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Archive for October, 2012

Lutheran Service Book Resources 20% Off

October 31st, 2012 Comments off

Good opportunity to add to, or complete, your congregational or private library of Lutheran Service Book resources.

 

 

 

Categories: CPH Resources

The Church is Always Being Reformed! Reformation Sermon 2012

October 31st, 2012 Comments off

{The Rev. Dr. Lawrence Rast, president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., preached the following sermon at this morning’s Matins service, held at the opening of the International Conference on Confessional Leadership taking place in Peachtree City, Ga. Click here to watch the sermon.}

Dr. Lawrence Rast, president of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., shakes hands with the Rev. President Jon Ehlers, Evangelical Lutheran Church of England.

As we gather together in Christ’s name to celebrate the 495th anniversary of Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses, it is good, first of all, to hear the Word of God and reflect on the Lord’s mercy in giving His gifts of life and salvation to us.

For that purpose, I can think of no better texts than Acts 10, which is a Reformational text if there ever was one! In it, Peter personally experiences two reformations. The first is, of course, the vision of all things being clean, where a hungry Peter keeps the law and resists unclean food. His first reformation is to learn that “What God has made clean do not call common.” The result, Peter witnesses to his colleagues, “Truly I understand”—a reformational phrase—“truly I understand that God shows no partiality.”

But does he understand? Reformation 2.0 comes quickly upon him. The balance of our text proper shows that Peter actually does not yet understand that God really shows no partiality. Yes, he realizes that Christ has made all things clean; what he is now learning is that in making all things clean Christ has made all people clean through the very things that Peter is preaching—the life, suffering, death, and, especially in this text, resurrection of Jesus Christ, the One who has conquered death.

Dr. Lawrence Rast preaches at the opening service of the International Conference on Confessional Lutheranism.

Peter’s witness is a powerful testimony to the power of the Gospel, for through it, as verse 44 immediately following our text tells us, “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles” (Acts 10:44-45 ESV).

Not one, but two reformations! In the space of a short chapter, we see the church reformed. And that reformation is always shaped by the Gospel; where man would legalize, God comes in with His Gospel, the powerful Word of Christ that always re-establishes the promise of life and salvation. Ecclesia Semper Reformanda est—the church is always being reformed—is the old and familiar saying. It is a good saying, for it captures the passivity of Christ’s bride as God continually works to form and reform His church through the faithful witness of the Gospel.

LWML President Kay Kreklau speaks with Dr. Cyndy Lumley of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne.

Luther’s Witness

The application of this is clear as we both celebrate today, the 495th anniversary of the Reformation and as we gather together as witnesses who are being reformed for this international conference on confessional leadership. We are here to remind one another of our shared commitment to the Gospel and to strengthen one another for the reforming task ahead.

In that effort, it is good to hear from the mature Luther as he preaches on Acts 10. In a sermon published in 1540, he speaks to the heart and soul of this text when he writes:

This power and work in us is called by Peter “remission of sins.” This is the blessing, the possession, conferred through the preaching of the doctrine of Christ, or the articles of faith, particularly the articles of the resurrection. The meaning of the new message of comfort, the new declaration of peace, is that Christ, through his resurrection, has in himself conquered our sin and death, has turned away the wrath of God and procured grace and salvation; that he has commanded forgiveness to be preached unto us, desiring us to believe he gives it and confidently to receive it through faith.

For Luther, his witness is not an innovation, not something new that he has dreamed up, but something the church has always confessed. As he says it:

He who inquires, who would know exactly, what the Christian Church ever holds and teaches, especially concerning the all-important article of justification before God, or the forgiveness of sins, over which there has always been contention, has it here plainly and exactly in this text. Here is the unwavering testimony of the entire Church from the beginning. It is not necessary, then, to dispute about the doctrine any more.

In this text we see that the reliability of the article of faith has long ago been proven, even in ancient time, by the Church of the primitive fathers, of the prophets and the apostles. A solid foundation is established, one all men are bound to believe and maintain at the risk of their eternal salvation, whatever councils may establish, or the world advance and determine, to the contrary.

This is Luther’s firm witness to the centrality of the Gospel, the faith once delivered to the saints. And in, with, and under such faithful witness the Lord worked to reform his church.

(L-R) Dr. Lawrence Rast, preident of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne; the Rev. William Weedon, LCMS director of Worship; and Bishop Wilhelm Weber, Lutheran Church South Africa, prepare for Matins.

The 19th-Century Witness

The church is always being reformed—but not all reforms are from the Lord. In the 19th century, some American Lutherans argued that the essence of Luther’s reform was radicalism, or reformation as rejection of past doctrines and practices. In this way of thinking, one might be most Lutheran by rejecting Luther and the Lutheran Confessions! One of the most outspoken advocates of this new Lutheranism was Benjamin Kurtz (1795-1865). Writing on the fathers of the church, he said:

The Fathers—who are the ‘Fathers’? They are the children; they lived in the infancy of the Church, in the early dawn of the Gospel day . . . Even the apostle Peter, after all the personal instructions of Christ, could not expand his views sufficiently to learn that the Gospel was to be preached to the Gentiles, and that the Church of Christ was to compass the whole world. A special miracle was wrought to remove his prejudices and convince him of his folly. Every well-instructed Sunday-school child understands this thing without a miracle, better than Peter did.

Such arrogance can only result in the following conclusion.

Who, then, are the “Fathers”? They have become the Children; they were the Fathers, but, compared with the present and advanced age, they are the Children, and the learned and pious of the nineteenth century are the Fathers. We are three hundred years older than Luther and his noble coadjutors, and eighteen hundred years older than the primitives; theirs was the age of infancy and adolescence, and ours that of full-grown manhood. They were the children; we are the fathers; the tables are turned.

In fact, Kurtz’s church can no longer be reformed. It can only progress into new and radical expressions that may have no organic connection to the source of life—the branch cuts itself off from the vine and briefly carries on a life of its own—briefly before it dies. Such a perspective is fundamentally destructive, for it encourages us to orphan ourselves from those who have given to us what was first given to them, namely, the faith once delivered to the saints.

In contrast to Kurtz, other American Lutherans strove to uphold the faithful witness of their fathers. Charles Porterfield Krauth (1823-1883) articulated the principle of the conservative reformation, instructing a confused Lutheranism that the overthrow of error does not in itself establish truth. Because of this it is more important to know what the Lutheran Reformation retained than what it overthrew. Knowing personally how easily the church can fall into faith-threatening error, C. F. W. Walther (1811-1887), simply urged that “heterodox companies are not to be dissolved, but reformed” (and please note that is reformed with a small “r”).

 

The Witness God Calls Us to Today

Peter’s conclusion is clear: “And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”

That call to faithful witness remains before us today. The next several days will help us better understand our confession and our context so that we may, with all possible vigor and haste, witness to the mercy of God in Christ to a world in need. In closing, perhaps it is appropriate on this day to give Luther the last word. Writing in his typically blunt and pointed way, Luther challenges you and me to a life of witness.

If I earnestly believe that Christ is true God and that He became our Savior, I will never deny this but will proclaim it publicly against the Turks, the world, the pope, the Jews, and all the sects. I will confess that it is true. I would rather forfeit my life or jeopardize my property and honor than disavow this. Wherever faith is genuine, it cannot hold its tongue. (AE 22:392-93)

May our tongues be loosed in confession and praise of the Christ who has died and risen again that we might have eternal life.

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

When He Nails Stuff on Doors…

October 31st, 2012 Comments off

Categories: Lutheran Fathers

Happy Reformation Day!! Stand for the Truth of the Gospel

October 31st, 2012 Comments off

Categories: Uncategorized

The Last Lutheran — Reformation Day Wake Up Call

October 30th, 2012 20 comments

My colleague, Rev. Edward Engelbrecht, penned this powerful little post and how appropriate for Lutherans to read it on Reformation Day. And no, he did not literally “pen” it, ok? I know what some of you in Intertube land are thinking. When you read this, please do yourself a favor and do not think immediately of excuses or justifications, just let it sink in a bit. I’ve read far too  many types of comments that go something like this, “We are being faithful so people will find us.” Or “We are being faithful, numbers don’t matter, we are not about numbers, but about being faithful.” Or, the worst of the latest thinking yet on this: “God has elected some to salvation and they will get there because God has elected them, therefore, we should not be caught up in any sense of urgency about the Lord’s mission.” Yes, I’m serious. That’s the latest foolishness floating around on subjects like this.

Faithfulness AND outreach, always a both/and, never, ever, every an either/or.

Here then is the article.

The Last Lutheran

“Grandpa, what’s a ‘Luth-ran’?”

The computer reflected in the boy’s dark eyes as he squinted, pondering his own question.

“Have you tried searching the internet?” grandpa said, looking back from the Skype portal on the computer screen.

“No. I thought you would just know.” The boy reached out, touched the screen to draw up the search engine. Then said, “Luth-ran.” The results screen listed various links to online encyclopedias but no sites for congregations. The boy’s eyes searched the links, wondering which to open.

“Mom said you were a Lutheran, grandpa. I thought you would just know. I have to do a report on how things used to be and the teacher said we could ask questions of our grandparents.”

“I was a Lutheran. That was a long time ago. There was a Lutheran church in town and I went there. But now it’s a recycling center. You know, the one where we turn in our plastics for credit?”

“That place was a church? It’s a mess. . . . Why did people go to church?”

“Everyone went to church then. Well, not everyone. But many did. Church was important. The churches were the biggest buildings in town. You saw your friends there and they taught you about the Bible,” grandpa said.

“There’s a church in our city, grandpa. We drive by it. But it’s not really big and the people speak Spanish there. Do you think it’s a Lutheran church?”

“No. I don’t suppose so,” grandpa said. “You don’t pass Lutheran churches anymore. Was a time when every town had one, or at least an old one boarded up for sale or turned into a museum. You don’t even see that much anymore.”

“So, what happened? Why are you the last Lutheran? The internet articles have a lot about ‘Jesus.’ Is that a Lutheran thing?”

Grandpa hesitated. “I don’t think I can say. That’s kind of a personal question, honey—not one you ask. People have their own beliefs and ideas. Everyone can think what he wants. So, it’s best not to ask about it.”

 

The Reformation Is Cancelled

In 2017 the Lutheran church in North America will observe the Reformation by closing hundreds of its congregations and preaching stations. We love the purity of our pulpits and quiet of our sanctuaries, which grow every quieter.

I am writing this because of something I saw the other day. Recently, CPH introduced an easy to use Outreach Kit, which some Lutheran congregations have picked up. Most congregations are taking one copy of the kit, which equips them to reach out to 50 households.

What struck me yesterday was when I saw members of another conservative protestant church snap up twelve copies of the kit, intending to reach out to 600 households—shocking contrast in behavior and an indictment of our passive, Lutheran culture.

Some reasons other conservative Protestants are growing while Lutherans are not can be explained as simply as follows:

  •  Outreach is an on-going priority for them. They build it into their members’ thinking while Lutherans do not.
  • They plan for it and budget for it while we plan for the best sausage supper.
  • They will work with all the messy, confused, needy people who respond to the outreach. We find such people annoying.

Our congregations tend to be slower or even totally negligent on these points. This is perhaps because we are a 500 year old church and they are more spry by comparison. Be we have got to address this cultural issue.

 

A New Reformation

Our congregations need to learn to sow the Word liberally while teaching the Word conservatively. Anything else implies a lack of confidence—a lack of faith—in the Word of God we profess. As we believe, teach and confess the life-giving Word, outreach will become our highest priority. That is what I would like us to celebrate in 2017. Lord, have mercy.

I’ve invited the leadership at Concordia Publishing House to consider what we can do to change the passive culture of our churches and turn us outward toward the community with the Gospel.

I invite my readers to consider the same and raise the same questions in their local churches.

 

”We beg of You, bless, oh bless, the work of spreading Your written Word. . . . You know how listless our hearts are and how easily our zeal grows cold. Grant us therefore genuine glowing love, a love that will never grow cold or weary.” Amen.

—C. F. W. Walther, For the Life of the Church, p. 30.

Categories: Lutheranism

Walther’s Hymnal – Great Sample Here

October 30th, 2012 Comments off

We are excited about the forthcoming title from Concordia Publishing House: “Walther’s Hymnal” which is a complete translation of the very first hymnal published by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, which was titled CHURCH HYMNBOOK for Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. It will be available from CPH in December of this year.

From Matthew Carver’s blog site: Continuing my series on Walther’s Hymnal and excerpts of important hymns not translated by myself (mostly), here is an excerpt of my correction and alteration of J.C. Jacobi’s (1725) full translation of KELG #236, “Durch Adams Fall ist ganz verderbt” (L. Spengler, 1524), a hymn famous among Lutherans as quoted in their Confessions (Ep I 8) as being sung by the church, and yet not being sung by them in the church—well, almost, since a paraphrase of the first part of the hymn is found in Lutheran Service Book as “All Mankind Fell in Adam’s Fall.” There is also a very good full translation of a modern style by Mark DeGarmeaux in theEvangelical Lutheran Hymnary which has enjoyed usage in the Evangelical Lutheran Synod for several years already.

The text is especially appropriate for Quinquagesima / Esto mihi (the Sunday before Lent in the Historic Lectionary), as well as for Sexagesima, Good Friday, and the Sixth Sunday after Trinity.

The author, Lazarus Spengler (1479–1534), was city clerk of the important Reformation city Nürnberg, and is known, among other things, for designing Luther’s seal after his specifications in a letter.

Its fine melody took its sacred form in Wittenberg, 1529, when it appeared it Joseph Klug’s Geistliche Lieder.Our earliest extant example is from 1533. Below is the slightly simplified form which was used in the Missouri Synod during

BY ADAM’S fall man’s frame entire
And nature was infected;
The source, whence came the poison dire,
Was not to be corrected.
The lust accursed, / Indulged at first,
Brought death as its production;
But God’s free grace / Hath saved our race
From mis’ry and destruction.

2. Since Eve by Satan was enticed
And, yielding to temptation,
God’s Word rejected and despised,
And ruined was creation:
Naught could be done, / But God His Son
Must send in our own nature
That through His death, / We all by faith
Might be a newborn creature!

3. By one man’s guilt all men, enslaved,
Were subjects of the devil;
But by another’s grace is saved
Mankind from every evil:
And as we all / By Adam’s fall
Were sentenced to damnation,
So too hath God / By Christ’s own blood
Regained our lost salvation.

. . . (stanzas 4–6 are included in the published version)

7. But who makes God his hope and trust
Shall never be confounded:
No house built on this Rock is lost,
Though everywhere surrounded
By daring foes / And trying woes;
His faith yet stands unshaken.
Who loves the Lord / Shall by no sword
Nor woe be overtaken.

. . . (stanza 8 is included in the published version)

9. Thy Word’s a lamp unto my feet,
A lantern burning brightly;
My surest guide and path to meet
The Way to heaven rightly.
This Star, where’er / It doth appear,
Reveals those heav’nly graces,
Which are laid up / For all that hope
To taste the Lord’s embraces.
Walther’s Hymnal: Church Hymnbook is the first of its kind: an English translation of the first official hymnal of The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. This was the hymnal that C.F.W. Walther edited and used, and that provided Christians throughout the LCMS a common experience during the Church’s early years in America, in the same way that Lutheran Service Book provides a common experience for us today.

Now presented for the first time in English, this is an invaluable resource for history enthusiasts, church musicians, and anyone who wants insight into how our grandfathers sang and prayed. This is a chance to share in that song and prayer of the saints gone before us.
Matthew Carver, MFA, is a translator of German and classical literature. He resides in Nashville, TN, with his wife Amanda and their young son, where they pursue interests in art, orthodox Lutheran theology, liturgy, and hymnody.
 What Others Are Saying
Thanks to Matthew Carver, we now have Walther’s hymnal, which guided the life of the Synod through its German-speaking period—six decades blessed with exponential growth.
—Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, President, The Lutheran Church—Missouri SynodWalther’s Hymnal will soon find a place in the libraries of all interested in thedevelopment of Lutheran hymnody in America.
—Dr. Carl Schalk, Concordia University ChicagoMatthew Carver has opened the closed door and provided English translations for all the hymns in Walther’s hymnal, and many are translated for the first time.
—Dr. Robin A. Leaver, Yale Institute of Sacred Music

Walther’s Hymnal will serve not only as a rich devotional resource for our time but also as an impetus for future hymn writers as they add to our rich heritage.
—Rev. Dr. Paul J. Grime, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne

This will be a welcome addition to the library of all who appreciate the Lutheran chorale, and for composers who are searching for “new” texts to inspire musical settings for use in the church, school, and home.
—Rev. Prof. Dennis Marzolf, Bethany Lutheran College

Matthew Carver’s masterful translation of C. F. W. Walther’s 1847 collection of German-language hymns opens a window on the mid-nineteenth-century revival of confessional Lutheranism in America.
—Dr. Daniel Zager, Eastman School of Music

In this labor of love, Carver has provided a wonderful resource for historians, pastors, and homes—and a wonderful tribute to Walther and our Lutheran hymnody.
—Rev. Thomas Egger, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis

Matthew Carver has recovered translations longhidden away in forgotten books, and he offers many of his own translations,thus giving us the complete poetic texts in a way that is beneficial and useful for pastors, teachers, musicians, congregation members, theologians, and historians.
—Prof. Mark DeGarmeaux, Bethany Lutheran College

…a book that will be a blessing to any lover of Lutheran doctrine, liturgy, and hymnody.
—Rev. William C. Weedon, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod

Categories: CPH Resources

A Simply Way to Pray by Martin Luther — Fresh Translation Coming in Early December

October 29th, 2012 7 comments

Martin Luther prepared a brief overview of how he goes about his daily prayers at the request of his friend, Master Peter, the Barber of Wittenberg. It has become a real classic since the 16th century, but it was time to have a more modern English translation and freshen it up. The goal with this translation was to help Luther speak clear 21st century English (no jokes here about the devolution of English in the 21st century please!). I’m sure you get my point. Pastor Matthew Harrison, President of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod kindly consented to translate this little pamphlet for Concordia Publishing House. It will arrive here at Concordia Publishing House from the printer in early December. Our goal is to have it in stock for congregations to purchase enough quantities in bulk to share with their members, perhaps as a useful tool to use to help enrichen our prayer lives during the 2013 season of Lent.

Here is a picture of the cover and here is where you go to view a sample and place a standing order. Below the picture is a further description of the book.

When asked by his barber and good friend, Peter Beskendorf, for some practical guidance on how to prepare oneself for prayer, Martin Luther responded by writing this brief treatise first published in 1535. A Simple Way to Pray is a fresh modern translation bringing us Luther’s practical instruction, using Luther’s I.T.C.P. method of prayer. This method anchors prayer in the catechism or other biblical texts, but allows the Holy Spirit to prompt thoughts via the Word, which may be chased more freely by the mind at prayer.

 

Instruction: Lord Christ, You instruct me here that I am to listen carefully and heed the word of my pastor when he speaks Your Word. The pastoral office is profound; my pastor is not only charged to watch over my soul, but You also call him to account for his service to me. Finally, You tell me in this text that I am to be a joy to my pastor and not a pain, and this for my own spiritual benefit.

 

Thanksgiving: Jesus, I thank You for my pastor. In fact, I thank You for the pastor who baptized me, and all pastors who have served me in my life as a Christian. Thank You for all the sermons that have clearly shown me my sin and delivered to me the free forgiveness of the Gospel because of Your sacrifice for me on the cross.

Confession: Lord, I confess that so often I fail to pray for my pastor. I fail to be gracious to his family. I do not pay attention to his preaching. I have gossiped and failed to love and defend him and “put the best construction on everything.” I deserve to have my faithful pastor taken away. Forgive me my many sins, and help me to do better. Help me especially to be a joy to my pastor and to encourage him in his difficult office.

Prayer: Savior, bless my pastor with faithfulness to Your Word. Cause him to grow in knowledge of Your Word. Give him courage and strength for his tasks. I thank You for (name) and for all faithful pastors. Grant success to the work of our seminaries. Bless our professors and students. And give my pastor joy. I ask all this for Your sake alone. Amen.

 

Categories: CPH Resources

Eight Chairs – Great Reformation Themed Article – Go Read it. Now.

October 29th, 2012 Comments off

Link here. Just go read it.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Why is this cute little bunny so sad? What can you do to cheer him up?

October 29th, 2012 2 comments

Why is this cute little bunny crying? Why he is so sad??

He wants you to buy a copy of the “Apocrypha: Lutheran Edition with Notes” Click on this link or call 800-325-3040. Buy a few copies for friends and families for Christmas and you will qualify for free shipping, good for any order of $79 or more from our CHRISTMAS CATALOG, which includes the Apocrypha as one of those qualifying items.

Categories: CPH Resources

If You Don’t Order the Apocrypha: Lutheran Edition You Will Make Kitty Even More Sad

October 26th, 2012 2 comments

Yes, that’s right, if you do not act quickly to get in on the first print run of The Apocrypha: Lutheran Edition with Notes. You will make this poor little kitten even more sad than it already is. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty, or anything like that. I just don’t want this cute, adorable, cuddly kitten become even more sad. I want it to be a happy kitten. Don’t you?

 

Categories: CPH Resources

Pastor Matthew Harrison’s Next Project: Coming in March 2013

October 26th, 2012 Comments off

Categories: CPH Resources

Don’t Be a Sad Puppy! News Flash: Apocrypha First Print Run Going Fast – Order Now

October 26th, 2012 3 comments

Just another gentle reminder to congregations, pastors and people looking to give a Christmas gift…we have moved through now well over half of our first print run of the Apocrypha: Lutheran Edition with Notes and the remaining half of the inventory is going very quickly.

I know. I know. I have already reminded you once this week.

I just do not want anyone to say to me, “You didn’t warn us! You didn’t tell us!”

And to then look like this sad little puppy who wanted his own copy of the Apocrypha but his family did not order one in time for him. ORDER YOUR COPY HERE, AND NOW. Or call 800-325-3040

Categories: CPH Resources

Glock 21 Gen 4 Shooting Demonstration

October 25th, 2012 3 comments

Categories: guns and ammo

More Fun with the M4 Benelli: Rapid Fire and Accuracy

October 25th, 2012 Comments off

Categories: guns and ammo

Shooting the 1911 Handgun – The VDMA .45ACP!

October 25th, 2012 Comments off

Categories: guns and ammo