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Archive for July, 2011

Do You Want This Man Controlling the Bible Translation Used in Your Church?

July 14th, 2011 15 comments

Who owns and controls the New International Version? This guy, Rupert Murdoch. Zondervan, the company that publishes the NIV, was bought out by HarperCollins Publishing, a division of NewsCorp, in 1988. NewsCorp is one of the world’s leading providers of pornography, across its various cable and satellite TV divisions. So, do you want this man controlling the Bible translation your church uses? No, me either. Here’s why the NIV2011 is such a bad translation.

 

Rupert Murdoch

 

My Light and Savior is the Lord: Beautiful Old Lutheran Hymn

July 14th, 2011 4 comments

Here is Matthew Carver’s translation of “Mein Licht und Heil ist Gott der Herr” (C. Becker, 1628), a paraphrase of Dominus lux mea (Psalm XVII). Be sure to follow Matthew’s blog site. Originally intended to be sung to either “Durch Adam Fall ist ganz verderbt” or “Was mein Gott will das gscheh allzeit,” it was given a proper tune by Schütz in the following form:

 

 

 

 

 

 

MY LIGHT and Savior is the Lord
Of whom shall I be fearful?—
My strength of life, crown, and reward,
In whom my heart is cheerful!
My foes may rage at every stage,
And seek me whole to swallow,
Their wicked will shall come to nil,
Sucess shall never follow.

2. And if they all their weapons take
And loose a host upon me,
My heart will neither fear nor quake;
For God His aid will loan me.
If war arise, I’ll win the prize,
I trust Him in full measure.
My faith fails not, Thus set in God,
He helps with truest pleasure.

3. One thing of all I most would love,
Which with all joy would fill me,
Wherefore I pray Thee, Lord above,
By grace that prize to will me:
That I may call Thy heav’nly hall
My home and habitation.
Yet, while I live, that vision give
Of Thy fair acclamation.

4. Have I but this, I may be sure
That Thou wilt e’er defend me
From every trouble, trick, and lure,
And all Thy goodness send me.
God is my Shield upon the field,
My Rock on which I conquer,
Though much defied on every side.
The Lord my God is stronger.

5. My thanks and praise to Him I’ll give,
Sweet hymns of gladness singing.
My pray’r, O Lord my God, receive,
Thy mercy to me bringing!
My heart holds Thee to Thy decree,—
Thy pledge to spurn them never
Who Thee adore; grant me therefore
To see Thy face forever.

6. Turn not from me, Thy servant poor,
Thy face of gracious favor,
Thou art my refuge evermore,
My faithful God and Savior,
My hope I’ve sought, / forsake me not,
Withdraw Thy hand not wholly;
Thou art alone My help, I own,
My consolation solely.

7. My father and my mother well
May wish from woe to save me,
Yet they are human and shall fail
And in my trouble leave me.
Without my God, whose shoulder broad
With comfort thence will take me,
I surely would be lost for good,
When creatures all forsake me.

8. Lord, teach me Thy right way to wend,
All by Thy Scripture living,
My task and conscience to attend,
No cause to others giving
To blaspheme Thee, who shamelessly
Deceive and lie like devils;
Lord, let me not by foes be caught
Who wish me countless evils.

9. But what care I what ills may come?
My faith shall not deceive me,
For well I know my final home,
God’s Word no lie can give me.
With God in heav’n I shall be giv’n
To live in joy forever.
So have no fear, Be of good cheer,
Wait on Thy true Deliv’rer.

Translation © Matthew Carver, 2011.

Read more…

Categories: Lutheran Hymns

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: To Vote on Gay Clergy and Gay Marriage

July 13th, 2011 7 comments

Picked this up from the Internet. The Evangelical Lutheran in Canada, the ELCA’s sister church in Canada holds its church convention this week and here are the “big three” items on their agenda, quotes from the resolutions being put forward. First, one that would dismiss any concerns about unity being divided over the second two items, of course. And so it goes.

1. Motion on the Unity of the Church
MOVED that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following affirmation as representing the position of this church and communicate this action to congregations, partner churches in Canada, sister churches in the Lutheran World Federation and other Lutheran church associations in Canada.

An Affirmation Concerning the Unity of the Church
As a confessional Lutheran Church which bases its life and teaching on the Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds and the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada affirms with the confessors at Augsburg in 1530 that “it is enough for the unity of the church to agree concerning the teaching of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments” (AC VII).

We affirm that the church ought not be divided because of disagreement over moral issues, no matter how distressing such disagreement might be. We believe that any attempt to divide the church because of disagreements over morals, polity or liturgy is an unacceptable confusion of Law and Gospel, which will lead inevitably to a distortion of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We encourage ELCIC members, congregations and synods and churches who share our commitment to the scriptures, creeds and confessions and who disagree with one another over issues of morals, polity (including standards for ordination or consecration) and/or liturgy to remain in dialogue and unity with one another and maintain unity in the gospel and the sacraments as St Paul recommends in 1 Corinthians 1:10-17. We encourage all Lutherans to work for and nurture the unity of the confessional witness to the Gospel which is essential to the Lutheran tradition. We ask those persons, congregations, synods and/or churches who are in disagreement to refrain from actions that will divide the body of Christ.

2. Motion on Presiding at or Blessing Marriages
MOVED that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following policy statement:

It is the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada that rostered ministers may, according to the dictates of their consciences as informed by the Gospel, the Scriptures, the Ecumenical Creeds and the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, preside at or bless legal marriages according to the laws of the province within which they serve. All rostered ministers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are encouraged to exercise due diligence in preparing couples for marriage. All rostered ministers serving congregations are encouraged at all times to conduct their ministry in consultation with the lay leaders in the congregation and with sensitivity to the culture within which the congregation serves.

3. Motion on Standards for Ordination and Consecration
MOVED that convention actions NC-1993-16 and NC-1989-96 be rescinded and that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada in convention adopt the following policy:

It is the policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada that sexual orientation is not in itself a factor which disqualifies a candidate for rostered ministry or a rostered minister seeking a call. Candidates and rostered ministers are in all cases expected to adhere to the qualifications and standards as set out in the constitution and bylaws of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and of the synod within which they serve. Synods and congregations are expected to evaluate candidates for ordination or consecration and rostered ministers for call in accordance with a conscience informed by the Gospel, the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions.

Categories: Liberal Lutheranism

West Oversea: A Norse Saga of Mystery, Adventure and Faith: A Great Summer Read!

July 13th, 2011 5 comments

I like all the books Lars Walker has written….here’s his latest, and a cool trailer to go along with it now.

Categories: Book Reviews, Books

Witness-Mercy-Life Together: What’s Coming To Your LCMS Congregation – Be Looking For It

July 12th, 2011 2 comments

Over the next several weeks, allow four to six weeks please, all LCMS congregations will be receiving the Witness-Mercy-Life Together Bible study materials, which include what’s pictured below. The DVD presentation by Pastor Harrison is included in the Bible study book. So…..be aware that it is coming. You can order additional copies of the Bible study booklet here.

 

Categories: CPH Resources

Apostasy in the Raw: United Church of Christ Scratches “Heavenly Father” Out

July 11th, 2011 14 comments

 

UCC spokesperson Barb Powell told World Net Daily: “In the UCC, our language for God, Christ and the Holy Spirit … is preferred to be more open for different expressions of the Trinity. Heavenly Father is just one vision.”

If you have not heard about this already, you need to be aware that the United Church of Christ has recently, quite literally, lined through reference to God as Father in their governing documents. Friends, you will hear some theologians and pastors, perhaps even ones that claim to be conservative, try to justify this, or make excuse for it, or explain it away, or try to ignore this reality, but here it is: this is apostasy in the raw. There is no fuzz on this peach, no grey areas here. This is nothing more and nothing less than open rebellion against the Holy Triune God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

But here is where this raises huge questions for all Christians. Let me put a few of them forward.

How can a baptism performed in a United Church of Christ congregation be recognized as valid and legitimate any longer since the UCC has taken this step?

What implications does the fact that the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is in full communion with the UCC have for that church body’s commitment to the holy, catholic faith? If the ELCA does not sever its full communion with the UCC over this, that means, frankly, that the ELCA is giving its de facto and tacit approval of this action? And in that case, the implications for any baptism performed in the ELCA are ominous, since full communion is an expression of fundamental agreement and unity in doctrine between church bodies.

Pastor Peters blogged about this and he wisely notes that this decision has implications for all parish pastors in all church bodies. He writes, “It seems that from now on we better check any baptism from the UCC on a case by case basis because any baptism not in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit cannot in confidence be a baptism at all…. just something to think about….”

I don’t think we can afford to stick our heads in the sand on this one.

Here are the important details of this disaster from the Louisville newspaper, the Courier-Journal

“According to a United Church of Christ spokesman, it isn’t news that the liberal Protestant denomination is moving to delete a reference in its constitution from “Heavenly Father” to “Triune God.” Decades of theological change lay behind it. Yet now it is putting the change on record.

The Rev. Bennett Guess told my colleague Cathy Lynn Grossman at USA Today:

“We no longer use exclusively male language to refer to God. We haven’t for a long time.”

The deletion prompted alarm among from a conservative activist group in the predominately liberal denomination.

It may not be new, but it’s still eye-catching to see the words crossed out in the constitutional change, even if the main point of the change was to merge five boards into one. The change would require ratification by two-thirds of the denomination’s 38 regional conferences by 2013. [PTM Note: I can't do a line through, so the words I've underlined are literally crossed out in the resolution passed by the UCC]

Here’s the salient paragraph from 13 pages of bylaw changes, with the revised language in blue and the deleted language crossed out. It was approved Monday at the denomination’s biennial governance meeting.

ARTICLE V. LOCAL CHURCHES

The basic unit of the life and organization of the United Church of Christ is the Local Church. A Local Church is composed of persons who, believing in the triune God as heavenly Father, and accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and depending on the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are organized for Christian worship, for the furtherance of Christian fellowship, and for the ongoing work of Christian witness.

Guess said the denomination was dealing “with bylaws written decades ago, before the denomination’s commitment to using inclusive and expansive imagery for God.” (The term “bylaws” sounds more perfunctory than “constitution,” especially when the “basic unit” of the church is described.) Another spokeswoman said members are free to refer to God as father or mother.

The United Church of Christ recorded 1.08 million members last year, down nearly 3 percent from the previous year and down by about half since its peak in the 1960s.

It was formed by a merger of the Evangelical and Reformed Church — itself formed by a merger of two historically German Protestant groups, with several congregations in the Louisville area — and the Congregational Christian Churches, whose organizational ancestors included the Puritans. Therein lies a tale.

In more recent years, the denomination has made headlines as the affiliate of President Obama’s former church in Chicago, headed by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright; and a controversial TV ad showing bouncers keeping people out of church (in contrast to the UCC’s declared inclusiveness.)”

Ice-Age Seeker Sensitive Church

July 11th, 2011 Comments off
Categories: Uncategorized

Sign of the Times: Our Local Hijab Store

July 10th, 2011 12 comments

I’m out yesterday afternoon and my eye was caught by a new hamburger place. I love nothing more than a good burger, with a slice of cheddar cheese, preferably with purple onion, but any will do. So, I see this place, pull in and then notice on the sign, right below the hamburger place’s name is…the new Hijab Boutique in our community. Yup…a store specializing in the garments worn by observant Muslims who practice a stricter form of Islam. The Hijab refers, specifically, to the garment that covers a woman’s head and hair, but also to conservative clothing all but a woman’s hands. Here’s an article on it.

Well, there you have. Here in what could not be a more stereotypical middle class community in the middle of the Midwest, we have a Hijab store. Here are the pics:

 

Categories: Islam

The Wicked Game False Teachers Play

July 9th, 2011 2 comments

“It is a very common subterfuge of those who do not want to accept any single doctrine of the divine Word, that they first ascribe it to a person and then, under his name, reject it as a human doctrine. They act in no other way than as if they also certainly believed the Word of Scripture, but they are only loudly objecting against submitting to the authority of a person who is prone to error, and having to accept a human, uncertain interpretation. Through such a maneuver they hope to mislead others, who might notice that they do not unconditionally submit to the Word of God. So, for example, many now are saying nothing honorable since in their hearts they regard Christ as either a liar or a thoughtless babbler when he says: “This is my body, this is my blood.” But rather, in order to be allowed to not believe Christ, and to be able yet to retain their honor amongst Christians, they say: “Oh, we are not one of those Old Lutherans! We stick with the Bible! Those symbolical books were also written by men!” When they’ve said that, they think they must be excused by everyone for rejecting what Christ’s Words say. Will God also accept their excuse “Oh, I’m not an Old Lutheran”? ”

Source:
C.F.W. Walther
Der Lutheraner
Volume 2, Number 11
January 1846, pg. 42-43
Translated by Joel Baseley

The State of Lutheranism in America: Dominated by Negligence and Indifference, But Not Without Hope

July 8th, 2011 4 comments

 

“In America no denomination has suffered any deeper fall than this fellowship that is called “Lutheran.” All the sects of this land are more zealous to preserve the false doctrines upon which they’ve been founded, and that give them their unique character, than the present so-called Lutherans intend to hold fast to the holy and pure doctrine which is founded upon the clear Word of God, that was entrusted to her through God’s unspeakable grace. Yes, we see the American Lutheran Church is not only dominated by negligence and indifference, but even by enmity against the true Lutheran Church. She has retained nothing but the name. She has lost the ancient truth and the ancient spirit of witness. Yet we also see that we have no reason to despair over the condition of the Lutheran Church in America. God has obviously once again picked up his winnowing fork to beat his threshing floor and to sift his wheat. God has obviously resolved to no longer sit back and watch the hidden mice, those false saints, those fish in muddy waters. God has once again begun to open eyes here and there, who fearfully acknowledge the apostasy of which the Lutherans have become guilty. Here and there God is awakening men who are loudly demanding those who have abandoned their first love to return. God be praised! After a long winter the turtledoves are again heard in our land. (Song of Songs 2.11-13)

“Rise, get up then dear brothers! Let us not idly watch as false brothers band together ever more tightly to bury the foundation of our church and create another beside it. Since these do all this while still fraudulently fighting under our name, they are more dangerous than our declared enemies. They are their compatriots even while they bunk in our camp. He who dwells in heaven surely laughs at them and the LORD mocks them, for “even if the sea billows and rages, and the mountains erode in their storm, yet the city of God remains vibrant and well with her fountains, where are the holy dwellings of the Highest. God is with her, so she will remain well. God will help her early.” But as impossible as it is for Luther’s doctrine, that is, God’s Word to be driven out of the world, yet it is just that easily possible, if we do not hold on tightly to it (Tit. 1. 9–11) and fight for it (Jude 3) to lose this gem, (2 John 8.9) and someday be rejected as unfaithful stewards.

“Therefore , if we do not wish be called hypocritical Lutherans, but want to be and remain Lutherans in deed and truth, let us walk together and again gather around the banner of the ancient, unchangeable doctrine of our church; pleading together that the LORD awaken and create help that comfort again be taught; together fighting against all deceptions with the sword of the Spirit and together bearing the shame by which the LORD strives to designate his servants. We dare not hope that the church in these latter, horrible times will be established again in a condition of glorious bloom, yet we may also not abandon hope that our witness and our battle will not be completely in vain, but rather will give way to praise of the LORD and convert many souls from the errors of their way.”

Source:
C.F.W. Walther
Der Lutheraner
Volume 2, Number 11
January 1846, pg. 42-43
Translated by Joel Baseley

Categories: Lutheranism

Looking for Great Christian Art? Concordia Publishing House Offers a Full Line of High Quality Framed Prints and Posters

July 8th, 2011 Comments off

Concordia Publishing House offers a large collection of paintings of Biblical events, in both high quality prints, and less expensive poster-print style. You can browse our collection of art by visiting our virtual gallery, just click on the picture below to start your tour:

Categories: CPH Resources

Lutheran Education: From Wittenberg to the Future – New Book from Concordia Publishing House

July 7th, 2011 1 comment

A great new book is now available on Lutheran education which, historically, has been the key to the success of the Lutheran Church’s ability to transmit the confession of the Church to future generations. You may order it here, via the web, or call 800-325-3040. Here is a sample for you to download.

The liberal arts model has traditionally been preferred in Lutheran elementary classrooms. No other educational paradigm so well meets the requirements of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. There is no reason that the liberal arts cannot be adapted to meet contemporary needs. The question is, what should be the main focus of a contemporary presentation of the arts?

Thomas Korcok demonstrates how the Wittenberg theologians settled on a liberal arts education as the preferred model for Evangelical Christian elementary schools. He then traces how that model persisted and was adapted as Lutherans moved from Europe to North America. Korcok concludes that the liberal arts model fits our contemporary setting as changes in society today make it ever more important to have an elementary education that is compatible with Evangelical Theology. The book includes:

-Historic exploration of educational models in view of theological truths
-The challenge of influences that push educators either to the Word as objective truth or away from the Word toward secular standards of truth
-A definition of an Evangelical Liberal Arts approach, its flexibility, and how it fits into classrooms today
-Extensive references to educational, historical, and theological literature

What Others Are Saying
A very comprehensive history of the factors that have affected Lutheran Education. This book is a must read for all Lutheran educators.
-Bill Cochran-
Director of School Ministry
The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

Well written, engaging, and often surprising—my copy is thoroughly marked and cross-referenced. If a living tradition is innovation that succeeds, here is a book to help us think about the future of Lutheran education as innovation in catechesis and the liberal arts.
—Russ Moulds, PhD-
Professor of Education, Concordia University Nebraska
Op-ed editor, Issues in Christian Education

A timely contribution to discussions within contemporary Lutheran education and . . . a must read for every Lutheran educator and those who are preparing to teach children.
—Rev. Stephen W. Kieser-
President, The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education

Thomas Korcok, PhD, serves as a senior lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, NY. He is broadly experienced, having studied educational models and theology in the United States, Canada, Scotland, and Holland. Dr. Korcok has also taught Catechetics at Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. While serving as pastor of Grace Ev. Lutheran Church in Pembroke, Ontario, Canada, he developed an elementary school that was based on many of the principles in this book.

Categories: CPH Resources

Lutheranism 101: The Course – Coming Soon – Here’s a Preview

July 7th, 2011 3 comments

Lutheranism 101 has proven to be a big hit, with tens of thousands of copies already sold. We’ve had to go back on press with it several times already. A big request we have received is that we prepare a course based on Lutheranism 101 that can be used in congregations for adult instruction, confirmation, new member orientation, small group study, Bible classes, you name it, the possibilities are endless. Well….here you go. I’m pleased to tell you about Lutheranism 101: The Course. It will not be out until this August, but I wanted to give you advanced notice about it and tell you more about it. When it comes into inventory, I’ll let you know. So keep your eyes open for further news.

Lutheranism 101: The Course works closely with Lutheranism 101 to take the reader deeper into the teaching, doctrine, or practice being presented. Sometimes that means digging into the text of Lutheranism 101 and exploring connections that are being made. Other times it means working with Scripture or some of the primary Lutheran resources for doctrine and practice.

For those new to Lutheranism and for those who want a fresh approach to the heritage of what Lutherans believe, teach, and confess, Lutheranism 101 together with Lutheranism 101: The Course helps create a solid foundation upon which a lifetime of sound teaching can be built. Besides your personal copy of Lutheranism 101, it will be useful to have these books with you as you work through The Course:

A Bible
Comments and quotations in Lutheranism 101 and The Course are based upon the English Standard Version (ESV). When choosing a Bible, we suggest that it is best to use a translation instead of a paraphrase. The best Bible to use with The Course is The Lutheran Study Bible.

Book of Concord
The Book of Concord is a collection of statements of faith written by Lutheran Christians in the sixteenth century when they were risking their lives to stand up for the Bible being the basis for belief and practice in the Church. It was first published in 1580. The best version of the Book of Concord to use with Lutheranism 101 is the edition specifically prepared to aid understanding: Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, 2nd ed. (St. Louis: Concordia, 2006). This is the edition The Course references.

Hymnal
Hymnals offer excellent resources for individual worship and prayer in addition to settings for worship (Divine Service) and hymns. Throughout The Course you will be directed to Lutheran Service Book, which is the hymnal used my much of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Small Catechism
While the Small Catechism is included in the Book of Concord and in many contemporary Lutheran hymnals, recent English editions include extra explanations that make the catechism even more helpful as a teaching and learning tool. The best edition of the Small Catechism for this purpose is Luther’s Small Catechism With Explanation.

The Course can be used by groups, families, and individuals who want to dig deeper into what it means to be Lutheran. After reading a chapter in Lutheranism 101, turn to the corresponding chapter in The Course and work through the questions.

Blessings and Prayers for Those With Cancer: New Resource from CPH

July 7th, 2011 Comments off

Friends, I don’t have to tell any of you what devastation cancer causes in our families and among our friends. Is there anyone who has not had his or her life impacted by cancer? Concordia Publishing House has released an excellent, helpful, practical and deeply meaningful resource for those coping with cancer titled Blessing and Prayers for Those With Cancer. Here’s a sample for you to look at. Place your order here, online, or call 800-325-3040. Congregations will want to have a supply of these on hand to give out to those who now face cancer in their lives.

This pocket-size booklet offer encouragement and guidance for the cancer survivor through a combination of brief, conversational prayers from the reader’s point of view, meditations, Scripture verses, psalms, and hymns.

We acknowledge the gifts of cancer survivors, and we remember those who suffer no more and walk in newness of life.
-From the Preface-
-Karen and Annetta-

Contents

Preface
Meditations
General Prayers
Topical Prayers
Scripture Texts
Psalms
Hymns

Annetta Dellinger and Karen Boerger are active speakers and also wrote Blessings and Prayers for Caregivers.

Click here to see all products in the Blessings and Prayers series.

Categories: CPH Resources

Witness, Mercy, Life Together Bible Study: Coming to a LCMS Congregation Near You

July 6th, 2011 Comments off

I’m happy to tell you that all LCMS congregations will be receiving a five week Bible study on The Missouri Synod’ three-fold emphasis, complete with a DVD featuring President Matthew Harrison. One copy of the study, containing the DVD, will be put in the mail in the next week. Additional copies of the Bible study book and the DVD are available from CPH. You can place orders for them here or by calling our 800 number: 800-325-3040.

Where the Holy Trinity is present and received in faith, there cannot but be witness (martyría), mercy (díakonía) and life together (koinōnía). These three reflect God’s very being as Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier, and encompass His holy and gracious will for all in Christ Jesus, namely that all come to believe in and bear witness to Christ, reflect divine compassion, and live together in forgiveness, love and joy in the Church (see The Augsburg Confession 1).
- LCMS President Matthew C. Harrison

This five-session study explores the biblical basis of WITNESS, MERCY, LIFE TOGETHER, the threefold emphasis of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.  Helpful explanations of Greek terms, and references to Bible passages addressing witness, mercy, and life together, are included.

To enhance your Bible study make sure you also pick up the DVD component featuring four instructional videos by President Harrison (running time: 4 to 11 minutes each).