Archive for January, 2011

When the Time Comes to Have “The Talk” about …. Star Wars

January 31st, 2011 3 comments

Younger fathers are raising children who have no first-hand experience with Star Wars as men of my generation, and our children, did. Here is a helpful video for guiding you through the important “talk” about Star Wars. [NOTE: This is humor!].

Categories: Humor

Great Review of “Lutheranism 101″

January 31st, 2011 6 comments

Our friends in Canada posted a great review of Lutheranism 101 in the Canadian Lutheran Online. Here it is:

by Garry Heintz

When Lutheranism 101 first came out, pictures floated about on Facebook of people “caught” with their nose in the book. LCMS President Matt Harrison; a pastor eating sushi; a bust of Luther; an Octoberfest band; people’s pets and children. Even a few Canadians were found reading it! So who should read this book?

Although the title implies it is an introduction for those with little exposure to the Christian faith, Lutheranism 101 is a great resource to help any Christian understand why historic, reformation Christianity believes, teaches, and practices the faith as it does.

The editors and authors (including LCC’s Rev. Michael Keith) have ensured that Lutheranism 101 is an easy read for anyone. There are margin notes with quotes from Luther, explanations of Biblical words, Bible verses, and insights into the practice of the faith. The book opens with a quick-start guide and throughout provides resources like “How Should We Pray,” “Christian Denominations,” and “Bible Study Tools.”

Getting into the text, Lutheranism 101 goes through the main teachings of Christianity, but it is not a Mere Christianity-type book. It doesn’t only deal with articles of the faith on which most Christians agree: Who is God? What is sin? Who is Jesus? What has He done for us? The authors deal with all these basics of the Christian faith with the Lutheran emphasis on the Gospel.

And like the Lutheran Church, Lutheranism 101 strives to keep Jesus at the centre of its teaching. For example, while many churches make prophecy a confusing maze to navigate, this book simply explains the return of Christ as a joyful hope of the resurrection.

While much of Christianity is trying to look indistinguishable from the world, this book isn’t afraid to say, “Here is what Lutheranism is.” For example, the church isn’t just a group of like-minded individuals, but it is every redeemed sinner. God then gathers His Church to hear His Word and receive His gifts from men set apart for that task.

Lutheranism 101 is not designed to be a new edition of the Catechism

Lutheranism 101 offers no apologies when it presents the Word of God as the source for all Christian teaching, understood through the lens of Law and Gospel. The Word of God is applied to sinners, calling them to repentance and to the places where Jesus works through His Word to give forgiveness in Baptism, Absolution, and the Lord’s Supper.

So how did the Lutherans start teaching these things? A look at Luther’s life and times presents Luther’s rediscovery of the Gospel and how the Church has continued in that message. Christ’s saving work prompts Christians to gather for the Divine Service, the weekly gathering of believers, to receive God’s gifts. Having received God’s gifts, Christians live out the life of faith to the glory of God. Jesus’ saving work moves Christians to sacrifice for the sake of others and for the further proclamation of Jesus, visible for the entire world to see. That’s what you get in Lutheranism 101.

Some may criticize the book as being too traditional, spending too much time on things like history and worship. However, tradition is simply that which is handed on. The purpose of this book is to pass on that which is at the heart of the Christian faith. Likewise, some may gripe that this book doesn’t delve deeply enough into the core Christian teachings: it doesn’t look at each of the commandments; it doesn’t spend enough time focusing on prayer. But Lutheranism 101 is not designed to be a new edition of the Catechism.

However, in one of the appendices Lutheranism 101 points readers to other books which make up a Christian library. Other valuable resources in the appendices include timelines for Biblical and Christian history, overviews of major events and people who have gone before us in the faith, and a glossary of important words.

Perhaps the best comparison for Lutheranism 101 is a retract-a-bit screwdriver. It isn’t a specialized tool. It doesn’t fit every situation, but it sure is handy to have.

Pick up a copy. Use it to help your children with their confirmation homework. Use it for Bible study or adult instruction. Use it to remind yourself of the great good news of Jesus at work in your life. And get “caught” reading Lutheranism 101, so you can pass it on to a friend, a family member, or a co-worker who would also benefit from a better understanding of God’s gifts for them!

Rev. Garry Heintz is pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kakabeka Falls, Ontario.

Lutheranism 101 (309 pages, various authors) is published by Concordia Publishing House and is available online.

How to Get God to Talk to You

January 31st, 2011 1 comment

OK, so I gave this post a provocative title to get your attention. Did it work? Good!

But admit it, it worked because you would love to know how to get God to talk to you. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if He did? What would He say? Would you want to hear what He has to say to you? You think you do, don’t you. But think with me for a moment. Do we really want to know what God has to say to us? Really? Are we ready to hear it? I’m not so sure. There is a plague going around in Christianity these days, but it is not really anything so new. People claim they want to hear what God has to say, but they don’t. Not really. Why? Because God usually has something to say that we really would rather not hear. God will tell us precisely how, why, when and where we are mucking everything up in our lives. And that’s the bit we would rather not have God talk to us about.

It seems God is not really all that great a conversationalist. He is kind of a fanatic, and that’s the sort of person who won’t stop talking and won’t change the subject. And that’s pretty much what God is like when He talks to us. He just won’t change the subject, no matter how much we wish He would. There are a lot of people who turn to false gods and false hopes and false religions precisely because they talk about things that interest them. And nothing is of more interest to you than you, right? You would rather have God talk about you, but even then, to talk about you in a very certain way: positively. God, please assure me once more what a basically wonderful person I am, that I’m not really all that bad.

Well, the bad news is that God does not talk to you, and me, the way we would prefer, but in the way He chooses to talk to us. But wait. How do we get God to talk to us at all?

The answer is really quite simple and it is not one people stop and think about enough.

God talks to you, and to me, through His Word. When you pick up your Bible, you must understand that when you meditate piously on God’s Word, it is God speaking directly to you through that Word and He is always going to be speaking to you either in the way of the Law, or the Gospel. When you read God’s word openly, honestly and prayerfully, you will hear God speaking and you will hear Him pointing out, first, your sin, the fact that you are indeed, at the heart of it all, a poor miserable wretch. There’s nothing “good enough” about you to make God love you. There’s only sin and death, but it is precisely as you once more realize this reality, when God’s Word holds God’s perfection in front of you and you realize you don’t measure up, that you are ready, no, hungry, famished for the Gospel.

God loves to talk to you about His Gospel, in fact, this is his “native tongue” — the language of the good news. And what makes it such good news is that it is the news that you are forgiven, you are loved, you are called, you are redeemed. God does not attach conditions to the Gospel. You do not have to prove you are worthy of His mercy (you aren’t!). You don’t have to show God how much you have earned it (you haven’t!). No strings attached to the Gospel. It is purely a gift of God’s love, the news of this love that caused God to send to this world His own dear Son to live, suffer, die and rise again, for you.

So,if you want to get God to talk to you, open your Bible. Pray and meditate on it. It is God who is speaking to you. In ways that may shock you, may surprise you, but will always lead you once more directly to your Savior, Jesus.

Categories: Christian Life

Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: Jesus Calms the Storm

January 30th, 2011 Comments off

We hear God’s Word:

Jonah 1:1–17
Romans 8:18–23
or Romans 13:8–10
Matthew 8:23–27

We pray:

Almighty God, You know we live in the midst of so many dangers that in our frailty we cannot stand upright. Grant strength and protection to support us in all dangers and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ, You Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Lectionary Summary: The Peace Christ Brings

In Jonah we see ourselves. For Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:1–17) even as we sinners turn our backs on God and go our own way. This brings the storm of God’s judgment. But in Jonah we also see Christ. For even as he was in the great fish for three days and three nights, so also Christ Jesus was buried in the depths of death for us and raised on the third day. The Lord of creation, who rules over the wind and the wave (Matt. 8:23–27), saved us from the fury of divine wrath by taking the judgment in His own body. His love is the fulfillment of the Law (Rom 13:8–10). Though our faith be weak in the face of peril, yet we are kept in safety on the ship of the Church; for the Son of God is with us. Though the whole creation groans with us under the curse, yet by Jesus’ speaking, there is a great calm. For we know that our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with the glory to be revealed in us (Rom 8:18–23). (Source).

Bach Cantata for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany: BWV 81

1. Aria (A)

Jesus sleeps, what should my hope be?

    See I not
    With an ashen countenance
    Death’s abyss e’en now stand open?

2. Recit. (T)

Lord, why dost thou remain so distant?
Why dost thou hide thyself in time of need?(1)
When all doth me a dreadful end portend?
Ah, will thine eye then not by my distress be troubled,
Whose wont is ne’er to rest in slumber?
Thou showed indeed with one star’s brightness
Ere now the newly convert wise men
The proper path to travel.
Ah, lead then me with thine own eyes’ bright light,
Because this course doth nought but woe forebode.

3. Aria (T)

The foam-crested billows of Belial’s(2) waters
Redoubled their rage.
A Christian, true, like waves must rise
When winds of sadness him surround,
And strive doth the waters’ storm
The strength of faith to diminish.

4. Arioso [Dictum] (B)

Ye of little faith, wherefore are ye so fearful?

5. Aria (B)

Still, O thou tow’ring sea!
Be silent, storm and wind!

    On thee is set thy limit,
    So that this mine own chosen child
    No mishap e’er may injure.

6. Recit. (A)

I’m blest, my Jesus speaks a word,
My helper is awake;
Now must the waters’ storm, misfortune’s night
And ev’ry woe depart.

7. Chorale (S, A, T, B)

Under thy protection
Am I midst the tempests
Of all foes set free.
Leave then Satan raging,
Let the foe grow bitter,
By me Jesus stands.
Though at once the lightning crack
Though both sin and hell strike terror,
Jesus will protect me.

Tear It Out of the Hymnal!

January 29th, 2011 23 comments

I get a lot of interesting communications from across the Missouri Synod here at Concordia Publishing House, on a wide variety of topics and issues. Just when I think I’ve seen or heard it all, I see something that I’ve never seen before. That happened again recently. A pastor gave us a lot of feeback and input on a wide variety of resources. He told us he has been in the ministry for twenty-five years. He commented on Lutheran Service Book and declared that only 40% of the hymns in it are “singable.” Ok. But it got more interesting. He said he likes some of the liturgies in it, but not others. Then he said, and this is a direct quote: “Some of it is not so good, DS II.  I told my secretary to tear it out of the hymnals.”

Hmmmmm….a pastor directing his secretary to “tear it out of the hymnals.” Really?

The older I get, and that seems to be happening more quickly than before, I am struck, over and over and over again, but how far removed we are from the spirit of our fathers when it comes to respecting the collective will of the Church when it comes to matters of adiaphora. The principle that what has neither been commanded, nor forbidden, is therefore free has been horribly abused among us to mean now, “Whatever is adiaphora doesn’t matter and you can do whatever you want with it.”

At the time of the Reformation the idea was that although we have freedom, we also have obligations to one another, therefore, I’m not free to thumb my nose at the church’s collective will in matters such as this. And so, here we have a pastor directing a parish secretary to deface the church’s hymnal because he, the pastor, in his vast and infinite wisdom, decides he doesn’t like Divine Service II, therefore, he, the pastor, has the right to take his congregation’s hymnals and tear a chunk out of them.

Am I wrong in my thinking here? Or does this perfectly illustrate a problem that is pandemic among us?

“The Calling” Free Downloadable Discussion Guide Available

January 28th, 2011 1 comment

Dear reader, I know I mention a lot of resources from Concordia Publishing House on this blog site, but, hey, it’s what I do and who I am. I have mentioned this resource to you a couple times previously, but I really do want to encourage the pastors reading this blog to consider this book for a parish-wide study. It is simply an excellent, faithful, deeply Christ-centered, Biblical resource that offers good, solid, practical help for folks looking to understand their life and what their calling is as they live it out. The author, Kurt Senske, offers a very easy to follow guide to sorting through the major issues we all face. He does so from a position that has been deeply informed by the work of Dr. Gene Edward Veith’s book on vocation and by other good Lutheran theological resources.

This book is being extremely well received and it is already into its second printing. A number of folks have said, “Can we get a discussion guide for the book?” We said, “Yup.” And so, here you go. We now have a free discussion guide to use with the book to make it even more accessible for group study, or for that matter, for the individual to use as he/she works through the book. Here is where you can download the guide.

This book is designed to educate readers on one’s vocation and what that means in terms of living out our life in our various and overlapping vocational arenas – family, professional, community, and congregational.  Throughout the book, what the true meaning of “success” is for a Christian is examined to help the reader discover and live out the life that God uniquely created for them.

The Calling: Live a Life of Significance

*Identify and avoid common mistakes
*Establish eight strategies for living a life of significance
*Set and attain goals
*Diminish your ego to enhance your ability to serve
*Lead a life of simplicity
*Care for yourself so that you are able to care for others
Dr. Kurt Senske serves as Chief Executive Officer of Lutheran Social Services of the South (LSS), as Chair of the Board of Directors of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and on the Board of Directors of Lutheran Services in America. He holds a law degree from the University of Illinois College of Law, a BS in Business Administration from Valparaiso University, a master’s degree in International Relations from Schiller International University in Paris, France, and a PhD in Government from the University of Texas at Austin.
Please also take a look at Dr. Senske’s web site. Great stuff there.
Categories: CPH Resources

Woe to the church, which seeks a way other than confessing Christ to gain the world’s attention.

January 28th, 2011 Comments off

“Since the time when the church entered the stream of history, it has appeared to the world as a complicated enigma, a riddle without a solution. Here are some of the questions. What is the distinct character of the church of Jesus Christ? What place does it occupy in history? How can the church’s claims be rationalized and what are proper responses to them? At what point can the question of what the church is be broached? Government officials in every country and state where the church is found have to face the question of what the church is. We are not the first ones to ask these questions. Since the time of Justin [ca. 100-ca.165] and Clement [ca. 100], of Celsus[1] [d. ca. 200] and Porphyrus[2] [ca. 232-ca. 303], philosophers have had to face them. Various modern scholarly disciplines, including historical research, psychology, sociology and the scientific study of religion [Religionswissenschaft], have examined the phenomena associated with the church in an attempt to provide a definition. So far no government has found an answer to the question of what the church is and it seems unlikely that any scientific discipline will have more success. “Their conclusions in defining the church conflict with each other.” What is the reason for their failure to come up with an answer? The answer obviously lies in the simple fact that there are no real analogous organizations which can serve as a standard or norm to which the church can be compared. Since comparisons are necessary in making definitions, it is impossible to define the church. The discipline of comparative religions, as the name indicates, compares the church with other religions. Its claims for revelation can be placed along side the beliefs and teachings of the other great world religions. The methods used in the history of religions and sociology can be used in placing the earliest forms of Christianity along side of Hellenistic Gnostic cults. This can be expanded to make other comparisons. A Catholic Church in its development can be compared with the “people” of Islam. The same comparison can be made between the social forms which have appeared in Christian history and the corresponding Asiatic world religions which appeared at that time. Recognizable parallels are easy to come by. It takes a bit of daring to take standards of the school of the history of religions, which are so obviously human conceptions, and then to use them in examining the phenomena associated with the church. At first glance such a scholarly approach holds out the promise of providing a definition of the church and what its essence is. This approach promises to deliver more than it actually does and soon proves to be deceptive. While for some phenomena connected with Christianity, some parallels can be found, for others there is neither an explanation nor a comparison. In what is beyond explanation, where there are no parallels in the history of religion (comparative religions) or in how religious associations are structured, the mystery of the church’s essence is hidden. One way out of the dilemma of explaining why the unique phenomena of the church are beyond explanation is to take refuge in the Latin axiom: “Individuum est ineffabile [What is distinctive or unique is beyond definition].” Unique individuality is not uncommon to history. This still leaves the problem of finding an answer for an historical definition, since the unique individuality of something living – like the church – cannot be so easily explained. Florenski[3] once said that the inability to come to a definition of what the church is demonstrates its living character. Looking for the answer of what makes the church the church simply goes beyond the limits of the scientific study of the history of religions and examining the structure of other human organizations. It must be conceded from the start that if the church is constituted by what its members believe, its rituals and its organizational structure, then the church should be studied along with other religious organizations which also have statements of what they believe and which have rituals. This approach leads to only one conclusion: the church’s essence is then not really distinctive. In this case the Christian church is only a peculiar or idiosyncratic historical phenomenon, as defined by the history of religions. But another such phenomenon resembling the church simply does not exist. The church has no parallels. There are no Jewish, Parsee (followers of Zoroaster), Manichean, Mohammedan or Buddhist churches. There is no church of Mithra. For the church is the body of Christ. She is not only called, but really is the body of Christ. She is the people of God in the same way that she is temple of the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing as the body of Mohammed or of Buddha, or a body of Serpis or Mithra. Only under the presupposition that Jesus Christ is really the Son of God, who for the sake of us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was really made man,[4] can the church be the church. The church is church only because what the ancient creed says about the person of Jesus Christ, his birth, his death, his resurrection and his ascension, is really true. If all these things were not true, to drag up an old saying, these things are no more or less significant than any other good story. In this case the church, as we understand it, simply does not exist. The church has no other response for explaining the reason for the world’s failure to understand what she really is than by pointing out that the world does not believe in Christ. What the church believes about herself is dependent on what she believes about Jesus. If non-Christians know nothing of the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, how could they possibly recognize his actual and personal presence in the world through the church? Does the church have a way of proclaiming the mystery of her existence in the world other than by proclaiming the presence of her exalted Lord? What the church is can only be shown by confessing Christ. Woe to the church, which seeks a way other than confessing Christ to gain the world’s attention. Ecumenical Council for Practical Christianity.”

Law and Gospel (December 1936). Hermann Sasse, Erlangen. Translated by David P. Scaer

[1] Celsus was a second century pagan philosopher. His attack on Christianity is the oldest of which portions survive. It is known to us from “Contra Celsum” by Origen which is a third century work which preserves 90% of Celsus’ original work, “Alaqh~ Logo~” or “True Word.” ODCC p. 311. MH

[2] Neoplatonist philosopher, perhaps once a Christian by definitely no longer so by the persecution of Decius in 250. Studied philosophy at Athens and was convinced of Neoplatonism by Plotinus, whom he met in Rome in 262. Studied popular religion and took a particularly negative attitude toward Christianity. He pointed out alleged inconsistencies in the Gospels and attacked the O.T. Refutations were presented by St. Methodius of Olympus, Eusebius of Ceasarea, Apollinarius of Laodicia, and others. ODCC p. 1309. MH

[3] George Florovsky 1893-1979, Russian theologian. From 1926 professor of Patristics at the Orthodox Theological Institute of St. Sergius in Paris and later Professor of Dogmatics. Came to the U.S. in 1948, professor and dean at St. Vladimier’s Seminary (1948-1955) and Professor of Eastern Church History at Harvard Divinity School (1956-1964), and Visiting Professor at Princeton from 1964. Played a leading part in the ecumenical movement from 1937 serving regularly as a delegate at assemblies of the Faith and Order movement and of the World Council of Churches. ODCC p. 620. MH

[4] Reference to the second article of the Nicene Creed. MH

“Gesetz und Evangelium.” Oekumenischen Rat Fuer Praktisches Christentum. Forschungsabteilung. Vertraulich Kirch, Dezember 1936. Unpublished paper. Feuerhahn Bibliography no. 36-02. This paper was written in preparation for the upcoming Faith and Order Conference at Edinburgh (1937). Sasse was at this time under prohibition of travel, as he had been when he attended a Faith and Order committee meeting in London at Archbishop Temple’s residence earlier in the year. He was also deeply involved into the open schism in the Confessing Church. The pressures he was facing at the time of this publication were enormous. The entire article will appear soon in “The Lonely Way” vol. 3, from C.P.H. MH

Categories: Hermann Sasse

Laying Seige to the Very Gates of Hell With Wadded Up Kleenex?

January 27th, 2011 10 comments

I just read this provocative quip from Doug Wilson:

“‎Jesus promised us that the gates of Hades would not prevail against the Church. It is not often noted that the gates of Hades are not an offensive weapon. Hades is being besieged by the Church; it is not the other way around. We need to learn to see that biblical worship of God is a powerful battering ram, and each Lord’s Day we have the privilege of taking another swing. Or, if we prefer, we might still want to continue gathering around with our insipid songs, dopey skits, and inspirational chats in order to pelt the gates of Hades with our wadded up kleenex.”
~ Douglas Wilson

Via Facebook via Tim Meyers

Categories: Uncategorized

Footprints in the Sand

January 26th, 2011 11 comments

You either will think this is really, really funny…or you won’t understand this at all and think I’m really, really weird. Perhaps a combination of both.

Categories: Humor

Bible Study Builder: Great Multipurpose Resource

January 26th, 2011 Comments off

I invite you to take a close look at a new resource from Concordia Publishing House that offers a wealth of materials for Bible study in Lutheran congregations, giving you a lot of flexibility and powerful options to “build your own” Bible study. You can take a look at this resource and try it out via the demo link on the page. I’d like to introduce you to Bible Study Builder.

Using this resource, you have access to:

  • 200+ CPH Bible studies
  • ESV Bible text
  • KJV Bible text
  • Bible Book Outlines
  • Daily Prayers
  • Luther’s Small Catechism
  • TLSB notes
  • Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions

When you find the materials you like, tag them as your favorites to save them for further study needs. Once you have made your selections, you can also choose to copy and paste just the “content chunks” you need or download the entire resource to your computer.

We will be adding content continually.

It takes three simple steps to build a Bible study.
* Search your topic using selected dropdown categories and/or key words
* Select and view the study components which work best for your class
* Cut and paste small text chunks or download your full content resources to your local machine or save to your favorites for later review

Bible Study Builder may be used by itself as a basic Bible study framework for instruction. Or it may be used in conjunction with one or more printed resources for a complete, multifaceted program designed by the leader to meet the unique needs of each Bible study group.

Features and Benefits

* Unlimited access to CPH resources
* Low cost materials for serving your congregation’s bible study needs
* Instructional resource tool with solid doctrinal content relevant to life and faith formation
* Can be used as a basic stand-alone resource or as a perfect complement to many of Concordia’s bible study resources
* Easy-to-navigate user interface
* Robust, centralized, content database with ability to search, preview, select, download, and archive resources specific to your needs
* Flexibility to cut-and-paste small text chunks from “resource view,” download full text resources to your local machine, or save to your “Favorites” on the website
* Free functionality previews
* Content updates included with your annual subscription
* “How to” instructional demo
* “How to” downloadable guide

Categories: CPH Resources

Our Neighborhood Mountain Lion

January 22nd, 2011 7 comments

I don’t know if I mentioned it here on my blog or not, but recently I heard on local radio a report that a mountain lion was spotted near my house where I live in west Saint Louis county. I was kind of shocked to hear this and didn’t believe it, but…then it was confirmed and it amused me when a subsequent report offered this comforting thought, “He is probably just passing through the area.” Really? How do they know that? Did they check his reservations at his final destination? Here is a story on our local lion, complete with a photo. Love the line in the story that here in Missouri 32 people have permits to keep mountain lions. Yup, you gotta love Missourah! Story follows pic.

The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has confirmed a mountain lion sighting in western St. Louis County. Garrett Jensen, of Chesterfield, recently contacted MDC with photographs taken Jan. 12 from a trail camera showing a mountain lion in a wooded area.

“We have examined the photos and visited the location,” said Jeff Beringer, MDC resource scientist and member of the Department’s Mountain Lion Response Team. “While we did not find further evidence, such as tracks, we can confirm that the photos are of a mountain lion at the reported location. We don’t know anything else about this cat other than it was here.”

This is the third confirmed report of a mountain lion in Missouri since November. A landowner in Platte County contacted MDC in late November with photographs of a mountain lion in a tree on his property. On Jan. 2, a hunter shot a mountain lion while hunting raccoons in rural Ray County.

“The three reports over the past several months bring our total number of confirmed reports over the past 16 years to just 13,” said Rex Martensen. Martensen is on the Mountain Lion Response Team and supervises MDC’s wildlife damage control program. He has hunted mountain lions in Colorado and has worked with cougar biologists in South Dakota and New Mexico.

“We get hundreds of calls and emails from people who claim to have seen a mountain lion,” said Martensen. “When there is some type of evidence we investigate. More than 90 percent of these investigations turn out to be bobcats, house cats, or dogs. Our investigations involving claims of pets or livestock being attacked by mountain lions typically turn out to be the work of dogs. We have no documented cases in Missouri of mountain lions attacking livestock, people or pets.”

He added that mountain lions are nocturnal, secretive and generally avoid contact with humans.

“To date, we have no evidence to suggest that a breeding population of mountain lions exists in Missouri,” added Beringer, “In states where even small populations of these big cats exist, there is plenty of hard evidence. Florida, for example, has a population of only 100 mountain lions, yet several are killed by automobiles each year. They also have other clear, hard evidence like tracks, scat, and kill sites.”

Beringer explained that mountain lions seen in Missouri are probably young males roaming from other states in search of territory.

“Young males seek new territories at about 18 months of age,” explained Beringer. “With most births peaking in the spring, young males typically begin roaming in their second fall and winter. And it makes sense that these big cats could roam into Missouri from the west and use the Missouri River corridor to cross the state without being easily detected. These three recent confirmed reports, along with one in Callaway County in 2003 and one in Clay County in 2002, have all been pretty close to the Missouri River.”

Mountain lions (Puma concolor), also called cougars, panthers and pumas, were present in Missouri before pioneer settlement. The last documented Missouri mountain lion was killed in the Bootheel in 1927. The closest populations of mountain lions to Missouri are in South Dakota and a small population in northwest Nebraska.

Beringer said that MDC has never stocked or released mountain lions in Missouri and has no plans to do so.

He added that there are 32 people in Missouri with permits to keep captive mountain lions and MDC maintains records of these animals’ DNA and identifying microchips.

Mountain lions are protected under the Wildlife Code of Missouri. The Code does allow the killing of any mountain lion attacking or killing livestock or domestic animals, or threatening human safety. The incident must be reported to the MDC immediately and the intact carcass, including the pelt, must be surrendered to the MDC within 24 hours.

To report a sighting, physical evidence or other mountain-lion incident, contact a local MDC office or conservation agent, or email the Mountain Lion Response Team at

For more information on mountain lions in Missouri, visit and search “mountain lion.”

Categories: Uncategorized

Melanchthon Always In the Light of Luther, Not the Other Way Around

January 22nd, 2011 14 comments

In recent years there have been some who have attempted to suggest that Chemnitz was not really so much on the side of Luther, or Melanchthon, but walked a middle road of his own. This is simply not true. And here is just a bit of proof. Oh, yes, in addition, this material nicely demonstrates that the second edition of the Apology, the Octavo, had been rejected for use in corpus doctrinae already in Melanchthon’s lifetime by Chemnitz and other Lutheran theologians. The “new thing” apparently in some circles is to extol Melanchthon’s talk about two kinds of righteousness. It has even been asserted, in a rather hamfisted manner, that this is a “better” way of explaining things than the distinction between Law and Gospel. Chemnitz and his fellow confessional theologians would have been appalled at such an assertion, for they knew who was the “chief teacher of the churches of the Augsburg Confession” and that was not Master Philipp!

One of the predecessor documents that led to the Book of Concord were the various “body of doctrine” or Corpus Doctrinae that were prepared and adopted by various German territories. They were prepared, in several cases, in response to Philip Melanchthon’s own personal collection of confessions, which came to be known as the Corpus Doctrinae Philippicum. The Philippicum was received quite negatively, and this started the ball rolling toward formulating alternative collections. One of those documents was prepared by Moerlin and Chemnitz, in 1563. Writing later about the development of the Braunschweig Corpus Doctrinae, Chemnitz notes, “In 1561, because of the need and opportunity of their churches, the honorable cities of Saxony sent their political delegates and their leading theologians to Lueneburg where they prepared a number of Articles. And in order to preserve Christian tranquility and abiding unity in their churches, the honorable council of the noble city of Braunschweig gave orders to print its Church Order in a Corpus including the Augsburg Confession and its Apology, which was first sent to Charles V in 1530, and again in 1531 after its first printing.” So, already in 1561 the second edition of the Apology had been set aside for use in Corpus Doctrinae being prepared. And why is this? The Braunschweig City Council notes in its preface, which was written for the council by Chemnitz, “In recent years the proper and true sense of the Augsburg Confession was occasionally subjected to unusual and unforeseen disagreements. . . . The copies of that Confession (CA) and its subsequent Apology did not always remain precise in every detail, but were altered somewhat as new editions were published.” Chemnitz is highly critical of Melanchthon’s practice of treating church confession as his own private documents and wrote, “Such a Corpus Doctrinae dare not consist of private documents.” He stresses the fact that, “. . . the first CA edition of 1530 must be considered the most reliable and authentic version.” Chemnitz, who was a student of Melanchthon and respected the professional value of his writings, nonetheless regarded Luther as more important and established this principle: “Luther’s works dare not be understood or interpreted in the light of Philipp’s writings, but Philipp’s writings must be understood and interpreted in the light of Luther’s works.”

Inge Mager, The Doctrinal Confession (Corpus Doctrinae) of the City of Braunschweig in Relationship to Other Collections of Lower Saxon Doctrinal Documents
The Reformation in the City of Braunschweig
450th Anniversary Document

Published by the Braunschweig City-Church Association
Unpublished translation by Everette W. Meier
May 1989

Categories: Lutheran Confessions

To Bloggers: If You Publish Your Feed Do NOT Use “Summary Only” – Here is Why

January 21st, 2011 6 comments

I expect everyone to say the same thing to me about my blog too…the reason I use a feed reader is that so I can quickly scan/read your blog posts. I do not want to have to click through to your blog to read more than a summary. I won’t, and I don’t, and frankly, people who publish their feeds as summary usually get dropped from my feed reader. Let’s be honest here: there are only a very few bloggers out there who can get away with summary only feeds. I’m not one of them, and you aren’t either. So publish your whole post, not simply a summary of it, please.

Categories: Blogging

Chilling Verdict Raises Issue of Church Liability Insurance: Pastors and Church Leaders READ THIS

January 21st, 2011 7 comments

You must read this article from Christianity Today, it is very important.

Categories: Uncategorized

Law and Gospel: A Must Read

January 20th, 2011 6 comments

I’m working my way through the new [fantastic] edition of Walther’s Law and Gospel. It is truly superb. It is a must read for anyone who desires to be a faithful Lutheran pastor. I have heard of some seminary professors dabbling around with offering “better” distinctions than Law and Gospel, such as, “two kinds of righteousness.” How horribly unwise, when there is such a treasure to be found in Walther’s lectures on Law and Gospel. Walther himself would correct me and say, “I am merely guiding you through the treasures of Holy Scripture and our Lutheran fathers, particularly our own dear Luther.”

If you have not purchased and read Law and Gospel: How to Read and Apply the Bible I heartily encourage you, plead with you, beg you, to do so! Now. You will be profoundly blessed!

Categories: CPH Resources