A few comments on comments.

SubmitCommentRecently here at BJS we have been highlighted for some of the comments made on the site.  I have also received some excellent private communications with brothers in the faith.  Here at BJS we thoroughly enjoy a good, honest, discussion and understand that sometimes it may get heated.  Sometimes in the heat of the moment sins are committed.  We think that what we believe is serious and that the Evangelical Lutheran Church needs a place to engage in discussion over doctrine and practice within our churches.   In the following I hope to explain some good things about comments and then also encourage us to watch our Old Adam when it comes to hitting that “submit comment” button.

There is a lot of value to comments.  I am going to list just some of the good things I have seen over the past couple years in the comments of this site.

#1 – I have seen confession and absolution here.  Yes, even in comments things can happen which cause angels in heaven to rejoice.  Face it, in the heat of the moment and with the safe distance of the internet, words from the keyboard can fly all too quickly sometimes.  When I see Christians behaving in a Christian way – confessing this and then being forgiven by their brother/sister in Christ I am very encouraged.

#2 – Additions to the articles.  We have some great writers here at BJS.  Sometimes however we can get it wrong or not have the complete information.  More than a few commenters and comments have contributed corrections and additional information which have greatly enhanced our articles.  Thank you commenters for that.

#3 – Rejoicing over being shown the truth.  This is one of my favorites to see.  These comments come usually on posts where there aren’t a lot of comments (which a lot of times are the best posts because they so thoroughly address the topic there is little to discuss).  These are the joyous comments which talk about conversion to Lutheranism and the great joy of becoming a confessional Lutheran.

#4 – Encouragement for Lutherans in hard places.  This is another good one.  Sometimes it is very difficult to be a confessional Lutheran.  This is especially true for laity whose vocations take them to distant places where good congregations may be hard to find.  This can be very taxing on the conscience and it is hard to stand firm in such situations.  It is good to encourage one another.

#5 – Friendships formed.  Among long standing commenters there becomes a bond of having discussions over the years.  This can be seen sometimes in their interactions on the site.

#6 – Questions and Answers.  Many times commenters will ask questions and receive answers on theology or practice from our authors or from other commenters.  This is a great benefit to having these interactions.

All of these things are great reasons to have commenting on a site like BJS.  As with any created thing, the potential for abuse will remain when such things are in the hands of sinners.  Here is where we can learn and check on how we interact on the site.  There is a time for harsh language, as evidenced at times by Luther, Paul, or even our Lord – but there is a fine line between a fitting word and a word spoken improperly.  Sinners will constantly find a playground with that fine line.  Perhaps a good re-read of a comment and pause for a few minutes before you submit it would be in order to calm the mind and allow solid thinking.  Listen to your conscience about what you are typing.  Comments which judge motivations shouldn’t really be submitted, as they do not aid in conversation and are not necessarily true.  Who can read the inner workings of a man?  I know both you and I can’t, so it is best to leave that one to Him who can know the secret things.

St. Paul captures the struggle for our speech as Christians  here with both graciousness and saltiness (which sometimes hurts):

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.   (Colossians 4:6)

In addition to asking for the Lord’s guidance in how we speak and letting the Scriptures teach us, common sense also does a lot of good in commenting.  Should you err and sin in your comments, be a Christian and confess them.  Since the sin was committed here in public, confess here in public.  The folks who write here and many who comment here confess our belief in the forgiveness of sins every Sunday.  There is no way to be a perfect commenter, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t comment.  Because of Christ we can be free to apply His work to each other as we participate on this site.

God be praised for the gift of repentance, that is the gift of contrition through the knowledge of sin and the gift of faith wrought by the Gospel which believes that for Christ’s sake sins are forgiven.  (see the Augsburg Confession article XII).




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.


A few comments on comments. — 160 Comments

  1. Hi, apologies to all, said I wasn’t going to comment yesterday, anymore, on the Newtown issue anymore, I didn’t see a way to email Pr. Rossow privately after his last post, so just admn, just email back. Again, this is it for me on this public forum.

    Pr., I don’t have hatred and don’t feel the need to direct, I think that I can state views in humbleness and certainly don’t have the answers.

    The crux of this issue here–it is clear that the desire of BJS and Christ’s Word is to not to have Jesus’ lambs lead astray; that is the overriding concern. The benediction certainly was problematic, that point has been made abundantly clear….

    Others, including me, are saying that if the opportunity was there to minister by reaching out to those who do not have the Word, or bringing others back to Christianity, consoling those grieving, and building up those who are questioning their faith or about to fall away, that it was worth it. The presence of Jesus Christ was at the event and his work was being done there.

    Again, I do implore that the Youtube video be given another look, taken down, and perhaps that it be relocated here on a “videos” tabs. This is now an internal LCMS matter to be addressed.

    My perspective:

    -The point has been made.
    -The repeated juxtaposition of Pr. Morris giving the benediction with the other statements of non-Christians is harmful to him and his reputation.
    -He is a brother in Christ and brother in the ministry.
    -For lack of a better term, I see no reason for rubbing his nose or that of the Synod in this on a public forum like Youtube.
    -Pr. Harrison has asked that this stuff be pulled down.
    -That the video does more to offend other faiths, all of us in God’s creation, than it welcomes to the message of Jesus and his wish to have us with him in heaven. Jesus did not turn his back on others or persecute when he was traveling and preaching.
    -That use of worship song of the Muslim community is really not helpful to furthering the spread of Christianity–we should be reaching out vs. alienating. If the shoe is on the other foot….how do you feel about a Bible-burning ? Or if an “anti Christian” video used of “A Mighty Fortress” to persecute you ? (Was using the song coming out of some sort of “revenge”?)
    -The video puts Christian missionaries and their families physically at risk, particularly those in Islamic countries. You may not think this is a big deal, but it is. Missionaries are being killed for less than this. A related example, my brother was a WELS missions pastor in a southeast Asian country , and although it did not happen to his family, it happened to one in his flock (and happens to others there as well)–a family member who joined his church was kidnapped back to her family. Her whereabouts were unknown and it was not known if she was abused after or murdered.

    So that’s my view. Again asking that there be given serious consideration as to what this is doing.

  2. Jay,

    I apologize for the comment about hatred. Thanks for setting me straight on that. That’s good to hear.

    I wish you could see this one simple point. Pastor Morris had countless chances to reach out and console people. He could have stood outside the auditorium and offer his help and support. He could have done like so many of us did after 9/11 and have his own vigil service where the Gospel is the word that is spoken. Etc., etc., etc.,

    When he takes the Gospel into the setting of pagan worship it is no longer the Gospel. It gets confused.

  3. Hey Pr. I get it….but discussion again, needs to go on and solidify w/in denomination itself and get this ironed out to handle these situation in the future.

    I won’t open a can of worms but …. would an Interfaith Christian Prayer Service have been ok, with say, a pastor from the Southern Baptists, say, Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist church (since this site already referenced Mohler as being an expert on the downloadable mp.3 http://issuesetc.org/podcast/12140214131.mp3

    Slight sarcasm here, my apologies.

  4. Prayer with Southern Baptists would not be interfaith.

    What happened in Newtown was not just prayer, it was an interfaith worship service.

    Pr. Morris did not preach law and gospel at the end of the interfaith worship service, let alone refute the false religious ideas express by the pagan clerics. He simply gave the benediction blessing on the whole affair, and then invited people to see the religious cleric of their choice.

    We can see that you are trying to confuse the issues, Jay, like other defenders of Morris’ and Benke’s actions. We will not let you do so.

  5. Jay,

    Syncretism is joining in the rites of pagan religions. Unionism is joining in the rites of heterodox (false teaching mixed in with true) churches. The LCMS constitution rightly teaches that Scripture rejects both.

    Morris did both.

    No matter how many nice things we say about a Baptist here, an orthodox (right teaching) Lutheran will not join in worship rites with him or her.

  6. @Gisela #6

    If I may… The LC-MS is not as picky about the prayers (WELS is) so it depends a bit. As LC-MS, I have gone to other churches, since almost half my relatives are Catholic, a few are e_ca (they do not discern the differences among Lutherans), a Methodist in-law… and I have sung the hymns, bowed my head respectfully during prayers, but I DO NOT go to the alter for communion, not even for a prayer blessing, since certain churches would try to serve me regardless. Sometimes I have been impressed iwth the sermons, other times it does nothing for me, or even annoys me. There have been times when visiting friends, often they won’t go to any church, but my wife, daughter and I will search out for an LC-MS congregation.

    I think I do well following our policies and such. When pastors chime in, I will gladly accept their corrections. This is how I live out my faith. I hope it helps, at least gives a perspective, and an example.

  7. @Lumpenkönig #23 (page 3): “It might take NALC a few years longer to reconsider its stance on a lot of issues.”

    In a December LQ thread the question had been asked, “Another LCMS/NALC date – will they go steady?,” after all the LCMS giggling about another LCMS meeting with the new NALC church body in town. In their diary, writing about their dream date, “Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and North American Lutheran Church Leaders Meet,” the LCMS gushed through their President:

    “I am extremely pleased and pleasantly surprised by the high degree of agreement we have on the Word of God.”

    Well, it looks like the NALC decided to go steady with some floozy instead, when in a February 22nd letter, NALC Bishop John Bradosky states:

    “After previous Convocations recommended that the NALC apply for membership in the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), our 2012 Convocation voted by the required two-thirds majority to pursue membership in the LWF.”

    The letter also states:

    A major concern in our deliberation was the section in the LWF constitution which declares that all LWF churches are in altar and pulpit fellowship. What altar and pulpit fellowship means is not defined by the LWF constitution. In our preliminary conversations in the application process we were assured that, for the LWF, altar and pulpit fellowship is “a goal—a hope, but not a reality.”

    A floozy with flexible standards.

  8. @#4 Kitty #39
    @Scott Diekmann #37
    I am unconcerned with yours. You take yourself too seriously Scott.
    What a pity… I was hoping for a simple “I will, I do.”

    Kitty, your efforts to get attention by attempting to “shock” confessional Lutherans have grown stale and boring many moons ago. Surely there is another “scratching post” for you in cyberspace!

    [Meanwhile, I read everything Scott Diekmann writes,
    because I know it will be worth the trouble.]

    @Ryan Fouts #17
    The notion that because some are advocating for Kieschnick to be reelected, and those who are advocating for it have spoken out about issues that are not traditionally associated with LCMS Lutheranism (using the world heretic, btw, is a bit too much…

    YMMV! Would it satisfy you to have it said that Kieschnick is too immersed in Willowcreek’s doctrine of “numbers” to be a good Lutheran? [He’s said himself that he’s no theologian, and apparently thinks that’s a virtue!] If LCMS is serious about not following elca into apostasy, (via women’s ordination, higher criticism and gay clergy) we’d better elect more theologians. Theology is what Lutheranism [is/(was)?] all about.

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