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What Luther Says

Now I Won't Be Hungry Anymore!

Please join me in prayer to give thanks to our Lord for His blessings today.

Personally, today was like my birthday. No, today was like Christmas for me!

How so? Well, today was the day I've been patiently waiting for ever since my escape from American Evangelicalism back to the Lutheran Church, which is really to say back to His Church, or back to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

You see, once I finally knew what I had to do and took the first step in leaving the past behind, I had to purge my life of all the different influences that were competing for my attention and confusing the simplicity of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Remember that analogy I borrowed and highlighted in a previous post about all the various -isms that were living under one roof in my spiritual house that started to fight with one another? Thankfully, kicking them out was a lot easier than I anticipated.

It started with my bookshelf and personal library. I got rid of probably 90% of the books I had obtained over the past 10 years or so either from buying them on my own, having others buy them for me as a gift, and having publishers send them to me to review due for the Look Up Fellowship blog.

Anyway, I should probably point out that by "got rid of" I mean that I threw them in the trash. Yep, that's right. They will be long gone very soon. I mean, why in the world would I just give them away, or send them to Goodwill or Salvation Army? Do I really want to allow such things to have the same impact they had upon me upon any other unsuspecting poor soul, especially knowing what I know now? No, absolutely not.

In the cases were I kept a "theologically problematic" book, that was only done to serve as a reference point. How can you know the difference between "right" and "almost right" unless you have examples of both on hand? Besides, they'll also serve as helpful examples of how just because something is "popular" or called a "Christian bestseller" does not mean that it's "good" for you to be feeding yourself with what's found on its pages.

Hey, speaking of feeding yourself with spiritual food, let's recall what the Lord Jesus Himself tells us quite plainly.

Matthew 4:4 (ESV) But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Luke 4:4 (ESV)
And Jesus answered him, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone.'"

I bring that up because the one thing I didn't remove from my life until today was the MacArthur Study Bible, or my primary source of God's holy Word for the past several years now.

I cherished that Bible so much that my highlights, notes, and underlines can be found throughout from cover-to-cover! Here's the thing though. As previously mentioned, because my perspective of the truth was slightly skewed, many of the passages and verses I made note of on my own were all Law, Law, Law when the ones that spoke of the precious Gospel were few and far between.

For that reason, I'm glad Rev. Jonathan Fisk said in a message we highlighted that this was once characteristic of his own Christian faith at one particular point in time, because it truly resonated with me and seemed similarly symptomatic of a deeper spiritual problem.

Needless to say, once the Holy Spirit began to open my eyes to the truth about myself, the truth about Him, the truth about Jesus, the truth about God, and the truth about the Holy Scriptures (1 Corinthians 2:14), I knew that a change needed to be made immediately.

So, while I could continue to feed on God's Word as found in my MacArthur Study Bible, of course, I could no longer count on the expository preaching (or verse-by-verse commentary) included in it.

Now, that's not to say that it's all necessarily "bad" or "incorrect" even. After all, I still firmly believe that John MacArthur is one of the more faithful Bible teachers in the world today (and especially in the world of American Evangelicalism when compared to other so-called "celebrity preachers" like Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, David Platt, Francis Chan, Steven Furtick, Carl Lentz, T.D. Jakes, Charles Stanley, etc.).

However, like I've been saying all along, sincerity and good intentions does not give you a free pass when it comes to presenting an accurate and pure Gospel. Furthermore, where he is not theologically sound are precisely the areas where he needs to be, in my humble opinion.

In short, MacArthur's Study Bible is coming from a Reformed position, and that's obviously in direct conflict with the truth of the Holy Scriptures, let alone Lutheran doctrine, and the Lutheran Confessions of faith.

So, what did I do next after cleaning my bookshelf? I told my lovely wife that she was going to buy me the Lutheran Study Bible and the Book of Concord for our anniversary. She just didn't know it yet (haha).

Sadly, I had to wait several days to get it delivered from Missouri to New York. But guess what? It finally arrived within the last hour and it feels like Christmas morning!

Seriously, I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to have received this Bible and this book of our Confessions! I feel so blessed and can't wait to sit down and start reading through them both later this evening.

How excited am I? Almost as excited as our persecuted brethren in places like China who have never seen or held a Holy Bible before; a place where they have to hide their Bibles from the authorities.

Man, I get goosebumps every time I watch those videos.

On a quick side note, that brings up a good question. How many times do we distribute Bibles during our organized "Mission Trip" to foreign lands? If I'm just basing things off of my own local LCMS church, then I'd have to guess, rarely ever. What a shame! What a tragedy! Yes, doing "good works" for those in impoverished places is not to be ignored, but we should be giving sinners the Gospel Unto Salvation In Jesus Christ as opposed to just the Social Gospel all the time. Wouldn't that be the truly Christian and "loving" response?

My dear brothers and sisters, let's recognize the incredible blessing and the awesome privilege we have in that we live in a place where we don't feel the pressure to have to hide our Bibles or our faith out of fear of what the authorities might do to us and our families.

Cherish God's Word. Don't let it sit on your nightstand to collect dust. Confess the faith rather than thinking that "lifestyle evangelism" (a.k.a. "the way you live") is synonymous with "preaching Christ crucified" or with "sharing the Gospel" to a world that desperately needs to hear it. It's not.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, I have been blessed mightily today! Now I won't be hungry anymore!

[NOTE: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism. That being said, please contact me ASAP if any of my "old beliefs" seem to have found there way into any of the material published here, and especially if any of the content is not consistent with being a Confessional Lutheran -- let alone if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately so as to not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]


About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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