Good Stuff Found on the Web – Cyberbrethren

It’s been a while since we have promoted Pastor Paul McCain’s Cyberbrethren blog. If you aren’t a follower of this blog I would strongly recommend your adding it to your RSS feed reader! There is a ton of good stuff found on that blog each week. An example is the post below from 1845 showing how we never see anything new .. we are still fighting the problems that have always affected the church.

emotions_small-300x225Where is the Christian to look for assurance of God’s love? Many Christians think, and are encouraged by their church’s practices, to think that our assurance of God’s love for us and our status and standing before God is to be based on our emotional reactions and feelings. This is a dangerous trap. Here is how it was put a number of years ago, when a Lutheran commented on the problem with Christian churches that point people to their emotional reactions to God’s Word, rather than the objective assurance of the promises of God’s Word. One of the ongoing problems with much of American Protestantism is an emotion-based faith, rather than a means-of-grace faith. Here is why.

[Many American Christians] disregard the orderly means of grace, the Word and the Sacraments, and seek the assurance of divine grace and the validation of the divine working of grace in their soul not from out of the Word and Sacraments alone, but chiefly from the feelings of their hearts, which they infer have come down immediately from God. Consider what soul-care, or rather, soul-abuse comes from this. Let’s consider what happens in the case of many Christians. A person has himself baptized, certainly out of an honest longing for salvation and grace, then he’s told to give himself this witness that he’s longed for. When there is a longing after grace, that person is also ready for grace. Then that spark of faith should have been aroused and brought near, in order to be able to joyfully grasp hold of the great promises of God in Baptism. But instead of that, this poor little baptized fellow is now first cast into his own heart, into doubt about grace. That is, since the Holy Ghost is not jumping around in him, or bursting out in laughter, or giving evidence of his presence in some other “sign,” then he is forced to wrestle after the witness of the Holy Ghost. The poor fellow is thrown into anxiety and confusion. He dare not believe that he’s already received the witness of the Holy Ghost with Baptism. He satisfies himself with the outer ceremony and confesses that he has not yet received the witness, but he seeks it. So the poor fellow is misled, to turn with his trust away from the promises of the means of grace ordained by God and instead to trade them for his own deceptive heart. The comfort that baptism is for him is completely lost, and to him it is merely an external ceremony. And what significance can this ceremony have for him when it has not given him what is most important, the assurance of grace? Thus this kind operverse treatment of souls destroys every steadfast assurance on the Word and the promises of God and turns people over to the self-deception of their own hearts. The good fruits awakened through their preaching of repentance is returned again into its seed through their ignorant treatment of souls, and instead of a healthy, well formed man in Christ, he has yet to be born.


Pastor Schieferdecker, “A Critique of Methodism,” in Der Lutheraner, Volume 1, Number 17, April 1845 (Saint Louis, Missouri), translated by Pastor Joel Baseley. Edited by PTM.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at


Good Stuff Found on the Web – Cyberbrethren — 15 Comments

  1. I agree. I check out this website every day. I always refer it to other Christians, so that they can see the Scriptural basis for Lutheran theology and the richness of our great tradition!

  2. This site does have interesting topics, but the moderator carefully cherry picks which posts are allowed to see the light of day. Notice that usually only two to five surface out of undoubtedly many more that are submitted for each thread.

  3. At Rev. Baseley’s Mar V Publications web site, you can sign up for a FREE subscription to translations of Walther’s “Der Lutheraner” Newletters, and see a number of other translations of Lutheran manuscripts available for purchase.

  4. It bothers me as well how much the moderator of Cyberbrethern works to censor the response of his audience. The posts are usually great, so why not let them stand towering over their criticism?

  5. “If you want to advertise your opinions, get your own blog.”
    And if you do not moderate strictly, “Cyberbrethren” will say (on your site) things that you would never be permitted to say on his.

    [I’ve been “quarantined” once.
    We had a conversation last Sunday, though, but it was not meant for publication.]

    “Cyberstones”, OTOH, will cheerfully let you “hang yourself” in his space (or let other posters do it). I’ve done that, too. ;(

  6. > Cyberstones

    You talking about Cardinal’s site, or is there a hanging place I don’t know about?

  7. First offs .. here is not the place to talk about the moderation policy of any other blog. If you want to talk about our policy, go ahead.

    Second, the person who runs a blog site can run his site however he deems it works best for him/her. You have no right to assert that your comments should be published on someone else’s site. As helen said, “If you want to advertise your opinions, get your own blog”.

    Lastly, sometimes it is frustrating from the moderator standpoint to have an open comment policy, as it is SO easy for commentors to steer the conversion off the topic of the post. Just look at this post — we are talking about commenting policy instead of how nothing ever changes in the church — people were looking for emotional highs back in 1854 just like they are today.

  8. You are right, Norm…. six posts and three of them “off topic”, busily talking about who put it up instead of what was said… and I’m one of them! Mea culpa!

    [You’d think this was Lutherquest!]

  9. “here is not the place to talk about the moderation policy of any other blog.”

    I would disagree with this. If a blog is being recommended, I think it’s fair to take note of its moderation policy.

    “Second, the person who runs a blog site can run his site however he deems it works best for him/her. You have no right to assert that your comments should be published on someone else’s site.”

    True. But again, I don’t see how that means it is not fair game to point out the publishing policy. Doing so is just a statement of fact.

    And I don’t think any of this is off-topic. If we were talking about the moderation policy of some other blog, that would be off-topic. But Cyberbrethren was the topic of this post. To discuss its moderation policy is fair game.

  10. I just noticed this post, and so thanks for “plugging” Cyberbrethren.

    Just a word of comment about commenting on my blog.

    “FrDaniel” is one of those folks who are frustrated that I don’t allow him to comment on my blog. And why is that? FrDaniel abandoned his call as a Lutheran pastor and swam the Bosporus and expects me to offer allow him to advocate for Eastern Orthodoxy. It’s just not going to happen.

    “MartinLuther” apparently has experienced similar frustrations. It grieves me to know Martin Luther is not entirely happy with my blog!

    It never ceases to amuse me when people complain about my blog commenting policy. I reserve the right to post as is, edit for publication, or reject comments. My blog clearly states what its purpose is, and how I handle comments. I’ll post comments disagreeing with my posts, but I won’t permit people to use my blog to advance their agenda/platform or to grind their axes.

    Here is that explanation:

    If you have a comment to share, feel free to post it. I moderate comments and reserve the right to reject or edit comments. I think of comments as letters to the editor of a newspaper: those that are signed, short, to the point, and make a positive and/or interesting contribution to the post’s topic are much more likely to be be approved than those that aren’t. If you are looking for a place to argue your point ad infinitum, you won’t find Cyberbrethren to be your cup of tea, or coffee.

    I don’t know how to say this without sounding unkind, but it is basically what Mr. Fisher said, if anyone is upset that I did not post their comment, or allow it to stand as submitted, they are entirely free to start their own blog and voice their opinions to their heart’s content.

    Thanks for reading, and for the plug, Mr. Fisher.

  11. “I’ll post comments disagreeing with my posts, but I won’t permit people to use my blog to advance their agenda/platform or to grind their axes.”

    And in my experience, Pastor McCain, you also won’t post comments that point out a falsehood on your part, nor will you correct the falsehood or respond to private correspondence asking for some explanation of your action. That is why I for one, have a problem with your moderation policy.

  12. I disagree with “A Steadfast Lutheran”. I posted this information on Cyberbrethren because of the quality of the posts, not the quality of the comments.

    This is not the place to discuss the comment policy of any other blog. Please cease doing so.

  13. I think Rev. McCain has a strong editorial policy on his blog and I have and continue to urge the administrators at this blog to encourage their readers to attach their actual names to their words, rather than using anonymity or pseudonyms. This is especially needed when a reader is calling a brother or sister in Christ to repentance, which happens here from time to time.

  14. I find Cyberbrethren in specific and Rev. McCain as a blogger to post some of the best stuff out there. I really enjoy that as far as Lutherans he seems to rile up the reformed bloggers, and being only so much time in the day I assume one can only respond to so many comments. Im a big fan of the Iron sharpens Iron approach and although the good Pastor doesn’t get drawn in with a little blog hopping you can see the discussions advance (usually with other lutherans in the comm box) see the recent post with Frank Turk at Higher Things,

    I thank Cyberbrethren for keeping things interesting in the blogosphere

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