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Archive for August, 2010

Marriage by God’s Design: Excellent New Resource

August 31st, 2010 Comments off

“Wow. Heartwarming, humorous, serious, filled with Christ, straightforward yet profound biblical insights, it’s all here. The video clips make this a tremendous marriage mentoring resource. Kathy and I have been at this dance for three decades, and there is a goldmine of insight here for us! Thanks CPH. Another home run!”

Rev. Matthew C. Harrison

This is what the president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod had to say about a fantastic new resource from Concordia Publishing House, “Marriage by God’s Design.” This resource, so sorely needed, offers a warm, positive, helpful, clear and profoundly Biblically Lutheran approach to marriage. I need to underscore a couple things: this is not a resource only for couples thinking about getting married (though it will be very helpful for them). It is not a resource for people who are already married (though it will be enormously helpful for them). This is a resource for ALL Christians, to help them understand what God’ Word teaches about marriage, and why, and how, it is such an incredible blessings to, and for, all of us: married, or unmarried.

Marriage by God’s Design is a four-session, DVD-based study that examines the Bible’s teachings on marriage. Perfect for large or small groups, this resource can also be used for marriage preparation classes, marriage renewal retreats, or for a congregation-wide study on marriage.

The Bible begins with a marriage—Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden—and ends with a marriage—the marriage feast of Christ and His Bride, the Church.Throughout its pages, the Bible explains why God created His human creatures male and female and why He instituted marriage for them. Because Marriage by God’s Design focuses on the Bible, participants will learn and grow in the understanding and application of its teachings concerning married—and single—living.

Please visit this web page for more information.

Here are two promotional videos:

Kit includes:

  • 1 Leader Guide
  • 10 Participant Workbooks
  • 4 DVDs
  • 1 Promotional Poster

Christianity Going to the Dogs: No, I’m Not Making This Up

August 31st, 2010 11 comments

I know some people do not like the style of these videos, but I think they are really quite powerful, for a certain demographic that most older folks simply “don’t get.” Check this latest video from the Wretched Network. Yes, the man singing the song was serious.

A Lutheran Critique of “The Purpose Driven Life”

August 30th, 2010 3 comments

This is the best, and most thorough-going critique of Rick Warren’s Purpose Drive Life I’ve read, to date, from anyone. In light of the fact of how any number of Lutheran congregations picked up and ran with the “Purpose Driven” craze, in spite of it being quite thoroughly contrary to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions, it is important that this kind of critique be as thoroughly promulgated as possible (I don’t get to use that word ‘promulgated’ too much, try saying it out loud, it’s fun!).

Here’s the paper: WarrenCritique

NOTE: Click the link once, then click on it again, in the next window, and allow time for the PDF file to download to your computer.

The North American Lutheran Church Official Press Release

August 29th, 2010 1 comment

The NALC has posted this official press release.

Snippet:

Lutheran CORE leaders note that the problems in the ELCA are really not about sexual behavior but
rather about an ongoing movement away from the authority and teaching of the Bible throughout the
ELCA, on issues far broader than simply human sexuality.

“It was not our choice to leave the ELCA, but the ELCA has chosen to reject ‘the faith once delivered
to the saints,’ so now we are acting to maintain our position within the consensus of the Church
catholic,” said Schwarz.

“The ELCA has decided that it is in a position of authority over the Bible itself rather than
submitting to the authority of the Bible over all matters of faith and life,” Chavez said. “And
unfortunately, most of the attention is given to the sexuality issues, but there are actually much more
disturbing trends within the ELCA.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Cat Yodeling: A How To Guide

August 29th, 2010 2 comments

My friend Todd Wilken, who is a cat person, shared this video. I have a cat. She is a nice cat. She would not let me do any of this.

Categories: Humor

Trying to Plant Calvinism in Germany by Dishonest Means: Effort to Do So Exposed

August 29th, 2010 2 comments

The video I posted about yesterday is an effort by a small group of American Presbyterians to plant Calvinism into Germany. I see already they are going about it in a deceptive manner, in that they are trying to co-op the good name and history of Martin Luther to make themselves appear to be authentic heirs of Martin’s Luther’s theology. This was confirmed by a comment the post on the video received by one of the man involved in the effort, Sebastian Heck, who slanders the Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany. Here is what he sent to me, which confirms my assessment of their effort.

Pastor McCain, when you say I should “bother to check my facts” concerning a true Lutheran presence, that is quite an insinuation and I do think it is you who are being misled. You might be part of something like a “confessional Lutheran stronghold” in the U.S., but the SELK (Idependent Lutheran Church) of Germany certainly is not – and hasn’t been in many decades. Saying that it is “a small, but thriving, Lutheran church independent of the state” reveals one of two things: either your own ignorance about the true state of the SELK in Germany, or (which would be worse) your own ignorance about the Gospel. The SELK is struggling with liberalism on many fronts (theology, ministry, ecclesiology). And while it might be a “confessional Lutheran church” on paper, in reality it is deconstructed Lutheranism and not a whole lot of “true Lutheran Gospel”. I find it funny that I am a German, live there, work there and know the lay of the land, but you lecture me on checking the facts. I truly hope the Lutheran church you belong to does not REALLY compare to the SELK, for your own sake and for the sake of the Gospel. If you believe there is a true Reformation church in Germany, the burden of proof is on you…sadly!

One Thing to Preach, the Wisdom of the Cross!

August 29th, 2010 Comments off

Unum praedica, sapientiam crucis!” [There is one thing to preach, the wisdom of the cross!] That is the answer (in a sermon-fragment of 1515; WA 1, 52) which Luther gives to the vital question of the ministry [Predigtamt] of all ages: “What shall I preach?” The wisdom of the cross, the word of the cross, a great stumbling block to the world, is the proper content of Christian preaching, is the Gospel itself. So thinks Luther and the Lutheran Church with him. The Christian world regards that as a great onesidedness. The cross is just one part, among others, of the Christian message. The Second Article is not the whole Creed, and even in the Second Article the cross stands in the midst of other facts of salvation. What a narrowing of the Christian truth Luther is guilty of (so we are told by some Lutherans today) by his limiting real Christian theology to the theology of the cross. Is not there also a theology of incarnation and a theology of resurrection? Must not the theology of the Second Article be supplemented by a theology of the Third Article, a theology of the Holy Ghost and His activity in the church? Luther had, indeed, very much to say about these things also, e.g., in his doctrine on incarnation and in his theology of the sacraments. Besides, he had a more profound understanding of the article of creation than most theologians who preceded him.

“Thus the question arises what that alleged narrowing, that much criticized onesidedness of Luther’s theologia crucis, means. The theology of the cross obviously does not mean that for the theologian the whole church year shrinks to Good Friday. It rather means that one cannot understand Christmas, Easter, or Pentecost without Good Friday. Luther was, alongside of Irenaeus and Athanasius, one of the great theologians of the incarnation. He was that because he saw the cross behind the manger. He understood the victory of Easter as well as any theologian of the Eastern Church. But he understood it because he understood it as the victory of the Crucified. The same can be said of his understanding of the activity of the Holy Ghost. It is always the cross which illuminates all chapters of theology because the deepest nature of revelation is hidden in the cross. This being so, Luther’s theologia crucis wants to be more than one of the many theological theories which have appeared in the course of the history of the Church. It claims to be, in contrast to another theology, which now prevails in Christendom and which Luther calls the theologia gloriae, the correct, the scriptural theology with which the Church of Christ stands and falls. Only of the preaching of this theology, Luther thinks, can it be said that it is the preaching of the Gospel.”

Sasse, Letters to Lutheran Pastors 18

Categories: Uncategorized

The Reformed are Aiming at Planting Calvinism Back in Germany

August 28th, 2010 45 comments

Watch this video. American Presbyterians are aiming at planting Reformed congregations back in Germany. Watch this video and notice how lacking an articulation of the Gospel actually is. Notice particularly the first several minutes where not once is the name of Christ mentioned, and only God is referred to and his glory. The word “Gospel” is mentioned but not articulated. Typical of Calvinism, unfortunately.

I resent how Calvinists continue to try to coop Martin Luther for their cause. We all know how vigorously Luther rejected the Reformed view of the Lord’s Supper, among many other views. I understand why the Calvinists must play Lutheran hymns, since their own tradition produced no music of any value in Germany during the Reformation era, but simply using “A Mighty Fortress” as a soundtrack for a video does not in any way give them any right to imply that they are somehow the legitimate heirs of Luther’s Reformation.

In the video they make the claim that there is no denomination in Germany that can claim to be a legitimate heir of the Reformation. This is quite an offensive statement, that they made, no doubt out of simple ignorance, but nonetheless truly unfortunate. The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany is this very church body!

Let’s be clear about something. Calvinism is not a faithful proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is not an authentic, genuine and true presentation of the Reformation, but an unfortunate deformation of it.

Categories: Calvinism

Why I’m A Book of Concord Fanatic (Free Pamphlet!)

August 28th, 2010 2 comments

A fanatic is a person who won’t change his mind, and can’t change the subject.” – Winston Churchill

Yes, that’s pretty much me when I get going on the Book of Concord, which is often. I have to begin this post with an apology, to my friend, Myrtle, a dear sister in Christ who sent this to me, longer ago than I care to admit. She has been very patient waiting for me to share this resource with you. But, finally, here you go. Pastor Fisk’s great video on the Book of Concord reminded me of my forgetfullness.

Please do check out her fine work at assembling a nice little pamphlet on whyt he Book of Concord is so great. It is nice to see I’m not the only one who is nuts for the Book of Concord. There are a lot of us BOC Fanatics out there. Why?

OK, to repeat: Well, watch Rev. Fisk’s video and read Myrtle’s great little pamphlet. You can get it here.

Told you I can’t change the subject!

Categories: Lutheran Confessions

Stop what you are doing. Watch this. Now.

August 28th, 2010 1 comment

One of the finest and most powerful presentations of the Gospel I’ve ever seen or heard.

Categories: Uncategorized

Martyrs of the Devil

August 28th, 2010 1 comment

One of the Missouri Synod’s new Vice-Presidents, Rev. Dr. Scott Murray, offers these great observations in one of his “Memorial Moments” — daily devotions he offers, which you can receive here.

Pastors are dropping out of the ministry of the church and choosing secular vocations at an accelerating rate. Why? On 7 August, the New York Times ran an op-ed piece entitled “Congregations Gone Wild,” and I don’t think the author, G. Jeffrey MacDonald, meant it in a good way . He pointed out that Christian congregations are increasingly demanding that their pastors dumb down the message, preaching merely to entertain or to make their congregants feel good. He recounted his own experience, when as a parish pastor about ten years ago the advisory committee of his congregation told him to keep his sermons to 10 minutes, tell funny stories, and leave people feeling great about themselves.

Lots of congregations are making similar demands on their pastors these days. The problem is that these demands run completely counter to the prophetic role to which the Bible calls our pastors. The Lord called on the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel and said, “So you, son of man, I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me” (Ez 33:7). Sometimes the warning the pastors give rubs the people who hear it the wrong way. They don’t appreciate having their wickedness pointed out to them. Some years ago, I conducted a funeral for a young mother in my congregation who had died quite suddenly. I preached about her sin and the great grace of God given to her in Christ Jesus, who forgave her sins and called her to everlasting life with Him. Many of the young professional people in that funeral service were angry because I called their friend or colleague a sinner. Her husband came to me afterward and recounted this to me saying: “Way to go, Pastor, you preached what I wanted you to preach and what we all needed to hear.” I could not ignore death and sin because its results were so obvious in the casket that stood in the middle of church. Many people went away from the service that day profoundly angry, but angry because what I said about this young woman was also attributable to them; they were sinners and they too would die.

Increasingly, this inconvenient truth is being denied, rejected, dimmed, muted, and finally rejected. Instead we desire to be entertained. MacDonald rightly pointed out that “churchgoers increasingly want pastors to soothe and entertain them. It’s apparent in the theater-style seating and giant projection screens in churches.” Pastors are increasingly presented with the dilemma of reducing the sharpness of their preaching, such as calling people to repentance, or to look upon the cross for their salvation, so that if they do not they will be looking for other work. They have become entertainers or dispensers of soothing spiritual Kool-Aid; the mind-numbing soma of the modern religious institution. And the excuse is: “It gets people in the church who wouldn’t be here otherwise.” But the problem is that if the message has become unbiblical is it really the church of which Christ says the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, or has it become merely a smarmy religious club?

If our pastors are dancing to the devil’s tune, they will have to dance rather hard, like those old fashioned dance contests that awarded the prize to the last couple left standing. It becomes a double whammy; those who must dance for their dinner will never be able to stop and then they will continue to dance for their father forever. Let Christ do everything by preaching His gospel. It is so much easier. And it actually works too.

From Martin Luther
“The workers of the Law are very rightly called ‘martyrs of the devil,’ if I may use the common expression, because they procure hell by greater labor and trouble than that by which the martyrs of Christ gain heaven. They are worn out by a double contrition: while they are in this life, performing many great works, they torture themselves uselessly; and when they die, they receive eternal damnation and punishment as their reward. Thus they are most miserable martyrs both in the present life and in the future life, and their slavery is eternal.

“It is not so with believers, who have afflictions only in this life, while they have peace in Christ, because they believe that He has defeated the world. Therefore we must stand fast in the freedom Christ has acquired for us by His death, and we must be diligently on our guard not to be enticed once more into a yoke of slavery. This is what is happening today to the fanatical spirits: falling away from faith and freedom, they have condemned themselves here in time to slavery, and in eternity they will again be oppressed by slavery. The majority and greater part of the papists have today degenerated into nothing better than Epicureans, who, as they are accustomed, use the liberty of the flesh and sing securely: ‘Eat, drink, and play, for after death there is no pleasure.’ But truly they are slaves of the devil,who holds them captive to his will. Therefore the eternal slavery of hell awaits them.”

Categories: pastoral ministry

Fisk’s Take on the Book of Concord

August 27th, 2010 Comments off

The young Jedi YouTuber, Pastor Fisk, has a nicely done explanation of what makes the Book of Concord such a wonderful book. Check out his, as always, entertaining and unique take on it:

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Categories: Lutheran Confessions

The Birth of the North American Lutheran Church

August 27th, 2010 5 comments
Congratulations to those in Columbus, Ohio who just formed The North American Lutheran Church today in Columbus, Ohio. The NALC web site is: http://www.thenalc.org

I greatly and respect the courage of conviction that was required to form this new church body, the painful emotional experiences the founders of the NALC have been through and how they must be feeling at this point.

I believe their actions are inspiring and encouraging to all who love the Word of God and want to remain faithful to it.

I would offer my personal assurance of prayer to God that He would guide, bless and strengthen the leadership and members of the NALC with every grace. I look forward to any possible partnership, discussion and mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren, that we can be involved in and offer to one another!

I would plead with my fellow Missouri Synod Lutherans, and all Lutherans of good will, that today, now, at this particular moment, is not the time to criticize, castigate, condemn or bash The NALC, but simply today to recognize them as people who clearly want to do the right thing, and though we do, obviously, disagree with a number of their doctrinal positions and practices, surely we must, and can, admire the amount of personal courage and conviction it took for them to severe their ties with the apostasy of the ELCA?

Let us keep them in our prayers and do all we can to be of help and support to them and so, by God’s grace, strengthen their confession, to any extent possible, according to His good and gracious will.

Categories: Lutheranism

How Big is Google? Check this out

August 27th, 2010 Comments off

So, Google goes live with their new phone service, and in 24 hours….over one million calls! Here’s an interesting story about it.

Categories: Web/Tech

Witnessola: New Technology for an Old Message

August 27th, 2010 Comments off

Categories: Uncategorized