Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane (Saturday 2/7/15)

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): Feast your eyes and ears on the "Metal Alphabet" this morning!



8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS):
So I saw something titled "Religious Masquerade" from a very creatively named non-Lutheran Christian blog ("Broken Is Not My Address Anymore") caught my eye yesterday after seeing some acquaintances referencing it on Twitter. So, even though I've tried to be very careful about reading non-Lutheran material (not in any kind of "snobbish" way, but only because I'm still trying to "unlearn" everything I learned when I was just a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only"), I took the plunge and checked it out. Boy, am I glad I did! Here's a brief highlight: "Yes, Jesus was a part of conversations...but our behavior, our performance, the ways we were serving Him, the amount time we were spending in prayer and quiet time, the big things we were going to do for Him, not His sacrifice, became the meat of our conversations. Behind closed doors, I was falling apart. I knew I was a total phony. I knew I wasn't living up to the requirements. The guilt and shame were debilitating. My perception, though, was that if I didn't present a certain image to the world that I would 'ruin my witness', cause others to stumble, my daughter and I would get kicked out of the place that was going to make me better if I could just try harder, and that eventually I would lose all the friends I made there. But God, in his grace and mercy, started pulling the masks off." Please note, however, that I absolutely hate the fact that the author uses The Message paraphrase of the Bible whenever she quotes Scripture to make a point. This is problematic for several reasons and some of you know the history I've had trying to battle that one and expose why it's dangerous. So, for what it's worth, please don't take my inclusion of her commentary here as some kind of "tacit approval" or outright "endorsement" of all the rest of her work, because this is the only thing I've ever read by here. Bottom line? I thought it was an excellent criticism of all the things we've been writing about lately and that it confessed pure Gospel truth and that's why I decided to include it in this week's edition of Lutherandom Musings. Enjoy!




9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): 
We really can't keep talking about this enough, because if false doctrine is tolerated and allowed to co-exist with the truth even after it's been clearly identified, then we're talking about souls potentially being at stake for all of eternity. This from Dr. Robert Preus: "Questions still arise regarding the extent of confessional subscription, and one occasionally hears theologians asking whether we are bound to the belief in the perpetual virginity of Mary or to the judgment that the papacy is the Antichrist or to the number of sacraments listed in our symbols, etc. Often this sort of picayunish discussion and complaint is quite beside the point and represents only a subterfuge which serves to hide deeper misgivings concerning the theology of the confessions. Today, I am convinced, the confessional problem among Lutherans does not lie primarily in the extent of confessional subscription, or even in the theology of the confessions. After all, the Lutheran symbols can be used as a waxen nose (just like Scripture) and turned to suit the fancy of liberal theologians who find themselves in territorial churches or synods which still give some sort of formal status to the symbols. No, the problem facing us today, as Peter Brumer implies,:' is whether a person can be loyal to any confession or creed at all, whether theologians who have abandoned the authority of holy Scripture can have confessions any longer, whether modern latitudinarianism and indifferentism so rampant in practically all synods and church bodies today is at all compatible with confessionalism. In short, the issue is with the very nature of confessionalism, with the spirit of confessional subscription, with the very possibility of subscription at all."



9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): Colossians 1:22 (ESV) "he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him," Here's what my Lutheran Study Bible has to say about this single verse from a passage of the text that deals primarily with the preeminence of Christ: "The past tense ('reconciled') indicates that this reconciliation is completed in Christ's work. Reconciliation is not something Christ has started and we need to complete. The false teachers taught that salvation came through knowledge. Paul emphasized that salvation came from God specifically through the incarnation, through Jesus' physical life and death (1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 4:2). 'Above reproach' means unaccused, free of charges. Paul has in mind the whole picture of life with God: our justification (declared righteousness, forgiveness; Romans 3:23-26), our baptismal life on earth (sanctification; Romans 6-7), and our ultimate glorification (life in heaven; Romans 8)."

10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): So here's something that has challenged me ever since I read it. We receive an excellent reminder from Rev. Eric J. Brown's "Christians Are To Be Lousy Tacticians" where he writes: "When it comes to fighting, Christians are to be lousy tacticians. I mean, let's say I have an enemy. My old sinful flesh knows how to handle this. If you can, simple overwhelming force is the best -- just force them into submission, where they acknowledge your superiority. Mental, Professional, Superior Office -- whatever. Just silence them. And if that option isn't available, my old sinful flesh knows the next option. Outflank them. Attack obliquely. Don't deal with them directly, but attack the sides. Tar them a bit. Insult them to the people who know them, or even those who they might come across. Wear down their power base, their support structure. And of course, tactics are all about deception. So my old sinful flesh knows what to do. Make mountains out of molehills (all in the name of the 'truth'). Pull things out of context and harp on them. Even, if it will hold, outright lie. That is how one wins a fight, at least according to the ways of the world. Yet that is not what we are instructed to do in the Scriptures. Christ tells us to love our enemies and do good to them. We get the same thing from Paul. We see David doing the same thing to Saul when God gives Saul over unto David's hand. No, when it comes to 'fighting' -- to dealing with one's enemies, Christians are to serve them, endure up under them, show mercy, forgive them. Yes - be resolute. Yes -- maintain the truth. But still...show kindness and gentleness and self-control and all those other fruits of the Spirit unto them. But -- then again...what would I know? I'm an antinomian disdainer of virtue and sanctification, don't you know =o) Never dehumanize your opponent -- for to do so is a denial of Christ Jesus, the God who doesn't dehumanize but instead becomes Man to win forgiveness even for them by taking their sins up upon the Cross. There really are no enemies -- there are only those who tragically are still trapped in their sins. God be merciful to me, the sinner!"
 

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!

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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 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 sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction 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 mature spiritually (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!