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What Luther Says

Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 11/22/14)

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): This video of an "emotional toddler" is way too cute for words! Enjoy!

When we think of coming to the end of our lives we often consider what our so-called legacy will be. This invariably tends to include all the successes in our life or all the things that we had done. Personally, I'm glad I just read Chad Bird's "Deathbed Defeats: Five Failures I Hope To Achieve Before I Die" for the proper Biblical perspective (and yes, that's "failures" not "successes"). This was an absolutely profound read for me. I hope it has the same impact when you read it yourself.

In this recent 30-minute episode of Issues, Etc., Pastor Todd Wilken talks with Pastor Matt Richard to discuss how and why we Lutherans distinctly hold to a confession that boldly proclaims that "The Cross Is Our Theology!" as often as we possibly can.

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Make sure you read "Deliver The Goods" from The Jagged Word that has this wonderful bit: "Many church workers are paralyzed with despair and confusion because they keep getting fed the malarkey that Christ exists to help us be better or help us do better. And the only way you know you’re actually doing better is by the number of people in your building, a big budget, and community recognition. Which brings me to what’s really eating at me today. When did the church stop trusting in the power and efficacy of God’s Word? And worse, when did pastors stop trusting in the performative power of God’s Word? We read over and over again in Scripture that the Word of God is powerful. In Hebrews 4:12 we read, 'For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.' And in Isaiah 55:10-11 we read, 'For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth, And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My Word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.' These and many other passages reflect the performative Word of God, which does exactly what it is supposed to accomplish. So why don’t pastors and churches believe this wholeheartedly anymore? Why adopt gimmicks and other nonsense as though God’s Word just isn’t enough? Gimmicks become a must when one doesn’t trust the proclamation of God’s Word. Whether preached, chanted, sang, spoken, or read aloud, more and more churches and pastors don’t trust that God is going to do something when His Word is proclaimed. Or more accurately, they don’t think God is going to do the thing that they want God to do (like increasing butts in pews and dollars in the offering plate). They forget that sometimes the result of God’s Word isn’t growth that can be measured, but rather spiritual growth and the nourishing and securing of the remnant of God’s people. Pastors and Churches that don’t trust the Word end up using stunts and ploys to transmogrify the bride of Christ." Pure Christian doctrine teaches emphatically that God will grow Christ's Church according to His perfect model, His perfect size, His perfect timing, and His perfect will.

Another theologically sound article from The Brothers of John The Steadfast this week, but this time one on Open/Closed Communion. Here's a small taste that will surely leave you wanting more: "Biblical revelation, the confessional witness, and historic evidence attest to the fact that Holy Communion is offered to those who are of the same confession of faith. This unity of faith is not based on a hasty exchange two minutes before the beginning of the Divine Service whereby people talk about what is in their hearts. We never, ever, look at or judge a person’s heart. And so in our discussion we don’t ask the individual what they believe in order to commune. We ask people what pulpits and altars they have joined themselves to for regular normal spiritual nourishment. It is loving and only reasonable to assume that people attend ELCA churches because they agree with and believe what is taught at ELCA pulpits and altars; that Methodist, Baptists, Catholics, etc., also believe what their pulpits and altars proclaim—after all, why else does one become a member of a particular church? I am aware that what has just been written is an assumption but it is a charitable assumption. To commune implies that all parties believe, teach, and confess the same doctrine. This unity in belief as a prerequisite for Communion admittance is not a Missouri Synod penchant. Doctrinal unity as a prerequisite for Communion attendance is taught from the Scriptures and in our Lutheran Confessions. Early Church Fathers taught this as well." You can read the rest HERE.

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: As you know, I am a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. 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 aren't that 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 commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, 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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