Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 11/30/2013)

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): Did you know that there were some Christian-themed video games produced by a company called Wisdom Tree in the early 1990s for Nintendo? I had no idea! One was called "Spiritual Warfare" and you play the role of a Christian man as he travels through the game world converting non-believers and fighting demons. At the end of the game, you fight the final boss who ends up being none other than Satan himself. This game is very similar to Zelda, except you don't kill people. Instead, you convert them to Christians. Then there was "Bible Adventures" based on the Old Testament where you help Noah fill the Ark before the Flood, pretend you are David battling against Goliath, and even help save baby Moses from the Pharaoh's overwhelming forces. Next up, "Exodus: Journey To The Promised Land" followed by "Joshua And The Battle of Jericho" and then "King of Kings: The Early Years" too. Not too sure how Biblical the content and gameplay was, but from the above description of "Spiritual Warfare" I'd have to say that there was definitely some wonky theology in them, and that they were heavy on the Law and light on the Gospel.


9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS):
This is a Confessional Lutheran blog that I just discovered a few days ago, but it's been around much longer than that. A recent post titled "Mysticism: an Illustration" is so Slap-You-In-The-Face-(But-In-A-Good-Way) spot on that you need to not only read it, but share it with others. That means let your family and friends know about it, let you church know about it, and let your Facebook and Twitter "Friends" see it too. I have to say, I greatly admire the author's genuine humility and willingness to admit that she was wrong and guilty of espousing the merits of Mysticism herself (though without even realizing it). I think of all the times I too have fallen under the seductive spell of Ms. Mysticism and can relate. Anyway, it's a subject that is becoming so prevalent in our churches these days that it's quickly reaching epidemic proportions, and as an ex-Evangelical turned Confessional Lutheran, it's one of the primary reasons why I myself tweeted the other night that I'm quickly learning that there are more Evangelicals in the LCMS Church I belong to than there are Lutherans. My dear friends, please prayerfully consider the content as a warning consistent with speaking "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15).


9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL):
"There is also a 'Big Three' that corrupt your Christian confession, The World, The Devil, and your Sinful Flesh. The World would have you not confess anything. If you do confess your faith, make sure it’s very generic. You don’t want to offend anyone. The world will allow, 'I believe in God'. That way the world can throw that confession of faith into a bag of all other religions. When you confess, 'I Believe in God', you really aren't confessing anything at all. The Devil wants you to stay quiet. You don’t need a confession. His corruption of the world is apparent. He will tell you lies about how you don't need to confess Jesus Christ as your Savior. The same way he tells you that your sins aren't really sins. Even if your confession is solid, he will try to get you to look outside the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. He knows your weaknesses, and is ready to exploit them to corrupt your confession. Your Sinful Flesh believes that your confession is so strong. It tells you that your own sin would never corrupt that confession. You tell people all the time that you are a Christian. You believe in Jesus Christ, but then you sin and don’t repent as you should. Your sin turns your confession into a self-righteous confession of your own works. You start adding and subtracting things from the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions to fit 'Your Confession'. The Final Cup and The Final Confession. A good cup of coffee and a good biblical confession require very simple ingredients; coffee, water, and a sound brewing technique; the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions. Both take time and care if there is to be the correct result. I’ve heard people say, 'Check your Confession'. The Bible and the Lutheran Confessions have everything your confession needs. They confess Jesus Christ, his life, death, and resurrection for you. They confess your salvation through the waters of holy baptism. They confess the forgiveness of your sins. Through faith in Jesus Christ, your confession is finished." Nathan Redman


9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE):
Galatians 1:1-10 (ESV) "1 Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead— 2 and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. 6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." As the Lutheran Study Bible notes: "The proper distinction of Law and Gospel, described in Galatians, leads one away from the misunderstandings of God's Word. Paul certainly affirmed a limited role for the Law in the life of a believer. He explained the life-changing blessings of the Gospel, which make us God's children and give us freedom to do good, not evil. Yet Galatians shows that, though we never outgrow the Law because we are sinners (Galatians 5:16-26), it is God's promise that assures our place in His family (Galatians 4:5-7), with all the privileges He bestows by Word and Spirit. As you study Galatians, pray that the Holy Spirit would teach you rightly to discern and apply God's Law and Gospel. He who generously gives His good spirit through the promise will surely grant you a discerning heart. In Galatians 1:1-5, Paul's greeting anticipates the Letter's central argument. According to His Father's will, Christ has graciously given Himself for our sins and delivered us from this present evil age; therefore, works of the law are not necessary for salvation. teachings that compromise this core truth rob God of His due glory and rob us of true peace, for God brings true peace to our hearts through the forgiveness of sins. In Galatians 1:6-10, you'll notice that this Letter begins nor with an expression of thanksgiving, but with a stern warning against defection from the one true Gospel. Whoever falsifies the Gospel of Christ comes under God's curse. The Gospel, through which God calls us to be His own, proclaims God's grace in Christ. Heavenly Father, by the power of Your Son's resurrection, set our hearts free and forever at rest. May Your precious Word, O Lord, be taught in all truth and purity so that we may receive Your divine blessing. Amen."


10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE):
You may have missed it due to the virtual media blackout, but the "Comet of the Century" just passed by the Sun yesterday. Comet Ison, or a rock in space bigger than Australia, is really a big deal...but not for the apparent reasons that guys like William Tapley say that it is. No, I just mean that it's always a "big deal" whenever we can marvel at what the Creator of the Universe has done (Genesis 1:14; Romans 1:20). I will say that I had to laugh though when I read the latest news report on the Comet's status that opened with this sentence pregnant with theological buzz words: "Astronomers are marveling at the death and apparent resurrection of a comet that dove close to the sun on Thanksgiving."


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


In a Lutheran Layman's terms, now that your belly's full and you're wide awake, and you have the whole day in front of you, just go outside and play, but play nice and never, ever bend the rules just to get along or to be liked (Galatians 1:10; Jude 1:3).

Grace and peace to you and yours!

[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 Lutheran doctrine -- in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word -- so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray. Thank you in advance for your time and help. Grace and peace to you and yours!]

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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 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 sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 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 mature spiritually (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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