Ebola Got Me Thinking: What Is The Lutheran View Regarding 'Divine Healing' Or 'Miraculous Healing'?

With the world's focus on Ebola right now, I found myself thinking about a subject that became quite prominent in my life around a year or two ago at this time.

In fact, as contentious and heated as it was at times, I can look back now and credit it with being instrumental in putting me on the path to becoming a Confessional Lutheran.

I was getting together regularly with a couple of guys who I became acquainted with (one a brother from my LCMS Church and the other a Teacher at the Lutheran Day School that my children attend, but a non-Lutheran, Non-Denominational, Assemblies of God/Charismatic/Pentecostal leaning type) to enjoy some good old male bonding over some cold beer and crispy chicken wings while also discussing our shared and cherished faith.

At first, I just naturally assumed we were all on the same page, especially when it came to the fundamentals. What I quickly learned was that we were like those corny jokes you hear all the time: "A Newtheran, A Lifelong-Lutheran-In-Name-Only, and a Charismatic-Pentecostal walk into a bar..."

What invariably happened each and every time we got together over the course of several months was me and the other Lutheran trying to explain to the Charismatic/Pentecostal why "being a Christian" was all about Jesus Christ FOR YOU as opposed to tapping into the power of the Holy Spirit as though He was a "Spiritual Red Bull" so that we could become little gods ourselves.

From there, we talked often of how we shouldn't idolize a guy like Todd Bentley or put our trust in dreams, feelings, and visions let alone the 4-hour "miraculous healing" worship services conducted each and every week by the local House Church where someone invariably "grows an arm (or a leg)" or is "cured of cancer...even though we're still waiting for her tests to come back just to be sure."
Over time, I discovered that neither wanted to spend much time with "Red, The Doctrinal Bloodhound" (the nickname they both gave me after only a couple of meetings together simply because I believe that "doctrine is heaven")

Actually, they soon decided not to spend any more time with me at all since I challenged their worldview by simply speaking "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) just like we're expected to. The Charismatic/Pentecostal has told me to my face that it's "pointless arguing with a Lutheran" because our insistence on pure doctrine all the time (mainly our insistence upon the objective over the subjective is what he really meant) does nothing except "intentionally divide the Body of Christ" and the "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" thinks I'm "too Lutheran" and need to be "less sarcastic" particularly because he's really an Evangelical wrapped in Lutheran packaging.

It's unfortunate to say the least, but it is what it is (1 Corinthians 11:19; Galatians 1:10). Believe it or not, I've learned quite a bit from them, and I thank the Lord for that. I also praise God for giving me a desire to remain steadfast to His Word and what it is we believe, teach, and confess when it comes to proclaiming Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind.

As mentioned, as challenging as those conversations were at times, the Lord used them to lead me to the Confessional Lutheran faith -- of that I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever! I know this simply because whenever I would get home from one of those get-togethers I would immediately jump on the Internet and begin looking for answers to the many questions I had that came up from our discussions about the Holy Spirit, spiritual gifts, and miracles today.

It wasn't long before I began to find some gems that addressed the topic directly and succinctly.


Just as the Biblical concepts of resurrection and eternity are hardly any longer understood in modern Christianity, so also the understanding of the Holy Spirit has more and more disappeared. One does not yet know who the Holy Spirit is if one knows the workings of the Spirit or of spirits as reported in the epistles of Paul. He tells of speaking in tongues, of prophecy, of visions, of things heard, of gifts of healing, of the power to do miracles, and all sorts of gifts. Most of these phenomena do not belong only to Christianity but are found in many a religion. They are native to ecstatic religion, which is found all over the world. Here a person thinks of his powers and capacities as intensified into the supernatural because divinity is at work in him. Such primitive expressions of ecstatic religion were much prized in Corinth as evidence of possessing the Holy Spirit. Paul himself had experience of them, and yet he ranks them less than the silent working of the Spirit of Christ. In making this distinction, he does the same as the prophets of the Old Testament. They had such experiences too, and yet they decisively marked themselves off from the ecstatic seers and professional prophets. What is the significance of this distinction? It is connected with the distinction between true and false prophets and so also the scrupulous distinction between God and man – between what is truly God’s doing and what is not. 
*- Hermann Sasse, “Jesus Christ is Lord: The Church’s Original Confession,” in We Confess Jesus Christ, p.29


How applicable is that quote to much of what's masquerading as "Christianity" in the mainstream today? Still, I wasn't satisfied with that though, and so I went digging for more and ended up finding pure gold at Worldview Everlasting!


Q: I’ve been having discussions with a friend lately about miraculous healings. I do believe that God can and does miraculously heal people today, but I’m struggling with the idea that we can demand healing or expect it. That doesn’t seem to me to fit with a theology of the cross. My friend really likes Bill Johnson and what he teaches, but when I listen to his teaching on healing and Scripture in general, I am left with the impression that he is taking Scripture out of context at best, and perhaps just straight up abusing it. What answer could I give my friend regarding healing today that fits within a theology of the cross and isn’t centered on what I want or feel I “deserve” as a child of God? 
A: First, we demand nothing of God, we always pray for God to be merciful toward us for we deserve nothing but his present and eternal punishment. What we can expect of God are the promises that he gives us in his word and sacrament. The chief promise is the forgiveness of sins through his Son, Jesus Christ crucified for our sins. He also promises to hear our prayer. Though, again we deserve nothing for which we pray, yet out of his Fatherly goodness, God the Father gives us what we ask for in Jesus’ name. All prayer that is made in accord with God’s will are answered yes in Christ. Can one pray for a miraculous healing? Yes. Can one demand it? No. Does being a child of God guarantee a miraculous healing? No. Rather as a child of God we are sure of one thing: when Christ returns we will be completely healed body and soul when we are raised from the dead freed from the corruption of sin and death. Faith is given so that one may have trust that over and against their terror and sorrow over sin, that they have Jesus as their savior from their sin. They are freed from the most terrible tyrant, death. 
Now, personally I have never suffered a debilitating disease, yet my body is breaking down even at the tender age of 45. My eyesight is getting worse and I am on several medications. One week I had to sit and let a supply pastor preach because I had severe laryngitis, though I had prayed for God to give me my voice back. I cannot look beyond the cross to see why these things happened to me. They are reminders that I am a sinner, cursed to suffer infirmities and death. They are reminders that I am to daily repent: confess that I am a sinner, guilty of original sin along with my daily sins, and turn to Jesus alone for redress of my sinful estate. He has given me the greatest healing in baptism where all my sin was washed away, drowned in his blood and I was raised a new creation. In his word I hear how he promises to always deal with me mercifully, when his word of law accuses me, for he is a patient and long-suffering God. In his supper I receive his very body and blood given and shed for me to sustain my faith in the forgiveness of sins so that I can cling to the hope of everlasting life. These are the miracles I can expect from a merciful God. I can not demand them, but I can come every Lord’s day and trust they are there for me. 
Miraculous healings are not a mark of the church for they do not impart faith and forgiveness. They were a mark of Jesus’ messianic ministry and of the apostles (they were “apostled” to do them). And, those who followed in their footsteps were sent to proclaim the word of God (Law and Gospel) and administer baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the means of grace unto eternal life. Pastor’s are stewards of these mysteries through which the miraculous occurs. For sinners dead in their trespasses, the word they proclaim in Christ’s stead and the sacraments they administer in the stead of Christ raises those same sinners from death to new life (What else is resurrection but a miracle.) Neither you or I can demand this miracle for it comes apart from our will. Yet, it is the only miracle we can expect from God for that is the revealed will of God in his son, Jesus Christ, for sinners. 
********************************************** 
Q: In one of your previous videos, you answer an atheists assumptions about what the bible says about prayer, and how Christians don’t necessarily believe god will answer all prayers for healing. I noticed in the comments section someone brought up Mark 11:24, I looked it up, and now I’m uncertain about the matter. Can you please help me out? 
A: Although the author of the Scriptures is divine, they are written with human languages using human idiom. Jesus used hyperbole. It’s just that simple. This verse is only one of many examples. None of Jesus’ disciples would have understood this statement any other way. They did not hear Jesus say this, pray once, and then assume that Jesus was a liar. That would have been the number one, fool-proof test of Christianity. No one would have ever believed! Now, an atheist might just say that this is an excuse, but it’s not. Other speech is not held to this kind of standard. No one calls an undertaker when someone says, “I’m so embarrassed I could die!” Not even atheists… 
That takes care of Mark 11:24. Now, for the more the general question of healing. Christ does actually grant healing to all who ask for it in his name. Everyone who trusts in Christ has received eschatological healing. Miraculous healings are nothing more than an in-breaking of the eschaton. They should be welcomed with thanks, but not expected. Nor should one think that their level of faith somehow fuels God’s decision to grant such an in-breaking. All of the closest people to Jesus died — some in brutal ways. Every Christian will die of their final disease, even those with the strongest faith. 
Why pray? Because God commands us to pray, promises to hear our prayer, and responds to prayer. Jesus taught us to pray, and so we do, knowing that our prayers are heard because him. Notice that when he taught us to pray, he did not include a petition for healing. He did, however, include a petition asking that the will of the Father be done, and this is how he even prayed in the face of his own suffering and death. 
*- Rev. Robert O. Riebau 
[Via]


Fairly straightforward and easy to understand.

However, in light of this anniversary of sorts, I thought it might be interesting to see what else we Lutherans have traditionally believed, taught, and confessed when it comes to the subject of "Divine Healing" or "Miraculous Healings" (as in whether or not Martin Luther ever said anything notable about it), especially since the Ebola virus has been dominating the news headlines and capturing our attention to no end.

At first, I simply made a mental note to look into that on my own, but then I saw someone share the following meme on Facebook a few days ago and decided now was as good a time as ever to do some research and share it here.

Here's what I found on the subject...


 
Luther And Healing 
He Viewed Healing As An Integral Part of The Church's Ministry 
By Bengt Hoffman 
Under the impact of rationalism the church has often relegated spiritual healing to a bygone age. Healing miracles occurred when Jesus lived in history, it has been said, but no longer. Some theologians have been known to claim that miracles . . . perhaps never actually were historical facts but rather faith’s understandable adornment of the beloved memory of the Teacher. Martin Luther did not think that way, and it is futile to reconcile him with modernity in this regard . . . . 
To Gerhard Wilskemp, Luther wrote about an illness from which he was suffering: "Christ has so far triumphed, I commend myself to the prayers of yourself and the brethren. I have healed others, I cannot heal myself." In other words, Luther had placed himself at God’s disposal for spiritual healing of people sick in mind and body. At this particular juncture he despaired a little about the possibility of being healed himself. 
When Philip Melanchthon lay gravely ill, Luther turned to the window in the sickroom and poured out his soul in the boldest and most glowing prayer for his friend's recovery. About this occasion Luther wrote: "This time I besought the Almighty with great vigor. I attacked him with his own weapons, quoting from Scripture all the promises I could remember, that prayers should be granted, and said that he must grant my prayer, if I was henceforth to put faith in his promises." Luther then took the hand of the sick man saying: "Be of good courage, Philip, you will not die, although the Lord might see cause to kill, yet he does not will the death of the sinner, but rather that he should turn to him and live. God has called the greatest sinners unto mercy; how much less, then, will he cast you off, my Philip, or destroy you in sin and sadness. Therefore, do not give way to grief, do not become your own murderer, but trust in the Lord, who can kill and bring to life, who can strike and heal again."  
It is clear that Luther knew Melanchthon’s inner struggle at the time, namely, that Melanchthon was blaming himself for too little stoutness in the defense of the evangelical cause. Melanchthon would rather have passed away in peace than have to return to earthly strife. But the power channeled by Luther’s prayer recalled the sick man. Melanchthon recovered from what appeared to be the brink of death. He wrote later: "I was recalled from death to life by divine power."  
Let no one who still considers the healing services of the church a dubious undertaking from the vantage point of the Lutheran Reformation believe that Luther’s allusions to and recommendations of spiritual healing were incidental and thus not built into his concept of Christ’s power. There is among Luther’s letters a document which shows us beyond any doubt that he viewed spiritual healing as an integral part of the pastoral task of the church. 
He did not forget that medically trained people should be consulted. But especially when their counsels seemed at an end the constant necessity for intercessory prayer stood out plainly. The petitions should be regular and ritually ordered. Thus reads the letter from Martin Luther to Pastor Severin Schulze:

 


" . . . Venerable Sir and Pastor, . . . I offer some good advice and help for the afflicted husband of Mrs. John Korner. I know of no worldly help to give. If the physicians are at a loss to find a remedy, you may be sure that it is not a case of ordinary melancholy . . . . This must be counteracted by the power of Christ and with the prayer of faith. This is what we do – and we have been accustomed to it, for a cabinetmaker here was similarly afflicted with madness and we cured him by prayer in Christ’s name. 
You should consequently proceed as follows. Go to him with the deacon and two or three good men. Confident that you, as pastor of the place, are invested with the authority of the ministerial office, lay your hands upon him and say: ‘Peace be with you, dear brother, from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Thereupon read the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer over him in a clear voice, and close with these words: ‘O God, Almighty Father, who has told us through your Son, Verily, verily I say unto you, whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you;’ who has commanded and encouraged us to pray in His name ‘Ask and you shall receive;’ and who in like manner has said, ‘Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you and you shalt glorify me;’ we unworthy sinners, relying on these your words and command, pray for your mercy with such faith as we can muster. Graciously deign to free this man from all evil, and put to nought the work that Satan has done in him, to the honor of your name and the strengthening of the faith of believers. Through the same Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, world without end. Amen. 
Then when you depart, lay your hands on the man again and say: ‘These signs shall follow them that believe; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.’  
Do this three times, once on each of three successive days. Meanwhile let prayers be said from the chancel of the church, publicly until God hears them. 
To the extent to which we are able, we shall at the same time unite our faithful prayers and petitions to the Lord with yours."

 

It will be noted that the kind of healing Luther described here was in part exorcism. If we recognize the likelihood or accept the certainty of a "peopled" dimension beyond the natural sphere determined by our senses, we have to reckon with the reality of obsession. Luther’s sermon on angels plainly does. It may seem an impossible idea in a modern scientific world. But then both western experiences on the mission fields and a new sense for the occult overtones of human existence in our day and age have altered some presuppositions. Not a few ordained clergy in the western world are "part-time exorcists," in the name of Christ. More of them are building into the curriculum of the parish services intercessory prayers for the sick. An equally growing number are laying hands on the sick in private pastoral encounters. 
*- Bengt R. Hoffman: Luther And The Mystics, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 1976), pp. 195-200.


So, it seems quite clear that there was a high view of spiritual, divine/miraculous healing in the Reformation period.

Let's quickly recap something from the above excerpt though -- the letter Luther wrote.


MARTIN LUTHER (1483-1546) In Luther: Letters of Spiritual Council, the following letter of Martin Luther is recorded: “The tax collector in Torgau and the councillor in Belgern have written me to ask that I offer some good advice and help for Mrs. John Korner's afflicted husband. I know of no worldly help to give. If the physicians are at a loss to find a remedy, you may be sure that it is not a case of ordinary melancholy. It must, rather, be an affliction that comes from the devil, and this must be counteracted by the power of Christ with the prayer of faith. This is what we do and what we have been accustomed to do, for a cabinet maker here was similarly afflicted with madness and we cured him by prayer in Christ's name. 
Accordingly you should proceed as follows: Go to him with the deacon and two or three good men. Confident that you, as pastor of the place, are clothed with the authority of the ministerial office, lay your hands upon him and say, 'Peace be with you, dear brother, from God our Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ.' Thereupon repeat the Creed and the Lord's Prayer over him in a clear voice, and close with these words: 'O God, almighty Father, who hast told us through thy Son, 'Verily, verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you'; who hast commanded and encouraged us to pray in his name, 'Ask, and ye shall receive'; and who in like manner hast said, 'Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me;’ we unworthy sinners, relying on these thy words and commands, pray for thy mercy with such faith as we can muster. Graciously deign to free this man from all evil, and put to nought the work that Satan has done in him, to the honour of thy name and the strengthening of the faith of believers; through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, world without end. Amen.' Then, when you depart, lay your hands upon the man again and say, 'These signs shall follow them that believe; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.'  
Do this three times, once on each of three successive days. Meanwhile let prayers be' said from the chancel of the church, publicly, until God hears them. 
In so far as we are able, we shall at the same time unite our faithful prayers and petitions to the Lord with yours. 
Farewell. Other counsel that this I do not have. I remain, etc. 
*- Martin Luther (Tappert, ed., Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel, nd. 18:52).


Fascinating, isn't it? I mean, after all, the Lutheran Church is not exactly known for being...public (if that's even the right word to use)...about their belief in and practice of prayers for spiritual, divine/miraculous healing.

Sure, we pray for the hurting and the sick all the time (day-to-day perhaps and definitely as a congregation each week during the worship service and sometimes even naming specific names too), but the above info would seem to suggest something a little more intense (if you will allow me to use an adjective at the risk of sounding like an Evangelical whose always going on-and-on about us needing to be more "radical" or something).

God willing, I'm sure there will be more to come, but we'll end here for now and prayerfully consider what we have just looked at together.

At first glance, it would appear as though Martin Luther had faith that divine/miraculous healing was still very possible on this side of the cross even if it wasn't the norm like in the early days of the Christian Church.

Perhaps the difference between the Lutheran view and the Charismatic/Pentecostal view so popular today is simply that our faith isn't misplaced like theirs is.

To put it another way, our faith is firmly placed in the power of the Lord to heal and to save us -- with the very clear caveat -- if He so chooses, but we would never believe, teach, or confess that we should place our faith in faith itself.

So, for me, when it comes to the topic of Ebola (or anything else) and the Lutheran view regarding divine healing or miraculous healing, I'll continue to put my faith where it belongs.


My Refuge And My Fortress 
Psalm 91 (ESV) 1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. 5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked. 9 Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12 On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. 14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. 15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”


This strong confession of faith and example of a life entrusted to God's protective safety urges all hearers and readers to seek the Lord's refuge when fearful times arise.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, let's remember that "miraculous healings are not a mark of the church for they do not impart faith and forgiveness" because "they were a mark of Jesus’ messianic ministry and of the apostles (they were 'apostled' to do them)" and "those who followed in their footsteps were sent to proclaim the word of God (Law and Gospel) and administer baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the means of grace unto eternal life."

Please share any additional information that you might find in the Comments Section below.

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

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SERMON: The Parable of The Wedding Feast -- 'Decliners And Recliners,' A 'Gospel Sandwich,' And Those 'Dressed For The Wedding' (Matthew 22:1-14)

Two edifying resources I found over the weekend in regards to Matthew 22:1-14 help us to properly understand The Parable of The Wedding Feast.


 
The Parable of The Wedding Feast 
Matthew 22:1-14 (ESV) 1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests. 11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”


Now that the stage has been set with the Word of God, let's take a quick look at those two resources I mentioned.

The first is from Pastor Charles Henrickson in a sermon titled "Decliners And Recliners" that was published at Steadfast Lutherans.

One of the things I always love about his sermons is his remarkable gift for putting things into layman's terms for the rest of us without watering down the Word to be "more relevant" let's say.


Do you ever get an invitation to an event -- a party, say -- and they ask you to RSVP? So you check your calendar, and you see you’ve got a schedule conflict, and so you’ve got to decline the invitation. There’s something more important going on that day -- you’ve got to work, or a family obligation -- just something that’s a higher priority to you than going to that party. 
But now say you’ve gotten an invitation to a party, and it’s from someone who you know throws the best parties around -- fabulous dinner parties, with the best food, the finest wine, gifts for the guests, top-notch all the way. The host is a generous and gracious host, known for his hospitality. So you check your calendar, and you’ve got nothing else going on that day. Or maybe you do have a couple of things going on, but this invitation far outweighs them. You’ll move the other things around, in order to make this party. It’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity, a real can’t-miss event. Why, you’d be a fool to turn down this invitation! And so you RSVP “yes,” and you go, and it’s great, even better than you imagined. XXX Well, today you’ll hear about an invitation you have received, and it’s the best one you’ll ever get. It’s an invitation to a real feast. Fabulous stuff. One of a kind. Can’t miss. This is one you definitely don’t want to decline. Instead, nothing could be better or more important than to be seated at this banquet. And so our theme this morning: “Decliners and Recliners.”


That's the introduction to Pastor Henrickson's sermon and it gives you an idea of the message that he was attempting to emphasize stemming from the Matthew 22 passage.

Don't get the wrong idea and think that this is a message that promotes the false teaching of "Decision Theology" though. Hardly! Be sure to read the rest of that sermon from beginning to end to help clarify things.

As my my Lutheran Study Bible notes...


(Matthew 22:1-14) Isaiah 25:6-9 compares the messianic age to a great feast hosted by God. That imagery, along with Jesus' self-identification as the Bridegroom in Matthew 9:15, makes it plain that in the parable the father represents God and Jesus is the Bridegroom. Though God earnestly invites all to His Son's feast, some refuse to accept His invitation and so fail to enjoy its richness. Coming from a long line of believers does not guarantee anyone a place in God's kingdom. Ingratitude and presumption ever threaten to lead us away. Though we in no way deserve mercy, the Gospel earnestly invites us to come and join the Lord in His eternal heavenly banquet. "The cause for this contempt for the Word is not God's foreknowledge, but the perverse human will. The human will rejects or perverts the means and instrument of the Holy Spirit, which God offers it through the call. It resists the Holy Spirit, who wants to be effective, and who works through the Word" (FC SD XI 41). In Matthew 22:13, Jesus is not talking about an earthly party but about salvation. The exclusion and punishment is a description of hell. Many of those called in God's kingdom miss out because they refuse to respond to the invitation properly -- in faith. "This does not mean that God is unwilling to save everybody. But the reason some are not saved is as follows: They do not listen to God's Word at all" (FC Ep XI 12). Heavenly Father, thank You for preparing a table before us in the presence of our enemies and graciously calling us to dwell in Your house forever. Amen.


Sure, there are far too many preachers and teachers in Christianity today who will try to entice you to attend the Wedding Feast by telling you that you can eat all the "Gospel Sandwiches" you want, but as we've just seen, the Gospel Sandwiches will always leave you hungry if not also cause severe food poisoning too.

That's not the kind of food that the Lord wants to feed His sheep with at the Wedding Feast for His Son! No, instead, He prefers to feed you with His Son's body and blood, shed for you through His death on the cross for your sins so that through His death and resurrection you would receive the forgiveness of your sins! It's His body and His blood that are the main course at this Wedding Feast since Jesus Christ is the "living water" (John 4).

Now, if you'd like to spend some time digging a little deeper into this Parable of The Wedding Feast, then please consider using the following sermon notes/questions from Pastor Joshua Schneider.


1. Parable built on OT picture, here of heaven. King= Father; Son= Jesus; Invited Guests = Jews/Jesus’ original audience; wedding feast = end times celebration of Jesus joined to His bride, the church (foreshadowed in Is. 25:6-9); Wedding hall = kingdom of God/church; Abuse/rejection/murder of servants = reaction of Jews to prophets/Jesus.

2. What kind of incredible honor it was to be invited to the King’s Son’s wedding? Royal feast, spared no expense, finest food and everything prepared. Only come, enjoy and celebrate my son’s wedding with me! What an insult to refuse the invitation? Imagine being given the exclusive invitation to the wedding of the President’s child, and you said you couldn’t come. Made some excuse about needing to clean your yard or do your chores. Had to work late. Seems unimaginable enough by itself, such an insult. How much unimaginably worse if one were to abuse and murder the messengers? Yet this is just what happened when it came to God’s invitation. Invited many times by the prophets. Abuse, insult, excuses, death.

3. But also portrays the response people presently give to God’s invitation—ridicule, excuses, indifference, better things to do. World today is distracted endlessly by amusements and things and work and a million other things that turn our attention away from God.

4. King’s response reflects specific historical judgments: first time in OT when Babylonians destroyed the Temple & Jerusalem. 2nd time was yet to come, 40 years after Jesus, as He prophesied the Romans destroyed the 2nd Temple and Jerusalem again. How should we expect to be repaid if we despise such an honor and invitation?

5. Weddings from casual to elaborately formal, always are an occasion for careful choice in clothing. Surprise in parable, that a guest is thrown out for not having a wedding garment. Where was he supposed to get it? All the guests came in from the highways and roads.

6. Ancient custom that the host provided wedding garments for all the guests. Isaiah 61:10 comes at the end of a chapter praising what God will do when the Messiah (Jesus) will arrive and bring the year of the Lord’s favor. In verse ten it proclaims, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” God provides the garments of salvation, the wedding clothes to wear at His banquet. All the invited guests would be offered the wedding garment. So the offense of this man who was thrown out, was that he wore his own clothes, instead of the celebratory wedding garment. Outer darkness = sufferings of hell. He was unworthy because He did not wear the appointed wedding garment.

7. How to get a “wedding garment”? God provides it, not us. Garment of salvation = robe of righteousness. The only pure garment, pure robe of innocence is that which Jesus won for us. What does that mean? Covering of perfect innocence—perfect life, sacrificial death for sin.

8. What’s the best we had to wear? What are our “own clothes”? Isaiah 64:5-6 says “Behold, You were angry, for we sinned, We continued in them a long time; And shall we be saved? For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” Notice, it’s not our sinful deeds that are like filthy rags, but it’s our righteous deeds(!) that are like a polluted garment. Stunning to us, but the hard realization that the best “clothes” we have to wear are still filthy rags. Dirty and full of holes. That’s because our sin and guilt covers us with stains and spots and blemishes. Our spotty obedience to God’s law is filled with gaps and holes. We can’t even begin to approach the perfection that God demands. James 2:10 reads: “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it”. If you want to be measured by the standard of the law, dressed in your own righteousness, then no part of the law can be left undone, not even the least part of it.

9. The scandal or offense then, is to be given Christ’s righteousness to wear, a gift for all those who are invited to His wedding banquet, but to refuse and choose to wear your own dirty rags instead. That is to reject the covering of Jesus’ innocence for your sin, and expect to be presentable to God on account of your own righteousness instead. That is to stand before God in the rags of your sins, when He offers you the beautiful clean garments of salvation. If that is the case, we have no one but ourselves to blame for being thrown out of the banquet. It’s to stand on what you have done, instead of what Christ has done, when you face the judgment.

10. And we will have no excuse. We will be speechless. So why would anyone choose their own filthy rags instead of Christ’s clean robe? Why would you choose your far-from-perfect record instead of His spotless one? Just like the “comfortable” feeling of that old worn pair of jeans that you can’t seem to throw away, sin gets pretty comfortable on us. We like our sin, and the short term pleasure it gives. We don’t want the change, to leave our pet sins behind. We don’t like the idea of “owing” someone something, getting it totally free without our work or obligation. Whatever reasons, none of them will provide a legitimate excuse before God if we come to Him believing in our own goodness, our own satisfaction with our self-selected clothes. If we have rejected His freely given garment, if we are not dressed in that baptismal garment of Jesus’ perfect righteousness, we’ll be cast out of the celebration.

11. But if we are in our sins and rags, if we have stained and spotted our garments, we are to take them to Him, be washed in the forgiveness of His blood, and have the crimson garments turned white as snow. We are to wash our robes and make them white in the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God. Ephesians 5 describes how Jesus presents the church for Himself at this great wedding feast. “Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” As Christ dresses His bride, the Church, He dresses you wedding guests, with garments not your own, with righteousness, purity and holiness that is not your own, but given to you by the costly sacrifice of His life on the cross, and delivered in the washing of the water with the word, in your baptism. He has washed away any stains, spots, or wrinkles and has made you clean. Joyfully dress in His righteousness each day, as we worship together and await the final arrival of His heavenly kingdom, where the feasting that we have begun now in the Lord’s Supper will be fulfilled in the arrival of Christ our Bridegroom, when the full and eternal wedding banquet is revealed!

Sermon Talking Points 
Read past sermons at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.blogspot.com 
Listen to audio at: http://thejoshuavictortheory.podbean.com 

1. Identify who and what the main characters and events of the parable represent. How does Isaiah 25:6-9 shape the view of God’s “wedding feast?” Where else is this wedding imagery significant in the Bible? Matthew 25:1-13; Ephesians 5; Hosea

2. Reflect on the incredible honor to be invited to the wedding banquet of the King’s Son, and how foolish it is to despise that invitation for trivial or mundane reasons. How outrageous is it to scoff at His message? Acts 13:41; 2 Peter 3:3-7

3. When was the nation of Israel punished by armies and its city destroyed, for disregarding God’s invitation and abusing and killing the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles? 2 Chronicles 36:15-21; Matthew 24

4. What was the basis for the unworthiness of the guests who were first invited? Acts 13:46, and 13:26-52.

5. What was the basis for the unworthiness of the guest who was thrown out? Where could he have been expected to get a wedding garment? Isaiah 61:10; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 3:18. By contrast, what are we wearing if we keep our own “garments”? Isaiah 64:6; Jude 24; Revelation 3:4-5. Who cleanses us to give a clean garment? Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 7:13-14.

6. For those who remain in the wedding hall after the final judgment, and celebrate the wedding feast, what is their cry of thanksgiving? Isaiah 25:9. What is there to look forward to? Isaiah 26:6-8


Sorry, I know that's a lot to chew on and digest, but I've just heard so many bad sermons on this Parable of The Wedding Feast in the past that it was exhilarating to finally find some faithful preaching on it. I hope you found it all to be as edifying as I did.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, "many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14). How can you know if you are one of the "chosen" spoken of in this verse? Look to your Baptism and look to Christ crucified FOR YOU!

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

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Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 10/11/14)

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 like 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). 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! Let's get the show started already, shall we?



8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): I think it was Vanessa (@BibleBeerBabies) who alerted me to this one yesterday. It's a funny piece titled "10 Movies That Were More Biblical Than 'Left Behind'" and I'm sure you'll enjoy it as much as I did. Here's a brief quote to whet your appetite: "Beyond simply being a movie with a lousy plot-line, cheesy stereotypes, and crappy special effects, the movie was simply unbiblical. Nothing shown in the movie is found in the Bible… no crashing planes, no mass hysteria… nada. In fact, it’s one of the least biblical movies I’ve ever seen." Ouch! Now, the "funny" part is found where the writer decides to list why there are several other movies more Biblical than the one being promoted as such. Enjoy! Oh, and the final paragraph is pure gold!


8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS):
I stopped by The Wittenberg Trail the other day and saw a short entry titled "The Real Altar Call" by Brad David Grierson that I just loved! It said: "I’ve spoken in the past on how damaging an altar call can be, but what I didn’t speak on was that there is a very real altar call that is wonderful indeed. Every Sunday, God calls us to his altar to receive his body and blood. Not just a representation of body and blood, but actual body and blood. This very real body and blood is given for the very real forgiveness of sins. Not only that, the real altar call is true proclamation of the gospel. So as you can see, the altar call, the real altar call, is a very sacred right instituted by God himself. It is not a call to unbelievers to receive Jesus into their hearts. NO! It is a call from God himself to believers. A call to us from God every single week to receive his body and blood and forgiveness of sins. Holy communion. The Lord’s supper. The sacraments. This is the real altar call. And it’s the only altar call that proclaims gospel and the forgiveness of sins."


9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL):
The theme here this past week was pretty evident whether you were a first time visitor or you've been stopping by to read for awhile now. In light of all that was shared, here's an excellent excerpt on Ecumenism & Unity from Hermann Sasse: "And what about the Lutheran Churches of America? They would have been entitled to speak and act for the Lutheran Confession at that time. In the thirty years which now have passed since the formation of the L.W.F. at Lund they have increased in stature and in favor with man. Whether also in wisdom and favor with God remains an open question. They have sent their young men to Europe to get a European degree in theology, preferably a German one which is supposed to be the seal of perfect wisdom and knowledge. The time may come when our American brethren will realize that 'authentic scholarship' and 'relevant scientific theology' does not save churches…. It was a false 'critical' theology which has destroyed the Word of God instead of explaining it. A theology is false and a nuisance to the Church which destroys the dogmatic substance of the church under the pretext to make it plain or to express it in 'relevant' terms which modern man would readily accept. It is true of mankind in all ages: 'The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God,' even not the man who has reached the state of 'maturity.' Why do neither the church historians nor the dogmaticians nor the practical theologians examine these claims? Why does no one ask, in an age of alleged deeper Biblical studies, what the New Testament teaches on Church, church unity, the ministry? Why do we all take modern concepts of the ecumenical movement for granted? Who tells us that God wants all who call themselves Christians to be united in one big visible church? Certainly not our Lord and His Apostles. We read that into the New Testament. Who has invented the idea that the Church as the Body of Christ consists of churches and that this body is unfortunately divided? The body of Christ cannot be divided, neither the sacramental nor the spiritual body. 'A sumente non concisus / non confractus, non divisus / Integer accipitur.' Who has invented the myth of an 'Ancient undivided Church' which must be 'reunited' into the 'Future Reunited Church'? Who has invented the idea that by means of a dialog we can attain unity? In some cases it may be possible, in others not. Most certainly it will not be possible if this dialog aims at a minimum of doctrine and at formulas of compromise. A lot of these have been written in our time to overcome the doctrinal differences concerning the sacraments. No formula has been found yet to overcome the contrast between those who teach that the consecrated bread is the body of Christ and those who teach that it is not. Even if in Holland, the home of Cornelis Hoen from whom Zwingli took over his doctrine, Roman Catholics now try their hands at a compromise by suggesting a new doctrine of 'transsignification' ('In Holland everything changes in the Church except bread and wine'), the alternative remains. And all compromises on the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Baptism are marred by the fact that when unity seems to be reached the representative of the Quakers and the Salvation Army rises and states that all is nice and good, but that external sacraments are not necessary. Then you may try to convince him that this is wrong. In the very moment when the Quaker admits, he ceases to be a Quaker and must be replaced by another Quaker. So the dialog must be continued until the last member of the Society of Friends has accepted the sacraments. And the dialog itself? We already hear alarming statements that our separated brethren in Rome, after they have converted the other churches to a renewed Catholic Church wish to extend the dialog to the Jews, the Mohammedans, the Buddhists, the Marxists and atheists. But it may then happen that not only the walls between the Christian denominations become transparent (Edmund Schlink), but also other walls. We quote only one example. At the meeting of the International Missionary Council at Tambaram, Madras, in 1938 Walter Marshall Horton spoke of his friendship with 'a Buddhist priest whom to this day I persist in regarding as my brother in Christ. He gave me a picture of a Bodhisattva . . . which to him perfectly symbolized the spirit and attitude required by his simple creed: ‘to cleanse the heart of evil, and endeavour to make this world a kingdom of God.’ There is a faint smile of self-congratulation on that picture face, which reminds me of the great gulf that remains forever fixed between Buddhist self-discipline and the Christian sense of grace toward sinners; but when I talked with the priest who gave me the picture, that gulf was not there. Differences of tradition seemed to vanish between us, as I often felt them melting away between Christians of different communions at ecumenical gatherings, and our souls met in something less tangible and definable than forms of speech and thought, but infinitely more real and authoritative. If I belong in any sense to the Body of Christ,-then he does too. It would be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the Wind of God that bloweth where it listeth, for me to deny my Buddhist brother his place in that Body. When I ventured to say as much to a group of Christians in Kobe the next day, I was sternly reminded that ‘There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved’; but I thought to myself that I have rather have the Spirit without the Name, than the Name without the Spirit' (Tambaram Series vol. I, 'The authority of Faith,' London 1939, p. 149f.; emphasis added). This is the end of the dialog, if consistently carried on. We all should love our pagan brother in Adam. He is a sinner, as I am a sinner. But to make him my Brother in Christ, this is the denial of Christ, the only Saviour of sinners, of the Holy Spirit, of the Living God and His eternal Word." *- Hermann Sasse, "Confessional Churches In The Ecumenical Movement," The Springfielder, XXXI:1 (Spring, 1967), 25-27.


9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Friendship. For a moment, let's consider a few of the Bible's insights regarding God's view of friendship and of the vocation of being a friend. There's Proverbs 17:17 (ESV) "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." We could also consider Proverbs 18:24 (ESV) "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Also, there's Proverbs 27:6-10 (ESV) "6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. 7 One who is full loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet. 8 Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home. 9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel. 10 Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend, and do not go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near than a brother who is far away." I read one LCMS Pastor who examined all of those verses and then simply put it this way: "Friends are acquainted with good council. A friend is close enough to say what needs to be said. A friend is a trusted advisor. A friend sticks with you, even when the world begins to fall apart. Our friends are the biggest influence on our behavior. Our peers are the biggest influence on our conscience. St Paul gives this marvelous instruction to the Corinthians: 'Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals,'' (1 Corinthians 15:33). Good friends speak the Gospel to us, help keep us in the faith, and encourage us toward love and good works. Other friendships tempt us away from the Scriptures, away from the Church, away from the Lord’s joy and comfort. We pray for good friends, and that we might be good to our friends." Amen! I can only hope and pray that I fulfilled my vocation as a "good friend" this past week during those times when my hatred of false doctrine, my contempt for sin, and my passion for pure doctrine came pouring out in response to one close friend in particular. 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 (ESV) "6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth."



10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE):
When it comes to the subject of "Selective Fellowship" Hermann Sasse wrote the following for us: "Paul, like every missionary, has great patience with immature Christians who have still to grow into the full understanding of the Gospel. Thus with great patience he argues with the people at Corinth who denied the resurrection of the body, an idea so strange to Greeks, as also Acts 17:32 shows. He refutes the errors existing in Corinth concerning the Lord’s Supper. He would have dealt differently with these people, had they insisted on their errors and proclaimed them as truth contrary to Paul’s doctrine. Even a heretic is to be excommunicated only after the first and second admonition (Titus 3:10). A heretic has to be avoided, as John understood it in the case of the deniers of the incarnation even in private life. The tradition of John’s last admonition 'Little children, love ye one another' and of his refusal to be in the same house with Cerinthus is an excellent illustration of the way how for him love for Christ and strict rejection of heresy belong together. The strong language which Luther sometimes used when criticizing heretics has often been regarded as a deplorable and unchristian lack of love. He and the great champions of orthodoxy in all ages have followed the example of the apostles (e.g., 'serving their belly,' Romans 16:18, cp. Philippians 3:19, where probably the same heretics are meant as Romans 16:17 f., since Phil. was written in Rome). We do not say that to excuse Luther’s every expression or similar utterances and ways of speech in dogmatic controversies. We only want to state how abominable to the apostles (as also to the Old Testament prophets) the rejection of God’s Word was. 'Serving the belly' is, by the way, a very true and not only picturesque description of men for whom theology is a means of satisfying their own desire for fame and an easy life (comp. the profound description of sin in its various aspects, 1 John 2:16)."


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

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ZITAT: 'Why I Am A Lutheran'

Unless I'm way off base with my basic translating skills (and have completely forgotten how to perform an accurate Google search!), I believe the English word "quote" (used as a noun as in "a quote") is translated to "zitat" in German. That will help to explain the strange "Z" word listed in the title of this post.

That being said, I'm
always keeping my eyes and ears open for good Lutheran quotes that encourage prayerful consideration and deeper study of God's Word, His Sacraments, Christ's Church, and the Lutheran confessions of "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3). 
Plus, i
t certainly helps me in my on-going journey from American Evangelicalism to becoming a Confessional Lutheran .

Here's the latest... 





 
"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." 
*- Daniel Preus from Why I Am A Lutheran



In a Lutheran layman's terms, I am a Lutheran because Lutherans believe, teach, and confess nothing but Jesus at the center of it all.


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

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Do You Have Issues?

Do you have issues? Issues, Etc. that is.




One of the pure joys of discovering Confessional Lutheranism for me personally has been the discovery of the Issues, Etc. daily radio program.

No, I don't get to listen to the program each and every day, but just knowing that I have a faithful Biblical resource I can turn to and depend on at any time for clarity, encouragementhope and understanding that I'm not alone with my "crazy" Confessional beliefs, has been an integral part of "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) that the Lord has blessed me with this past year.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, if you don't have Issues, then you have issues, and there's something wrong with you (haha!).

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

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