Friday, March 30, 2012

A Mother's Thoughts On Transitioning From Being Baptist To Being Lutheran

This is a recent blog post from my wife. Maybe some of you have had to grapple with this as well.

The Girls' Baptism Birthday and ReflectionToday is the girls' second baptism birthday.  In the last year and a half my husband and I have been attending a Lutheran church.  This change has been a struggle for me in many ways because I grew up in a Baptist church.  Although my big turn around was realizing that, for the most part, the way I grew up and what I am learning now are two completely different points of view in many different ways.  Take baptism for example.  I grew up with the view point that you are baptized with full immersion after accepting the lord as your Savior, because it is what the Bible tells you to do.  It is a symbol of being buried in Christ and born again a new creation.  I also grew up with the point of view that baptizing infants was completely ridiculous because they cannot "repent and be baptized" as in Acts 2:38. Oh, and how dare they only sprinkle them!  When I married my hubby we would visit this topic about once a year for a week and then agree to disagree.  However, when we were pregnant with the girls, we had to actually make a decision on how to handle this for our household.  It took me a year of research and study to realize I couldn't find anything in the scriptures to say that baptizing my babies would send them to hell.... 

You can read the rest by clicking here. Enjoy more of Kim's posts at

Jesus Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Don't get your theology from Facebook...(facepalm)

Now don't get me wrong. Facebook can be very useful. I'm able to keep in touch with friends, let my family know how life is, post my pics to share with family and friends....really, a fair amount of good stuff. And there's a plethora ("Jefe, do you know what a plethora is?") of apps you can use to annoy your friends and family with via game requests and such. Truly, there are many options. But they've even got "religion" apps that post automatically each day. There is one app in particular that'd I'd like to caution you against. It's called "God's Daily Message."  The following are some excerpts from a friends page:

"Today, God’s message for you to become alive in this moment. Breathe deeply, feel. Empty your mind of idle thoughts. Just for today, be fully alert, aware, and alive. Be open to the experience of this lifetime. Be alive."
Empty my mind? Sounds more like some kind of Asian meditation than something from the Bible (Colossians 3:1-3)
"Today God’s message for you is to discover and nurture your inner source of strength. You possess strength and courage to battle through all of life’s struggles. Deep within you is an infinite source of courage. This is what makes you a strong individual, ready to battle through each day. For every obstacle he puts before you, there is equal inner force to overcome." 
Wait, so, God's message is to just look inside myself for courage and strength? I thought He was the source of that... (Exodus 15:2 ,  Psalm 46:1 , 1 Chronicles 16:11)
"Today, God’s message for you is to know that you are not a human being seeking spirituality, but a spiritual being seeking humanness.  As that one spirit, you alone can invoke changes to the human race.  As that human spirit you can help build bridges and move mountains for the betterment of humankind."
Right, 'cause the bible speaks so positively on what it is to be human... (Ephesians 2:1-3)
"Today, God’s message for you is to look inward. For just this moment, stop seeing the world through the physical realm and see within. Life is not about the things we possess, but about inner joy and peace. Look inward to see what brings you joy, and find it there."
Once again I'm to look inward?  (Jeremiah 17:9)
"Today, God's message for you is that you should let your smile be your most commonly worn accessory. It is beautiful, it is priceless, and it matches every outfit in your closet"

Really? Is Joel Osteen hiding back there?

As you can see, Facebook's "God's Daily Message" is anything but God's Word. What then is God's word for you? You are a sinner that Christ bled and died for that you might not be forever separated from God's love. (Romans 3:23, Hebrews 9:22, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Acts 16:31)

Don't get your theology from Facebook apps. Get it from the Bible. Find a solid church that preaches Christ and Him crucified, not some eastern spin or some moralistic therapeutic deism.

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"DeYoung, DeRestless & DeRealLiteralLutheran Ninjitsu"... thanks RevFisk

Thanks to Pastor Fisk for this. About Reformed and Lutheranism.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hymn Monday - "Savior, When in Dust to Thee"

Today's Hymn, "Savior, When in Dust to Thee" (#419) is from the Lutheran Service Book. (c)2006, Concordia Publishing House.

Savior, when in dust to Thee Low we bow the adoring knee;
When, repentant, to the skies Scarce we lift our weeping eyes;
O, by all Thy pains and woe Suffered once for us below,
Bending from Thy throne on high, Hear our penitential cry!

By Thy helpless infant years, By Thy life of want and tears,
By Thy days of deep distress In the savage wilderness,
By the dread, mysterious hour Of the insulting temter's pow'r,
Turn, O turn a fav'ring eye; Hear our penitential cry!

By Thine hour of dire despair, By Thine agony of prayer,
By the cross, the nail, the thorn, Piercing spear, and torturing scorn,
By the gloom that veiled the skies O'er the dreadful sacrifice,
Listen to our humble sigh; Hear our penitential cry!

By Thy deep expiring grown, By the sad sepulchral stone,
By the vault whose dark abode Held in vain the rising God,
O, from earth to heav'n restored, Mighty, reascended Lord,
Bending from Thy throne on high, Hear our penitential cry!

Jesu Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Second Sunday in Lent Readings

Genesis 17:1-7 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

Abraham and the Covenant of Circumcision 
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, 2 that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”3 Then Abram fell on his face. And God said to him, 4 “Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. 5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. 6 I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

Genesis 17:15-16 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

Isaac's Birth Promised
15 And God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.16 I will bless her, and moreover, I will give you a son by her. I will bless her, and she shall become nations; kings of peoples shall come from her.”

Romans 5:1-11 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

Peace with God Through Faith 
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. 6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Mark 8:27-38 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ
27 And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples,“Who do people say that I am?” 28 And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” 29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection
31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” 34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Confessional Saturdays #13: Chief Articles Of The Faith 27

Augsburg Confession 
Chief Articles Of The Faith 
ARTICLE XXVII -Monastic Vows 

1 It will be easier to understand what we teach about monastic vows by considering the state of the monasteries and how many things were done every day contrary to canon law. 2 In Augustine’s time they were free associations. Later, when discipline was corrupted, vows were added for the purpose of restoring discipline, as in a carefully planned prison. 3 Gradually, many other regulations were added besides vows. 4 These binding rules were laid upon many before the lawful age, contrary to canon law. 5 Many entered monastic life through ignorance. They were not able to judge their own strength, though they were old enough. 6 They were trapped and compelled to remain, even though some could have been freed by the kind provision of canon law. 7 This was more the case in convents of women than of monks, although more consideration should have been shown the weaker sex [1 Peter 3:7]. 8 This rigor displeased many good people before this time, who saw that young men and women were thrown into convents for a living. They saw what unfortunate results came of this procedure, how it created scandals, and what snares were cast upon consciences! 9 They were sad that the authority of canon law in so great a matter was utterly set aside and despised. 10 In addition to all these evil things, a view of vows was added that displeased even the more considerate monks. They taught that monastic vows were equal to Baptism. 11 They taught that a monastic life merited forgiveness of sins and justification before God. 12 Yes, they even added that the monastic life not only merited righteousness before God, but even greater merit, since it was said that the monastic life not only kept God’s basic law, but also the so-called “evangelical counsels.” 13 So they made people believe that the profession of monasticism was far better than Baptism, and that the monastic life was more meritorious than that of rulers, pastors, and others, who serve in their calling according to God’s commands, without any man-made services. 14 None of these things can be denied. This is all found in their own books about monasticism. 15 How did all this come about in monasteries? At one time they were schools of theology and other branches of learning, producing pastors and bishops for the benefit of the Church. Now it is another thing. It is needless to go over what everyone knows. 16 Before, they came together for the sake of learning, now they claim that monasticism is a lifestyle instituted to merit grace and righteousness. They even preach that it is a state of perfection! They put monasticism far above all other kinds of life ordained by God. 17 We have mentioned all these things without hateful exaggeration so that our teachers’ doctrine on monasticism may be better understood. 18 First, concerning monks who marry, our teachers say that it is lawful for anyone who is not suited for the single life to enter into marriage. Monastic vows cannot destroy what God has commanded and ordained. 19 God’s commandment is this, “Because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife” (1 Corinthians 7:2). 20 It is not just a command given by God. God has created and ordained marriage for those who are not given an exception to natural order by God’s special work. This is what is taught according to the text in Genesis 2:18, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” 21 Therefore, those who obey this command and ordinance of God do not sin. 22 What objection can be raised to this? Let people praise the obligation of a monastic vow as much as they want, but they will never be able to destroy God’s commandment by means of a monastic vow. 23 Canon law teaches that superiors can make exceptions to monastic vows; how much less are such monastic vows in force that are contrary to God’s commandments! 24 If, in fact, an obligation to a monastic vow could never be changed for any reason, the Roman popes could never have granted exceptions to the vows. For it is not lawful for someone to make an exception to what is truly from God. 25 The Roman pontiffs have wisely judged that mercy is to be observed in these monastic obligations. That is why we read that many times they have made special arrangements and exceptions with monastic vows. 26 The case of the King of Aragon, who was called back from the monastery, is well known, and there are also examples in our own times. 27 In the second place, why do our adversaries exaggerate the obligation or effect of a vow when, at the same time, they do not have anything to say about the nature of the vow itself? A vow should be something that is possible; it should be a decision that is made freely and after careful deliberation. 28 We all know how possible perpetual chastity actually is in reality, and just how few people actually do take this vow freely and deliberately! 29 Young women and men, before they are able to make their own decision about this, are persuaded, and sometimes even forced, to take the vow of chastity. 30 Therefore, it is not fair to insist so rigorously on the obligation. Everyone knows that taking a vow that is not made freely and deliberately is against the very nature of a true vow. 31 Most canonical laws overturn vows made before the age of fifteen. Before that age a person does not seem able to make a wise judgment and to decide to make a lifelong commitment like this. 32 There is another canon law that adds even more years to this limit, showing that the vow of chastity should not be made before the age of eighteen. So which of these two canon laws should we follow? 33 Most people leaving the monastery have a valid excuse, since they took their vows before they were fifteen or eighteen. 34 Finally, even though it might be possible to condemn a person who breaks a vow, it does not follow that it is right to dissolve such a person’s marriage. 35 Augustine denies that they ought to be dissolved (XXVII. Quaest. I, Cap. Nuptiarum). Augustine’s authority should not be taken lightly, even though some wish to do so today. 36 Although it appears that God’s command about marriage delivers many from their vows, our teachers introduce another argument about vows to show that they are void. Every service of God, established and chosen by people to merit justification and grace, without God’s commandment, is wicked. For Christ says in Matthew 15:9, “In vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.” 37 Paul teaches everywhere that righteousness is not to be sought in self-chosen practices and acts of worship, devised by people. Righteousness comes by faith to those who believe that they are received by God into grace for Christ’s sake. 38 It is clear for all to see that the monks have taught that services made up by people make satisfaction for sins and merit grace and justification. What else is this than detracting from Christ’s glory and hiding and denying the righteousness that comes through faith? 39 Therefore, it follows that monastic vows, which have been widely taken, are wicked services of God and, consequently, are void. 40 For a wicked vow, taken against God’s commandment, is not valid; for (as the Canon says) no vow ought to bind people to wickedness. 41 Paul says, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4). 42 Therefore, anyone wanting to be justified by his vows makes Christ useless and falls from grace. 43 Anyone who tries to connect justification to monastic vows bases his justification on his own works, which properly belongs to Christ’s glory. 44 It cannot be denied that the monks have taught that they were justified and merited forgiveness of sins by means of their vows and observances. Indeed, they even invented greater absurdities, saying that they could give others a share in their works. 45 If anyone wanted to make more of this point, to make our opponents look even worse, even more things could be mentioned, things that even the monks are ashamed of now. 46 And on top of all this, the monks persuaded people that the services that they invented were a state of Christian perfection. 47 What else is this other than assigning our justification to works? 48 It is no light offense in the Church to set before the people a service invented by people, without God’s commandment, and then to teach them that such service justifies. For the righteousness of faith, which ought to be the highest teaching in the Church, is hidden when these “wonderful” and “angelic” forms of worship, with their show of poverty, humility, and celibacy, are put in front of people. 49 God’s precepts, and God’s true service, are hidden when people hear that only monks are in a state of perfection. True Christian perfection is to fear God from the heart, to have great faith, and to trust that for Christ’s sake we have a God who has been reconciled [2 Corinthians 5:18–19]. It means to ask for and expect from God His help in all things with confident assurance that we are to live according to our calling in life, being diligent in outward good works, serving in our calling. 50 This is where true perfection and true service of God is to be found. It does not consist in celibacy or in begging or in degrading clothes. 51 The people come up with all sorts of harmful opinions based on the false praise of monastic life. 52 They hear celibacy praised without measure and feel guilty about living in marriage. 53 They hear that only beggars are perfect, and so they keep their possessions and do business with guilty consciences. 54 They hear that it is an even higher work, a Gospel-counsel, not to seek revenge. So some in private life are not afraid to take revenge, for they hear that it is but a counsel and not a commandment. 55 Others come to the conclusion that a Christian cannot rightly hold a civil office or be a ruler. 56 There are on record examples of men who hid themselves in monasteries because they wanted to forsake marriage and participation in society. 57 They called this fleeing from the world, and said they were seeking a kind of life that would be more pleasing to God. They did not realize that God ought to be served according to the commandments that He Himself has given, not in commandments made up by people. 58 Only a life that has God’s commandment is good and perfect. 59 It is necessary to teach the people about these things. 60 Before our times, Gerson rebukes the monks’ error about perfection. He testifies that in his day it was a new saying that the monastic life is a state of perfection. 61 So many wicked opinions are inherent in monastic vows—that they justify, that they cause Christian perfection, that they make it possible to keep the counsels and commandments, that they are works over and above God’s commandments. 62 All these things are false and empty. They make monastic vows null and void.

Concordia : The Lutheran Confessions. Edited by Paul Timothy McCain. St. Louis, MO : Concordia Publishing House, 2005, S. 53 

Jesus Juva, 
Soli Deo Gloria

Friday, March 2, 2012

Funny Friday #17

Today is Funny Friday! Enjoy another video from the good folks at The Lutheran Satire!

Jesus Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Historical Church Writings #20: J.S. Bach

"Ah now, my God, thus do I fall assured into thy bosom. 
Thus speaks the soul which trusts in God when he the Savior's brotherhood and God's good faith in faith doth praise. Take me and work thy will with me until my life is finished. 
I know for sure that I unfailing blest shall be if my distress, and this my grief and woe, by thee will thus an end be granted: For thou dost know that to my soul thereby its help ariseth, that in my earthly lifetime, to Satan's discontent, thy heav'nly realm in me be manifest and thine own honor more and more be of itself exalted. 
Thus may my heart as though commmandest find, O my Jesus, blessed stillness, and I may to these muted lyres the Prince of peace a new refrain now offer.
To my shepherd I'll be true. Though he fill my cross's chalice, I'll rest fully in his pleasure, He stands in my sorrow near. One day, surely, done my weeping, Jesus' sun again will brighten. To my shepherd I'll be true. Live in Jesus, who will rule me; Heart, be glad, though thou must perish, Jesus hath enough achieved. Amen: Father, take me now! 
If I then, too, the way of death and its dark journey travel, Lead on! I'll walk the road and path which thine own eyes have shown me. Thou art my shepherd, who all things will bring to such conclusion, that I one day within thy courts thee ever more may honor. 
-- Johann Sabastian Bach

Jesus Juva,
Soli Deo Gloria