Just as Adam lived the natural life with the five senses and all sorts of natural functions of the body, so all of his children from the beginning of the world to its end live, one just like the other. For the words “the image of the man of dust” mean that we all bear with us the same form and essence and live and do in every respect as Adam and Eve lived and did. They led the same kind of life, they ate, drank, digested, eliminated, froze, wore clothes, etc., as we do. Therefore, in external aspects there was no observable difference between them and us. Later, however, we shall divest ourselves of that image and essence and receive another’s, namely, the celestial Christ’s. Then we shall have the same form and essence which He now has since His resurrection. Then we need no longer eat, drink, sleep, walk, stand, etc., but will live without any creatural necessities. The entire body will be as pure and bright as the sun and as light as the air, and, finally, so healthy, so blissful, and filled with such heavenly, eternal joy in God that it will never hunger, thirst, grow weary, or decline. That will indeed be a far different and an immeasurably more glorious image than the present one. And what we bear there will be far different from what we bear here. There will be no dissatisfaction, no annoyances, no hardships to bear, such as we have in this lazy, lame image, where we must bear and drag this heavy, indolent paunch about with us, lift it, and have it led. No, there it will swish through all the heavens as swiftly and lightly as lightning and soar over the clouds among the dear angels. St. Paul was intent on impressing these thoughts on us so that we might accustom ourselves already to rising into that life by faith and remember what we are hoping and wishing and praying for when we recite the article: I believe in the resurrection, not only of the spirit—as the heretics said—but also of that very flesh, or body, which we bear on our necks. We believe that it, too, will become a celestial, spiritual body. For what St. Paul discusses in this entire chapter with so many words is only an explanation of this article. He teaches nothing but what these two words contain and convey: “resurrection of the flesh.”
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:48–49 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).
A few weeks before his unexpected death, at a meeting of the General Synod of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany (VELKD), Werner Elert participated in a discussion which preceded the adoption of the first part of a new liturgy for that church. His extempore remarks on this occasion are here translated from the Informationsdienst der VELKD (January, 1955) both in memory of this distinguished theologian and churchman and also on account of their significance for American as well as European Lutheranism.
“In the historical part of Leiturgia it is asserted that Luther really did not achieve a proper understanding of public worship. When one goes on to consider the conception of worship which is set forth in this study, one finds that it rests, quite understandably and properly, on a consideration of historical development. The liturgical life of the church is of course an historical phenomenon which must be traced to its origins. Now, it is to be observed (and this can easily be established by anyone who is familiar with the literature) that the description of the beginnings of Christian worship which is offered in Leiturgia follows the description given by Roman Catholics on the basis of the very outstanding investigations which have been made in recent decades by Benedictines especially, and more recently also by Jesuits. Lutheran liturgiologists rest their case, insofar as the historical treatment is concerned, on these investigations. I do not intend to criticize the work of the Benedictines, for everyone knows how much thorough knowledge, how much quiet objectivity, and how little polemic is involved in it. However, we cannot and should not expect that these Catholic brethren are in a position to understand and present, even in the history of worship, what was of concern to Luther. If Luther is to be judged by the norms which are basic to the Benedictine interpretation, it can indeed be said that he did not really un- derstand what worship is.
“Over against this charge I should assert that, if it can at all be said that Luther reached back beyond the Middle Ages to the ancient church, this was especially true in his restoration of preaching to an important and central place. The contrary opinion with regard to public worship in the ancient church is so widely held that I cannot hope to counteract it effectively in the few moments at my disposal here. But I cannot refrain from mentioning a few little things which the reader of the sources will encounter and to which the literature makes some reference. We are today given the impression that worship in the ancient church was quite exclusively liturgical — as we still find it, for example, in Eastern Orthodox churches. But in a sermon one of the ancient Church Fathers sets forth in very vivid fashion the fault he has to find with the contemporary liturgical service. The congregation is not there, he reports. The people are wandering about outside, the boys and girls lounging about during the performance of the liturgy. They have a watchman posted at the door, however, and when the distribution of the elements in Holy Communion is about to begin, a signal is given and the young people rush into the church like a pack of hounds, snatch up the host from the clergyman’s hands as a dog snatches up a piece of meat, and then depart. I am not suggesting that this sort of thing was the general practice, but it happened.
“I have a different understanding of preaching from that [set forth in Leiturgia]. The preaching of the ancient church . . . was doctrinal preaching. It was an expression of the orthodox faith of the church at that time. Accordingly it is subject to the prejudiced charge which is leveled against all forms of orthodoxy, including the orthodoxy of our time, that the preaching was dry and irrelevant and of interest only to learned theologians. I wish that you could see some of the few extant fragments of paper on which stenographers recorded sermons. Perhaps you are aware that the extant sermons of the great Church Fathers, including those of Augustine, were not written by themselves but were recorded by stenographers. When one sees and deciphers the hastily written shorthand notes of the stenographers, one can get an impression of what preaching was like at that time. Sermons were not dull doctrinal addresses in our sense of the term. Congregations were attentive. Records reveal the tremendous, dramatic emotion which the sermons evoked, even the cries with which the auditors interrupted the preacher. The stenographic reports give us all sorts of information, even that Augustine had a bad cough on one occasion. This is alluded to in a passing remark, ‘Pardon me, I could not help coughing, for I have been preaching a great deal the last few days.’
“If one reads the great sermons on the dogma of the ancient church which Gregory Nazianzen preached in Constantinople before he was elevated to the patriarchate—the entire dogma of the ancient church is contained in four sermons which have been published on
the basis of stenographic reports— one must be astonished at the intellectual and spiritual power of the preacher, who was able to communicate the teaching of the church to his hearers in such a compact, vivid, and existential manner, for what he treated concerned life and death. This is what services were like in the ancient church. Our honored liturgiologists . . . will say that all of this is well known. But there is still danger that we misinterpret the ancient church when we see it only in the light of the Benedictine investigations and inquire only about the origin of the Kyrie and ask when the Hallelujah was first employed. . . .
“The impression has gone abroad, and our liturgiologists are at least partly to blame for this, that the preaching, teaching church is to be replaced in some sense by the liturgical church.”
Whoever will not believe or cannot be persuaded by God’s Word and the example or experience of the resurrection initiated in Christ, will very likely be preached to in vain by illustrations and examples. It should suffice a Christian to hear God’s Word declare that he will come forth from the earth alive, with body, soul, and all senses. He should regard that as true and certain because God said it. He should not inquire further how this will happen but should leave that to God. For He who is able to raise all the dead from the earth with one word will surely also know how to bestow a form and an essence that will serve and be appropriate to the heavenly, eternal life.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:35–38 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).
St. Paul says, we must watch so as not to sin. The world must watch against poverty, against disturbance of the peace, or against enemies, so that all may be well with people and country. But our watching serves to end sin and to prosper and preserve righteousness; it serves the reign of faith and of love and the extermination of unbelief. This demands that we earnestly occupy ourselves with and cultivate God’s Word always and everywhere, snatch it up avidly, hear it, sing it, speak and read it gladly against the despicable satiety and indolence of which I have spoken. Then we will have our castle and fortress well guarded and all holes closed to keep the devil from stealing in. Otherwise, if I or others fail to preach with diligence and if you do not hear it or are practiced in it, imagining that you are well acquainted with it—that is not watching or warding off but slumbering, letting your head droop, indeed, it is snoring right in the midst of the devil’s guns and spears and affording him a good and safe place for breaking in and ascending into the castle without difficulty.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:34 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).
This is the Heckler&Koch MK23, a pistol specifically developed for the US Navy Seals, to provide them a pistol they could use in their highly specialized missions, as an offensive handgun. I was a able to pick one up at a great price from a kind person, before they were discontinued…..and, well, they are simply fun. What more can I say?
When I reflect on World War II and the incredible sacrifices made by so many of my countrymen, it is a true honor to be able to shoot one of the rifles that helped us defeat the Nazi evil and Japanese Imperial corruption.
A couple of years ago, I was able to spend some time with my friend Todd Wilken, on Issues, Etc. talking about Bach. And, here’s the link to the interview. Also, a reader pointed me to where the great BBC documentary on Sacred Music can be purchased. The episode on Bach titled “J.S. Bach and the Lutheran Legacy” is very good, the best, and frankly, only, documentary that actually “gets” Bach. Here’s a link to where you can buy it via Amazon.
One of the world’s premier interpreters and conductors of Bach music is the Japanese musician Masaaki Suzuki. And he gets Bach, unlike many Westerners. I am sick and tired of discussions of Bach by secularists who do everything they can to avoid, dismiss, denigrate and intentionally ignore the fact that J.S. Bach was an orthodox Lutheran Christian. It is the height of intellectual dishonesty to do so. But not Suzuki. I was reading my friend, Pastor Weedon’s blog and he has a great post of some YouTube clips of Suzuki performing Bach and Robin Lee offered this comment [the Bach clips follow]:
I like what Masaaki Suzuki wrote in the liner notes to the first recording of Bach Collegium Japan. Responding to the question of how the Japanese could “dare play the music of Bach”, Suzuki wrote:
“… [T]he God in whose service Bach laboured and the God I worship today are one and the same. In the sight of the God of Abraham, I believe that the two hundred years separating the time of Bach from my own day can be of little account. This conviction has brought the great composer very much closer to me. We are fellows in faith, and equally foreign in our parentage to the people of Israel, God’s people of Biblical times. Who can be said to approach more nearly the spirit of Bach: a European who does not attend church and carries his Christian cultural heritage mostly on the subconscious level, or an Asian who is active in his faith although the influence of Christianity on his national culture is small?”
One of my favorite aggregation sites is called “The Gun Wire,” I’ve struck up a friendship with the guy who runs it, he is a great guy and has really worked hard at this site. The site shares the good, the bad and the ugly of all things guns and gear and shooting and gun related news. It’s simple and simply gives you a ton of links to follow. You can spend hours reading everything posted.
This is the consolation we derive from yonder life, that God Himself will be ours and that He will be everything to us. For picture to yourself all that you would like to have, and you will find nothing better and dearer and worth wishing for than to have God Himself, who is the life and an inexhaustible depth of everything good and of eternal joy. There is nothing more precious on earth than life. The whole world dreads nothing more than death and desires nothing more than life. And this treasure we are to have in Him without measure and without end. There the sky will rain down talers and gold, if you should choose, the Elbe be filled with pearls and other gems, the earth yield all kinds of delight, so that, at your word, a tree will bear nothing but silver leaves and golden apples and pears, the fields will bear grass and flowers which shine like emeralds and other beautiful gems. In short, whatever delights your heart shall be yours abundantly. For we read that God Himself will be everything to everyone. But wherever God is, all good things that one may wish for must also be present.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:28 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).
We commonly speak of three enemies that are both Christ’s and ours: world, flesh, and devil, which we feel and understand. In Rom. 8:7 St. Paul says: “For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God.” Therefore God will also destroy it with its avarice and care, as he says 1 Cor. 6:13. Thus it is also certain that God will destroy the world. He has already ordered a fire in which it will be consumed and dissolved, as 2 Peter 3:10 tells us. In like manner He has also already sentenced and condemned the devil to eternal fire in hell, for he is God’s worst and chief enemy, who instigates every adversity and evil against God’s kingdom with lies and murder, also with terror, despair, and unbelief. God has these three foes, all of whom act and contend against Him. He in turn fights against them and arrays His whole kingdom solely against them. With His Word, Sacrament, and Spirit He holds the flesh in check. With these He also repels the devil and his venomous suggestions and all sorts of temptations, and also the world with its raging.
Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, Vol. 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy, ed. Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, Hilton C. Oswald and Helmut T. Lehmann, 1 Co 15:26–27 (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999).
I’m pleased to let you know that as part of our new Lutheran Day School religion curriculum we have revised and updated the best selling confirmation resource Applying Luther’s Catechism, with both a student guide and a very well done teacher’s guide. Since the days of the possibility that we can still use the New International Version are numbered, in light of the [disastrously bad] new version of the NIV, the English Standard Version is the standard translation Concordia Publishing House is using across all our resources in every product group, including all our confirmation resources. So, please take some time to check out this updated edition of “Applying Luther’s Catechism.” You can read more about it here and download a sample. This resource is useful for any context: homeschool, a church without a day school, Wed evening confirmation, etc.
Have you been keeping up with the controversy surrounding Chik-Fil-A? I haven’t really. I heard it has something to do with gay marriage and I kind of shrugged my shoulders and thought, “Oh, great, more of this nonsense.” Well, I dug into the story a little bit more and…what story? The facts are simply that Mr. Dan Cathy, their president and CEO stated that he supports the traditional Christian understanding of marriage and is opposed to gay marriage and that his company, the family-owned Chick-Fil-A, does not give money to organizations that support gay marriage. That’s it! That’s the “controversial” news. You can support Mr. Cathy by paying a visit to a Chick-fil-A on August 1, and make a point of letting them know why you are there. Now read the following very carefully. Here is the story:
A couple weeks ago, Cathy explained this in an interview with the Baptist Press. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” he said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.” For this reason, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has urged Chick-fil-A to “back out” of its “plans to locate in Boston.” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Chick-fil-A has no place in the city of Chicago. “Chick-fil-A’s values are not Chicago values. They’re not respectful of our residents, our neighbors and our family members. And if you’re gonna be part of the Chicago community, you should reflect Chicago values,” Emanuel said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Alderman Joe Moreno says he will seek to block a permit for Chick-fil-A in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. “Same sex marriage, same-sex couples — that’s the civil rights fight of our time. To have those discriminatory policies from the top down is just not something that we’re open to,” Moreno said. No evidence has been presented to suggest that Chick-fil-A discriminates against gay or lesbian customers or employees. There is nothing to suggest that the company has broken the law in any other way. In his comments to the Baptist Press, Cathy did not even mention same-sex marriage. He simply said he and his company supported traditional marriage. The only issue at play is the personal view of the owner of the restaurant chain, and the philanthropic efforts of the private company