Showing posts from January, 2022

Chrysostom on Romans 13: Office, not Individuals

"For there is no power, he says, but of God." (Romans 13:1) What say you? It may be said; is every ruler then elected by God? This I do not say, he answers. Nor am I now speaking about individual rulers, but about the thing in itself . For that there should be rulers, and some rule and others be ruled, and that all things should not just be carried on in one confusion, the people swaying like waves in this direction and that; this, I say, is the work of God's wisdom. Hence, he does not say, "for there is no ruler but of God;" but it is the thing he speaks of, and says, "there is no power but of God. And the powers that be, are ordained of God." Thus, when a certain wise man says, "It is by the Lord that a man is matched with a woman" (Proverbs 19:14, Septuagint), he means this, God made marriage, and not that it is He that joins together every man that comes to be with a woman. For we see many that come to be with one another for evil, even b

The Motley Magpie

 ...bringing out new treasures, as well as old... One of the unstated goals of this blog is to highlight Lutheran content and thought. To that end, the initial inspiration - indeed, the very name of the website - came from the Motley Magpie. The Magpie was a quarterly journal ran for three years by the Berg Brothers (John and Peter) and James Frey, who, at the inception of the Magpie, were all pastors in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. The Berg Brothers colloquialized with the LCMS, while Pr Frey remained in the WELS. The magpies published a total of twelve journals critical in many cases of the WELS and modern practices. The general themes revolved around communion, fellowship, liturgical practice and adiaphora, church growth, and the doctrine of the ministry. There are also a mix of sermons and guest articles. The website went dead many years ago, and most of the articles could be found via the WaybackMachine. The remaining articles were found via a request on a Lutheran fo

Inner Reflection in the Liturgy

Starting at T-8:52 from the end:  "I do not think it is possible in most American churches - because they have functioned as social clubs - but the reason that church really should just be - I will advocate the Anglican ideal, that Lutherans often aspire to but rarely achieve - which is the service is basically the same wherever you go, all the time - this is basically the same for Roman Catholics prior to the second Vatican Council. You can be quiet and peaceful even in a room with 250 other people when you all know what you are doing and are doing the same thing, and you don't have to think about it - you don't have to be self-conscious about it. The point of that focus on external conformity is to permit interiority, I didn't have to perform externally because I just do what I am supposed to do - whether I'm the priest or I'm attending or whoever I am, when the externalities are prescribed that permits interiority. I think that this is one of the basic mi

Wolfmueller on Preaching with Screens

"I've got to do some presentations coming up where I need a powerpoint so it automatically makes it for you but anyways you don't necessarily need that for the sermon. You guys shouldn't be preaching with screens anyways"

Safety as your primary value is not natural, it's not good, it's very unmanly...

  "Being alive entails risk. The concept of being safe as your primary value in daily life is not natural, it's not good, it's very unmanly in the sense that safety will not build strength: pain and sacrifice build strength of various kinds. Risk is necessary it is part of life.  Without sin we would still be risking ventures in taking dominion over the earth. There would be things that we would need to do that could go a variety of ways, even without sin. So, risk should be seen as an opportunity rather than something to be avoided at all costs. I think this is something - I mean you know lawyers can be extremely helpful people - I think the idea of being completely insulated from risk - financially, legally, etc - always means that you're playing inside the rules that have been set up by people who don't believe in the word of God, and a Christian simply can't live within those risk parameters."

True Humility

   Around 28 minutes, paraphrased: "True humility recognizes its authority and its office: a mother who does not discipline her child is not being humble, rather she is denying her God-given office. She has a low view of her office. Either she is usurping the God-given office with her own presumed authority or is denying the office because she is afraid of its consequences." This has practical applications. Further building on C S Lewis' thoughts on ceremony and Gerhard's thoughts on change , in the office of Pastor and as parishioners, both, we should be resistant to liturgical change for the sake of change. We should resist "novelty" in worship - this includes creative liturgical formulations, treating liturgical elements as a "grab bag" for a disposable order of worship, and picking and choosing rubrics based on personal opinion. We should speak of Christ as He speaks and as others speak of him, which is not always winsome. We should challenge

Heresies are the Unpaid Debts of the Church

" Heresies are the unpaid debts of the church" -Marquart When the Church neglects to teach and preach some aspect of doctrine, it becomes overemphasized by members on the fringe and becomes in itself a heresy. Hence the importance of preaching the whole counsel God's Word in its truth and purity at all times and in all places. (My words, but recapping the thought of Pr. Wolfmueller  at 13:50)

A Lutheran Conscientious Objection to Mandatory Vaccination

The following is the document I submitted as my religious exemption to mandatory vaccination. I must thank Dr. MacPherson at Bethany Lutheran College and Matt Cochran of The 96th Thesis for their assistance and feedback in crafting this document. ... Dear HR Representative, I am exercising my right under the Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 12, to receive religious exemption to immunization due to my genuine and sincerely held religious beliefs. The following arguments are independent and severable. Should a vaccine be developed which renders one argument of this document invalid, that shall not affect the validity of the remaining arguments. As a confessional Lutheran I subscribe to the Book of Concord [i] . This means that I hold the text of the Book of Concord to be a clear and correct exposition of the Holy Scriptures, not insofar as (quatenus) they agree with the Scriptures but because (quia) they agree with Scriptures. The Family, the Church, and t

Liturgical Insider Baseball

"So if it's from the past there's always something sort of wrong with it okay and so you know if you're doing something that's kind of old you feel sort of guilty about it in a certain way or you feel the need to - I mean just look at some of our bulletins! We're always explaining things. Why do we do that, right? There are lots of there are lots of places where there are complex rituals that no one explains. I mean no one when you go into a baseball stadium no one says here's the infield fly rule. Here are the gestures that will help you determine how that's going to play out when it does occur, and this is the year in which the infield fly rule was put forth in major league baseball, and no one does that. Even though it could have a lot to do with what you're about to see. We spend all this time explaining what we do, and I think we partly do that because we feel awkward about it because we all feel like it's not really contemporary. I mean t

For Glory and for Beauty

Exodus 28 describes the fabrication of the priestly garments and multiple times echoes the phrase "for glory and for beauty."  This is in stark contrast to modern worship tendencies to downplay vestments, ritual and ceremony. The modern church - including swaths of confessional Lutheranism - downplay the ritual and ceremony of worship.  C.S. Lewis in the Preface to Paradise Lost, Oxford, 1942, pg. 17 "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

The Apology to the Augsburg Confession and Transgenderism

The Apology to the Augsburg Confession, XXIII (The Marriage of Priests), para 9-10 Where nature does not change, the ordinance which God gave nature does not change. It cannot be removed by human laws. Therefore, it is ridiculous for the adversaries to babble that marriage was commanded in the beginning, but is not now. This is the same as if they would say, "Formerly, when people were born, they were born with gender; now they are not." The insanity of transgenderism was clearly unfathomable to our Reformation fathers. Melanchthon is spinning in his grave...

4 Keys to Understanding Romans 13

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor

Walther on Customs


Interesting thought

Rev. Heath Curtis, LCMS Coordinator for Stewardship and guest on  " Concord Matters for Stewardship " made an interesting point: The alliteration "Time, Talents and Treasures" only works in English, and while there is an aspect in which it is not incorrect we should question English alliterations - taking it to its conclusion, are these alliterations a modern innovation (seeing as German was still in common use in theologians' writings as late as 1920's)? Are they imported from Reformed influences (they adopted English much earlier)?  (Rev. Curtis then proceeds to explain how the alliteration is likely to ease concerns about the church talking about money, but it's not difficult to talk about money when we show our parishioners how financial stewardship fits in our theology. I won't steal his thunder: give it a listen!)