authority and that Authority has already spoken on this subject quite clearly and emphatically.

So, how should we respond to others who ask us questions about our "unpopular" stance regarding so-called "Gay Marriage" following the recent SCOTUS decision?

Please consider using this Biblical answer from now on...



"First of all, Jesus (Who created us and therefore owns us and has the authority to determine 'right' and 'wrong'), DID deal directly with homosexuality and the 'gay marriage' issue, in the Bible's New Testament, in Matthew 19:4-6. 
Matthew 19:4-6 (ESV) 4 He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” 
Christ quoted directly from the Book of Genesis (and its account of the creation of Adam and Eve as the first man and woman -- the first marriage) as literal history, to explain the doctrine of marriage as being one man for one woman. Thus, marriage cannot be a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. 
Because Genesis is real history (as can be confirmed by observational science, incidentally), Jesus dealt quite directly with homosexuality and the 'gay marriage' issue when He explained the doctrine of marriage. 
Not only this, but in John 1, we read: 
John 1:1-3 (ESV) 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 
Jesus, the Creator, is the Word. The Bible is the written Word. Every word in the Bible is really the Word of the Creator -- Jesus Christ. 
Therefore, in Leviticus 18:22, Jesus actually deals directly with the homosexual issue, and thus the 'gay marriage' issue too. This is also true of Romans 1:26-27 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10. 
Because Jesus in a real sense wrote all of the Bible, whenever Scripture deals with marriage and/or the homosexual issue, Jesus Himself is directly dealing with these issues."


Now, if that's too "churchy" and "religiously deep" of a response to share with others, then perhaps there's a much simpler approach you can take.

See, even in a secular context, the only answer a Christian should offer is this...



The Bible is the Word of our Creator, and Genesis is literal history. Its science and history can be trusted. Therefore, we have an absolute authority that determines marriage. 
God made the the first man and woman -- the first marriage. Thus, marriage can only be a man and a woman because we are accountable to the One who made marriage in the first place. 
And don't forget, according to the Scripture, one of the primary reasons for marriage is to produce godly offspring. Adam and Eve were told to be fruitful and multiply, but there's no way a 'gay marriage' can fulfill this command!


When you stop and think about it, it's very interesting because we can quote passages against homosexuality from Genesis, which is before the Law. We can quote verses from Leviticus, which is Moses' Law. And then we can quote from Romans and other passages in the New Testament, so this is something that runs throughout Scripture.

It's important to remember what 1 Corinthians 6 says, "Such were some of you." You were homosexuals, you were effeminate, you were adulterers, you were liars, it goes on and on, but you were washed and you were cleansed, and that's what the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ offers.

We're not trying to use the Law to bring damnation on the head of homosexuals and then just leave them in the midst of hopelessness and despair. We're trying to bring conviction that only the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God (the Law) can bring so that it will bear the fruit of repentance in their lives and lead them to the only hope of forgiveness and salvation for all of us sinners, which is faith in Jesus Christ.

So, to quickly recap, and to make sure that none of this was lost on anyone who might be reading this, now it's time for some bad news and some good news or a little Law and Gospel.

The "bad news" is that the rebellion of the first man, Adam, against God's command brought death, suffering, and separation from God into this world. We see the results all around us. All of Adam's descendants (that's you and me) are sinful from conception (Psalm 51:5) and have themselves entered into this rebellion (sin). They therefore cannot live with a holy God, but are condemned to separation from God.

The Bible says that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) and that all are therefore subject to "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

Ah, but the "good news" is that God has done something about it! "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Jesus Christ the Creator, though totally sinless, suffered, on behalf of mankind, on behalf of you and me, the penalty for our sins, which is death and separation from God. He did this to satisfy the righteous demands of the holiness and justice of God, His Father.

Jesus was the perfect sacrifice; He died on a cross; but on the third day, He rose again, conquering death, so that all who truly believe in Him, repent of their sins and trust in Him (rather than trust in their own merits or their own "good works"; Isaiah 64:6) are able to be reconciled to God and live for eternity with their Creator.

Therefore: "Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God" (John 3:18). What a wonderful Savior! What a wonderful salvation in Jesus Christ our Creator!

So, what is our tone? What is the content of our message supposed to be? We need to make sure that people hear two things coming from us when this topic comes up in conversation from now on: (1) That this area of activity (i.e., homosexual behavior) is a sin like all the other activities that a person can do that are called a sin by God AND (2) Jesus Christ is a friend of sinners, and Jesus died for sinners, and if you're reading this message and you're a sinner (i.e., homosexuals and non-homosexuals alike) then Jesus commands you to repent and believe in Him, because He loves you and He died for you and does not want you to be separated from Him for all of eternity in Hell!

Let's make sure they hear that compassion and that good news at all times. Talk about "Love Wins" huh? And, if people still think that you're a "bigoted" and "hateful" and "intolerant" person for such views, then maybe consider sharing with them what a real Christian response to a homosexual should sound like, and pray for the Lord to finally open their eyes and ears to the truth.

Friends, I hope you found all of this as edifying as I did. Please be sure to check out one of the very first posts I published here back in 2013 titled "Lessons From Luther On Marriage" for four valuable lessons he encouraged people to prayerfully consider about married life since it's a nice exclamation point to add to all of this.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, Martin Luther's influence on marriage was profound and permanent at a time when it had become so perverted that he often felt he had to return to the basics and clearly define its nature and purpose.

Sounds a lot like today, doesn't it?



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular 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 disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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 both past and present 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 (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). 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 "Christian 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 experiencing and/or 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Simple, Straightforward, True -- Biblical

See, this right here is another perfect example of what it is I've grown to love so much about becoming a Confessional Lutheran!

This is from "The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord" (I know, that's a long title and a bit academic, isn't it?). Basically, this is an historical document that not only boldly and proudly proclaims the various truths the Scripture teaches, but one that also helped to establish what the Lutheran church believes, teaches, and confesses for anyone and everyone that truly wants to know.

The best part? We Lutherans don't issue any disclaimers or haven't changed this foundational text to reflect the changing trends of the times, because it's all derived from the Word of God, which is steadfast, true, and unchanging (as is our Lord and Savior; Hebrews 13:8) regardless of the time and place.

Check out this beautiful excerpt from what's called "Article II" that addresses the issue of man's "free will" which is a subject that will never cease to be debated within Christ's Church it seems.


 
The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord 
Article II -- Free Will, or Human Powers

10] 1 Corinthians 2:14: The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him. 1 Corinthians 1:21: For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Ephesians 4:17f.: They (that is, those not born again of God's Spirit) walk in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart. Matthew 13:11ff; Luke 8:18: Seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand; but it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. Romans 3:11. 12: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are all together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Accordingly, the Scriptures flatly call natural man in spiritual and divine things darkness, Ephesians 5:8, Acts 26:18. John 1:5: The light shineth in darkness (that is, in the dark, blind world, which does not know or regard God), and the darkness comprehendeth it not. Likewise, the Scriptures teach that man in sins is not only weak and sick, but defunct and entirely dead, Ephesians 2:1. 5; Colossians 2:13. 
11] Now, just as a man who is physically dead cannot of his own powers prepare or adapt himself to obtain temporal life again, so the man who is spiritually dead in sins cannot of his own strength adapt or apply himself to the acquisition of spiritual and heavenly righteousness and life, unless he is delivered and quickened by the Son of God from the death of sin. 
12] Therefore the Scriptures deny to the intellect, heart, and will of the natural man all aptness, skill, capacity, and ability to think, to understand, to be able to do, to begin, to will, to undertake, to act, to work or to concur in working anything good and right in spiritual things as of himself. 2 Corinthians 3:5: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God. Romans 3:12: They are together become unprofitable. John 8:37: My Word hath no place in you. John 1:5: The darkness comprehendeth (or receiveth) it not [the light]. 1 Corinthians 2:14: The natural man receiveth not (or, as the Greek word properly signifies, grasps not, comprehends not, accepts not) the things of the Spirit, that is, he is not capable of spiritual things; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them. 
13] Much less will he truly believe the Gospel, or assent thereto and regard it as truth. Romans 8:7: The carnal mind, or the mind of the natural man, is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can be. And, in a word, it remains eternally true what the Son of God says, John 15; 5: Without Me ye can do nothing. And Paul, Philippians 2:13: It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. 
14] To all godly Christians who feel and experience in their hearts a small spark or longing for divine grace and eternal salvation this precious passage is very comforting; for they know that God has kindled in their hearts this beginning of true godliness, and that He will further strengthen and help them in their great weakness to persevere in true faith unto the end.


Isn't that fantastic?

There are a full 90 sections (90 different key points made) in this Article II of The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord.

That should give you some idea of how serious the first Lutherans were about communicating the truth of God's Word both accurately and clearly, but also in such a way where it would attempt to end the debates over this issue once-and-for-all with regard to all future generations.

I'm incredibly thankful that something like this exists. Trust me when I tell you that it's nice to have a confession of the faith like this to turn to that not only points us back to Christ and His Word and Sacraments, but one that also serves as a genuine comfort to believers like me who are trying to survive in a world of wolves in sheep's clothing.

I have come to absolutely love a pure, unadulterated confession of "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) not just for the immutable truths it espouses, but mainly because it's rooted in the doctrine that the Apostles and Christ Himself taught us.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, I've grown to treasure things like this, because it is simple, straightforward, true -- and Biblical.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular 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 disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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 both past and present 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 (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). 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 "Christian 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 experiencing and/or 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (8/1/15)

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): As a "Newtheran" myself, I'm not entirely sure what the whole "Radical Lutheranism" vs. "Non-Radical Lutheranism" thing is all about, but it's been somewhat funny watching several LCMS Pastors I've learned quite a bit from choosing a side and digging in. On one hand, I'm amused by some of the back-and-forth in various Facebook groups and threads, because it comforts me with the truth that Pastors are just redeemed sinners living with the reality of Simul justus et peccator like I am right now. Bottom line, I think I need to spend some time researching the topic more closely so I at least understand what all the fuss is about. In any event, it's only "amusing" in the sense that a majority of what passes as "Christianity" today would have you believe that there is a spiritual level you can reach to become a type of "Super Christian" (like all these so-called "Pastors" that believe they are somehow better than the sheep they are supposed to serve and/or are above reproach), and yet, the kinds of things I've read and seen in the past week in regards to this topic proves that Lutheran Pastors at least admit that they are no better than the rest of us.

8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): I just love going to Scott Diekmann's old blog to randomly type in a search term to see what comes up. The material he's compiled there over the years (and left freely available to us even though he no longer publishes new content for the blog anymore) has helped me tremendously in my conversion to becoming a Confessional Lutheran. So, it's truly been a real blessing to me for sure. Today, I discovered "God Hates Sin But Loves The Sinner?" (notice the question mark) from 2011 and have already added to my list of things I have to read. You should do the same. Here's a small taste: "
You’ve probably heard the phrase 'God hates the sin but loves the sinner' in the past. It’s a phrase that’s a little dated. There’s not a whole lot of talk about sin or the sinner any more. Emerging Church leader Rob Bell’s book Love Wins is a good example, where his comment on the orthodox Christian doctrine of heaven and hell is that it’s 'misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus’s message of love, peace, forgiveness, and joy that our world desperately needs to hear.' Yes, the world, and specifically sinners, don’t want to hear that they’re sinners. And they certainly don’t want to hear that God hates sinners, but that’s precisely what they need to hear. A few years back one of the retired pastors in our congregation gave me a copy of the following paper, written by Dr. Walter W. F. Albrecht in 1953, titled 'Does God Hate Sin or the Sinner?' Dr. Albrecht does a great job of explaining that God does hate the sinner, and why it is important that that message be preached, followed by the Gospel message that Christ died to save sinners."

9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL):
"God always has a purpose in the crosses He places on us. Sometimes the greatest cross is His apparent absence. This world and what goes on in it severely challenges our faith. We may grow confused and our faith may be shaken as we are attacked by physical pain, devastating emotional pain, broken relationships, bankruptcy, loss of hope, anger, bitterness, stress, sorrow, and the list goes on and on. Where is God's plan in all of this? Finally, we cry out for God's help, which puts us in good company. In many of the psalms, we hear God's people crying out to Him in anguished expressions of pain, distress, and misery. God does not abandon us. He knows what we are experiencing. He knows what we need and what is best for us. Life is not luck, it is not random. Life is a gift from God, and He sustains and provides for all our needs. God watches over us, protects us, and provides for us. He hears our anguished cries for help, our prayers of need. We may not always understand God's answers, so He points us to the day when all suffering will end. He reminds us that we are pilgrims on this earth (1 Peter 2:11) who look forward to an incorruptible inheritance reserved in heaven for us (1 Peter 1:4). And God reminds us through the apostle Paul that 'the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us' (Romans 8:18). God uses our suffering and weakness to drive us to confess our helplessness before Him, which then drives us to Jesus. Jesus is always the answer to the questions and prayers of every Christian. Through the crosses He places on those He loves, God assures that His children will never stop looking to Jesus as Savior." by Daniel Preus

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): 1 John 2:7-14 (ESV) "7 Beloved, I am writing you no new commandment, but an old commandment that you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word that you have heard. 8 At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. 9 Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. 10 Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. 11 But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. 12 I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, children, because you know the Father. 14 I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one." My Lutheran Study Bible has this to say about these verses: "Jesus has shown us the love of God on the cross. This is the love the Law commanded but we could never fulfill. But more than that, it is the love that the Gospel imparts to those who love their brother and abide in the light so that there is in them nothing that would cause them to fall away from faith in Christ. The old commandment, 'love your neighbor as yourself' (Leviticus 19:18), condemns us all, since we have not loved out neighbors as ourselves. The new commandment, 'love one another as I have loved you' (John 15:12), is rooted in Jesus' work, which frees us from guilt. His atonement for our sins empowers us to love as He loves. Grant, Lord, that we trust in You and Your love, that we may always love our neighbor. Amen."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): Prayers Requested -- for LCMS Synod President, Rev. Matthew C. Harrison and his family, at the loss of their home to fire in Missouri the other day.
 

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 in your God-given vocations.


Grace and peace to you and yours!



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular 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 disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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 both past and present 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 (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). 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 "Christian 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 experiencing and/or 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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But What About Planned Parenthood's 'Good Works' Though?

It's the story that won't go away -- and it shouldn't!

One disturbing thing I keep hearing from abortion advocates and Planned Parenthood supporters (besides the deafening silence) is how we should be focusing on all the "good works" in the form of "health care" that the organization performs for millions of women each year.

Seriously? Seriously.

Check out this video clip of Dr. Ben Carson's own response to this whole Planned Parenthood controversy (and that laughable defense) when he appeared on CNN, which destroys the very assertion that Planned Parenthood supporters have been trying to make.


Dr. Ben Carson Crushes Question About Planned Parenthood On CNN 


Regardless of anyone's opinion of Dr. Carson as a presidential candidate, his response here is absolutely brilliant and should be repeated as often as abortion advocates try to mount this kind of asinine defense, IMHO.

Of course, if that doesn't work, then you can always share this equally brilliant meme photo from Pastor Gaven Mize through all your social media accounts to send the message that needs to be shouted from the rooftops.




Brilliant! As someone else commented, "Pastor Gaven Mize just dropped the mic on Planned Parenthood!"

In a Lutheran layman's terms, enough is enough, and we need to be equally as bold, courageous, faithful, and honest with the truth in the face of such pure evil.

Please feel free to share these on social media far and wide.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular 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 disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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 both past and present 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 (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). 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 "Christian 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 experiencing and/or 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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We May Not Be Able To Legislate Morality In This Country, But...

Abortion. Planned Parenthood.

The two are synonymous and better known as the Satanic and systematic destruction, dismemberment, and murder of God's most precious part of creation, which is a human life.

I know just wrote this on my Facebook page today. Sorry for the redundancy, but this is too important and cannot be emphasized and underscored enough, IMHO.


 
I know, I know -- I'm just another Christian going on-and-on about abortion again like it's the only issue of concern here in America. It's not, but as someone recently commented, when you see the modern day equivalent of Auschwitz with your own eyes and ears, well, I don't care if you're "religious" or not, because I still believe in the objective truth that there is "right" and there is "wrong" in this world. What Planned Parenthood has been caught doing more than once now is flat out wrong. No, it's pure evil. 
While the most vocal abortion/"pro-choice" supporters I know may continue to choose to remain silent about all of this (demonstrating a complete lack of common moral decency), I will take comfort in the fact that God is not silent about it. Martin Luther said, "You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say." Indeed. 
Look, we may not be able to ever legislate morality in this country, but we can sure as heck legislate a way to defund immorality. 
Finally, to anyone who's reading this who has had an abortion, please know that there is forgiveness, healing, hope, mercy, and restoration through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ who died upon the cross for your sins and mine. Through His death and resurrection, His free gift of grace is for you as well.


Sorry, but I felt compelled to write about this topic again after reading about the latest video that was released to expose the downright demonic practices of Planned Parenthood.


8 Shocking Moments From 4th Planned Parenthood Video


As if that weren't bad enough, the deafening silence from the liberal, pro-abortion, pro-choice crowd has been maddening to me! But don't worry, at least they have their priorities in order.

After all, the unexpected death of a lion by the hands of a hunter in the African wild is apparently much more important than the intentional death of a defenseless baby by the hands of a butcher in a so-called "civilized" country we call America.


 
Yes, I'm afraid we've officially lost all common sense and plain old moral decency in this country (although it didn't just happen with this juxtaposition of news stories since they only serve to underscore this sad reality here in America). By the way, the whole "Donation For Medical Scientific Research Purposes" defense is even more absurd too, because a "donation" of any kind never involves a "negotiation" when it comes to the cost/price. What a sinful world we live in, huh? Lord, have mercy! Lord, come quickly!


For additional comfort and prayerful reflection, please read the official response from LCMS Synod President, Rev. Matthew C. Harrison, in its entirety.


Harrison On Planned Parenthood Controversy: 'God Is Not Silent' 
Jesus warned us about this. He reminded us that the devil would be hard at work, seeking to devour hearts and minds. He told us the world would try to silence His Word of life, and that His truth would be shunned. Satan will stop at nothing to rage at Christ, even if it means murdering the tiniest of people and selling their bodies for profit. 
But God is not silent. He has a word for us, too. He comforts us in the knowledge that the devil’s attempts are desperate and futile, for Jesus came to save people, regardless of their size. He reminds us that He has “overcome the world” (John 16:33) and “came that [we] may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). His point? Satan is fighting a losing battle, and he knows it.


So true.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, "Satan will roar for a time, but his evil, murderous ways won’t last...for Satan cannot win, and God is not silent."



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular 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 disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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 both past and present 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 (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). 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 "Christian 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 experiencing and/or 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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Lutheran Apologetics? Yes!

This is an interesting website I just found today.

I'm not yet sure how "safe" it is for a "Newtheran" like me to be spending any time with it, but perhaps someone out there who's reading this can tell me what they think about it in the Comments Section below.


Lutheran Apologetics? 
Apologetics is the defense of Christianity, usually on intellectual grounds. Lutherans have a mixed attitude towards Christian apologetics. Interestingly, in my experience with Lutherans, it is not a mix of people who support apologetics and those who are indifferent to apologetics, but rather people who support apologetics and those who are downright hostile to the endeavor. As a committed apologist myself, my own view is not sympathetic to those who are hostile or dismissive. 
It is my position, in fact, that out of all those in the Church, it ought to be the Lutherans that are leading the way in apologetics. Lutherans have a long history of supporting education, establishing schools alongside churches and investing millions of dollars on creating university systems. This recognition of the importance of the intellect and of education would lead one to believe that Lutherans also thought the intellect was important in the promotion and defense of the faith. This is generally not the case but it is something that I’d like to change. 
At this time, this site is devoted merely to raising the issues and putting forward a number of resources. The resources can be useful for anyone but I hope that they will be good starting points for Lutherans in particular. 
I myself am the Executive Director of Athanatos Christian Ministries, an apologetics ministry I founded several years ago. It is not a Lutheran apologetics ministry, per se, but it is an example of an apologetics ministry carried out by a Lutheran with much help, assistance, and input from like minded Lutherans. Check it out: www.athanatosministries.org 
Sincerely, 
Anthony Horvath 
Executive Director 
Athanatos Christian Ministries


I was personally intrigued by it simply due to the fact that "Apologetics" isn't a word you hear all that often in Confessional Lutheran circles (at least I haven't in my experience so far).

Of course, there's still a "Lutheran Apologetics" group on Facebook that I belong to described as "links and discussion of interest to Lutherans for defending the Lutheran faith" that has been very helpful so it not like it's a completely foreign idea to us Lutherans.

Even so, Apologetics generally seems to be something you hear a lot more of from the Evangelical and Reformed crowd.

Why is Apologetics important? Why should we never dismiss Apologetics outright?


An Apologetic for Apologetics By Dr. Norman L. Geisler 
Christianity is under attack today, and it must be defended. There are attacks from within by cults, sects, and heresies. And there are attacks from without by atheists, skeptics, and other religions. The discipline that deals with a rational defense of the Christian Faith is called apologetics. It comes from the Greek word apologia (cf. 1 Peter 3:15) which means to give a reason or defense. 
There are many good reasons for doing apologetics. First of all, God commands us to do so. Second, reason demands it. Third, the world needs it. Fourth, results confirm it. 


Clearly, Apologetics is a "good" thing for Christians.

The Bereans thought so and were even commended for it (Acts 17:10-11).

Just in case you're still not quite convinced, here's some additional thoughts for your prayerful consideration from Higher Things.


 
Lutheran Apologetics, Augsburg Style 
"Apologetics" is about defending the faith. When you have the truth, how can you not stand and speak it? Our series of Apologetics articles begins with Pastor George Borghardt's article reminding us that doing apologetics is just another part of daring to be Lutheran! Remember, you can access all the articles in the Apologetics Spring Issue of Higher Things Magazine here! Stay tuned for more article spotlights from this awesome-packed issue! 
After the Gospel became clear to Dr. Luther, the Lutherans presented a statement to Emperor Charles V on June 25, 1530. They confessed that salvation was by Jesus alone, that it is by grace alone, and is received by faith alone. Although they quoted the Fathers of the Church, their arguments were based solely on Scripture. 
The Emperor was not impressed. His reply, written by the Roman Catholic theologians at Augsburg, was read to them on August 3, 1530. It was supposed to be the final statement on the matter. No written copy was even given to the Lutherans! Thus, says the Church and the Emperor, “You are done. The end.” 
Would you be done? Would you back down? If you knew you were right, if you believed that you were right, if every time you looked at the Scriptures, all you could see was that salvation is freely won by Jesus’ death on the cross and freely delivered in the Word, would you tuck your tail and run back home just because some theologians and the Emperor said you were wrong? The Lutherans didn’t. A layman, Philip Melanchthon, who taught at the University at Wittenberg, prepared an Apology to the Augsburg Confession. The Lutherans weren’t saying they were sorry for anything they had confessed. They were defending it! An apology, (in Greek ἀπολογία), is “to speak in defense of something.” 
Lutherans historically have always engaged in apologetics. We have defended the Christian faith -- even when it might mean certain death. When you know you are right, when you can’t see anything other than the Truth, you defend it. 
Apologetics is all about defending your faith. When you defend your faith, when you defend what you believe in Christ, you are doing apologetics. You are doing apologetics when you talk to your friends about why you believe what you believe as a Lutheran. You are doing apologetics when you stand up (respectfully!) to your teachers and professors about how God made you and all creatures. The question is not whether to do apologetics, but when you do them, what’s the best way? 
“What does this mean?” in our catechism is followed by, “Why does this mean what it means?” The why always comes from Jesus’ death and resurrection. The answers flow from the Scriptures with sound reasoning to a world around you that thinks everything you believe is just plain foolishness. 
But Christ’s death and resurrection is anything but foolishness to you. His death and resurrection is the basis for all that we believe in (1 Corinthians 15). The faith of Christ flows from the death and the resurrection of Christ. If Christ rose, then everything we believe in really is possible -- 
a seven day creation, Noah’s flood, Jonah and the big fish, Jesus’ birth from a Virgin, eternal life...even heaven itself. And for Lutherans, that especially includes the belief that salvation is by grace alone received by faith alone. 
What was published as “Melanchthon’s Apology to the Roman Confutation to the Augsburg Confession,” became the official Lutheran Confession of faith. Since that time, it has been included in the list of our doctrinal confessions. Apologetics has been, still is, and should always be what we continue to do as Lutherans. We confess and we defend because who Jesus is and what He has done is the unchanging Truth. 
Rev. George F. Borghardt is the senior pastor at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in McHenry, Illinois, and serves as the Deputy and Conference Executive of Higher Things. His email address is revborghardt@higherthings.org.


Yes, "Apologetics has been, still is, and should always be what we continue to do as Lutherans." Amen!

In a Lutheran layman's terms, it's Apologetics that helps laymen like me and you to better understand God's truths so that we are "always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15).



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular 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 disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism almost 2 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, 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 both past and present 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 (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha!). 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 "Christian 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 experiencing and/or 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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