Steadfast in Society: A Gold for God

I must admit that like most of America I watched every moment of the Women’s team and individual gymnastics. What these women are able to do is simply amazing to say the very least. I know Aly Raisman did at least 14 back flips before landing back on the balance beam. I can’t seem to keep my Durango in between the white and blue line, but these 17 year old girls can land one toe on a dime. It was quite inspirational to watch our American ladies represent our fine country, however no one won the hearts of America Like Gabby Douglas who took home the gold in team gymnastics and the coveted gold in the all around. The next day after her monumental success there was one topic above all that seemed to be the buzz: her faith. Move over Tim Tebow, Gabby Douglas is in the house!

If Joel Osteen is supposed to be “America’s new pastor,” then Gabby certainly didn’t disappoint him with her comment. It is all well and good that an athlete praise God for the talents that He has given them but our society has become extremely wrapped up in prosperity gospel that it has thrown the confessional baby out with the baptismal water. Here is what Gabby said, “And I give all the glory to God. It’s kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to Him and the blessings fall down on me.” Prosperity gospel to the max. Now this is a 17 year old girl who I am sure has a strong faith and I am not picking on her, I only want to point out how our culture is seeing God and that it does affect our youth regardless if they have a gold medal around their necks. But what about us? What about we, the poor miserable few that don’t have the talent to obtain the Olympic glory that Gabby recently wrought? Do we not have the favor the same favor of God? Have we not received His blessings? Or is it that we, as a society, don’t have a proper understanding of what it means to be blessed by God?

Poor theology seems to be an epidemic now-a-days and it has certainly overthrown the sporting world (though I would love to see a dish-washer run out from the back of a Denny’s praising God for a new silverware record). The youth of America are not getting enough proclamation of the crucified Jesus who was nailed to the tree and murdered so that we could have life! That is what our youth need – not a subpar and out of context tattoo of Philippians 4:13. They need life preached into them. Pastor’s PREACH THE WORD! Parents TEACH YOUR CHILDREN! Place the Small Catechism in their hands when they are young. Teach them to proclaim the pure doctrine of our Lord. Being a confessional Lutheran does not mean to be a stubborn German. It means to proclaim that which is true and that which saves.

Christ came for the weak and the helpless. Christ came for the alleyway bums and the track marked masses. Christ came to strengthen the powerless of spirit. Christ came for the school teacher and the Olympic Champion. He came not to give us earthly victory but for heavenly victory for eternity. Christ also didn’t merely make these promises then wink and leave, no He gave us these promises from that which flowed from His side on the cross: blood and water! Christ gives us a foretaste of the feast as He washes us clean and clear in the waters of baptism and edifies us with His very own body and blood. You can keep an Olympic podium, I’ll take my Lord’s Altar.

Paul writes to Timothy, “I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.” This is the strength that never weakens, the long awaited salvation that has come to the baptized members of the body of Christ. Let us boast in our weakness, for we too were once blasphemers, persecutors and insolent opponents yet Christ came in even for us. Mercy has been given in abundance and we slaves of sin have been set free to be the people of God Himself. He has made us His own through the suffering, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ and because of this we will never die. He has crowned us as His own regardless of our damnable effort. He points to us still and says, “Satan, these are my washed and fed children they have been set free from you and your ways.”

Olympic medals are nice, but they are perishable. Let us proclaim that which is imperishable: the Church which is the bride of Christ which has the promise of everlasting life. Teach our children to, like St. Paul, “know nothing but Christ and Him crucified for the forgiveness of sins.” This is the Gospel of our Lord, all else will certainly fail.


Steadfast in Society: A Gold for God — 11 Comments

  1. Hey, be thankful when they don’t think they did it all by themselves, as too many do!

    A 30 second sound bite from a 17 year old isn’t going to be a full scale theology lesson.

    So Gabby’s blessed by God… glad she realizes it!

    [So am I blessed, though I have a “D” tag on my truck.
    I still have a job I can do and a few friends.
    And the truck is running, though it dates to the last century. 8-^)
    Life could be much worse.] Thanks and praise ascend!

  2. I’m not sure that is the answer we want to look for. In fact I think that the “hey, at least…” attitude has gotten us to where we are now. We can’t just throw random and/or meaningless words up into the air and hope for some kind of merit for them. That is not an
    “at least” situation, rather it is against that which Scripture speaks to plainly. Again, this isn’t an attack on Gabby but it is a representation of how society sees theology through heretical lenses. Teach your children!

  3. The liberal mass media in America like to ridicule
    athletes who acknowledge their Christianity in
    the public square. Tim Tebow of football fame
    is a prime example. The national media simply
    can not stand it when someone mentions or
    honors the name of Christ in public.

  4. Catechesis: The Quiet Crisis

    William E. Thompson

    Like many young pastors upon their ordination and installation, I had a firm confessional resolve and a definite direction for ministry which were mandated by my ordination vows. Because of this confessional resolve, I chose to begin my Sunday-morning Bible class with a study of the Augsburg Confession. I felt that it would offer an opportunity to deepen the understanding of the faith which was known through Luther’s Small Catechism as well as expose the congregation to another of our church’s confessions. It did not take long for me to realize that the faithful members of this study-group did not have Luther’s Catechism as a basis on which to stand. They had either forgotten through disuse what they had learned of the Catechism or they had simply never been taught the Catechism in the first place. I then asked for a show of hands by those members of the class who had learned the Catechism before confirmation. To my shock, only two out of a group of about twenty-five had been catechized with the Small Catechism. The common reference-point which I naively assumed would be there in any congregation to which I was called was not there.


  5. The “liberal mass media” is a myth. As with most discussion regarding political matters, it is a vague and generic term that doesn’t have concrete evidence to back it up.

    My issue with Tebow is that it seems like some people treat him as an idol. Yes he is a Christian, but he is not a very good quarter back. Come to think of it, that reminds me of contemporary Christian music. Should I be expected to fawn over musicians that are Christians but release products that are mediocre? Similarly, should I fawn over an athlete who happens to be Christian, but is really not that good?

  6. @AJ #5
    “The “liberal mass media” is a myth. As with most discussion regarding political matters, it is a vague and generic term that doesn’t have concrete evidence to back it up.”

    Do you have “concrete evidence” to back up your apparent claim that the media does not have a liberal bias? I grew up on TIME magazine and became more and more annoyed as editorial comments were increasingly mingled into the “news coverage.” I finally cancelled my subscription, long before I had heard of FOX News. Now I enjoy WORLD and The Week. I was fascinated to discover that the serious newsmen I grew up with in the 60s were actually quite liberal, but they were professional journalists who did a remarkable job of reporting the facts and leaving their opinions on the editorial page. “Just the facts, Ma’am” doesn’t seem to apply to liberal or conservative journalists anymore… I figure, if they’re all biased, I might as well listen to the bias I agree with (WORLD) and then peek at what the other side has to say (The Week).

    Here’s a facinatine history with 50 prime examples of the liberal media bias:

  7. Here’s another example: Objections to the HHS Mandate are most often presented by the press as the old pope and his ilk trying to impose his religion and that silly birth control ban on all Americans. Some unbiased media outlets speak of the government violating the Constitution by imposing its religious beliefs onto all Americans, but not many…

  8. One only has check out Media Research Center’s NewsBusters searches of media stories with the keywords “Christian” and “Church” to see plenty of examples of the leftist, anti-Christian bias of the fifth-column MSM.

  9. “Poor theology seems to be an epidemic now-a-days and it has certainly overthrown the sporting world…. The youth of America are not getting enough proclamation of the crucified Jesus who was nailed to the tree and murdered so that we could have life! That is what our youth need – not a subpar and out of context tattoo of Philippians 4:13. They need life preached into them. Pastor’s PREACH THE WORD! Parents TEACH YOUR CHILDREN!”

    I had this same thought yesterday when I learned that the theme of a local congregation’s fall youth retreat is going to be based on the lyrics of a song written by a 23 year old aspiring music artist. The kids will reflect on the meaning of the lyrics to the song chosen as a them for the retreat. These are the “theologians” to whom we direct our kids to learn about the faith once delivered to the saints. I am grateful for groups such as Higher Things who are willing to preach to, teach, and challenge our youth.

  10. @Andrew Grams #9
    Andrew: I wonder what kind of lyrics are being offered to those youth. My biggest fear regarding our youth is that they are receiving temporal emotional pleas from “scratch the surface” theology and are more likely to leave the faith when they are not given substance. We wouldn’t be surprised that our child was obese when we feed them McDonald’s and candy bars all day would we? Then we can’t be surprised if our children fall away from the faith due to a constant heretical diet!
    I agree with you! I am also thankful for Higher Things and other groups like them that desire to feed our children the “meat and potato’s” of our faith. Unfortunately our society has developed the “not my job” mindset. Thus parents drop their kids off at school and at church and say, “teach my children” and they go no further. If we want our children to proclaim the truth we must teach and show them the truth and how to proclaim it with all boldness!

  11. @Pastor Gaven Mize #10

    The lyrics do just scratch the surface. They contemplate the desire to maintain that burning, on fire feeling after a rousing youth gathering, and lament the fact that the fire burns out so quickly. Some put the fire away because they think no one is listening; others just do not care. But me, I want to burn loud. I am paraphrasing of course, but that is a summary. It is so strange to me this movement that wants to make everyone including our kids into these little missionary soldiers, rather than teaching our children to be who God created them to be and live as they are called.

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