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Archive for August, 2010

A Parody of the Lutheran Faith

August 26th, 2010 1 comment

Robert Gagnon, author of what has proven to be the most devastatingly thorough critique of the so-called “scholarship” that homosexual advocates have used to try to change the Christian Faith on these issues, and others, has an excellent article, titled “Ed Schroeder Parodies the Lutheran Faith.” Available here

FYI…more on Gagnon:

He is the author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001; 520 pgs.); co-author (with Dan O. Via) of Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003; 125 pgs.); and, as a service to the church, provides a large amount of free material on the web dealing with Scripture and homosexuality. In addition, he has published scholarly articles on biblical studies in Journal of Biblical Literature, New Testament Studies, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Novum Testamentum, Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, Horizons in Biblical Theology, and The Christian Century.

Categories: Homosexuality

Is the Android Un-Lutheran?

August 25th, 2010 13 comments

Mr. Brian Yamabe, a fellow LCMS Lutheran, put up a post on his blog “Vocation in the Valley: Life Under the Cross” yesterday that I found very helpful and well put. Whenever I mention the Apple iPhone app marketplace, I get, understandably, a number of inquiries from Android uses asking if/when we will be releasing Android-friendly apps. Some ask nicely, some make blanket accusations, some get downright angry and say some pretty silly things. Well, Mr. Yamabe is a professional in the field and his blog post explaining why the Apple app market is, at this point, the place to be, offers very helpful insights. Let me assure you that CPH is monitoring all these developments very, very closely. We have a full time staff in our Emerging Products department who stays abreast of all the latest technological developments. We have not slammed the door shut on Android, but at this point, for the reasons Mr. Yamabe identifies below, we are devoting our work to the Apple app marketplace.We will continue to monitor the Android market and if/when we can devote resources to Android app development, we certainly will.

Here is his post:

Is Android Un-Lutheran?

The answer is, of course, no? I won’t bring up the “A” word, but the choice of handset operating system is neither commanded nor prohibited in Scripture. In fact, at the LCMS National Convention I ran into plenty of pastors with Android phones. And, yes, even I, a qualified “Apple Fanboy” have an Android phone (HTC Hero).

So why aren’t Concordia Publishing House (CPH) and others (myself included) writing apps for the Android? I’ve seen plenty of requests on FaceBook and Twitter asking for apps to be written for Android. So there is most certainly a need to be filled. Well, I won’t presume to speak for CPH, but I think I can shed some light on their thought processes as I explain my rationales.

Allocation of Resources

Every developer has a limited number of resources so has to decide what platform(s) to develop for. In the case of iOS vs Android the installed base of iOS devices more than doubles Android devices in the US and is almost 4x the number worldwide (intomobile). In addition to that, amount people spend on iOS apps dwarfs what people spend on Android apps (GigaOm). Based on these simple numbers it’s quite easy to choose what platform to develop for.

Ease of Development

I’ve done some cursory research into Android development and it is not very developer friendly at this point. UI layout is done in XML (text) files. Just think of trying to arrange your living room furniture by writing down the coordinates of your sofa, TV, etc. Also the number of widgets available for free is rather limited. Think wood crate furniture with anything more sophisticated needing to be hand crafted. The current state of Android development is like stuff I was doing 10+ years ago.

Things are Changing

But Android has some positives. It is gaining is popularity and had greater unit shipments than the iPhone in Q2 2010 (ZDNet) and App Inventor and Google’s developer friendliness will surely make the development situation better.

Some Things Won’t

That being said, Google is unlikely to do anything that would improve the market for apps. Why? Because Google isn’t in the business of selling apps, Google is in the business of selling ads. They want apps to embed ads as the mechanism for monetization. Additionally, Google hasn’t been able to address piracy on Android devices (AndroidHeadlines). They actually don’t have any incentives to put much effort in anti-piracy. If piracy is rampant, then the only way for developers to make money is to embed ads.

Like I said, I won’t presume to speak for CPH, but it is quite clear to me that now and into the near future developing for the iOS is the platform to develop for if you have limited resources and want to try to make money by selling your apps.

The Treasures of Lutheran Hymnody

August 25th, 2010 2 comments

If you do not follow Matthew Carver’s blog, you are really missing out on a lot of great translations of classic treasures of Lutheran hymnody. Today, for example, this one came across my RSS reader. Check it out. Notice the richness of the Christ-centered, Law and Gospel, deeply Biblically based text.

Lässet Gottes Sohn sich taufen?
from HYMNOGLYPT by Matt Carver (Matthaeus Glyptes)

Here is my translation of the Epiphany hymn, “Lässet Gottes Sohn sich taufen?” (S. von Birken). Many thanks to Armin Wenz for pointing out and providing the words. The appointed melody is “Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele.”

ART THOU baptized, God most holy?
Art Thou bathed in Jordan thus?
Though in sin we sank so lowly,
Thou the Clean One cleansest us.
All earth’s waters as a flood
Thou wouldst purple with Thy blood
Making robes of royal station
For the heirs of Thy salvation.

2. Now this flood for us is given
By the Clean One pow’r to cleanse;
All the wounds by Adam riven
Now this fount of life amends.
Jesus, oh! to Thee I look;
Thou the Jordan, Thine the brook
Which upon my soul hath showered,
Washed me, and all filth devoured.

3. Wide the heavens opened o’er me,
Even as they did o’er Thee,
When Thy Word and water bore me
To God’s cov’nant family:
“This is My beloved child,
With whom I am reconciled.
In whom I take all My pleasure.”—
This is mine in fullest measure.

4. From above the Dove, descending,
Also to my cleansing came,
Thus the Holy Ghost attending,
Did my soul for heaven claim,
As Thy crimson ink, Thy blood
Reconciled me to my God,—
With Thy friends a place awarded—
In Thy book my name recorded.

5. Lamb of God, then didst Thou bind me
To Thy service as Thy knight;
Of Thy very wool consigned me
Warrior’s robes of purest white.
This fair garment, O my groom!
Is my bride-gift from Thy loom;
That my soul, to Thee united,
May be Thine, as Thou hast plighted.

6. Though Thy hellish competition
Ever still doth me pursue,
Makes my fall His constant mission,
Coaxing me to be untrue.
Oh! if once he tempted Thee,
Will he stay away from me?
Nay, at peace he’ll leave me never:
With the head the limbs go ever.

7. When in grief I seem to lose Thee,
Satan says, “Art thou God’s child?
Why then doth He thus abuse thee?
When have fathers e’er beguiled,
Giving stones instead of bread?
Hath He left thee then for dead?
If His pow’r hath not deserted,
Have this stone to bread converted!”

8. Soon would Satan, thus deceiving,
Turn to pride my trust in Thee,
Of Thy help my soul bereaving;
Make me thrall to vanity,
To the world would lure my soul,
Glory, lust, and wealth extol,
Till I sell Thee for the famine
Of his empty lies and Mammon.

9. Dearest Jesus! Make me stronger,
That, as Thou hast done, I too
May the devil crush and conquer;
With resolve my faith endue.
Let Thy Word my weapon be,
And Thine angels be with me.
Though I suffer, let him sever
Me from my dear Jesus never.

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2010.

Read the extended entry for the German text. Read more…

Categories: Lutheran Hymns

Online catalogs for you to view/review

August 24th, 2010 Comments off

You can view, online, several CPH catalogs, one for children’s ministry resources, another for bible study materials and another for curriculum. View them here.

Categories: CPH Resources

It’s Not Just About Homosexuality

August 24th, 2010 7 comments

A good video making an important point. There will be the temptation among people  who are swayed by emotional arguments to think that the homosexuality issue in the Church is just about homosexuality and does not involve anything else. Check it out:

Categories: Homosexuality

The Whole Bible is About Jesus

August 23rd, 2010 18 comments

People who get the willies about the subject of typology may not like this, I think it is pretty well done. What do you think?

Categories: Biblical Studies

To split or to not split (an infinitive)

August 23rd, 2010 3 comments

George Bernard Shaw to the Times of London:

There is a pedant on your staff who spends far too much of his time searching for split infinitives. Every good literary craftsman uses a split infinitive if he thinks the sense demands it. I call for this man’s instant dismissal; it matters not whether he decides to quickly go or to go quickly or quickly to go. Go he must, and at once.

Cited in Patricia T. O’Connor’s Words Fail Me: What Everyone Who Writes Should Know about Writing.

HT: Trevin Wax via Justin Taylor

Categories: Uncategorized

“Genesis Day” Presentation and Q/A Session

August 23rd, 2010 Comments off

On October 10, 2010 (2:00 PM Eastern/ GMT-5), Rev. Dr. Joel Heck of Concordia University, Austin will give a one hour presentation on the Book of Genesis, followed by a question and answer session. While the host congregation will be Shepherd of the Ridge Lutheran Church in North Ridgeville, OH, Dr. Heck will give his presentation from Austin via streaming Internet video. We will, in turn, broadcast this presentation live via our website, shepherdoftheridge.org. Anyone anywhere in the world with a broadband internet connection can watch live. We will also allow viewers to comment and ask questions via our chat boxes. The presentation will be recorded for those unable to watch live.

Local congregations can host a “Genesis Day” if they have access to a large enough screen, displaying the live stream on their screen. If churches need help with setup for this event, we would be happy to help (http://shepherdoftheridge.org/contact ). (And if you’re planning to host such an event, we’d be thrilled to hear about it!)

Following the event, we will begin an ongoing indepth study of Genesis. The discussion will take place on multiple levels and locations. We will meet live to discuss it in person on Sunday evenings at 7 PM (Eastern) at Shepherd of the Ridge Lutheran Church. The conversation will be streamed live, so anyone unable to be present can watch and join in the discussion via chat, Twitter, or Facebook. Those unable to watch live can either watch the recorded class or listen online via podcast or just read the questions online and discuss the questions in the comments section. We will also have forums to discuss tangential topics like the age of the earth, archaeology, and more.

Anyone interested is welcome to attend or participate in any way, regardless of beliefs, background, or location. We encourage church members to use this opportunity to invite their unchurched friends, family, and colleagues.

Get more information and sign up at http://shepherdoftheridge.org/bible_study/genesis for updates.

Categories: Biblical Studies

The Divine Sacrament Makes us Divine Men

August 22nd, 2010 Comments off

Let us consider then, first of all, our human weakness and imperfection. . .Let us consider, in the second place, our unworthiness. . .man is unworthy in very many and more grievous ways, for by his sins he has offended his Creator. . And in our preparation for this Holy Supper, let us not simply examine ourselves, but let us also consider this blessed bread, which is the communion of the body of Christ, and then will it appear to us as a true fountain of God’s grace, and an inexhaustible spring of divine mercy. . .Thus this Holy Supper will transform our souls; this most divine sacrament will make us divine men, until finally we shall enter upon the fullness of the blessedness that is to come, filled with all the fullness of God, and wholly like Him. (Johann Gerhard, Sacred Meditations, 20:108-111)

HT: Pastor Alms

Categories: Uncategorized

ThyPhone: It Does It All

August 21st, 2010 1 comment

Categories: Humor

How Does the Lutheran Church Understand Itself?

August 20th, 2010 Comments off

‘How does the Lutheran Church understand itself? What do we mean, when we call a church “Lutheran”? We mean that it is a Church of the Lutheran confession. That distinguishes Lutheranism from other confessions [of the faith]. One could not label the Orthodox Church of the east simply as “the church of the Nicene Creed.” The Roman Church is not simply “the church of the Tridentinum” [Denzinger 994-1000] or one of the other confessions collected in Denzinger’s Enchiridion or other private collections. It is very telling that there is in no Catholic Church a book, which would correspond to our Book of Concord, which in the nineteenth century was also called “The Symbolic Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.” This is true also of the Reformed Churches. They are not “Churches of the Heidelberg Catechism,” of the Helvetic Confession, of the Gallicana, or of the Thirty-nine Articles. Yet the Lutheran Church of all times and places is the “Church of the Augsburg Confession.” Whence this comes, and upon what this distinction rests, which is here between Lutheranism and other denominations, we will not take up here, as we have spoken about this in letter 2 (“Concerning the Nature of Confession in the Church”) and letter 3 (“On the Problem of the Relation Between the Reformed and Lutheran Church”).

“We will only recall that for the Lutheran Church, as for the church of the New Testament, the confession of faith is indissoluably bound to the confession of sins and the praise of God. Further, that the confession of faith is not the formulation of a human world-view or religion. It is rather the answer of faith, affected by the Holy Spirit, to the question of Jesus, contained in the Gospel, about who He is. It is the answer of the individual believer as well as the answer of the entire church; and this answer distinguishes the proper church from heresy. The deep pathos, with which the Lutheran speaks of the confession, is not the pathos of a ecclesiastical patriotism, which absolutizes its formulation of faith. It is rather the passion of the faith in the Gospel, the passionate “Yes!” to the pure Gospel. Every article of the Augsburg Confession or of the Formula of Concord is intended to be nothing else than an unfolding of the original profession of the church of Jesus the Christ and Lord. “You are the Messiah,” the savior of His people, the Lamb of God which bears the sin of the world, the Son of Man who will come with the clouds of heaven: this is the topic of all articles about God, about justification, about salvation.

“And when mention is made of the saints, of the sanctification of Christians, of the communion of saints, then the basic topic of all these articles is the “You alone are holy” [Tu solus sanctus]. Whoever does not understand the Lutheran confessions as the great “Yes!” of faith to the beatific message of Jesus Christ as the only hope of sinners, has never understood them. Only from this is it also to be understood, that the confession in the Lutheran Church is taken so seriously. A confession which wants to be, and is, nothing more than the careful formulation of a theology, the expression of an understanding of Scripture attained in serious searching for the truth, will always bear the character of the more-or-less unbinding and tentative. The last degree of seriousness will be missing from it, which the confession in the sense of the New Testament and of the Lutheran Reformation has. Just as the confession in the New Testament is made with a view toward death and Judgment Day, so also the confessing Christian and the confessing church stands, in the sense of Lutheranism, on the edge of eternity:

Therefore, in the presence of God and of all Christendom among both our contemporaries and our posterity, we wish to have testified that the present explanation of all the foregoing controverted articles here explained, and none other, is our teaching, belief, and confession in which by God’s grace we shall appear with intrepid hearts before the judgment seat of Jesus Christ and for which we shall give account, [F.C. S.D. XII].

Hermann Sasse, Letters to Lutheran Pastors 19. HT: Harrison

Categories: Lutheranism

A Fascinating Look into the Vatican’s “Department of Justice”

August 19th, 2010 3 comments

I ran across this link to a fascinating interview with the head of the Vatican’s “Department of Justice” [I'm using a term more easily understandable]. I think you will find this interview very interesting.

Categories: Roman Catholicism

Lucas Cranach’s Fashion Guide: Looking Your Best in Sixteenth Century Saxony

August 19th, 2010 Comments off

Did you know Lucas Cranach provided all the illustrations for a little book portraying key members of the ruling families in Saxony? Roughly 1500-1546? Yup, he did. And you can enjoy a virtual read of the book here. Check it out.

Categories: Lucas Cranach

CORE and NALC Update: Important for All Lutherans To Be Aware Of

August 18th, 2010 12 comments

It is important for all Lutherans to be aware of, and informed about, the development of the N.A.L.C., that is, “The North American Lutheran Church” which is the new church being formed as a result of the efforts of those involved in the movement in the ELCA known as “CORE”. Here is CORE’s website. Here is the latest CORE newsletter: Connection-Aug-10

Categories: Lutheranism

Get to Know the Concordia Publishing House Distribution Center

August 18th, 2010 Comments off

Take a look at our distribution center and how it does, what it does. An award-winning operation. Not many people realize how large our distribution operation actually is. Well, now you do! You can click through to YouTube to watch a 720 HD version of the video.

Categories: CPH Resources