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What Luther Says

Henry Volk: 'I Was A Stranger In A Strange Land -- A Pentecostal In A LCMS Parish On A Sunday Morning'

I remember the fierce resistance I had to any talk of "experience" from Christians.

That's probably because whenever 99% of the Christian Church mentions "experience" it's usually in the "mystical" or "I-Know-God-Is-Real-And-That-He-Approved-Of-My-Decision-Because-I-Not-Only-Kept-Feeling-Him-Tugging-On-My-Heartstrings-But-Because-He-Also-Gave-Me-A-Sign-Too!" sort of way.

Recently, we shared an experience of another kind. It's not the kind of mystical mumbo-jumbo we're accustomed to, but the kind that merely wants to tell the story of how the Lord lovingly convicted a particular individual regarding their sin of believing, confessing, and practicing false doctrine to the point where it led to repentance and, ultimately, a return to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3), or to historical, orthodox Christianity (a.k.a. the kind the apostles believed, confessed, and practiced and the kind that we Confessional Lutherans believe, teach, and confess today -- or should).

Those are the only kinds of Christian "experiences" I care to promote here nowadays, because I know there are others out there who are desperately wanting to know that they're not alone in their struggle as they are led by the Lord through the various stages from a false confession of faith to a true confession of faith (I know I certainly craved reading about others who had gone through -- or were still going through -- all the same things I was experiencing, feeling, and thinking during my conversion from American Evangelicalism, or "Pop Christianity," to Confessional Lutheranism).

Today, I'd like to share Henry Volk's (not sure if that's his real name or not) story of being a Pentecostal to becoming a Lutheran.

A Stranger In A Strange Land 
Having been raised a Traditional Pentecostal in a strong Pentecostal home; I was reared to respect the Word of God and to Love Christ. However, in my study of the Scriptures and Church history I found contradictions between the Word of God and the pop trends of modern Christianity. This lead to my discovery of Confessional Lutheranism. Christianity desperately needs to rediscover the timeless truths of historic Christianity as taught by the Apostles, Church Fathers, and Early Reformers. Like in the days before the Protestant Reformation, Christianity today is infected with hordes of moneygrubbing charlatans who twist God’s Holy Word and teach dangerously false doctrines. The Apostle Peter warned us of these false prophets. He said, “…there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them…” (II Peter 2:1, ESV). In these perilous times we as God’s children desperately need the gift of discernment to be able to distinguish true and false doctrine. This discernment only comes through knowing God’s Word, rightly divided. I would hope that everyone who happens upon the Luthercostal blog would be edified, informed, and ultimately assured of the timeless truth of God’s Holy Word. Henry admins the Luthercostal blog and is a contributor and co-admin of the Angel Repair Juice blog. 
[Continue Reading...]

Like I said last time, yes, there was once a time when I thought that any and all denominations were the "problem" and that to be a "true" Christian I had to distance myself from them.

Wanna know the problem with that sort of thinking? Tragically, I ended up distancing myself from thousands of years of church history that was actually quite orthodox in its preaching and teaching! Remember, Jude 1:3? Yeah, well, I definitely didn't for many years.

I don't know Henry outside of interacting with his comments periodically in various Lutheran Groups on Facebook from time-to-time, but I do know now that we think alike particularly because we have such similar backgrounds as far as the manner in which we both become Confessional Lutherans and why.

Please be sure to join me in not only thanking him for putting himself out there so publicly, but for starting a blog and for writing an eye-opening like that, which I'm sure has helped (and will continue to help) many other Christians in similar journeys (John 6:44).

If nothing else, that piece clearly demonstrates why our confession matters. As one Pastor noted on the importance of having an actual confession: "The Lutheran Confessions. A public witness to the world of our Biblical proclamation and faith. ... We need the Lutheran Confessions because a 'Theology of Experience' is not easily transferable." Please prayerfully consider the continuation of those thoughts.

By the way, be sure to bookmark Henry's Luthercostal blog too (if you haven't already) and be edified by all that he's learning and eager to share about being a Christian (a.k.a. Lutheran).

In a Lutheran layman's terms, may stories like this one from "Henry" encourage us to pray for the grace to remain steadfast in our confession and that we would remember our vow to “continue steadfast in this confession and Church and to suffer all, even death, rather than fall away from it” (LSB 273).

I'm extremely grateful to God for other layman who are willing to put themselves out there and confess their failings and sins and what it was that led them to repentance before finally arriving at "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

Looking ahead to 2015, I hope to establish a more permanent residence upon the Wittenberg Trail after almost causing shipwreck to my faith (1 Timothy 1:19) from sailing the Works-Righteousness Waters of American Evangelicalism for far too long.

NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make, I'm also 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 inconsistent 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 Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. 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 I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. 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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