Monday, December 29, 2008

How far We Have Fallen

"How Far We Have Fallen" features samples of what is going on under the banner of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Here is the Christmas Day act of Pastor Dale at St. Paul's Lutheran Church Delaware, IA:

I leave it to the readers to comment, analyze, and offer nominations for future columns.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Presentation of Our Salvation

The Presentation of our Salvation

Here is the MP3 audio file of the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church of Layton, Utah for the FIRST SUNDAY after CHRISTMAS, December 28, 2008:

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas: Christ Born to Dwell Among Us

Here is the MP3 audio file of the sermon preached at Trinity Lutheran Church of Layton, Utah for the Nativity of Our Lord, Christmas Eve 2008:

A most blessed Christmas to you all, today and always!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's a Blessing . . . and a Curse

In one of his sermons for Advent I, Martin Luther exhorts: ". . . the Lord will have no flatterer as a preacher. He does not say: Go around the village, or to the one side of it: Go in bravely and tell them what they do not like to hear."

This is the blessing and the curse the Lutheran pastor bears–even the blessing and the curse born for us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, whose spiritual yoke is easy and heavenly burden light even though not so much in the flesh. If as a pastor one bows the knee to the desire for flattery with some well-intentioned, though inadvisable, rationale that this is the only way his people will hear the Gospel, or the way in which he can get the most people to hear the Gospel, we ought remember Christ's words to the pastor of the church at Laodicea:
"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-- and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked--I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent." (Rev 3:15-19, NKJ)

As Lutherans we have been bequeathed a great and mighty wonder, a full and holy cure in the doctrine and practice of the faith once delivered to us. As Lutherans we have been betrothed now and forever to the great Bridegroom Jesus Christ in this same doctrine and practice. Those of us who are Lutheran pastors have been ordained by God to deliver this specific inheritance, these white garments of Christ, to His bride the Church that she may be delivered to Him on the Last Day as virgin chaste and purer even than His mother Mary (2 Cor. 11:2).

It is with this in mind that Christ's apostle Paul exhorts Timothy and all servants of the Word, "Take heed to yourself [i.e. and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Tim 4:16, NKJ)

Our Lutheran Confession of the one true faith does just that--takes heed to both the public life, that is the practice, of the pastor and his teaching. It is distressing to me, and I would submit destructive of Lutheranism and the faith of her members and those influenced by her, when the practice of Lutherans becomes indistinguishable from those whom our Confessions actually reject and condemn. The ends do not justify the means. Our Lord has not only secured our end on Calvary--forgiveness of sins unto eternal life--but he has also given us specific means by which He delivers that end to us. It is not up to us to alter those means or dress them up so as to trick people into hearing something Lutheran only after inviting them in on the coattails of the numbers oriented success of Rick Warren, Pat Dobson, Willow Creek, Promise Keepers, or any other means of grace despising preacher or church fad of the day.

The following piece from, “The Judge Is At the Door,” written by an Australian German Lutheran pastor by the name of W. Peters in the late 1800s, is prescient of the state of things in Lutheranism today wherein many bear the name Lutheran in a multitude of synods and such, but few (regardless of synodical affiliation) bear much resemblance to their fathers who risked life and limb to pass along this Confession of the one true faith.

"Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.” (Rev 3:3, NKJ)
"Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.” (Rev 3:11, NKJ)

From "The Judge Is At the Door" by Rev. W. Peters

"However, the words of [Rev. 3:10] nevertheless contain a serious truth, namely the Church of the Reformation will have to pass through the fiery trial of the last great temptation, a temptation which consists of a general falling away from faith. And this falling away will take place in particular in the Church of the Reformation, that church which has the word of "His patience," namely that word of the cross, that pure Gospel.

"At that time the true Church of the Reformation, which is called the Lutheran Church, will be but a small body. Large masses will bear the name Lutheran, but in name only; namely, there will be a great deal of talk about Luther and his works ... yet Luther's spirit and interpretation, his faithfulness to the Truth, his zeal to retain God's honor only, his courage to confess this, these will not exist or be known, yes, there will be no desire to know this. On the contrary, those who will immovably insist on clinging to the whole truth AS LUTHER TAUGHT it will be despised, they will be reviled as being destroyers of peace, troublemakers, and schismatics.

"In Luther's days it was the Pope who did this ... However, in the last days, in that hour of great temptation, this time the true evangelical Christians will not be branded schismatics by the Pope, but by those who CARRY the name Lutheran. This will be a time in which the "Lutherans" will not be satisfied to leave the old confirmed teachings as they are, but they will nevertheless cling to the name Lutheran, and this will help to fill the measure of confusion, through which untold numbers of weak Christians will be offended, since the so-called Lutheran Christians will separate into many factions, but nevertheless calling themselves brethren. WE ARE NOW LIVING IN THESE SAD DAYS, the days which are portrayed to us in the picture of the congregation of Laodicea.

"When here we speak of the Church of the Reformation which we see pictured in the congregation at Philadelphia, we are not referring to that church body which carries the name of Luther, but to all real believers among that despised body of true believers, including the many innocent souls who are scattered here and there among the sects, namely as our Confession says: Those who walk in simpleness of heart, who do not understand correctly, and who would, if they were properly instructed, come to the Church which holds the truth, who therefore worship at the feet of the body of true believers, at the feet of the Church of the Reformation.

"It was Luther who prophesied that it would get so bad that the true word of God would in time be found only in the homes. That time is at hand, and we may yet live to see the day that the Church of the Reformation, namely the Church of the true doctrine, will not be found in any external body or synod named Lutheran."

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Weighing in on Matters of State

Check out this video clip of a citizen weighing in on the matter of our U.S. Second Amendment rights:

This gal has it right. She absolutley nails it in her last sentence of the video.

Our right to bear arms is what regulates the militia, keeping it honest so that the government does not use it to take our property and other rights away as did the British militia from their own citizenry in the revolutionary War.

Personally, I do not own a firearm, but I am seriously thinking of taking classes and buying one before it is too late. The Second Amendment is what secures all of our other rights and freedoms. Methinks, perhaps, the more of us who are armed the safer we will be from the bad guys.