Showing posts from December, 2021

Gerhard: On Change and Ceremony

Building on the previous post from C.S. Lewis on Ceremony : " A faithful servant of the Church should not have such a desire for change to the point where he wants to change according to his own desires the usual church practice and ceremonies that have been accepted by a holy consensus of the Church. By such changes, all sorts of offenses and divisions can easily arise. Instead, he should above all else, keep the traditional salutary church practices." Johann Gerhard, Scholia Pietatis III:742

C S Lewis: On Ceremony

 "A celebrant approaching the altar, a princess led out by a king to dance a minuet, a general officer on a ceremonial parade, a major domo preceding the boar's head at the Christmas feast - all these wear unusual clothes and move with calculated dignity. This does not mean that they are vain, but that they are obedient; they are obeying the hoc age which presides over every solemnity. The modern habit of doing ceremonial things unceremoniously is no proof of humility ; rather it proves the offender's inability to forget himself in the rite, and his readiness to spoil for everyone else the proper pleasure of ritual." C. S. Lewis, Preface to Paradise Lost , Oxford, 1942, pg. 17

Koontz: Whether the Unvaccinated, Too, Can be Saved

"Soon the churches will be thronged or at least fuller than usual. As the people come into a sanctuary familiar or a little unfamiliar to them, ask yourself a few questions. What is the vaccination status of those people shuffling into unfamiliar pews? Have the college kids back in a church for the first time in months received their booster shots? Do these questions seem silly to you? They aren’t silly to many, including governments in Europe and Canada, not even to our own federal government, which speaks to the unvaccinated as if they are a class of demons destined to torture and to be tortured while the righteous vaccinated shall persevere through every trial . Such questions already shape policy in German Lutheran congregations now requiring one’s Covid-19 status to determine entry into the house of God (a policy commonly called 3G abbreviating the German words for “recovered,” “vaccinated,” and “tested”). That policy is recommended by the government and required by some con

Modern Baal worship


The Word joined to the Element becomes a Sacrament

The Birth of Christ - Lucas Cranach the Elder Augustine defined a sacrament as "the Word joined to the element" [1]. Using this definition, the Incarnation of our Lord at His birth can be rightly understood as a sacrament. "[T]he Word became flesh and dwelt among us" [2] in, with and through His human nature [3], since His incarnation in the womb of Mary, and on through eternity. And in these present times He still comes to us in, with and under the bread and wine in Holy Communion. God be praised. [1] “When the Word is joined to the element or natural substance, it becomes a Sacrament” - Augustine [2] "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" - Jn 1:16 [ESV] [3] "The entire fullness of divinity dwells in Christ... In, with, and through the human nature, Christ shows, uses, and acts on His divine power, glory and efficacy, as the soul does in the body and the fire in glowing iron." -FC SD VIII 64

Benjamin Franklin on Lutheran Pacifism

The Rev. Dr. Adam Koontz mentioned  Benjamin Franklin's letter to Peter Collinson regarding the immigration of German Lutherans to Pennsylvania, with applications to modern Lutheranism. The full letter is here . The relevant bit, highlights mine: I am perfectly of your mind, that measures of great Temper are necessary with the Germans: and am not without Apprehensions, that thro’ their indiscretion or Ours, or both, great disorders and inconveniences may one day arise among us; Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation, and as Ignorance is often attended with Credulity when Knavery would mislead it, and with Suspicion when Honesty would set it right; and as few of the English understand the German Language, and so cannot address them either from the Press or Pulpit, ’tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they once entertain. Their own Clergy have very little influence over the people; who seem to take an uncommon pleasure in

Yeah, no, I'm pretty sure He won't be saying that...

WELS' "Meditations" for November 20, 2021  More probable: "Well done, good and faithful servant! Enter into the joy of your Master" (Mt 25:21) Lenski: The slave is rewarded beyond all deserts. Being his master’s slave, he and all his labor and skill belonged to that master, thus also all the profits the slave might acquire. But this master is to be a picture of Christ with all his heavenly generosity. The single adverb, “Well!” i.e., “it is well,” is complete in itself, a judgment or a verdict. We might translate, “Fine!” or, “Excellent!” The same is true in regard to δοῦλε ἀγαθὲ καὶ πιστέ, which is an exclamation that is complete in itself. The adverb εὖ is a verdict on the work, the vocative a verdict on the worker, “Slave excellent and reliable!” and thus furnishing his master great satisfaction. No higher commendation can come to any believer from the lips of Jesus. This significant praise outranks all the flattery and the honor the world may bestow. Jesus h

The Magisterial and Ministerial Use of Reason

From the WELS daily devotion - November, 17, 2021 , highlight mine: At that time people will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. Mark 13:26,27 Jesus Return One of the remarkable promises Jesus made about the day he returns to judge this world is that when he returns, every eye will see him. How is that even possible? The Bible is very clear about how that is possible. It says that the angels will pick up all believers in Jesus on judgment day and take them to the very place that Jesus is returning. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live or precisely where Jesus chooses to return. God will use his angels to get you there.... Is that really what the passage says? Maybe we should compare to another translation. Here's the ESV: 24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give

I do. Every* Sunday

* well, every other Sunday. Unless it's the fifth Sunday of the month. Or it's Christmas or Easter. (WELS, lol)

Adiaphora in the Lutheran Confessions

  An excellent article from Rev. Mark Bestul.  Christian freedom voluntarily binds itself to serve good order, peace, patience for fellow Christians (and sister congregations!), and the like. We can’t decide adiaphora based on our genuine, heartfelt desire for “conversion” or “missions” because adiaphora do not convert and therefore ought not be added or discarded to attract the unconverted. To do this would be to declare that customs bring salvation and are no longer adiaphora. Instead, the discussion of adiaphora centers on Christian freedom serving good order, peace, confess ion within our beloved synod and reminding us of our connection to the church of all generations. Though the term “adiaphora” can sometimes bring heated discussion, the two extremes can be answered with true Lutheran joy. If someone says you must follow tradition, simply ask, “Will it gain me heaven?” That should quiet the legalism. However, if someone says, “Tradition and church custom? – matters of indiffere

Dr. MacPherson: In Defense of the Common Cup and Biblical Evangelism Techniques.

"As a pastor for example you are called to preach the gospel and administer the sacraments. Yes, we can take reasonable steps and be cautious, but at the same time our Lord used the common cup, He instituted the sacrament in that way, the one clear example we have that we know for sure - if there is more than one right way to do it, we know that at least that way is the right way because that is what our Lord did - I don't think that anyone should be hesitant then, to use the common cup. And if you want to look at scientific studies we can do that too... My question would always be at the end of the day are you making your decision based on the Scriptures, based on the long-standing historical confessions of your church and historic church practices, or are you feeling pressured because of earthly fears? Are you being coerced by the government or by neighbors and do what is supposedly seems loving in their eyes, in order to what, earn some kind of public relations campaign as

The Paradoxes of Lutheranism

Lutherans are highly conscious of sin...  ...without falling into moralism. Lutherans have a rich intellectual tradition...  ...while emphasizing limits on speculative reason Lutherans are skeptical of mystical emotionalism...  ...while having intense inner piety and worship centered in ineffable mysteries simil justus... peccator Hidden God ...  ...Visible God Law...  ...Gospel Perfectly free lord of all; subject to none....  ...perfectly dutiful servant to all; subject to all