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What Luther Says

VIDEO: 'The Narrow Lutheran Middle' By Rev. Daniel M. Deutschlander

As I was cleaning up my laptop and working my way through some pages I bookmarked awhile ago, next in line was a link to purchase a certain Lutheran book.

It's a book that's published by Northwestern Publishing House (which is the WELS Publishing Ministry like Concordia Publishing House is for the LCMS) titled The Narrow Lutheran Middle: Following The Scriptural Road written by Rev. Professor Daniel M. Deutschlander.

Here's the description of this book from the website...

While reading the Bible, many people make the mistake of favoring one teaching over another. In this book in the Impact Series, the author examines a number of seemingly contradictory teachings in the Bible and shows us how to apply them to our lives by letting each teaching stand alone, without trying to resolve them. Some topics covered in this book include the right and wrong uses of reason in religion; predestination, God's providence, and human responsibility; doubt and presumption; carnal security and despair; God's will and human will; royal priesthood of believers and public ministry; the Great Commission and the doctrine of election; and finding the middle in worship wars. Professor Deutschlander plumbs the depths of Scripture as he examines these timely topics, all the while showing the reader the "narrow Lutheran middle" of Scripture.

Clearly, it sounds like a book that would interest any Confessional Lutheran so I did a little more research and discovered that the author gave a 45-minute presentation (20-minute Q&A after) on his book that you can find on YouTube, which is definitely worth sharing.

"The Narrow Lutheran Middle" Presentation 

If nothing else, I hope that provided you with a good way to spend an hour of your weekend.

Here are some of the notes I took while listening to that lecture...

-- His heart for feeding Christ's sheep faithfully (particularly his students over the years) is clearly evident from the first words that came out of his mouth and it was refreshing to hear that this is what drove and motivated him to finally write this book 
-- I absolutely loved this quote: "There's an on-going and perverse tendency to want to help God out by correcting His Word by emphasizing some of it at the expense of the rest. People just automatically want to do that." 
-- "Peter is the Patron Saint of those who want to give advice to God." 
-- "All the feel-good sects navel gaze. Don't navel gaze! Joel Osteen comes to mind. 'Well, the Bible says that God wants us to be happy!' And so, you take off with that as the 'be all' and 'end all' of what the Bible has to say. Well, the Bible tells us to be happy...but it always tells us to be happy in the context of God delivering us from suffering. It always tells us that in the context of 'bearing the cross.'" 
-- "God's Word always gets everything right in our best interest." 
-- "The devil's goal with introducing false doctrine is always to lead us away from Christ to either self-righteousness or to despair. That's always his goal." 
-- "There's no such thing as a little or insignificant false doctrine. God always takes His Word seriously whether we do or not." 
-- The story he tells about the eyebrow-raising experience he had at one Lutheran Seminary that was teaching that Moses was not the author of the first five Books of the Bible is emblematic of why a book like this is so necessary. 
-- On the Sacraments: "It's not an 'interpretation' it's just repeating what the Bible says!" 
-- "All false doctrines have these three characteristics: (1) they contradict the Scriptures; (2) they rob Christ of His glory; and (3) they rob the penitent Christian of all comfort." 
-- "We are never at the point where we don't need the Bible anymore." 
-- "The goal of every generation is to cling to the Scriptures and to see Christ on every page." 
-- "The 'Narrow Lutheran Middle' is understanding the distinction between Law and Gospel and understanding that Christ is at the center of the Scriptures." 
-- I loved his explanation of the importance of Pastors understanding Greek and Hebrew (and the color, flavor, and nuances in the Biblical languages) in comparison to how most Christians read and understand the Word of God today during the Q&A Session at the end. 
-- His final words to close the presentation on the Office of the Holy Ministry were absolutely beautiful!

There's a lot more I wanted to share, but I didn't want to ruin it for you.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, we need to remember that God is serious, His Word is serious, and we need to always take into account "the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27) rather than cherry-picking the parts we like while ignoring the parts we don't like so much.

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. 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 repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) 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!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, 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 they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I 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 footnotes 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 both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). 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 "Christian 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. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. 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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