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Archive for August, 2012

The Ruger LCP — Pocket Pistol Demonstration

August 24th, 2012 2 comments

Here is a video on the Ruger LCP. The little pistol that is highly concealable and packs a good punch at close range.

And, Chapter Two after I got different ammo:

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“Church and Ministry” is Now Available for Pre-Order with Bulk Purchase Discount Price

August 24th, 2012 4 comments

“The issue of church and office is too often a muddle among us, and Walther can be most helpful if he is allowed to speak with the precision he intended.”
Pastor Matthew C. Harrison
President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

PLACE YOUR PRE-PUBLICATION ORDER HERE.

Purchase 10 or more copies of Church and Ministry for only $19.99 each. Use promotional Code LWT on the checkout screen to receive your discount!

 

Matthew Harrison’s new edition of this seminal writing by the first president of the LCMS restores Walther’s precise language on the doctrines of church and ministry. As the subtitle of the original German edition states, Church and Ministry is “a collection of testimonies . . . from the Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and from the private writings of orthodox teachers of the same.” Professional church workers and interested lay members will find a wealth of insights from the Bible, the Confessions, ancient church fathers, Luther, the orthodox Lutheran fathers, and more on the key questions of what or who is the Church, what is and who holds the Office of the Ministry, and what are the powers and duties of each.

This New Study Edition Includes

• new reader-friendly updated translation

• footnotes explaining terms and history

• side notes highlighting texts from the Bible, Lutheran Confessions and Martin Luther

• marginal references to Johann Gerhard

• glossary of key German and Latin terms

• appendices including supporting documents

• Scriptural index

• topical index

• free downloadable data charts/timelines editorial introductions from Rev. Matthew Harrison

Categories: CPH Resources

Material that Confuses and Baffles Materialists

August 24th, 2012 Comments off

Dr. Gene Edward Veity, on his great blog, had a terrific post recently that I’m just passing along here.

Physics professor Stephen M. Barr explains how quantum physics makes the world view of materialism–the assumption of most of today’s atheists–scientifically impossible.

Materialism is an atheistic philosophy that says that all of reality is reducible to matter and its interactions. It has gained ground because many people think that it’s supported by science. They think that physics has shown the material world to be a closed system of cause and effect, sealed off from the influence of any non-physical realities — if any there be. Since our minds and thoughts obviously do affect the physical world, it would follow that they are themselves merely physical phenomena. No room for a spiritual soul or free will: for materialists we are just “machines made of meat.”

Quantum mechanics, however, throws a monkey wrench into this simple mechanical view of things.  No less a figure than Eugene Wigner, a Nobel Prize winner in physics, claimed that materialism — at least with regard to the human mind — is not “logically consistent with present quantum mechanics.” And on the basis of quantum mechanics, Sir Rudolf Peierls, another great 20th-century physicist, said, “the premise that you can describe in terms of physics the whole function of a human being … including [his] knowledge, and [his] consciousness, is untenable. There is still something missing.”

Barr goes on to explain in a technical but pretty lucid manner why this is the case, going into the mathematics of probability and why the observer has an intrinsic impact on the system being observed.   I can’t summarize it.  Read it yourself.  Here is his conclusion:

If the mathematics of quantum mechanics is right (as most fundamental physicists believe), and if materialism is right, one is forced to accept the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum mechanics. And that is awfully heavy baggage for materialism to carry.

If, on the other hand, we accept the more traditional understanding of quantum mechanics that goes back to von Neumann, one is led by its logic (as Wigner and Peierls were) to the conclusion that not everything is just matter in motion, and that in particular there is something about the human mind that transcends matter and its laws. It then becomes possible to take seriously certain questions that materialism had ruled out of court: If the human mind transcends matter to some extent, could there not exist minds that transcend the physical universe altogether? And might there not even exist an ultimate Mind?

via Does Quantum Physics Make it Easier to Believe in God? | Big Questions Online.

HT:  Anna Williams

The Cult of Isis and Early Christianity

August 24th, 2012 Comments off

I follow a number of really über-geeky blogs, one of which is constantly posting links to interesting history research dissertations and essays. Here’s one that particularly caught my eye recently. I do not, of course, agree with the premise of the article, but it has lots of interesting tidbits to help you understand what the early Christians were up against. For instance, just think how appealing female clergy would have been in the context of goddess worship, but, nope the Christians didn’t do that.

Click here to read the full article.

The Cult of Isis and Early Christianity

By Hazel Butler

Hohonu: A Journal of Academic Writing, Vol.7 (2005)

Introduction: Before the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire, there was the Cult of Isis. This research paper is an exploration of the Cult of Isis and its possible effects on Early Christianity. Early Christianity is defined as about the first five hundred years of its existence. The cult of Isis certainly had an effect on the development of early Christianity, even if some of the specific beliefs within the religions were different. There are similarities in the worship and the belief behind the Cult of Isis during the Roman era with those that are reflected in Early Christian beliefs. However, it is the missing pieces in Isiac worship that Christianity seemed to satisfy that made it become so popular. The way that the Roman world came to embrace also had a staggering effect on the religion, and set it apart from Isis. Isis was first worshiped in Egypt as a queen alongside her brother and husband, Osiris, the King of Egypt. When Osiris was killed by his brother Set and chopped up into pieces, it was Isis who put him back together. When she did so, she became the only god in the Egyptian Pantheon who was capable of resurrection. Most importantly, after reviving Osiris temporarily, she conceived Horus, who avenged the murder of his father and become the first Pharaoh of Egypt. As Osiris’s wife, she became queen of the dead. As the mother of Horus, she was not symbol of motherhood, the patron of childbearing and the protector of children. She was also the model for all the future queens of Egypt, who referred to as “daughters of god,” “the great wifes of the king” and “the mothers of god”.

 

Stay Tuned for Important News Tomorrow About a Very Important Book

August 23rd, 2012 1 comment

Categories: CPH Resources

Microsoft Finally Designs a Really Fantastic Looking Logo! No, not really

August 23rd, 2012 6 comments

Read this. It never ceases to amaze me how Microsoft has never been able to get its design right, and the only time they come close, it is because they’ve tried to copy Apple.

Look at this.

 

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They Can’t All Be True — John 14:6

August 23rd, 2012 7 comments

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Stolen Cranach Painting Returned

August 23rd, 2012 1 comment

This is a great story about the theft, and return, of a painting by Lucas Cranach, a particularly beautiful rendition of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Son of God. Read the whole story here. I’ve included a screenshot that is a detail from the painting. At the link, you can see the whole painting and see it in a very large size, too large to insert here.

Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Madonna under the Fir Tree is one of the master’s most elaborate and highly prized Madonnas, completed around 1510 for the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Breslau, Bohemia (now Wroclaw, Poland). It hung in the Chapel of St. John in the cathedral’s north aisle, a staple of travel guides and art histories, for more than 400 years. Following the detail from the painting is a view of the whole thing.You can “supersize” it by going to the link above.

 

 

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Broken: Seven “Christian” Rules Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible

August 22nd, 2012 3 comments

 

Have you ever watched that wacky pastor’s YouTube channel called WorldView Everlasting? You have? Then you are totally going to love this new book.

I’m talking about Pastor Jonathan Fisk. Here’s a picture of him and his new forthcoming book, screen capture from one of his latest videos:

You haven’t? Well, you should, because you are totally going to love this new book. Coming out this November, maybe earlier.

Real Answers
Real Religion
Real Holy SpiritualityThere are only two kinds of spirituality in the world. One is false, and one is true. One is the manifestation of the old evil foe who has sent many false spiritualties out into the world, and the other is the holy spirituality found only in faith in the one true God. One is a lie, and one is real.But which is which?There is a cultural perfect storm shredding the spiritual landscape of the United States. It travels on the wind of a growing ignorance of both history and the Bible. Christians are losing faith because the kind of Christianity they are trying to believe isBROKEN

This book examines seven of the most common spiritual traditions and how they use speculation, mysticism, and moralism to break Christianity. Author Jonathan Fisk calls them the seven “counterfeit Christian rules that every Christian ought to break as often as possible,” because they are seven myths that have infiltrated the churches in our age, seven teachings taught as if they were doctrine, but which are nothing more than the traditions of men.

The dark secret of Christianity in America is that we are losing.
We hide it with light shows, Christian dance and music, and video games,
but it’s true. And it’s not new.

The house has grown too dirty. Fisk is going to sweep it clean. All of it: the dusty corners where spores of speculation lay, the air filled with the mustiness of mysticism, the grout where the mold of moralism has grown thick over our clean confidence in Christ. Once the grime has been scrubbed away, Fisk shows how, under the cross of Jesus, you will find that your mind, heart, and hands, your reason, emotions, and sense of mercy, are the very things that our Lord has redeemed. In the resurrection of Jesus, in His fulfillment of the Law, in the essence of His Gospel, in the pure Word of God, you will find the truth.

Categories: CPH Resources

Lutheranism 101 for Kids — Great Resource at a Great Price

August 22nd, 2012 Comments off

Folks, I’m really happy to tell you about a great new resource from Concordia Publishing House, part of our “Lutheranism 101″ family of products. It is Lutheranism 101: For Kids. Following on the heels of the spectacularly successful book: Lutheranism 101, which we are continuing to reprint and sell hand-over-fist, comes this great children’s version of the book. Written by Julie and Scott Stiegemeyer, a pastor and wife team, the book brings the core beliefs and teachings of the Lutheran Church down to a child-friendly level in an appealing format with great illustrations.

And, best news of all, you can stock up on this book for your congregation for only $4.99 when you purchase ten or more. Be sure to use promo code YKD when you place your order. You can order online here.

Lutheranism 101 for Kids is part of the best-selling Lutheranism 101 series and written in the same easy-to-read and understand format giving the student a useable and comprehensive overview of the Lutheran faith and practice. Its short articles, sidebar features, glossary of terms, and topical index create a solid foundation that helps prepare fourth through sixth graders for confirmation.
Lutheranism 101 for Kids helps pre-confirmation children learn more about God’s love for them in Christ and about faith as a Christian using:

  • A Glossary of Terms
  • A Topical Index
  • A Scripture Index
  • Short easy-to-read and age appropriate article
  • Stuff You Need to Know (sidebar call outs)
  • From the Bible! - Quotations from the Bible
  • Believe, Teach, Confess! - Quotations from creeds or Lutheran teachings
  • Word Alert! - Words and phrases quickly defined

 

Do Megachurches Give You a Good Buzz?

August 22nd, 2012 7 comments

Do U.S. megachurches create a spiritual “high”?

ENI-12-0493 By Chris Lisee — ENInews/RNS 21 August (ENInews)

Maybe religion really is the opiate of the masses — just not the way Karl Marx imagined. A University of Washington study posits that worship services at megachurches (those that attract more than 2,000 people at a service) can trigger feelings of transcendence and changes in brain chemistry — a spiritual “high” that keeps congregants coming back for more, Religion News Service reports. “We see this experience of unalloyed joy over and over again in megachurches. That’s why we say it’s like a drug,” said James Wellman, an associate professor of American religion who co-authored the study. The study, “‘God is like a drug’: Explaining Interaction Ritual Chains in American Megachurches” was presented on 19 August at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association in Denver. Large gatherings of shared experience like concerts and sporting events also trigger feelings of euphoria, said Katie Corcoran, a Ph.D. candidate who co-authored the paper. But, she said, “churches seem to be somewhat unique in that these feelings are not just experienced as euphoria but as something transcendent or divine.” The authors theorize the spiritual high from megachurch services is experienced as an “oxytocin cocktail” of shared transcendent experience and the brain’s release of oxytocin, a chemical that is thought to play a part in social interaction. Emotion and group experience have been shown to raise levels of oxytocin. One congregant reported, “God’s love becomes … such a drug that you can’t wait to come get your next hit. … You can’t wait to get involved to get the high from God.” Another said “you can look up to the balcony and see the Holy Spirit go over the crowd like a wave in a football game,” Corcoran said. Megachurches create this high through their unique style of worship, Corcoran said. Megachurches use technology and appeals to emotion to create a shared experience in congregations that number in the thousands. “The upbeat modern music, cameras that scan the audience and project smiling, dancing, singing, or crying worshippers on large screens, and an extremely charismatic leader whose sermons touch individuals on an emotional level … serve to create these strong positive emotional experiences,” Corcoran said. The pastor functions as an “energy star” who engages the congregation through an accessible, informal and emotional sermon. Rather than being analytical or theological, the message “just feels right” or “just makes sense” for congregants, Wellman said. To extend the spiritual high beyond Sunday, churches feature small group activities such as Bible study, book clubs, and volunteer activities, the researchers said. But it is Sunday worship that brings people back. The study bucks the idea that larger churches produce weaker member commitment; nearly 80 percent of congregants said church size did not hinder their spiritual growth. An estimated 10 percent of American Protestants — 6 million worshippers — regularly attend one of 1,600 megachurches. Researchers observed services and conducted 470 interviews and about 16,000 surveys at 12 megachurches for the University of Washington study. Eds: A file photo of a megachurch is available via www.religionnews.com ENI News Headlines and Featured Articles are now available by RSS feed. See http://www.eni.ch/rss/ All articles (c) Ecumenical News International Reproduction permitted only by media subscribers and provided ENI is acknowledged as the source. Ecumenical News International PO Box 2100 CH – 1211 Geneva 2 Switzerland Tel: (41-22) 791 6088 – 6111 Fax: (41-22) 788 7244 Email: eni@eni.ch

Preach Faith Into Hearts Without Mentioning Faith if You Want to Preach a Christ-Centered Sermon

August 21st, 2012 3 comments

 

I ran across a sermon on Jesus famous story about the Pharisee and tax collector and sadly, though preached by a Lutheran pastor, it got the whole point of the story wrong. The preacher used the occasion to wax on about faith and how we must have genuine faith, real faith, living faith, repentant faith and that’s the difference between the two. That’s like preaching about electricity and putting all the focus on the electrical cord, instead of on the power source! Here’s what C.F.W. Walther wisely noted in his magnificent book on Law and Gospel

A preacher must be able to preach a sermon on faith without ever using the term faith. It is not important that he din (shout) the word faith into the ears of his audience, but it is necessary for him to frame his address so as to arouse in every poor sinner the desire to lay the burden of his sins at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ and say to Him: “Thou art mine, and I am Thine.” Here is where Luther reveals his true greatness. He rarely appeals to his hearers to believe, but he preaches concerning the work of Christ, salvation by grace, and the riches of God’s mercy in Jesus Christ in such a manner that the hearers get the impression that all they have to do is to take what is being offered them and find a resting-place in the lap of divine grace.

A great paper by Daniel Preus, an oldie but a goodie, reminded me of this quote. Here’s a link to it.

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Join the Family Arch Book Club — Great Way to Teach the Bible to Children

August 21st, 2012 3 comments

We have a great opportunity for moms, and dad, grandmas and grandpas, and anyone who is involved in helping little ones learn the Word of God. Subscribe to the Family Arch Book Club Program and collect 80 of the most popular books in this great series of Bible stories told through fun-to-read rhymes and bright illustrations. Family Arch Book Club Subscription Program:

  • 2 year subscription
  • 4 shipments per year/10 books per shipment
  • 25% discount and a FREE wooden bookshelf with your first shipment
  • Perfect for school libraries and for children in kindergarten through grade 3

Click here for more information and to sign up.

 Here’s a picture of the bookshelf you will receive:

Categories: CPH Resources

24/7 Worldwide Lutheran Radio: KFUO

August 21st, 2012 2 comments

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Archeology and the Bible’s Big Picture

August 21st, 2012 Comments off

 

Eric Metaxas summarizes some recent findings in Middle Eastern archaeology, ones that confirm not just isolated facts in the Bible but the “big picture” of the Biblical narrative:

Israeli archaeologists recently discovered a coin, dating from the 11th century before Christ. It depicted “a man with long hair fighting a large animal with a feline tail.” Ring any Old Testament bells?

The coin was found near the Sorek River, which was the border between the ancient Israelite and Philistine territories 3,100 years ago. Sound vaguely familiar?

The archaeologists thought so, too. While Shlomo Bunimovitz and Zvi Lederman of Tel Aviv University don’t claim that the figure depicted on the coin is proof that Samson actually existed, they do see the coin as proof that stories about a Samson-like man existed independently of the Bible.

Stated differently, the story of Samson was not the literary invention of a sixth-century B.C. scribe living in Babylon, as has commonly been assumed by mainstream biblical scholarship.

Bunimovitz and Lederman made another interesting discovery: the Philistine side of the river was littered with pig bones, while there were none on the Israelite side. . . .

The findings at Sorek are only the latest in a series of archaeological discoveries that are changing the way modern historians look at biblical narratives. It’s becoming more difficult for them to maintain that the narratives are pious fictions invented long after the era being depicted.

The most famous of these discoveries is the 1994 discovery of a stele in Tel Dan bearing an inscription that contained the words “House of David.” It was the first extra-biblical evidence of the Davidic dynasty. Prior to the discovery, many scholars doubted that David ever existed, much less founded a dynasty. The discovery was so out-of-line with expectations that more than a few insisted it must be a forgery.

Today, it is clear to even the most skeptical scholar that-surprise!-there really was a David who founded a ruling dynasty. That dynasty included his son, Solomon, and evidence of Solomon’s building projects described in Second Samuel have been found by archaeologists as well.

Some of the discoveries go beyond history and tell us about Israel’s sense of what it meant to be God’s chosen people. Sites dating to before the Exile are littered with Canaanite idols, evidence of the apostasy the prophets denounced and warned would lead to disaster.

Yet there has never been a single idol found in sites dating after the Exile. Clearly, the Jews who returned from the Exile had finally, truly learned that “the Lord our God is one.”

via Archaeology and the Bible.

HT: Gene Edward Veith.

Categories: Archeology