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What Luther Says

VIDEO: Has American Christianity Failed?

I just finished reading Rev. Bryan Wolfmueller's "Has American Christianity Failed?" which is definitely on my "One Book That Every Christian Must Read" list, but I'm not prepared to write a full blown Book Review just yet.

I will say that I loved Chapter 2's take on the "Spiritual, But Not Religious" crowd and their "Mute God" for sure.

Is this you? Yes, God speaks! "The Bible is this speaking of God." However, He only speaks to us today through His objective Word and Sacraments for you and for all mankind and not through our own subjective thoughts and feelings that change with the wind.

"'I'm spiritual, not religious.' This anti-creed of American culture is as close as it gets to a universal doctrine of our age. No doubt you've heard someone say it, or you've seen it on a bumper sticker. Everybody, apparently, wants to be spiritual, but no one wants to be religious. 
What is the difference? To be 'spiritual, not religious' is to have a god that doesn't talk. 
As soon as God opens His mouth, there is religion, doctrine, and assertions. As soon as God talks, there is truth, and the truth is always distinguished from error. The desire for spirituality without religion is the idolatrous longing of the sinful heart for a god that is mute. Conveniently for the spiritual-but-not-religious, if god is mute, then god doesn't say anything about what is right or wrong. The mute god of the spiritual-but-not-religious is very supportive, but it never tells me anything I don't know. It never tells me that something I am doing is wrong. It never tells me anything at all. The mute god makes no judgments, has no opinions, and its thoughts about right and wrong always match perfectly the judgments of the spiritual-but-not-religious person. The mute god will never interrupt my plans with its commands. 
The mute god is nice, and apparently this god is what you find at the end of every 'spiritual' path, no matter what kind of path it is. The mute god's chief concern is my happiness. 
The mute god has no commands, but neither does it have any promises. 
Spirituality without religion tries to free us from the Law and its condemnation, but in the end, it only mutes the Gospel. The Law cannot be silenced, but the Gospel can, and spirituality without religion silences the grace and kindness of God in Christ. It is impossible for sheep to hear a shepherd with no voice. 
Christians have a God who speaks. 
This is a fundamental truth: God talks. In doing so, He not only gives us truth, but He also gives us life." 
-- Chapter 2, pp. 38-39

With gems like that, it's tough for me to narrow down what to write about and what to leave left to be discovered by the future reader.

So, in the meantime, here's a good 30-minute discussion between Pastor Matt Richard and Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller about this exceptional book that you need to add to your bookshelf if you haven't already.

VIDEO: Has American Christianity Failed? 
This is a Google Hangout with the Task Force on Church Planting and the Revitalization of Churches for the North Dakota District. In this Hangout, Pastor Richard interviews Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller on his new book, "Has American Christianity Failed?"

I hope you will strongly consider getting your hands on this book as soon as possible.

Once you do, let me know what you think of it in the Comments Section below.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, "Has American Christianity Failed?" demonstrates that American Christianity is more "American" than "Christian" for sure, which is something we need to be on guard against. 

NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday 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 Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 4 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (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 not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, 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 heavily 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 will 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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