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What Luther Says

Last I Checked, Ephesians 4:15 Is Still In the Bible

Time to say it straight because last I checked, Ephesians 4:15 is still in the Bible.

Everyone wants to be liked. Unfortunately, that's not always possible, especially for us Christians.

Galatians 1:10 "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Yes, I'm afraid that sometimes "being a true friend" means being willing to have that difficult conversation with a loved one that no one else in their life is willing to have with them -- even when you know there's going to be a personal cost involved and that you'll likely be hated for it and forever branded as being "divisive to the body of Christ" and "unloving" too despite being mindful of the "log in your own eye" (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42) first before any discussions are had.

Truth is, it doesn't matter how "loving" you are when you go about such things, because trying "to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42) is delicate work and it will always be somewhat painful to him/her since the truth will hurt...like it's supposed to (when's the last time you got poked in the eye accidentally? it hurt really bad, didn't it?).

Don't forget, the "Old Adam" within us will ALWAYS seek to defend and preserve itself first before admitting that it was right for someone else to broach the subject with us in the first place. I get it, but it's still heartbreaking to go through such an experience, especially when you're immediately cast as "the bad guy" all the time too.

I mean, it's not that you just sit around all day waiting for an opportunity to play "Gotcha!" so you can point a finger at the faults and sins of a dear brother or sister in Christ. I'm a sinner in need of His saving grace on a daily basis too.

It's just bizarre though, because we all say we believe that the sin of believing false doctrine is responsible for damning a soul to hell, but then we never speak a single word against false doctrine when it's present in our lives (or the lives of those we love).

Worse, we don't even think it's possible for us to fall for false doctrine ourselves or that it's even that big a deal! Seriously? Boy, you'd have to ignore quite a bit of the New Testament to believe that.

Galatians 5:9 "A little leaven leavens the whole lump" right? Or 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 "For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized." Remember, even Proverbs 27:5-6 instructs us that "Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy."

Seems no one believes that anymore and so we "Go-Along-To-Get-Along" to preserve some façade of peace and unity. Unfortunately, peace and unity at the expense of Biblical truth (a.k.a. doctrine and practice) is not true peace and unity, my dear friends.

That's why I can relate to St. Paul sometimes.

Galatians 4:16
"Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?"

I'm certainly no St. Paul (except for the "wretched man that I am!" part in Romans 7:24), but I have often asked the same question myself. What was true back then is still true today.

In case anyone thinks that me writing this suggests that I think I'm somehow all "high and mighty" or "better than you" let me just say that I am forever grateful for those complete strangers who the Lord brought into my life who were willing to speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15) to me -- the cold, hard truth mind you -- at a time when my Christian family members and friends didn't care about me enough to do it themselves like they were expected to.

But I forgive them.

Besides, I can't help feeling like my sin of believing and spreading false doctrine was worse than their sin of inaction. James 3:1 "Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness."

Thankfully, I have repented of those sins and I have been forgiven and redeemed from being deceived (and from indirectly deceiving others despite my sincerity and good intentions).

Please understand that it's only because I know that it's quite possible for a Christian to be deceived about things (because I was that Christian!) that I sometimes reach out to those I care about. You don't have to take my word for it. Just take God at His Word.

2 Corinthians 11:3-4 "But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough."

Whether you love me and hate me for it, I will never apologize for loving you enough to be willing to have that difficult conversation that others want to avoid like the plague.

Why? I know the reality of Jesus' words when He said "and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).

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 Healthcare Recruiting Manager, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast in Buffalo, NY. 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." So if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, "Praise the Lord! Thanks be to God!" but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor at all times. Trust, but always verify. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this lengthy 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 9 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you're a Lifelong Lutheran who believes 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 so that I can also 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 B-A-S-I-C-S 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 more "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 demanding I correct them or take them down entirely, but because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing and sanctifying work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life from then until now (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 own 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 too 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 by that! 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 about all the things that I'm studying or thinking about myself at the moment instead. 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 where I've done all the research for you already to help save you valuable time). 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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