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Deathworks

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  The Church Among the Deathworks | Carl R. Trueman Long ago, Nietzsche’s Madman asked the rhetorical question, “What after all are these churches now if they are not the tombs and sepulchers of God?” Sadly, it seems that too many of the gravediggers these days are members of the clergy. "Deathworks" is a term which Carl Trueman introduces in his book " The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self ." The term was coined by sociologist Philip Rieff as "the act of using the sacred symbols of a previous era in order to subvert, then destroy, their original significance and purpose." While there are many deathworks among us none are as vibrant or forceful as those of the LGBTQ and the inroads they have made into the Church. This article is a quick introduction to the idea with application; if you enjoy his writing, I do recommend his book as an expansive discussion of what is wrong with modern man.

(pri)DEMON(th): The WELS statement on transgenderism

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The WELS Conference of Presidents published a Statement on Human Sexuality, Personhood, Identity, and the Historic Christian Faith in October of 2019. It's quite good; I encourage you to read the whole thing and I'll make a few observations here. First, this statement is not held to the same standards as a doctrinal statement, so while it is considered pure doctrine and provides guidance for pastors and laity it is not "enforceable" per see.  Second, the document references similar statements by the ELS and the  LCMS . The ELS document is a single paragraph with fourteen Scripture references. It is incredibly concise but provides no specific guidance. The LCMS document spends its first third discussing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defining terms and getting a secular perspective and noting the changes from release IV to 5, where the views on transgenderism started to liberalize. The next third bring Scripture to bear, noting that Jesus

Truth and Love

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  "No Christian churchman should dream of complaining when Truth is given precedence over Love, or, more accurately, love for God and His Word over love for man." -Kurt Marquart, The Question of Procedure in Theological Controversies (note the obvious application to affirming pronouns, etc.)

(pri)DEMON(th): is upon us

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  Pride month is upon us, and it is a doctrine of demons. Many of us will not hear anything of it from our pulpits this month. Some might get vague references curbed by the caveats that "all sins are equal" and "look at the plank in your own eye before the spec in theirs." Very few will have a Pastor willing to speak against these sins as being distinctively evil and damaging to both body and soul.  This month I intend to be being laser-focused on the cultural sins of our age because I fall in the former camp - my pastor will not touch these things with a ten-foot pole even when he is given encouragement to do so.  To start - let us make it abundantly clear that pride month is a doctrine of demons. Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9 calls out both the "active" and "passive" participants in homosexual relationships, using the sexual slang of his day. A chapter earlier he tells the Corinthian congregation to "deliver over to Satan" a man in the co

Amazing

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  Hat tip to OldLuth (worth a follow!) With some commentary:

God of the Gaps

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Following up on The Devil put Dinosaurs Here , permit me a thought experiment. What if oil is not really a fossil fuel? It isn't a terribly far-fetched idea. We know methane in particular can be generated abiotically and can be detected on planets where scientists have no reason to believe life exists or ever existed. There is evidence for the abiogenesis of methane  on planet earth. If oil is somehow found out to renewable, then the link between oil and fossils is broken. The problem would be that Dr. Eggert's explanation is now nonsensical. The argument that God made fossils because fossils go along with oil longer makes sense. Dr. Eggert is left holding the bag. Again, this is a hypothetical, but this demonstrates a broader problem: using the framework of science to explain difficulties in our theology is liable to backfire because science has no concrete basis in eternal Truth. Science is based on observations which can be invalidated and replaced by new observations. Newto

The Theology of the Cross: not a theology of loserdom

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Woke in the WELS: Mike Novotny's pronouns are mark/avoid

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Yes, Mike, it is. I wish I could say that Pastor Novotny spends ten minutes beating around the bush to get to the correct answer, but if that were the case I wouldn't be posting it as Woke in the WELS. Pastor Novotny ultimately says somewhere around the seven minute mark that you can't transition your gender. It is a sin to choose your own gender. This is correct. However, Pastor Novotny equivocates on the question of using a chosen pronoun. Around 2:25 he says "Preferred pronouns, attending [gay] weddings like that, these are issues where I really think the Christians who love the truth of the Bible and love of Jesus might end up in different places." Not right places, not wrong places, different places. He frames this in terms of the supposed quandary "[H]ow do we decide whether this is the time to be bold with the truth or to patiently love someone and deepen a relationship?" which is repeated more verbosely to close out the video. Pastor Novotny makes a

Big, if true!

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I'm behind on my BHoP but I just listened to Episode 222 - wherein they answered a listener question submitted by a Pastor Mark Schroeder who identifies himself as 70 years old ... does the WELS synod president listen to BHoP? Big, if true!

The devil put dinosaurs here

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   (* there is no Alice in Chains without Layne Staley. Don't do drugs, kids.) This post is going to investigate one of the arguments made by Dr. Arthur A. Eggert in an article entitled "Genesis 1 and Science" published in the Wisconsin Lutheran Quarterly, Vol 117, No. 4 (Fall 2020). As this article is subject to copyright, I will not reproduce it in full, but I'll excerpt a few paragraphs under fair-use. Overall the article is a fair articulation of the Lutheran young-earth-creationist (but I repeat myself) position with a number of "Science Background Notes" which pull in information regarding radiation, tectonic plates and such. The only thing I quibble with (well, ok there's two things, the other being that he doesn't capitalize pronouns referring to God) is his explanation of the fossil record. Quoting his "Science Background Note 11":  " To scientists , soil and fossils are closely related. Each of them is the product of the deat

Yakko knows Baptism

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HR 6090

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H.R.6090  was passed on May 1, 2024. This bill criminalizes speech which can be characterized as antisemitic, as defined by the  International Holocaust Rememberance Alliance  or IHRA, a lobbying group. The definition is not provided in the bill and may be changed in the future by the IHRA. Besides the obvious implications to free speech, this has grave theological concerns. One of the classifications of antisemitic speech by the IHRA is Using the symbols and images associated with classic antisemitism (e.g., claims of Jews killing Jesus or blood libel) to characterize Israel or Israelis. This means portion of the Bible, for instance 1 Thessalonians 2:14-15 "For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For you suffered the same things from your own countrymen as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and oppose all mankind by hindering us from speaking to the Gent

and with thy spirit...

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AI Jesus in Forward in Christ

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So it has been found out that Forward in Christ has been using stock AI photos for the last few covers of their magazine. You can find a vigorous discussion on the WELS Discussions Facebook page. The following two images are from the March and April covers. I made an account with Adobe Stock to download the full resolution images. My license limits me to 500k views, so don't go blowing this post up :) So let us take a closer look at these photos. March has Jesus praying in what ostensibly appears to be the Mount of Olives. But look at those hands. I think there are three of them - maybe it's a hidden message of the Triune nature of God, but most like it's the fact that AI has yet to successfully traverse the uncanny valley .  April is more interesting. Let us start with the obvious - the resurrected Christ has no nail marks in His hands or feet. The AI could not contextualize that the risen Christ was also the crucified Christ. But then let's take a closer look at His

The strongman running its race...

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Fashionably late as always, here are a few photos I took of the eclipse using my wife's DSLR through a small telescope.

WELS Women's "Ministry" Conference, Part 3: "The Power of Partnership"

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  Our final post in the WELS  Women's "Ministry" Conference series will look at the presentation " The Power of Partnerships " with Dr. Kristi Meyer & Rev. Eric Schroeder. Let's read along with the description, shall we? Many congregations have vibrant and thriving women’s ministries: natural places for female congregation members to volunteer and get involved. Female congregation members. Where I come from, we call them women. However, it can be difficult for women to participate in and contribute to other aspects of a church’s ministry, especially if the congregation’s governance model follows a typical male-only board structure. Ahhh, we've found a way to sex up governance models . In these situations, partnerships are key—partnerships among all congregation members but especially partnerships between female members and their pastors. The reason Dr. Meyer is presenting is because she has a M.A. in Theological Studies from MLC. Her thesis paper is

I'm definitely in the latter camp...

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    (within the context of theology...) "Some people are supposed to be ivory tower people, and some people are also supposed to raise the Jolly Roger" -C Jay Engel, Contra Mundum

WELS Women's "Ministry" Conference, Part 2: "How to Stop Surviving and Start Thriving in Singleness"

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Part two of our look into the WELS Women's "Ministry" Conference takes us to a presentation by Hannah Schermerhorn entitled " How to Stop Surviving and Start Thriving in Singleness " Luther had much to say about celibacy, of course, given his context: Roman Catholic priests were not allowed to marry, and monasticism was promoted as a more blessed estate than marriage. Luther recognized celibacy as a rare gift: "such [celibates] are rare, not one in a thousand, for they are a special miracle of God" - Martin Luther (LW 45:21) particularly in women:  “Though womenfolk here are ashamed to admit this, nevertheless Scripture and experience show that among many thousands is not one whom God has given grace to keep pure chastity. A woman does not have control over herself. God has created her body to be with man, to bear children and to raise them.” - Martin Luther, “To Some Nuns,” Letter No. 756 (6 August 1524) (Forget OTJATL : how has the feminist-sympathiz

Relativism

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“How many winds of doctrine have we known in recent decades, how many ideological currents, how many ways of thinking. The small boat of the thought of many Christians has often been tossed about by these waves - flung from one extreme to another: from Marxism to liberalism, even to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism and so forth. Every day new sects spring up, and what St. Paul says about human deception and the trickery that strives to entice people into error (Ephesians 4:14) comes true. Today, having a clear faith based on the Creed of the Church is often labeled as fundamentalism. Whereas relativism, that is, letting oneself be “tossed here and there, carried about by every wind of doctrine,” seems the only attitude that can cope with modern times. We are building a dictatorship of relativism that does not recognize anything as definitive and whose ultimate goal consists solely of one

WELS Women's "Ministry" Conference, Part 1: "A Candid Conversation about Women in the WELS"

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The WELS Women's "Ministry" Conference takes place July 28-30 at the Ingleside Hotel in Pewaukee, WI. We are going to take a few weeks and dig into what is on offer at this conference. Let's start with one of the keynotes, " A Candid Conversation about Women in the WELS ", featuring Rev. Jonathan Hein and Dawn Schulz. You might remember Rev. Hein from such great hits as the WELS Lutheran Leadership Conference featuring Dr. Joan Prince , consensus-model governance restructuring,  and " Less Churches, More Ministry! " Dawn has "taught women’s bible studies, hosted retreats, counseled women through crisis situations, mentored young Christian women, and shared the love of Jesus at Christmas with the 100+ women who attend Advent by Candlelight each year." The description of the keynote starts with the sentence In the heart of every woman beats the desire to do what God created her to do. It is abundantly clear we are putting women on a pedest

The Eucharist is the High Point

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"A sermon that does not terminate in bringing us to communing with the Christ who is, in fact, present and giving himself to us in and through Holy Communion is a sermon that has failed..." - Rev. Dr. John Bombaro

The WELS celebrates Women's History Month by elevating Lesbian Pastrix voices in CW21

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Christian Worship: Hymnal, Hymn 453 Once again, the WELS is gunning for the title of "Laughingstock of Confessional Lutheranism." Hymn 453 in our new hymnal is composed by one Sylvia Dunstan; a woman who calls herself a pastor, deceived by means of ordination by the United Church of Canada. Not only was she a woman claiming to be a Pastor, but she was also a lesbian . The  United Church of Canada 's page on "What We Believe" leads off with "The Bible is the shared standard for our faith, but members are not required to adhere to any particular creed or formulation of doctrine." In that light, verse 2's "He lives again / In all your galilees" takes on a chilling tone of relativism: "Your Galilee is not my Galilee - perhaps you think He lives, but in my Galilee it's his memory that lives on..." (And on a day that sleepy Joe Biden woke up long enough to declare a " trans day of visibility ," no less!) Why is the WELS

Why yes, I affirm CRT

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The Expressive Semiotics in Dr. Berg's Presentation on Critical Theory

"In an earlier time, the idea that language is incapable of mapping reality would have been considered nonsense, if not a form of mental illness. In fact, it is a form of mental illness" - Neil Postman, Building a Bridge to the 18th Century In retrospect, I was too kind of Dr. Michael Berg in my original critique of his presentation " Critical Theory: The Good ,The Bad, and the Absurd " in the "run" example. Allow me to quote my original critique: "Berg's thought experiment with the word 'run' is not indicative of a problem with language it is indicative of different people with different experiences. This, to my understanding, is a different problem than Derrida's proposed instability: were Derrida correct, this would be a universal problem extra nos. Berg's example is something different, showing that different brains with different experiences will make different initial associations. In the natural and fair use of language, we

St. Paul was talkin' ball

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