Showing posts from November, 2023

Good beer and good theology...

"The people become weary of the Word and suppose that it will endure forever. When a good beer is available at a certain place, everybody runs there without delay, knowing that the supply will not last long. This commodity is not to be had every day; therefore, people get it while it is to be had. If it could be obtained for a long period of time, our appetite would become surfeited, and the beer would not be prized. But here we assume that the Word will remain with us always, although, in fact, it stays and endures but a short time before it is gone. If you do not accept it gratefully and reverently, you will soon be without it. And once the Word is gone, the time will come when you would fain be pious and be saved; you will want to obtain God’s grace, forgiveness of sin, and heaven. But all will prove futile. You will not find grace, forgiveness of sin, life, and righteousness. All will be under condemnation, even your best works." Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 23: Se

Wisconsin and Missouri: Overcoming Our Differences

The Rev. Rolf Preus had an excellent article entitled " Wisconsin and Missouri: Overcoming Our Differences " in the Spring 2023 edition of Christian Culture Magazine . A brief excerpt: "The WELS is right. God’s Word cannot be bound. The ministry of the Word is given to all Christians, male and female, young and old. The gospel and sacraments are efficacious because of their inherent power, not because of who administers them. The ministry doesn’t empower the means of grace; the means of grace empower the ministry. Wisconsin is right when she says that Christ gave the office to the whole Church and to every individual member of the Church. Wisconsin is right when she says that the efficacy of the Word is not dependent on who preaches it, but on the Word itself. Wisconsin is right, and Missouri should say so. Missouri is right. Missouri is right when she says that Jesus personally instituted the pastoral office. It was Jesus who established this office when he put the firs

God cares.

    "Any theology that begins with its first principle that 'God doesn't care'? You are off on the wrong foot, because the God who cared to the minute detail - otherwise you would die, in the Old Testament - is the same God with the same principles and the same expectations for worship." -Rev. Dagan Siepert, Liturgical Mystagogy and Ritual Space . 

"Unit Fellowship" among grapes

The Northwestern Lutheran Vol. 82 No. 7, pg 32 ( We've discussed the fruit of the vine previously ... WELS seminary professors seem to have a penchant for playing fast-and-loose with the verbiage whereas our Lutheran confessors and the sainted Adolph Hoenecke affirm with all certainty the Biblical truth that it's grape wine, my dudes. If you can't read the graphic, the question is "Our congregations permit people who have a problem with alcohol abuse to receive grape juice rather than wine at the Lord's Supper. One member objects because the Lutheran Confessions mention only wine in references to the Lord's Supper. What is the right thing to do?" Brug's response, read-and-react format: Because grape wine was used at the Passover, the church has used wine for the Lord's Supper. Scripture, however, does not specify "wine" but "fruit of the vine" as the elements used. It has, therefore, been the Lutheran practice tha

The Theology of the Cross: A Theology of Quietism

 A quote from Rev. Dr. Aaron Moldenhauer in his article Peace Under the Cross: Peace in the Theology of Martin Luther  from the Reformation 2023 issue of Logia: A Journal of Lutheran Theology (Vol XXII, No. 4) "Luther's theology of grace and his new perspective on life as seen through the cross have long been condemned for quietism. If life in this world is necessarily full of trouble, the argument goes, then the Christian will do nothing to attempt to correct evil or injustice. Accordingly, the fear is that Luther leaves people resigned to suffer any type of injustice that disturbs the peace without working to end the injustice. Such a critique should be taken seriously."  Rev Moldenhauer goes on to show that in Luther's practice he advocated for temporal peace in both praise and critique of civil authority.    

Read and React: WELS FAQ on Contemporary Worship

Contemporary worship – WEL FAQ The following quotes are the content of the above linked WELS FAQ entitled "What is the WELS view on contemporary worship styles?" followed by my commentary. We recognize that God has not prescribed how we are to worship him. (sic) This is an interesting claim. It is true in the sense that God was very particular in the prescribing the worship of the Old Testament. Meticulous, even! But we don't have a New Testament book that mirrors say Leviticus. But  we are not Marcionites , so we can draw insights from Old Testament worship to guide our own. And the New Testament describes what worship consists of: Continuing steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread, and in prayers (Acts 2) The choice of the word "prescribed" is an interesting one since the prescriptive/descriptive dichotomy is often used against the Book of Concord: namely, that Article XXIV of the Augsburg confession, where we sta

The Theology of the Cross: A Theology of Failure

(skip ahead to 31m48s) Rev. Braaten asks: "So does the fact that in recent year I mean recent years probably the last 10 20 years, the Resurgence of kind of Luther's theology or Theologian of the Cross, does this play into this at all in terms of kind of thinking like the Theology of the Cross is a Theology of losing, and a Theology of failure? Does that play into this at all in in terms of discussing or focusing solely on the failure of Christian and not the new obedience?" Rev. Surburg replies: " I think that's a good observation because obviously to speak about what Christians are going to do sounds like a Theology of Glory even though it's an entirely biblical one. I think there probably is, it has contributed to a hesitancy to speak what Christians actually do you know this is ultimately a matter of are you going to speak the way scripture speaks, [like] Paul in in Romans and Galatians and Ephesians and Philippians and first Thessalonians, very frequentl


The October  WELS Connection  featured one of the "100 in 10" new mission plants in  Kronenwetter, Wisconsin . Let it be known that this blog has no opposition to new mission plants in the United States! I know it can be sexy and exotic to talk about mission plants overseas with new people and languages but as Dr. Koontz has pointed out many times, our own countrymen need Christ as desperately, and they are properly our neighbors. I commend the synod for focusing on our native lands even if the messaging is a little disingenuous (our regular cadence of mission plants is roughly 5 per year, and we have plans to shut down and consolidate older congregations - the net result will not be 100 more churches in the synod in 10 years, just 100 'different' churches. More on that in a future post digging into the statistical reports of the synod). The issue I take with what I saw in the WELS Connection is the approach to developing their congregational plan. The group in Kronen

The Theology of the Cross: Keeping God 'safe'

Talk About Preaching - Return to Wittenberg 2023 - YouTube "Where has Lutheranism lost its soul? We have theories about ideas that don't serve our people in salvation today. Or we believe in a God who's far away and we say 'Theology of the Cross' to keep Him safe. It's okay. We just suffer. It's just what we are. It's the Theology of the Cross.  Or you can repent! Sometimes ... I mean to be sure, Job his lesson is "I don't know" and God's lesson is "well, actually I was fixing it for you." So again even there, right, it's always good that you've heard me say it yet optimism election the doctrine of election is the doctrine of "it's going to be better" which means optimism is the Christian position! And if you find yourself hearing news and speaking words that are sarcastic or sardonic or cynical guess what, you just abandoned your hope because you trusted in the world and its story. The Bible gives you a