A wonderful way to observe and celebrate the Reformation of the Church is to listen to J.S. Bach’s magnificent Cantata 80 “Ein Feste Burg.” Here it is is, both the music and text, along with a performance to watch and follow along with. Here first the text, with English translation. Go to this link and it will download to your computer. And then here is the whole Cantata:
I’ve been enjoying reading At Home in the House of My Fathers a new, huge, book containing letters, sermons, essays and other writings from the first five German-born presidents of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Brought to us by that German-translating machine, Rev. Matthew Harrison, this book is a treasure, indeed. There is nothing else like this resource, containing the passionate, Gospel-centered witness of the early leaders of the Missouri Synod. You will be deeply moved by their profoundly pastoral and confessionally faithful witness. You must get this book, and you can now, at LOGIA books, by ordering from their online web site”
Here is what others are saying about the book:
G. K. Chesterton once famously said that the church is the ultimate democracy; saints are not disenfranchised just because they happen to be dead. Harrison’s volume confirms this truth in spades. Great fathers of the LMCS speak also to us on a wide range of topics from the church’s call to mission at a time of opportunity (Pfotenhauer) to her response to moral issues in society (Schwan on the temperance movement) to a touching discussion of the nature of women as human creatures within the church (Brohm). But “worth the price of admission” is the multifaceted and very personal piece of correspondence from Wyneken to Walther on Anfechtungen, depression, and church politics, including the difficulties of their own personal relationship. Read, appreciate, and learn!
Rev. James W. Voelz, Ph.D., Professor of Exegetical Theology
Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.
A treat awaits you if you think you know the Missouri Synod. The contents of this book should have been the reason many of us had to take German in college, but alas, struggling through Thomas Mann was our lot. Matthew Harrison has done a great service by making available these essays, sermons, and other writings to English speakers. Walther, Wyneken, Schwan, Pieper and Pfotenhauer give readers more than a historical glimpse into an earlier era of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. They offer delightful theological responses to situations that are surprisingly contemporary.
Rev. Terry Cripe, President, Ohio District
The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod
This blog site is not “open season” when it comes to comments. All comments are moderated and subject to editing or not being posted at all. Therefore, just by way of reminder, if you feel a need to indulge in passive-aggressive rudeness, you can find plenty of places to do that. This is not one of those places. Thank you, and now back to our regular programming.
Dr. Gene Edward Veith had a fascinating blog post today, well, fascinating to me at least. Perhaps you too? Listen, I’m a publisher and I know all about trends in e-books. They represent the fastest growing type of “books” being sold today, hands down. And by fast, I mean, triple digit growth rates in quantities sold, as opposed to negative double digit decreases in nearly every other type of genre, at least according to the most recent data released by the Association of American Publishers, which I am legally not able to share with you, but take my word for it. It’s dramatic; however [and in life, there's always a "however"], for me the experience of total “mind immersion” in a book is much greater than an e-book. A book I can hold in my hands, skin on paper, not skin on plastic. I can underline. I can write notes. I can jot stars, or exclamation points in the margins. I can instantly flip around in the book. So far, no e-reader I’ve seen remotely replicates the experience of reading a book. I don’t mind reading fiction on an e-reader, but anything serious, that I want to “inwardly digest,” must be a real book. Here is a great article that speaks to the difference between “screading” [reading on screen] as opposed to reading-reading.
The Chronicle of Higher Education has an article about scholarship on the difference between reading from a page and reading from a screen (termed “screading”).
[Anne] Mangen notes the growing sub-field of screen reading studies, but finds that the “intangibility and volatility of the digital text” remain under-examined. She focuses first, then, on the material nature of digital and non-digital reading experiences. “Unlike print texts,” she writes, “digital texts are ontologically intangible and detached from the physical and mechanical dimension of their material support, namely, their computer or e-book (or other devices, such as the PDA, the iPod or the mobile phone” (405).
This is important, she argues, because “materiality matters.” The reading experience includes manual activities and haptic perceptions (what the skin and muscles and joints register), and so as activities and perceptions of that kind are changed from one kind of reading experience to another because of the object, the reading experience, too, will change.
The differences between screen and paper go deeper than the physics of each. They also involve the relationship the reader has to them. For Mangen, a crucial difference lies in the nature of the immersion in screen “worlds” as being distinct from the technology that facilitates it. In other words, the mouse, head set, and so on provide the entry into the visual world, but are not constitutive parts of it. “In contrast,” she explains, “consider the sense of being immersed in a fictional world which is largely the product of our own mental, cognitive abilities to create that fictive, virtual (in the figurative sense of the word) world from the symbolic representations — the text, whether purely linguistic or multi-modal, digital or print — displayed by means of any technological platform.” Books don’t have tools to help readers make up that fictive world, and so they do it more with their own minds. . . .
One effect, Mangen maintains, is that the digital text makes us read “in a shallower, less focused way.”
There are other effects as well, but this one is far-reaching. While “shallower” reading through or on the screen serves certain purposes quite well, when it comes to reading complex texts and interpreting, analyzing, or even summarizing them, a slower and deeper habit is needed.
I’m not sure I’m convinced. It definitely seems harder to read a long, sustained work on a screen as opposed to a book. Screading (if we are to adopt the word) does seem to work better for shorter shots of language. Let me ask you owners of Kindle or similar readers. Is your reading experience qualitatively different when you read on a Kindle vs. reading ink on paper? Are you missing anything?
The Concordia Organist has been published and is now available for purchase. In two versions: as a 31 CD collection, and as an add-on subscription based option for the Lutheran Service Builder software. While the primary aim of the collection is to provide help to congregations that do not have competent organists, the uses of this resource go well beyond simply that situation: Imagine, if you will, what a joy and blessing it will be for shut-in visits, nursing homes, and smaller group settings, to have beautiful organ accompaniment for such occasions, etc.
Here is the official “word” on the resource.
10.28.2009 – Saint Louis, MO—Concordia Publishing House (CPH) announces the release of the Concordia Organist, a 31-CD set that includes accompaniment for every hymn in the Lutheran Service Book hymnal.
CPH developed the resource in response to the need expressed by many congregations for music to accompany worship, in a variety of settings. “As a small congregation, we have struggled to find accompanists for our worship services,” said Rev. Wayne King of St. Mark Lutheran Church in Belgium, Wis. “There are many times that we just sing without one.”
Congregations of all sizes are set to benefit from the substantial new product, that engaged some of the best musicians in the church to provide masterful tracks for the hymns included.
“This superb organ music is a useful tool for congregations of all sizes that need accompaniment for worship, in a chapel or small group setting, or for visitation with shut-ins,” said Peter Reske, Managing Editor of Music/Worship. “Whatever the setting, people will appreciate the versatility of the Concordia Organist.”
The CDs feature organists Paul Grime, Kevin Hildebrand, and Richard Resch, playing the Schlicker organ in Kramer Chapel at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Regularly priced at $699, the Concordia Organist is now available at the introductory price of $499. The product will also be available as an add-on subscription to Lutheran Service Builder customers and will go live this week. Builder users will have access to the contents for a flat-rate annual fee of $200. They will able to have a customized audio track for their entire service prepared automatically, and a CD burned.
“Music adds so much to our worship, but musicians can be hard to find,” said Gretchen Jameson, who handles publicity for the company. “Now, churches will have the opportunity to have beautiful organ music at their fingertips whenever they need it.”
Order now on-line at:
Or call: 800-325-3040
The Concordia Organist
Item Number: 99-2264
Availability: In Stock
Instrumentation: Recorded Organ
Another juicy morsel from the pen of Blessed Johann Gerhard, which will appear in the forthcoming translation of his volume concerning the Church, courtesy of Rev. Dr. Benjamin Mayes, the general editor of the Gerhard Loci Theologici translation project. You can subscribe to the series and receive each volume as it comes out. To subscribe to the series call 800-325-3040.
Whether the union of members with each other and with their head is a mark of the Church.
§ 231. The first section. Is the union of members with each other and with their head a proper and genuine mark of the Church? We respond. (1) We confess that the Church is one on the basis of the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds. The reasons for this unity we explained earlier (§ 34), among which the chief is the unity of faith and doctrine (Eph. 4:5).
(2) Therefore unity per se is not a mark of the Church. Rather, it must be connected with faith and doctrine, Eph. 4:5: “One Lord, one faith;” v. 13: “. . . until we all attain to the unity of faith” (Athanasius, Letter ad Antioch.). “Only that is the true concord which is of faith. Without that, it is the best dissent; the most destructive concord,” as Gregory Nazianzen writes (Orat. 1, de pace).
(3) Not just any unity of faith and doctrine is a mark of the Church, but only the unity of true faith and doctrine, that is, of prophetic and apostolic doctrine, for that alone is of immovable and perpetual truth. Therefore the unity of faith that is a mark of the Church must be based on one foundation of doctrine: the apostolic doctrine. Accordingly, the Church is said to be “built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles” (Eph. 2:20). It is said about the heavenly Jerusalem that “its wall has twelve foundations and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb”( Rev. 21:14). Accordingly, in Zech. 8:19 “truth and peace” are joined.
In fact, truth is set ahead of peace so that we may understand that God approves of only that peace, concord, and unity which enjoys the foundation and bond of truth. John 8:31: “If you remain in My Word, you are truly My disciples.” John 17:21: “That they may be one in Us.”
(4) Although the true Church is one and its true members agree in one religion, yet we cannot infer from this that, wherever there is unity and agreement in religion, there suddenly is the true, apostolic Church. You see, there are two kinds of unity, as Thomas teaches (on Ephesians 4, lect. 1): “One is good, the other is bad. One is of spirit, the other of flesh.” “The unity of piety is to believe correctly; the unity of wickedness is to believe wrongly,” as Ambrose says somewhere. As God’s Church is one, so the devil’s Babylon is one. Christ says, Matt. 12:: “If Satan is divided against himself, how then will his kingdom stand?” There was unity among those who demanded the making of the golden calf (Exodus 32). All the priests of Baal were unanimous in opposing Elijah and Micah. At the time of Jeremiah all the people were unanimous in opposing the true worship of God. Christ was condemned to death by the common counsel of the priests and elders and with the assent of the entire people. The entire city of Ephesus rose up against Paul. After Christ’s ascension, Jews and gentiles fought against Christ’s Church. Although heretics may differ from each other, yet they are agreed on one heresy. In Rev. 13:16 we have this prophecy about the Antichrist: “It causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave to be marked on the right hand.” The Jesuit Ribera comments on this passage: “The apostle means the infinite number of those who will be adherents of the Antichrist” (surely in harmony and peace). All this shows that not just any unity but the unity of faith and doctrine, and not any unity in faith and doctrine but the unity in the true apostolic doctrine and in the truly catholic faith is a mark of the Church.
(5) The statements of the ancients belong here, in which they teach that we must evaluate unity on the basis of the truth of faith. Cyprian (De unit. ecclesiae) says: “The Church is one just as the light of the sun is one, though the sun has many rays; just as a tree is one, though it has many branches; just as a spring is one, though it has many streams. Unity is preserved in the origin.” Here he takes the origin to mean Christ and the doctrine of Christ.
** The pagans once reproached Christians with the charge that “unity of faith does not flourish among them.” Augustine, De ovibus, c. 15: “Only this has remained for those” (evil-speakers) “to say against us: ‘Why do you not agree among yourselves?’ The pagan heathen who have remained, having nothing to say against the name of Christ, reproach the Christians with the disagreement of Christians.” Clement of Alexandria, Stromat., bk. 7: “This, then, is the first thing they cite against us; they say that one ought not believe because of the disagreement of the sects [haereses], for the truth is slowed and deferred when some people set up some dogmas and others establish other dogmas. To them we say that there have been more sects among you Jews and among you philosophers who were held in the highest esteem among the Greeks,” etc. **
When the Arian Auxentius boasted about the unity of the Arians, Hilary gave him this answer (at the beginning of Contra Auxent.): “Indeed, the name of peace is lovely and the idea of unity is beautiful, but who doubts that only the unity of the Church and of the Gospels is the peace of Christ?” Afterwards he adds: “The ministers of the Antichrist boast of their peace, that is, of the unity of their wickedness, behaving not as the bishops of Christ but as priests of the Antichrist.” Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. 1, de pace: “It is better for a disagreement to arise for the sake of piety than to have a corrupt concord.” Jerome writes (Letter ad Theophilum, against the errors of John of Jerusalem, vol. 2, p. 185): “We, too, want peace, but the peace of Christ, true peace, peace without hostilities, peace in which war is not covered, peace which does not subject people as foes but joins them as friends.” When Augustine (domin. 2. post octavas paschae de pace et unitate, Sermon 1) had diligently recommended the pursuit of peace, he added: “But this peace is to be guarded with good people and those who keep the commandments of God, not with the hostile and wicked, who have peace among themselves in their sins. The peace of Christ is beneficial for eternal salvation. The peace which is in the devil leads to eternal destruction. We must always have peace with the good and war with the vices, since the evils of wicked men should be hated,” etc. Hugh, De claustr. anim., bk. 3, c. 9: “Another peace is considered, that of the wicked and of this world. Another is pretended, that of the devil and of heretics. Another is commanded, namely, that we not fight against heretics.”
The special pricing on The Lutheran Study Bible ends this Saturday. This is your last chance to obtain The Lutheran Study Bible for prices this low, on all editions. So, don’t miss out. Order on the web or call 800-325-3040.
I’ve been looking through some of my older files, running across documents I wrote a number of years ago, and came across this anthology of quotes from the Book of Concord about The Lord’s Supper, that I thought you might find interesting.
The Lord’s Supper in the Book of Concord
A Collection of Quotations from the Lutheran Confessions Arranged Systematically
The purpose of this document is to provide the reader with an anthology of quotations from the Lutheran Confessions on the subject of the Lord’s Supper. The Book of Concord provides great comfort for those who receive the Lord’s Supper. The teaching of God’s Word is masterfully summarized and presented and thus the precious gift of Holy Communion will be treasured all the more highly as communicants understand what the Lord’s Supper is and why they wish to receive it. Christians who wish to grow in their understanding of the Lord’s gift of His body and blood in His Supper will find few resources as helpful as the Lutheran Confessions. Hopefully, this document will encourage readers to spend more time reading the classic texts of Lutheranism as they are found in the Book of Concord.
Another helpful application of an anthology such as this is to help Lutherans clearly distinguish truth from error in regard to the various teachings and opinions about the Lord’s Supper. Tragically, there have been ecumenical agreements reached between Lutherans and Reformed Christians in which Lutherans willingly compromise and sacrifice the truth of God’s Word regarding the Supper, allowing the errors of the Reformed church to stand with the truth of God’s Word as it is confessed in the Lutheran Confessions.
Using the Bekenntnisschriften, the critical edition of the Book of Concord, the entries in the index for “Abendmahl”, “Sakrament”, and “Messe” are provided. Each entry in the BKS index is noted by standard Confessional notation with article and paragraph numbers. Following the reference the English translation is provided from the Tappert edition of the Book of Concord, noting the page number. The precise terms for the Lord’s Supper are provided in German or Latin, as they occur.
The major discussions of the Lord’s Supper in the Book of Concord are found in:
1) The Augsburg Confession, Article X
2) The Smalcald Articles, Part III
3) The Small Catechism, Fifth Chief Part
4) The Large Catechism
5) The Epitome of the Formula of Concord, Article VII
6) The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord, Article VII
Following the anthology of quotations, the reader will find a collection of quotations on the Lord’s Supper from the key documents that preceded the Augsburg Confession, along with the text of the Roman Catholic response to the Augsburg Confessions, the Confessio Pontifica of 1530.
Concluding this document is a brief summary of Philip Melanchthon’s views on the Lord’s Supper. Sadly, Melanchthon’s willingness to compromise Luther’s doctrine led to much turmoil and strife after Luther’s death in 1546, conflict that was not resolved finally until 1580, when the Book of Concord was subscribed by over 8,000 theologians, pastors and political leaders throughout Germany.
To this day, Lutheran who desire to be and remain genuinely Lutheran, and thereby faithful to God’s Word, gladly accept and receive the Lutheran Confessions as a true and unadulterated exposition of God’s Word. These Lutheran Confessions provide the normative standard for what the Lutheran church believes, teaches and confesses because it rightly presents the teaching of God’s Word, the only rule and standard for doctrine in the church. Lutherans, both pastors and laity, should strive for the greatest possibly conformity to the teachings of the Lutheran Confessions, including even the phrases and ways of expression, concerning the Lord’s Supper. In so doing, we rejoice in the opportunity to receive God’s gift of the Lord’s Supper in faithfulness and thankfulness.
In these last days of sore distress,
Grant us, dear Lord, true steadfastness,
That pure we keep, ’till life is spent,
Thy Holy Word and Sacrament.
Great article debunking the ridiculous nonsense out there about 2012 being the end of the world, which has been heightened now because of a foolish movie coming out in November. What I find particularly disturbing is how many Christians buy into this malarkey. Have they forgotten what our Lord Christ said in Matthew 25:13? Christians should not go to see these kinds of stupid movies. There, I said it. Why should we? Morbid curiosity? Have we nothing better to do with our time? I think we do.
Rev. Dr. Benjamin Mayes shared this quote from Luther, we were both interested and a bit amused by Luther’s typical gushing enthusiasm, and of course his high praise for the work of an editor did not go unnoticed!
The Herr Doctor often took this book [his sermons on John 14–17] to church with him and liked to read in it. As I and others heard from his own mouth at table, this was the best book he had written, “though I did not write it,” he said, “but Dr. Caspar Cruciger showed his deep understanding and great diligence in [editing] it. After the [translation of the] Holy Bible, this should be [esteemed as] my most worthy and precious book.” (LW 69:8)
[Johann Mathesius, Historien von des Ehrwirdigen in Gott Seligen thewren Manns Gottes, Doctoris Martini Luthers, anfang, lehr, leben, und sterben (Nürnberg: Johann von Berg, 1566), in Georg Loesche, ed., Johannes Mathesius: Ausgewahlte Werke (Prag: Calve, 1898), 3:262. Cf. LW 24:x; WA 28:34.]
Submitted by Benjamin Mayes, managing editor for the new volumes of Luther’s Works. Volume 69 of Luther’s Works was recently released by CPH.
After literally a couple months of waiting for them to get it all set up, Amazon finally has managed to get our listing of The Lutheran Study Bible up and fully operational. The Amazon “look inside” feature is fully engaged so you can enjoy poking around in the book. Take a look.
Johann Gerhard offers these thoughts:
(7) We must also add that the unity of faith and doctrine in the Church in this life is not perfect nor absolute in all parts, for at times among the members of the true Church controversies occur which tear apart that holy unity. Therefore a distinction must be made between an absolute unity, perfect and free of all dissent, which will first take place in the church triumphant, and a fundamental unity which consists of agreement over the principal articles, though controversies may arise over some less principal parts of the faith or about indifferent ceremonies or even about the interpretation of some passages of Scripture. <P5:490> This is the sort of unity that takes place in the church militant, for in it we never find such a harmony but that it is mixed with some disagreements. For in this life “we know in part and we prophesy in part” (1 Cor. 13:9). Augustine, De civ. Dei, bk. 15, c. 5:
Good people and good people, if they are perfect, cannot fight among themselves. Those who make progress but are not yet perfect can do so, as every good man fights another to the degree in which he fights against himself. In every man “the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” Therefore spiritual concupiscence can fight against the carnal concupiscence of another, or carnal concupiscence can fight against the spiritual concupiscence of another in the same way as good and evil people fight with each other; or certain carnal lusts of two good but not yet perfect people fight among themselves in the same way as bad people fight with bad people. This goes on until the health of those being cured is brought to final victory.
Here Augustine is disclosing the cause of discords in the church. The truly devout have not yet been renewed perfectly. Rather, some remnants of the flesh remain in them. Therefore they do not attain the exact and perfect knowledge of the mysteries of faith. In some matters they dream and stagger. In the reborn, the flesh still battles against the Spirit. Therefore it can happen easily, especially at the suggestion of the devil, that those who indulge in the opinions of the flesh stir up contentions in the church. Yet unless stubbornness is added and unless the foundation of faith is removed, they are not immediately separated from the body of the Church because of that.