The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church

gospel for those broken by church“Wherever Christ builds his Church, the devil builds a chapel.” This often quoted Luther saying still bears true today. Each and every generation must fight for the truth, confess the saving Gospel and proclaim with Luther, “Here I stand; I can do no other.” We proclaim this in the liturgy, from the altar, the pulpit, the Bible class, the fellowship hall, and in the hands of mercy. Every generation of Christians must learn anew what the Lutheran confession of faith is, what we believe and why we believe it. For every age of the Church will also have to contend with the wily ways of the old evil foe. We’ve seen his tricks – and the best ones are played upon God’s Word, just like he did in the wilderness. The church has (and still struggles ) with the clever shell-game of the historical critical method, the siren’s song of the church growth movement and its panoply of pragmatic solutions, the lunacy of liberalism in the church and its manifold and the list could go one. In the end, of course, the gates of hell cannot and will not prevail against the Church nor her Lord, the Bridegroom himself who holds the keys of the office as well as the keys to death and hades in his crucified and risen hands. Thus for the Baptized, we are the Church, the body of Christ, built on the foundation he laid in his own body and blood; we are built on that rock, even when steeples and church theologians and hope are falling.

My point here is not to offer a proper diagnosis. Others have done (and are doing) a fine job of that. Recently, Michael Horton’s Christless Christianity has exposed the absolute Christological vacuum in American Evangelicalism. And Jonathan Fisk’s book Broken addresses similar issues while offering orthodox doctrine and practice as the panacea. My point here is to offer another treatment, a balm and salve that has served many who have been broken by the Church, whether it was moralism, mysticism, rationalism or any other “ism.”  My good friend, Dr. Rod Rosenbladt has provided such a medicine for those whom he calls the “sad” and the “mad.” Perhaps you’ve encountered folks who fit either description. I know I have. And I’ve handed out this little PDF booklet more times than I can remember. Another good friend of mine reads this essay several times a year. As well should we.

Apologetics is also for those inside the church, for confidence and hope in what we believe and why. This was impressed upon me the moment I sat in on my first Rod Rosenbladt class at Concordia Irvine not too many years ago. Now, I never was one who was broken by the Church as his fine essay and presentation is titled. And the catechesis and church I grew up in taught me a lot. But it wasn’t until I took every class Dr. Rosenbladt taught at CU Irvine, that I really began to understand what it meant to be a Lutheran and why that was a confession worth living and dying for, as we say at our confirmation.

Sadly, defending the faith must also occur within the walls and membership of the Church. After all, we’re sinners. This should be no surprise. Thankfully, Dr. Rosenbladt has an answer for dealing with tough questions from those who have fell prey to church membership in the devil’s chapel.  There are too many vicitms of fifth-column Christianity. So, here’s something with which to arm yourselves, a trusty shield and weapon: The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church. Special thanks to New Reformation Press, Southern Orange County Outreach (SOCO), and Faith Lutheran Church, Capistrano Beach, CA for making this outstanding presentation of the Gospel available for free online. Below, I’ve embedded the video for your viewing here. And I’ve included the link if you want a PDF version for your own reading, church information cart, or to hand to a friend who has been broken by the church.

And make sure to take the time to visit the website of New Reformation Press. You’ll find a host of resources for use in declaring and defending the faith once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).

To go to the website for New Reformation Press , click here.

To access the PDF of The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church, click here.

 

 

 

 

Pastor Sam Schuldheisz

About Pastor Sam Schuldheisz

Pastor Schuldheisz serves as Pastor at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Huntington Beach, CA. He graduated in 2004 from Concordia University Irvine. And he is a 2008 graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Pastor Schuldheisz is also blessed in marriage to his wife of 7 years, Natasha. Together they enjoy the blessings of parenthood with their daughter Zoe. And when he’s not writing sermons or changing diapers, he enjoys reading and writing about the works of the Inklings and other belletristic literature, and Christian apologetics. He’s even been known to answer to Pastor Samwise on occasion.

Comments

The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church — 12 Comments

  1. Is it wrong for me to criticize Dr Rosenbladt for delivering a lesson which could be preached to a congregation 200 years ago? I sincerely apologize if I offend but I think the honorable Dr Rosenbladt is out of touch. This isn’t the age of Sam Kinneson but of Sam Harrison, and Dawkins, and Hitchens and most importantly the internet! We no longer live within the bubble of a closed information system necessary for catachesis and religious belief to flourish. Instead any 13 year old with a smart phone has access to the entire world. Fifty years ago if a Christian possessed a curious mind or suffered from religious doubt he was isolated and compelled to keep to himself. Today he enjoys discourse~ fellowship even, with myriads asking similar questions.
    I’m sorry Dr Rosenbladt but their questions are of a far too skeptical nature and will not be silenced by a careful application of Law/Gospel.

  2. Hey Kitty, I’m 51… do I not count in your kingdom? I have Rosenbladt’s lecture in my iPod so I can listen to it on demand. It is richer and more applicable each time I hear it. Timeless truths are exactly that… without expiration dates and independent of the gadgets, gizmos, governments, and systems of the moment.

    That said, I kind of understand what you are getting at. With my five decade old (ancient!) eyes and powers of observation I can see that the present day world is indeed overwhelming and intimidating. However, something needs to cut through the cacophony and the massive amounts of mystic and humanistic propaganda. Why NOT Law & Gospel as a sure and steady framework into which one can drop the ideas and claims floating about, as a “first filter.” You might be surprised how simple and effective it is. Also remember that just because there is vastly MORE information circulating, that in no way means any of it is NEW or ORIGINAL. (In my dotage it mainly means to me there is more clutter, and more information to AVOID.)

  3. #4 Kitty :
    I’m sorry Dr Rosenbladt but their questions are of a far too skeptical nature and will not be silenced by a careful application of Law/Gospel.

    Kitty – can you provide what you believe is needed besides the “careful application of Law/Gospel”?

  4. @SallyVee #2

    Why NOT Law & Gospel as a sure and steady framework into which one can drop the ideas and claims floating about, as a “first filter.”

    Sure, but I’d be surprised if you can find one person born in this country who has not been saturated with Law/Gospel. I’m not sure how effective it would be while talking to someone who tells you that “Jesus is Santa Claus for adults”.
    @Perry Lund #3

    Kitty – can you provide what you believe is needed besides the “careful application of Law/Gospel”?

    Isolation ~North Korean style. In order for a generation to be properly catechised it must be kept from perspectives other than those espoused by the Confessions. This means homeschooling, no access to the internet, no university education, etc.
    Here, check out the Trends in Religious Affiliation by Demographics chart from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. It indicates that the more one is educated the more likely s/he is to be religiously unafilitated.

  5. Quote Kitty #4: I’d be surprised if you can find one person born in this country who has not been saturated with Law/Gospel. I’m not sure how effective it would be while talking to someone who tells you that “Jesus is Santa Claus for adults”.

    Not true in my opinion. What very often passes for Law & Gospel in America is wholly insufficient and leads directly to confusing Jesus with Santa Claus. Sometimes this is known as ‘Prosperity Theology’ or ‘Health and Wealth Theology.’ Or it can be the problem Dr. Rosenbladt describes as the Law-Gospel-Law mistake… where people hear the Law followed by the Gospel, but then revert to LAW LAW LAW as if it is possible to EARN salvation like toys & cookies with good behavior – this is due to an insufficient understanding of sin, grace, faith. So actually ‘ole Santa provides a pretty good starting point to begin unraveling the myths and teaching the truth.

  6. #4 Kitty :
    Isolation ~North Korean style. In order for a generation to be properly catechised it must be kept from perspectives other than those espoused by the Confessions. This means homeschooling, no access to the internet, no university education, etc.
    Here, check out the Trends in Religious Affiliation by Demographics chart from the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. It indicates that the more one is educated the more likely s/he is to be religiously unafilitated.

    Therefore, according to this line of reasoning, the theology of confessional Lutheranism is by nature, anti-intellectual. Interesting twist of logic. Unlike the evangelicals, who “accept Jesus into their hearts” during a random, emotional outburst at an altar call, confessional Lutherans are strengthened in the faith after much prayer and intense study. (Catechesis, anyone?)

    Are the Lutheran confessions such a straw man that a liberal university professor or random atheist, satanist, muslim, pagan, or “spiritual but not religious” person on the internet can easily dissuade people from believing?

    if someone is religiously unaffiliated, it may be for reasons other than theology. I have known people to leave church because they decided they did not like the pastor or another person in the church. All too often, disaffected Christians do not seek out other denominations to join.

    Regarding the LCMS, perhaps “educated” Lutherans get a whiff of the unscrupulous business practices of most synod and district executives. Although laymen like Lutheran theology, “LCMS, Inc.” turns them off. Learning about the “business” and political side of Church affairs is enough to make any Lutheran want to stay home on Sunday mornings and hear a sermon from “Pastor Pillow.”

    I would have left the LCMS years ago if not for two things:

    1.) Confessional Lutheranism found on the internet (Worldview Everlasting, Pirate Christian Radio, Issues, Etc.); and

    2.) Being allowed to designate gifts, thereby not being forced to give financial support to the Saddleback and the Willow Creek agendas at my LCMS church. Not giving a penny to the LCMS districts because they support those same agendas has also been a blessing.

  7. @Lumpenkönig #6

    Therefore, according to this line of reasoning, the theology of confessional Lutheranism is by nature, anti-intellectual.

    You decide. During the Divine Service we turn a piece of bread into the body of a first century Jew. We then eat him. Oh, and then we drink his blood.

  8. Kitty @8

    You really should leave this church. Try an Emergent one. I think they will be more to your liking. Don’t go ELCA, I think they still take Communion.

  9. @#4 Kitty #8
    A Lutheran would not question Real Presence. Based on your writings, you also could not consider joining the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches. Are you writing as an evangelical or a Calvinist? Is this where you want to go? Are Joel Osteen and his evangelical contemporaries a viable alternative? Really?

    IF you are playing devils advocate, then good show. Real Presence and infant baptism are definite turnoffs for many disaffected evangelicals interested in Lutheranism. Perhaps there is something wrong with senior Lutheran leaders not being able to market these doctrines convincingly.

  10. @Lumpenkönig #10

    Believe it or not, he is actually writing as an LCMS–a very cynical one. His writings are very consistent wherever he posts. But I sincerely hope he does not go to take Communion.

  11. Kitty was simply pointing out the challenges of reaching the lost in this generation. Especially to the educated world, Lutheranism and Christianity on the surface are anti-intellectual.  

    The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

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