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What Luther Says

ZITAT: 'Religion Does Not Exist So That I Can Feel Good About Myself'

Unless I'm way off base with my basic translating skills (and have completely forgotten how to perform an accurate Google search!), I believe the English word "quote" (used as a noun as in "a quote") is translated to "zitat" in German.

That will help to explain the strange "Z" word listed in the title of this post. 

That being said, I'm always keeping my eyes and ears open for good quotes of a distinctly "Lutheran" flavor that encourage prayerful consideration and a deeper study of God's Word, His Sacraments, Christ's Church, and our Lutheran Confessions of "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3).

Plus, it certainly helps me personally in my on-going journey away from American Evangelicalism toward being a steadfast Confessional Lutheran.
Here's the latest...

"[Dr. Oswald Hoffmann] commented that the modern generation is more concerned about physical healing than they are about the forgiveness of sins. He was speaking about the American fascination with the healing ministries of the TV evangelists and the fascination we have with our physical health. His critique would have been equally appropriate in explaining the conduct of the nine lepers who, in obeying Jesus by showing themselves to the priests, were really failing in a more important way by not recognizing who Jesus really was. The important thing about Christianity is not our physical and psychological well being, or even our religious state of mind. There is no reason that I must leave church in an improved state of mind or body. Religion does not exist so that I can feel good about myself. What Christianity does is tell me who Jesus is and that outside of Him there is nothing else I need to know. We love our church, our congregation, our district, our synod, and there is nothing wrong in loving ourselves. But what is central is that we love Jesus more than anything else. We recognize that the kingdom of God has come only in Him. When the Pharisees asked when the kingdom. of God was coming, Jesus responded that it was right in their midst. The kingdom of God is not found in the healing of our body or soul, it is found in Jesus alone." 
-- DPS, Collected Works, Vol. 1 

This is most certainly true.

That was from Dr. Oswald Hoffmann who was an American clergyman and broadcaster best known as a speaker for The Lutheran Hour, a long-running radio program affiliated with the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod.

Boy, he really picked up on something though, didn't he? I mean, nowadays, I know far too many Christians who feel this way about our shared faith.

However, it's never about "Your Best Life Now!" let alone all about your own personal emotional, mental, and/or physical health as if an absence or presence of such in your life is a "clear sign" of "God's favor" (or lack thereof) upon you.

Rather than regurgitate all that's been stated about this deadly serious topic once before, please take a few minutes to read "A Lutheran Layman's Perspective On Signs-And-Wonders Christians (a.k.a. 'Spiritual Elites' and 'Spiritual Narcissist')" and you'll begin to understand what Dr. Hoffmann was getting at with a quote like this. His words also got me thinking about religion and church in general. Is it really about meeting our "felt needs" or something much more?

That got me thinking about the importance of finding a local church that adheres to "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3) because it understands that "there is one body and one Spirit -- just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call -- one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all" (Ephesians 4:4-6). 
In a world where our life could end in death at any moment, give me a church that is interested in my soul. 
In a world where I'm beaten up daily by the devil, society all around me, and my own fallen, sinful flesh that constantly wars with the Spirit, give me a church that preaches the forgiveness of my sins from week-to-week. 
In a world where nothing is sacred and where we are all too smart for our own good, give me a church that offers me the fullness of the mystery of God's presence through His Word and Sacraments, which delivers to me the free gifts of His forgiveness and grace. 
In a world where we are entertaining ourselves to death, give me a church where I know what to expect and can look forward to the traditional Divine Liturgy and the ritualistic nature of the service from week to week. 
In a world where Christianity has sold out to culture and political correctness, give me a church that faithfully and properly distinguishes between Law and Gospel on a regular basis regardless of how popular it might be to modern man's ears. 
Yes, I realize that there is no "perfect" church, but give me one that offers me all those things rather than a constant message that proclaims "10 Steps To A Better FILL IN THE BLANK" and "Do! Do! Do!" as opposed to "Done! Done! Done!" through preaching about a formula for how to obtain health, wealth, and happiness all the time, and that will instantly become the church that me and my family will attend. 
Give me a church that's like that and it would be viewed as both a hospital for this sick sinner and a sanctuary for this redeemed saint. 
Jesus at the center and cross focused -- Christ died and resurrected for me, for you, and for the sins of all mankind! Give me a church that preaches that on a weekly basis. 
Give me a church that is exactly the kind of church that Christ intended for all His churches to be.

Yes, give me a church that reminds me of Christ's invitation and that simply bids me to "come and be satisfied!"

In a Lutheran layman's terms, if it's truly emotional reassurance you need for your conscience and physical health and nourishment for your soul that you seek, then you should desire nothing more than the Word of God preached into your ears and the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ put into your mouth, both for the forgiveness of sins and the strengthening of your faith.

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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