The Sin of Niceness

“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (Revelation 3: 15-16) A dear friend … Continue reading

Martin Luther and the Enthusiasts-Part II

In this second post on this topic we will examine the basic teachings of Andreas Karlstadt and Thomas Müntzer in the early 1520s (part 1 can be found here).  Both men challenged Luther’s teachings on the Word and Sacraments. These … Continue reading

Is Missouri Lukewarm?

Has fidelity to the institution become more important than doctrine in the Missouri Synod? There are deep doctrinal divisions in the Missouri Synod today, divisions which are particularly evident in worship practices. Pr. Winter is correct: we do not agree … Continue reading

Introducing… The Church Growth Translation of the Bible!

Do you want to grow your congregation? It’s simple! Just follow these two easy steps. 1) Read the Bible. 2) Do the exact opposite. See! Easy peasy lemon squeezy. But don’t worry, if you’re so apathetic to the Bible that you won’t … Continue reading

Trinity: How Well Are You Loved?

“Mom always liked you best.” That was the signature line of the comedy act, the Smothers Brothers. In an interview by PBS, Tommy Smothers recalled how it started. He was the younger, dumber brother. Dick was the older, smarter brother. … Continue reading

Löhe on Koinonia, Novelty, and the “Modern” Pastor

A great deal of practical wisdom for the church today can be found in Wilhelm Löhe’s “Three Books about the Church.” In this first excerpt, Löhe considers the possibility that a communion might need pruning from time to time, especially … Continue reading

The Problem of Denominational Loyalty

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, … Continue reading

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

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

Resisting the Court of Public Opinion

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 … Continue reading

Letters to the Editor: A Tale of Two Synods

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 … Continue reading

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

 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 … Continue reading

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, … Continue reading

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 … Continue reading

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

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 … Continue reading