Archive for May, 2010

Concerning the Name “Lutheran”

May 31st, 2010 1 comment

This essay appeared in the first issue of the newspaper that Dr. Walther started in the mid 1800s to advance and promote confessional Lutheranism in the USA. It remains a very helpful walk through the various reasons why we continue to use the name “Lutheran.” The translation below has some rough patches, but it serves the purpose of putting this text, in English, in front of us for study and discussion.

Concerning the Name “Lutheran” by C.F.W. Walther
Translated by Mark Nispel
From: Der Lutheraner, Vol. I, pp. 2-4, 5-7, 9-12

PART I – September 1, 1844

A. Is it wrong to use such a name?

Isn’t it wrong to use the name “Lutheran”? We did not shy from giving our periodical the title “the Lutheran” and so we consider it our duty to give answer to those who might ask us what this name means and why we would use it. There have been many people at all times, as we well know, that have been offended that the Lutheran Church should be named after Luther, or any man. ‘Why’, they ask, ‘can’t everyone see in light of this that this church could not be the true church of Christ but instead only the work of a man, a sect?’ ‘Indeed,’ says another, ‘you Lutherans should read what St. Paul says about such names of men. In 1 Corinthians 1 and 3 he says: “it has been reported to me that there is discord among you. I am speaking of the fact that among you one says: I am of Paul! and another, I am of Apollo! and a third, I am of Christ! How can this be? Is Christ divided. Has Paul been crucified for you? Or are you baptized in the name of Paul? — So one says: I am of Paul! the other, I am of Apollo! Are you then not fleshly? Who is Paul and who is Apollo? They are servants through whom you believed.” Are you listening, Lutherans? It is cried out to us: Don’t you do the same thing the holy apostle condemns here in Corinthians when you name yourselves Lutherans? You continuously say that one should always follow the letter of the Scripture precisely, then why do you not do so here?

There are not a few honest Lutherans who become quite embarrassed when this is said to them by our opponents. But this accusation is so fictitious, that it will be shown to be without basis as soon as we consider the matter more closely. First, it is a mistake if it is believed that Lutherans took this name for themselves. History reports to us instead that they were first given this name by their opponents in order to insult them. Dr. Eck, who held that well known disputation with Luther in Leipzig, was the first to call those who held to Luther’s teaching by that name. We see clearly what Luther thought of this in a writing which he completed in 1522: “Admonition Against Insurrection,” in which he says among other things:

I ask that my name be left silent and people not call themselves Lutheran, but rather Christians. Who is Luther? The doctrine is not mine. I have been crucified for no one. St. Paul in 1 Cor. 3:4-5 would not suffer that the Christians should call themselves of Paul or of Peter, but Christian. How should I, a poor stinking bag of worms, become so that the children of Christ are named with my unholy name? It should not be dear friends. Let us extinguish all factious names and be called Christians whose doctrine we have. The pope’s men rightly have a factious name because they are not satisfied with the doctrine and name of Christ and want to be with the pope, who is their master. I have not been and will not be a master. Along with the church I have the one general teaching of Christ who alone is our master. Matt. 23:8.

This judgment of Luther is as clear as the sun. he did not want in any way that the church should be named after him and even less did he want this to happen for his own glory.

Let no one imagine that in and of itself it is wrong when Christians let themselves be named after a man. This is shown undeniably by the fact that the church of the Old Testament was named by God himself after a man. What did He call them? – the Israelites. Didn’t Christ himself say of Nathaniel: “See, a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.” What was Israel? He was a man. Therefore it is clear, it depends on the sense in which the children of God are named after a man. In that alone can there be sin. In which sense and on what grounds did the Corinthians name themselves of Paul, of Apollo, of Safes, of Christ? In this fashion, as we can read, they wanted to separate themselves from one another. Although Paul, Apollo, and Peter (or Safes) taught one and the same thing, the Corinthians rejected the others when they chose one. They separated themselves from one another by taking on a name and setting up factions. The sin for which Paul rebukes the Corinthians exists not only in that they named themselves after a man but instead that by doing this among those who had the same orthodox doctrine they wanted to establish divisions. Therefore the apostle himself rejects the name “of Christ” as the name of a sect (which some of them were using) when they wanted to establish division with it. Paul does this even though this last name is not taken from a man but from the Son of God himself. Now true Lutherans have never named themselves after Luther in this forbidden sense. With this their name they have never wanted to depart or separate from other orthodox teachers. They declare their allegiance as Lutherans to Athenasius and all true teachers of the Gospel in all times and lands just as much as to Luther. Luther himself was far from wanting to be the only true teacher. He publicly writes among other things about a friend, the Würtemburg theologian Brentius: “I value your books so highly that my books entirely stink when I compare them to your books and those like them. I am not mocking you here. I am not dreaming and I am not saying something to insult you. I will not be deceived by my judgment, for I am not praising Brentius, but the Spirit that is in you is much friendlier, and full of love and joy than the spirit in me.” Certainly no one speaks this way if he is trying to lead a sect. But Luther speaks this way because he wants to be nothing more than a witness of the truth.

Therefore, we do not call ourselves Lutherans after him in the same way that we are called Christians on account of Christ. We are not called such because we believe in Luther. As highly as we treasure this vigorous witness, in our church we still do not accept so much as a word in matters of faith simply because Luther said it. Rather, we accept his words only in the instance that it can be shown written clearly in the Word of God. We do not accept him as any apostle or prophet but rather we know that he was subject to error and sin like other men. He is not the head of our church. He is not our pope. Therefore whoever accepts everything in blind faith simply because Luther said it is separated from the true Lutheran church as far as earth is from heaven and day is from night. In this manner then Luther wrote to Melanchthon in 1530 who was at the Imperial Council in Augsburg [confessing the Lutheran faith to the Emperor and the Roman Catholic Church, tr.]: “It does not please me in your letter that you write that you have me as the head of this matter and have followed it on account of my reputation. I do not want to direct or command anything, nor will I be called the author. And even if someone might find some kind of correct understanding in using that word I do not want it. Isn’t this matter likewise yours and does it not fit you as well as me, therefore one may not say that it is mine.” Just as Luther refused any improper esteem in the church so our church has not improperly honored him. Just as it says in the beginning of the Formula of Concord, which is one of the most important public confession of the orthodox Lutherans:

We believe teach, and confess that the one rule and guide, according to which all doctrine and teachers should be judged is the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and new Testaments alone. Other writings of old and new teachers whatever their name should not be considered equal to the holy Scriptures, but rather all of them together one with another are subject to it and together are taken only as witnesses of how much and at which places after the time of the apostles such doctrine of the apostles and prophets were kept.

So finally we ask ourselves, do we call ourselves Lutherans in order to show that we cling to a new doctrine which Luther first 300 years ago brought forward? Read more…

Categories: Lutheranism

Keep Working and Leave the Worrying to God

May 31st, 2010 Comments off

“We are not builders or master builders, but only servants and workers. It is not ours but our God and Savior’s own work that is carried out among us. If it stands, it stands for Him. If it falls, it falls for Him. If it stands, the gates of hell shall not overcome it [Mt. 16:18]. Should it fall, we will not be able to preserve it. All our racing and running, all our concern and worrying will not change a thing. Therefor we cast all our cares upon Him [I Pt. 5:7]. Care and worry is His affair. Our matter is that we, as faithful servants, each do and perform his mandated office and work so long as it is day. So let us have courage to continue to build, and to be faithful to see to it that we remain on the one foundation that is laid [I Cor. 3:11-14], that we build according to the rule and measure that once was given to the saints, and hold before our eyes the goal that this heavenly vocation in Christ places before us. Let us continue to gather together one congregation after another, to found one school after another, to prepare preachers and teachers. Not that we make a name for ourselves, but hat His name be hallowed; not that our kingdom grow, but that His kingdom come; not that our plans be carried out, but that His will be done not that everyone should please us, but that we, as God wills, direct all the world to their Lord and Savior, that by all means, some be saved. If we build on the foundation [which is Christ] and have only that goal before our eyes, then let the passing rain [Platzregen] fall, let the water rise, and let the wind blow against the house. Let everything that men can bring come against the house! “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved… The Lord of hosts is with us the God of Jacob is our fortress.” [Ps. 46:4-5, 7]. Amen.”

H.C. Schwan “Are the Best Years of the Synod Behind Us?” 1862.

Categories: Uncategorized

Why is the Athanasian Creed So Important?

May 30th, 2010 Comments off

This Sunday many Christians around the world will confess the faith in the words of the Athanasian Creed. Rev. Dr. Ken Schurb did a spectacularly good job on Issues, Etc. the other day explaining the importance of the Athanasian Creed. I highly recommend you give this a good listen.

Here is the text of the Athanasian Creed:

Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith. Which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.

And the catholic faith is this, that we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity; Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the Substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost is all one: the glory equal, the majesty coeternal. Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Ghost. The Father uncreate, the Son uncreate, and the Holy Ghost uncreate. The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Ghost incomprehensible. The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Ghost eternal. And yet they are not three Eternals, but one Eternal. As there are not three Uncreated nor three Incomprehensibles, but one Uncreated and one Incomprehensible. So likewise the Father is almighty, the Son almighty, and the Holy Ghost almighty. And yet they are not three Almighties, but one Almighty. So the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Ghost is God. And yet they are not three Gods, but one God. So likewise the Father is Lord, the Son Lord, and the Holy Ghost Lord. And yet not three Lords, but one Lord. For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge every Person by Himself to be God and Lord, So are we forbidden by the catholic religion to say, There be three Gods, or three Lords.

The Father is made of none: neither created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone; not made, nor created, but begotten. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son: neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding. So there is one Father, not three Fathers; one Son, not three Sons; one Holy Ghost, not three Holy Ghosts. And in this Trinity none is before or after other; none is greater or less than another; But the whole three Persons are coeternal together, and coequal: so that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped. He, therefore, that will be saved must thus think of the Trinity.

Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe faithfully the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ. For the right faith is, that we believe and confess that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; God of the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and Man of the substance of His mother, born in the world; Perfect God and perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father as touching His Godhead, and inferior to the Father as touching His manhood; Who, although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ: One, not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking the manhood into God; One altogether; not by confusion of Substance, but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ; Who suffered for our salvation; descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead; He ascended into heaven; He sitteth on the right hand of the Father, God Almighty; from whence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. At whose coming all men shall rise again with their bodies, and shall give an account of their own works. And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil, into everlasting fire.

This is the catholic faith; which except a man believe faithfully and firmly, he cannot be saved.

“Is” Does Mean “Is” — What Lutheran Churches Must Always Be Clear About

May 30th, 2010 1 comment

“The great doctrinal discussion which should begin between the churches that earnestly want to be Lutheran will have to deal with especially two doctrines: the doctrine concerning the Word of God and the doctrine concerning the Sacraments. Indeed, both doctrines will have to be treated alongside one another; for the means of grace cannot be sundered. Just as they belong together in the life of the church, even so they belong together also in theology. A person cannot at one and the same time have a Calvinistic or Crypto-Calvinistic doctrine concerning the Lord’s Supper and a “Lutheran” doctrine concerning the Word. When recently a pastor (with whom I am unacquainted and who hails from a North-German Lutheran Territorial Church) let it be known that I should ponder the fact that the Lord Christ had not at all spoken the word “is” in the Words of Institution, since Aramaic does not use a copula in that sort of sentence, I do not know what it is at which I should marvel the more: the erudition which does not know how to translate an Aramaic sentence in keeping with its meaning or this broken relation to the Holy Scripture.1 God’s word is, for the church of Christ in all ages, not an original text (Urtext) which is to be discovered behind the Greek and Hebrew words of the New and Old Testaments by scholars; rather, God’s Word is the Bible itself as it was given to us. I adduce this example only in order to show how closely the doctrine of the Real Presence in the Lord’s Supper is connected with the doctrine2 that the Holy Scripture is really (realiter et essentialiter) the Word of God. Corresponding to the est in “Hoc est corpus meum” there is an est in the doctrine of the Scripture. “Hoc est verbum Dei” is what the church must be able to say concerning the Holy Scripture; otherwise it has no Holy Scripture.”

Toward Understanding Augustine’s Doctrine of Inspiration, Herman Sasse, Letters to Lutheran Pastors XXIX, Feb. 1953

Weird, Wild, Crazy-Good Lutheran YouTube Videos

May 29th, 2010 Comments off

I bumped into a Lutheran pastor’s series of videos on YouTube. They are really incredible. You’ve got to watch one to get what he’s up to here. Let me introduce you to Pastor Jonathan Fisk of St. John Lutheran Church-Springfield, PA. I suspect he drinks a bit of coffee, at least now and then. They are weird, wild, crazy, informative, entertaining, engaging and, well, spot-on good solid Lutheran theology. Well, here, take a look and you’ll see what I mean. You can subscribe to his YouTube channel.

Categories: Lutheranism

The Holy Spirit is Not The Collective Spirit of the Christian Religious Association

May 29th, 2010 Comments off

“The Holy Spirit, who creates unity of faith and confession, is not the collective spirit of the Christian religious association. The church as the people of God is something completely other than the people of Mani or Mohammed. The church as the body of Christ is not an organism such as a secular association, a family, a nation, or any other kind of “body”. Moehler’s misunderstanding, and that of the whole Romantic movement, cannot be excused by pointing to the ancient church’s use of terms from ancient sociology of religion in speaking of the church of Christ. One must never forget that the church fathers came out of ancient heathenism, and continued to carry some of its concepts around with them for a long time, for instance in their apologetics. The vital distinction to be made is between what is truly Biblical and what was brought into the church from that ancient heathen world. Clearly the catholicity and apostolicity of the church are taught in Holy Scripture. The same cannot be said of the way catholicity and apostolicity were understood through the centuries of the development of the Catholic Church.

“We have only to look at the sentence Augustine penned to overthrow the Donatists: “When the whole world passes judgment, that judgment is sure” (Securus iudicat orbis terrarum). He refers to the church everywhere; the Donatists were to be found only in Africa. This is the sentence that began to shake Newman’s faith in the catholicity of the Church of England. Ever and again it has deeply impressed Catholics and high-church circles. It does not come, however, from Scripture, but from the religious thought of the non-Christian world, perhaps from very early forms of religion which are still alive within us or could become so. “The voice of the people is the voice of God” (Vox populi vox Dei. [Cf. Seneca the Elder, Controversia, 1,1,10;Homer, Odyssey, 3,214f.]). This is Stoic philosophy, and at the same time a piece of ancient wisdom – or foolishness. “My comunity will never agree in error” [Haddith. Muctamad. 458-76. Cf. Lammens, Islam (1968), p.93]. Thus from Mohammed the doctrine of ijma’, the consensus of all Moslims.

Hermann Sasse, Apostolic Succession
Letters to Lutheran Pastors, No.41
April 1956
(Translation by Norman Nagel, published in We Confess The Church, Concordia, 1986, pp92-93.)

Categories: Hermann Sasse

The Book of Concord: Key to Lutheran Vitality – A Pastor’s Testimony

May 29th, 2010 Comments off

I found this fascinating and powerful post by Pastor Joseph Eggleston, sharing how the Lutheran Confessions have become such a vital part of his ministry. He is a pastor in a congregation of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s, Southeastern District. Here is what he had to say:

“The Book of Concord should be in every Lutheran home. If a person isn’t familiar with this book, he’ll think, ‘That old book is just for pastors. I don’t have to preach. After working all day, I can’t sit down and study in the evening. If I read my morning and evening devotions, that’s enough.’ No, that is not enough! The Lord doesn’t want us to remain children, blown to and fro by every wind of doctrine; instead of that, He wants us to grow in knowledge so that we can teach others.” - Dr. C.F.W. Walther

As happens about once a year, Concordia Publishing House has the new reader’s edition of the Book of Concord on sale. The hardback is a great value $20 (regularly $31). It contains readable, yet accurate translations of the Lutheran Confessions, including the three ecumenical creeds, The Augsburg Confession, the Apology (defense) of the Augsburg Confession, Luther’s Small and Large Catechisms, the Formula of Concord, and other symbolical writings that we hold as true exposition of Scripture, and our guide to right teaching of the Christian faith.

When I arrived at Peace In Christ, I found basically what I expected regarding our Lutheran Confessions: scarcity. Many had never heard of them (either the Book of Concord or the specific writings), and even fewer owned a copy. This did not surprise me in the least! In fact, I myself barely paid any attention to the Confessions in my first few years at the St. Louis seminary. We had two classes on the Confessions, and that was it. I approached them much like many adults do the Small Catechism, years after they are confirmed: I read that once, and I still even remember some of it! For years, I think we pastors have been trained to see the Confessions as a good reference book, but not much for regular use. That is certainly how I felt.

It was not till Concordia Publishing House, released Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions: A Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord that I realized how central the Confessions were to my faith, my schooling, and the call to ministry I was setting out upon. It started when I won a copy as a door prize at a seminary social event. I decided to give it to my dad, but I had little interest in owning one, since I already had the “academic” version the seminary required (which I rarely took off my shelf). All this changed when I began flipping through the pages of the new reader’s edition, filled not just with the confessional writings, but with histories, summaries, timelines, and footnotes. I marveled at the pictures, portraits, woodcuts, and Christian symbols throughout, making for a very rich reading experience for even the novice who might be encountering the Lutheran faith for the first time!

I now own two copies of Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions – one for my study, and one for home. I’m glad to say that I use them often. Re-embracing our confessional writings goes hand-in-hand with our renewal process, since any renwal that takes place needs to be grounded in our Lutheran faith and our identity as a church of the Reformation. I believe that our vitality as a church will rise or fall to the extent that we distinguish ourselves as the church of the Lutheran Confessions. I apply this both to Peace In Christ, and to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. May God grant us this type of renewal, to His glory.

What is True Prayer?

May 29th, 2010 2 comments

People are to be diligently shown from God’s word what a true prayer is. In true prayer, God alone is implored. And not only the mouth prays, but prayer happens in the Spirit and in truth, John 4[24], in true repentance, Is. 1[16f.]; John 9[31], and in correct faith, Mark 11[23-25]; Js. 1[6], and that God is implored for something expressly in spiritual or temporal matters, for ourselves or for others, which is not contrary to his will. Thus the first and most important thing in prayer has to do with spiritual, heavenly and eternal benefits. After prayer for temporal matters the little clause is always added, “Father, Your will be done,” Mt. 6[10]; John 16[23]; I John 4[1f.]. And the confidence that the prayer will be heard is placed only upon Christ and for his sake, John 16[23]. Along with the doctrine [of prayer] there is to be diligent admonition that it is God’s will and command that we ought pray constantly and without ceasing, Luke 18[1-8]; I Thess. 5[17]. Our need and the dear promises of God, and all the beautiful examples of Christ and of all saints in the scriptures ought stir us to this. And every Christian ought accustom himself and his household, to pray in the morning when he rises, in the evening when he goes to sleep, when he sits down to eat or leaves the table, when he commences something, etc. And a Christian shall pray above all where the community of God is gathered about the word and sacraments. For there he prays not only individually, but also helps intercede in the common prayer for community and particular needs.

Braunschweig-Woelfenbuettel Church Order 1569

Light of Life: A Journey of Prayerful Meditation on the Gospel of John — Available Now!

May 28th, 2010 Comments off

A new personal Bible study is available, Light of Life. Here is Light of Life’s home page. Here is the promotional video, and below it an explanation of what Light of Life is all about. Give the video a chance to load before you hit play.

Light of Life is a seven-week, guided, prayerful meditation on the Gospel of John. The plan is simple and clear: read through the Gospel of John over seven weeks. (Sundays are not included, the assumption being that people will be involved in Sunday morning worship.) For each day, the companion participant journal has the reading from John’s Gospel along with a portion for use as the meditation component and the contemplative prayer component. Please note: This is an “anytime” program. It can be begun at any time, by anyone. There are no calendar dates, but only 42 days of readings.

The goal is to help people learn and grow in the ancient Christian art of reading the Bible in an intentionally meditational and prayerful way. Referred to as “Divine Reading” or Lectio Divina, this way has roots in the Old Testament with the Psalmist’s meditations on God’s Torah. The tradition continued into the New Testament era with our Lord’s pointing all of Scripture to Himself (Luke 24). It was a well-established practice in the Early Church that continued into the Medieval Church. At this point, however, the practice picked up some unhelpful aspects, and the goal of prayerful and devotional mediation on God’s Word became skewed by a focus on the final stage, “contemplation,” which often involved breaking free of the biblical text with the goal of “reaching God.”

As in other areas, here Martin Luther and the Reformers drew the Church back to a Word-centered and Jesus-centered spirituality, with the focus being the dynamic interplay of Law and Gospel.

Light of Life is intended to provide anyone, or any congregation, with a unified Bible- reading experience aimed at strengthening and aiding each participant with devotional practices and Bible-reading disciplines that will serve them for the rest of their lives. This resource will help its users approach Scripture not as a sort of textbook of Christian facts but as the living Word of God for them. And, most significantly, this resource and experience will help them understand the particularly keen emphasis in the Lutheran Bible reading tradition of looking at everything through the lens provided by Christ Jesus, who is the Light of Life.

Included on the companion CD-ROM are the following resources:
• A complete Bible study on every chapter of John, which you may modify and customize however you wish—using it entirely or in portions. Available both in RTF and in PDF file formats, with both student and teacher components.
• Daily messages you can send to all participants to offer them encouragement and a reminder of the day’s reading. (Send via e-mail or post them to Twitter.)
• Newsletter and bulletin templates you can use as you wish.
• Weekly “bulletin blurbs” about the reading program that you can use to encourage participants and create interest in those yet to be involved.
• A PowerPoint presentation for you to use for promotional purposes.
• A brief promotional video to promote interest in joining the experience.

The participant journal is a stand-alone print piece that people will want to use to record their meditation and prayers as they read the text. It contains helps and an introduction into the art of prayerful meditation on the Scripture, both of which explain what Christian meditation is all about and help participants learn this skill.

Categories: CPH Resources

Classical Music HD Radio 24/7/365

May 28th, 2010 1 comment

Our local public radio station is now broadcasting classical music 24/7/365 in HD radio, on KWMU-3. You can access the live MP3 stream here.

Categories: Music

There is No Reason Why Lutherans Should Not be Lutherans

May 28th, 2010 6 comments

“Because of the confessional position of the Lutheran Church, there is no reason why Lutherans should not still be Lutheran. Espousing the catholic and apostolic faith with Christ as center and Scripture as source, Lutherans are part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. Therefore, they do not have to ask whether they should be part of a church body with a name other than Lutheran. They do, of course, need to be concerned about the barriers that divide Christians from each other and must listen to other Christians for what the Holy Spirit may have to say through them. But they do not need to be concerned, as some other Christians have insisted they should be concerned, that they are somehow not the true church of Christ.”

— A. C. Piepkorn, The Sacred Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, pp. 195, 196. HT: Weedon.

Categories: Lutheranism

How does Confirmation Builder Work? Here are demo videos!

May 27th, 2010 Comments off

We have a series of demonstration for Confirmation Builder, ready for you to view. They are really helpful and provide you with a good overview of the features of Confirmation Builder. I think many pastors will really appreciate the online quizzing and testing capabilities. You can see them all here. The picture below is just a screen shot of the web page where the videos are. DO NOT CLICK ON THE PICTURE BELOW TO SEE THE VIDEOS. It is only a screen shot of the page on the Builder site where the videos are. Click on this link to see the videos. When the page comes up, click on the play button and wait for the video to load, it will start automatically after it loads.

Categories: CPH Resources

Will You Read the Book of Concord This Summer With Me?

May 27th, 2010 19 comments

I came across an excellent blog post by Pastor Johann Caauwe, and he has given me permission to share it with you. By the way, the Book of Concord is on sale, right now, for only $20. That’s 35% off the regular price. But that special price ends in a week. Here is Pastor Caauwe’s invitation, which I join him in making. This reading plan/scheduled begins on May 30, this Sunday, Holy Trinity.

I will be using the CPH Reader’s Edition (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions) again. This has become my standard English version which I use. If you don’t have a copy of the Book of Concord, get one. Read the paragraph below to explain why. It is currently on sale for $20 at If you have a different version (Triglot, Tappert, Kolb/Wengert), there is an older version of the summer schedule here. If you don’t want to buy a book, you can read it on the internet right here, or purchase an electronic version here. You might also consider the pocket edition if you want to keep reading while on vacation and not have to lug a big book around.

Are you interested in reading with me? If so, I’d like to hear from you. Perhaps we can even discuss a few topics as we go through it. I’ll warn you that the schedule is pretty ambitious. This is the third time I’ve attempted this schedule and I’ve never yet finished on September 6th. But maybe if I had a few reading partners, you can help me stay on track. Here is the reading schedule, just click on the link and it will download as a PDF file to your computer: summer-reading-schedule-for-reading-concordia

This is not just a book for pastors and church “professionals” or “academics.” In fact, it is important to realize that the people most directly responsible for the Lutheran Confessions were laymen, not pastors and theologians. At tremendous personal risk to their own lives, their property, and their profession, laymen boldly stepped before the emperor and the pope’s representatives. They asserted that these Confessions were their own. They did not back down or compromise. For this reason, it is unfortunate that down through the years the Book of Concord has come to be regarded more as a book for pastors and professional theologians.

Tucked into the middle of this book is the most widely used of all the Lutheran Confessions: Martin Luther’s Small Catechism. Luther wrote this document not simply as a resource for the church and school, but, first and foremost, for the head of the household. Luther intended this little book to be used by laypeople, daily, to help them remain anchored to the solid teachings of God’s holy Word, the Bible. So keep this important fact in mind: The Book of Concord exists because of the faith and conviction of laypeople, who risked their very lives in order to have these Confessions produced, published, and distributed. The Book of Concord is a book for all Christians, church workers and laypeople alike.

Christians who want to be true and faithful to the teachings of the Bible return, again and again, to this book. In these confessions of faith they find agreement, unity, and harmony in the truths of God’s Word. (from the General Introduction to the Book of Concord)

So dust off those Books of Concord and we’ll get started in just a few days! Will you join me?

A Word to Those Who Are Going to Take Holy Communion

May 27th, 2010 3 comments

The following is from the Braunschweig-Woelfenbuettel Church Order of 1569, largely by Martin Chemnitz. Trans. by Andrew Smith. Unpublished manuscript.

“Most beloved in God, since we now desire to consider and conduct the Supper of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, in which is given to us his flesh for food and his blood for drink, not of the body, but of the soul, we should accordingly with great diligence each examine ourselves, as Paul [I Cor. 11:28] says, and then eat of this bread and drink of this cup. For no one should receive this holy sacrament except for a hungry soul, which knows its sin, fears the wrath of God and death, and hungers and thirsts for righteousness. But if we examine ourselves we find nothing in us but sin and death, neither can we in any way help ourselves out of this. For this reason our dear Lord Jesus Christ has had mercy on us, and became man for our sake that he might fulfill the law and suffer what debt we have earned with our sins. And so that we might firmly believe this and that we might joyfully rely upon this, after the supper, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and said: “Take and eat, this is our body, which is given for you.” As though he would say, “That we [i.e. "I"] became man and everything which we do and suffer, all this is your own, and has happened for you and for your good. As a pledge of this we give you our body for food.” He took the cup likewise and said,”Take and drink from this, all of you. This cup is the New Testament in our blood, which is poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins. As often as you do this, do it in remembrance of me,” as though he would say, “Because we have accepted you and laid your sins upon ourself, we will sacrifice ourself for sin, shed our blood, obtain grace and forgiveness of sins, and thus establish a New Testament, in which sin shall not be remembered. As a pledge of this we give to you our blood to drink. Who now thus eats of this bread and drinks of this cup, that is, who firmly believes these words which he hears and these signs which he receives, he remains in Christ and Christ in him and he lives eternally. Thereby we shall now consider his death and heartily give thanks to him, each take up his cross and follow the Lord [Mt. 16:24] and above all things love each other, just as Christ has loved us [Eph. 5:2]. For there is one bread and we many are one body, all partakers in one bread [I Cor. 10:17] and drinking out of one cup. So that we however all together in accordance with the teaching and admonition now heard may worthily receive the Holy Sacrament in correct, true faith and repentance, we will call on God the Father in the Name of Christ and heartily speak a pious Our Father . . . “

25 Years of History: Atlantis Returns to Earth for the Final Time

May 26th, 2010 1 comment

I don’t care how many times I watch launches and landings of the Space Shuttle, it is an amazing thing to watch. The pilots of the shuttle are landing the craft “dead stick” … literally gliding the spacecraft into a landing. They call the “Shuttle” a “flying brick.” They make it look so routine, we think it is “easy” but every landing is an amazing demonstration of avionis and aeronautical technology. Here is Atlantis, touching down for the last time in its long career of twenty five years and thirty two flights and over 100 million miles traveled!

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