Tell the Good News About Jesus. Wyoming District being “missional”

Every year clergy and laity from Wyoming (and some from other districts as well) converge on Casper, Wyoming to hear speakers on topics of Evangelism.  Yes, confessionals from a confessional district learning about Evangelism.  This year I had the opportunity to attend the convocation, listen to the speakers, and even moderate some of the panel discussion.

This year’s speakers were:

Rev. Clint Poppe of Good Shepherd Lutheran in Lincoln, NE, chairman of the ACELC

Rev. Dr. Ron Garwood, President Emeritus of the Wyoming, Associate Pastor of Mount Hope Lutheran in Casper, WY, Board of Directors member for CTS, Fort Wayne.

Rev. Jeremy Mills of Epiphany Evangelical Lutheran Church of Westfield, IN

The speakers provided a good smattering of situations, from ages to styles of congregations that they serve, they really helped bring many good topics to the table.  Rev. Poppe provided some excellent theology for mission and in particular stressed that the Church is about the forgiveness of sins.  He also set up a good framework of using the Augsburg Confession articles I – VI for evangelism (that AC VI is where it fits, as a good work, but always must follow the teachings of the previous five).  Dr. Garwood provided some excellent practical tips for congregational efforts at evangelism, including suggestions at member assimilation and so forth.  Rev. Mills brought good thoughts to the table on taking good/discarding the bad in regards to modern “evangelism” efforts.  He has been exposed to many of the modern church planting techniques as his congregation is a church plant faithfully growing thanks to God’s blessing.  He was able to show some common problems with modern evangelism and church planting schemes.

During the banquet on Friday evening the group assembled gave thanks to God for the work of Rev. Phil Grovenstein, Rev. David Londenberg and also Delano and Linda Meyer in the country of Sierra Leone.  Many pastors from the Wyoming District go over to Sierra Leone and  teach there as a part of Project Education: Sierra Leone.  See the project’s website here; facebook page here.  That project also brings in pastors from Liberia as well and there are hopes to expand the project to that country as well.  The banquet was a fine way to show respect to those who came before and served tirelessly in a field that many would run from faster than Nineveh.

The worship was solidly liturgical and Lutheran, and many people gathered for Compline on Friday night with Rev. Marcus Zill accompanied by Dr. Steven Hoffman, the Kantor of King of Glory Lutheran in Cheyenne, WY.  Morning Prayer was also great, led by Rev. Paul Rosburg with preaching by Dr. Garwood.

For all of those who complain that confessionals are not interested in evangelism, this longstanding convocation debunks that myth.  Confessionals want people to meet the right Jesus and realize that our Lutheran beliefs will direct our Lutheran outreach.  It is all there, in our beliefs – no need to drink from other wells.

It was very nice to be at an evangelism conference where the only person snapping and telling of people going to hell was the guy demonstrating that as false teaching (thank you Rev. Poppe)!  It was also nice to attend one where the church and what happens in her walls was considered sacred time and space, rather than something to change in order to bring in the profanity of the world.  It was nice to see the Gospel being proclaimed to people in order to motivate them to good works rather than the deadly beating stick of the Law that so many evangelism teachers use.

 

 

About Pastor Joshua Scheer

Pastor Joshua Scheer is the Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He is also the Editor-in-chief of Brothers of John the Steadfast. He oversees all of the work done by Steadfast Lutherans. He is a regular host of Concord Matters on KFUO. Pastor Scheer and his lovely wife Holly (who writes and manages the Katie Luther Sisters) have four children and enjoy living in Wyoming.

Comments

Tell the Good News About Jesus. Wyoming District being “missional” — 72 Comments

  1. For the sake of clarity I am leaving the topic of my of my old sinful Adam out of this question.

    I am unsure what you mean by this. Your initial statement is “As a Christian” which is to say “As a person who is a new creation with an old Adam” — so…you can’t leave the sinful old Adam out of the question. He is always there.

    As Christians we are:
    a) motivated, taught, guilted or frightened by the Law into doing good works.

    This is true. It is no doubt true. Whether this is appropriate or not is up for discussion.

    b) given Jesus’s good works to do by the working of the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace.

    Jesus’ good works? I am unsure what that means. If they are Jesus’ good works, why isn’t He doing them?

    I would say God gives us the opportunity to do good works, yes.

    c) made into new creations at Baptism who work as God’s breathed word creates us to work.

    This is true.

    So the answer I would give would be F (a&c)

  2. @LW #49

    FRANK
    Dear brother LW! Let´s agree to bear with each other ok? There is much to learn isn´t there?

    BROTHER LW
    Please bear with me while I ask the following multiple choice question to help me better understand sanctification and good works. For the sake of clarity I am leaving the topic of my of my old sinful Adam out of this question.

    FRANK
    Leaving out the topic of your Old Adam adds clarity in what way in your thinking? That part of sanctification that we can see and do, ie the “broad meaning” of sanctification, or the Law part of Sanctification is ALL you can see or do dear LW. And the Law part of sanctification is all about only one thing: death and mortification! Lutherans seek their death and death alone in ALL they can see and do that is called sanctification. There is no life in what we can see and do. And this deathing and mortification IS a work of the Holy Spirit as well! The Holy Spirit is killing our Old Adam with the Law. Read FC VI “the [Lutheran] Third Use of the Law to see how our Confessions present this.

    Life is alone in the Works of Another. It is alone the hiding of all we can see and do in the Works of Another and faith in the Works of Another, apart from our seeing and doing that is sanctification in the proper, or narrow or strict sense of that word.

    I hope that part has what you can clarity. If we leave out the Old Adam then sanctification is about nothing we can see or do. It is alone about the regeneration that is alone and only about invisible faith, apart from works. Only when we bring into the discussion your Old Adam can we talk about things we can see and do, ie our Good Works. And those are ALL extorted out of our Old Adam by the carrot and stick of the Law. That part is all about death. There is no Life there, although there IS life for others in their earthly existence in that deathing of us.

    BROTHER LW
    As Christians we are:
    a) motivated, taught, guilted or frightened by the Law into doing good works.

    FRANK
    True! Only a Christian can be truly terrified by the Law in his conscience. Here is what our confessions say about this:

    Formula of Concord Epitome “Law and Gospel”:

    8] 7. As to the revelation of sin, because the veil of Moses hangs before the eyes of all men as long as they hear the bare preaching of the Law, and nothing concerning Christ, and therefore do not learn from the Law to perceive their sins aright, but either become presumptuous hypocrites [who swell with the opinion of their own righteousness] as the Pharisees, or despair like Judas, Christ takes the Law into His hands, and explains it spiritually, Matt. 5:21ff ; Rom. 7:14. And thus the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all sinners [ Rom. 1:18 ], how great it is; by this means they are directed [sent back] to the Law, and then first learn from it to know aright their sins-a knowledge which Moses never could have forced out of them.

    9] Accordingly, although the preaching of the suffering and death of Christ, the Son of God, is an earnest and terrible proclamation and declaration of God’s wrath, whereby men are first led into the Law aright, after the veil of Moses has been removed from them, so that they first know aright how great things God in His Law requires of us, none of which we can observe, and therefore are to seek all our righteousness in Christ:

    10] 8. Yet as long as all this (namely, Christ’s suffering and death) proclaims God’s wrath and terrifies man, it is still not properly the preaching of the Gospel, but the preaching of Moses and the Law, and therefore a foreign work of Christ, by which He arrives at His proper office, that is, to preach grace, console, and quicken, which is properly the preaching of the Gospel.

    This is the preaching of the Law that Reason cannot know. It is a “spiritual” preaching that is not about what we can do or not do note. And … note that only when one is regenerated can one truly fear God and be terrified as to ALL that one can see and do.

    Only the regenerate can do three things:
    1) accept God´s judgement of sin and be terrified.
    2) not flee that judgement by attempting to work or do more calling it “sanctification” perhaps even!
    3) hide ALL our works (that now terrify us to behold!) in the Works of Another!
    4) Consider all our working and doing now to be ALL about OUR death for the creaturely good of OTHERS and their earthly life. So we are free from the yoke of the Law in order to become slaves to the needs of others as was our dear Lord Jesus.

    Remember Luther saying in the Small Catechism that we should FEAR, love and trust God? Fear means exactly that. Fear.

    So here now Luther in the Small Catechism´s Preface:

    So, too, you must urge well the Fourth Commandment among the children and the common people, that they may be quiet and faithful, obedient and peaceable, and you must always adduce many examples from the Scriptures to show how God has punished or blessed such persons.

    and this gem….

    Especially should you here urge magistrates and parents to rule well and to send their children to school, showing them why it is their duty to do this, and what a damnable sin they are committing if they do not do it. For by such neglect they overthrow and destroy both the kingdom of God and that of the world, acting as the worst enemies both of God and of men. And make it very plain to them what an awful harm they are doing if they will not help to train children to be pastors, preachers, clerks [also for other offices, with which we cannot dispense in this life], etc., and that God will punish them terribly for it.

    So then: As Christians we are indeed, motivated, taught, guilted or frightened by the Law into doing good works ACCORDING TO OUR OLD ADAM. Note that all we can see and do in our bodies is Old Adam.

    According to the Believer, insofar as he is regenerated New Man , the believer does good works with no effort at all! “spontaneously…. as light from sun… automatically… as the angels do…” (cf: formula of concord VI “the [Lutheran ] Third Use of the Law”) . We believe this to be so because God´s Word tells us this is so. We cannot see this dear LW. This is an article of invisible faith!

    BROTHER LW
    b) given Jesus’s good works to do by the working of the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace.

    FRANK. true! The word for this is regeneration. And in the narrow, proper , gospel meaning of “sanctification” there is nothing at all to do! No effort required! it happens as “light from sun, as the angels do… automatically… spontaneously” Think here of Christ in the Blessed Incarnation Brother LW. Jesus needed no “gospel encouragement” or effort to do good works. They simply happened in him! Why? He had the same heart that we have as new man.

    I don´t like your formulation here. I ´please hope you are not offended at my saying that. Here is why I say it: It is not wrong what you say, but in a reformed context it could be easily misunderstood. And we all live in a reformed religious context in the usa. Better to stick to how our beloved Confessions present the doctrine of Sanctification I would suggest! it is not just the content of doctrine we should make our reason captive to. it is also, I suggest the form of sound doctrine we need to discipline ourselves to conform to.

    BROTHER LW
    c) made into new creations at Baptism who work as God’s breathed word creates us to work.

    FRANK
    This is most certainly true! NEW creations. Ex Nihilo! The old must die. Sanctification involves both death and resurrection as the small catechism explains in the section on baptism. there is where one finds the Lutheran teaching on sanctification even though that word “sanctification” is no where used. Sanctification is what Baptism “works, delivers and gives” . This is sanctification in the narrow or proper sense.

    But then the life of a christian is about the death of Old Adam . This is what Baptism “signifies” it is about New Man now using the Law as a club to kill his Old Adam! And this deathing of Old Adam is ALL the believer can see and do that one calls sanctification. that other part of sanctification is ALONE of invisible faith. It is nothing that can be seen or done!

    BROTHER LW
    d) all of the above?

    FRANK
    ALL of the above!

    I hope that clarifies things! Thanks for your question!

  3. @Mark Louderback #51

    Brother LW. This is a good response. And you can do some further digging in the places in the Lutheran Confessions I have quoted for you.

    Luther in a sermon on the two kingdoms states that learning to do God´s Law willingly and joyfully is useful in that it avoids God´s punishment and allows us to enjoy the blessings God has given us. But all this will end with our earthly existence. Our doing Good Works has no teleological end other than the death of Old Adam. The teleological effect of ALL our doing (read Law) is death.

    So for Lutherans, sanctification, as to what we can see and do is ALL about death. There is no Life there, even if there IS life for the creaturely comfort and aid of our neighbor in our death.

    Therefore Luther says: “life is death”. “Life is mortification (latinate for ‘deathing’).”

    This does not mean that death is Life.

    if we want to deal with God we need to look beyond anything we can see or do! And this means to hide all we can see and do in the Works of Another.

    Reformed and evangelicals look for Life in that part of sanctification that is about what we can see and do and effort at. This is a confusion of Law and Gospel.

  4. @Gene White #50

    I missed some comments you had earlier — and a little more use of tags for bold or italics would be helpful. for bold and to turn it off.

    Anyway, you say:

    There is a marked difference in “holding the office of Evangelist” and “participation”in evangelism activities. The first case is a called ministry office, the second case is the laity participating within their vocations, whatever they may be, to love their neighbors and invite them to “come and see,” as appropriate. When they come and see they hear the Law and Gospel message being proclaimed by the resident evangelist, the pastor. That is another important reason why Law and Gospel, in that order, needs to be a part of every sermon as the pastor will never know who is in the pews as a result of a come and see invitation. If I took your analogy to the field of medicine the mother who applied a band aid to a child could be called a Doctor.

    And I shall note what I said earlier:

    #2: Confessionals sometimes seem to think that lay people are excused from evangelism. So, we get statements like “Show me one scripture passage that tells lay people to evangelize” or “Lay people have vocation!”
    Missionals believe that the laity have a vocation of evangelist (which is promptly twisted by confessionals to mean that laity are pastors, which is not what is meant).

    This is such an example of this. You said “We are not evangelists in any sense of the word…” — but what you mean is “We are not pastors in any sense of the word.”

    You say there is a distinction between ““holding the office of Evangelist” and “participation”in evangelism activities” — and that is absolutely correct.

    I just doubt strongly that you can say the latter “is not in any sense of the word” an evangelist. As I pointed out, here in America, that does not seem to be the case at all.

    A mother is not a doctor because being a doctor has a certain legal recognition in America. A doctor in another country who comes over to America is not a “doctor”.

    I think it is close to the word “healer”. It is akin to saying “There is no way that you can call a mother a “healer” because only doctors are “healers”.” But here in America, that is not how we use the word healer.

    So, yes, lay people are evangelists. In fact, to be a Christian means that you have the vocation of “evangelist” (along with spouse, child, citizen, etc.)

    But whatever you want to call it — it is just a matter of semantics. The point remains: laity are called to be faith-sharers. They have a vocation to talk about Jesus.

    All good practices don’t flow directly from Scripture, but they good because they support, or at least don’t conflict with Scripture. We are talking Adiaphora here.

    Mmmmmmmmm….I feel as though you are flip-flopping on your position here. I feel as though you are now backing off your earlier words about the connection of worship with the OT.

    And, I disagree — all good practices DO flow directly from Scripture. Which is why worship is pretty much based on Scripture — prayer, sermon, readings, sacraments — all of these come directly from Scripture.

    Now yes, we can shift the order around and the like. That certainly is true. Which brings me to Adiaphora — what do you mean by that? I’ve found people have differing definitions for it.

    What I was trying to get across to you is that we carry on the practice of having an altar because we know about the tie to Sacrifice, we carry on the practice of candles as a tie to the Menorah the only true light, the Laver via the baptismal font, etc.

    I’m not sure I’m buying this. Maybe the altar, not the candles and the Menorah, no, and not the Laver either. I’m not buying it…but I’m not entirely rejecting it as well…

    I’d have to think about that.

    You keep talking about the language as the only thing that needs to change as far as practice goes, if that is so, how is it that we all use English in our services and are discussing this now?

    Uh, we DON’T all use English. The Spanish congregation I was previously partnered with didn’t use English.

    but what is it that makes your services contemporary?

    Music, the way that we actually do stuff like confession and the like — changes we make. That sorta thing.

    Perhaps you would be good enough to send me an outline of the services you are talking about or a service bulletin?

    Sorry, I don’t keep that from my travels.

    They are looking for an emotional experience, not a two-way worship experience.

    I’m sure that you can find plenty of people who like peppy music but are looking for a two-way worship experience.

    Unfortunately, the substitution is with contemporary praise music which little to no Scripture in it.

    I think most contemporary music is Scriptural.

    Many teach a doctrine that is not Lutheran, if you look at what is available across the Christian Music market.

    Sure. That is like saying “Most hymns teach decision theology.” That is entirely true — the majority of hymns are baptist because there are simply that many more baptist hymns out there.

    But that does not equate to “Most hymns in the Lutheran hymnbook teach decision theology.” Why? Because we select our hymns to have them teach what we believe.

    Same with CoWo.

    We must be looking at two different worlds when it comes to what is going on in contemporary worships in Lutheran churches..

    I’d say that was true. When I was in PLI I went to two churches during the year and saw their worship services and met with their staff. So I visited a few. I’ve also seen what others do in my circuit and district. I’m not saying I have seen a majority of the services in the LCMS, but I’ve had a good smattering. I think most are pretty recognizably Lutheran.

    But your mileage may vary. 🙂

  5. @fws #53

    Luther in a sermon on the two kingdoms states that learning to do God´s Law willingly and joyfully is useful in that it avoids God´s punishment and allows us to enjoy the blessings God has given us. But all this will end with our earthly existence. Our doing Good Works has no teleological end other than the death of Old Adam. The teleological effect of ALL our doing (read Law) is death.

    Luther says a lot of things which are exaggerations. It is part of his charm. 🙂

    But love of our neighbor here on earth — being an answer to a prayer as we serve others in our vocation — is that really death? I understand talking about a teleological end — but does my neighbor who prays for their daily bread give a crap about their teleological end that day — or do they just want me to not spit in their meal?

    Do you hear what I’m saying? I’m going to be with my mother forever. That doesn’t mean I don’t care whether the doctor botches her surgery or not.

    I want her to live.

    The doctor who is living out vocation wants her to live as well — so he/she does not operate drunk or on medication, etc. That sanctification leads to my mom living a good longer life.

    I know you say There is no Life there, even if there IS life for the creaturely comfort and aid of our neighbor in our death. but I just don’t feel as though you are adequately speaking to the importance of the creaturely comfort and aid.

    Eternal life does not begin after we die. We ARE living right now. And right now we do give life to others — we help them life and live abundantly as God has in plan. And when we all die, then there will be no sin to worry about any more.

    You say if we want to deal with God we need to look beyond anything we can see or do!

    And I don’t feel that is a Scriptural position — because looking to God means loving God — and that means loving our neighbor. Which is exactly something that we see and do. In fact, when we show that love to them, they will see Christ in us. So, looking at our neighbor in their actions will give us a view of God as well.

    I understand that we do not look for Life — for eternal life — through our actions — it is a gift of God— but nor would I say that reformed and evangelicals do.

    Does this make sense?

  6. @Mark Louderback #54
    Sorry about the bold problem. I am not sure of the protocol for these long embedded discussions. That being said, I am starting fresh on a couple of points.

    1. We do live in two different worlds concerning what we have observed in Lutheran contemporary worship.

    2. What is your opinion of so-called Lutheran churches that have absolutely no appearance of being Lutheran, like the Alley Church et. el?

    3. I totally disagree with you about laity have a vocation of evangelism, could you please quote where you are getting this? Evangelist is a called office of the Public Ministry, sometimes to be a organizing a new congregation that will someday become self-sufficient, or serving in the field evangelizing people. Lutheran makes no mention of this being a vocation of the laity. I stand by my band-aid story.

    4. You didn’t answer my question about what point of view on contemporary worship you are following, or are you doing what you do as an independent thinking?

    4. One needs to be careful about what is called a hymn, that is certain. From that listing I would exclude what is called Gospel Songs. Note they are not called hymns because the appeal is more emotional than Scriptural, and yes, they teach a non-Lutheran theology. That we seem to agree on. LSB is pretty clean in this respect, but not 100% from what I hear from the critics, but no Lutheran hymnal in modern history can make that claim either, I don’t believe. The contemporary praise music is another matter and they don’t teach Scripture, or a Law and Gospel message, except in rare cases. In these latter years it has only gotten worse, because they are choosing to stay with what is new, for the sake of being new and with it. I gave an example of first hand knowledge on this point in an earlier response.

    5. I never claimed that there was a Scriptural tie to OT worship practices or ceremonial law. I was hoping for a comment back on my what I said about Calvin.

    That being said, I am preparing for a trip and will need to end this discussion, however, I would appreciate your responses to the numbered points above.

  7. @Mark Louderback #51
    @fws #52

    Dear Rev. Louderback and Frank,
    Thanks for bearing with me. I apologize for doing such a poor job of communicating what I am trying to say. I am trying to better understand what Scripture teaches about how or why the regenerate man does good works. I am not sure if we do good works because we are motivated to do them or if we simply do them because we are made a new creation in our baptism and thus do his will or if it is a combination of the two or something else.

    I know I can’t separate the old Adam from the new even though I would like to. I realize I will not be rid of the old sinful man until my body is dead and buried. I understand that my old Adam will do nothing but reject God’s Word and rebel against Him until that time. At the same time how am I to understand myself as one who has been baptized into Christ and thus given the gifts of new life in Him. As a new man can I hear the Law as sweet words to my ears because Jesus has declared me righteous for His sake and made me one with Him or does the old Adam prevent this? Jesus makes me one with Him in His body through the means of grace so is it wrong to say Jesus’s works are mine and my works are His? As I understand it I have been credited for Jesus’s perfect life including all of his works which he has done and still does. Our good works are His good works which he directs and carries out through the power of the Holy Spirit. My sinfulness and sinful works are also his as he chose to bear them for me and die for them once and for all on the cross.

    I am not sure how good works can come out of the law driving us to guilt or terror. This motivation seems to imply that good works are being done for the wrong reason and thus not very good works at all. Guilt and terror sound like good tools for killing the old Adam but not good for creating good works. If you do the right thing for the wrong reason is it still a good work?

    I am still not sure if God motivates us to do good works or if He simply declares us righteous for Christ’s sake and accepts our filthy rag works on His account? Thanks for sharing your quote from Luther, “life is death.” Life is not about me, it is about me constantly dying to myself because life is really about Christ for me and my neighbor.

    Thanks for the discussion.
    LW

  8. @Mark Louderback #55

    @LW #57

    I am not sure how good works can come out of the law driving us to guilt or terror. This motivation seems to imply that good works are being done for the wrong reason and thus not very good works at all. Guilt and terror sound like good tools for killing the old Adam but not good for creating good works. If you do the right thing for the wrong reason is it still a good work?

    a loaf of bread to a starving man is God’s Fatherly Goodness and Mercy being done by Old Adam literally extorted or bribed out of him by the Holy Spirit by the stick and the sweet carrot of the Law.

    So two things are the same here. 1) Good Works, whether forced out of our old adam by the law or done spontaneously by the new man are BOTH Fatherly Goodness and Mercy being made to happen by God himself.

    And that is why the new man good works are invisible! they are indistinguishable from those good works of the pagan old adam that is in all of us and is in the unbeliever.

    It is not our internal motive that makes a work a good work or a bad work. it is the work itself according to our Lutheran Confessions. And so it is not the works done nor even our motive for doing them that makes a man holy. What makes a man holy is ALONE that the believer hides ALL his own works inside the Works of Another and trusts in those Works of Another ALONE when dealing with God and presenting his own works and life as absolutely spotless and holy before God . And so our Formula of Concord “on the [Lutheran] Third use of the law” declares that the difference between men is in no way found in their works but in the heart of the person doing them.

    now then. our motives are something we do! We strive to do what we do for the right motive, trusting in Christ and doing our good works without thought of reward or appeasing the wrath of God. And we always, always fail at that? We have to admit that if the Law of God did not exist, constantly accusing and killing us, our Old Adam heart would prefer to do the opposite of God’s Will.

    Indeed , ALL sin we commit is willful sin. No man ever sins unless he is committed to that sin heart, mind body and soul. This is Old Adam. And so the new man does what? he takes up the Law and kills the old adam!

    How does he do that? he does it in exactly the same way a pagan knows to do. Aristotle says that we become virtuous by practicing doing what a virtuous man would do until it becomes a habit. and we use our reason and love to control and reign in our “natural” appetites” or baser instincts driven by our emotions. This is what a virtuous person practices every day to become virtuous in his actions towards himself and others.

    Here is the problem: many christians believe that this practice is somehow sanctification in the sense that it is the Holy Spirit doing it and not us. But even pagans know they need to do this. And the virtuous ones often do this better than christians do!

    And yes, the bible does call this sanctification in the broad sense. broad sense meaning that we call the first 4 chapters of the new testament the Holy Gospels, but they, of course contain Law and Gospel, and so strictly or properly speaking they are not “the Gospel”. But we need to see that this is “sanctification” not because it is any different either in internal motive or act or emotion than what pagans do. So how is it different for christians?

    We dont trust in what we do as something to appease the just wrath of God. We know that Only the Works of Another can do that. And when we see our works, now as christians, we are terrified at what we see! We accept God’s judgement that even though our works may be very good indeed, we see that our heart is truly not in it and we are condemned.

    but we no longer need to allow the Law to accuse our conscience! why? ALL our works are hidden within the Works of Another. It is in those works alone that we trust.

    so when satan comes and accuses us with the Law we tell him this; ” you are right! Why? Gods Law tells me this. but! BUT! Gods Word also tells me that Christ came and died precisely for sinners like me! and I dont trust in what I do or want to do or my willpower or best intentions. I trust alone in the Works of Another and they cover me! so go back to hell where you belong. you no longer have any power to accuse me!”

    bless you.

  9. @LW #57

    Good works can only come out of our old adam by threats, punishments or bribery . the law also acts as a sweet carrot. as in “get up and get to work so you can buy that nice thing you want”. unfortunately there is no other way. this is God working his Goodness and Mercy out of our old adam to make us serve others. it is about our death.

    pastor lauderbach: the catechism in the section on baptism states that baptism signifies a life of a christian deathing his old adam. the words used are not “life is mortification” but that is the clear sense of that part of the small catechism. this is not an exageration I would invite you to consider dear pastor. this is what our confessions teach us to believe about the life of a believer. In all we can visibly see and do, including our emotions thinking and all our efforts both in action thought and word and emotionally, we are talking about our Old Adam doing. and he needs the law constantly applied to him to behave. there is no other way.

    so the new man? he now participates in that killing that the holy Spirit does using the Law in order to produce all the gifts that are Fatherly Goodness and Mercy that are listed in the first article of the small catechism!

    note that those gifts that God forces out of all of our Old Adams are done by and for the unworthy (sinners), even for those who do not pray (“indeed without our prayer”) and… “even for all the wicked ” (4th petition, even for those who are actively seeking to
    subvert God’s will that his Goodness and Mercy be done among men, which includes all of us in our old adam yes?)

    So even for the unbaptized and the old adam in the baptized, Goodness and Mercy depends entirely upon the workings of God. He rules in two kingdoms. and in the one kingdom he rules using the Law. and then in the other Kingdom he rules alone , in the hearts of men regenerated, alone through invisible faith alone in Christ alone.

    it is God doing the doing in both kingdoms even though it appears that man is doing everything because what man does is ALL we can see and do and observe with our reason and senses. only in God’s Word can the baptized see that “in, with and under” ALL we can see , which is ALL about the Law at work, which is ALWAYS then about death and being accused (the law always accuse. the law ALWAYS accuses and kills) is God at work. and even in the unbaptized he WILL make his Goodness and Mercy happen whether we do it willingly or he needs to force it out of us!

    so we should learn to joyfully do this Goodness and Mercy for our neighbor so that God does not need to come and make us do it with punishments and suffering untill we submit andf do this will of God. So we need to fear God and not do contrary to his Will this means precisely according to our Catechism! so fear of God and not only love of God is our motive for doing Goodness and Mercy for others, which is what the Law ultimately exists to produce.

  10. https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=16796#comment-281133
    and https://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=16796#comment-281250

    LW and rev Lauderback

    We are really asking this question arent we: “now that we are christian, what is it that is supposed to be different about our life?” “what is it we are to expect to see different in our lives?”

    I suggest that the answer is this:

    The small catechism on baptism tells us that Baptism signifies or witnesses that our earthly life is now ALL about mortification and death. It tells us that we are to daily drown (ie kill!) our Old Adam by contrition (grinding him down) and repentence.

    Repentence is defined in our Confessions, in the broad sense of both law and Gospel as our accepting the judgement of God upon all we can see and do and as a result being terrified at the sight of all we see and do and so desisting from trusting in any of that. Isaiah tells us that even our best righeousness, our best sanctification that is our effort is the moral equivalent of a used tampon. Only the baptized can accept this judgement of God.

    So our life looks exactly like the life of any virtuous pagan. we practice being virtuous by doing what a virtuous person would do until that practice becomes habitual or second nature.

    So what is the difference then between the baptized and the unbaptized?

    ONLY this: the unbaptized looks for Life in this mortification of the flesh. Reason accepts that God demands this sacrifice. And God does demand this sacrifice that we call justice. Justice demands that someone dies in some fashion when transgression of the Law happens. And the unbaptized looks for some “teleological” or eternal consequence in his or her keeping of the Law and doing the sacrifice of justice the Law demands. So for the unbaptized doing the sacrifice of justice, of keeping the law = Life!

    But even though God demands this sacrifice we know as Justice, it is not what he desires! God desires the death of no man. God wills to usher in a new earth where the Law and what the law does… Justice, aka mortification and death, are no longer necessary to produce what he really wants. What is it that he wants? he wants mercy and goodness to happen among men. He wants not the sacrifice of the Law but the fruit that it produces in Old Adam. That fruit is that Goodness and Mercy be done. Sacrifice alone without the fruit of Mercy and goodness for neighbor is moral masturbation. it is useless and it is the idolatry of presenting our works rather than, alone the Works of Another.

    And in the new creation, and in the new man, Goodness and Mercy flows out like light from sun , automatically, spontaneously and as the angels do it. There is no effort or work required at all for this Goodness and mercy to happen! it just is. Think of Christ in the Blessed Incarnation for a perfect picture of what this looks like. Jesus did not have to work at being good or chose to be good. He simply was, in his person and heart, good. And so goodness and mercy simply flowed out of him. there was no other possibility. and our new man is the same way. We know this because the bible tells us this is so about our new man. what we can evidentially see in our life looks like the struggle of killing old adam. That is all we can see.

    So now what is it that the christian life looks like? the christian will be found killing his old adam relentlessly, and more, he will be doing this not as an exercise that is complete of itself, he will do this killing precisely to force his old adam to do mercy to others. Remember mercy is always , by definition the opposite of what we deserve. what we deserve is justice. we deserve the death that justice demands.

    And so the christian looks for his death in life and nothing that is Life. And he looks, alone, for Life Eternal, by having his own doing and life hidden within the Life, Works and Person of Another! That is where the believer looks for Life. In his baptism. and then his baptism signifies the death that we accept and carry out only in faith that our Life is nowhere to be found in that death that is ALL we can see and do. See the difference now? No you dont! it is nothing that can be seen. It is “in with and under” all we can see and do. Jesus says “the kingdom comes in a way that cannot be seen” . You as a pastor are driven to administer word and sacrament and baptize and administer the holy supper and absolution in your old adam by the punishing Law. And then , in with and under that, the Holy Spirit works, through the words of the Gospel alone, to produce unseen faith. But all you can see and do as a pastor is about your death that is the fertilizer that produces the fruit of Goodness and MErcy that is the Eternal Will of God.

    So what might this mercy look like in our life. It might look like this: Imagine that you are accused of doing some horrible crime falsly, and you know who did it. So you chose to bear the price that the Law and justice demands rather than point the finger at who really commited the crime! Imagine doing that! You are dying in the place of another. You are doing mercy to another by taking upon yourself what justice demands be done. death. This is what Christ did for us isnt it?

    or… someone does not pay a debt. rather than seeking justice you die to your right to demand justice. you bear the financial burden this means. you die to your right to pursue justice. you show mercy.

    This is the picture the parables present. It presents a God who is not just. instead he is recklessly good and merciful. he gives us the opposite of what we have earned and deserved! and our Old Adam does not understand this at all. It is unreasonable.

    and pastor lauderback, you say that our good works have to have more meaning that just the creaturely temporal transitory comfort and good for neighbor. You seem to say that there must be some teleological or eternal import to what we do. And indeed there is! the teleological meaning and consequence of ALL Law is death. This is why Lutherans reject the Roman Catholic version of Natural Law. Romans look for Life as a teleological consequence of the Law. And we say no. the law ALWAYS and ONLY accuses. The Law only and always demands the sacrifice of death. and the Law ends with this eartly existence.

    If we wish to deal with God, we must aim far higher. We must aim to hide all we can see and do within the Works of Another and trust alone in that working and doing in our dealings with God. That alone, as romans 8 says, is what will endure. ALL other doing and working is Flesh/body that will perish along with all who trust in that for life. the Flesh/body in romans 8 especially includes virtue and righeousness. so the contrast there between flesh vs spirit is not carnality vs spirituality or sin versus goodness. the contrast is between Goodness and righeousness that is about our doing versus invisible faith and trust in the Works of Another. That trust in the Works of Another is alone spirit or Spirit that will endure beyond the end of our earthly existence.

    bless you both.

  11. How to formulate a theology in support of contemporary worship:

    1. Start doing contemporary worship on a thoughtless emotional whim.
    2. Attempt to theologically justify your practice when people start to criticize you.
    3. Develop a persecution complex and scream “Legalist!” and “Christian freedom!” at every turn.
    4. Think of a cool nickname like “Pastor Q” (Maybe that should be step one)

  12. @LW #64

    Dear Brother LW, I am so glad that this is starting to make sense to you. It is what our Lutheran Confessions teach, and it is so very liberating and joyful to know and understand.

    It is this understanding that alone can give rest to a terrified conscience.

    If you now go back and read our Confessions with this understanding, they will start to come alive for you and give you great joy and comfort. Our Confessions will become practical documents that you can apply to every part of your life and thinking.

    If you have more questions please feel free to ask. I would recommend now that you read Luther´s preface to his 1545 translation of the Epistle to the Romans. it is very short, it is referenced by our Confessions as a further explanation of them and it touches upon many of the very points we are discussing. I go back to it again and again and again and…..

    here is the link:

    http://www.ccel.org/l/luther/romans/pref_romans.html

    I would encourage you to especially note that Luther destroys the idea that there are willful sins and then unwillful sins. He says this distinction simply does not exist. ALL sin we commit is totally willed on the part of our Old Adam in his heart, mind and soul.

    And note how the distinction is made between the Law as we would understand it in a court and as a citizen vs the Law that God reveals to us as the regenerate that demands not only compliance as to thought word and deed and emotion but also it demands a heart that is 100% willing to do the Law effortlessly and with our entire heart.

    We do not do this. And only a believer can accept God´s Judgement of this fact . And so we are to be terrified at all we can do and so hide even our best works in the Works of Another.

    but dear LW, what if you do not feel this terror? Do you try to work it up in yourself emotionally? No. In that case you turn to God´s Word! You confess and accept what God´s Word says to you. and here Luther´s instructions in preparation for the Holy Supper are extremely helpful!

    You can read them here:

    http://bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.php#qanda

    Bless you!

  13. @Gene White #56

    Yeah. I like using bold to have it stand out. But the problem is I tend to respond more than articulate. So every so often it is good to step back and recap as you have done.

    1. We do live in two different worlds concerning what we have observed in Lutheran contemporary worship.

    So how have you observed the CoWo services? I mean, what is your experience?

    2. What is your opinion of so-called Lutheran churches that have absolutely no appearance of being Lutheran, like the Alley Church et. el?

    I don’t have a whole lot of experience with them really — we never visited one. I do think that the pastors are trained from our seminaries and we turn out pastors who think theologically alike.

    So, I’d be tad slow to judge and check out what they are doing.

    3. I totally disagree with you about laity have a vocation of evangelism, could you please quote where you are getting this?

    When God tells us “Love one another” how can that not include sharing our faith with others?

    Evangelist is a called office of the Public Ministry…

    If you want to work with that definition, that is fine. I don’t. If we want to talk about the office of the public ministry, we can speak about the office of the public ministry. We have that language just fine.

    Talking about the vocation that we have to share our faith is met perfectly by the word “evangelist” and as demonstrated, is how the world today understands the term. Let’s use it.

    I stand by my band-aid story.

    It makes no sense, because putting on a band-aid is not what defines a doctor. That is not true about sharing ones faith and evangelism.

    You didn’t answer my question about what point of view on contemporary worship you are following, or are you doing what you do as an independent thinking?

    I don’t really know. I did not come up with my ideas on my own — I saw them in other churches. I guess you could say it is a synthesis of what I have seen. I suppose that would qualify as independent thinking.

    4. One needs to be careful about what is called a hymn, that is certain.

    Yeah…but this is just a game of semantics. Who cares what is a hymn and what is a Gospel song? Does it matter?

    I think you are too negative about CoWo hymns. I don’t find them as bad as you say.

    I never claimed that there was a Scriptural tie to OT worship practices or ceremonial law. I was hoping for a comment back on my what I said about Calvin.

    Well….it sure seemed that way. You certainly never said “Well, you are absolutely right about there being no connection with how people worshiped in the OT and how we are free to worship today…” Or something like that.

    As far as Calvin goes and his worship — his theology was certainly different, so that probably influenced his worship. That is what one would expect, isn’t it?

    But I certainly don’t draw a line between my worship and Calvin’s worship. No more than I draw a line between how many Lutherans worship today and the Roman Catholic church.

    Make sense?

    I do think we are just coming at this from differing viewpoints. Which is fine if this were just a “live and let live” situation. The problem is that it is not — and because of that we ought to be sure that we understand how each of us understand and see worship.

    Make sense?

  14. @LW #57

    I am trying to better understand what Scripture teaches about how or why the regenerate man does good works. I am not sure if we do good works because we are motivated to do them or if we simply do them because we are made a new creation in our baptism and thus do his will or if it is a combination of the two or something else.

    Well…I think that we are complicated people with differing motivations.

    Let’s look at a dog. Why does a dog do what it does? Why does a dog whine to go outside when it has to go to the bathroom? Because he fears punishment? Because he wants to please his master? Because outside is more interesting?

    Probably all. We are even more complex than a dog — so we have many motivations. They all work together to have us do what we do.

    As a new man can I hear the Law as sweet words to my ears because Jesus has declared me righteous for His sake and made me one with Him or does the old Adam prevent this?

    In find that the language of new man/old Adam is helpful in certain circumstances, but not all the time.

    So, you, as a Christian, can certainly delight in the law — the Psalmist writes so. And aren’t we happy that we know what God’s will is? That we know what He wants?

    And don’t you — like your dog — want to please your master?

    Now, not all the time. But yeah, the Ten Commandments can be seen as a wonderful blessing that we desire to do out of our love for our Heavenly Father.

    Jesus makes me one with Him in His body through the means of grace so is it wrong to say Jesus’s works are mine and my works are His?

    I don’t find this language particularly helpful. Is Christ working through you? Yes. Do we take credit and brag about what we do? No.

    But, no. You are doing that work. When Jesus asks the teacher of the law “Which one was a good neighbor to the man?” The proper answer is not “Jesus”.

    In the catechism, we say “….my duty to love and cherish, serve and obey.” We don’t say “Jesus loves and cherishes, serves and obeys.”

    So, no. You do it.

    As I understand it I have been credited for Jesus’s perfect life including all of his works which he has done and still does.

    Well…no. You didn’t heal the widow’s son. Jesus did. You didn’t feed the 5,000. Jesus did. You don’t get credit for those actions.

    What happens is, you are clothed in Jesus’ righteousness so you are seen as perfect — and the actions you do are seen as righteous and wonderful in the eyes of God.

    I am not sure how good works can come out of the law driving us to guilt or terror.

    Ok—what about your dog? Can you understand how the dog might think about peeing on a plant and then think “Wait — I remember the punishment I got last time. Even though I’d love to pee there, I won’t.”

    Do you see that?

    This motivation seems to imply that good works are being done for the wrong reason and thus not very good works at all.

    Well, I think this just reinforces the idea that ALL of our good works are done for the wrong reason. We are sinners.

    But the real thing is — lets say this is your wife — does she care abut your motivation? If you are listening to her and rubbing her feet, does she care that you are doing it only because of the law? No.

    Guilt and terror sound like good tools for killing the old Adam but not good for creating good works.

    Once again, ask your spouse or children. Or your dog.

    Your good works for them — whether motivated by the law or love — are a blessing.

    I am still not sure if God motivates us to do good works or if He simply declares us righteous for Christ’s sake and accepts our filthy rag works on His account?

    Well, what exactly is the purpose of the Ten Commandments then? Or when Jesus says “Judge not!” Or “Let the dead bury the dead; follow me”?

    No, I think God does motivate us for good works.

    I hope this helps.

  15. @fws #60

    and pastor lauderback, you say that our good works have to have more meaning that just the creaturely temporal transitory comfort and good for neighbor. You seem to say that there must be some teleological or eternal import to what we do.

    Nooo…I thought YOU were the one saying that…

    I think good works are good for our neighbor and that is a wonderful thing. It is not just the end that is important.

    The small catechism on baptism tells us that Baptism signifies or witnesses that our earthly life is now ALL about mortification and death.

    And this too I don’t agree with — for the same reason: so many of our actions bring life and help to others. It is not just mortification of the flesh — not just putting to death the old adam. The New man — the Christian — does good things for those around.

    I mean, there is a great joy in helping others; there is a great happiness in making a difference in other’s lives. It is not just putting to death sin — it is the abundant life also.

    So our life looks exactly like the life of any virtuous pagan.

    Well…sorta. We go to church. We do things for others in the name of Christ. We share our faith. This is not exactly the same as the pagan.

    But I do understand your point — and I agree to an extent. The Good Samaritan could easily be a pagan.

    Jesus did not have to work at being good or chose to be good.

    Really? Is this really true?

    “And being in an agony Jesus prayed more earnestly; and His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)

    I think I understand what you are saying — Jesus was not sweating the temptations. But more to the point, I don’t think the good just flows out of us. Sometimes, yes. But sometimes it is a conscious choice — where we do need to kill the old adam and do what is right.

    I guess in this way I just see the life of the Christian as being more of a struggle of right and wrong — knowing the good that you want to do, seeing that you do the bad, but not always. Not every time. And knowing that the good you do — even if done poorly or incompletely — God uses it to accomplish great things.

    I like your talk about mercy — although I would temper that with vocation. Our vocation often demands that we not give mercy, but give justice. That is the right thing to do in the instance, not the non-Christian thing to do. So I am charged with a crime that someone else does and I say nothing…and they harm someone else. That is not mercy.

    It is true that we ought to be merciful — we ought to give people love and not what they deserve — but it is also not the only standard the Christian is measured by.

    the law ALWAYS and ONLY accuses.

    This too, I disagree with. The Law does not only accuse. It acts as a guide. It is a delight, as the psalmist writes. It is a wonderful thing. It gives us ideas about how to act and gives us relief from the demands that others would make on how Christians are “suppose” to live.

    So, in closing, I find that I am pulling out things I disagree with — but I actually commend your words and I appreciate what you say. I think the “Life is death” is a very good thought and one I will mull over. So, please don’t take my picking at you to indicate disagreement — I generally agree, but I just want to sharpen a few things.

  16. @Mark Louderback #69

    PASTOR L
    I think good works are good for our neighbor and that is a wonderful thing. It is not just the end that is important.

    FRANK
    The biblical and confessional formula for a true good work is this mortification+love=righeousness. Many religious think that mortification, ie obedience to the letter of the Law is righteousness in and of itself. Our confessions say that this is “useless” and even idolatry if this obedience is not always aimed at producing acts of love towards our neighbor. Sometimes those acts are merely to refrain from doing harm, but the aim, God’s aim, is to have us improve and better the lives of others.

    why idolatry? If we aim to mortify ourselves or others and we are not intending it to fruit in goodness and mercy for others, then why are we doing it? to obey God. But this Obedience is an obedience that only Christ can do. So we are aiming then to do what we do to make our relationship better with God precisely by what we do. This is to rob Christ of the honor due him our confessions say. Our works are to be aimed always at service to neighbor. God does not require naked obedience nor can we do it, and it is useless to our neighbor if it does not fruit in goodness and mercy. God’s will is for that fruit to happen, it is not in our doing the act of obedience per se,l even though no goodness and mercy can happen without that obedience. I hope I am clear here.

    Here on earth, in Old Adam, mortification (latinate for “deathing”) is always necessary for righteousness to happen. In the new man and in the resurrection this is not necessary. And it was not necessary for Christ in the Blessed Incarnation. This is what I meant when I said that Christ did not need to work at being good. Of course adam worked and sweated in the garden pre fall. I hope you get my nuance here. It is an important one.

    You were right in correcting me when I said that the Law always and ONLY accuses. but if I say that the Law does indeed ALWAYS accuse us, even if it indeed also guides us, then I am sure you will agree with that because or Confessions state this so very emphatically dont they?

    bless you pastor.

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