Comments for An international fraternity of confessional Lutheran laymen and pastors, supporting proclamation of Christian doctrine in the new media. Sat, 01 Oct 2016 03:04:54 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Closed Communion: Repentance and Faith by Charles Lehmann Sat, 01 Oct 2016 03:04:54 +0000 @CKR #13

Congregational membership in Lutheranism is simply a way to identify which pastor is responsible for the care of an individual soul.

Accordingly, fellowship is pastor to pastor. If I am in fellowship with your pastor, you may commune at my altar. Your congregational membership identifies which pastor I need to be in fellowship with to commune you.

Comment on The Lutheran Confessions – Why Do We Still Bother? by Carl H Fri, 30 Sep 2016 23:21:04 +0000 Luther says of those who follow the Fourth Commandment: “Not only shall they have bread, clothing, and money for a year or two, but long life, sustenance, and peace….”

Don’t those specifics go rather beyond what the Bible says?

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12

Is the promise vaguely about divine intervention for the benefit of the obedient, or does is it simply recognize the social connection between respecting authority and having opportunity, helping youth to understand that the commandment is not about parents just lording it over their children arbitrarily?

Fathers and mothers help prepare their children for participation in the community at large. Youth who respect their parents’ wisdom are better prepared to get along in the world. In parts of the Middle East still today, youth who run afoul of law and custom can be ostracized, imprisoned, maimed or killed.

Parents may admonish their children, “Brush your teeth. Finish school. Don’t drink and drive. Do your best. Be honest.” For obvious practical reasons, those who heed these kinds of admonishments are likely to be healthier and more prosperous than those who do not. And those who honor their elders in general and gain a reputation as “fine young men and women” will find their elders more willing to give them responsibility and provide them with opportunities to work and learn.

“What does this mean?” Perhaps: Honor your father and your mother, so that you can recognize and stay clear of many dangers in the world and find respect and opportunity in your community.

Comment on Closed Communion: Repentance and Faith by helen Fri, 30 Sep 2016 19:48:25 +0000 @CKR #18

The desire to guard the sacrament in these discussions supplants the desire to make disciples and bring more people to the altar.

The Sacrament needs no guard.
But “he that eats and drinks unworthily is guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord”. It is the potential communicant who is being guarded from sin, if the Pastor is doing his best to act responsibly.
In another place, “they [the pastors] watch for your souls, as they that must give account…”

A pastor should not, (although I have heard it) put the whole responsibility on the communicant.

Comment on Closed Communion: Repentance and Faith by CKR Fri, 30 Sep 2016 17:19:28 +0000 @Pastor Rojas+ #17

Agreed and I have said that I believe in closed communion. However, membership is about bureaucracy. As are synods, constitutions, by-laws, etc. They can be valuable tools but they are not the measure of anything. When we use them as indicators or tests, these act as vestiges of a “magisterium” that ought never to have corrupted the Church.

When reaching out to the unchurched (those who have no denominational clues), poorly churched, formerly churched, one finds among common threads notions of the Church as exclusive, after money, morally demanding. The idea that the Church exists to dispense grace doesn’t occur to them. Grooming them for “membership” is not the mission. The mission is baptizing and teaching. A person who has been baptized and, subsequently, properly taught (catechized), and satisfies the pastor that he believes needs no ritual acceptance, no numbered envelope, no requirement placed on him to receive the sacrament. If we do that then we are acting as a denomination and not in the sure faith that we are the Church.

So, when new people come in, we need to find ways to bring them to all the means of grace, the means God will use to train them up. One reason I love the Small Catechism is because it is so simple, easy teach, and is the very basics needed for one to approach the altar. the sooner we do this for each new person, the sooner all the means are being brought into that person’s life. The desire to guard the sacrament in these discussions supplants the desire to make disciples and bring more people to the altar.

Comment on Closed Communion: Repentance and Faith by Pastor Rojas+ Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:47:33 +0000 @CKR #13

“Denominations” aren’t scriptural either.

There are only churches that agree with God’s Word, and those that do not. Avoid the ones that do not teach God’s Word rightly, and call God a liar. Then, out of love, correct anyone who believes what false teachers teach contrary to the Word.

It’s not about bureaucracy; it’s about God’s Word. Closed Communion is the teaching of repentance.

Also, no one is demanding perfection. This is about repentance and faith. To insist on believing, teaching, and confessing lies about God is neither true repentance nor faith.

Comment on Closed Communion: Repentance and Faith by Pastor Rojas+ Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:40:32 +0000 @Ken Miller #4

Thank you! Iron sharpens iron.

I will be writing another article on sins of weakness and sins of intention, also.

Comment on Closed Communion: Repentance and Faith by Pastor Rojas+ Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:36:27 +0000 @RevJimO #9

1) I am quoting the pastors who taught me when I was younger, and also the pastors who are in the same District as I am. Sure, a number of pastors in this district are Confessional (I can count them on 10 fingers); but, the majority of them are not.

2) You say they practice “close communion,” because “It’s more about the idea that pastors are not to be policing people, and that the decision to receive the sacrament is an individual choice of faith.” This is a straw-man argument on your part. You’re equating the Biblical teaching of calling sinners to repentance with “policing people.” Although policemen do great work to keep people from harm, it’s clear that you are using this word pejoratively. So, with that being said, we are not telling people what they can and can’t do based on our own view point. It’s not an LCMS law; it’s God’s Law. The pastor is called to be faithful to God’s Word, and let that judge. Since the pastor cannot see the heart to judge it, he must judge what he can see: words and actions. Therefore, if someone speaks or acts contrary to God’s Word, then he should be judged, and corrected with God’s Word. If someone’s confession of faith calls God a liar, then, out of great love (and not ‘policing’), the pastor, along with other Christians who hear this, should call that person to repentance.

3) The decision to receive the sacrament is not an “individual choice of faith.” Paul, in writing 1 Corinthians, does not say it is an “individual choice of faith.” Paul instructs his congregation in 1 Corinthians 11, and he also prescribes to “let there be no divisions among you.” (1 Corinthians 1:10). Also, if this is about an “individual choice of faith,” then, which faith? Faith in Mohammed? Of course not. But, what about faith in a Jesus that is different from the Bible? What about a faith in a Jesus that does not condemn homosexuality or abortion? Is that the right faith? Sure, someone might have faith (fides qua); but, he should repent if it’s in the wrong faith (fides quae). If this confession becomes manifest, then it should be corrected…because we should actually believe in God and love our neighbor.

Comment on Pewcards for Africa by Rev. James May Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:35:18 +0000 The population of Africa is 1.216 billion. It is more than three times bigger than the United States. The Lutheran Church of Nigeria, only one country in Africa where they speak English, has nearly as many members as the LCMS, 2 million. The biggest problem of Africa is lack of education and educational resources. What is the hesitation of sending 1,500 pew cards to help teach Lutheran liturgy? Yes, we will also give them to Swahili speakers who know English as a second language (there are 7 million Lutherans in Tanzania and 6000 pastors) and to those we would teach in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, and other countries.

Comment on Closed Communion: Repentance and Faith by Ken Miller Fri, 30 Sep 2016 15:16:32 +0000 @Pastor Rojas #6

Thanks for the response, Pastor Rojas. And thank you for using their catechism to illustrate their teachings. It’s always good to learn something.

Comment on Closed Communion: Repentance and Faith by CKR Fri, 30 Sep 2016 14:08:27 +0000 @Robert Portier #12

Church “membership”, in the sense of belonging to a congregation, is not scriptural. It is a mechanism we have created often using a poorly termed rite of “confirmation” that, also, is not scriptural. No one makes a perfect confession of faith and no one ever makes a perfect confession of sin. No one perfectly receives absolution. The perfection lies in the forgiveness from God being perfect in spite of this. Discernment of Christ’s body is by faith, not words or reason. We believe it is his body because he is faithful and true and he has said so. Our faith is in Christ. Your argument demands that such faith be evidenced, that we see some indications of a man’s heart in his membership standing. In that case, it is not God who is being satisfied, but us.

A good pastor should seek reasons and ways to give, not to retain, and should not fall back on bureaucracy as an answer.

If you are taken to task, your argument fails a scriptural test and places a hurdle before someone who may have received faith. Please understand, I am not in favor of “open” communion but I am in favor of finding ways to teach and bring people to the altar more quickly with the basics of the catechism, no more, looking for faith to grow using the sacrament as part of the process, not as the end reward for study beyond these basics. We can do better than inventions like membership and confirmation toward this end.