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What Luther Says

Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 8/30/14)

Remember when Saturday mornings used to be so much fun when you were a kid?

For me, I'd usually stay up as late as I could the night before (after what I thought was such a "hard" and "long" week at school), and then sleep in as late as I wanted to on Saturday morning.

The best part? Whether Dad would make us breakfast or not (his French Toast!), the even better part of my Saturday mornings growing up was plopping myself down in front of our TV to watch cartoon after cartoon! You know, the kind that were only on once-a-week and not available in an instant through YouTube and/or Netflix?

I thought about that recently and decided it might be cool to come up with a new weekly tradition of sorts for us adults to enjoy each and every Saturday morning now that we're all grown up (ok, at least some of us more than others anyway). I mean, isn't it time for us to look forward to Saturday mornings again?

Besides, it will be good for us to recall that childlike faith in fun and laughter if only for a few moments each week. You'll remember that laughter was for Luther a sign of divine grace and also an antidote against the devil too.

From the very beginning, humor had been a theological topic for Martin Luther, embracing the dramatic scope of his whole world view. He himself explained: "When I was unable to chase away the devil with serious words of with the Scripture, I often expelled him with pranks." And so this unique concept is born! Ok, so it's really not all that "cool" or "original" or "fun" to be sure, but it will be our new tradition here, and I'll try to make it worthwhile too. So who's with me then?

Please keep in mind, it won't be flashy, and it will hardly grab and hold your attention like a classic episode of the Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, or Voltron would, but these "Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane" should satisfy the Confessional Lutheran's appetite for a balanced breakfast that includes your VDMA Vitamins like Vitamin A (Amusement), Vitamin B (Best of the Blogs), Vitamin C (Confessional), Vitamin D (Doctrine), and Vitamin E (Everything Else).

Each Saturday morning, God willing, I'll do my best to share some of the things I remember coming across in my unpredictable journey through Cyberspace during the week (hence, the "Along Memory Lane" part). Of course, this is also where the things you send me via email (if any) will show up too.

Ok, enough with all the commercials! Let's get the show started already, shall we?

8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): Last week, I introduced you to Lucy Lou -- the cross eyed cat -- who my wife and I met at a place called "Tabby Town" at the local mall while out on our date night last Friday night. Well, take a look at Lucy Lou's newest home and family because it certainly caught us by surprise!

"What is a Confessional Lutheran? We’re familiar with 'conservatism.' In Christianity, it means those unwilling or unlikely to make hasty change, who are connected to their past, and who interpret the Bible assuming that it is God’s revealed, true Word. We officially reject those who call the Bible a human invention, or a mixture of the divine and the human. The word 'confessional' is not so commonly used. Normally, we think of a confession as an admission of guilt. 'Confess' has a root meaning of 'acknowledge together.' In matters of error, we state that we have, indeed, done what’s wrong — we 'fess up.' But confession also has positive application: It can be used to declare faith. Thus, 'Jesus Christ is Lord,' is a confession. Christians have always made such confessions. Lutherans emphasize the place of formalized confession of Scriptural teaching. We officially accept three of the early Creeds (statements of belief) of the Christian Church. These are the Apostles’, Nicene, and Athanasian Creeds. Each of these is a summary of Christian, Biblical teaching (doctrine). During the time of the Reformation, in the mid-1500s, various interpretations of the Bible were being used by the parties involved. The reformers went to Scripture to assemble statements of faith which were topically arranged. For example, how many places in the Bible speak of Jesus’ return in judgment on the Last Day? A formal confession pulls all these references together into a unified article with which all can agree. Many confessions were produced. Six were drawn together with the Creeds into The Book of Concord (Agreement). All who claimed the title Lutheran (or 'Evangelical') were asked to subscribe to, or agree with, the Holy Scriptures as the source and norm of all Christian teaching and these confessions as being correct expositions of Scripture. Pastors, other church workers, and congregations of The Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod are asked to do the same if they wish to join themselves to our body. Most Lutheran bodies demand some form of confessional subscription. Some insist that it be done absolutely without reservation, while others allow conditional subscription. For a discussion of the differences between the two (technically termed quia and quatenus), see Aardvark Alley’s entry, 'Who You Calling Quia?' Confession is finally and ultimately done in the lives of individual Christians. Our confession of faith involves all we say, think, or do. It includes our confession of sins, since this acknowledges our guilt before God. It involves doing everything in life under the cross of Christ, directed ourselves toward a heavenly end. Confession’s goal is to give all praise, honor, and glory to God." *- Pastor Walter Snyder

"Was Walther right? Walther believed that the Lutheran church had found its perennial theology in the Book of Concord. Was he right? Or are the Lutheran Confessions just a time-bound expression of a branch of the Christian church-a church whose provisional job is to heal the breach of the 16th century and be the agent for the visible unity of the whole church, as some 'Evangelical-Catholic' Lutherans have argued? One answer comes from the Bethel Confession of August 1933, whose chief authors were Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hermann Sasse. In response to the question 'What is Reformation?' the Bethel Confession replied: 'The Reformation is essentially a return to Holy Scripture, a bowing under Holy Scripture. In it, Martin Luther is the teacher of Holy Scrip­ture that is obedient to the word.' Those of us who have studied the Book of Concord for years know that Luther and the other Lutheran confessors did indeed bow to the authority of Scriptures. Luther and the confessors did not add to, remove, twist, tropologically modify, explain away, or evade the intent of any doctrine in the canonical Scriptures. Furthermore, Luther and the confessors faithfully observed the relationships between those doctrines and their relative em­phases in the Bible. The obedience of Luther and the Lutheran confessors to the Scriptures is perhaps the most repulsive thing about them to the modern man and woman. Because of their obedience to the Scriptures, modern man sees Luther and the Lutheran Confessions as medieval, not modern. This, at least, was the judgment of Adolf von Harnack. Whether medieval or modern, the Lutheran Confessions are the product of a 'conscience bound by Scripture,' to use Luther's battle-cry at Worms. If your conscience is bound by Scripture, like Luther, then you will agree that Walther was right to uphold the Book of Concord as the church's perennial theology." *- Martin R. Noland / Concordia Theological Quarterly / Volume 75:3-4 July-October 2011

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV) "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." My Lutheran Study Bible says about this passage: "This Letter begins not 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. The Galatians were turning away from the Gospel through which God had called them (2 Thessalonians 2:14). To desert the Gospel of Jesus Christ that Paul preached is to abandon God Himself. The saving initiative always belongs to God alone. The opponents' 'gospel' did not modify but perverted the Word of truth (Ephesians 1:13) that the apostles proclaimed and taught. Christ's Gospel stands by itself, without parallel and exclusive of all other messages -- however cogent and attractive they may seem. The Good News of salvation comes from and points to Christ. Just as there is one Savior, so there is only one Gospel (Galatians 2:5; Galatians 2:14). May Your precious Word, O Lord, be taught in all truth and purity so that we may receive Your divine blessing. Amen."

"Is it just me or is it odd that we have to qualify Lutheran with Confessional? And evangelical would seem an odd qualifier as well. For what is a Lutheran but one who preaches and teaches in accord with the Book of Concord? If you are not preaching and teaching in accord with the Book of Concord how can you call yourself Lutheran? I guess that would make you a Cafeteria Lutheran, to borrow a term. Preaching and teaching according to your own fancy...I think St. Paul had something to say about that....'There will come a time when men will not put up with sound doctrine, but gather teachers to say what they want to hear.' And to think I sat down to post just that first question." *- Pastor Gary Hall

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

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed a balanced spiritual diet this morning so I hope you're full and wide awake and ready to face the day.

Grace and peace to you and yours!

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


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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