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Archive for January, 2013

One of the Oldest Known Copies of St. Paul’s Epistles Now Available in a Free App — Awesome

January 31st, 2013 4 comments

The University of Michigan Library’s most famous papyrus, known to scholars as Papyrus 46 (or P46), is now widely available in the form of an app for iPhone and iPad. Users of “PictureIt: EP” can flip through high-resolution images of the 3rd century codex—the oldest known copy of the Letters of St. Paul—as though through pages of a book. Obviously you do not permit ancient mss scholars come up with names of Apps. You can download a copy of the App here.

“This gives an idea of what it was like to read an ancient book, with no capitals, no spaces between words, and no punctuation,” explains Arthur Verhoogt, Acting Archivist of the Library’s Papyrology Collection. The app reveals a translation from the Greek into English with a touch of a finger, either word-by-word or by the page. Readily accessible annotations explain where the papyrus differs from the Standard Version that people know from their New Testament. They also point out scribal errors, which were common in an era when books were copied entirely by hand.

The codex in its entirety was originally made up of 104 leaves (pages), of which 86 survive. The University of Michigan purchased thirty leaves in the 1930s from antiquities dealers in Egypt, and the remaining 56 leaves (which are not included in the app) reside in the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, Ireland.

Verhoogt believes an app featuring the Pauline Epistles will be a great service. “A general audience wants to touch this text. It’s important to them,” Verhoogt says. Images of the leaves can be viewed online, but the presentation of P46 as an electronic codex, accompanied by the translation and annotations, provides a richer experience of the material, particularly for the non-scholar.

The app was made possible with the support of the Gardner and Ann Parsons Papyrology fund, and was built by Eric Maslowski, Digital Media Commons 3D Lab Manager, along with Graphics Engine Programmer Sean Petty and 3D Artist Stephanie O’Malley. Edgar Ebojo of the University of Birmingham prepared the translation.

Here’s a video on the App. Big HT: History of the Ancient World Blog

 

Categories: Apple Computer

Christ Gave No Law Concerning Church Governance (He Didn’t Even Mention a Voter’s Assembly)

January 31st, 2013 8 comments

organization

Yet another reason why Lutheranism flummoxes the Reformed, on the one hand, and the Roman Catholics/Eastern Orthodox on the other, is because we absolutely insist that nowhere does Christ institute a certain form of church governance.

Sasse puts matters, as always, not only succinctly, but clearly and briefly! We Missouri Synod Lutherans must be very careful we never assume that the Voter’s Assembly method of organizing a congregation has any more legitimate “Biblical” command or order than any other method or system of organizing a congregation, or a larger church body. Every form is feasible, and no form can claim to be the “more Biblical” form. Christ gave no law concerning the Church’s constitution or how it is to to be organized and governed. None.

Let’s hear Sasse:

“One should stop and realize just what that means. Of every other church one may say with the familiar words of Calvin that it professes an ordo, quo Dominus ecclesiam gubernari voluit [“ an order by which the Lord wills His church to be governed”]. That is true of the Catholic Churches of the East and West, as well as of the Reformed denominations. Opinions differ only as to what this ordo may be: the universal monarchy of the popes or the episcopo-synodical administration of the Eastern and Anglican Churches; the governing of a church by a senate of presbyters, among whom there may be no difference of rank, or the autonomy of the individual Congregational or Baptist congregations (to name but a few of the church polities for which it is claimed that they are prescribed in the New Testament). The true greatness of Luther and the boldness of his basic theological principle of strict separation of Law and Gospel becomes clear when one observes how, apart from all these other possibilities, he travels his lonely way: Christ has given His church no law de constituenda ecclesia [concerning the constitution of the church]. Every form of church government is feasible which leaves room for a proper administration of the means of grace, which imposes no restrictions upon their administration.

“One thing, indeed, the Lord has given His church, something that does not pertain to its bene esse but to its esse [not to its well-being but to its very being]: “Ut hanc fidem consequamur, institutum est ministerium docendi evangelii et porrigendi sacramenta” [“ That this faith may be obtained, the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments was instituted”], as the Augustana states, Article V. In order that we may attain this justifying faith of which the preceding article speaks, the Gospel must be preached and the Sacraments must be administered, and for this purpose God has established the ministry, the service [Dienst] by which this is done. But wherever the means of grace are properly administered, there, according to the divine promise that the Word shall not return to Him void, is also the ecclesia, the congregatio sanctorum, the congregation of saints, of sinners justified.

“The manner in which the congregation shall organize itself is prescribed just as little as the form which is taken on by the ministerium ecclesiasticum [the church's ministry]. The apostles came to realize that they would be better able to fulfill the duties of their spiritual office if they would be relieved of the obligation of ministering to the poor and administering financial affairs. That is how the supplementary office of deacons originated. But the church was church even without this office. That is how the church of all the ages may, because of the needs of the times, create certain auxiliary offices, e.g., the office of the episcopate, superintendency, or whatever else one may mention. But the existence of all these “offices” is justified only insofar as they serve the one great ministry of preaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments. A bishop may have the function of administering the affairs of a large diocese. The underlying purpose, however, can only be to create opportunity for the ministerium ecclesiasticum. His true office is that of a pastor, even though he be pastor pastorum. Iure humano [“ by human arrangement”] he may have the duties of a superintendency. Only the office of the preaching of reconciliation [das Amt, das die Versöhnung predigt] is iure divino [“ by divine right”].”

Herman, Sasse. Letters to Lutheran Pastors. Volume 1:  “Letter 8: On The Problem of the Relation Between the Office of the Ministry and the Congregation,” (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2013), p. 121.

 

 

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The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s President Explains Why Herman Sasse is an Important Voice to Hear Today

January 30th, 2013 4 comments

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The following is an interview with Matthew C. Harrison addressing the importance of Hermann Sasse and his Letters to Pastors to the current life of the Church. The book is also available in Kindle eBook format.

Who was Hermann Sasse?

Until the end of World War II, Sasse was a pastor and professor in Germany; then he emigrated to Australia, where he served as a professor at Immanuel Seminary in South Australia. He came out of a very liberal education prior to the end of World War I, but gradually and decisively turned toward confessional Lutheranism. Sasse was very active in the ecumenical movement before he was forbidden to travel by the Nazis. He was the first in the German church to publicly take the Nazis to task for the “Aryan paragraph” in the party platform. Sasse contributed to Kittel’s Dictionary of the New Testament and wrote the greatest book in English on Luther’s doctrine of the Lord’s Supper (This Is My Body: Luther’s Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar). He fought tirelessly for solid Lutheranism. When his own church, the Bavarian Church, joined a union of Lutherans and Reformed churches (the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland [Evangelical Church in Germany or EKiD]), Sasse joined the German free church. Ultimately he left Germany to teach at the seminary of the Lutheran Church of Australia. He spent the rest of his life writing public letters, books, and treatises rallying confessional Lutherans around the world and rousing particularly The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) just as it was drifting from its historic confession. He died in 1976.

531186Describe the relationship between Sasse and the LCMS. Why are his writings of importance for the ongoing life of the Church?

Sasse saw the LCMS as the “last hope” for world confessional Lutheranism. Yet post-World War II Missouri Synod (and particularly the seminary in St. Louis) was bent on a path of Lutheran union in the United States. Sasse believed the danger to the LCMS was either a confessionless entry into the Ecumenical Movement and the loss of doctrinal substance, or evangelical fundamentalism. His writings are largely historical/doctrinal treatises on pertinent topics of world Christianity and Lutheranism that apply even in our day. LCMS President John Behnken (1884–1968, president 1935–62) very much wanted Sasse to teach at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, but the administration of the seminary was strongly opposed.

What was the genesis of the group of documents gathered together as Letters to Pastors? Who received these letters and how were they communicated more broadly?

In 1948, Sasse wrote to Herman A. Preus: “The only thing I can do is write letters.” As he was preparing to enter self-imposed exile in Australia, Sasse began writing treatises on what it means to be a confessional Lutheran, commenting on basic issues of Bible and confession, the Lord’s Supper, church fellowship, Baptism, the Office of the Ministry, church governance, Luther’s teachings, and much more. The letters, written in German, were dispersed in mimeographed form in the early years by Sasse’s friend Rev. F. Hopf, who had remained in Germany. Americans began translating the letters immediately. Now, for the first time, we have translated all seventy letters and are publishing them in a series of three volumes.

There is great controversy surrounding a couple of the letters in this volume. Why publish them?

Upon his arrival in Australia, Sasse was immediately placed on a committee working toward the unification of the country’s two Lutheran bodies (one associated with the American Lutheran Church and the other with the LCMS). The issue of Scripture, its inspiration and inerrancy, was central in the discussions. Sasse had studied under the most notorious liberal of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—Adolf von Harnack. While Sasse had moved far away from Harnack’s rejection of all the supernatural content of the Bible, when Sasse wrote Letter 14 and then Letter 16, he was convinced that the inerrancy of the Bible did not include all issues addressed, but only issues of faith and belief. There was a tremendous backlash, and eventually Sasse retracted Letter 14. However, many in the LCMS who were arguing against absolute inerrancy and for higher criticism picked up on this letter in particular. I have included these significant letters along with other supporting documentation so readers can see that Sasse moved significantly on the issue, and so readers can see, in part, what was at stake in the great battle for the Bible in the LCMS. At the same time, Sasse’s concern that the Missouri Synod might lose a fundamentally Lutheran view of Scripture and church because of its participation in America’s evangelical/Protestant context remained a real concern. Although we must disagree with Sasse at this point in his career, we can also see the validity of his concern.

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Rev. Matthew C. Harrison

How do you hope this volume will benefit the Church?

Sasse is tremendously lucid. He is a profound Lutheran historian. Jumping on his back, as it were, gives one a tour of the 2,000-year history of the church. He’s clear. He’s scriptural. He calls for

repentance and faith. He’s courageous. At times he’s a curmudgeon. He often says what is unpopular, though he says it in a gentle and generous manner. He’s uncompromisingly Lutheran yet sees what is good in other churches. Sasse touches on so many of the issues that challenge us today: the Office of the Ministry, the priesthood of believers, relationships with other church bodies, closed Communion, understanding the Roman Catholic Church, mission/evangelism, theological education, and so much more. Through it all, Sasse brings us back to basics, to the very Gospel itself.

Categories: CPH Resources

The Problem with Closed Communion: Do We Still Believe the Lutheran Confessions are Correct, or Not?

January 30th, 2013 35 comments

Priest Holding Communion Wafer

One of the most misunderstood and therefore offensive practices in the historic churches of West and East is the practice of limiting participation in the Lord’s Supper to those who have been catechized and received as communicants in a given church. The practice, known most correctly as “closed communion”* is the universal practice throughout both Western and Eastern catholic churches, including, of course, the Lutheran Church, along with the Roman Catholic and Eastern Catholic (or Eastern Orthodox) churches. The history of this practice is well known and there is simply no denying that it has been the Church’s historic practice. (see Elert’s Eucharist and Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries.)

With the Reformation and the advent of the Zwinglian/Reformed/Calvinist views of the Supper (nuances of difference but finally not much of a difference), and with new understandings of what public confession of the faith meant, and the implications this has for participation in the Lord’s Supper, the entire Reformed wing of the Reformation no longer practiced closed communion and this lack of practicing closed communion spread widely wherever Reformed churches and those churches that spring from the Calvinist Reformation were established (Methodist and modern Baptist and modern Evangelicalism).

Of course, we here in the USA are literally surrounded by congregations that do not practice closed communion. Add now to the mix the fact that no liberal mainline protestant church body regards it necessary for there to be any restriction in who participates int he Supper, this is true for the liberal Methodist, Presbyterian, Reformed, Lutheran and Episcopalian churches which are now in full communion fellowship anyway. The trend is now growing in all these church bodies not even to regard baptism to be a prerequisite for Holy Communion. The liberal Lutherans no longer insist that the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord’s Supper articulated in the Book of Concord is alone the true confession of the Supper, so, in other words, all bets are off and it is, more or less, a “ya’ll come” approach to Supper fellowship, since there no longer is any certainty that in fact the actual body and blood of Christ are under the bread and wine of the Eucharist.

Sadly, even many congregations in confessional Lutheran churches think they have found a way to be more “open” about communion fellowship by putting a “statement” in their church bulletin which, in a variety of ways, puts the burden for the decision to commune, or not to commune, on the guest and visitor. Often the statements contain very intentionally vague declarations about “if you believe Jesus is truly present in His Supper” you are welcome to communion. But here is the problem: no self-respecting Christian of any denomination would likely deny that he believes “Jesus is present in His Supper” … in some way or another. And what is more, the Lutheran Confessions know of no practice by which a visitor simply presents himself at a congregations altar without first being examined to find out what it is they seek in the Supper and why they come. And this is hardly possible five minutes before the worship service begins. Let’s be honest about it, shall we? (see LC SA.2).

I’m growing more convinced that the reason that some Lutheran pastors no longer are willing to practice closed communion is because they simply are no longer are willing to insist on the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper as taught in our Lutheran Confessions. They are no longer willing to regard this assertion in the Augsburg Confession to be absolutely true and binding on them and their ministry and true and binding for any and all who approach the altar for Holy Communion: “Of the Supper of the Lord they teach that the Body and Blood of Christ are truly present, and are distributed to those who eat the Supper of the Lord; and they reject those that teach otherwise.” (AC X) And what is more, as we move further into the Lutheran Confessions we find very helpful ways to ascertain if in fact a person communing does confess the actual, true and real presence of the Lord Christ’s body and blood under the bread and wine of the Eucharist. Have we let convenience preclude adequate, careful, genuinely pastoral care? “Pastoral care” is not, or should not be, a euphemism for actions that reflect this attitude: “I know what our Synod’s stance is, but it seems to me to be unloving, who am I to judge what a person communing thinks or believes? I’ll take the path of least resistance and avoid confrontation and controversy.” Simply because a person says that they want to take Holy Communion is not the grounds on which to commune them. If they do not clearly and accurately believe, teach and confess the basic truths of what the Real Presence actually is all about, they should not be communed, no matter who their parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, grandparents or spouse happen to be.

The great “litmus test” questions for a proper understanding are these:

(1) Do you believe the bread and wine are the Lord’s body and blood? (see SA III.vi)

This is a test to see if the person does believe and confess the unio sacramentalis .

(2) Do you believe that the Lord’s body and blood are put into your mouth and on your tongue? (see FC SD XII.105).

This is a test to see if the person does believe and confess the manducatio oralis

(3) Do you believe all who receive the consecrated bread and wine do actually receive the Lord’s body and blood? (see FC SD XII.26).

This is a test to see if the person properly understands and believes in the manducatio indignorum et impiorum. 

[Pastors, if you have forgotten the meaning and use of these three key Latin phrases, go get your dogmatics text and brush up please!].

But here’s the thing: nobody who can not faithfully answer those questions correctly should be communing, regardless of whether or not they claim to be Lutheran, let alone the casual visitor to a Lutheran congregation. That is, after faithful teaching and instruction, nobody should be admitted to the Supper who can not in good conscience say, “Yes, this if my faith and my confession.” The pastoral application of closed communion is not to be found in “making exceptions” to the confessional standards of the Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, but in discerning when and where a person may be communed who in fact does properly confess the Supper. This is where one may well find exceptions, for any number of valid reasons.

But again, there are no “exceptions” to the confessional standard. This point is sadly lost on far too many pastors, congregations and laity. In other words, just because your Methodist believing and confessing mother-in-law shows up a few times at the Lutheran church every year does not mean she is to be communed, nor the casual visitor to the Lutheran congregation who has been catechized in the Calvinist confession of the Supper, or no confession at all, is not to be communed while holding to this confession. And let’s be honest here: a few brief minutes before the Divine Service starts is hardly the place for pastoral examination and discernment in most cases.

Let it also be very clear: Where a person regularly communes and has thereby given his public witness that this is his confession, that then is his public confession. In other words, to use but one example, a person who communes at the altar of a congregation that is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is, by that action, giving public testimony that they consent with what that particular altar represents and stands for. In such a case, presenting oneself for participation in the Sacrament of an orthodox Lutheran congregation is not appropriate unless or until that person has moved away from that public confession within a heterodox church body.

And no, you do not have to require a person to read the Book of Concord. These three key truths are taught quite plainly and simply in the Small Catechism’s Sixth Chief Part.

And so, there you have it, the bottom line is simply this. All Lutheran pastors must examine their conscience and ask themselves this question: “Do I still believe, teach and confess that what the Lutheran Confessions assert about the Lord’s Supper is true, or not?”

 

* Yes, it is most properly “closed communion” not “close communion.” People think “close communion” sounds a bit less harsh. But here’s the point. A door is either open or closed, there is no such thing as a “close” door. The altar is open to some, closed to others. Our Lutheran Confessions make it clear the minister’s duty is both to invite and welcome some to the Altar and to turn others away (see AC XXIV.36).

What Does J.R.R. Tolkien’s Son Think of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Movies?

January 29th, 2013 12 comments

Christopher Tolkien considers the Jackson movie adaptations from his father’s books to be nothing short of disastrous failures. I simply can not agree with him and have been consistently delighted, frankly, by the nuanced presentations in Jackson’s movies, but it surely does make for some thought provoking reading to review Christopher Tolkien’s opinions, which you can read for yourself in their entirety here. The longer article is the first time Chris Tolkien has given a public interview, in forty years! Very interesting comments from him about his father’s vast treasure of unpublished work. Here’s is what Christopher Tolkien has to say about Jackson’s work:

Invited to meet Peter Jackson, the Tolkien family preferred not to. Why? “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25,” Christopher says regretfully. “And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.”

This divorce has been systematically driven by the logic of Hollywood. “Tolkien has become a monster, devoured by his own popularity and absorbed into the absurdity of our time,” Christopher Tolkien observes sadly. “The chasm between the beauty and seriousness of the work, and what it has become, has overwhelmed me. The commercialization has reduced the aesthetic and philosophical impact of the creation to nothing. There is only one solution for me: to turn my head away.”

It is hard to say who has won this silent battle between popularity and respect for the text. Nor who, finally, has the Ring. One thing is certain: from father to son, a great part of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien has now emerged from its boxes, thanks to the infinite perseverance of his son.

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Why is the Lutheran Church a Liturgical Church and Should Remain So?

January 29th, 2013 1 comment

HolyOrdersArt

One thing that many non-Lutherans find puzzling, if not downright offensive, is that the Lutheran Church is a church that knows and appreciates the historic liturgy of the Church, and in particular, the “communion service” used throughout the history of the Church, starting very, very early in the Church’s history, with the core/key elements of the historic form of that worship service found already in evidence well back into the late first and early second century. That form of worship service, the service in which the Lord’s Supper, is the center piece, is known in the Western Church as the “Mass.” Even the Lutheran Confessions use the term “Mass” and indicate that the Evangelical [Lutheran] reformation of the church does not include ditching the Mass and the various salutary and helpful liturgical forms, structures, practices, rites and ceremonies. Rather, they are allowed to be the structures and ways in which the Gospel shines forth in the congregation, quite apart from any whims of the moment or pecularities of the man in the pulpit who may (please God!) preach the Gospel well. The liturgy anchors the congregation in the read and heard Word of God and the objective declaration of the Gospel in the Absolution and the great “for  you” of the Lord’s Supper.

The Lutheran Church is not a radical reformation of the Church, which, actually, is more appropriately called the Deformation of the Church. But why is this? Why not toss the historic liturgy? What value can it possibly hold for the modern world? Aren’t these words, phrases, forms and structures simply archaic relics of a superstitious past, one in which the Gospel was obscured and clouded by human tradition? The Calvinist/Reformed/Evangelical answer to that question has been: Yes! And so you have, historically, an absolute liturgical poverty throughout Reformed/Calvinist worship. As one Lutheran scholar, Werner Elert, noted with sour sarcasm, “The only thing Calvinism has contributed to the church’s liturgical life has been hymn boards.”

Herman Sasse, who was keenly mindful of the dangers associated with liturgy set adrift from proper confession, provides a beautiful explanation of why the Lutheran Church is a liturgical church. How sad it is to see far too many Lutheran Churches, particularly here in America, scuttling the historic worship forms of the Church and replacing them with nothing more than a poor imitation of the kind of “worship” forms that are used in the large non-denominational/Calvinist/Evangelical churches. Here then is how Sasse answers the question: “Why is the Lutheran Chuch a Liturgical Church?”

“Unlike other confessions, the Lutheran Church has, we know, received a definite liturgical heritage. She is not saddled with the heritage of the ancient pagan notion of sacrifice, a heritage which makes every renewal in the Catholic Churches of the East and West always a renewal of the notion of sacrifice, and therewith a renewal of paganism. And yet, on the other hand, the Lutheran Church has never made a complete break with the early Christian New Testament liturgy, a break which couldn’t be avoided by the Reformed Churches because they had abandoned belief in the real presence— a fact that we must expand in a later letter— without which there can be no true liturgy. Our Church’s liturgy therefore could be that which it was in the sixteenth century according to a Catholic liturgical scholar, namely: “the first serious attempt undertaken with unique linguistic and musical means to create a German folk-liturgy and thus to bridge that estrangement which has remained between the German people and the liturgy ever since their becoming Christian” (F. Messerschmid, Liturgie und Gemeinde [1939], 66).

“If one is to have an idea of the triumphal course of the Reformation in Germany, then “one must,” the same author tells us (ibid., p. 49), “have received from the sources an intimation of the unheard-of vitality of these divine services; of the powerful religious feeling with which they were celebrated by those congregations which had before this been only dumb witnesses and spectators and listeners in the church … one must have received an intimation of the power with which these chorales were taken up by old and young and by all classes! Even Jesuit eyewitnesses have averred that these chorales brought more believers to this new teaching than all preaching and other efforts to win them!” Why are things not so today? Why has our Divine Service lost the power over men’s spirits? This is one of the most earnest questions which our church has to consider.

“One answer that must be given to this question is the fact that we pastors no longer know and understand the liturgical treasures of our church, and therefore are not in a position to introduce our congregations to them. And one of the urgent duties of the Lutheran pastorate today is to win back that which has been lost. Why don’t we preach more often on the liturgy? Why do we believe that we must enliven our liturgical life by borrowing from the Eastern Church or from the Roman Catholic Church? Why don’t we know any longer what the evangelical Divine Service of the old Lutheran Church was like? Why do we leave it to Catholic theology to rediscover Luther’s importance as one of the greatest liturgical geniuses? Why do we know practically nothing about the greatest liturgical scholars of our church in the nineteenth century, about Löhe and Kliefoth? How can we explain the mass printing of theologically and liturgically worthless works on modern liturgical art, from Arper-Zillessen to Burghart’s unfortunate new Prussian Agenda? God help us to teach again the great prayer of the church, that our church may become a genuine ecclesia orans.”

From:

Herman Sassed, Letters to Lutheran Pastors: Volume I – Ecclesia Orans [The Praying Church], April 1949. Concordia Pub House. Kindle Edition.

PrayNow — The Best Prayer App for iOS or Android — Help Spread the Word!

January 28th, 2013 Comments off

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When I recently mentioned the updates and upgrades to the PrayNow App, I was surprised when a number of people said, “What’s that? I’ve never heard of it.”

Silly me, thinking that just because I, or we here at CPH, mention something a few times, and promote something a bit, this means, of course, everyone will hear about it. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.

So, in case you have not heard about PrayNow, let me introduce you to it. It is truly the most complete/comprehensive daily Christian prayer App available for mobile devices. Think that is a bit of a grand claim? Nope, it isn’t. There is no other App avaialble that offers you as much content, prayer suggestions, orders of daily prayer, Psalms, Bible readings, etc. etc. as PrayNow. It’s all resident and native on your device, no Internet connection required once you install it.

If you are looking for a way to enhance and richen your daily prayer life and follow the practice of the historic Church in using the classic daily prayer “offices” or “orders” … Matins, Vespers and Compline, then PrayNow is for you.

Here is the Apple version.

Here is the Android version.

Description

PrayNow is the daily prayer app that places the Scriptures at the center of daily meditation and prayer.

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Daily prayer should be central to what we do as Christians. Yet it is so easy for the pressures and stresses of daily life to crowd out the time for meaningful prayer.

PrayNow is designed to meet the needs of the Christian who wishes to follow a disciplined order of daily prayer centered in the Scriptures and to use the rich resources of the church’s ancient daily orders of prayers with writings from the Church Fathers.

Pray Now provides you with the following:

• Complete texts for each day:
- A reading from the Psalms
- An Old Testament reading
- A New Testament reading
- A selection from a writing by a church father
- A hymn stanza
- A prayer for the day
• Complete orders for daily prayer:
- Matins
- Vespers
- Compline
- Morning
- Noon
- Early Evening
- Close of Day
• Features the feasts, festivals, and commemorations of the Christian Church Year
• The full text of the Psalms is available with, or without, chant notation
• A full collection of prayers for the days of the week and for various aspects of your life in Christ

Technical Features:
- Full texts for every day appear automatically according to the calendar
- Dynamic calendar allows you to display text for any day
- Choose between five different fonts
- Fully scalable font size
- Night reading mode
- Bookmarking capabilities
- Add, View, and Edit notes on each day’s readings
- Insert the day’s readings into any of the above orders for daily prayer
- TV/VGA Out for group settings

 

Well Done Little Documentary on Saxon Immigration

January 28th, 2013 Comments off

This was passed along from Concordia Historical Institute and I thought you would like to see it. It is a very well done documentary on the Saxon immigration and really gives you a good idea of what the Saxon immigrants to Perry County went through and experienced. Link to the video here.

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Against Death and For Life!

January 28th, 2013 1 comment

This is an incredibly powerful sermon delivered by Pastor Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, on the subject of our society’s attitude toward life deemed not worthy of being lived. Powerful, powerful stuff here folks. You owe it to yourself to gather your family and watch this together.

 

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The Battle Rifles that Won World War II

January 26th, 2013 Comments off

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Major Upgrade of PrayNow for iOS Devices is Available Now! Meet PrayNow 3.0 for Apple iOS

January 25th, 2013 14 comments

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Attention PrayNow iOS Version Users! Attention PrayNow iOS Version Users!

You should have an update waiting for you on your iOS device, indicating you have an update to download, it is Version 3.0 of PrayNow for iOS and includes some great new features:

The ability to insert readings, hymns, etc. into the Orders of Daily Prayer.

iPhone 5 compatibility (this means support for the larger Retina display on the iPhone 5 – sweet!)

Psalm tones toobar added to allow you to play the chant tones so you can sing the Psalms.

If you do NOT own PrayNow for iOS … you should! Get it here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/praynow/id375144431?mt=8

It is not only the best Lutheran prayer App out there, but frankly the best Daily Prayer App, period!

 

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Categories: CPH Resources

Why Your Reformed/Calvinist/Evangelical/Baptist Friends Disagree with the Lutheran Doctrine of Baptism (And Why It Makes Them Cranky When You Assert It!)

January 25th, 2013 15 comments

IMG_1263What is Baptism according to the witness of the New Testament? What does it give or what is the good of it? How is Baptism related to the faith of the one to be baptized? Is it necessary for salvation or not? What may we answer first of all is that according to the clear teaching of the New Testament Baptism is the “washing of regeneration.” The early church, which always simply identified Baptism with regeneration, and the church of all times, with the exception of the Reformed communities, have understood Titus 3: 5 in this way— and rightly so. There Baptism is “the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit.” In Baptism the Holy Spirit is bestowed; we are “baptized into one body” (1   Cor. 12: 13). According to Rom. 6: 3, the baptized are baptized into Christ’s death. Those are all realities that happen not alongside of Baptism but in it. Water Baptism in the New Testament, as long as it is Baptism into Christ, in the name of Christ, is Spirit Baptism; it is being born anew and at the same time from above “of water and the Spirit” (John 3: 5). The New Testament knows nothing of a being born again without Baptism or apart from Baptism. Baptism is therefore not a sign but a means of regeneration. To regard it only as a sign of a regeneration that also may take place without it or apart from it is unbiblical.

What is it that prompts the Reformed doctrine? We may observe something similar in the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper. On the one hand the pure symbolism of Zwingli is rejected. He saw Baptism as merely a sign professing that one is a Christian, just as the white cross worn on the garment of a Swiss Confederate made him recognizable as a Swiss Confederate [LCC 24: 131]. On the other hand, along with the Roman sacramental doctrine of an opus operatum, the Lutheran— and New Testament— identification of sign and action is also rejected. At the bottom of all this lies the antipathy of Calvin and his predecessors in medieval theology against the idea that an external, physical action can produce spiritual effects, such as the forgiveness of sins. This is first of all a secular, philosophical presupposition, and second, it misunderstands the significance of the Word of God in Baptism. “For without the Word of God the water is simple water and no Baptism. But with the Word of God it is Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration” (SC IV).

Also in Catholic doctrine the Word as the forma is inseparably tied up with the sacrament; indeed, it is what makes the sacrament a sacrament. This is in harmony with the words of Augustine, which time and again are quoted by all churches in the West: “The word comes to the element and makes the sacrament.” Where Luther differs from the Catholic doctrine of Baptism he says himself in the Smalcald Articles, distinguishing himself from both the Thomists and the Scotists: We do not agree with Thomas and the Dominicans who forget the Word [God’s institution] and say that God has joined to the water a spiritual power which, through the water, washes away sin. Nor do we agree with Scotus and the Franciscans who teach that Baptism washes sin away through the assistance of the divine will, as if the washing takes place only through God’s will and not at all through the Word and water. (SA III V 2– 3).

With Luther everything depends on the intimate connection of Word and water: “God is surely a God of life. Because He is there in this water, it cannot but be the very water of life, which puts death and hell to flight and makes alive with the life that has no end” (WA 52: 102.29). Luther has no need to demonstrate first that this presence of God or Christ can be no other presence than that which happens in His Word. All effects of Baptism are effects of the Word combined with the water for Luther and the Lutheran Church. The Reformed opposition to this Lutheran understanding of Baptism is therefore nothing else than opposition to the Lutheran doctrine of the means of grace as a whole. They are opposing the fact that God does not give His Spirit, and therewith forgiveness of sins, life and salvation, to anyone apart from the external means of His grace, apart from the external Word, apart from Baptism, or apart from the Lord’s Supper. “The power of Jesus Christ, which is the only power of Baptism, is not bound to the administration of Baptism” (Barth, 14f.). … As was often the case, Luther’s way was the lonely way between Rome and the Enthusiasts. Over against the Enthusiasts, among whom he lumped Zwingli and his followers, as he would also have done with the Calvinists had they been part of his experience, he firmly held to the Sacrament of Baptism and everything that belongs with it: infant Baptism, necessity for salvation, and regeneration. Over against Rome he firmly held to the sola fide: Forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation are given only to faith. Just as in the Sacrament of the Altar only he receives forgiveness of sins and so also life and salvation who has faith in “these words,” that is, in the promise: “Given and shed for the forgiveness of sins,” so it is true of Baptism: “It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.” And this is not talking about some future faith that is then confessed at confirmation, so that this would be a necessary completion of Baptism. … Luther goes his lonely way between the hierarchical safeguards of Rome and the psychological safeguards of the Enthusiasts. It is the lonely way of the reformer, who heeds only the Word and God and counts on this Word for everything, even for what is humanly impossible. Only in this way can he and the Lutheran Church hold together the objectivity of the sacrament and the sola fide, whereby we do not forget that justifying faith

— Herman Sasse. Letters to Lutheran Pastors-Volume 1: Letter 4: Holy Baptism. Concordia Publishing House. Kindle Edition. 2013.

Categories: baptism

Joseph Smith: The American Muhammad – Fascinating New Book Available Now in Kindle Format

January 25th, 2013 Comments off

531199Soon after Joseph Smith, Jr., founded the Mormon Church in 1830, newspaper editors called him “the American Mahomet,” “Modern Mahomet,” or “Yankee Mahomet.” Joseph Smith himself said he was the American Muhammad, as this book proves. In The American Muhammad Alvin Schmidt has undertaken the challenging but informative task of documenting, discussing, and analyzing over seventy parallels that exist between Smith and Muhammad. He cites valid arguments why parallels between noteworthy individuals in history need to be studied in order to understand why they engaged in similar acts that left major marks in history. This fascinating book provides many facts not commonly known about Joseph Smith and Muhammad and will help readers see and understand how the teachings of these two men contradict biblical Christianity.

The book is out now in Kindle format, with print format soon to follow. You can get the Kindle format here. Please be sure to download the sample to read the full collection of endorsements we have received: click here to get the sample.

Alvin J. Schmidt, MDiv, PhD, is professor of sociology emeritus at Illinois College, Jacksonville, IL, and a fellow of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is the author of numerous books, including the award-winning Fraternal Organizations (1980); The Menace of Multiculturalism (1997); and How Christianity Changed the World (2004).

What Others Are Saying

No one is in a better position to identify the parallels between Islam and Mormonism—and their radical difference as compared with creedal Christianity.

—John Warwick Montgomery, PhD, DTheol, LLD; Distinguished Research Professor of Philosophy and Christian Thought, Patrick Henry College

At a time when Christianity is under assault worldwide, this painstakingly researched and superbly written account of seventy parallels between the founders of two thriving socio-political faiths, Islam and Mormonism, should be compulsory reading for all.

—Uwe Siemon-Netto, PhD, DLitt Director, Center for Lutheran Theology & Public Life

A must-read for everyone who wants to understand Joseph Smith and Muhammad.

—Ted Baehr, JD, LHD Founder and Publisher of MOVIEGUIDE®: The Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment

The American Muhammad is a well-written and scholarly book—fascinating, well-researched, and eye-opening!

—Bill Federer Author of What Every American Needs to Know about the Qur’an Frequent guest on radio and TV programs

[Schmidt’s] conclusions are very thought-provoking, and are sure to spark considerable discussion among scholars and laymen alike. Serious researchers as well as curious readers will find many topics of interest among the dozens of parallels Dr. Schmidt has pointed out here.

—Lane A. Thuet Co-Author of What Every Mormon (and Non-Mormon) Should Know Born LDS and raised in Salt Lake City as a Mormon for 22 years

Categories: CPH Resources

Timeline of the One Ring

January 24th, 2013 Comments off

If you are into Tolkien’s amazing tale, you will enjoy this, if not, you will just think it is weird. Click on it to get the full size version.

timelineonering

Categories: Uncategorized

Bird, Turtle and Fish Eggs Have More Protection in the USA Than Unborn Human Beings

January 24th, 2013 6 comments

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Categories: Sanctity of Life