Friday, October 31, 2008
As we all know, this took place during the “Babylonian captivity” of the papacy, when Vatican City was moved brick by brick from Rome to Avignon by the Babylonians using forced European peasant labor. This understandably angered the poor Germans, who were not in an economic situation to buy “indulgences” to get out of the heavy lifting. The arduous journey took its toll and many fell by the wayside, crushed under ancient relics, statues of Mary, Sistine Chapels, PopeMobiles, and JohnTetzels.
Fortunately, Luther prevailed and by 1580, he and the other reformers (whose names aren’t important) were able to eat a Thanksgiving meal of barbecued papal bull of celebration in Concordia, MO.
History’s all fine and good, you say, but what does this mean for us in 2008? Well friend, we now have the Freedom of the Gospel. How wonderful! About this time every year, we have the freedom to hear the Roman Catholic church bashed from our pulpits during our “special” Reformation worship services, where we show we’re free to treat the Divine Liturgy like a tower of Legos: we can knock it down, take it apart, and rebuild it however the mood strikes us and still consider ourselves “liturgical” and “confessional” “Lutherans”. We can have an Invocation, Kyrie, general Confession and Absolution (or the popular non-confession and limp “assurance”), Prayer (Hey, the Gloria takes too much time), Lessons, Hymn, Sermon, Offering, (everyone knows the Creeds and more time was needed for the Sermon-it’s a pulpit-poundin’ festival service), Hymn, Prayer, Benediction.
What’s missing from that “liturgical” service leads to our next freedom: Freedom from the Gospel. As Lutherans, we were taught that we have the Meansofgrace. The Meansofgrace, also known as WordandSacrament, are three (and only three) equal and to some extent interchangeable ways we receive God’s grace. They are Baptism, God’s Word (as contained in the NIV), and the Lord’s Supper. Now, you don’t want to go overboard here. If you have one Meansofgrace on a Sunday, you’re doing fine. However, an infant Baptism doesn’t really count, so on those Sundays, it’s safest to have two Meansofgraces. What you really want is God’s Word, not Christ mind you, but the BIBLE. That’s why you hear a sermon every week, though you don’t necessarily hear about Christ every week, except maybe in a “Gospel paragraph” if the preacher remembers to include one. If you have a sermon weekly, the Lord’s Supper becomes superfluous. Yes, yes, there’s some rule about having to go four times a year, but receiving the Holy Body and Blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ every week is just showy. Do you really sin so much that you feel you need the Sacrament that often? If your sins are weighing that heavily on you, maybe the problem is your weak faith. If you can’t work this out by yourself sitting at home with your NIV then fine, go to a church that offers the Lord’s Supper twice a month, but when the pastor stops in front of you and says, ”The Body of Christ given for you”, don’t you dare give your “Amen” while the host is in midair in front of you (Obviously, you also would not have kneeled, bowed, genuflected, or made the sign of the cross within three feet of your or anyone else’s body at any time during the service either). Certainly, we are plagued with some Romanizing guys and gals in the Lutheran church today who will try to convince you that these ceremonies are “Lutheran” and “catholic with a small ‘c’”, and they might try to show you in some overly large book what our church officially teaches, but really, what are you going to trust: some book written hundreds of years ago or your own feelings and memories of what you were taught growing up?
Friday, October 24, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
True Theology of the Cross is found in weakness, if able to be pointed out and named specifically at all. When we are weak, then we are strong. The elderly man whose family tries to spare him heartache by withholding a diagnosis of dementia from him, who experiences the fear of confusion and darkness where there once was clarity; the woman who is so weak from illness that she can do no more than wait patiently for release in death; the pastor who quietly fights through exhaustion to minister to those who have no earthly support and no earthly hope; this is the Theology of the Cross. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
The Cross you bear is not of your own making. Sometimes the crosses you can identify are not true crosses. The pastor who is too lazy to tend to his responsibilities and then, in his opinion, receives mistreatment at the hands of his flock, has made his own cross. The church-hoppers who claim to just want a church where their kids are welcome, but have had screaming matches over relatively unimportant issues like the kids’ Christmas service with almost every pastor in a 50-mile radius, have made their own cross.
The same goes for the complaining and playing for sympathy that goes on among those who work in the Church. Many times (though definitely not all) a bad situation is at least partly of your own making. It seems some at Church gatherings wish to be Chief Martyr: the most persecuted person in the room. Keep in mind, there is always someone who has been treated worse and has deserved it less than whatever happened to you. Your sufferings are not that important. They are transitory. They do not compare to the glory that will be revealed.
Young pastors, take a cue from your older members: suffer in silence. If your suffering is of your own making, seek forgiveness and see to your duties faithfully. You probably won’t be rewarded. You’ll get no exhilarating rush like you do when successfully attacking or arguing in the relative safety and anonymity of cyberspace. Yet, it is while faithfully carrying out your vocation that you will find the true Cross. It will hurt. It is not pleasant. Through it you will be blessed.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The exclamations of those around the table upon discovering their personalities and spiritual gifts can make dull meetings momentarily entertaining. “I’m a lion!” “I’m a shepherd!” “I’m a badger!” “I’m an evangelist!” “I’m blue-green!” “I’m a leader!” “I’m orange!” “I’m a prophet!” “I’m an osprey!”
All this looking inside yourself to “find” your gifts is misguided. St. Paul is usually cited in connection with this nonsense, yet he did not go around handing out multiple-choice surveys, nor did he encourage anyone to look inside him/herself to discover hidden spiritual gifts. Our spiritual gifts do not come from inside of us but from outside of us. Paul did not wander around the ancient world trying to find someone with the gift of shepherding, and upon finding someone possessing that gift, then ordain him/her (yes, there’s been many a woman who finds that, lo and behold, she’s got the gift of pastorin’ upon completion of a spiritual gift inventory) into the office for which he/she has the gifts. Rather, those gifts were given to the person in ordination. This does not deny the importance of training and education or do away with Scripture’s clear qualifications for candidates, but those things, along with inherent personality traits and aptitude do not in themselves make someone worthy of the pastoral office. Who among men is fit to stand in the place of Christ? No one. That is why the gifts to be able to carry out the ministry must come from outside the person.
“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner. But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.
What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” (2 Timothy 1:6-14)
“…if ordination is understood as carrying out the ministry of the Word, we are willing to call ordination a Sacrament. For the ministry of the Word has God’s command and has glorious promises, ‘The gospel…is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes’ (Romans 1:16). Likewise, ‘So shall My word be that goes out from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose’ (Isaiah 55:11). If ordination is understood in this way, neither will we refuse to call the laying on of hands a Sacrament. For the Church has the command to appoint ministers, which should be most pleasing to us, because we know that God approves this ministry and is present in the ministry (that God will preach and work through men and those who have been chosen by men).” (Apology XIII)
Obviously, the gifts given in ordination do not make your pastor into some sort of SuperMinister, nor are they a reason for him to become arrogant or dictatorial. He still serves in weakness in the Church Militant, as do all until the End. This is not an excuse for the laity to disrespect the Office or the gift you have been given in your pastor (Eph. 4). Nor does it give an excuse to pastors to be lazy or persist in improvable weaknesses. Don’t tell your people that you are just not very friendly or punctual or well-prepared and they’ll have to get used to it, even consider it their cross to bear. If you do, they will have every right to beat you over the head with the nearest cross, preferably the big empty one from the front of church. Then, your replacement can have the Ladies’ Aid donate a nice crucifix to put in its place.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
It is not God's will that anyone should be damned, but that all people should be converted to Him and be saved eternally (2 Peter 3:9).
Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. (Ezekiel 33:11)
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
Out of His immense goodness and mercy, God provides for the public preaching of His divine eternal Law and His wonderful plan for our redemption, that of the holy, only saving Gospel of His eternal Son, our only Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. By this preaching He gathers an eternal Church for Himself from the human race and works in people's hearts true repentance, knowledge of sins, and true faith in God's Son, Jesus Christ. By this means, and in no other way (i.e., through His holy Word, when people hear it preached or read it, and through the holy Sacraments when they are used according to His Word), God desires to call people to eternal salvation. He desires to draw them to Himself and convert, regenerate, and sanctify them.
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)
(Peter) will tell you what you must do. (Acts 10:6)
So faith comes from the preaching (der Predigt) and preaching through the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17 Luther).
Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth...I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word. (John 17:17-20)
The eternal Father calls down from heaven about His dear Son and about all who preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name, "Listen to Him" (Matthew 17:5).
All who want to be saved ought to listen to this preaching. For the preaching and hearing of God's Word are the Holy Spirit's instruments. By, with, and through these instruments the Spirit desires to work effectively, to convert people to God, and to work in them both to will and to do (Philippians 2:13).
A person can hear and read this Word outwardly, even though he is not yet converted to God and regenerate. As said above, a person even since the fall has a free will to a certain extent in these outward things. So he can go to church and listen or not listen to the sermon.
God works through this means (i.e., the preaching and hearing of His Word). He breaks our hearts (Jeremiah 4:3-4) and draws us to Him (John 6:44). Through the preaching of the Law, a person comes to know his sins and God's wrath. He experiences in his heart true terrors, contrition, and sorrow. Through the preaching of, and reflection on, the Holy Gospel about the gracious forgiveness of sins in Christ, a spark of faith is kindled in him. This faith accepts the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake and comforts itself with the Gospel promise. So the Holy Spirit (who does all this) is sent into the heart (Galatians 4:6).
The preacher's planting and watering and the hearer's running and hearing woud both be in vain and no conversion would follow it if the power and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit were not added (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). The Spirit enlightens and converts hearts through the Word preached and heard. So people believe this Word and agree with it. Neither preacher nor hearer is to doubt this grace and effectiveness of the Holy Spirit. They should be certain that when God's Word is preached purely and truly, according to God's command and will, and people listen attentively and seriously and meditate on it, God is certainly present with His grace. He grants, as has been said, what otherwise a person can neither accept nor give by his own powers. For we should not and cannot always judge from feeling about the presence, work, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, as to how and when they are experienced in the heart. They are often covered and happen in great weakness. Therefore, we should be certain about and agree with the promise that God's Word preached and heard is truly an office and work of the Holy Spirit. He is certainly effective and works in our hearts by them (2 Corinthians 2:14-17; 3:5-6).
Sunday, September 14, 2008
“Children Making Music” is a new DVD that highlights music as a gift from God that can enrich life in the church and beyond. The video will be distributed in late August to all WELS churches, schools, and early childhood centers across the country. The DVD was developed by a committee of leaders and musicians from three Lutheran church bodies: The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS), the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), and the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS).
"Children Making Music" creators expect the new DVD to strike a chord with a variety of viewers. The 30-minute video is divided into three segments, with portions aimed at children, parents, and pastors and educators.
Rev. Paul Grime, who initiated the DVD project, hopes congregations will play the video at board meetings and Bible classes, for parent teacher associations and Sunday school students. “If the DVD is shown in just half our congregations and schools, and if it provides the needed encouragement to only a couple of students in each of those institutions, that would ultimately mean several thousand additional musicians who might one day be leading our congregations in song,” said Grime.
As congregations scramble to find trained musicians, this is a good and useful work. (sincerely)
Now, let's ponder how this "fellowshiping" could give the Boy Scouts a toehold... (sarcastically)
Monday, September 8, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
We have noticed something odd going on in the
Some of the literature leads one to do a little head-scratching. These trips are in theory to create life-long relationships with those in the foreign country being served. While this is an admirable goal, it seems a bit farfetched, since the short-term mission trips can be as short as two days.
One wonders how this must look to the “natives”. A new suburban housewife with nicely manicured nails curing her white guilt by showing up for a two-week stint as a mild to moderately theologically adept “missionary” might start the locals to wondering who the Church is there to serve. Is their poverty-stricken, disease-riddled community on the receiving end of Christian charity or the giving end?
Although LCMS world missions claims this is a “win” all around, how do the missionaries really feel about it? Imagine if new folks showed up to “help” you at work for anywhere from two days to six months, then were replaced by others similarly inexperienced. How helpful would that really be? (As anyone who has to regularly interact with short-term temps can tell you, it’s a crap shoot at best.)
While these trips may play well back home (glossy pics of the short-term missionary gals are far easier to look at than ones of some chubby clergypersons) and get others to open their checkbooks and support the ongoing mission work, the temptation is there to put the focus on us and our wonderful works of charity. (Yes, yes, I am a world missionary. I won an all-expense paid trip for two weeks to
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
It's to stem the tide of the latter flow of information that we suggest the Angry Lutheran Rule for Blogs. It's simple:
YOU MUST READ AT LEAST TWICE AS MUCH AS YOU WRITE.
To state the obvious, qualified reading must be on the subject on which you choose to blog.
Though following this rule will give us less fodder, it will make you smarter, which will make the interweb a better place.
If you are a Lutheran blogger, here's a start to your reading list (feel free to add to the list in the comments, but be warned, anything suggested which does not live up to Angry Lutheran doctrinal review will be deleted):
Book of Concord
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
You believe the Nihil Rule includes the words “plane of the teeth”.
You don’t know what is in the celebrant’s hands after the consecration, but you do know that whatever it is, it does not REPRESENT Jesus’ Body and Blood.
Your feverish arguing against the “moment of consecration” leads you to invent a “moment of consecration” (i.e. plane of the teeth).
Your feverish arguing against the “moment of consecration” leads you to invent a “moment of deconsecration” (i.e. last distribution hymn, benediction, end of your esophagus)
You throw consecrated elements back into a container of non-consecrated elements and get snippy with a nervous altar guild member who questions you about this practice.
You practice your 3-point shooting every 1st and 3rd Sunday with your disposable individual cup and the provided plastic lined garbage can.
You are in favor of de facto private masses for shut-ins rather than allowing the pastor to carry the reliquae to those members of the congregation who are unable due to illness or injury to attend the Divine Service.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sunday, July 13, 2008
First of all, if you really like CCM or Lutheran chorales or Slovak folksongs or themes from Star Trek or any other kind of music, no one is stopping you from singing to your heart’s content in the shower, in your car, in your home, or with your friends. The issue is what is appropriate for public worship. This does not apply just to today’s Christian popular music. It applies to historic Christian music too. Older does not mean better.
With that in mind, we propose an evaluation tool for judging the doctrinal content of your suggested worship song. Take a modern or historic Christian song and swap out the words for God (God, Lord, Jesus—only replace general words which are standing alone, do not replace Trinitarian formulas; if your song has one, it’s already better than most) with the name of a false god found in the Bible. It helps if the name of the false god has the same number of syllables and similar emphasis to the name of God it is replacing. For “God” or “Lord”, we suggest “Baal”. For “Jesus”, we used “Chemosh”. Now, sing your song with the new lyrics. If the song is so void of doctrinal content that it can also work as a praise song to Baal, Chemosh, Ashtoreth, Artemis, or any other idol, your song is not appropriate for public worship but may still be sung in the shower or in traffic (with the permission of your carpool).
Here are some examples where making the substitution makes no difference. These songs could be sung to any god of anyone’s choosing, and because of that, are not appropriate for public worship in a Lutheran church.
I love You Baal (Lord), and I lift my voice
To worship You, O my soul rejoice!
Take joy, my King, in what You hear;
May it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear.
Chemosh (Jesus), Savior, pilot me
Over life’s tempestuous sea;
Unknown waves before me roll,
Hiding rock and treach’rous shoal.
Chart and compass come from thee;
Chemosh (Jesus), Savior, pilot me.
Open the eyes of my heart, Baal (Lord), open the eyes of my heart;
I want to see You, I want to see You.
To see You high and lifted up, shining in the light of Your glory.
Pour out Your power and love as we sing, Holy, holy, holy. I want to see You.
What a friend we have in Chemosh (Jesus),
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry
Everything to god (God) in prayer!
Here are some examples of songs where the substitution does not work. The text here is too rich to allow for idolatrous rewritings. The words are so full of Biblical doctrine that a name change alone will not make them praise songs for the deity of your choice. These are appropriate for public worship in a Lutheran church.
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in his hand
Christ, our God, to earth descending,
Comes our homage to command.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth he stood,
Lord of lords in human likeness,
In the body and the blood
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.
All mankind fell in Adam’s fall;
One common sin infects us all.
From one to all the curse descends,
And over all God’s wrath impends.
But Christ, the second Adam, came
To bear our sin and woe and shame.
To be our life, our light, our way.
Our only hope, our only stay.
Before anyone complains that these are all “old”:
The infant Priest was holy born
For us unholy and forlorn;
From fleshly temple forth came He,
Anointed from eternity.
The body of God’s Lamb we eat,
A priestly food and priestly meat;
On sin-parched lips the chalice pours
His quenching blood that life restores.
O sing of Christ, whose birth made known
The kindness of the Lord,
Eternal Word made flesh and bone
So we could be restored.
Upon our frail humanity
God’s finger chose to trace
The fullness of His deity,
The icon of His grace.
What Adam lost, none could reclaim,
And Paradise was barred
Until the second Adam came
To mend what sin had marred.
For when the time was full and right
God sent His only Son;
He came to us as life and light
And our redemption won.
N.B. This post is about lyrics/text only. We hope to deal with instrumental accompaniment and musical style sometime in the future. So, don’t comment on it here.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Another kind reader has passed along an interesting tidbit received in the mail. The following is a quote from Curt Hanna, producer of Time of Grace, starring Pr. Mark Jeske of the
“It was a joy to experience the excitement of the LIVE Celebration program in the studio with Pastor Mark,” Curt said. “And I believe the Lambs and Daystar staff thoroughly enjoyed having Mark on the show. For us to join our ministry with theirs was truly an example of the Lord using the diversity of the body of Christ to minister through the media.”
The same synod that advises against saying table prayers with your LCMS grandmother is ok with Pastor Mark Jeske joining his ministry with the non-WELS founders of the Daystar Television Network?
Monday, July 7, 2008
Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article XXIV, para. 75
To paraphrase LeVar Burton, don't take our word for it. Look it up yourself. And read the context. Actually, read the whole of Article XXIV. While you're at it, start reading the whole book. We know it's thick. Don't panic. The new one from CPH has a handy reading guide. You'll have it read in a year. Then you can stump your pastor. Enjoy.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
"Ambrose says about comfort: 'Go to Him and be absolved, because He is the forgiveness of sins. Do you ask who He is? Hear Him when He says, 'I am the bread of life; whoever comes to Me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in Me shall never thirst' (John 6:35).' This passage declares that the forgiveness of sins is offered in the Sacrament."
Friday, June 27, 2008
Lutheran funerals are truly wonderful. There is a marked difference between a Lutheran funeral rite and one of most other denominations. In the midst of life, we are in death, and so in the midst of death we do not abandon what we have heard and prayed in life, the Word, in favor of weeping and wailing or celebrating and worshiping the earthly life of the one now asleep, but instead, God comes to us through the Christ-saturated liturgy of the funeral rite.
A Lutheran liturgical funeral rite stands in stark contrast to the typical Reformed/Protestant funeral, and this difference will be noticed by those non-Lutheran family members and friends attending the funeral of a loved one. The Lutheran funeral, more than knocking on random doors and handing out cheesy fliers, little loaves of flavorless bread, or tiny bottles of water (that can be mistaken for “holy water”) is an effective evangelism tool. Not effective because more people will join a Lutheran church; they probably won’t. Not effective because the Lutheran pastor might be praised for the funeral rite or his sermon, though he may be. No, it is effective because it gives opportunity for the pastor to “speak Lutheran”, that is, to proclaim Christ. Christ and Him crucified is not what many non-Lutheran attendees of a Lutheran funeral are expecting to hear. They expect to hear about dear Grandma/Grandpa, Mom/Dad, sister/brother and how we can be sure he/she is in heaven because of his/her clear confession of a personal relationship with Jesus. Hopefully, they will not be fed this tripe by a Lutheran preacher. Let the E-Frees do that in the memorial “celebration” service later in the day with the non-Lutheran side of the family. Preaching is ideally not a eulogizing of the deceased, but a proclamation of the comfort found in Christ and a reminder that though death comes for us all, we have overcome because Christ has overcome. A listing of the accomplishments or a brief biography of the dead has its place, even during the rite, but not in the sermon. It does those left behind and the loved one now asleep no good to list his/her accomplishments and merits done while on Earth. Those righteous acts and filthy rags are not what allowed the deceased entrance into God’s kingdom, nor can anyone still here ride a family member’s coattails of good deeds into eternal life. The sermon is Christ for He is our entrance, He is our merit, He is our salvation.
A latent American Gnosticism sneaks into funerals, which Lutheran funerals would do well to avoid. Discarding the body, especially in cremation, furthers the thinking that the body that was wracked with illness and weakness is evil and the deceased is better off rid of it. This confuses the gift of our bodies from God with the sin in which we live. Our bodies are not evil; they are important enough that they will be with us for all eternity.
Even though there are inherent fellowship issues, the reintroduction of the Sacrament of the Altar at funerals is long overdue. Though it may be a little messy to explain to the self-appointed Charismatic Pentecostal High Priestess in attendance why she should not commune at her own grandfather’s funeral, that same sticky subject would have come up had she been visiting on a Sunday, which she may have done, since she does her prophesyin’ on Saturdays. The offering of the Sacrament, in addition to giving forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation, may help the Lutherans in attendance to connect the dots that have been staring them in the face an entire lifetime: “Therefore with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven…”
Friday, June 20, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
It is now June and our thoughts have turned to weddings….
On the whole, weddings are unpleasant. Weddings make normally calm and generally nice people turn into rude, inconsiderate, unkind, self-absorbed, crazy versions of themselves. With a few exceptions, we cannot stand weddings. They are to be survived, not enjoyed. A bright resourceful pastor will keep several maps stapled to clear directions to the nearest courthouse in his desk to hand out to prospective brides and grooms at the first hint of trouble. Weddings don’t have to take place in a church, so if the couple is just looking for a space in which to hold a wedding, the prepared pastor can point out that the state has kindly provided just what they need.
If a couple cannot be dissuaded from holding the ceremony in the church, there should be some guidelines. Keeping in mind that a wedding is not only a hassle for the pastor, but also for the musician(s), janitor, secretary, and altar guild, we propose something like the following be given to the happy couple at an early premarital counseling session (preferably the first one, which may fortuitously turn out to also be the last one):
As potential bride and groom, you must both agree to ALL conditions listed for each affected member of the staff and volunteers of St. Spener Lutheran Church:
1) There is a $150 fee for performing the ceremony and putting up with you and your obnoxious relatives and friends.
2) The fee will be paid at the beginning of rehearsal by cash or cashier’s check, or Pastor will not show up for the ceremony.
3) Unless you know Pastor well, don’t invite him to the reception.
4) Really, it’s ok; he has better things to do and won’t be offended.
5) Pastor and musician(s) will approve all music selections.
6) The rite will be the one in the hymnal.
7) Congregational songs will be from the hymnal.
1) There is a $150 fee for time, skill, and mental anguish caused by dealing with your terrible taste in music and your lack of knowledge about what is appropriate in a Lutheran church.
2) All music must be approved by musician(s) and Pastor.
3) To save you some time: no country, no show tunes, no CCM
4) All music will be chosen at least twenty-one days prior to the wedding with no changes allowed once selections have been agreed upon by all parties.
5) Musician(s) will be paid at the beginning of rehearsal by cash or cashier’s check, or he/she/they will not show up for the ceremony.
6) He/She/They definitely have better things to do than go to your reception, like practice for Sunday’s Divine Service.
7) He/She/They will NOT purchase music just for your wedding. You will provide legally obtained sheet music if the musician(s) do(es) not already own a piece you would like to use (provided it passes review by the Pastor and musician(s)).
8) He/She/They reserve the right to carry and make use of a hip flask of the alcohol of his/her/their choice from the moment the rehearsal begins until the last note of the recessional is played at the ceremony.
1) Don’t call the church office with stupid questions.
2) The secretary will make wedding bulletins for you at a price of $5/bulletin.
3) If that’s too steep, do it yourself.
1) There is a fee of $50 for cleaning the church after the ceremony, provided cleaning takes less than one hour.
2) This fee will be paid at the beginning of rehearsal by cash or cashier’s check, or you will be cleaning up after yourselves and your guests.
3) Extra mess = extra time = extra cash and a future bill, so be clean.
4) Don’t leave children or groomsmen unattended, especially in the restrooms.
5) If you leave it behind, and the janitor finds it, he/she keeps it.
6) No throwing things: rice, confetti, beer bottles, etc.
1) There is a $50 fee for each altar guild member present for setting up and removing wedding kneeler.
2) This fee also covers the inconvenience of having to come later on Saturday to set up for Sunday’s Divine Service.
3) The fee will be paid by cash or cashier’s check at the beginning of rehearsal, or we will let the whole town know what a pair of ingrates you are.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
When a certain unofficial group in the
This is further explained, “We may classify these joint expressions of faith in various ways according to the particular realm of activity in which they occur, e.g., pulpit fellowship; altar fellowship; prayer fellowship; fellowship in worship; fellowship in church work, in missions, in Christian education, and in Christian charity. Yet insofar as they are joint expressions of faith, they are all essentially one and the same thing and are all properly covered by a common designation, namely, church fellowship. Church fellowship should therefore be treated as a unit concept, covering every joint expression, manifestation, and demonstration of a common faith. Hence, Scripture can give the general admonition ‘avoid them’ when church fellowship is to cease (Ro. 16:17). Hence, Scripture sees an expression of church fellowship also in giving the right hand of fellowship (Gal 2:9) and in greeting on eanother with the fraternal kiss (Ro. 16:16); on the other hand, it points out that a withholding of church fellowship may also be indicated by not extending a fraternal welcome to errorists and by not bidding them Godspeed (2 Jn. 10,11; dr. 3 Jn. 5-8)”
That little word “every” creates a bit of a problem. 1 Corinthians 10:31 states “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Whatever a believer does as a Christian is an expression of faith, which would mean that
Some of the presenters at the WELS Conference on Worship, Music, and the Arts are not of the
Something intended to keep out false theology can easily backfire. Leonard Sweet and Carl Schalk end up on the same side of the frame and could both be equally qualified to present to an audience of
Thursday, June 5, 2008
To learn about God?
To worship together as a “school family”?
To give the kids an opportunity to “lead worship”?
Perhaps the reason is more educational. Just as the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray and as parents in the Old Testament were commanded to instruct their children, so also a Lutheran school should teach the children in its care to pray. We are all by nature Enthusiasts who left to our own devices will “give” God our filthy rags of self-centered instrumental selections, vocal stylings, puppet performances, or chancel dramas. While children are in school to learn skills and gain knowledge they will need to function as mature human beings in the world, a Lutheran school should also teach children how and why Lutherans pray.
“However, ceremonies should be celebrated to teach people Scripture, that those admonished by the Word my conceive faith and godly fear, and may also pray. (This is the intent of ceremonies.)” --Apology of the
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
From the Wisconsin Synod’s website Q&A:
Q:On Sunday I had my first introduction to the Athanasian Creed. The Blue Luther's Catechism has nothing on it. My parents visited my church with me this weekend and said that the two
A:The Athanasian Creed was written to defend the correct Trinitarian teaching of Athanasius against the error of Arius, who denied the true diety of Christ. A person cannot be saved without faith in the Triune God. If this is the intent of "Whoever does not keep this faith pure in all points will certainly perish forever," the statement can be understood correctly. If it means that a person cannot be saved without a complete understanding of all biblical doctrine, it goes too far. If we were writing the Creed, we would not word it that way, because it is subject to misunderstanding.
- “The Blue Luther's Catechism has nothing on it.”
True, because that’s the Small Catechism. However, the
- “My parents visited my church with me this weekend and said that the two
churchs (sic) we went to never used it. I also attended WELS Lutheran Grade Schoolat Emanuel New 1-8th grade and confirmed there and never read it their (sic) either.” London
Sad, but entirely plausible.
- “The second sentance (sic) struck me and I had to stop reading it aloud with others. ‘Whoever does not keep this faith pure in all points will certainly perish forever.’”
It struck us too. That is what CW says.
- “The Athanasian Creed was written to defend the correct Trinitarian teaching of Athanasius”
Might it be better to say “the correct Trinitarian teaching of” the Church?
- “A person cannot be saved without faith in the Triune God. If this is the intent of ‘Whoever does not keep this faith pure in all points will certainly perish forever,’ the statement can be understood correctly. If it means that a person cannot be saved without a complete understanding of all biblical doctrine, it goes too far. If we were writing the Creed, we would not word it that way, because it is subject to misunderstanding.”
Ah, okay.… Ignore the arrogance in the last sentence for the moment. It seems (according to our cursory research and our vague memories from our schooling) this exact sentence is ONLY in the WELS version of the Athanasian Creed (if someone out there knows of a source other than CW for this translation, let us know; remember, CW was published in 1993 and translations are not generally able to be sent back in time).
Various translations of the Book of Concord, other Lutheran hymnals (TLH, LSB, LW), and other denominations (LCMS, ELCA, Roman Catholic, Christian Reformed, etc.) all have the following as the second sentence: “Whoever does not keep it whole and undefiled (some: inviolable) will without doubt perish eternally.” The Latin is: “Quam nisi quisque integram inviolatamque servaverit, absque dubio in aeternam peribit.” That doesn’t mean quite the same as CW’s “pure in all points”, but is much, much better translated “whole and inviolate (or undefiled)”.
In the Acknowledgements of CW the source of the Nicene Creed translation is listed as “the English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC), 1988, altered.” No source is listed for the text of the Athanasian Creed and the ELLC does not have a text of the Athanasian Creed on its website, which has an extensive collection of its translations.
- “If we were writing the Creed, we would not word it that way, because it is subject to misunderstanding.”
Huh? It seems THEY DID word the Creed “that way”.