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What Luther Says

Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 2/8/2014)

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): It's been awhile since I spent some time with Lutheran Satire so here's a video titled "Things Your Lutheran Pastor Totally Loves: Learning That Creeds Are Bad" that goes hand-in-hand with the content we've published here in recent days. Too funny, too true!

This week's entry is not really the "best" unless we define "best" as in "Best of the Worst" instead! Christianity Today had a head-shaking piece titled "Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now? Why We Should Choose Church Anyway" that begins by asking, "Is the local church worth the trouble?" Thankfully, the rest of the commentary was focused on answering that question by asking the most important question of all: "What does Scripture have to say?" Too bad the author still got it wrong and missed a lot, but such is the nature of American Evangelicalism these days. It's funny, because it wasn't too long ago when I was in full agreement on every point he made. Now, with Lutheran colored eyes, I can clearly see that everything that's missing is precisely everything we need the most. For instance, the Holy Sacrament's, which Evangelicals call "ordinances" all the time since they view them are largely symbolic, are nowhere to be found! So, here's my rebuttal to this article from none other than Hermann Sasse: "So far as we humans can judge, a church bereft of the Sacrament would be swallowed up by the world and cease to be church, just as has in fact transpired. Whenever the Lord’s Supper has been permitted to decay, the boundary lines between church and world have universally disappeared and the church has been absorbed into the world. The Supper is thus the Sacrament in which the church’s ‘foreignness from the world,’ and hence her essence as church of God, finds visible expression. ... Because the church possesses this Sacrament, she can wait [for Jesus' return] for centuries and millenia on end. The Supper bridges the space of time between Jesus’ days on earth and his return. ... It is eaten on the migration from the world to the kingdom of God, from time to eternity, from the here and now to the beyond. ... All attempts to build Christian congregations without placing at their center the congregation-forming Sacrament of the Altar are just as much condemned to failure as are efforts to renew the Divine Service without renewing the Sacrament. ... Where the custom of churchgoing has lapsed with the consequence that the Christian congregation is dead or dying, there is but one single means for getting people back to church. Hunger and thirst for the Lord’s Supper must be aroused in them. Whenever this hunger and thirst awake—and it obviously does not lie within our power to awaken them—people go to church again. ... The renewal of the Christian congregation and her Divine Service therefore begins, in a way that most theologians today still find incomprehensible, when we once again seriously learn and teach what the NT and the catechism say on Baptism and the Supper. ... A church that does not continually gather around the Supper must undergo secularization. It must irreversibly turn into a piece of the world, because the Supper establishes the boundary between church and world. ... Thus, the Gospel itself dies with the Supper." Church And Lord’s Supper, The Lonely Way, 1:381, 393, 395, 420, 421.

Since I'm not even close to reading it yet (due to all the other books I've started reading that I need to finish first) I thought I would open to a random page in Daniel Preus' Why I Am A Lutheran: Jesus At The Center and see what gems I could find to share with you today for your weekly intake of Vitamin C. "In The Lutheran Church, we attempt to express in our practice this unity extolled by David and Paul. In Lutheran worship, therefore, we recognize the essential unity that exists between the baptismal font, the pulpit, and the altar. The faith into which a child is baptized is the one true faith of which Paul speaks in Ephesians. The faith the pastor proclaims from the pulpit is not his opinion or even his view about the faith. Rather, what he proclaims is the one true faith itself as expressed in the creeds. And the faith confessed at the altar when we receive the Lord's Supper is not the individual faith of each believer. The forgiveness that cleanses you at the Lord's Supper clings to "the faith" of the church. Thus the font, pulpit, and altar express unity of faith. Therefore, Lutheran pastors do not preach from the pulpit anything that differs from the faith into which a child is baptized. Nor do communicants come to the altar with beliefs and convictions that contradict that which is preached from the pulpit." pp. 146-147

Pastor Michael Schuermann had this excellent sermon of sorts titled "Every Age A Sinner, Every Age Needs Jesus" on his Daring Lutheran website based on 2 Timothy 3:14-2 Timothy 4:5. Here's a brief excerpt, but do check it out since it is a fascinating sermon with children (both inside and outside of the womb) in mind and Christ at the center: So the writing comes from God, and it’s “sacred” or “holy”. The writings which we have collected in our Bible are holy, not because they are special in and of themselves – this is just a book – but because of who caused them and who is present in them – God the Father Spiriting them out to you. Into your ears. And in that action, within that motion from God via the Spirit through the writers onto the page and through my eyes out of my mouth into your ears; within that motion comes the wondrous stuff that you learn and believe, namely that you a sinner, have been redeemed by the blood of the very Son of God, Jesus Christ. We don’t worship the book. We worship God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We don’t consider one translation or another “inspired”, although there are certainly some that are more faithful than others. Instead we recognize the perfection of these words, originally spoken by all those men and put to the scroll or skin by themselves or their scribes. Those words are holy because they are hallowed by their very source: God Himself. And as Paul writes, this word is “profitable for teaching.” Teaching what? That there is a God, maker of heaven and earth and all things visible and invisible. That He is one God, yet three Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That in His perfect creation He made a creature, man, in His own image. That man was faithless and acted sinfully in that faithlessness. That because of sin the whole creation was corrupted with death. That everyone who follows in Adam and Eve’s lineage – and that’s all except one – has the same faithlessness and Sin that our first parents had, with the same just reward. That “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” That God did something about it – in the fullness of time, “God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” That God gives His Son, Jesus, into death, bearing the sin of the whole world, in order to make the whole world righteous and holy by His blood. All this the most Holy Word of God reveals, through this most human of communication – words, spoken and then written down so that others might speak them too, throughout time until the Lord Jesus comes again in glory.

10:00AM DOES OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): Another Christianity Today article from this past week. Only this time, I actually agreed with it. "In Defense of The Christian Private School Bubble" is a great follow-up to last week's podcast during Lutheran Schools Week when we discussed the importance of Lutheran Schools in this day and age (even if it's written from a non-Lutheran point of view). One of my favorite quotes: "Bubbles are endangered species, yet they are the very soil from which community, from which mission, grows. [Bubbles are] about sinking our roots deep before -- and then persistently during -- our cosmopolitan call to service. It's both/and, sure, but one does come before the other. We are beloved, and therefore we love."

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

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed and, hopefully, you're wide awake by now.

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!]


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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