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What Luther Says

Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 1/24/15)

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 which include 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). For the most part, these will be things I either bookmarked, read, wrote down, and/or simply couldn't get to myself during the week. 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" when all we want is some "cartoons," right? Let's get the show started already, shall we?

8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): In case you missed my mention of this on my Facebook page, this is hands down my new favorite video! I can't tell you how many times I've watched this since discovering it. Need a laugh? Need to be cheered up for some reason? Then enjoy watching this cow dancing in a Mexican supermarket! The best part for me (besides the dance moves and that catchy tune, of course) is how oblivious the people are to this guy/gal! I mean, they just pass right by and don't even look at the dancing cow like this sort of thing is normal down there (maybe it is). Me? I would've stopped to watch. Enjoy the next 2 minutes, friends!

Because we live in a world where most self-identifying Lutherans are completely clueless about what's going on in their Synod (unless, of course, it somehow directly impacts them and their local church on a Sunday-to-Sunday level), I feel it's extremely important for us to stay on top of the current events taking place in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (LCMS) that do have a significant impact on all of us whether we acknowledge and realize it or not. Case in point, please familiarize yourself (and your fellow church members) with the truly sad case of one Rev. Dr. Matthew Becker and a complete lack of discipline and leadership within the North Dakota District. Trust me, you won't believe what you're reading because, as Pastor Joshua Sheer wrote, "This is sad, but shows how utterly broken the Synod is to handle even the most open and shut cases." Indeed. Lord, have mercy! Pray, pray, pray for repentance and restoration! In the meantime, if you'd like the full scope of this story, then read the following articles in order (thank Ann M Moe!): "Paging Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison..." AND "You Should Be Defrocked" AND "'It's Time' To Suspend Me From The Missouri Synod" which appropriately states "If Dr. Becker is not a false teacher, I am. Someone needs to bring charges against me. I openly invite it." This is what it's come to all throughout the LCMS. Sadly, my Eastern District is not the only one experiencing an attack by the wolves in sheep's clothing.

In light of the previous section about Rev. Becker and your likely feelings in response to it (if you're anything like me), I thought it would be helpful to read what Luther wrote in his Lectures On Galatians (Chapters 1-2 from 1535; Halle 8:1588) and found in my copy of The Church & The Office of The Ministry by C.F.W. Walther on Page 70. It comforts me to remember that we're not the first generation of Christians to experience this disturbing and heartbreaking scenarios. "Therefore, the Church is everywhere holy, even in places where it is rules by fanatics [Schwarmer] and factious spirits [Rottengeister], as long as they do not deny and reject the Word and the Sacraments altogether. For those who reject these things altogether are no longer church. But where the Word and Sacraments remain essentially, there also remains a holy Church. That is true even if Antichrist himself rules there, for he sits not in a devil's stable nor in a pigsty nor among crass infidels but in the most noble and holy place, namely, in the temple of God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). This shows definitely and clearly that the temple of God must be and remain, even if it is ruled by spiritual tyrants who have the upper hand and are raging in it. Everywhere, even among such tyrants, there are found such as rightly believe. Hence there is a brief and easy answer to the question [of Jerome]: The Church is found everywhere in the whole world if only the Gospel and the Sacraments are present. But the Jews, Turks, enthusiasts, factious spirits, and heretics are not the Church; rather, they deny and destroy these things [the Gospel and the Sacraments]."

9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Romans 16:17-18 (ESV) "17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites,f and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive." I felt it was fitting to take a quick look at these verses in light of current events within the LCMS right now (my goodness there are so many!). Here's what my Lutheran Study Bible has to say about this text: "Unnamed people divided the Church from within, probably along Jew/Gentile lines. No false teaching is acceptable for God's Church, whether it contradicts the Law or the Gospel. As in Galatians, believers are to reject any false teachings and refuse to associate with those who advocate them. Some have applied this to any and every different teaching, but here it refers specifically to issues that strike at the heart of the Gospel. Unlike Paul, false teachers snare hearers with false praise (1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 1 Thessalonians 2:3-6)." It also cites Ignatius of Antioch who wrote, "Some are in the habit of carrying about the name [of Jesus Christ] in wicked guile, while yet they practice things unworthy of God, whom you must flee as you would wild beasts" and Polycarp who wrote, "Let us be zealous in the pursuit of that which is good, keeping ourselves from causes of offence, from false brethren, and from those who in hypocrisy bear the name of the Lord, and draw away vain men into error."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): From a June 2013 photo and write-up by Rev. Todd Wilken: "That’s Dr. Matthew Becker. He is a rostered pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. The woman he is helping to install as pastor at the University chapel at Valparaiso University is Charlene M. Rachuy Cox. The officiant is Rev. William Gafkjen, bishop of the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. In addition to installing female pastors in unionistic worship services, Dr. Becker also enjoys denying the Biblical account of creation, advocating for the ordination of women in the LCMS, advocating for acceptance of homosexuality, and long walks at sunset. Somehow, Dr. Becker has come into possession of a letter. The letter was written by LCMS president Matthew Harrison to the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR), the theological think tank of the LCMS. Dr. Becker is circulating Harrison’s letter along with an email expressing his outrage that Harrison would presume to exercise his duties of ecclesiastical supervision. Read Dr. Becker’s email and Harrison’s letter here. Dr. Becker writes in his email: 'The CTCR has certainly not convinced me and many other synodical members that the contents of my dissent are contrary to the Word of God.' To paraphrase our Lord, If they will not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced, even by the CTCR." 

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: 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 with this note, 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). Most importantly, 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. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). 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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