We’re getting pretty excited to introduce our latest addition to the Lutheranism 101 family: The Lord’s Supper. We expect it to arrive at CPH by the early July.
For details about the book, and to pre-order, click here! We will be adding helpful resources when the book is available.
The author, Rev. Kenneth Wieting, has served parishes in Wisconsin for nearly 30 years. God has blessed him and his wife, Barbara, with five children.
Rev. Wieting has given numerous presentations on the Lord’s Supper. His interest in the topic grew from question a layman asked several years ago. The scriptural, confessional, and historical materials studied since then gave Rev. Wieting a fuller understanding of the treasures of the Lord’s Supper. It is this understanding that he seeks to convey in his writings and through presentations.
The New York Times published a curious opinion piece by a devout Mormon who insists that he is not a “Christian.”
I’m about as genuine a Mormon as you’ll find — a templegoer with a Utah pedigree and an administrative position in a congregation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I am also emphatically not a Christian.
He equivocates on what he means by “Christian.” Sometimes he seems to refer to a set of historical and theological beliefs (he agrees with Richard Land that Mormonism is “a fourth Abrahamic religion, along with Judaism, Christianity and Islam”); other times to a culture of power and acceptance and behavior (“Being a Christian so often involves such boorish and meanspirited behavior that I marvel that any of my Mormon colleagues are so eager to join the fold”), and he also uses it in verbal form positively (“Mormons are certainly Christian enough to know how to spitefully abuse their power”).
One might think that a Mormon offering a strong defense of dissimilarity from historic Christianity would insist that theology matters. But that’s the opposite of this writer’s approach.
For the curious, the dispute can be reduced to Jesus. Mormons assert that because they believe Jesus is divine, they are Christians by default. Christians respond that because Mormons don’t believe — in accordance with the Nicene Creed promulgated in the fourth century — that Jesus is also the Father and the Holy Spirit, the Jesus that Mormons have in mind is someone else altogether. The Mormon reaction is incredulity. The Christian retort is exasperation. Rinse and repeat.
I am confident that I am not the only person — Mormon or Christian — who has had enough of the acrimonious niggling from both sides over the nature of the trinity, the authority of the creeds, the significance of grace and works, the union of Christ’s divinity and humanity, and the real color of God’s underwear.
Regarding the statement I’ve italicized: I understand that (1) this is an opinion piece, (2) that most Mormons don’t understand the Trinity, and (3) that many evangelicals—to use Robert Letham’s indictment—are “functional modalists”—but one would still think that the Paper of Record would flag a historical error this significant. The pro-Nicene theology emerging from the fourth century most certainly did not say that Jesus is the Father and the Spirit. That is a heretical belief.
For those who would be helped by a review of some of the key differences between Mormonism (or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and historic Christianity, I once constructed a Q&A format from the ESV Study Bible article on religious cults and sects (article available online to subscribers). It’s an attempt to be concise and accurate without being overly simplistic.
What do Mormons believe about apostasy and restoration?
Mormons claim that “total” apostasy overcame the church following apostolic times, and that the Mormon Church (founded in 1830) is the “restored church.”
What’s the problem with this understanding?
If the Mormon Church were truly a “restored church,” one would expect to find first-century historical evidence for Mormon doctrines like the plurality of gods and God the Father having once been a man. Such evidence is completely lacking. Besides, the Bible disallows a total apostasy of the church (e.g., Matt. 16:18; 28:20; Eph. 3:21; 4:11-16), warning instead of partial apostasy (1 Tim. 4:1).
What do Mormons believe about God?
Mormons claim that God the Father was once a man and that he then progressed to godhood (that is, he is a now-exalted, immortal man with a flesh-and-bone body).
What does the Bible teach about the nature of God?
Mormons believe that humans, like God the Father, can go through a process of exaltation to godhood.
What does the Bible teach about humanity?
The Bible teaches that the yearning to be godlike led to the fall of mankind (Gen. 3:4ff.). God does not look kindly on humans who pretend to attain to deity (Acts 12:21-23; contrast Acts 14:11-15). God desires humans to humbly recognize that they are his creatures (Gen. 2:7; 5:2; Ps. 95:6-7; 100:3). The state of the redeemed in eternity will be one of glorious immortality, but they will forever remain God’s creatures, adopted as his children (Rom. 8:14-30; 1 Cor. 15:42-57; Rev. 21:3-7). Believers will never become gods.
What do Mormons believe about Jesus?
Mormons believe that Jesus Christ was the firstborn spirit-child of the heavenly Father and a heavenly Mother. Jesus then progressed to deity in the spirit world. He was later physically conceived in Mary’s womb, as the literal “only begotten” Son of God the Father in the flesh (though many present-day Mormons remain somewhat vague as to how this occurred).
What does the Bible teach about Jesus?
Biblically, the description of Jesus as the “only begotten” refers to his being the Father’s unique, one-of-a-kind Son for all eternity, with the same divine nature as the Father (see note on John 1:14; cf. John 1:18; 3:16, 18; see also John 5:18; 10:30). Moreover, he is eternal deity (John 1:1; 8:58) and is immutable (Heb. 1:10-12; 13:8), meaning he did not progress to deity but has always been God. And Mary’s conception of Jesus in his humanity was through a miracle of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:20).
What do Mormons believe about our eternal destiny?
Mormons believe that most people will end up in one of three kingdoms of glory, depending on one’s level of faithfulness. Belief in Christ, or even in God, is not necessary to obtain immortality in one of these three kingdoms, and therefore only the most spiritually perverse will go to hell.
What does the Bible teach about our eternal destiny ?
Mormons believe that Adam’s transgression was a noble act that made it possible for humans to become mortal, a necessary step on the path to exaltation to godhood. They think that Christ’s atonement secures immortality for virtually all people, whether they repent and believe or not.
What does the Bible teach about sin and atonement?
Mormons believe that God gives to (virtually) everyone a general salvation to immortal life in one of the heavenly kingdoms, which is how they understand salvation by grace. Belief in Christ is necessary only to obtain passage to the highest, celestial kingdom—for which not only faith but participation in Mormon temple rituals and obedience to its “laws of the gospel” are also prerequisites.
Need help finding a Bible study for a given Scripture text, or age group, or knowledge level, or style? Here’s a great tool from Concordia Publishing House that I think you’ll find it really helpful. Click on the picture below and have fun looking around, below the picture, you’ll see a screen shot of the basic menu.
Save over 30%! Order 10 or more for only $16.99 each, must enter promo code YBK at checkout. Offer expires December 31, 2012. Place your order here.
This collection of Bible stories presents the history of God’s grace-full interaction with His people. Told through the words of Holy Scripture, children ages 8 to 12 will review God’s many Old Testament promises to send a Savior and see how these promises have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Each story includes discussion questions, a memory verse, and a full-color illustration. Extra features include maps, a time line, and a glossary with explanatory notes on key words and phrases. 120 Bible Stories is perfect for use in the homes and classrooms to increase your child’s familiarity with God’s Word.
You see, He is making the birds our schoolmasters and teachers. It is a great and abiding disgrace to us that in the Gospel a helpless sparrow should become a theologian and a preacher to the wisest of men, and daily should emphasize this to our eyes and ears, as if he were saying to us: “Look, you miserable man! You have house and home, money and property. Every year you have a field full of grain and other plants of all sorts, more than you ever need. Yet you cannot find peace, and you are always worried about starving. If you do not know that you have supplies and cannot see them before your very eyes, you cannot trust God to give you food for one day. Though we are innumerable, none of us spends his living days worrying. Still God feeds us every day.” In other words, we have as many teachers and preachers as there are little birds in the air. Their living example is an embarrassment to us. Whenever we hear a bird singing toward heaven and proclaiming God’s praises and our disgrace, we should feel ashamed and not even dare to lift up our eyes. But we are as hard as stone, and we pay no attention even though we hear the great multitude preaching and singing every day. Look at what else the dear little birds do. Their life is completely unconcerned, and they wait for their food solely from the hands of God. Sometimes people cage them up to hear them sing. Then they get food in abundance, and they ought to think: “Now I have plenty. I do not have to be concerned about where my food is coming from. Now I have a rich master, and my barns are full.” But they do not do this. When they are free in the air, they are happier and fatter. Their singing of Lauds and of Matins to their Lord early in the morning before they eat is more excellent and more pleasant. Yet none of them knows of a single grain laid away in store. They sing a lovely, long Benedicite and leave their cares to our Lord God, even when they have young that have to be fed. Whenever you listen to a nightingale, therefore, you are listening to an excellent preacher. He exhorts you with this Gospel, not with mere simple words but with a living deed and an example. He sings all night and practically screams his lungs out. He is happier in the woods than cooped up in a cage, where he has to be taken care of constantly and where he rarely gets along very well or even stays alive. It is as if he were saying: “I prefer to be in the Lord’s. kitchen. He has made heaven and earth, and He Himself is the cook and the host. Every day He feeds and nourishes innumerable little birds out of His hand. For He does not have merely a bag full of grain, but heaven and earth.”
Martin Luther, vol. 21, Luther’s Works, Vol. 21 : The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat.
When the beggar Lazarus died, he was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. For he was truly Abraham’s seed. Like Abraham, he believed in the Lord, and the Lord “counted it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). The name Lazarus means “God is my help.” The unnamed rich man, on the other hand, did not love and trust in God. For he evidently cared little for the beggar at his gate. And “he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20). He who loved and trusted in possessions and prestige died and was in torments in Hades (Luke 16:19–31). Repentance and faith are worked only through Moses and the prophets–that is, the Word of God, for it points us to Christ. Only through His death and resurrection are we brought the comfort of life everlasting. Source.
The Collect: Prayer of the Day
O God, the Strength of all who trust in You, mercifully accept our prayers; and because through the weakness of our mortal nature we can do no good thing, grant us Your grace to keep Your commandments that we may please You in both will and deed; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Antiphon: O Lord, I have trusted in Your | mercy;* my heart shall rejoice in Your sal- | vation. I will sing | to the LORD,* because He has dealt bountiful- | ly with me. (Psalm 13:5-6)
Psalm:How long, O LORD? Will You forget me for- | ever?* How long will You hide Your | face from me? How long shall I take counsel | in my soul,* how long will my enemy be exalted | over me? consider and hear me, O | LORD my God;* enlighten my eyes, lest I sleep the | sleep of death; lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed a- | gainst him”;* lest those who trouble me rejoice when | I am moved. (Psalm 13:1-4)
Old Testament: Gen. 15:1-6
1After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:(A) “Fear not, Abram, I am(B) your shield; your reward shall be very great.” 2But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue[a] childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and(C) a member of my household will be my heir.” 4And behold, the word of the LORD came to him: “This man shall not be your heir;(D) your very own son[b] shall be your heir.” 5And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and(E) number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him,(F) “So shall your offspring be.” 6And(G) he believed the LORD, and(H) he counted it to him as righteousness.
Footnotes:Genesis 15:2 Or I shall die Genesis 15:4 Hebrew what will come out of your own loins Cross references:Genesis 15:1 : Genesis 26:24; Dan 10:12; Luke 1:13, 30 Genesis 15:1 : Psalm 3:3; 18:2; 84:11; 119:114 Genesis 15:3 : Genesis 14:14 Genesis 15:4 : Genesis 17:16 Genesis 15:5 : Psalm 147:4 Genesis 15:5 : Genesis 22:17; 26:4; Exodus 32:13; Deut 1:10; 10:22; 1 Chr 27:23; Heb 11:12; Cited Rom 4:18 Genesis 15:6 : Rom 4:9, 22; Gal 3:6; James 2:23 Genesis 15:6 : Cited Rom 4:3; Psalm 106:31
I said, “LORD, be merci – / ful to me;* heal my soul, for I have sinned a- / gainst You.” Blessed is he who consi- / ders the poor;* the LORD will deliver him in time of / trouble. (Ps. 41:4, 1)
Epistle: 1 John 4:16-21
16So(A) we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us.(B) God is love, and(C) whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this(D) is love perfected with us, so that(E) we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because(F) as he is so also are we in this world. 18There is no fear in love, but(G) perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not(H) been perfected in love. 19(I) We love because he first loved us. 20(J) If anyone says, “I love God,” and(K) hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God(L) whom he has not seen. 21And(M) this commandment we have from him:(N) whoever loves God must also love his brother.
Footnotes:1 John 4:20 Some manuscripts how can he Cross references:1 John 4:16 : John 6:69 1 John 4:16 : 1 John 4:8 1 John 4:16 : 1 John 4:12; 1 John 3:24 1 John 4:17 : 1 John 2:5 1 John 4:17 : 1 John 2:28; 3:21 1 John 4:17 : 1 John 3:1 1 John 4:18 : John 3:18; Rom 8:15 1 John 4:18 : 1 John 4:17 1 John 4:19 : 1 John 4:10 1 John 4:20 : 1 John 2:4; 3:17 1 John 4:20 : 1 John 2:9, 11 1 John 4:20 : 1 John 4:12; 1 Pet 1:8 1 John 4:21 : Gal 6:2 1 John 4:21 : 1 John 4:7; 1 John 3:11
Alle- / luia.* Alle- / luia. O LORD my God, in You I / put my trust;* save me from all those who persecute me, and deliver me. Alle- / luia. (Psalm 7:1)
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31 The Rich Man and Lazarus
19″There was a rich man who was clothed in(A) purple and fine linen and(B) who feasted sumptuously every day. 20And at his gate(C) was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21who desired to be fed with(D) what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22The poor man died and was carried by(E) the angels(F) to Abraham’s side.[a] The rich man also died and was buried, 23and in(G) Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and(H) saw Abraham far off and Lazarus(I) at his side. 24And he called out,(J) ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and(K) cool my tongue, for(L) I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that(M) you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28for I have five brothers[b]—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29But Abraham said, ‘They have(N) Moses and the Prophets;(O) let them hear them.’ 30And he said, ‘No,(P) father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31He said to him, ‘If they do not hear(Q) Moses and the Prophets,(R) neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”
Footnotes:Luke 16:22 Greek bosom; also verse 23 Luke 16:28 Or brothers and sisters Cross references:Luke 16:19 : Esth 8:15; Rev 18:16 Luke 16:19 : James 5:5 Luke 16:20 : Acts 3:2 Luke 16:21 : Matt 15:27 Luke 16:22 : Luke 15:10; Matt 18:10; Acts 12:15; Heb 1:13, 14; Luke 12:8 Luke 16:22 : John 13:23 (Gk) Luke 16:23 : Matt 11:23 Luke 16:23 : Matt 8:11, 12 Luke 16:23 : Luke 16:22 Luke 16:24 : Luke 16:30; John 8:33, 39, 53 Luke 16:24 : Zech 14:12 Luke 16:24 : Isa 66:24; Matt 25:41 Luke 16:25 : Luke 6:24; Job 21:13; Psalm 17:14 Luke 16:29 : Luke 16:31; Luke 24:27; Acts 26:22; 28:23 Luke 16:29 : John 5:45-47 Luke 16:30 : Luke 16:24 Luke 16:31 : Luke 16:29 Luke 16:31 : Matt 28:11-15; John 12:10, 11
Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. (Psalm 5)
Excerpt from Luther’s Sermon Notes for Trinity 1
All believers are like poor Lazarus; and every believer is a true Lazarus, for he is of the same faith, mind and will, as Lazarus. And whoever will not be a Lazarus, will surely have his portion with the rich glutton in the flames of hell. For we all must like Lazarus trust in God, surrender ourselves to him to work in us according to his own good pleasure, and be ready to serve all men. And although we all do not suffer from such sores and poverty, yet the same mind and will must be in us, that were in Lazarus, cheerfully to bear such things, wherever God wills it.
20. For such poverty of spirit may exist in those who have very great possessions; as Job, David, Abraham were poor and rich. For David in Ps. 39:12 says: “I am a stranger with thee, a sojourner, as all my fathers were.” How could that be, since he was a king and possessed extensive lands and large cities? Thus it came about; although he indeed possessed these, yet his heart did not cleave to them, and they were as nothing compared with the riches he had with God. Likewise he had said of the health of his body that it was as nothing compared to the health of his soul before God, and he would indeed not have murmured, had God afflicted him with bodily sores and sickness. So Abraham also, although he had not the poverty and affliction of Lazarus, yet he had the mind and will to bear what Lazarus did, if God had visited him thus. For the saints should have one and the same inner mind and spirit, but they cannot have the same outward work and suffering. Therefore Abraham also recognized Lazarus as one of his own and received him into his bosom; which he would not have done, were he not of the same mind and had he not taken pleasure in the poverty and maladies of Lazarus. Thus is set forth the sum and meaning of the Gospel, that we may see, how faith everywhere saves and unbelief condemns.
Source: Volume IV:17-32 of The Sermons of Martin Luther, published by Baker Book House (Grand Rapids, MI).
Here is BWV 20, just ignore the silly graphic in the videos that follow.
Cantata for the First Sunday after Trinity BWV 20
O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,
O Schwert, das durch die Seele bohrt,
O Anfang sonder Ende!
O Ewigkeit, Zeit ohne Zeit,
Ich weiß vor großer Traurigkeit
Nicht, wo ich mich hinwende.
Mein ganz erschrocken Herz erbebt,
Daß mir die Zung am Gaumen klebt.
(“O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” verse 1)Part One
O eternity, you word of thunder,
o sword, that bores through the soul,
o beginning without end!
O eternity, timeless time,
I know not, before such great sorrow,
where to turn.
My heart, completely terrified, trembles,
so that my tongue cleaves to the roof of my mouth.2. Rezitativ T
Kein Unglück ist in aller Welt zu finden,
Das ewig dauernd sei:
Es muß doch endlich mit der Zeit einmal verschwinden.
Ach! aber ach! Die Pein der Ewigkeit hat nur kein Ziel;
Sie treibet fort und fort ihr Marterspiel,
Ja, wie selbst Jesus spricht, Aus ihr ist kein Erlösung nicht.
(“O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” verse 2)2. Recitative T
No misfortune is to be found in all the world
that lasts forever:
in time it will finally disappear.
Ah, but alas! The torment of eternity has no termination;
again and again its game of torture continues,
indeed, as Jesus himself says, there is no rescue from it.3. Arie T Ewigkeit, du machst mir bange,
Ewig, ewig ist zu lange!
Ach, hier gilt fürwahr kein Scherz.
Flammen, die auf ewig brennen,
Ist kein Feuer gleich zu nennen;
Es erschrickt und bebt mein Herz,
Wenn ich diese Pein bedenke
Und den Sinn zur Höllen lenke.
(“O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” verse 3)3. Aria T Eternity, you make me frightened,
forever, forever is too long!
Ah, there is no joking about this.
Flames that burn forever
are like no fire ever witnessed;
my heart trembles and is frightened,
when I think about this suffering
and bend my mind towards hell.4. Rezitativ B
Gesetzt, es dau’rte der Verdammten Qual
So viele Jahr, als an der Zahl
Auf Erden Gras, am Himmel Sterne wären;
Gesetzt, es sei der Pein so weit hinausgestellt,
Als Menschen in der Welt
Von Anbeginn gewesen,
So wäre doch zuletzt
Derselben Ziel und Maß gesetzt;
Sie müßte doch einmal aufhören. Nun aber, wenn du die Gefahr,
Verdammter! tausend Millionen Jahr
Mit allen Teufeln ausgestanden,
So ist doch nie der Schluß vorhanden; Die Zeit, so niemand zählen kann,
Fängt jeden Augenblick
Zu deiner Seelen ew’gem Ungelück
Sich stets von neuem an.
(“O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” verses 4 and 5)4. Recitative B
Given, that the torment of the damned lasts
as many years, as the numbers
of grass blades on the earth, as stars in heaven;
given, that the torture is ordained for as long
as there have been humans on earth
from the beginning,
even then at last
there would be an end and limit to it;
it would have to stop sometime. Now, however, when the danger,
You damned one! a thousand million years
among all the devils has been endured,
yet the end is never at hand; the time that no one can count,
starts every moment,
to the eternal undoing of your soul,
over and over from the beginning.5. Arie B
Gott ist gerecht in seinen Werken: Auf kurze Sünden dieser Welt
Hat er so lange Pein bestellt;
Ach wollte doch die Welt dies merken! Kurz ist die Zeit, der Tod geschwind,
Bedenke dies, o Menschenkind! (“O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” verses 6 and 7)5. Aria B
God is just in His works: for the brief sins of this world
he has decreed such lengthy punishment;
Ah, if only the world would heed this! Time is short, death is swift,
consider this, o humankind!6. Arie A
O Mensch, errette deine Seele,
Entfliehe Satans Sklaverei
Und mache dich von Sünden frei,
Damit in jener Schwefelhöhle
Der Tod, so die Verdammten plagt,
Nicht deine Seele ewig nagt.
O Mensch, errette deine Seele!6. Aria A
O man, save your soul,
flee from the slavery of Satan
and make yourself free from sin,
so that in that brimstone pit
death, that afflicts the damned,
does not eternally gnaw at your soul.
O man, save your soul!7. Choral
Solang ein Gott im Himmel lebt
Und über alle Wolken schwebt,
Wird solche Marter währen:
Es wird sie plagen Kält und Hitz,
Angst, Hunger, Schrecken, Feu’r und Blitz
Und sie doch nicht verzehren.
Denn wird sich enden diese Pein,
Wenn Gott nicht mehr wird ewig sein.
(“O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” verse 8)7. Chorale
As long as there is a God in heaven
who soars above all the clouds,
such torment will endure:
cold and heat will torture them,
fear, hunger, horror, fire, and lightning
and yet not utterly destroy them.
For this pain would only end,
when God no longer is eternal.Zweiter Teil
8. Arie B Wacht auf, wacht auf, verlornen Schafe,
Ermuntert euch vom Sündenschlafe
Und bessert euer Leben bald!
Wacht auf, eh die Posaune schallt,
Die euch mit Schrecken aus der Gruft
Zum Richter aller Welt vor das Gerichte ruft!Part Two
8. Aria B
Wake up, wake up, lost sheep,
arouse yourselves from the sleep of sin
and improve your lives soon!
Wake up, before the trumpet sounds,
that from your graves, horrified,
shall call you to judgment before the judge of all the world!9. Rezitativ A
Verlaß o Mensch, die Wollust dieser Welt, Pracht, Hoffart, Reichtum, Ehr, und Geld;
In dieser Zeit annoch,
Da dir der Baum des Lebens grünet,
Was dir zu deinem Friede dienet! Vielleicht ist dies der letzte Tag,
Kein Mensch weiß, wenn er sterben mag.
Wie leicht, wie bald
Ist mancher tot und kalt!
Man kann noch dies Nacht
Der Sarg vor deine Türe bringen.
Drum sei vor allen Dingen
Auf deiner Seelen Heil bedacht! (“O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” verses 9-11)9. Recitative A
Forsake, o mankind, the pleasure of this world, splendor, pride, riches, honor, and wealth;
while you still have time,
while your tree of life still flourishes,
about what will bring you peace! Perhaps this is your last day,
no one knows when he might die.
How easily, how soon
many are dead and cold!
Even this night can
the coffin be brought to your door.
Therefore before anything else
be considerate of the health of your soul!10. Arie (Duett) A T
Hör auf geschwind,
Die Sünd und Welt zu lieben,
Daß nicht die Pein,
Wo Heulen und Zähnklappen sein,
Dich ewig mag betrüben!
Ach spiegle dich am reichen Mann,
Der in der Qual
Auch nicht einmal
Ein Tröpflein Wasser haben kann!10. Aria (Duet ) A T
loving sin and the world,
so that this torment,
where howling and teeth-gnashing are,
might not eternally plague you!
Ah, mirror yourself in that rich man,
who in his suffering
not even once
could have a drop of water!11. Choral
O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,
O Schwert, das durch die Seele bohrt,
O Anfang sonder Ende!
O Ewigkeit, Zeit ohne Zeit,
Ich weiß vor großer Traurigkeit
Nicht, wo ich mich hinwende.
Nimm du mich, wenn es dir gefällt,
Herr Jesu, in dein Freudenzelt!
(“O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” verse 12)11. Chorale
O eternity, you word of thunder,
O sword, that bores through the soul,
O beginning without end!
O eternity, timeless time,
I know, faced with great sorrow,
not where to turn.
Take me, when it pleases You,
Lord Jesus, into Your fortress of joy!Luke 16:19-31 (source for mov’t. 10); “O Ewigkeit, du Donnerwort,” Johann Rist, 1642 (source for other mov’ts)
The German edition of Commentary on Luther’s Catechisms by Albrecht Peters has long been the gold standard of research on the catechetical texts of the great reformer. This translation makes the wealth of research available in English for both the researcher and the catechist. Separate volumes address the Decalogue, the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sacraments, and Confession with the Table of Duties, prayers, and the Marriage and Baptismal Booklets.
This definitive and comprehensive study of Luther’s catechetical writings places Luther’s catechisms in the full context of his broader theology and writings, as well as within the history of Christian catechesis and theology. It is an essential handbook for students of Luther and the Reformation and a valuable resource for those entrusted today with the ministry of catechesis according to these most durable products of Luther’s pastoral heart and pen.
Christopher Boyd Brown, Assistant Professor of Church History, Boston University
Albrecht Peters’ work is indispensable for any scholarly treatment of Luther’s Catechism … The careful study of this volume will yield bountiful fruit in deepened teaching and preaching int he congregation. I know of no other book that comes close to this volume in English. It should be read and regularly consulted by pastors and catechists.
John T. Pless, Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.
One of the most insightful interpreters of Luther and the theological tradition of the Lutheran Church in the latter half of the twentieth century, Peters places Luther’s texts before readers in the context of the reformer’s own time and of the catechetical tradition that he inherited, put to use, and transformed. Accessible to a broad audience, this volume will significantly enrich the teaching of all who use it to deepen their understanding of two of the most precious gems from Luther’s pen: the Small and Large Catechism.
Robert Kolb, Missions Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Institute for Mission Studies, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri
This English translation will contribute to the ongoing discussion concerning the content, purpose, and use of catechisms and instruction in the Christian faith, both in the Reformation era and today.
Mary Jane Haemig, Associate Professor of Church History, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota
First, the urging of God’s commandment, who has strictly required us to pray; second, His promise, in which He declares that He will hear us; third, an examination of our own need and misery, which burden lies so heavily on our shoulders that we have to carry it to God immediately and pour it out before Him, in accordance with His order and commandment; fourth, true faith, based on this word and promise of God, praying with the certainty and confidence that He will hear and help us—and all these things in the name of Christ, through whom our prayer is acceptable to the Father and for whose sake He gives us every grace and every good. Christ indicates this by His use of one word when He says: “Pray to your Father who is in secret”; and later on He makes it even more explicit when He says: “Our Father who art in heaven.” For this is the same as teaching that our prayer should be addressed to God as our gracious and friendly father, not as a tyrant or an angry judge. Now, no one can do this unless he has a word of God which says that He wants to have us call Him “Father” and that as a father He has promised to hear us and help us. To do this, one must also have such a faith in his heart and a happy courage to call God his Father, praying on the basis of a hearty confidence, relying upon the certainty that the prayer will be heard, and then waiting for help.
Martin Luther, vol. 21, Luther’s Works, Vol. 21 : The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, Luther’s Works, Mt 6:6 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).
“If the Church has the pure doctrine, it does not become a false church when sins and offenses are committed. If a church is really Christ’s Church, nothing else is possible but that many sins and offenses appear. The purer the teaching is, the more hostile Satan is, and the more effort he puts forth to cover her with shame. Whenever souls are rescued from sin and brought to peace with God through the preaching of Christ, Satan angrily rushes in and tries to makes it appear that sin and misery rule in the Church. Wherever true unity of faith is, there Satan causes such a commotion that it seems as if there were nothing but discord, quarrels, and strife. Wherever the devil is in control, he is quiet; but wherever his authority is taken away by the Word and Sacrament he storms and rages with all the might of a prince of darkness. In short, wherever Christ sows His good seed, Satan will also sow his tares. Of that we can be certain.”
The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations has made public the response it was commissioned to prepare by The LCMS, a response to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s sexuality statement: Human Sexuality—Gift and Trust. The LCMS statement is very well done and very to the point. Here are the concluding sentences:
“The evaluation of Wolfhart Pannenberg rings true: “If a church were to let itself be pushed to the point where it ceased to treat homosexual activity as a departure from the biblical norm, and recognized homosexual unions as a personal partnership of love equivalent to marriage, such a church would stand no longer on biblical ground but against the unequivocal witness of Scripture. A church that took this step would cease to be the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” The ELCA has now taken this step, embodying apostasy from the faith once delivered to the saints.
having riches is not sinful, nor is it forbidden. So also being joyful, eating and drinking well, is not sinful or damnable; nor is having honor and a good name. Still I am supposed to be “blessed” if I do not have these things or can do without them, and instead suffer poverty, misery, shame, and persecution. So both of these things are here and must be—being sad and being happy, eating and going hungry, as Paul boasts about himself (Phil. 4:11, 12): “I have learned the art, wherever I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.” And in 2 Corinthians 6:8–10: “In honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute; as dying, and, behold, we live; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.” So this is what it means: A man is called “spiritually poor,” not because he has no money or anything of his own, but because he does not covet it or set his comfort and trust upon it as though it were his kingdom of heaven. So also a man is said to “mourn and be sorrowful”—not if his head is always drooping and his face is always sour and never smiling; but if he does not depend upon having a good time and living it up, the way the world does, which yearns for nothing but having sheer joy and fun here, revels in it, and neither thinks nor cares about the state of God or men.
Martin Luther, vol. 21, Luther’s Works, Vol. 21 : The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, Luther’s Works, Mt 5:4 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).
This is an excellent web site to observe this anniversary day of the Normandy Invasion. Here is General Eisenhower’s message sent to all troops. You can also hear an audio recording of Ike reading it himself. Watch the interviews below for comments from men who slugged it out from D-Day to the end of the war.
Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.
Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened, he will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man to man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our home fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to victory!
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory!
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessings of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.
Luther on the phrase, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” commenting on the Sermon on the Mount: So be poor or rich physically and externally, as it is granted to you—God does not ask about this—and know that before God, in his heart, everyone must be spiritually poor. That is, he must not set his confidence, comfort, and trust on temporal goods, nor hang his heart upon them and make Mammon his idol. David was an outstanding king, and he really had his wallet and treasury full of money, his barns full of grain, his land full of all kinds of goods and provisions. In spite of all this he had to be a poor beggar spiritually, as he sings of himself (Ps. 39:12): “I am poor, and a guest in the land, like all my fathers.” Look at the king, sitting amid such possessions, a lord over land and people; yet he does not dare to call himself anything but a guest or a pilgrim, one who walks around on the street because he has no place to stay. This is truly a heart that does not tie itself to property and riches; but though it has, it behaves as if it had nothing, as St. Paul boasts of the Christians (2 Cor. 6:10): “As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” All this is intended to say that while we live here, we should use all temporal goods and physical necessities, the way a guest does in a strange place, where he stays overnight and leaves in the morning. He needs no more than bed and board and dare not say: “This is mine, here I will stay.” Nor dare he take possession of the property as though it belonged to him by right; otherwise he would soon hear the host say to him: “My friend, don’t you know that you are a guest here? Go back where you belong.” That is the way it is here, too. The temporal goods you have, God has given to you for this life. He does permit you to use them and with them to fill the bag of worms3 that you wear around your neck. But you should not fasten or hang your heart on them as though you were going to live forever. You should always go on and consider another, higher, and better treasure, which is your own and which will last forever.
Martin Luther, vol. 21, Luther’s Works, Vol. 21 : The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, Luther’s Works, Mt 5:3 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).
Jerusalem, 4 June (ENInews)–Israeli archaeologists have said they have unearthed in Jerusalem the earliest artifact containing the name of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus according to the New Testament, in the form of a clay seal called a bulla.
It’s significant because it confirms the biblical narrative of the existence of a village of Bethlehem within the Kingdom of Judah, said Eli Shukron, director of the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, which announced the discovery in late May.
“This is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible, in an inscription from the First Temple period, which proves that Bethlehem was indeed a city in the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly also in earlier periods,” Shukron said.
The seal, dating from the 7th or 8th centuries B.C., was found just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is first mentioned in Genesis in the Old Testament in connection with the burial place of the matriarch Rachel. It is also the city where David was anointed king in Samuel I.
In ancient times bullae were impressed with the seal of the person who sent the document or object and were used much like a modern-day wax seal to prove the document or object was not opened by an unauthorized person.
The inscription on the recently discovered bulla includes three clear lines of ancient Hebrew script consisting of the words “Bishv’at,” “Bat Lechem” and “Lemelech” which translate to “seventh,” “Bethlehem,” and “king” respectively.
Shukron said the bulla likely belongs to a group of administrative bullae used to seal tax shipments remitted to the taxation system of the Kingdom of Judah.
Shukron said that it appears that “in the seventh year of the reign of a king a shipment was dispatched from Bethlehem to the king in Jerusalem,” although it is unclear if the king referred to on the bulla is Hezekiah, Manasseh or Josiah, all kings during that period.
Although there is mention of a Bethlehem in a set of clay tablets found in Egypt from the 14th century B.C. known as the Amarna Letters, Shukron said there is no way of knowing if that Bethlehem is the Bethlehem referred to in the Bible located near Jerusalem.
The Hebrew and ancient Aramaic translation of Bethlehem means “house of bread” while in Arabic it means “house of meat” and there could have been various settlements with that name in the region and indeed there was another Bethlehem in Galilee.
“The Armana Letters were written 400 years before the Bible and we don’t know where that Bethlehem was,” said Shukron. “Here we can read [the word Bethlehem] in a clear Hebrew inscription from the First Temple period on a bulla found in Israel that arrived from Bethlehem to Jerusalem maybe to pay some tax. This is the Bethlehem next to Jerusalem referred to in the Bible.”
“Any extra bit of evidence is wonderful,” said the Rev. Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, a Dominican priest and professor at the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem.
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If you have never heard of Doc Watson, the bluegrass guitar virtuoso, you should get to know him. He died a few days ago, at age 89. Here’s a video of him playing and singing I am A Pilgrim, recorded a couple years ago. The press, of course, overlooks his deep evangelical faith, which supported him through his life. Oh, and by the way, he was blind since age one when some kind of disease robbed him of his sight.