Archive

Archive for November, 2012

We are to Pursue Holy Living and Good Works (Duh!)

November 30th, 2012 Comments off

Overheard today…something our Lutheran Confessions, not to mention, the Bible, clearly assert! Something that some Christians and yes, even some Lutherans get all “twitchy” about when discussed.

If I wake up in the morning, give myself a holiness score of 6, and then commit myself to get to 6.5 by the end of the day, that would be disastrous and silly. But what if I am struggling with lust and pray for God’s help that I might fight the urge to click where I shouldn’t click, and embrace my identity in Christ as chosen and beloved, and believe God’s promises about the pure in heart—is that also the “worst way” to go about holiness? I never describe holiness as a scorecard. In fact, though Galli says I provide no definition of holiness, I describe it chiefly as the pursuit of Christ himself. Is it really a dreadful thing for Christians to be intentional about wanting to be more like Jesus? I know that’s not where the gospel starts, but haven’t a myriad of Christians through the ages considered that at the heart of discipleship?

The language of inevitability also strikes me as misplaced. Is it really the case that everyone who has ever aspired to holiness ends up suffering from spiritual pride? To be sure, we all continue to sin, and pride is one of the ways we do. But Galli seems to be saying more than this. To simply point out that those who pursue holiness still have pride is a truism. We all still suffer from pride. Galli suggests, however, that pride is most prevalent in those who most consciously pursue holiness. Really? Is this always the case? Every Methodist, every pietist, everyone from the Dutch Second Reformation, everyone in every religious order, everyone in our churches deliberately trying to kill sin in their lives—all of them are essentially self-righteous hypocrites? Galli must be thinking of the pursuit of holiness in the worst possible caricature. Are Jerry Bridges and J. I. Packer—two men who have written extensively about the pursuit of holiness—especially judgmental and arrogant? The men and women at my church who strive each day to wage war against the flesh and grow in grace do not fit Galli’s description.

And the Puritans? Galli’s comment is either overstated or unfair. Besides the historical presumption of making such a sweeping claim against “the Puritans” (as if their theology and behaviors were monolithic), it is terrifically uncharitable to suggest, without naming a single example, that as a group they were especially marked by censoriousness. As in any church or any tradition, some who went by the name Puritan were no doubt arrogant and proud. But some lived lives of which the world is not worthy. We do ourselves no favors when we tear down all our heroes because they walked the earth on clay feet.

Most damaging to Galli’s thesis is the record of Scripture itself. If the call to pursue holiness is best forgotten, why does the Bible remind us of it so often? What do we do with Hebrews 12:14 and its language of “striving” for holiness? What do we do with Paul’s language of “fighting” and “toiling” and “pressing on”, or Peter’s language of “making every effort,” or Jesus’ language of “striving” to enter the narrow gate? And what about the exhortation in Philippians 4 to “think about these things” and “practice these things”? None of these descriptions envision a morbid navel-gazing. But they all envision that the Christian life involves the conscious and purposeful putting off of sin and putting on of holiness. Of course, we never achieve this perfectly or without the presence of indwelling sin, but that doesn’t lead the biblical writers to reject the conscious pursuit of holiness or the possibility of living a holy life pleasing to God and worthy of emulation.

In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus assumes that asking for forgiveness would be a daily occurrence, as would praying that we might be delivered from evil and led not into temptation. The mystery of the Christian life is that Christ expects us flee sin and the devil, but does not expect us to rid ourselves of either on this side of glory. Repentance is a way of life and so is the pursuit of godliness. I wish every Christian could be reminded of these two things. And I wish they were less controversial than they have become in our day.

Categories: Christian Life

Christmas Shopping? Don’t Overlook the GREAT Gifts in the CPH Christmas Catalog

November 30th, 2012 Comments off

Friends, if you are looking for meaningful Christian books and gifts to give friends and loved ones, you need to take a close, long look at our Christmas Catalog.

Just click on the picture below to do some online shopping. Orders from the catalog that total $75 or more qualify for free shipping!

 

Categories: CPH Resources

The Festival of St. Andrew the Apostle

November 30th, 2012 1 comment
We Meditate on Scripture
Ezk. 3:16-21
Rom. 10:8-18
John 1:35-42
We Pray
Almighty God, by Your grace the apostle Andrew obeyed the call of Your Son to be a disciple. Grant us also to follow the same Lord Jesus Christ in heart and life, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Who was Andrew?

The name “Andrew” (Gr., andreia, manhood, or valour), like other Greek names, appears to have been common among the Jews from the second or third century B.C. St. Andrew, the Apostle, son of Jonah, or John (Matthew 16:17; John 1:42), was born in Bethsaida of Galilee (John 1:44). He was brother of Simon (Peter) (Matthew 10:2; John 1:40). Both were fishermen (Matthew 4:18; Mark 1:16), and at the beginning of Our Lord’s public life occupied the same house at Capharnaum (Mark 1:21, 29). From the fourth Gospel we learn that Andrew was a disciple of the Baptist, whose testimony first led him and John the Evangelist to follow Jesus (John 1:35-40). Andrew at once recognized Jesus as the Messias, and hastened to introduce Him to his brother, Peter, (John 1:41). Thenceforth the two brothers were disciples of Christ. On a subsequent occasion, prior to the final call to the apostolate, they were called to a closer companionship, and then they left all things to follow Jesus (Luke 5:11; Matthew 4:19-20; Mark 1:17-18). Finally Andrew was chosen to be one of the Twelve; and in the various lists of Apostles given in the New Testament (Matthew 10:2-4); Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13) he is always numbered among the first four. The only other explicit reference to him in the Synoptists occurs in Mark 13:3, where we are told he joined with Peter, James and John in putting the question that led to Our Lord’s great eschatological discourse. In addition to this scanty information, we learn from the fourth Gospel that on the occasion of the miraculous feeding of the five thousand, it was Andrew who said: “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fishes: but what are these among so many?” (John 6:8-9); and when, a few days before Our Lord’s death, certain Greeks asked Philip that they might see Jesus, Philip referred the matter to Andrew as to one of greater authority, and then both told Christ (John 12:20-22). Like the majority of the Twelve, Andrew is not named in the Acts except in the list of the Apostles, where the order of the first four is Peter, John, James, Andrew; nor have the Epistles or the Apocalypse any mention of him. From what we know of the Apostles generally, we can, of course, supplement somewhat these few details. As one of the Twelve, Andrew was admitted to the closest familiarity with Our Lord during His public life; he was present at the Last Supper; beheld the risen Lord; witnessed the Ascension; shared in the graces and gifts of the first Pentecost, and helped, amid threats and persecution, to establish the Faith in Palestine. When the Apostles went forth to preach to the Nations, Andrew seems to have taken an important part, but unfortunately we have no certainty as to the extent or place of his labours. Eusebius (Church History III.1), relying, apparently, upon Origen, assigns Scythia as his mission field: Andras de [eilechen] ten Skythian; while St. Gregory of Nazianzus (Oration 33) mentions Epirus; St. Jerome (Ep. ad Marcell.) Achaia; and Theodoret (on Ps. cxvi) Hellas. Probably these various accounts are correct, for Nicephorus (H.E. II:39), relying upon early writers, states that Andrew preached in Cappadocia, Galatia, and Bithynia, then in the land of the anthropophagi and the Scythian deserts, afterwards in Byzantium itself, where he appointed St. Stachys as its first bishop, and finally in Thrace, Macedonia, Thessaly, and Achaia. It is generally agreed that he was crucified by order of the Roman Governor, Aegeas or Aegeates, at Patrae in Achaia, and that he was bound, not nailed, to the cross, in order to prolong his sufferings. The cross on which he suffered is commonly held to have been the decussate cross, now known as St. Andrew’s, though the evidence for this view seems to be no older than the fourteenth century. His martyrdom took place during the reign of Nero, on 30 November, A.D. 60); and both the Latin and Greek Churches keep 30 November as his feast. St. Andrew’s relics were translated from Patrae to Constantinople, and deposited in the church of the Apostles there, about A.D. 357. When Constantinople was taken by the French, in the beginning of the thirteenth century, Cardinal Peter of Capua brought the relics to Italy and placed them in the cathedral of Amalfi, where most of them still remain. St. Andrew is honoured as their chief patron by Russia and Scotland.

 

Source

Augustana College to Permit Same-Sex Weddings in Campus Chapel

November 29th, 2012 6 comments

 

Signs of the times….

Augustana College to allow same-sex ceremonies

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 7:08 am

Augustana College in Rock Island will now allow same-sex ceremonies on campus.

President Steven Bahls has sent out an email announcing his decision to allow same-gender ceremonies after a recommendation from campus chaplain Richard Priggie.

Priggie tells WNIJ Radio ( http://bit.ly/TvIroB) that several gay couples expressed interest in having a ceremony. He says that led him to request the president’s approval.

The school is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. According to the email, the church left it up to Bahls to decide whether or not to open the campus to same-sex ceremonies.

Couples who wish to have a ceremony at the college’s Ascension Chapel must be affiliated with Augustana. Illinois allows civil unions, and couples also can hold “rites of marriage” or “blessings of unions” by a pastor.

Categories: Homosexuality

Reformation Heritage Bible Commentary: Revelation

November 29th, 2012 Comments off

The second volume in an excellent new commentary on the books of the New Testament is available now, on Revelation. Please read all it by clicking on the image below, be sure to become a subscriber to this excellent series. The commentary is not “high end academic” but it provides a rich commentary for the reader wanting to go deeper into the Biblical text.

Categories: CPH Resources

Walther’s Hymnal — Interview with the Editor/Translator Mr. Matthew Carver

November 29th, 2012 1 comment

Saint Louis, MO—Concordia Publishing House (CPH) is pleased to announce the release of the English-language edition of Walther’s Hymnal: Church Hymnbook for Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession.

Walther’s Hymnal is the first of its kind: an English translation of the first official hymnal of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). This was the hymnal that C. F. W. Walther edited and used; it 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.

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.

Walther’s Hymnal was published through CPH’s Peer Review Process. To find out more about Peer Review books, visit our website at cph.org/peerreview.

During an interview with the translator, Matthew Carver, he answered several questions about the benefits and background of the book:

Historically, why is Walther’s Hymnal so important, and how is it useful to us today?
Walther’s Hymnal is a picture in our own language of what our fellow brothers and sisters believed, taught, confessed, sang, and prayed in their own language in days long past—a treasure partly lost during our synod’s necessary transition from German to English, and until recently only accessible to students or native speakers of German. It is a snapshot of what they thought was important and useful in the exercise of their faith. It is a product largely influenced by the synod’s first president, C. F. W. Walther, and as such is an important witness in the history of American Lutheranism.

By such an examination of our forefathers’ writings, we are given a mirror to see our own situation more clearly. Though we may deal with different problems today, we are often blind to them by virtue of being immersed in our own writings so heavily, and this historical mirror acts as a counterbalance to that.

Who will most want to read this book?
Walther’s Hymnal will appeal to a range of people, from those with academic interests to casual historians to those interested in augmenting their devotions. But I think that whoever it is, those who will be most inclined to read, and re-read, this book will be the ones who like to sing and pray and be a Christian—who say, “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner,” and who hear when Jesus says, “Come unto Me, you weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest,” and who respond, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” In my opinion this is the essence of what our forefathers present to us in this collection, and the kind of people they address, the kind of people that God creates through His Word.

Why will they benefit from this book?
The hymns, prayers, and readings of the church presented here offer solutions to an array of problems that we deal with in our daily life. They also speak with joyous conviction the confession of Christ that the church has made throughout the ages, and allow us to join in this with them in diverse and beautiful forms that harmonize with and vigorously and faithfully echo the trustworthy propositions of Scripture and our confessional books. The works of these Christian poets, if not always conveyed as poetically in translation, at least provide us with an apt expression of the sentiment that we as Christians know and feel but often do not know how to put into words. They are lessons about the human race’s deadly fall into sin, they are clear announcements of the good news that Jesus paid the price for all the sins of the whole world, they are formulas of praise and thanksgiving for all of God’s mercies, they are consolations for the mourning and afflicted from our brethren and our pastors before us, they are exhortations to a life of newness in Christ. Thus they are fitting frameworks for hearts and minds in which to meditate on and confess God’s Word.

How did you come to be interested in translating this particular book?
It all started as a personal project and a labor of love. When I converted to Lutheranism around 2001–2002, I became increasingly familiar with Lutherans’ exceptional body of hymnody, and increasingly enamored of it. In 2006, Lutheran Service Book came out, and that stirred this interest more. When singing in church or at home, I would take note of the authors and dates at the bottom of the page, some ancient, some medieval, some of Luther’s day, and some of the present. Upon further investigation into the history of our hymnals, I found that a great number of our Lutheran chorales had been lovingly maintained, translated, and handed on; I also found that some had not been translated, and I wondered why. I came to discover that some of them were very hard to translate, while others expressed sentiments which have passed in and out of favor at various times in the past. I went on a search for translations of these lost hymns and was granted success to a degree. For the rest, I had to fill in the blanks myself. During my long search for the supplementary translations, I was encouraged to seek publication and share the work with others.

What are your thoughts upon the publication of this book?
It is all very humbling, especially when I compare my own work to that of all these venerable translators and hymn-writers. I hope mine at least convey a sense of the original. If they are singable, so much the better. But I am excited too about having such an extensive collection of authors and translators in one book. I know that to have my own copy and receive the instruction and encouragement of these authors as a reader, rather than just a translator, will be a welcome and rewarding experience.

Categories: CPH Resources

Walther’s Hymnal: Complete Translation of the First LCMS Hymnal Rich in Orthodox Hymnody

November 29th, 2012 Comments off

Look what just came in, a magnificent piece of work: Walther’s Hymnal: Church Hymnbook for Evangelical Lutheran Congregations of the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. This is a complete translation/edition of the first hymnal produced by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, and arguably I suppose, the first orthodox and confessional Lutheran hymnal produced in the New World. Mr. Matthew Carver did a tremendous job preparing this volume. I’ll reproduce below the image more information about the book. You can purchase a copy by calling 800-325-3040 or order on the web by clicking here. As always, click on the image below for the “supersize” version.

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 Chicago

Matthew 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

New Translation/Edition of Walther’s “Church and Office” Available Now

November 27th, 2012 Comments off

You can read more about why this volume is so important and what makes this edition particularly unique by clicking on this link.

We are offering three different ways to save on the price of this volume.

First, for any order of ten or more copies, the price is only $23.99 a copy. Be sure to use promo code: LWT when ordering. Click here to order.

Second, become a subscriber to the Walther series and save 30% on Church and Office. Click here for more information.

Third, subscribe to our Lutheran Fathers series and save 30% on each volume, plus get free shipping. Click here for more information.

Place your order today by clicking here or by calling 800-325-3040.

Categories: CPH Resources

Punk Rock John Just Wanted the Truth

November 27th, 2012 Comments off

This is the full page advertisement that will be in Outreach Magazine soon, for our new forthcoming book titled Broken by Pastor Jonathan Fisk. Outreach is one of the most widely read Christian magazines today, particularly popular in non-Lutheran church bodies. Broken is due in from the printer any day now. You can place your order and get in line with thousands of others who have already said, “I’ll take one!” before it is in print.

Click here to order.

Click on the image below to see a larger version of it.

Categories: CPH Resources

Bullpup Fun

November 27th, 2012 Comments off

Picked up the FN FS2000 bullpup rifle after selling a couple of my older rifles…great fun during Thanksgiving holidays with my son John out at the gun club.

Link to video here.

Categories: Shooting Sports

A Simple Way to Pray by Martin Luther Now Available From Concordia Publishing House

November 26th, 2012 1 comment

Buy a copy of this classic little treasure for every member in your congregation. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, I’m being serious. Really!

This is a great, fresh translation of the classic devotional work by Martin Luther on prayer, prepared by the president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison. The translation brings out the vibrant nature of Luther’s language in the original German: interesting, compelling, and fascinating.

It is available now from Concordia Publishing House for only $2 a copy of this nicely designed and printed booklet. If you are only going to order a few copies, be sure to choose MEDIA MAIL as your method of shipping to avoid high shipping costs.

Here is where you can order copies and read a bit more about it and view a sample

 

 

Categories: CPH Resources

Last Sunday in the Church Year

November 25th, 2012 2 comments

coming_again

1 “Wake, awake, for night is flying,”
the watchmen on the heights are crying;
“Awake, Jerusalem, arise!”
Midnight hears the welcome voices
and at the thrilling cry rejoices:
“Where are the virgins pure and wise?
The Bridegroom comes: Awake!
Your lamps with gladness take!
Alleluia!
With bridal care and faith’s bold prayer,
to meet the Bridegroom, come, prepare!”

2 Zion hears the watchmen singing,
and in her heart new joy is springing.
She wakes, she rises from her gloom.
For her Lord comes down all-glorious
and strong in grace, in truth victorious.
Her star is risen, her light is come!
Now come, O Blessed One,
Lord Jesus, God’s own Son.
Sing hosanna!
We answer all in joy your call;
we follow to the wedding hall.

3 Lamb of God, the heavens adore you,
the saints and angels sing before you
with harp and cymbals’ clearest tone.
Of one pearl each shining portal,
where, joining with the choir immortal,
we gather round your radiant throne.
No eye has seen that light,
no ear the echoed might
of your glory;
yet there shall we in victory
sing shouts of joy eternally!

A Big Bird for Thanksgiving: Muppet Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2012 Comments off

Categories: Humor

Lutheran Study Bible/Apocrypha Combo Stocking Stuffer Sale! Get Both for Only $50

November 24th, 2012 Comments off

Concordia Publishing House is offering a number of nice sales during our version of “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday.” Here is one of them… you can get both The Lutheran Study Bible and The Apocrypha: Lutheran Edition with Notes for only $50! Yup, get them both for only $50. They make fantastic stocking stuffers. Click this link to place your order.

 

Categories: CPH Resources

When You Do Not Go to Church

November 21st, 2012 15 comments

It never ceases to baffle and confuse me when I hear people make the comment, “You don’t have to go to Church to be a Christian.” I used to try to respond to this with rather long-winded explanations of the third commandment, and the gifts given, and blah, blah, blah. Lately, I’ve just decided to respond to those comments by asking, “Really? Where does our Lord in His Word teach that?” Hint: He doesn’t! My friend, Pastor Weedon, offers this “take” on not attending Church.

“If I decided one Sunday just to skip Church that week, do you think anyone would notice? Ah, you say, but you’re the pastor. Yes, they’d notice. I agree. They would. But it also makes a difference when YOU decide to skip Church this Sunday.

“Each Sunday is a gathering of the family – and when a beloved family member doesn’t show up for the family gathering and meal at Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving, there’s a hole, a gap, a pain that everyone feels. We’re all the less for that person not being with us to revel in the celebration of that day. Their absence diminishes the joy of the family. So when you choose to skip on Sunday, when you don’t come together with your church family to join in offering the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving and to receive the gifts your Lord has for you, it’s not just you that miss out. Your extended family – the Church – misses out. They are diminished by your decision to absent yourself. The singing is that much quieter. The “amens” that much softer. The spot where you usually sit and stand reminds us all of your absence.

“Surely old Neuhaus was dead right on this: Christian discipleship should begin with a very simple commitment that any given Lord’s Day will find you in the assembly of God’s people, singing His praise, offering your prayers, receiving His gifts. The *only* reasons for missing is because you’re too sick to be present or because you’re away traveling – and even in the later case, blessed are you if you find the family gathered in that location and join with them.”

“Let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:25

Categories: Christian Life