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Posts Tagged ‘doctrine’

The Problem of Denominational Loyalty

April 10th, 2014 5 comments

It’s not uncommon these days to hear people lament the loss of denominational loyalty, particularly in congregations which were once thriving but are now experiencing a decline in membership. Denominational loyalty does not seem to be particularly high these days, and the popularity of churches that define themselves by (allegedly) rejecting the concept of denomination (e.g., “non-denominational” or “community”) churches would support this notion. However, I’ve always found the claim to be “non-denominational” or the like somewhat disingenuous, as these entities inevitably end up promoting one theological tradition or another, and more often than not, it’s the Reformed tradition. Denominational   More…

A Reflection on the Commemoration of Martin Luther, Doctor and Reformer, 18 February, 1546, and the Commemoration of the Seminex Walkout, 19 February, 1974

February 22nd, 2014 1 comment

This reflection is a comparison between two commemorations.  The first one is the death of Martin Luther, Doctor and Confessor, 18 November, 1546 and the second, the walkout at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis on 19 February, 1974.  This reflection was prompted by the second commemoration as I too was in ‘exile’.  As way of reminder about the first commemoration: Martin Luther, born on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Germany, initially began studies leading toward a degree in law. However, after a close encounter with death, he switched to the study of theology,  entered an Augustinian monastery, was ordained a priest in   More…

Keeping the Two-Edged Sword Sharp

The author of Hebrews says, “The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword,” (Hebrews 4:12).  A sharp sword is a powerful and dangerous weapon.  It’s something that must be handled with care, lest it do great harm.  But in our battle against the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers over this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12), nothing less powerful is needed.  God’s Word is our chief weapon in this war.  It is of the utmost importance that this sword remain sharp, living, and active in our lives. Again and again the Bible teaches about the two   More…

“The False Arguments for the Modern Theory of Open Questions” by C.F.W. Walther

April 19th, 2013 10 comments

The below lengthy citation is taken from “The False Arguments for the Modern Theory of Open Questions” by Dr. CFW Walther and translated by William Arndt and Alexander Guebert. The article was originally published in the Concordia Theological Monthly 10 (1939) Nos. 4-11:254-262, 351-357, 415-420, 507-513, 587-595, 656-666, 752-759, 827-834 made available in a single document by Concordia Theological Seminary (link). I found this first part of Dr. Walther’s “Die falschen Stuetzen der modernen Theorie von den offenen Fragen, Lehre und Wehre” quite interesting and wholly relevant to today’s issues found in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and in particular   More…

Weasel Creeds and the devil’s tricks…

 St. Paul teaches that the Church is the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:12ff.).  Christ is not divided (1 Cor 1:13), nor should any division be found in His Church.  As the Psalmist declares, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” (Psa 133:1).  Unfortunately, theological and personal divisions between Christians abound.  This sad reality is acknowledged in the Church’s beloved Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”:  O Come, Desire of nations, bind In one the hearts of all mankind; Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, And be Thyself our King of Peace  Satan has two   More…

Steadfast in the Pew: Do We Really Want Reform?

February 27th, 2013 6 comments

Confessional Lutheranism during the middle to late 19th century, when the “New Measures” of Charles Finney were wreaking havoc within American Lutheranism, was threatened with extinction. At that time, American Lutheranism was undergoing an identity crisis and looked to Revivalism for the change believed necessary for their survival in the golden age of American expansion. One Lutheran not interested in following the pop-church fad of the day was Charles Porterfield Krauth, author of the incredibly brilliant tome, “The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology” (CPH, 2007). The American Lutherans of Krauth’s day wanted to look and sound like American Revivalistic Evangelicals   More…

Resisting the Court of Public Opinion

February 8th, 2013 21 comments

We Americans vote on everything.  We vote on who will be our next President, all the way down to who will be the next sheriff in Mayberry.  We even chose which Monopoly token to vote off the board!   These civil liberties can be a salutary right when exercised in the left hand kingdom.  However, when it comes to theology, the buck stops here.  Doctrinal decisions should be based solely on God’s Word as interpreted by the Lutheran Confessions, not by what the “majority,” or the “minority” think. (If you don’t understand the interpretive role of our Confessions, read Dr. C.F.W.   More…

Letters to the Editor: A Tale of Two Synods

December 11th, 2012 142 comments

Subscribers to the magazine Lutheran Witness, the official magazine of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod, are no doubt aware of recent improvements to that periodical. From clean and sharp graphics to new authors, Lutheran Witness has been putting out some high-quality material. The September 2012 edition, for example, gave a frank look at the “State of the Synod,” citing membership numbers and trends, the status of the synod’s financial position, education enrollment figures, and all sorts of other facts and figures that most members of LCMS congregations wouldn’t ordinarily know. And again to the credit both of Synod and   More…

Doctrine and Practice — Part 2 “Spiritual but not religious”

September 27th, 2012 30 comments

 For many years much of Lutheranism has suffered from a disconnect with regard to doctrine and practice and their relationship. A few years ago at a Circuit Winkel, a suggestion was made for a joint study of the then new CPH book, The Fire and the Staff (2004).  One of the pastors became visibly agitated; “Doctrine and practice have nothing to do with each other; why waste our time with a study like that?” What happens when doctrine and practice are separated?  Simply put, all kinds of naughtiness can and will creep into the church.  When practice alone is driving   More…

Worship Practices and Context

September 21st, 2012 31 comments

Some proponents of contemporary worship suggest that how best to deal with issues over differences about worship, is to first understand that worship practices, such as those found in the liturgy, are products of contextualization. “Contextualization” is a word having a meaning that isn’t at once apparent.  We want to ask, “What does that mean?” In general, contextualization refers to what is sometimes called “cultural bias.” A cultural bias is the subjective dimension to human conduct found in a community.  For example, a sociologist will look for patterns, traits, and practices that express this subjective dimension in a given culture.   More…

The Evangelical Lutheran Church- Doctrine and Practice (Part 1)

One of the first district pastors’ conferences that I ever attended, and certainly one that I will always remember, was in the late 80s in Omaha, Nebraska. There was much buzz about this specific conference because of the main presenter, Rev. David S. Luecke, and his recent book, Evangelical Style and Lutheran Substance (CPH 1988).  Lutheran Church Extension Fund had purchased and provided the book for everyone in attendance (along with George Barna’s Marketing the Church) and we were encouraged to read it before the conference. I must admit, at the time I didn’t fully grasp what all the fuss   More…

Doctrine means nothing when Practice can mean anything.

Recently I was discussing some things with a fellow pastor and I uttered the phrase above.  Many comments recently on this blog have been directed to the belief that solid Lutheran beliefs (expressed in the Book of Concord) can find their expression in a wide diversity of practices. These things remind me of the Coexist bumper stickers you see on cars.  The use a number of religious symbols to spell out the word.  Would an LCMS bumper sticker say the same thing, using symbols of organs, praise bands, vested pastors, polo and khaki pastors, pastors in pulpit, pastors wandering around   More…

“Pure Doctrine and Love for People” (1 John 4:1-11)

May 11th, 2009 1 comment

I don’t always post my sermons here, but I do occasionally, especially when they intersect with the particular interests of the Brothers of John the Steadfast. One such interest is “Defending and Promoting Confessional Lutheranism.” This sermon is from May 10, the Fifth Sunday of Easter. CH “Pure Doctrine and Love for People” (1 John 4:1-11) Sometimes we who insist on pure doctrine are accused of not caring for people: “You black-shirt round-collar types, all you care about is getting things right! You don’t care about people.” Pure doctrine–pure doctrine is seen as an outmoded concern. Doctrine is assumed and   More…