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What Luther Says

'The 7 Habits Of Jesus' Book: Jesus Is Not Our 'Example' To Follow, But Our 'Gift' To Receive

I debated about whether or not I should write this.

After all, I'm trying to go about things much differently than I have only a few weeks ago after letting the teachings from the BJS "When Heterodoxy Hits Home" Conference sink in.

Then I read Pastor Todd Wilken's "The Not-So-Great Commission: When A disciple-Making Process Replaces Jesus' Authority Given To The Church To Forgive Sins -- Part One" and knew the time was right to add this personal and related commentary to the mix.

As Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller and others have often reminded us (and to paraphrase), "We don't go to church to learn how to be better 'Missionalists.' We go to church to receive God's gifts of forgiveness of sins."

I want you to please keep that at the forefront of your mind today as you continue reading this piece, because that's the heart of the issue. The sooner we can all find agreement on that point the better.

What do you do when an unrepentant close friend continues to approach you for your thoughts about his same sin when you feel you've already said all there is to say about it?

Well, for starters, you recall what we read in God's Word about forgiveness. Yeah, you'll find quite a bit in the "Good Book" about that.

What you don't do in such circumstances is equivocate from your original steadfast confession just because the guy is willing to talk about the same thing over and over again until you're both blue in the face.

Why? Well, let's be honest. It's one thing to talk and talk and talk about the same thing simply because you're desperately trying to understand it better and perhaps even work out your own feelings about it. That's good and noble and can lead to repentance, which is the intended goal.

But incessant talk about the very same thing spanning two full years without any evidence of repentance (or willingness to repent) is no good. I mean, what's the point? To "save face" with the person who lovingly confronted you about your sin maybe?

Besides, that kind of thing could also give the false impression that a person is, in fact, struggling with the sin and elicit compassion in the form of a "free pass" when nothing could be further from the truth and that person really needs compassion in the form of "tough love" instead.

You particularly don't equivocate when his sin involves a penchant for repeatedly selecting un-Biblical "Christian" bestsellers to teach at church as part of a multi-week small group series.

It's no surprise that I'm speaking from experience about someone in my life right now. The odd (and sad) thing is that this friend does this kind of thing repeatedly even though he always asks me for my opinion of a book, and then I give it to him straight, and he decides to proceed full steam ahead regardless of any heartfelt words of warning.

Case in point, it's been several months since I last heard from that dear friend of mine who I shared my concerns with about all the non-Lutheran and outright false doctrines being believed, taught, and confessed at our church.

You'll recall that he was the one who then told me -- in no uncertain terms -- that if my family and I were actually thinking about finding a new church because we weren't being fed what we needed, then perhaps that's exactly what we should do since he didn't agree with me about the problems I tried to call his attention to, and he didn't think anyone else at our church would agree with me either.

The irony being that he is an influential and prominent "leader" within the church and day school who's tasked with "Religious Instruction" at both places and he's constantly encouraging everyone to come to him with ideas for new "fellowship groups" and "small groups" that we think we and others from within both communities might benefit from.

The greater irony is that both communities are always harping on "discipleship" and being "missional" all the time although that doesn't seem to apply to people who are already Christians who want to learn more about their God, their Savior, their Bible, their Confessions, their Church, and their faith . 

So here we are.

Sure enough, only a week or two after we wrapped up our close look at all the lectures from the BJS "When Heterodoxy Hits Home" Conference, it's deeply personal affect on me, and how laymen like me should respond to false teachers, false doctrine, and those who do nothing even when confronted with the truth about it's existence and presence in their midst, I find myself coming face-to-face, yet again, with this man who I'm starting to think is only interested in causing division as opposed to achieving any real state of unity (Romans 16:17-18; 1 Timothy 6) in "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3), especially given our long history and his persistent refusal to repent of his false beliefs and false teaching.

I fully recognize how that probably isn't putting the best construction on things so let me see if I can attempt to look at this from another angle.

Perhaps my friend's conflicted. Perhaps he knows I've been right in the past, and he understands I'm only concerned about the truth (let alone only concerned about his spiritual health and that of my other brothers and sisters in Christ there at church), but he's reluctant to admit it since it would involve actual repentance and a complete change in his life that he's not ready for.

I hope so. I really do. I can't be sure though. He says one thing and does another.

That's why it's with great angst that I received an email out of the blue from him a few nights ago (again, after several months without a single word from him following our last get together) asking me for my thoughts about a new Lutheran book that's out on the market, which he was very excited about since it looked very interesting.

The sad thing is that I could instantly tell by the title of the book alone (not to mention the endorsements from those within the ELCA) what this book was all about and why a Christian should just stay as far away from it as possible.

That's why I have to say that I too am conflicted.

Part of me wants to believe he's sincere about wanting to know my opinion, because he truly values it and his conscience is convicting him over the possibility of teaching yet another un-Biblical (and decidedly non-Lutheran) book at church.

The other part of me knows we've been down this road several times before in the past two years and that it always plays out this way. He reaches out, asks me for my opinion about a certain book, I give it to him straight like a close friend should, urge him to be careful and pick up something else like the Book of Concord, and he just ignores my comments and proceeds to teach it to the whole church as Biblical truth anyway (I suppose he thinks he's "preserved the peace" with me personally by doing things that way).

Let's remember what we highlighted a few days ago: "The idea that someone can be both intensely sincere *and* grievously wrong seems to have escaped modern Evanjellyfishdom."

I'm desperately trying to give him the benefit of the doubt by attempting to apply what I've learned in recent weeks. I really am, folks.

That's why my first step was to bring the subject up for discussion with other Confessional Lutherans who I trust (to make sure I'm not letting my past feelings get in the way and temper my response to him).

Here's what I wrote in a couple of "closed" (a.k.a. "private") Confessional Lutheran Groups on Facebook to help determine what my response should be...

I posted this in the Table Talk Radio group already, but would like some additional comments from all of you as I prayerfully consider crafting the proper response to my friend. So someone sent me an email asking me if I'm as excited as they are about a new "Lutheran" book called "The 7 Habits of Jesus" that we're all supposed to emulate to be "better" and "more authentic" Christians. It's just more of the "Jesus As Are Example To Follow" or "WWJD?" nonsense I think. I did a quick search and saw buzz words like "mission" and "relational" all over the place too and began to think "How Big A Missionalist Are Ya?" would've been a much more appropriate title. Anyone else encounter this one yet? Would love to get your thoughts so I can talk my friends out of doing ANOTHER "Christian" bestseller for their small group and to replace it with the Bible or Book of Concord instead. Thanks in advance for your time and help! Grace and peace to you and yours!

Keep in mind that we're talking about nearly two years of an unrepentant attitude toward believing and teaching false doctrine as Biblical truth.

In fact, he's even arrogantly proclaimed that false teachers and false doctrine doesn't really bother him all that much since he knows that God can still accomplish His plans and purposes in spite of it all and, therefore, we shouldn't get ourselves so worked up over it, especially since He allows for the existence of false teachers and the for the presence of false doctrine too, which means it must be somewhat ok.

Sorry, I'm getting sidetracked again. Anyway, the book I was referring to is this waste of paper...

The 7 Habits of Jesus 
Throughout the ages, Christians have participated in seven habits that were taught by Jesus, passed on to his own disciples, and given to us as a means to express Christ's presence in our daily lives. The 7 Habits of Jesus provides comprehensive and practical ways for Christians to live as disciples of Christ in the world today.

Lovely, huh?

My intention with writing a piece like this is to provide you with a valuable resource you can use to answer your family members, friends, co-workers and church should you find any of them taking an interest in this book.

With that in mind, this is what I sent back to my friend in response to his question...

Yes, I've heard of that book. I definitely suggest asking Pastor Krueger for his thoughts about it too. As for my thoughts, you may not like what I have to say about it, but since you specifically asked for my thoughts (and since I'm "Red, The Doctrinal Hound" which is the nickname you gave me) I'd be happy to share them with you. I just hope you won't get mad about what I have to say and please remember that I'm only telling you because you asked me about it. Please also know that despite my best efforts here, there's really no way I can share them with you without sounding a little "sarcastic" and "snarky" at times. I only mention that b/c I know that is something that bothers you about my emails whenever we engage in discussions like this. But it's only that way because I need to make sure I emphasize the serious problem with a book like this. 
In short, while the book does not deny the atonement it does nothing to really affirm it either. What I mean is that this is always the main problem with seeing Jesus primarily as an "example" for us to emulate and follow. For starters, to suggest it's even possible for us to emulate/follow Him is silly and it's not at all what we believe, teach, and confess. More importantly, Jesus as an "example" doesn’t save anybody, because He's no better than any of the prophets, apostles, and/or saints who also set a good example for us. As you know, according to Jesus Himself, we need a righteousness greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees; we are to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect (Matthew 5). The Law does what it's supposed to and it reveals that we can never achieve that though. Sure, Jesus can demonstrate this to us, but we cannot ever hope to follow or fulfill that requirement, which is why the "What Would Jesus Do? (WWJD?)" stuff is so un-Biblical when you get right down to it. With Jesus simply as an "example" for us, we are left dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2), and the Christian life becomes about our good works done in His name (even if we convince ourselves that we're doing them to "honor Him") and done as some sort of mark or qualifier of a "True Disciple of Jesus" or something that can benefit us. It shouldn't be "YOU/ME/US For Christ!" but "CHRIST For You/Me/Us!" instead. Yes, good works will be a part of a Christian's life, but the minute we start recognizing them as such and focusing on them is precisely the point where they become a stumbling block to us. We shouldn't put our trust in any of our good works for anything (Matthew 7). 
Even if we were to concede that such a thing is quite possible for us to obtain in this life (i.e., following Jesus' example and being able to live like He did), we need to stop and think about what we're really saying. Here's the "sarcastic" and "snarky" part although it's completely warranted given this assertion that we can hope to live like Jesus lived in this life by somehow modeling our behavior and habits after His own. What are the "7 Habits of Jesus" or the "7 Habits" of a "Highly Effective Savior" to put it another way? I can guess that they probably should include these things (since these should be the 7 most important anyway)...

1. Leave Heaven

2. Be born of a virgin

3. Live perfectly and without sin

4. Suffer and die even though You are completely innocent

5. Redeem the world

6. Ascend to Heaven

7. Return one day to take believers to Heaven

Man, I failed every single one of those! That's why I prefer His way of being effective on my behalf rather than being taught and told that I need to emulate the Lord and Savior Himself or Someone who I could never live up to even on the very best day of my entire life. I could have a day where I love my neighbor the most I ever have, and where I do so many good works in Jesus' name too, but it still doesn't make me any more righteous, or a "truer" disciple, or even closer to being like Jesus either (Isaiah 64:6). 
See, so the problem with books and teachings like this is that it clearly demonstrates that the proponents of such a belief system have Jesus, but they have no Christ. That is to say, they sound just like those in Matthew 7:21-23. In my humble opinion, it's just another prime example that just because something says it's "Lutheran" doesn't mean that it actually is. To be more direct about it, this book is sort of like the so-called "Lutheran" version of "Crazy Love" and/or "Radical" and/or "Not A Fan" even. 
The book's claims are odd too. I mean, the website says that Christians have participated in these "7 Habits" for centuries, but the book offers practical ways to live in discipleship to others. Why? If we perform them already (without even knowing what these 7 things are), then why do we need to buy this book? Obviously, we don't. The authors are simply trying to cash in by appealing to every Christian's desire to want to please God and to want to find assurance in the things they do in His name. 
Plus, and this is no "small" or "irrelevant" matter either, but the author of the book was embroiled in quite the controversy within the LCMS in recent years when he was a missionary in Africa so I'm not so sure I'd feel comfortable/safe accepting anything he's putting out there as "Biblical truth" or "Lutheran" not to mention all the ELCA Pastors who are included as those who endorse this book (one's married to a woman pastor and another is a woman pastor herself!). They're supposedly going to teach us what the Bible has to say about this topic when they regularly and proudly ignore so much of Scripture already? Sorry, but I'd pass for those reasons alone. 
Still, this whole "What Would Jesus Do?" or even "What Did Jesus Do?" misses the point entirely. It's not about getting us to be more like Him (because we can't!), but about getting us to be grateful/thankful about all He did and does that we could never ever possibly do on our own (now that is something we can do!). One way of thinking is dominated by the Law and works, the other way of thinking is dominated by the Gospel and grace. 
Reminds me of a story. I once heard the story that Lutheran Professor Gerhard Forde in his old age came up to a young man on the campus of Luther Seminary. The young man was wearing a "WWJD?" bracelet. Forde looked at him and said, "I'll tell you what Jesus would do. HE WOULD DIE." I have always loved that story! That's the point though -- we should be cross focused and recognize the "It is finished" words of Christ rather than give in to the thinking that we can be like Him and do what He did (who among us can die on the cross for the salvation of the world?). Why isn't it enough to just accept what Jesus did and to accept the vocations He's given us in life? 
By the same token, once you go down a road like this then you also have to acknowledge that a fair and legitimate answer to the question "What Are The 7 Habits of Jesus?" for us to try and follow (if we're going to believe that we can) would be to display righteous anger toward the unrepentant false teachers and their false doctrines whenever we encounter them. Let's not forget that He made a whip and flipped tables when He wasn't sarcastically confronting them with His condemning words in public. Yet, how many people who read that book are ever ok with doing that? How many would ever recognize that sometimes that's a necessary reaction and response? So then it becomes about picking-and-choosing the "habits" of Jesus that YOU want to follow while ignoring others. Shouldn't we try to follow His example in EVERY SINGLE WAY if we're going to accept a book that proposes that we can and should try to follow His example because it's possible to actually do so? 
The problem is that a book like that one is certainly more "Evangelical" than it is "Lutheran" despite the claims to the contrary. In American Evangelicalism, seeing Jesus Christ as our "example" is everywhere! Again, "WWJD?" Jesus Christ: Is He our "example" or our "gift"? The difference is paramount! The cross is our pattern for living! And yet, all we hear instead over-and-over again is that "Jesus has the tools for us to live our best life now!" and "Jesus is the ultimate life-coach!" and "Jesus is my BFF!" and "Jesus' message for a better career/marriage/sex life today!" I could go on and on, but you get the picture. 
The interesting thing is that viewing Jesus primarily as our "example" is nothing new. In fact, this is one way that North American Christianity is failing to clearly see the Gospel just like the church of the past. In other words, North American Christianity is finding itself becoming more and more like the church of the late Middle Ages as it misses the chief article and foundation of the Gospel...that Jesus is not primarily our "example" but primarily our "gift" instead. To reiterate, the differences between "example" and "gift" are profound! Not only are they profoundly different, but seeing Jesus primarily as our "gift" rather than our "example" brings faith, assurance, rest, peace and hope to our tired souls. It does to mine. Enjoy Jesus Christ as your "gift" today, He is YOUR/MY/OUR "gift" in the Word and Sacraments and forget about Him as an "example" for you/me/us. 
Anyway, those are my thoughts on that book, for what it's worth, and since you asked me about it. It's probably WAY MORE than you were looking for, but I hope you can see by the time I took to write this in-depth response that I care deeply about the truth and about my family members and friends, and I don't want to see them (you) deceived by sweet sounding half-truths and outright lies that tickle the ears (2 Timothy 4:1-5). I hope it was somewhat helpful to you. 
I still think that you'd find using the Book of Concord for a small group study on the Ten Commandments, the Small Catechism, the Large Catechism, and/or the Lord's Prayer extremely edifying and fascinating. 
Grace And Peace, Jeff

Friends, if you recognize something you shared with me on Facebook in response to my inquiry, then THANK YOU for helping me to put together that response. I really appreciate it. Please note that I also took bits and pieces from a couple of sermons I found too (they're cited below).

There's so much more I could write about this topic, but I think I prefer to end with this excellent commentary by Pastor Matt Richard from back in 2011.

Christ: Our Example Or Our Gift? The Difference Is Paramount! 
In American Evangelicalism, seeing Christ as our example is everywhere. WWJD? The Cross is our pattern for living! Jesus has the tools for us to live our best life now. Jesus is the ultimate life-coach. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The interesting thing is that viewing Jesus primarily as our example is nothing new. In fact, this is one way that North American Christianity is failing to clearly see the gospel just like the church of the past. In other words, North American Christianity is finding itself becoming more and more like the church of the late middle ages as it misses the chief article and foundation of the gospel... that Jesus is not primarily our example but primarily our gift. The differences between example and gift are paramount! Not only are they profoundly different, but seeing Jesus primarily as our gift rather than our example brings faith, assurance, rest, peace and hope to our tired souls. 
Below are some comments on this subject from the good doctor, Martin Luther. They were written in 1521 A.D. Enjoy Christ as your gift today, He is your gift in the Word and Sacraments.

"Be sure, moreover, that you do not make Christ into a Moses, as if Christ did nothing more than teach and provide examples as the other saints do, as if the gospel were simply a textbook of teachings or laws. Therefore, you should grasp Christ, his words, works, and sufferings, in a twofold manner. First, as an example that is presented to you, which you should follow and imitate... However, this is the smallest part of the gospel, on the basis of which it cannot yet even be called gospel. For on this level Christ is of no more help to you than some other saint. His life remains his own and does not as yet contribute anything to you. In short this mode [of understanding Christ as simply an example] does not make Christians but only hypocrites. You must grasp Christ at a much higher level. Even though this higher level has for a long time been the very best, the preaching of it has been something rare. The chief article and foundation of the gospel is that before you take Christ as an example, you accept and recognize him as a gift, as a present that God has given you and that is your own. This means that when you see or hear of Christ doing or suffering something, you do not doubt that Christ himself, with his deeds and sufferings, belongs to you. On this you may depend as surely as if you had done it yourself; indeed as if you were Christ himself. See, this is what it means to have a proper grasp of the gospel, that is, of the overwhelming goodness of God, which neither prophet, nor apostle, nor angel was ever able fully to express and which no heart could adequately fathom or marvel at. This is the great fire of the love of God for us, whereby the heart and conscience become happy, secure, and content. That is what preaching the Christian faith means..." "Therefore make note of this, that Christ as gift nourishes your faith and makes you a Christian. But Christ as an example exercises your works. These do not make you a Christian. Actually they come forth from you because you have already been made a Christian. As widely as a gift differs from an example, so widely does faith differ from works, for faith possesses nothing of its own in them, yet they should not belong to you but to your neighbor." "So you see that the gospel is really not a book of laws and commandments which requires deeds of us, but a book of divine promises in which God promises, offers and gives us all his possessions and benefits in Christ. " 
Taken From: Martin Luther, Luther's Works: Volume 35 (Concordia Publishing, 1955-1986), 119-120.

That's such an important reality for us to not only grasp, but to also fully understand.

As Luther said in the quote above, "this mode [of understanding Christ as simply an example] does not make Christians but only hypocrites. ... But Christ as an example exercises your works. ... These do not make you a Christian."

It's true, and yet, so much of the preaching and teaching in our churches today is about how we need to "Do More! Be Better! Be Like Jesus!"

Perhaps this sermon excerpt from Pastor Matt Richard will help to underscore things and put an exclamation point on the whole subject...

It would be easy for us to come down hard on the disciples here but what we realize in this text is that Jesus doesn’t rebuke them. He doesn’t condemn their request. You see their request for glory with Jesus springs forth from faith. They realized that glory was attached to Jesus and this is a good thing. It is a good thing that they want to be on Jesus’ right and left, is it not? For us today, it is also good for us to want to be with Jesus. It is good when we want to be with Jesus in His adoration, fame, honor and splendor rather than finding glory in ourselves and the things of this life. It is a good thing for us to want to rub against Jesus in His glory. The problem is not that the disciples sought glory from Jesus, the problem is that their motives and their understanding of glory needed to be purified; it needed to be refined. I believe that the same is true for us today. 
Several years ago I attended a worship service here in Richland County and the Pastor preached on Jesus’s glorious cross. He talked about what Jesus did for us on the cross, how the cross is a glorious thing. However, the Pastor then shared with the congregation that the cross was a “glorious example” for us to follow. He shared that the cross is our “model” for how we are to live. If we wanted to walk like Jesus, then we needed to follow the glorious pattern of the cross. Is this a good thing? I would have to say yes. It is a good thing to appeal to the cross. It is a good thing to point people to Jesus. The problem with this is that we do not understand things correctly when we attempt to live like Jesus. You see the disciples they wanted to sit with Jesus at His right and left in glory. This is good; nothing wrong with this. However, Jesus challenges them and says, “you do not know what you are asking.” In other words, they didn’t understand what it meant for Jesus to obtain glory. They were ignorant of what their request involved. They didn’t understand the real kingdom that Jesus was building. They wanted glory but didn’t understand the pain that Christ was about to go through. Jesus corrects them and asks them, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized.” Now, this isn’t merely drinking a strong cup of coffee or getting a little wet. The phrase “drinking the cup” was a phrase that communicated pain and suffering. When Jesus talked about “baptism” here He is not referring to water over the head, rather He is talking about being submerged in death. In other words, He is asking James and John if they would be able to go through suffering and death as He was about to. Therefore, when we try to live like Jesus or appeal to the cross as a model of how to live are we really able to drink the cup that Jesus drank, are we able to be baptized in the baptism of suffering that Jesus endured? The way to glory is not through victory in following a pattern or modeling Jesus my friends. Jesus points out to James and John that the way to glory and greatness is not through overthrowing the Roman Empire and being in victory. Rather, the way to glory is through the cross, through suffering and through humiliation. The kingdom of God is not like the ways of this world.

I hope you can see why this is no small difference (Jesus As An "Example" For Us vs. Jesus As A "Gift" For Us). Essentially, one is Law and one is Gospel.

I also hope you can see why this specific book concerns me and why I don't believe it's accurate to call this a faithful "Lutheran" body of work at all.

In fact, one LCMS Pastor did some research for me, and he revealed something quite disturbing, which is also a matter of public knowledge I'm told (so you can hold your charges of me breaking Matthew 18 and/or the 8th Commandment).

The biographical note on Amazon says the author was a missionary in Kenya for two decades. If it is the same person whose name I heard mentioned many times, he was a rival to my predecessor and led a congregational revolt during which all the Lutheran hymnals were hijacked and burned on Ngong Road in Nairobi. Afterwards a praise band was introduced. I have sent an inquiry to see if it is the same man but pretty sure.

Lord, have mercy!

See, this is why we must be much more discerning about things.

There's really no excuse either. I mean, anyone can find out all they need to know from a basic 5-minute Google search.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, no, Jesus is not our "example" to follow, but He's our "gift" to receive.

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.

1 comment

  1. For the record, the comment towards the end of this piece about the author of that book being embroiled in controversy within the LCMS in recent years is accurate. Here's what Rev. James May shared with me publicly...

    Author of "7 Habits of Jesus" Book:
    James E May Jr -- Dr. Anssi Simojoki confirmed it is the same man who divided the Lutheran Church in Nairobi and burned all the hymnals. He also said Schmalzle is "An extremely slicky pretender." Next question is, why is Rev. Gregory S. Walton (President Florida-Georgia District, LCMS) giving credence to the man and the book?

    A perfect example about why discernment is so important.

    Grace And Peace,


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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