Loading...

Follow A Lutheran Layman on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid
I'm just going to leave this here for your prayerful consideration...


"When you see an ad for a church that speaks of a 'new way to do church' with lots of slick marketing and stills of people watching videos and laughing, just keep in mind that you're being manipulated by marketers using the same ad techniques to try to get you to buy a diamond ring, a certain brand of beer, or a car. 
And it isn't new. 
I've been getting postcards that say 'A new way to do church' from these fly-by-night outfits since before the current crop of seminarians have been born. That's how new this model of 'doing church' is. 
This 'new' way of 'doing church' has been trumpeting it's 'newness' for at least forty years. It's actually tedious, tired, predictable, and contrived. 
When the scales fall from your eyes and you become disillusioned with emotional manipulation, you are invited to come home to the real church, where the Word of God is taught without gimmicks and the sacraments are administered reverently and with dignity. 
You don't 'do' church. You 'are' church. You are Christ’s holy bride, not a ditzy party girl. 
We are at war. We need you to fight with us. And you need the real Jesus, who fights for you. You don't need gimmicks. You need that which is genuine and eternal." 
-- Pastor Larry Beane


This is most certainly true.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, and to emphasize what Pastor Beane pointed out, BEWARE of any church that is touting something "new" when we are told that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8), because it's fidelity to Him, His Word, and His truths that we need now.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
I remember when my grandma died back in 1994 that my mom turned to the writings of best-selling author and psychic, Sylvia Browne, who was also popularized by TV Talk Show Host, Montel Williams, for comfort and grief counseling after losing her mom.

As a non-Christian at the time, she welcomed with open arms anything and everything that made her pain and suffering go away even if it was temporary and even if the apparent "answers" were nothing but a mix of deception, half-truths, and lies that helped her get through those dark days.

Looking back, I don't know how we missed the glaring fact that it was a non-Christian who wrote a book about the Christian reality of life-after-death and heaven. Then again, we weren't really Christians at the time either so I get it.

What about Christians today though? Why are so many Christians interested in "mediums" or psychics? I like how one Christian blogger put it...


We can group the subjects of ghosts, “spirits,” and spiritualism into a broad category known as the occult or occultism. This word refers to anything involving supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs or practices. It should not be confused with “cults,” which is what we call sects of religious followers that fall outside orthodox (historic) Christianity. The origin of both words is in that which is discerned by secret, ritual practice. 
Part of the lure of both occultism and cults is one’s initiation into mystical, exclusive knowledge unknown by society at large. At its core, the danger of such practices stems from their isolation from the unified revelation we have from God through His Word, the Bible.


Why are so many Christians interested in "mediums" or psychics? Probably for the same reason that anyone is. The "Old Adam" within is desperate to feel in control in this life and if consulting with a so-called professional who claims to know the future can make someone feel "in control" even in the smallest areas of life, then perhaps that's enough for some people.

Still, that doesn't change the fact that God is crystal clear about our involvement with those who claim to know the future by consulting with the spiritual realm...


Deuteronomy 18:9-12 (ESV) When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.

Deuteronomy 29:29 (ESV) The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Leviticus 19:31 (ESV) Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.

Leviticus 20:6 (ESV) If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.

Leviticus 20:27 (ESV) A man or a woman who is a medium or a necromancer shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones; their blood shall be upon them.

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

1 John 4:1 (ESV) Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Revelation 21:8 (ESV) But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death


There are many more Bible verses that I could've included in the above list, but that should be sufficient for our purposes here today.

We cannot  --  and should not  --  pursue certain knowledge beyond what He Himself reveals to us. This doesn't mean we shouldn’t strive to uncover new information about the physical, visible universe He created. But it’s the deeper truths about the supernatural world which we should limit to that which He has imparted by special revelation.

And yet, I'm sorry to say that I know too many Christians who consider visiting a medium/psychic as just a "harmless" form of entertainment.

I thought about this topic today after reading a section in the excellent book titled "The House Swept Clean: A Biblically Balanced Pattern For The Diagnosis, Exorcism, And Pastoral Care Of The Victims Of Demonic Possession" by Pastor Darrell Arthur McCulley.



"Demons can also give information. Many psychics have made their livings this way for thousands of years thanks to demons. Paul encountered one in Philippi: Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling.  
Demons feed their human 'host' information which makes them look like they're in communication with the dead. Often when a grieving person has been to a necromancer (one who claims to be able to speak with the dead) they are given information of a very personal and specific nature. A great example of this is John Edward, a very convincing psychic whose show Crossing Over with John Edward appears on the Sci-Fi Network. Edward gives incredibly precise information which is far and away superior to the blunt, generalized 'fishing' answers many fake psychics use. This man, however, comes across as a very stable, average Joe with no freaky characteristics. He does not dress in sequins or have a funny accent (his hometown of Queens, NY notwithstanding.) He is very charming and sincere. And almost always right. Instead of a general question such as 'you were thinking of your father today, weren't you?' that a lesser or fake psychic might use, Edward will get extremely specific. He once asked a member of the gallery watching his show if she had considered bringing a body part of the dead person with whom she was hoping to make contact, but changed her mind. Flabbergasted, she reported that she and her mother had debated bringing the tooth of the person to the studio but decided it would not be appropriate. This kind of specificity is a clear indication that at least some of the information Edward gets is genuinely from a supernatural source. 
There is little which is more damaging to the cause of Jesus Christ than this man and the type of things he does. He makes the Occult look convincing, accurate, respectable, and reasonable. Now if the woman who experienced the 'tooth' episode, for example, looks in her Bible and sees the words of Job: As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so he who goes down to the grave does not return. He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more. she might conclude that in this one small thing the Bible is just plain wrong. Consciously she may think that it's no big deal, but the seed is planted and the damage done. Once the Bible is 'just plain wrong' in one thing, a thinking person will realize that the rest of it is not guaranteed to be true. If it can't be trusted in Job about what people can and can't do after they die, then why should we trust Jesus when He says He can raise us from the dead? If I can come back as a spirit, why do I even need a body or a resurrection? From one tiny thread, a person's faith in Christ can unravel. It might never become woven at all. 
This is all the more distressing when one considers that these people listening to John Edward and his ilk never ask the question: 'Just because the information I get from him is true, does that mean those giving him the information are who they claim to be?' Why do people assume that the source from which Edward gets his information is telling the truth? Once they accept that such knowledge is given to the 'reader,' they buy the rest of the reader's shpeel hook, line, and sinker. But any good lawyer (or parent of a teenager, for that matter) will tell you that just because a witness answers one question truthfully is no proof that they will answer all of them truthfully. Accepting the psychic's claims as to the source of information just because that information is accurate or convincing is foolish. For years after my grandfather passed away in 1973, I received mail from my grandmother with his return address labels on it. This fact was something that I and grandma knew, but my mailman could not have known. Should I then have assumed that when the mailman said, 'Looks like you got a letter from your grandpa,' he was right just because he correctly delivered it to me? Of course not. Yet it is exactly this type of leap of assumption that believers in genuine psychics make all the time. 
Sometimes people are impressed because the information they get is so accurate and they think it's unknowable by anyone on the outside. Some people say, 'John could never have known which song my papa used to sing to me as a child; only papa could have known that!' Well, on the first statement they might be right, assuming that Edward is a genuine necromancer and not a talented fraud. However, the last part of their thought might not he right. Even assuming that no other human could have known the fact a necromancer gave them, this does not rule out that a spirit might not have been watching. Many people believe in guardian angels that watch over them all their lives. If this is true, then maybe these angels would know these intimate and special details of their lives. It is not a leap of faith to think that a 'guardian demon' (such as in C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters) or other spiritual involvement might not provide information to evil spirits for the very purpose of discrediting God and His Word. 
Another question that never seems to be asked about some of this information is, 'What's the big deal about that?' By this I mean that some of the exchange between 'this world and the next' may be fascinating in its presentation, but beyond that really is not very impressive. For example, a genuine psychic could sit for hours telling some poor sucker every detail of his or her life, causing both a raising of the person's interest and a lightening of their wallet. But people enthralled with the presentation of modern-day psychics rarely ask the question, 'So what?' All the spirit has done, even if it is real, is tell the person something they already know. 'Predicting the Past,' which is often the bread-and-butter of genuine psychics, is (from a miraculous point of view) a no-brainer. If these so-called deceased friends and relatives want to show their love and give special guidance from the Great Beyond, they haven't really accomplished much by telling the subject all about his childhood. He was there, after all; they've given him nothing he didn't already have. Ditto with telling people of their lives in the present. Big deal; if it could talk, they could get the same information out of their house cat. The only thing of interest here is the source of information, not its content. If these spirits could say with equally detailed accuracy who will win the third race at Golden Gate Park, it would be more impressive-slightly. Even then all the spirit is doing is giving the same educated guess that any skilled elderly alcoholic bookie with 30 years experience could give them. A Christian is entitled to be unimpressed by such 'psychic predictions.' Our God made dozens of prophecies in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah. Where He would be born, to whom, how it would happen, what He would do and not do, and how He would die and rise from the dead. 
When a demon can match that, a Christian can be impressed. But if it can only tell of one's childhood or past, or what one is doing in the present, what's the big accomplishment? 
-- Pages 38-41


Hopefully, that helps to frame this subject in a more Biblical light for you, especially if you're someone who's inclined to think that playing around with such things as a Christian is "no big deal" in the grand scheme of things.

The same Christian blogger I referenced earlier digs a litter deeper...


One of the best known examples is the deposed King Saul’s attempt to contact the deceased prophet, Samuel, in 1 Samuel 28. Saul could not understand why the Philistines were gaining such an advantage over the Israelites. God had not fulfilled his desire for further information. It’s at this point that the truly God-fearing person rests in God’s sovereignty and trusts Him despite being uninformed. But Saul, who had lost his kingship because of repeated rebellion against God, wasn’t satisfied that three God-ordained sources of revelation had not answered his questions. 
So Saul sought the help of a medium — a channeler of spirits — against the already-clear commands of God (Dt. 18:10). Read 1 Sam. 28 to learn that this alleged spirit of Samuel mostly recounted information Saul already knew, but also accurately predicted Saul’s defeat and death in battle that would take place the next day. 
One New Testament reference provides a sufficient response to occultism. Galatians 5 teaches Christ has set believers free from the bondage of fleshly habits and desires. Verses 19–21 list many such fleshly practices, including “sorcery.” The Greek word behind this is “pharmakeia,” from which we have the English word “pharmacy.” Through the use of mind-altering potions and medicines ancient sorcerers induced themselves and others into altered states of consciousness, in which they communicated with spirits to gain special knowledge. 
Probably the most thorough lexicon of ancient Greek, Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, repeatedly ties the word “pharmakeia” and its different forms to the seduction and deception that Satan and his demons work upon people to lure them away from God and His saving truth. Paul wanted believers to have nothing whatsoever to do with sorcery because it opened people up to deception that would lead them away from Christ and ultimately to eternal hell. Instead, believers should place their full trust in the knowledge God has given us through His Word and leave the rest in His perfect care. 
Yes, ghosts and mediums are real. They are real manifestations of demonic influence in the world, designed to trick people into false belief systems set up against the knowledge of God. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 10:4–5 that biblical truth is a weapon we use to tear down such false knowledge. Our responsibility as Christians is to avoid the lure of occultism, and lovingly guide others away from it, knowing that people’s eternal destinies are at stake.


This is most certainly true.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, Christians interested in mediums or psychics should know that God has issued grave warnings to us about consulting them and engaging in such practices, and so if that's you, then please repent of your sins and turn from such demonic wickedness before you are led so far away from the Lord and the truth that you suffer eternal consequences.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
When I was younger, the 1990 movie Ghost starring Patrick Swayze an Demi Moore was one of the biggest hits and probably because it was about a subject that resonated with anyone who had ever lost someone they loved, which is every single one of us at some point in our lives.

This isn't a piece on the Biblical merits of that film, but I thought about it today after reading a section in the excellent book titled "The House Swept Clean: A Biblically Balanced Pattern For The Diagnosis, Exorcism, And Pastoral Care Of The Victims Of Demonic Possession" by Pastor Darrell Arthur McCulley.

Now, you might be thinking, "What in the world does 'Demonic Possession' and/or influence have to do with ghosts of our loved ones who have died before us!?!" Um, quite a lot, actually.

The excerpt I'd like to share is in direct response to the common question: Do loved ones come back as ghosts to visit us after they die?

It seems like such a "no-brainer" to us, and I would venture to guess that a majority of Christians believe that this is possible. In fact, I have a dear family member whose daughter was stillborn and she recently stated that, "When I hear my son in his crib giggling and cooing, I know his sister is visiting with him." It's heartbreaking, I know! I can't imagine what it must be like to lose a child the way she did either. Even so, while my heart breaks for her, I know hers is an extremely comforting thought to someone who is hurting so deeply, but is it Biblical?

This should help to answer that question for us...



 
"So-called "haunted" places are very common, and people who are vulnerable to deception may buy the full legend about 'lost love and suicide' or 'Civil War soldier' or 'drowned child' or whatever the history of the place may offer. However, Scripture is very clear about the possibility of people coming back from the dead to visit places they once knew in life. In the book of Job, the suffering man tells very clearly what happens to people when they die. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Job says: 'As a cloud vanishes and is gone, so he who goes down to the grave does not return. He will never come to his house again; his place will know him no more.' This is one of the most dogmatic statements in the Bible on the disposition of the dead. And regardless of whether Uncle Fred ended up in Paradise or Torment, wherever it was, it's not back home telling Aunt Ellie where he hid the will!" 
-- Page 52

"So whatever these spirits are, they certainly aren't the souls or spirits of the dead people coming back to be seen by the living. Since it is clear that these apparitions are not God, that leaves only two possibilities: these spirits are angels, or these spirits are demons. 
They aren't angels. People may not always know an angel when they see one, but angels, even if in disguise, never do pointless things or play deceptive tricks. Angels don't lie, and appearing to be someone you aren't to deceive people is a lie. Demons, however, do lie. They lie to the interested, the vulnerable, the untutored, the intellectually arrogant, and anyone else they can. And if appearing as the joyful laughter of a recently-departed child can get the mourning parents to disbelieve the Word of God, demons are cruel enough to do it gleefully. They are so full of hate for people made in the image of God that they will do whatever they can to give comfort in this life if it leads to not knowing God in the next one. 
This calls for the pastor with a loving heart and a mind with wisdom. A recently-bereaved widow may take a great deal of comfort in the fact that her dear departed husband still watches over her. After all, she tells the minister, she can see him standing next to her bed from time to time. A child who has lost a moTher may be given a good deal of relief from grief because 'Mommy still tucks me in at night.' (Yes, demons are just that despicable and they play just that dirty. Cruelty is their stock-in-trade.) A pastor who comes loping in with an exorcism manual in one hand and the Bible in the other and who can't wait to immediately and dramatically divest these poor souls of their misconception will only cause resentment, damage, and alienation -- first from himself, then from God. He must lovingly and gently lead the person through whatever comfort he can share from the Word of God. The widow can be told that her husband may indeed see her from Heaven, and Jesus watches over her in ways even her heavenly husband could not. Perhaps her minister could have her read the Job passage out loud, asking her what she thinks about it. Then he could gently lead her to realize its truth. Then and only then, when the person can handle being told the rest of the story, might the pastor tell them that they are being most cruelly deceived. He will have to use his best prayerful judgment to make 100% sure when the person can handle all the facts. 
Having said all this, whenever possible, this information should be told to the person. However painful it might be, it is always better when a person can be told the truth and freed from a lie. But it must be done in a loving and gentle way that respects the person's fragility and how much they are comforted by this false apparition. Satan is cruel and vicious, and this sort of lie is among the most evil and mean-hearted things he does to vulnerable and hurting people. He does not play fair, and an exorcist or minister must be prepared to show the Enemy all the merciful quarter he deserves, which is none." 
-- Page 53


Boy, that certainly puts things into perspective for us, doesn't it?

Soon after reading that over the past weekend, I took to Twitter to share the following...


The Bible is crystal clear about the possibility of people coming back from the dead to visit places they once knew in life. They can't. They don't. Read Job 7:9-10. It's one of the most dogmatic statements in Bible of disposition of the dead.#NoGhostsOfDeadLovedOnes#Demons
— LutheranLayman (@LutheranLayman) February 16, 2019

1 Samuel 28?
— Hipster Septuagesima Lutheran (@hipsterlutheran) February 16, 2019

Yes, Samuel speaking to Saul in the shocked presence of the Medium at Endor and Moses talking to Jesus on Mount of Transfiguration are the only 2 exceptions to this Biblical rule. Generally, once we cross the threshold of death, there's no "return visit" by us.
— LutheranLayman (@LutheranLayman) February 18, 2019


I hate to be so blunt about it, especially if you're reading this as someone who currently believes they're being visited regularly by a loved one who has died, but "ghosts" are actually demons pretending to be dead people (or pretending to be your loved one).


Ecclesiastes 9:5 (ESV) For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten.

Psalm 146:4 (ESV) When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish.


Satan is real, fallen angels are real, and demonic entities are real. Very real.

This is a reality we must accept and face so that we do not fall unsuspectingly into their hands and unconsciously open ourselves up to their evil influence.

Ok, but what about the people who INSIST that they have seen their dead loved ones around them or even heard their voice? Again, I'm sorry, but that's a demon impersonating your loved one with the intent to deceive you and to lead you away from the truth of God's Word as well as God Himself.

Besides, let's not forget that God explicitly forbids us from communicating with the dead.


Deuteronomy 18:10-12 (ESV) There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you.


This is also why we should not entertain psychics either, but that's a piece for another day.

As another Christian blogger put it...


The Bible is very clear on two points, on which nearly all denominations agree. First, any spirit that is not God is not to be trifled with. The Bible repeatedly and firmly condemns seeking out the dead. Second, and crucially, diabolical spirits can and do take on kindly appearances. This can mean looking like angelic beings or, perhaps, deceased loved ones. All spirits are to be tested against what we know from Scripture.


Precisely! It reminds me of 2 Corinthians 11:14 where we're also told that "even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light." Well, there you have it! I mean, it's not like a demon bent on deceiving you and leading you astray is just gonna show up in your bedroom in the middle of the night looking like a stereotypical demon. No, it would much rather use its supernatural abilities to impersonate someone you truly loved so that you will let your guard down, right?

In a Lutheran layman's terms, if we take a closer look at Scripture's teachings on death and the afterlife, then we clearly discover that despite what "Pop Christianity" tells us, our loved ones do not come back as ghosts to visit us after they die.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Family and friends, please forgive me if, in my ignorance (and uncertainty about what to say in the moment), I have ever uttered such un-Biblical and unloving words to you in your darkest time of personal loss. Lord, have mercy!

 
"Satan is also the Bringer of Death. One of the most distressing things a pastor can tell a grieving person is, 'God took her; we don't know why.' Ridiculous! God did not bring sickness and death into the world -- Satan did. The blame for deaths and sicknesses and every other bad thing that happens to mankind lays squarely on the Devil's doorstep, not on God's. Indeed, even though there are times when God in His justice has taken lives, that is an extreme rarity. It is generally the job of Satan, directly or indirectly, to bring death. 
When a drunk driver hits a family car and kills a child, it is irresponsible and wrong for the pastor to say, 'Well, God took him for reasons of His own.' NO! God is NOT responsible for that death; it was Satan who enslaved the drunk driver to alcohol, Satan who tempted him to get behind the wheel, and Satan who taunted him into exceeding the speed limit. The human took the drink, the human got behind the wheel, and the human pushed the speed limit and lost control of the car. God did not do those things, nor did He cause them to be done. It is Satan who holds the power of death over mankind. The author of Hebrews speaks of this in his discourse on the Incarnation: 'Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death -- that is, the Devil -- and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.' (Hebrews 2:14-15). 
Telling a grieving person that God took their loved one for reasons unknown is not only unscriptural, it can alienate the person from a God who they think has unjustly robbed them of wife, husband, child, brother or sister. But the Gospel tells us that God does not VISIT death upon His beloved children; He REVERSES it. He NULLIFIES the work of the Devil, restoring that which sin has taken away. Better to lay the blame of death where it belongs: with Satan. The God of the Bible is the God of LIFE. It is His work to give life, not to inflict death. It was death He came in the flesh to conquer." 
-- Pastor Darrell Arthur McCulley


I thought that was a really good reminder for all of us.

Again, I know that I have personally resorted to the standard "God has a plan" apathetic response at times and that's on me. Sure, it's true, God does have a plan (Romans 8:28), but what the above quote is getting at is that we need to offer a more Biblical, comforting, and loving response in the moment.

The pain, hurt, and suffering at another's time of great loss is palpable and it's ok to simply say nothing while weeping with them. May we remember we have a Savior Who suffered for them and for us too. He knows what we/they are going through.

On the cross, Jesus suffered in complete weakness to remove your spiritual blindness. At your Baptism, He washed your spiritual eyes and cleansed your soul. Through His suffering, He grants healing and all the blessings of heaven. Though now you may live in weakness, as did Job and the apostle Paul, the power of almighty God rests upon you and works through you. His "grace is sufficient for you" (2 Corinthians 12:9). God saves you and sustains you through Jesus Christ.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, may we all prayerfully consider all of this the next time someone we know is hurting from a death so that we know what to say (and not to say) to someone who just lost a loved one.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Are one congregation's Christians high from smoking weed in Weed, California?

I mean, after all, they do think it's perfectly ok for them to remove their church's Pastor from the Office of Holy Ministry for preaching the truth found in the Holy Bible so you have to wonder.

All kidding aside, they're more likely just blinded by their own sin as they bow down at the Altar of Political Correctness.


 
Pastor Loses Job After Church Sign Stating 'Homosexuality Is Still A Sin' Causes Uproar


I'm a sinner.

You're a sinner.

Everyone's a sinner.

Jesus saves sinners like you and me.

A pastor fired for doing his job (or for telling the truth).

Better to lose one's job, than one's soul for being a false teacher.


"We believe that Jesus commands all Christians to let their light shine. We also believe that salvation is only for sinners. Jesus said he came to call sinners, not the righteous. If we give in to cultural demands to stop calling sin 'sin,' then we are robbing people of opportunity to hear the truth." -- Pastor Hoke


This is most certainly true.

Of course, don't just take his word for it (or mine). Let God's Word have the final say.


Luke 5:31 (ESV) "And Jesus answered them, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.'"

Romans 3:22-25 (ESV) "For there is no distinction: for ALL HAVE SINNED and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith." (emphasis mine)

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (ESV) "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, HAVING THE APPEARANCE OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING ITS POWER. Avoid such people." (emphasis mine)


How can we not think of that verse from 2 Timothy 3 that I put in BOLD TYPE above when you have Christians denying the clear truth found in Holy Scripture while still maintaining that they are Christians? "Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power" is the perfect description of them.

I commend Pastor Hoke for standing firm in the faith regardless of the personal cost to himself. I pray that the Lord would help each and every one of us to be so bold if we're ever put in a similar situation.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, it's definitely better to lose one's job than one's soul for being a false teacher.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
From the very beginning, and even to this very day, there are few things as divisive in Christianity as one's beliefs pertaining to the Holy Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's Supper.

I've often wondered why that is when the Scriptures seem rather clear on both even if we mortal human beings cannot completely fathom the true mystery of both gifts of God to us (Deuteronomy 29:29).

It's only utter speculation on my part, but maybe the reason why there are so many different denominations that believe so many different things when it comes to Holy Baptism and Holy Communion is because Satan knows how powerful these two "Means of Grace" truly are to each and every believer, and so he does what he always does ("Did God really say...?" Genesis 3:1), and either casts doubt or outright perverts the truth about the Sacraments.

You've heard of an "Apex Predator" in Science class? Well, Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller recently pointed out how Baptism is the "Apex Doctrine" in this beautiful discussion on the Sacrament that so many seem to get wrong despite what God's Word clearly says about it.


What's The Big Deal About Baptism? 
What's the big deal about baptism? - YouTube


That video is an excerpt form Cross Defense, a weekly radio show hosted by Pastor Wolmueller. Cross Defense talks about the joy of theology, the comfort of the Gospel, and the wisdom of God's Law for these darkening last days.

Look, I get it. Like Pastor Wolfmueller, I too was once firmly entrenched in the "Baptism-Is-Mainly-Symbolic-And-If-It-Is-Anything-More-Than-It-Has-To-Be-A-Good-Work-That-I-Do-Personally-And-Publicly-To-Demonstrate-My-Commitment-Devotion-And-Love-To-God" camp of believers.

Thanks be to God that He brought me to a true understanding of this beautifully comforting Sacrament! You might think that "baptism now saves you" (Peter 1 Peter 3:21) is pretty tough to argue against with when it comes to this subject, but that's precisely what I did back in the day!

Maybe I didn't "argue against it" as much as I simply ignored it as if that verse didn't exist at all. It's crazy to look back and to see how spiritually blind and misguided I really was at the time about so many things. My goodness, I even remember butchering the plain meaning of Ephesians 5:26 (which Pastor Wolfmueller also mentioned in the video) and said that it referred to husbands needing to "spiritually awaken/cleanse their wives by teaching them what the Word of God says" or something crazy like that. Lord, have mercy! It took a Lutheran Pastor to tell me to my face that that verse was explicitly pointing to Christ and talking about Baptism.

Imagine my horror when there I was making it mean something about teaching my wife what God's Word said when I had absolutely no idea what one of the Bible's simplest verses was teaching me to begin with! James 3:1 and the sobering words "not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness" immediately came to mind. But I digress.

The point I'm trying to make is that Pastor Wolfmueller is absolutely right to say that what another Christian believes about Baptism is a pretty good indicator of how doctrinally sound they are. That's why I'm always looking to read more orthodox writings on Baptism to help me solidify and strengthen my faith and understanding of this incredible, mysterious gift.

That being said, I like what I read from Martin Luther about the "three parts of Baptism" in this morning's Treasury of Daily Prayer...


 
"Now, as I have often said, God's Word teaches us that the sacrament of baptism has three parts. The first is just natural water ... [Baptism] is water, but there is something more which is added to it, which makes this water glorious and holy, makes it in fact the real baptism, namely: 
The second part, God's Word beside and with the water, which is not something we have invented or dreamed up, but is rather the Word of Christ, who said, 'Go into all the world and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit' [Matt. 28:19]. When these words are added to the water, then it is no longer simple water like other water, but a holy, divine, blessed water. For where the Word of God, by which he created heaven and earth and all things, is present, there God himself is present with his power and might. ... we must not look upon the water as simply water without the Word, but rather know that the Word with and beside the water constitutes the substance of baptism, as St. Paul says clearly in Eph. 5 [:26] that Christ washed and cleansed his bride, the church, by the washing of the water with the Word, which is quite a different bath and washing than that which occurs through natural water or human washing and bathing in a tub. For here, says St. Paul, is the Word of the living God which says, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; in other words, here not a man, but God himself is baptizing. For when it is done in his name it is done indeed by the holy Trinity. 
Then there is a third part which is necessary to make it a sacrament, namely, institution or the Word which institutes and ordains baptism; for two kinds of Word must be present in order that it be a baptism. One which is spoken with the water or baptizing, the second that which orders and commands us to baptize in this way, that is, to immerse in water and to speak these words. When these two come together, namely, the command and institution to do this and the Word with the water, which is used in accord with the institution and practices and administers the same, then this is called a baptism and is a baptism." 
-- Martin Luther


Baptism is not our so-called "First Act of Obedience" or even "An Outward Sign of Our Inward Grace" as so many believe (as I once believed)! No, Baptism is not our work at all! It's what Christ has done and is doing to us and for us!

In a Lutheran layman's terms, "Baptism has three parts" which are all essential and unique and "Baptism is the apex doctrine" too, because it is a work of Jesus Christ for me and for you, and it is the means in which He delivers to us the promise of His free gift of salvation that He won for us through His death and resurrection.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
I've always been fascinated (maybe "mystified" is a better word for it) by the unique relationship between a Pastor and Christ's Church. It's not just a "job" but a God-given "vocation" and a "divine call" really.

I mean, the Office of the Holy Ministry is so unique all on its own based on what God intends for it to be and how He intends to deliver His gifts through it to His people.

What the Word of God has to say about what qualifies a man for that high-calling and vocation is also something that's quite special.

As someone who even took the first step in answering what I believed to be the call to obtain an education at the local Seminary, I always enjoy hearing and reading what former Pastors and current Pastors have to say about all of this.

Rev. Robert Krestick shared his insights with the students of Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary in April 2017 in a special convocation that reflected upon the similarities between marriage and the pastor's relationship with his congregation (this presentation was first delivered at Concordia Lutheran Seminary, Edmonton, for their Timothy Lecture in February 2016).



Rev Krestick: Relationship Between The Pastor And His Church Requires Time And Commitment 
Twelve such "axioms" were quickly recognizable as good principles for a healthy marriage, but in Rev. Krestick’s presentation they also served as insights into how the relationship between the pastor and the church work out. Similar things are needed: faithfulness, time, charitable attitude, forgiveness, dependability. Even the best marriages require work, and the same is true with pastors and their congregants. Shepherds who invest in their people and consciously take care of their well-being will find that such commitment will lead them to fare better in their ministry and make the task more rewarding. The convocation brought together students as well as faculty members and area pastors. 
You can access audio and video versions of this lecture below... 
AUDIO: Part 1 
AUDIO: Part 2
Robert C. Krestick - Twelve Axioms On Marriage And Ministry (PART 1) 
Robert C. Krestick - Twelve Axioms On Marriage And Ministry (PART 2) 
Krestick, Robert C. - Twelve Axioms on Marriage and Ministry, pt 2 - YouTube
  
The "Twelve Axioms" include the following... 
1. Vocally and frequently declare your love
2. Make your spouse happy since they are the most important in your life
3. Never ever look at another man or woman and flee from temptation
4. Never do anything you think will be fun without doing it with your spouse
5. Plan, go the extra mile, and do unexpected things
6. When away from home, contact your spouse every day
7. Beware of criticism of your spouse
8. Shun gossip and unilateral advice since you are one flesh
9. Plan and arrange time with your spouse just the two of you
10. Beware of money problems
11. Never compete with your spouse, but build them up and encourage them
12. Go regularly to the same church and read the Bible and pray together too


That right there is some good marriage advice for sure, but his ability to connect each "Marriage Axiom" specifically to the "Office of the Holy Ministry" and the relationship between a Pastor and Christ's Church is such a beautiful blessing!

Yes, they're all important, but is there one that you feel is more important than the others perhaps? If so, then why exactly?

I'm curious to see what other Pastors have to say about this too so please share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.

Personally, I think that this is a very helpful presentation to prayerfully consider for anyone who believes that God may be calling them to Pastoral Ministry someday.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, this is also precisely why we must honor and respect the Lord's institution of the Office of the Holy Ministry and always keep our Pastors and Seminarians in our prayers for theirs is a truly difficult (though never hopeless or impossible with God's help), honorable, and rewarding vocation.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
As someone who spent his adolescence collecting comics (everything from Marvel to DC to Image to Valiant), I'm no stranger to the "World of Fantasy & Make Believe" striving to have the content on its colorful pages serve as a commentary on what the authors and artists perceive to be the many cultural, political, religious, and social injustices of the day.

In other words, I'm no stranger to seeing a series create "controversy" intentionally, because it seems to go hand-in-hand with most comic books.

Whereas Pastors preach God's Word from the pulpit, comic book creators preach "the doctrines of men" (Colossians 2:22) with their pens, pencils, and paper.

So I guess it's no surprise to see the latest rendition courtesy of DC Comics.

 
DC Comics To Introduce Jesus Christ As New Superhero With A Distorted Telling Of The Savior 
DC Comics is introducing its newest superhero, Jesus Christ, adapted from the most popular book in history and with its own twist. 
The new series, titled “Second Coming,” is set to debut in March. The series, written by Mark Russell and illustrated by Richard Pace, has already been labeled by some Christians as "blasphemous." 
According to Comic Book Resources, Russell mixed in his own idea of Christianity in the animated work by claiming that Jesus needed to return to earth to learn how to become the “true messiah” from a Superman-like character called Sun-man. 
“Witness the return of Jesus Christ, as He is sent on a most holy mission by God to learn what it takes to be the true messiah of mankind by becoming roommates with the world’s favorite savior: the all-powerful superhero Sun-Man, the Last Son of Krispex! But when Christ returns to earth, he’s shocked to discover what has become of his gospel — and now, he aims to set the record straight,” the comic description reads. 
In a past interview with Bleeding Cool, Russell explained that the series centers on the fact that God “was so upset with Jesus’ performance the first time he came to earth since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked up since then.” 
When the fictional version of God sees Sun-Man, he tells the comic Jesus, “That’s what I wanted for you.” 
“He sends Jesus down to learn from this superhero and they end up learning from each other,” Russell added. “They learn the limitations of each other’s approach to the world and its problems.” 
The theme of the comic is noticeably birthed from Russell's own idea of Christianity, shared in the books he authored, God Is Disappointed in You and Apocrypha Now. Both revealed that he believes people have “really misunderstood” the Bible and the Christian faith “doesn’t really base itself on what [Jesus] taught, particularly in the modern Evangelical megachurches.” 
The “Second Coming” series is hoping to “set the record straight” regarding Russel's interpretation of the Gospel of Jesus.


Lord, have mercy!

Like I said, I'm not surprised by any of this at all since religious plots, symbolism, themes, and undertones can be found in a lot of comic book series actually, but this is much more explicit since the main protagonist is Jesus Christ Himself. I mean, that's as in-your-face as it gets.

I may not agree with it at all, but I do believe in Freedom of Speech. Besides, Christianity is not Islam. We don't threaten to kill people (or actually do kill people; Charlie Hebdo anyone?) for drawing pictures of our Lord and Savior no matter how blasphemous and offensive they might be.

If I'm trying to put the best construction on this, then I guess the only redeeming quality I see at this point is that they have slapped the "Mature Readers" designation on this one for young readers.

You know, I really can't say that I didn't see this coming either. After all, what do you expect after years of various churches and denominations fashioning Jesus into the kind of Lord and Savior they want Him to be rather than the kind of Lord of Savior He says He is?

Besides, we were warned about this sort of thing, weren't we?

2 Timothy 3:1-7 (ESV) But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (ESV) I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.


Yes, God's Word said we could expect this sort of thing to happen.

In fact, Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard even wrote a spectacular book on the subject titled "Will The Real Jesus Please Stand Up? 12 False Christs" which looks at the 12 most common versions of Jesus that American Churchianity (a.k.a. "Pop Christianity") has dreamed up for itself to suit its numerous unrepentant sins.

In short, the Pastor Richard asks us, "When's the last time you took a hammer and a chisel to the Jesus of the Bible and formed Him into your own personal Jesus?" Um, "idolatry" anyone? Yes, that's right, because that's what each and every single one of us is guilty of whenever we sin by making Jesus into Someone and something He's not.

I thought of that book when I saw this story about this new comic book today. Without having read the first issue of this comic, I'd be willing to bet that the creators are going to give us a heavy dose of the "Unholy Trinity" or a combination of the following three types of false christs as described by Pastor Richard in his book...

 
Jesus: The Therapist 
"This false christ is not the end or center of the Christian faith, but is a means to another end. And what end is that? The end located in the second tier that is supposedly better and greater for the Christian. This false christ is not about forgiveness, life, and salvation as an end, but about taking a person away from sadness, unfulfillment, stress, and averageness to better things (i.e., better marriages, improved parenting, more joy, a brighter future, greater maturity, etc.). In other words, like a therapist, this false christ is only needed when a person feels as if they are not meeting their full potential and desires to get to a higher level. However, once a person arrives at the second tier, this false christ dismisses himself and then waits for a call at some later point when he is needed again. In summary, a two-tiered Christianity and a false christ who functions as a means to another end are the two characteristics of this theology." -- Page 58

Jesus: The National Patriot 
"Meet our next false christ: the National Patriot. This false christ appears when God's ordained right- and left-hand kingdoms are not adequately distinguished -- for example, when the church forgets her identity and tries to take the place of the state. In that scenario, Jesus is viewed mainly as a patriot giving His all for the national cause, which creates the false christ -- the National Patriot. In this scenario, the National Patriot rules not by the Word and Sacraments, but by laws, policies, economics strategies, and military tactics. When the two kingdoms of God are mixed, everything in the Christian faith is twisted and corrupted. Law and Gospel are convoluted, and the identity, work, and mission of the real Jesus are redefined into a false christ. Instead of the identity, work, and mission of the real Jesus being about forgiveness, life, and salvation, this false christ makes everything about life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The American Dream becomes the main mission." -- Page 91

Jesus: The Social Justice Warrior 
"Meet our seventh false christ: the Social Justice Warrior. This false christ is a warrior who fights for victims -- those who have been socially, economically, and politically oppressed. He is embraced for his exemplary fight for the deprived and outcast of society and revered simultaneously for his fighting against powerfully oppressive people and powerfully oppressive systems. Since this false christ died on the cross at the hands of oppressive religious leaders, he also is an excellent icon of comfort for those who are also underneath heavy-handed social, spiritual, economic, and political systems. Salvation from this false christ is not deliverance from the condemnation of sin, but rather it is liberation from unjust economic, political, spiritual, or social conditions. Keep in mind that the Social Justice Warrior false chirst is not the Savior who died for the sins of all people, for that would make all of humankind enemies of God; rather, the Social Justice Warrior is an advocate for only a selected group of oppressed people, typically people deemed as victims. Therefore, they have rejected the real Jesus, the one crucified for ALL of sinful humanity, and instead created a false christ who is a social justice warrior advocating for only a portion of humanity. He has created a false christ who damns the privileged and fights for the disadvantaged." -- Pages 101-102


Sadly, those are just two of at least "twelve false christs who are embraced, loved, promoted, and revered -- even by well-meaning Christians" today, but they're the versions that I'm assuming will likely be featured in this new comic book based on what we've already been told about it.

Speaking of the comic book, how awful is it that the premise is that "God 'was so upset with Jesus' performance the first time he came to earth since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked up since then'" which speaks directly to Old Adam's persistent desire to want to constantly try to earn God's love and achieve salvation through his own efforts?

Turning God into a "Works-Based Theologian" Who essentially puts Jesus in a box and imprisons Him!?! Unbelievable! Then again, non-Christians would probably just argue that such a fate isn't the worst thing in the world. Come to think of it, they might even go so far as to suggest that maybe God (if He were real to them) should have reacted this way too since they would believe it's far better to merely imprison your son than to kill him for the sins of others.

Whatever the case me be, the only response I can think of is to say, "That's BLASPHEMY, Patrick!"

Colossians 2:20-23 (ESV) If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations -- "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used) -- according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.


In other words, man-made regulations of false religion (i.e., works) have nothing to do with Christ and the forgiveness of sins although this comic book series will try to tell you the complete opposite.

Those who seek salvation through their own efforts gravitate toward external exercises that are easily seen and measurable, but the irony is that a religion of any kind that's constructed from decaying elements of this world is itself perishing.

Self-imposed, external efforts are always vital to those whose religion is more about them and their "good works" than it is about God despite what they should have remembered reading in Isaiah 64:6.

"Eternal life is worked in the heart by eternal things, that is, by God's Word and the Holy Spirit" (Apology of the Augsburg Confession XXVIII 10). The Christian faith will never be replaced by man-made religion though many will try to replace it with their own apostasies, blasphemies, and heresies for sure.

Over the centuries, many have claimed to have found a substitute for Christ and His forgiveness (i.e., Rationalism; Evolutionism; Socialism; Postmodernism; etc.). Sometimes these ideas are very impressive and the lifestyles they conceive become extremely popular. But the divinely-inspired St. Paul wrote, "let God be true though every one were a liar" (Romans 3:4). These waves of man-made religion always end up breaking apart upon God's truth in Jesus, who "is the same yesterday and today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).

This new comic book is called "Second Coming" which is interesting too. The reality? When Jesus Christ returns (and He will return one day!), it won't be as a meek, wimpy, hippy-like guy who's looking for a ministry "mulligan" or a cosmic "do-over" like some want us to believe.

No, the reality is that he is returning as "Lord of lords, and King of kings" (Revelation 17:14) "for we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.'" (Romans 14:10-11). Yes, "every" is pretty all-inclusive. I pray that the creators of this comic book and this false christ repent and are saved before the true Second Coming is upon us.

At the end of the day, I get that it's just a comic book and a form of entertainment and that it's not like churches are going to be ordering copies for their parishioners so that they can do small group sessions to study it (they won't, right?).

Still, as a Bible-believing Christian who was once led astray by blatant mis-characterizations and half-truths like those that will be presented in this series, I fully understand the risk of how dangerous things like this can be. The "subtle serpent" likes it that way (Genesis 3:1). I feel obligated to at least shine the light of truth on darkness of deceit.

I've learned that the "DC" in "DC Comics" came from the company's popular series "Detective Comics," which featured Batman's debut and subsequently became part of the company's name.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, and in light of their newest comic book series that will blaspheme our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I propose that the "DC" in "DC Comics" must stand for "Doctrinally Challenged" from now on.



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Remember when Saturday mornings used to be so much fun when you were a kid?

For me, I'd usually stay up as late as I could the night before (after what I thought was such a "hard" and "long" week at school), and then sleep in as late as I wanted to on Saturday morning. At least that was always my way of also trying to sleep through Saturday morning chores.

The best part? Whether Dad would make us breakfast or not (his famous French Toast!), the even better part of my Saturday mornings growing up was plopping myself down in front of our TV to watch cartoon after cartoon! You know, the kind that were only on once-a-week and not available in an instant through Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime?

Soon after launching this blog, I thought about that for some reason, and then decided it might be cool to come up with a new weekly tradition of sorts for us Lutheran adults to enjoy each and every Saturday morning now that we're all grown up (ok, at least some of us more than others anyway haha!). I mean, isn't it time for us to look forward to Saturday mornings again and not just Sunday mornings when we get to receive God's gifts at church?

Besides, I thought it would be good for us to recall that childlike faith in fun and laughter if only for a few moments each week. You'll recall that laughter was, for Luther, a sign of divine grace and also an antidote against the devil too.

From the very beginning, humor had been a theological topic for Martin Luther, embracing the dramatic scope of his whole world view. He himself explained: "When I was unable to chase away the devil with serious words of with the Scripture, I often expelled him with pranks." As a result, this unique concept was born! Ok, so it's really not all that "cool" or "original" or "fun" or "unique" to be sure, but it will be our new tradition here, and I'll try to make it worthwhile too. So who's with me then?

Please keep in mind, it won't be flashy, and it will hardly grab and hold your attention like a classic episode of the Care Bears, G.I. Joe, Thundercats, or Voltron would, but these "Lutherandom Musings Along Memory Lane" should satisfy the Confessional Lutheran's appetite for a balanced breakfast that includes your VDMA Vitamins which include Vitamin A (Amusement), Vitamin B (Best of the Blogosphere & Social Media), Vitamin C (Confessional), Vitamin D (Doctrine), and Vitamin E (Everything Else).

Each Saturday morning, God willing, I'll do my best to share some of the things I remember coming across in my unpredictable journey through Cyberspace during the week (hence, the "Along Memory Lane" part). For the most part, these will be random things I either bookmarked, read, wrote down, and/or simply couldn't get to myself during the week (hence, the "Lutheran" + "Random" or "Lutherandom" part). Of course, this is also where the things you send me via email (if any) will show up too.

Ok, enough with all the "commercials" when all we want is some "cartoons," right? Let's get the show started already, shall we?





8:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN A (AMUSEMENT): Typically, Lutheran Satire or The Babylon Bee are the two primary sources used for this section's content and it looks like 2019 will be more of the same! Did you see the latest suggestion to help the U.S. with it's border crisis thanks to the Christian Church?


8:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN B (BEST OF THE BLOGS): For those who have followed researched the controversial "Shroud of Turin" over the years, there's a new update on things. From a colleague on Facebook today: "'[N]ew research establishes approximately 20 points of correlation [between the Shroud and the Sudarium], which more than satisfies the standards of proof used by most judicial systems around the world, which require only 8 to 10' to establish identity." This same colleague then wrote that, "Having followed news and updates and documentaries on the Shroud for many years, I have also been aware of the Sudarium in Spain as a strong second witness. The last I heard, research was still ongoing concerning establishing the relationship between the two cloths. So this is a remarkable update on this process that I just learned about." As many tend to point out, the scientific community needs to make up their mind on this since they keep jumping back and forth on evidence. My colleague went on to add: "I suppose it is understandable, given the implications authenticity has for them. The C-14 test was the best shot the skeptic community had. Once this was satisfactorily answered (from a few different angles) from Shroud supporters over this decade, the original test and the drive to do another has pretty much been abandoned. So they are left to grasp in the dark with wild theories and experiments that do not pan out and have little hope of contending against the formidable evidence in favour of authenticity that continues to be presented." Certainly, an interesting read and update on the subject.
.

9:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN C (CONFESSIONAL): "In the first place, you must note in these words that here stand God's commandment and institution. Let us not doubt that Baptism is divine. It is not made up or invented by people. For as surely as I can say, 'No one has spun the Ten Commandments, the Creed, and the Lord's Prayer out of his head; they are revealed and given by God Himself.' So also I can boast that Baptism is no human plaything, but it is instituted by God Himself. Furthermore, Baptism is most solemnly and strictly commanded so that we must be baptized r we cannot be saved." (Large Catechism, Part IV Baptism, 6).


9:30AM DOSE OF VITAMIN D (DOCTRINE): In the sermon "Pure Doctrine and Love for People" (1 John 4:1-11), I loved reading the following words which opened the sermon: "Sometimes we who insist on pure doctrine are accused of not caring for people: 'You black-shirt round-collar types, all you care about is getting things right! You don’t care about people.' Pure doctrine -- pure doctrine is seen as an outmoded concern. Doctrine is assumed and taken for granted. We’re even told that insistence on pure doctrine is an impediment to being 'missional': 'We’ve got to stop this incessant internal purification and get ablaze with mission! Mission is Job One!' All of this talk puts forward a false dichotomy between doctrine and mission, between doctrine and love, as though the two could not go together. Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only can doctrine and love go together, they must go together, if we are going to be true to the mission of Christ. That was certainly the attitude of St. John the Apostle. In his letter -- and this is our fourth in a six-part series on 1 John -- the aged apostle puts a strong emphasis on both doctrine and love. John can go from a section on 'The Love That Lays Down Its Life,' like we heard last week, straight into this week’s reading, where he talks about testing the spirits and discerning the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error, and then he goes straight back to an exhortation for us to love one another. He sees no conflict or contradiction in doing that. The Apostle John emphasizes both 'Pure Doctrine and Love for People.' Therefore so do we. It all hinges on pure doctrine, the right teaching about Christ. John writes, 'Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.' Here is why you need to pay attention to doctrine: because not all religious preachers and teachers are telling you the truth. Oh, in their own minds they may think they are teaching rightly, and they may have many zealous and sincere followers, but it is possible to be sincerely wrong. And wrong doctrine can lead you in the wrong direction; it can even take you on the road to hell." Friends, please take a few minutes to read the rest of that sermon.


10:00AM DOSE OF VITAMIN E (EVERYTHING ELSE): Listen to this 23-minute lecture from Rev. Dr. John Bombaro titled "We Confess...That Gender Identity Is Given, Not Chosen" because we live in a world of ambiguity and gender confusion (a world of sin) and it's Biblical, short, sweet, and to-the-point on this topic.
 

Sorry, but that's all I have for you this week.

In a Lutheran Layman's terms, you've been fed a balanced spiritual diet this morning so I hope you're full and wide awake and ready to face the day in your God-given vocations. Grace and peace to you and yours!



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Who was Tertullian? Let's see what others have to say...

 
Tertullian, Latin in full Quintus Septimus Florens Tertullianus, (born c. 155, /160, Carthage [now in Tunisia]—died after 220, Carthage), important early Christian theologian, polemicist, and moralist who, as the initiator of ecclesiastical Latin, was instrumental in shaping the vocabulary and thought of Western Christianity.

************************************************************

Question: "Who was Tertullian?" 
Answer: Tertullian is known in church history as the father of Latin theology, as he was the first church leader to write his works in Latin. Most of his writing was in defense of Christianity against persecution from without or heresy from within. He had an enormous influence on the early church, and much of that influence can still be seen today. 
Born about AD 145 to a Roman centurion in Carthage, Quintis Septimus Florens Tertullianus was trained in Greek and Latin and became a lawyer in Rome, where he was converted to Christianity about AD 185. Though we know very little about the details of his conversion, he said that he could not imagine a truly Christian life without a conscious breach, a radical act of conversion. Prior to his conversion, he indulged in the typical licentiousness of Roman society, including sexual promiscuity and enjoying the games in the arena. He was profoundly affected by the testimonies of Christians who were martyred in the arena, and it is likely that his conversion was a result. 
Tertullian was ordained a presbyter in the church at Carthage, North Africa, and began writing books addressing the issues facing the church of his day. In response to a heresy about the Godhead, Tertullian wrote Against Praxus, which for the first time used the word trinity to describe the Godhead. Concerning Father, Son, and Spirit, Tertullian said, “These three are one substance, not one person.” His longest book, Against Marcion, defended the use of the Old Testament by the Christian church, and demonstrated how to use the Scriptures to refute heresies. Gnosticism was a major threat to the church of his day, and Tertullian did more than anyone else to overthrow the influence of the Gnostics. 
Tertullian was a key player in the transition of the church from a persecuted minority to a major influence in Roman society. Early in his ministry, he wrote his Apology, which defended the church against the persecutions of the state and explained the principle of religious liberty as an inalienable right of man. He was the first writer to use the word church to describe a specific building, rather than the assembled people. He was also the first to speak of a distinction between clergy and laity, though he affirmed the universal priesthood of the believers. 
While he is known as the father of Latin Christianity, and some would blame him for the errors of the Roman Catholic Church, many of Tertullian’s teachings stand against those errors. Tertullian laid down the principle that custom without truth is only time-honored error. In other words, tradition must be backed by Scripture for it to have any value. Regarding baptism, he firmly taught against baptizing children because they were not old enough to repent and believe. Though he was one of the early church fathers who advocated celibacy as the correct interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7, he himself was married. 
Later in his life, possibly after a dispute with Roman bishops, Tertullian adopted Montanism, which marked him as a heretic in the church. Despite that move, his earlier writings maintained their popularity and value among his peers and have remained a valuable part of our theological heritage. Tertullian was a man greatly used of God to define and defend the essential doctrines of the faith, and we are still benefiting from his ministry today.


He also had some great quotes for the discerning Christian to prayerfully consider!

For instance, we Lutherans believe, teach, and confess what God's Word and Luther's Small Catechism (which is merely a summary of what God's Word says) tells us about Holy Baptism.


What Is Holy Baptism? 
What Makes Holy Baptism So Special? 
What Benefits Does Baptism Give? 
How Can Water Do Such Great Things? 
What Does Such Baptizing With Water Indicate? 
What Does Baptism Have To Do With Our Daily Life? 
Why Are Infants And Young Children Baptized?


As I've written here hundreds of times before it seems, a proper (and Biblical) understanding of Holy Baptism is one of the things that really helped me appreciate and embrace the Lutheran confession of "the faith once delivered to the saints" (Jude 1:3), because of how powerfully comforting it is!

So, with all of that serving as a firm foundation established with the pure, unadulterated truth of God's Word, now we can especially appreciate Tertullian's words about Baptism. Check this out...


"How mighty is the grace of water, in the sight of God and His Christ, for the confirmation of Baptism! Never is Christ without water: He who is Himself baptized in water (Matthew 3:17); inaugurates in water the first display of His power when invited to the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11); in His preaching He invites the thirsty to His own eternal water (John 7:37-38; John 4:6ff); He approves, among the works of charity, the cup of water offered to a poor child (Matthew 10:42); He gathered His strength at a well (John 4:6); walks over the water (Matthew 14:25ff); calms the waves (Mark 4:39); and serves His disciples with washing by water (John 13:5). Even His Passion bears witness to the power of Baptism's waters, for while He was being handed over to the cross, water intervened and was a witness against Pilate's hands (Matthew 27:24). And when He is wounded, after His death, water bursts forth from His side that had been pierced with the soldier's lance (John 19:34)!" 
-- Tertullian


I don't know about you, but I find that list absolutely stunning!

It's not that it's surprising, but just that it's beautifully and perfectly poetic though completely and totally all a part of the reality of the life of Jesus Christ.

We are known for proclaiming "Remember your Baptism!" and "You need to drown your 'Old Adam' in your Holy Baptism on a daily basis by repenting and remembering your Baptism!" whenever we feel guilt and shame as a result of sin in our lives.

That's why, for me, thinking about the glorious gift of Baptism, imagining the Baptismal Font, will always remind me that "the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes" (Revelation 7:17).

In a Lutheran layman's terms, from water mixed with the Word to the "living water" we read about throughout the New Testament, yes, "How mighty is the grace of water," because it is the very grace of Christ Jesus Himself for you, for me, and for all mankind!



NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just your average everyday Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to "Confessional Lutheranism" and one who recently escaped an American-Evangelical-Non-Denominational mindset a little more than 6 years ago now despite being a Christian my whole life. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way back into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with the Bible, our Confessions, and Lutheran doctrine in general (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can not only correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1), but repent of my sin and learn the whole truth myself. With that in mind, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavily influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I will defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!
Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview