Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (8/29/15)

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): Check this out! All the false gods in one convenient place at God Checker: Your Guide To The Gods, which boasts "Discover almost 4,000 gods, goddesses and spirits from around the world!" Yes, they're all here...except that the "Other Mythologies" section at the very bottom of the page? Yeah, I'm not so sure that's a reliable site after all since it lists our shared and cherished faith as "Christian Mythology" and this is despite the factual evidence of the resurrected Lord and Savior not to mention His empty tomb! Strangely enough, when you click on that section is says ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about God, His Son Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit! In fact, the ONLY page associated with that section is titled "The Saints of Christianity" and it lists the Top 10 "Latest Popular Christian Saints" too. This would be hilarious if it weren't so ridiculous and sad.

8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): In the Higher Things August Newsletter, Pastor Matt Richard talks about how he and his youth group were grafted into something greater than themselves. "Since I am new to The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (i.e., I colloquized, which means that I left my former denomination to join the LCMS), I was interested in taking the youth of my church to something different than what I had experienced before. Furthermore, according to national trends in Christianity, the younger millennial generation is seeking out and returning to the traditional and historical aspects of Christianity. Therefore, from what I could glean, Higher Things was exactly what I was looking for. So, after a lot of planning in the church and connecting with other area neighboring churches, some 40 youth and chaperones from the region set off to Seward, Nebraska for Higher Things 'Te Deum.'" Be sure to read the rest about his experience.

9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): 
I'm putting this in the "Confessional" category because I like that this layman recognizes the importance of a Lutheran church and school actually being...well...distinctly Lutheran. He wrote the following on The Wittenberg Trail website titled "Outreach To School Parents" and it's the perfect time to share it as many families gear up for back to school (if they haven't returned already): "Our congregation has a strong connection to a Lutheran preschool, elementary school and a high school. I would like to start a program where we offer new parents to our school the opportunity to discuss the ways in which our congregation and the school work together, and how a Christ centered education is so important. My primary interest is to open up communication channels between us and to encourage them in regular worship and Bible study, to let them know how we care for them. Most of them are already members of some Christian church, and It is great to see their God-inspired willingness to spend time and money to give their children a Christ centered education. But if I were one of these parents, I think I would like to talk with some knowledgeable lay or professional person about how it all started and go over some of the advantages of a Christian education. Is there some kind of training material or program in Synod or developed by a congregation that would help us in developing such a program? I don't want to rediscover the wheel, and I also would like some guidance as to what would and what would not be appropriate." Rev. Richard Mittelstadt replied by sharing an excellent resource: "Robert, if I follow your question, at the site I have included a link to has several tracts about Lutheran schooling. I must confess I have not read any of these, but I'm sure they would offer some good insight. 
http://anchorbooksandtracts.com/products.html" Thank God for faithful men like that!

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Matthew 6:19-24 (ESV) "19 'Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 'The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! 24 'No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." My Lutheran Study Bible has this to say about these verses: "Jesus urged a right attitude toward possessions by presenting contrasting pictures of treasures, eyes, and masters. ... Eternal rewards are free and cannot be taken away. The heart will dwell on whatever a person treasures most. ... Humans everywhere, whether rich or poor, are prone to collecting earthly treasures. Yet, only heavenly treasures are eternal. As children of light, God calls us to be generous with our possessions and to serve God as our master rather than live as slaves to possessions. For our sake, Christ became the servant of all -- to save all -- by bearing all of our sins and granting us rich, surpassing, eternal forgiveness. Heavenly Father, lead me to 'seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God' (Colossians 3:1). Amen."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): So we all know that Martin Luther not only sparked controversy when he challenged the authority of the Catholic Church nearly 500 years ago, but that he also ignited the Reformation itself, and was excommunicated by the Pope for it. This week, the Vatican announced that it supports naming a square after him! Next month, a hilltop square in Rome is due to be named "Piazza Martin Lutero," in memory of Luther's achievements. The site chosen is the Oppian Hill, a park area that overlooks the Colosseum. The move has been 6 years in the making, following a request made not by other Lutherans, but by the Seventh-Day Adventists! The original plan was to inaugurate the square in time for the 500th Anniversary of Luther’s historic trip to Rome in 2010. City officials were not able to discuss the process behind naming the square or the reason for the holdup. The move contrasts sharply from views held by Luther around the time of his visit to Rome, when it was said he repeated the saying, "If there is a hell, Rome is built over it."
 

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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I'm A Christian Under Construction

This is absolutely beautiful preaching right here, IMHO.

It was delivered by Rev. Robert E. Waters on Ash Wednesday in 2008.

The whole thing is pretty powerful, but here's the part that really stuck with me in light of all the recent "Pronomian" and "Antinomian" debates lately...


 
"No, the Old Self cannot be reformed. It can only die. And no amount of resolution or willpower will deliver us from this body of death. Only Jesus can do that. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from what we are and transform us into what God created us to be and calls us to be in our baptism. And only daily recourse to our baptism can save us from the death we so richly deserve. 
But there we find given us as a gift what we cannot generate by our own effort. There, the Old Self put to death in repentance, the New Self daily comes forth. Only watered by our baptism do we grow. Only fertilized by the blood of Christ does the faith which comes as a gift through the power of the Gospel come to flower. Only by waging war against the Old Self, instead of trying to reform him, and letting God make us into what we can never become by our own effort can we become what God calls us to be.us. It can only expose us as pious and sanctimonious children of wrath. 
Only the Gospel can transform us. Only gratitude for what God has done for us in Christ can transform not merely our behavior, but our hearts. And only the work of the Holy Spirit, operating through faithful use of the Word and the Sacraments, can cause us to “go after” the things of God- the things that make for life and peace- from a transformed heart, instead of from a hypocritical, self-serving pretence. 
'As soon as you do not desire to be better,' St. Bernard of Clarvaux once wrote, 'you cease to be good.' The Christian life is like being on a treadmill: the moment we cease to run, we begin to go backward. 
Sanctification is God’s doing, and not ours. Yet sanctification is worked by God only in the heart which aspires to holiness, and strives for it despite its knowledge of its own inability to ever achieve it by its own effort. 
Only he is a Christian who -- counting solely upon the merits of Christ, and knowing full well that while he can never attain the goal holiness by his own efforts, no failure or weakness of his own can deprive him of his goal as long as he has Christ -- nevertheless pursues it. Only the one whose heart has been changed by gratitude has a heart that will ever be changed at all. 
But no heart that has been changed by gratitude can keep from pursuing that goal. 
In ourselves, we can only choose to go after the things of the flesh -- the things that please the old, fallen self. We can perhaps, as the old rector in The Hammer of God puts it, 'pick sins off our lives the way we pick lint off a coat.' But God demands more. He demands a changed heart -- and we cannot change our own hearts. 
Only God can do that. Only the Gospel can do that. Only God’s free gift of salvation through faith, and through faith alone, can do that. Only gratitude can do that. 
And only gratitude can move us to go after the things which those children of God -- if they are children of God -- cannot help but desire. 
And so, we gather here tonight to mourn precisely our lack of obedience, our lack of merit- or lack of gratitude. But at the same time, we gather to reflect that Jesus died for just such ungrateful wretches as we. We look to Him for healing. We look to Him for strength. We look to Him for pardon, and for peace. And in looking to Him, we receive what we cannot generate on our own: new and honest hearts, transformed not by our own effort, but by God’s grace. 
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen." 
*- Rev. Robert E. Waters / "...What We Go After, Here"


I believe that's a proper distinction between Law and Gospel as it applies to this perpetually difficult topic, but that's just me. I would love to read your comments and thoughts on this.


In a Lutheran Layman's terms, I'm a "Christian Under Construction" and the Lord is the Master Builder of anything "good" that comes from this sinful mess I call Me, Myself, And I.



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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A Prayer For Your 1st Day At A New Job

Today, I start my first day at an exciting new job with a phenomenal company after being out of work for nearly two months -- and it is such a blessing!

However, the poor, miserable sinner that I am still wants to resist this wonderful new beginning.

So, I thought I would share the prayer that left my lips this morning in case you or someone you know can use it too. It's from my Lutheran Book of Prayer.


 
A Prayer For Your 1st Day At A New Job 
Heavenly Father, Creator of heaven and earth, it is out of Your love and wisdom that You gave me work to do and fitted me in body and mind to do this work. And yet my sinful will too often dreads the workday and casts about for other things to do. But You, O God, have called me to this work. Forgive me my sin. Strengthen me by Your Spirit that I may see that my place of work is a field of Your service to my family, my fellow worker, and my neighbor. Give me joy in my vocation, and make me glad and grateful for the strength to serve You; through Jesus Christ. Amen.


In a Lutheran layman's terms, our God-given vocations in this life are are to be viewed as a blessing, a comfort, and a joy, and not a burden.



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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An Update From The Front Lines Of The Antinomian/Pronomian Cyber War...

A few days ago, I published an extremely lengthy piece on the current confusion I have regarding one debate that's raging within the Lutheran church right now and showing up everywhere online.

A couple of days later, I followed it up with a much shorter piece that only seemed to add fuel the the fire.

Today, I'm continuing in my quest to try to sort this out by providing piece after piece that could help put the debate to rest once and for all (at least, that's my prayerful hope).


 
"Of Flirting With The Law And The Glory Of The Gospel" By Dr. Martin Luther

"Law Of The Instrument" By Rev. Eric J. Brown

"The New Antinomianism: Denying Thesis 18 of Law And Gospel" By Rev. Mark A. Preus

"Christians Need The Law, But Not For Encouragement" By Rev. Matt Richard

"How Martin Luther Ended His Sermons" By Rev. T. David Demarest

"'When Will The Gospel Drop?' A Brief Reflection On Lutheran Preaching Cliches" By Rev. T. David Demarest

"Things You May Have Forgotten You Believed In: Mortal Sin And The Loss Of Salvation" Pr. H.R.


Not sure that will help clear things up for everyone, but they're the latest commentaries I've seen referenced in recent days.

Admittedly, I'm extremely grateful for these articles that keep popping up online from both sides of the debate, but still extremely confused as well (although I still seem to be leading toward the "Pronomian" side of this; that is, toward the side that says it's "ok" for Pastors to "encourage" and "exhort" believers with the Law in their sermons).

I like how another brother in Christ on Facebook put it in response to one of the above articles I linked to...


Bill Whatshisface Sir, it seems the article does deal with the consequences of failure, specifically paragraph 14: "...then the Gospel comes again and again and shouts into the soul of this poor creature, “This man is mine. He is my baptized son. I claimed his sins as my own, and I have the right to forgive them as often as they happen because they all pierced me and lost their power to kill.” 
Perhaps it's just me, but I am sympathetic to this man's views. I have yet to hear this particular author (or anyone on his 'side' of the debate) claim that the Gospel is not to be preached, or that the Law should have predominance. Rather, it seems that these same are trying to advocate that in preaching we must not neglect to also preach the Law in its full sternness, which would include exhortations like those found throughout the epistles.  
What I mean is this, I recognize a tendency in myself to be quite lax with the more "minor" sins (such as laziness and gluttony), which Scripture does not excuse, than with the "major" ones like sexual immorality. Therefore, I find myself constantly needing to be reminded, even exhorted, that these things are sins and effort ought to be made in resisting them, as well as being reminded to repent when I often fail. 
In Walther's L&G, and Luther's antinomian disputations especially, it seems that neither man advocates preaching that neglects hitting Christians with the law from the pulpit, as long as such preaching does not substitute for the pure Gospel, nor its work in sanctification. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, and I'm open to correction, but this whole debate, as well as both sides' handling of it, including my own, (especially on CLF), just sucks.


That makes a lot of sense to me.

Is it Biblical and Confessional though?

Yes, I believe it is, but I'm still not satisfied and will continue to dig into this topic while praying for the grace to receive discernment and wisdom to help me better understand things.


In one Confessional Lutheran Facebook Group, I added...


Is it ok for me to admit that while I'm extremely grateful that I keep seeing articles pop up from both sides of this debate, I'm still extremely confused and keep thinking I'm missing something here?


Thankfully, I'm in good company!

Pastor Matt Richard then replied, "Don't worry Jeffrey, I am often confused by the ongoing conversation as well" and then Pastor Jonathan Fisk added, "The debate has no tangible thing it is arguing against, nothing to point to. So its very odd."

So, that's definitely comforting to this "Newtheran" who'se trying to figure all of this out for himself.

Pastor Fisk touched on a key point I think and I completely agree with him. I'm glad he mentioned that, because that's been one of the most difficult aspects to this whole debate for me, personally.

I've been trying to figure out exactly what it is that both sides are trying to say on my own from the sidelines, but it's like the elusive and mythical "purple squirrel" that I can't catch!

Is everyone trying the say the same thing, but using different words/phrases to communicate it and that's where the confusion and "debate" comes in? Not sure.

Still, there's something about this on-going "controversy" that I can't ignore either (it's tough for me to not want to read about it and study it for some reason!), which is equally "very odd" in my humble opinion.

Just moments ago, Pastor Richard responded with...


I would agree with Pastor Jonathan Fisk as well that there needs to be some sort of tangible-ness to hold on to, examine, and critique. Furthermore, I believe a compare-contrast method is most helpful as well. For example: the following article has helped me immensely in the ongoing discussions about the 3rd Use of the Law.

Lutheran And Reformed Differences On The Third Use Of The Law


A lot of good stuff for us to prayerfully consider.

In the meantime, I'll continue to share my findings here with all of you as well.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, this has been another update from the front lines of the Antinomian/Pronomian Cyber War.



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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The Law. The Law. THE LAW!

Seems my "Pronomian"/"Antinomian" piece from the other day stirred up some good discussion in the Comments Section and beyond (Proverbs 27:17 "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another").

As I've continued to study this subject on my own with mutual respect paid to both sides of the debate, I keep coming across all these compelling commentaries that get me bouncing back-and-forth from one side to the other!

Here's one of them from Worldview Everlasting...


I Fought The Law And... 
Q: Pr. Fisk pointed out that pastors are to rightly divide Law and Gospel, but to not pick and choose what sort of Law to preach (1st, 2nd, 3rd uses). The Holy Spirit moves the listener to hear what he/she should hear and needs to hear. This makes a lot of sense, and helps clear up some difficulties I had re: preaching just the 1st use of the Law, accusations of "Antinomianism" from our Reformed brothers, etc. However, how could a pastor ever practically preach the Law neutrally, short of just reading Scripture? How in a sermon could he word any preaching of the Law in a way that keeps the hearer from hearing more 1 than 3, or any combination? Maybe I’m making this more difficult/complicated than it should be; maybe a link to an example of a good sermon with Law that is “neutral” would help. I read Walther’s Law and Gospel quite a while ago, but don’t remember him writing about this topic. Am I wrong? If so, where can I find more on this topic? (In Law and Gospel or elsewhere?) 
A: 
Dear K, 
What a perceptive question! 
Pr. Fisk is drawing from all the time that the WE Team spent at the Seminary hashing out this sort of thing. Part of the confusion is with the word “use.” What he’s saying is: The Law is the Law. The sinner in us hears the Law and hates it. The saint in us hears the Law and thinks, “Hey, that’s a good idea.” The Law does not need to be changed. There may be ways of presenting the Law that make it seem easy to do or ways of presenting the Law that make it really reveal a sin, but the Law is not really any different in either case. 
The Law is God’s revealed will, and because we are sinners, we cannot hear God’s Law as being good, right, holy, just, and so on (by nature). When the Holy Spirit works faith in us, we will find ourselves wanting to do God’s will. Wanting to know what God’s will is, we will turn to the place where it has been revealed: in the Law. Knowing that God’s Law is good, right, holy, just, and so on, we will also know that referring to it in the making of laws for external conduct is also good, right just, and so on. Hence, the three “uses” of the Law. 
Although it needs to be understood within the context of the wider teaching on the Law, I like to respond to questions about the uses of the Law by saying, “Use the Law? Ha! The Law uses us more than we use the Law.” This is not meant to inspire Antinomian (anti-law) ideas, but to point to the dynamic that you so perceptively noted: You cannot compartmentalize “usage” of the Law. It will convict us even when someone hopes that it will merely encourage us. The best that we can do is recognize this, and be gentle with the hatred that the Law inspires against the ‘preacher,’ remembering that there are times when we hate the Law too. We’re all in the same boat when it comes to the sinner/saint dynamic. 
The problem that happens in a lot of American churches is that “Law that you can do” or “the Law said with a big smile” is mistaken for the Gospel. The forgiveness won for us in Jesus become a means to an end: holiness. So, rather than having Christ be the end of the Law, the Law is the end of Christ. We contend that this is backwards. The goal of Christianity is not morality. 
Morality, properly understood, is the fruit of a Christian life, not the purpose. I’ll never forget a man who came up to me in a coffee shop in NY (I was wearing a collar) and said, “Isn’t being a good person the purpose of religion? Don’t all religions help you achieve that?” The answer to the first question is, “No.” This makes question two irrelevant. This man was raised as a Christian, and this idea is in people’s minds because even Christians have made the mistake of thinking that “being a good person” is the purpose. 
Life with Christ is the purpose. In Christ you have been made alive. 
*- Rev Robert Riebau Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church, Accident, MD


Ugh. Just when I thought I had made up my mind, I read something like this that forces me to prayerfully reconsider things!

How can I not? I mean, it MAKES SENSE and, most importantly, it SOUNDS BIBLICAL too.

Are we all trying to say the same thing except we're all using different words/phrases to say it? Is that where this persistent confusion and debate comes in?

Boy, there's gotta be something we're all missing, because it can't be this difficult, can it? I mean, how can a case be made for both sides if Scripture interprets Scripture. Again, what are we all missing here?

All of this due to the Law and how a Pastor is expected to preach it in His sermons, huh?

Ugh! As a Christian, I certainly hate the Law, but I also love the Law too.




I fought the Law and the Law won...but so did Christ Jesus!

In a Lutheran layman's terms, something tells me I may be here unpacking this topic awhile.



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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From Ice Buckets To Snuff Films: What A Difference A Year Makes

Please allow me, if I may, to make a casual observation that might sting a little.
 




That's what I just tweeted after I realized that it was precisely this same time last summer when the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" was sweeping the nation -- and finding significant support from Christians far and wide too.

Why in the world does that matter? How is any of that relevant to what's going on today with the Planned Parenthood videos that are exposing that organization for what it really is? Why am I bringing this up for our prayerful consideration?

Here's what I wrote on Facebook last August in an attempt to get my fellow brothers and sisters to stop and think about what they were supporting and about where their God-given money and resources were going.


Sorry, but I guess I'm gonna have to be the one to bring up this controversial/delicate subject despite how "unloving" and "unpopular" some will say that I am for doing so. My dear friends, if you're a Christian and you've done or are thinking about doing the ‪#‎ALSIceBucketChallenge‬, are you aware that your donation to the ALS Association is being used to fund Embryonic Stem Cell Research? Source: http://www.alsa.org/research/about-als-research/stem-cells.html 
Sadly, I fear that while so many Christians are very vocal about defending the sanctity of all human life both inside and outside the womb, they just do not realize this cold hard truth (pun intended) when they participated. Please tell others if you can so that they can be informed about what’s going on beyond the initial appearances of this wildly popular Social Media campaign. In short, Christians should try and find a different cause that truly respects the sanctity of human life, IMHO. 
Here’s a good write-up on this from a Catholic source: http://www.patheos.com/.../whats-wrong-with-the-als.../ Also from the article: “Dumping a bucket of ice water over your head does not make you a hero. Posting about it on social media and challenging others to do the same certainly doesn’t either." How is any of that relevant to us Christians? Beware of practicing your righteousness before others (Matthew 6). 
Ultimately, "while I can’t donate to the ALS Association, I will certainly pray for those that suffer from this disease. I’ll also be on the lookout for a charity that doesn’t violate the sanctity of human life." 
Here's a brief Lutheran commentary on this subject along with a list of some excellent alternatives of other ALS charities that DO NOT conduct Embryonic Stem Cell Research that Christians can donate to. Grace and peace! Source: http://blogs.lcms.org/2014/als-challenge


Sadly, my pleas fell upon deaf ears as a majority of Christians I know and love (including some churches too!) fell in line, let a bucket of ice water fall on their heads, recorded the whole thing and shared it on social media (to "support" ALS awareness or was it to feed their ego and pet their sense of pride?), and succumbed to the intense public pressure to be "politically correct" rather than make a bold, courageous confession of the Christian faith (Galatians 1:10).

As one friend of mine put it back then...


I think it's awesome that a Facebook meme has generated so much awareness, interest and funding for ALS. My heart breaks for those who lost a loved one to the disease, or has it themselves. That being said, for those who have strong beliefs and convictions against embryonic stem cell research, please know that the ALS Association is currently a big proponent of embryonic stem cell therapies and research. For personal, ethical reasons, I can't support them financially. But I'll pray for those who have this terrible disease, and hope for a cure that doesn't require human embryos.


Isn't that how all Christians should have felt at the time?

I remember thinking to myself that this was an easy so-called "controversial subject" since a majority of Christians should be able to agree with one another when it comes to the position we are expected to take in the public square if asked about it.

Of course, I was wrong. I didn't see too many laymen or Pastors even raising the issue that we might want to find other ways to support ALS research that doesn't involve the destruction of human life.

Yet, wanting to put the best construction on things, I simply chalked it up to thinking that it was likely that many of the Christians who participated in the "ALS Ice Bucket Challenge" just had no idea that it funded "Embryonic Stem Cell Research" and that such research is a practice and procedure that we should be wholeheartedly against as the Body of Christ.

So here we are one year later. What a difference a year makes.

This is the kind of piece that won't win me any popularity contests with my family and friends, but it needs to be written.

Personally, I'm ashamed that we were once so silent about THE VERY SAME HARVESTING OF HUMAN BEINGS only a year ago, and now we've suddenly become aware of our collective Christian conscience seemingly overnight and are "outraged" (as we should be) over this summer's Planned Parenthood videos.

Dare I ask the obvious question: What's the difference?

Where was the righteous anger last year? After all, Embryonic Stem Cell Research harvests "useful parts" from the same helpless, precious, unborn lives for the same purposes just like Planned Parenthood does.

What gives!?! Is this a case of "Sheer Hypocrisy" or "Better Late Than Never" and why does it matter whether it's one or the other?

Is it because embryos don't look like babies yet or is it about something deeper, something more sinister perhaps?

Maybe our lack of outrage last summer was due to the fact that we Christians who found ourselves so swept up by the "Ice Bucket Challenge" just wanted to be accepted and liked by others (even non-believers) so much that our sinful pride clouded our discernment and judgment to the point that we'd rather "Be A Part of The Crowd" rather than express revulsion over murder sanctioned as "science" and called "research" (Galatians 1:10).

Maybe it's just me and maybe I'm starting to ramble a bit so I apologize.

The point I'm trying to make is that I feel ashamed and embarrassed for us now that I've remembered that it was only last year around this time when Christians en masse were lining up to have buckets of ice water dumped on their heads in support of a cause that is actually not all that different from the one they're so vehemently against today.

The difference (at least, as I see it, and I could be wrong) is that last year Christians got to be a star in the show and this year they're merely a bystander. Old Adam hates it when he's not the center of attention (or he uses his "star status" to make immoral exceptions and immoral excuses to justify his sinful behavior).

Still unconvinced that Embryonic Stem Cell Research is just as bad as abortion?
 

 
The Root of The Stem-Cell Controversy By Pastor Sam Schuldheisz


That's why I felt it was necessary to spend a few minutes writing about this tonight.

Look, I'm absolutely thrilled that I'm seeing so many Christians from all denominations using social media to spread the word about the current controversy surrounding abortion and Planned Parenthood, especially given the virtual "media blackout" as well as the fact that a lot of Christians still refuse to pay any attention to the story.

My hope is that we won't forget that things like Embryonic Stem Cell Research -- the very thing some of us worked hard to fund, promote, and support last year -- is just as bad.

My hope is that we'll repent of our sins if, in fact, we spent time to incessantly "raise awareness for ALS" last summer, but we haven't uttered a single word about the Planned Parenthood crimes this summer.

I'm not naive either. I know that hypocrisy exists within Christianity. Truth is, we're all hypocrites to one degree or another. I get it.

I guess I just don't want us to become too self-righteous about the current crisis when we didn't have a care in the world about a similar crisis (albeit a less visually jarring) 
last summer.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, we've gone from ice buckets to snuff films and can't even see the sheer hypocrisy in our outrage from one summer to the next when it's staring us in the cold water-drenched face.

What a difference a year makes.



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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This Is What Real Christian Leadership Looks And Sounds Like

Someone on Facebook alerted me to the fact that our Synod issued a strong and unwavering unified statement in response to the latest Planned Parenthood snuff film for liberal progressives.

In all, 14 men and 3 women from the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) released the following call to action...


 
Synod Officials Say Recent Videos 'Lay Evil Bare' 
“It had a face. … Its nose was very pronounced. It had eyelids.” In the seventh Center for Medical Progress video, Holly O’Donnell, ex-procurement technician for StemExpress, describes what she witnessed in a Planned Parenthood clinic: A baby boy, an abortion survivor, was rinsed off and dropped in a pie plate for the procurement of his organs.  
She continues, recounting the doctor’s words and her own thoughts: “‘I want you to see something cool, kind of neat.’ … She has one of her instruments and she just taps the heart and it starts beating. I’m sitting here and I’m looking at this fetus, and its heart is beating. ‘You know why that’s happening?’ I knew why it was happening. It’s because an electrical current, nodes were still firing.”  
Her words are heart-stopping. 
A child, still alive, is then cut — through the chin and face and forehead — so that his brain can be invoiced and sold. “I can’t even, like, describe, like, what that feels like,” O’Donnell says. 
But we as the Church can. It feels like — it is — evil. 
The infanticide that is occurring at Planned Parenthood must end. It is not simply time to defund that organization; it is time to end abortion in the United States altogether. 
As for us, we can no longer claim that we didn’t know Planned Parenthood doctors killed children so ruthlessly or that we weren’t aware human bodies were cannibalized for their organs. 
We can’t just say it’s a woman’s choice or shrug our shoulders and mumble, “Who are we to judge?” 
We can’t hide behind the half-truths that women have no other place to find health care or that Planned Parenthood provides millions of mammograms per year. 
It doesn’t matter. None of it matters. 
Children are being killed, their organs are being sold, and their mothers are left with physical scars and — greater still — haunting memories that sometimes never fade. The death of these children is barbaric, and it is evil, and we are without excuse. Silence and attempts at justification are no longer options. The only option is for each one of us to act. Here’s what you can do... 
[READ MORE]


The authors proceed to offer 7 distinct actions that each and every single one of us can take right now (whether we're part of the clergy or the laity) to combat this horrific organization that's masquerading as a "health care" and "medical" institution.

However, it's what the signers wrote to conclude their collective statement that comforted me the most and truly gave me hope.

It gave me hope, because it demonstrates that Synod leadership definitely GETS IT and understands what's most important in all of this (at least they do when it comes to this issue).


We see in these videos how Satan thrives on darkness and chaos, how he delights in baby boys and tiny girls picked apart with sterile utensils. And while we are repulsed and horrified, we no longer have the option to turn away. In this, we have been provided with the biggest opportunity of all: to highlight a still greater need that every person — pro-abortion or pro-life — has for the mercy and forgiveness of Christ. 
Without Him, we are all capable of performing equally horrifying acts, of seeing children as nothing more than line items or cadavers. But our Lord is merciful. Because of Him, we have been given consciences that cause us to act and tongues that can speak truth in the midst of evil. We have been given His forgiveness in water and Word, and so we speak it, in turn, to hurting mothers and repentant participants in the deaths of these babies. We have the truth, and we are no longer ashamed to call the deaths of 55 million children what it is: genocide. 
Our heavenly Father, it turns out, knows a thing or two about hearts. He knows our own, and He knows each heart of each child, even as He knows their faces and noses and eyelids. We are the reason He allowed His own Son’s heart to stop beating for a time, so that ours may thrive for all eternity. In so doing, He shows us His own heart, full of grace, mercy and compassion. 
Through each of these videos, He has seen fit to lay evil bare, and by His grace, our hearts and lips are freed to speak, to act, to pray, to repent, to call upon His name and to trust in His heart, which is ever turned toward us in Christ. 
It’s all that matters.


Amen! I, for one, am so glad that the LCMS National Mission leaders not only called for action on abortion in such a powerful way, but that they also included such strong words of grace, forgiveness, mercy, salvation, and restoration that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can deliver.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, this is what REAL Christian leadership with a genuine concern for maintaining a pastoral approach looks and sounds like in response to this issue.



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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