HT to New Reformation Press for the article from last week’s New York Times. The author reminds Lutherans of the continued relevance of distictively Lutheran doctrine and practice drawn from the well of the Reformation. That well is fed by the spring of living waters, Christ Himself. OPINION German Austerity’s Lutheran Core By STEVEN OZMENT […]
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Yesterday, the Son of Man traded places with the son of the father (bar Abbas) so that we may wear the Father’s robe and live in His kingdom. Tomorrow Jesus does what all the big brothers of Scripture failed to do…. He completes the work God sent Him to do — to seek and to save we who are/were lost — the younger rules over the elder. And yet Christ is both Adam’s younger brother, both being in the flesh sons of God, and His older brother, being begotten of God before all eternity. And if you look at the track record of brothers in the Bible, you see the theme of older/younger played out. Cain killed Abel. Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah, and chosen by God over Ishmael. Jacob ruled over Esau, taking his birthright. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. Yet it was Joseph who saved his brothers from starvation. And David, Israel’s second and greatest king, was the youngest brother chosen by God over all of his brothers and anointed by Samuel. Are you starting to see the pattern?
Jesus, the firstborn of the resurrection, came in the flesh to live among us. God often told His children, “If you obey me and do all the things I have commanded, I will be your God and you will be my people. I will come to you and make my dwelling place among you.” Well, we chased him away through our sin, our idol worship, and self-indulgence. So He sent His Son, His one and only Begotten Son, to make us His people once again. He sent our Big Brother after us to drag us out of the bars, brothels, wars, movie theaters, sports arenas, fast boats, fast cars, fast planes, internet, hotels, motels, highways, homes, gutters, jails, pits, darkness, blindness. He sent Jesus to get us and bring us home. And Jesus gave up His birthright as the first born from before creation, not counting equality with God something to be grasped, in order to bring us home. He traded His life for ours, so that we may wear the white robe of righteousness, the robe of children of God, and stand with Him in His kingdom. And because of the work of Christ, Jesus calls us friends. He can call us that because He has entrusted to us as part of our inheritance, the work that God gave Him to do. And so now, because Jesus has overcome death, because He has given us life, we are able to carry out the work of Christ on earth as His hands and feet.
The Gospels do not spend much time at the empty tomb. In fact, the angels tell the disciples and the women who seek Christ at the tomb, you will not find Him here. But Jesus always told His disciples to find Him at the Cross, for that is where we truly and finally meet Him. The empty tomb remains our hope for eternal life, and our symbol of new life. But it is a life that requires us to be as Jesus, and go after our little brothers and sisters and bring them home. And we do that by taking up the Cross and bringing Christ to them.
Have a blessed, joyous, happy Easter. He is Risen!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. This is a nice feature, and I share it here with you today. Thank you for reading.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 19,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals
HT to my wife who put me on to the following statement which she found on a facebook status. It is the ultimate “Facebook Status Theology.” And it is spot on. It is attributed to a Pastor in Nashville, Tennessee. All I can say is, “Preach on, Preacher man.”
“I don’t want to go to church because there are too many hypocrites in the church.” Well you go to work with hypocrites but you don’t quit your job. You eat in restaurants with hypocrites but you clean your plate. Hypocrites are in your barber shops and beauty parlors but you still look fly. Stop making excuses and go back to church; I’d rather go to church with a hypocrite than to go to hell with one.
From Michael Horton at The White Horse Inn blog. Horton articulates the issue that seems to be at the heart of the discussion about our worship that usually ends up centering on music and style or preference. Where one sees bias in another’s opinions, another sees continuity with the past. Either way we usually end up talking past each other and miss the elephant in the room. Horton takes on the elephant by asking the question — Why do we go to church? I think if we grapple with this question honestly, we might be able to work through differences of style or music preference. What do you think? The entire article is reproduced below.
Why Do We Go to Church?
How the “Worship Wars” Often Miss the Real Issue
Where going to church was for most Americans the default setting, today it’s a conscious choice. Many churches tried wooing Boomers back with softness and smiles, affirming images of a God who is helpful for our life projects, and myriad activities for the kids. Many of their children and grandchildren are burned out on it all. Some head for the exit, toward Rome, the East, or the “spiritual but not religious” category. Others are calling the church to be less consumer-driven and to make God the focus.
For too long the “worship wars” have coalesced around style. These are not unimportant questions; how we worship says a lot about the object and significance of the event. However, all the sides (simplistically drawn between “traditionalists” and “contemporary-worship” advocates) in the debates share more in common than any do with the rationale of Reformation Christianity.
On the Eve of the Mid-South District Convention — Our Connection to the Ancient Church via WMLT blog
On the eve of the Mid-South District convention, Rev. Herb Mueller reminds us of the genius of our Lutheran Confessions. What has sustained us as Lutherans is a dogmatic adherence to these confessions which summarize what Scripture teaches and, hence, a fevernt belief and trust in the Word of God. The 482nd anniversary of the presentation of the Augsburg Confession to the Holy Roman Emporer is commemorated on Monday, June 25, 2012. May our pastors and lay delegates be reminded of who we are and what defines our confession, our walk together. May our pastors and lay delegates have the courage and boldness to cling steadfastly to the Word of God as our forbears once did rather than chasing after the latest fads, gimmicks, and programs. God’s Word does what it says it will do and never returns void. Click the link to read the post. http://wmltblog.org/2012/06/our-connection-to-the-ancient-church/
HT to Steadfast Lutherans for reposting the post linked below from the Intrepid Lutherans blog. The post takes a look at the work of Chris Rosebrough at Pirate Christian Radio which examines the Church Growth movement, its origins and practices. Chris is the preeminent LCMS layman on the topic of the CGM which has spawned the Emergent Church. The EC is attempting to rewrite the narrative of the Christian faith, and, in the process, reinterpreted Scripture to suit postmodern cultural relativism. This rewriting of the Christian story and reinterpretation has given us terms such as the churched and unchurched instead of sinners and believers, authentic worship experience rather than the liturgy or divine service, or fully devoted Christ followers as opposed to Christians. These “movements” sever the last tie to the church that is a factual reality in history. Having abandoned faith alone solely in and on account of the work ofChrist alone, the revelation of Scripture is discarded for the casting of vision, focus on the personal experience of the person with the divine, and execution of list after endless list of things to do to be an “authentic ” Christ follower. Be sure and check out the links in post as they contain highly instructive and enlightening materials. Click the link below or cut and paste it into your browser ‘s address bar. http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=19847
Do you know what it means to be a Lutheran Christian? Does being Lutheran matter? Or should we all just be Christ followers? Or has Christ actually called us into a particular fellowship of believers? Before you respond, take a look at the answer provided in the “What About” series. This one was written by the late Dr. AL Barry, former President of the Missouri Synod:
Being a Lutheran is being a person who believes the truths of God’s Word, the Holy Bible, as they are correctly explained and taught in the Book of Concord. To do so is to confess the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Genuine Lutherans, confessional Lutherans, dare to insist that “All doctrines should conform to the standards [the Lutheran Confessions] set forth above. Whatever is contrary to them should be rejected and condemned as opposed to the unanimous declaration of our faith” (FC Ep. RN, 6).
Such a statement may strike some as boastful. But it is not; rather, it is an expression of the Spirit-led confidence that moves us to speak of our faith before the world.
To be a confessional Lutheran is to be one who honors the Word of God. That word makes it clear that it is God’s desire for His church to be in agreement about doctrine, and to be of one mind, living at peace with one another (1 Cor. 1:10; 2 Cor. 13:11). It is for that reason that we so treasure the precious confession of Christian truth that we have in the Book of Concord. For Confessional Lutherans, there is no other collection of documents, or statements or books that so clearly, accurately and comfortingly presents the teachings of God’s Word and reveals the Biblical Gospel as does our Book of Concord.
Hand-in-hand with our commitment to pure teaching and confession of the faith, is, and always must be, our equally strong commitment to reaching out boldly with the Gospel and speaking God’s truth to the world. That is what “confession” of the faith is all about, in the final analysis. Indeed, “It is written: I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak” (2 Cor. 4:13). This is what it means to be a Lutheran.
Dr. A. L. Barry
Former President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod
From “What about…. Being Lutheran.” at bookofconcord.org
Game on. Listen today.
If you do not listen to Issues, Etc., you ought to take it up. Bible Study. Debate. Current Issues. Old Issues. All from the only perspective we ought really to have — Christ-centered. If you have not checked them out, you owe it to yourself to do so. Here is a preview of what is on the schedule for October 24-28, Reformation Week 2011.