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Ichabod explores the Age of Apostasy, predicted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, with an emphasis on UOJ, Church Growth, and Emergent Church heresies. The antidote to these poisons is trusting the efficacious Word in the Means of Grace. John 16:8. Most readers are WELS, LCMS, ELS, or ELCA. This blog also covers the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodoxy, and the mainline denominations.
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    And the plagiarism! approved by the DP and the seminary professors! 
    And the millions wasted on so-called missions.

    Joel Lillo's message - from the Elmer Gantry Circuit of the Anything Goes District in WELS - confirmed my guess - the opponents are still reading Ichabod - which "nobody pays any attention to" - and adding to the spectacular numbers.

     Three followers...already?


    Top Views in the Last Month



     WELS has a nifty set-up for the right people - require consultations and make the congregations pay thousands for the consultant to state the obvious. The money raisers do almost no work, encourage huge debts, and take a percentage of the pledges for themselves - against the rules of ethical fund-raising.



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    I am ordering a copy of each book we produce for another African seminary - our third one. Volume 5 of Luther's Sermons, black and white, is ready, so they will have all of Luther's Gospel Sermons in this shipment.

    Mailing books is expensive, so we provide the $100 to ship them to Africa in a box that can weigh 20 pounds.

    We order one of each book at the author's price
    and send it to our missionary contact in St. Louis.
    Then we send the mailing fee to Africa.


    Norma Boeckler is giving them permission to use her artwork, and I am giving them permission to translate the texts - all for no fees. Our missionary facilitator is sure they will want to use Norma Boeckler's art as they translate selections.

    As people might have guessed, having everyone read e-books is not feasible at this time. It is a combination of cost and reliability of equipment. We take so much for granted.

    There is an old saying about world missions. "The light shines brightest at home that shines afar." In other words, the congregation that cares about those they will never see will also prosper in their own area.



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     As one NPH book said in the introduction, the Calvinists are no longer crypto (secretive).

    The illiterate hissy fit of Joel Lillo (WELS, Anything Goes District, Elmer Gantry Circuit) reminded me of a basic question:

    Since WELS, LCMS, ELS, yea even the CLC (sic) adopted the Church Growth Movement and lost members steadily, why have they not repudiated the Fungus from Fuller (CG) as vigorously as they rejected Luther's doctrine?

    Readers will not fight me on Part A of the thesis. The Wisconsin, Missouri, and Norwegians sects have admitted that they adopted a safe version of Church Growth. Valleskey (WELS, Fuller alumnus) urged WELS to "spoil the Egyptians" and gather all they could from Fuller. The Missouri Synod studied Church Growth, long after going ape over it, and said, "Yes, it had its dangers, but it is good for us." The Little Sect on the Prairie wrinkled its Norwegian nose at first, but did their best to copy WELS and Missouri.

    Part B is implied by the question -

    Why have they not repudiated the Fungus from Fuller (CG) as vigorously as they rejected Luther's doctrine?

    The answer is clear, because the data is strewn all over the Internet, beyond debate and equivocation.

    Therefore, the answer to Part B is -

    Church Growth was adopted to give the apostates an excess of income, power, influence, and control.

    The apostasy came first. Lutherans in all synods gradually gave up the bedrock of Biblical doctrine - the efficacy of the Word. See Thy Strong Word and The Lost Dutchman's Goldmine for evidence. WELS - for instance - moved from a brief, Justification by Faith catechism by Gausewitz to a verbose UOJ catechism by David Kuske.

     The Lost Dutchman's Goldmine 



    Like "quotas for justice," Church Growth became an easy litmus test for synodical advancement. Smiling at those special albeit ridiculous terms (Church Growth Eyes) and sighing like a schoolgirl about Fuller - those were good signs. The Church Growthers were endorsed and  certified by study at Pasadena, Willow Creek, Kent Hunter's Corunna, or Trinity Divinity.

    This combination guaranteed that leaders from all Lutheran groups would be united by their greed, false doctrine, dishonesty and love for the Church Growth Movement. Didn't Jesus warn us about wolves in sheep's clothing, figs never growing on thorns?

    The UniSynod will not give up on Church Growth - Missional now - because they have what they want:

    • Power to make life and death decisions for workers and parishes, divine calls and property.
    • Control over Thrivent loot, foundation money, and synod budgets.
    • Income for themselves, not in spite of their incompetence, but because of it.


    Hartmann must have meant "faithlessly," because TELL and its bastard child - Leadership - were published exclusively to promote the Fuller Fungus.

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    Richard J. Neuhaus was expelled from one LCMS school,
    never graduated from high school, but signed up for
    Concordia College, Austin, Texas, and graduated.

    Richard John Neuhaus: A Life in the Public Square
    by Randy Boyagoda, 2015.

    Neuhaus goes way back in my connections. We heard his father preach for Easter Sunday, 1960s, in Simcoe, Ontario, which is the area where Mrs. Ichabod's relatives settled. Twenty miles away is Delhi, where Herman Otten's brother was a pastor, so Walter knew the rest of the Ellenberger clan.

    I missed the Left-wing years of Neuhaus, only to follow him in the Lutheran Forum Newsletter, where he was the first of several editors to become Roman Catholic. I wrote complaints about the LCA to him, and I was often quoted. When I wanted to become anonymous, he only wrote "a angry pastor in Michigan," which was as good as giving my address and phone. I thought it was funny.

    From time to time I wrote letters to Neuhaus, and he was good at sending back replies, always humorous, even though we disagreed. I observed that his bunch was not conservative at all, just less liberal. He agreed.

    Much later we actually met Neuhaus at the Ad Fontes conference. He had an animated conversation with LCA Bishop James Crumley, which was just before Neuhaus became the Catholic he always was. Perhaps Crumley was hearing the bad news at Ad Fontes. Neuhaus, knowing I was in WELS, asked me if I planned on taking communion at the ELCA service. I said, "You are Ad Fontes. We are Fontes." He laughed good-naturedly. Of course, I soon learned how WELS and Missouri were velcroed to ELCA via Thrivent and the synodical lust for loot.

    I sat at lunch with James Crumley, and he asked me about WELS colloquy. If you think the leaders do not know what is going on, guess again.

    Many biographies are too detailed or too obsequious. Boyagoda's is excellent, enjoyable to read, a great way to fill in the gaps in a notable career. He has written a critical biography that offers a balanced perspective.

     I met, talked to, or interviewed three of these Lutheran leaders - Jack Preus, Robert Marshall, and David Preus.


    Gaps
    Neuhaus played pastor all the time when his father was a pastor in Pembroke, Ontario. He made such an impression at the first LCMS school he attended that the faculty asked him to leave. That led to an interim in Texas, when he bought a gas station with a loan from a relative. He did not go to school at all that year, then found himself send to Concordia High School in Austin, Texas. But there were two lines - one for the high school. one for the college. Neuhaus signed up for college and assured the registrar his transcripts would follow soon enough.

    Robert Lewis Wilken was Neuhaus' roommate at Austin. Wilken was on the faculty at Notre Dame when I was there, though I felt no urge to take his courses. He made quite an impression on me when he said, "Luther is an empty concept. There is a different Luther for each generation." I still wonder when I will find a Lutheran academic who actually reads and understands Luther - only the laity do. Wilken did not approve of Neuhaus' conversion to Rome, but joined him in Roman Catholicism, later as a layman.


     Robert Lewis Wilken
    The Empty Public Square was dedicated to
    "Robert Wilken by the Sea of Galilee."

    Neuhaus insisted to Wilken's fiance that he and Bob had taken an oath of celibacy, so they should not marry. That came from the later influence of Father Piepkorn, one of the icons of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. I heard many references to him, but did not comprehend the reason for awe many felt for him. Doubtless Father Piepkorn was a definite step in the direction of Rome for Neuhaus.

    According to Otten, Wilken and Neuhaus took over the student paper from Marquart and Otten - a successful coup at Concordia, St. Louis.

    My wife's sister babysat for Stan Hauerwas' son
    and she earned a master's at Notre Dame in education. I saw him in his basement office to learn about the PhD program at Notre Dame. I applied, and got a full scholarship. I took ethics from Hauerwas, and he was on my dissertation committee. He worked with Neuhaus for a time.

    Hauerwas was an early ally of Neuhaus in their theocon years. I would define the theocons as mainline leaders who had some indications of conservatism, compared to the zany Leftist views of the rest of them. In fact, the LCA made a point of crabbing about Neuhaus before he left, calling him, in their Partners clergy magazine - a noisy troublemaker. Fortunately, they dumped that name, just as they got rid of AIDS in Mission, a monthly packet of LCA promotional materials sent to church workers. And yet, both names were prophetic, no?

    ELCA's worst name change was far too happy-face - The Living Lutheran, instead of The Lutheran (Passavant's name for his own independent and confessional magazine) - wishful thinking for a dead sect with dying seminaries.

    Neuhaus made much of his relationship with Martin Luther King, Junior, but Boyagoda did not find much evidence for that.

    Neuhaus, Mrs. Ichabod and I only met face-to-face once, at the Ad Fontes conference, which was aimed at LCA pastors who might want to join Rome. We met Klein and his wife, Lutheran Forum, and he became a Roman priest. A man may remain married and become a priest, but the priest cannot marry again if he becomes a widower.
     SynCons celebrate the Adoration and Assumption of Walther, while Catholics honor the alleged Assumption of Mary.

    Neuhaus and the last LCA Presiding Bishop - James Crumley - had a long, earnest talk at the conference. I believe Crumley was trying to talk Neuhaus out of leaving the LCA for Rome.

    Neuhaus invited us to take part in the Holy Communion service and grinned that we might not to, since I was joining WELS. I said, "True. You are Ad Fontes. We are Fontes." He laughed, always fun to joke with. Doubtless he knew plenty about WELS being Magna Cloaca rather than Fontes.

    McCain got the Roman Catholics to include the LCMS in something, so great is his influence. Doubtless they were grateful for all the Roman Catholic propaganda he stole from The Catholic Encyclopedia and promoted as his own work.


    Apostates Looking for a Safe Harbor
    Neuhaus will be remembered for his overlapping circles of influence, from Otten-Marquart to the Pope Himself. He was certainly the kind of celebrity convert that Rome loves to promote.

    However, all of them are apostates, just different flavors. Otten cannot claim to be Lutheran because he rejects Justification by Faith and confesses Universal Objective Justification. Otten agrees with ELCA and rejects Luther's Biblical doctrine.

    The same can be said for the others, whether they pose as old-fashioned Bronze Age Synodical Conference loyalists or dibble and dabble in Roman, post-Kantian, Rahnerian dogma.

     He promotes the books of conservative Roman Catholic Randy Engel. Otten loves to sell the hate-filled, dishonest The Facts about Luther that Vatican I papists adore. Otten is just as Roman Catholic as Neuhaus - just promoting an earlier era.





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     John Sparky Brenner, son of Slick Brenner, Grandson of SP Brenner, finished his PhD at UW Madison in 2012 with a dissertation on the election controversy.

    Sparky went to Northwestern College, Watertown, Wisconsin.

    I will be writing a full review of Brenner's book, which someone sent to me.

    I also have the pdf of his dissertation, which appears to be almost the same in content.

    http://epublications.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1200&context=dissertations_mu

    Today I am making progress on Volume 6 of Luther's Sermons. I will finish writing the Brenner review in the next few days.

     "My sisters, my brother and me. Ann Brenner Arnold MLS class of of 1964. Me MLS Class of 1966. Dr. John Brenner MLS Class of 1969. Barbara Brenner Manthey MLS Class of 1975." Deborah Brenner Priebe, Michigan Lutheran Seminary

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    Plough Monday — the Monday after Epiphany | Churchmouse Campanologist:



    "Last year, I wrote an extensive post on Plough Monday, which is the first Monday after Epiphany:

    The English tradition of Plough Monday

    I thought I had covered the waterfront with regard to this ancient festival but found more history about the day that signalled a return to full time agricultural work on the Tuesday.

    Ploughing matches

    When Plough Monday was widely celebrated, some farmers would have had their ploughs blessed at church on Sunday. Other villages had a communal plough at the church which was blessed annually."



    'via Blog this'

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     Luther never stopped being cool. Unfortunately, the Lutherans just took him for granted. But that is changing, slowly.


    Extra Nos: One of the best sermons I heard last year.:



    "One of the best sermons I heard last year.
    It was not really the sermon of the pastor. I came in a few minutes after the preacher started his sermon and I was enjoying the words coming out of the pulpit. At the end, he revealed that he was reading Luther's sermon. He said he did not know what to preach and so he took one of Luther's sermons out and chose to read it to the congregation. I was so blessed he did that.

    This provided food for thought to me. Honestly, I am disappointed at the sermons I hear from pastors here. Most of the time they wander off from the text of Scripture and I wind up wondering what on earth happened in that preaching moment.

    It is dawning on me what Dr. Greg Jackson has been saying, that Luther is still a reliable preacher and we can count on getting meat from his works if we feel starved for good exposition of God's word. Thank God Pr. Greg has decided to publish Luther's Sermon works."



    'via Blog this'



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     Dwight L. Moody


    From the Lighthouse Blog - What Would D. L. Moody Say Today to Moody Bible Institute About Mingling Truth and Error?:



    "By Dwight L. Moody

    I do not see how any Christian, most of all a Christian minister, can go into these secret lodges with unbelievers. They say they can have more influence for good, but I say that they can have more influence for good by staying out of them and reproving their evil deeds.

    You can never reform anything by unequally yoking yourself to ungodly men. True reformers separate themselves from the world. But, some say to me, if you talk that way you will drive all the members of secret societies out of your meetings and out of your churches. But what if I did? Better men will take their places. Give them the truth anyway, and if they would rather leave their churches than their lodges, the sooner they get out of their churches the better.

    I would rather have ten members who are separated from the world than a thousand such members! Come out from the lodge.

    Better one with God than a thousand without Him! We must walk with God, and if only one or two go with us, it is all right. Do not let down the standard to suit men who love their secret lodges or have some darling sin they will not give up! (source: https://www.thebereancall.org/content/dwight-l-moody-masonry).



    (Photo in public domain.)"

     How is it that Barth/Kirschbaum appeal to conservative Evangelicals, the Fuller Church Growth faculty, Marxists, liberal Protestants and Catholics? They perfected the art of Yes and No, leading others in crafty conduct and language.


    'via Blog this'

    ***



    GJ - Many people enrolled in various Lodges, often as the first churches to reach the lands being opened up to farming and ranching. Since many Evangelical and Lutheran ministers were also members, the laity saw no harm in the Lodge.

    The Lodge is not as secretive as some imagine. I know many of the rituals and claims. Their dogma is easy to find, and it is anything but Christian.

    The Lodge may have taught the mainline denominations how to double-speak, pretending to be Christian while being anti-Christian. My maternal grandfather was a leader in his lodge and taught his local minister the rituals. My mother and sister joined, and I was recruited but demurred. Later, under the influence of an LCMS pastor in St. Louis, my mother rejected the Lodge completely, after years of ignoring it.

    The Lodge is not doing so well today. The Detroit Masonic Lodge downtown - simply The Masonic - was built beyond anyone's imagination for size and splendor, but it is on the brink. If you are a Church Growther (Shrinker), click on the link. There are your buddies, your examples, your dark future. Flint's Masonic is up for sale - only $500,000.

    I used to go to my hometown's Scottish Rite Cathedral to hear special guest celebrities. That building was up for sale not long ago.

    Like the UOJists, Masonic leaders are notorious liars. Yes, various famous men have been Masons, but the Lodge deliberately exaggerates the stories about these men. Certain Masonic leaders know what they really stand for, but the rest of the members are allowed to blend the Lodge in with their own religion, lack of religion, or Christianity. The Mormons were long treated as a renegade Lodge by the Masons, because so many LDS rituals are blatant copies of the original.



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    From a Reader -

    Hello Pastor Jackson
     
    I would like to share with you some information I found about a Church Growth program in the LCMS called 'Church Unique'.
     
    Recently I was told that a page appeared in an LCMS church's website announcing a initiative called 'Church Unique'. That is the name of a book by Will Mancini, a former Reformed minister. Here is a link to Will Mancini's website:
     
     
    'Church Unique' is also the name of a program. According to the Church Unique website "Church Unique was written by church consultant Will Mancini, an expert on a new kind of visioning process to help churches develop a stunningly unique model of ministry that leads to redemptive movement."


     



    Here is a link to the Church Unique website:
     

    "Church Unique is primarily about your church's identity. It show church leaders how to identify and unlock their congregation's individual identity as a tool for unleashing their one-of-a-kind potential."
     
    Here is a link to the website of the consulting company (Auxano) he formed to train people in the Church Unique program:
     
     
    After browsing thru these websites it is clear to me that the Church Unique program is pure Calvinst, Church Growth Movement, Enthusiasm. I don't understand how or why a LCMS church would become involved in something like this.
     
    I did an internet search using dogpile.com (this doesn't work with Google) using the following keywords
     
    +LCMS +"church unique"


     
    and it returned a couple of pages of links to LCMS churches which are involved in the Church Unique program and to LCMS meetings in which Church Unique was discussed. It appears that Church Unique may have support from the LCMS hierarchy, not only from the district hierarchies.
     
    The LCMS has its own in-house Church Growth entity called Transforming Churches Network (TCN). TCN was founded about 8 or 9 years ago and was very high-profile for a few years, but I don't recall hearing anything about it recently. Perhaps the TCN fervor ran its course, and now Church Unique is the
    hot Church Growth program in the LCMS.
     
    I hope this information is interesting to you. In your blog you mention the CGM activities in the WELS, but it appears that the LCMS is not immune.


    GJ - 

    Missouri is whole hog into Church Growth, with five named people in the dubiously titled Church Growth Hall of Fame, or is that Shame?

    Waldo Werning, who was Herman Otten's "secret agent," promoted CG throughout WELS, the Little Sect, and the LCMS.

    Robert Preus, earlier a rabid advocate of UOJ, had Werning on his faculty and endorsed Church Growth.


    I tend to name WELS false teachers more often, because I know a greater percentage of them. UOJ and Church Growth go together like Sam and Ella - salmonella, get it?



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     John Brenner posed with his sisters at Michigan Lutheran Seminary, garnishing his Geneva gown with a device called preaching tabs or preaching bands.

    John Wesley also wore preaching tabs, which can be found
    on some Roman Catholic robes too.

    A reader was kind enough to send me his copy of Brenner's book, published by Northwestern Publishing House - The Election Controversy among Lutherans in the Twentieth Century, 363 pages. I suspected from the title that it was a dissertation, so I eventually found the link.

    Marquette University was founded as a Jesuit school. Marquette - as viewed in Wikipedia.

    Brenner also wrote a history of the seminary at Mequon, which I will review after it arrives.

    To make this review more convenient for the readers and my eyes, I will quote from the PDF of the dissertation,  published here.



    The Missing Foundation - Book of Concord
    I am not alone in wishing the Olde Synodical Conference would stop treating their mythical history as the norm for all doctrine and practice. Although Brenner claims his work is a "critical history," the book and dissertation are anything but critical. We can still read Thucydides and see both sides of an issue, varying causes and opinions. Brenner is no Thucydides.

    Supposedly the election conflict began in the 19th century, but that ignores two matters of great importance -

    1. The Chief Article of Christianity - Justification by Faith.
    2. The article on Election from the Book of Concord.
    For those two reasons, Brenner's work is useful for seeing the spiritual and academic blindness of the Olde Synodical Conference. Brenner simply assumes that the Walther-centric history of the Lutherans, as fashioned by the myth-makers, is the actual history of Lutherans in America. Of course, that is rubbish.



    Useful Points in the Book
    The mild Lutherans object to polemics, perhaps because polemical writing serves to bring up the real issues. "Error loves ambiguities," as Krauth wrote. 
    • Brenner argues the WELS point of view and names a variety of mostly forgotten figures and institutions.
    • The Chief Article of WELS - Universal Objective Justification (UOJ) - is the basic for this entire work.
    • No one with average reading ability can ever claim again, "But I did not know WELS was attacking the Gospel."
     This is the explanatory note by the Calvinist translator of
    Knapp's doctrinal textbook for Halle University. The double-justification language became popular in the Olde Synodical Conference and is often defended and used today.

    Election and UOJ

    Does anyone read this? 
    13] Therefore, if we wish to think or speak correctly and profitably concerning eternal election, or the predestination and ordination of the children of God to eternal life, we should accustom ourselves not to speculate concerning the bare, secret, concealed, inscrutable foreknowledge of God, but how the counsel, purpose, and ordination of God in Christ Jesus, who is the true Book of Life, is revealed to us through the Word, Book of Concord, Formula of Concord, SD, Election.

    I am not going to claim status as an expert in Walther, so I appreciate Brenner associating the Election issue with UOJ, which has been called Objective Justification (by the Calvinist translator of Knapp), General Justification (Hoenecke), and in Brenner's work - the Justification of the World.

    All these terms have this in common - a divine (but unrecorded) decree that everyone in the world - past and present, with a special emphasis on unbelievers - is absolved of all sin.

    The key explanatory word here is - decree. That concept is corruptly borrowed from Justification by Faith, which is God's declaration that people are forgiven - if they believe in the One Who raised Him from the dead. That is clearly individual, not universal, which shows how the UOJists conflate and confuse the Atonement with Justification by Faith.


    Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

    Note that Romans 4:25 - by itself - is used by teachers to prove UOJ when the verse clearly teaches Justification by Faith in harmony with Abraham being justified by faith in Genesis 15.

    Since Walther was anxious to teach Justification without Faith, or Easter as World Absolution without Faith, he promoted his Halle Pietism by declaring that Christians were elected without faith.

    Thus Walther himself caused this great division in order to prop up and invalidate his false doctrine of UOJ.

     UOJ is the engine that drives Church Growth apostasy.

     You must make a decision to accept Walther's world absolution dogma! How many clergy have tried to force this on their congregations, who know better!


    Justification in Brenner
    Justification by Faith is used as a phrase 14 times in the dissertation. That can be checked by using control-f and putting that phrase in the window that appears. This handy feature counts the times it is used and takes the reader from one example to the next. By the way, it is an ideal tool for editing. That works on the PDF opened on the Net and also on Word documents.

    Justification by Faith is quoted 15 times by Brenner in identifying the view of the opponents. Nota bene! Although he corrects notes that Luther told us to judge all doctrines by Justification by Faith, Brenner does not follow that rule at all.


    Justification of the World

    Brenner:

    The topic was objective or universal justification (usually spoke of in Norwegian circles as the “justification of the world”). 
    Brenner, p. 149.

    The Augustana Synod was concerned that the expression “justification of the world” denied the necessity of justification by faith.
    Brenner, p. 150.

    Since Schmidt in the Election Controversy was contending for election in view of faith, he was beginning to have difficulties in speaking of a justification of the world apart from the faith of the individual. In fact, Schmidt declared that the real issue in conflict was justification. Schmidt’s essay on justification presented at the very first convention of the Synodical Conference, however, had clearly taught a justification of the world.
    p. 150


    The final free conference met in Goodhue County, Minnesota, June 27-July 4, 1883. The subject for discussion was the doctrine of absolution. One side historically taughtuniversal or objective justification (justification of the world), contending that the pronouncement of forgiveness won by Christ and declared by God to the world leads people to believe in their Savior. The other side was not willing to speak of justification apart from faith (subjective or personal justification).
    Brenner, p. 150. GJ - See Knapp's translator for this double-justification formula. But do not look for it in the Book of Concord, Luther, or the Scriptures.

    Nowhere does the Bible speak of the Gospel being "everyone is already forgiven." No one is forgiven without faith in Christ. The foundational sin is unbelief. And yet Brenner correctly says that the Old Synodical Conference thought preaching universal absolution without faith actually promoted faith. But only if that faith was trust in this universal absolution without faith.

    Conclusions
    The real issue was Justification by Faith, as the conferences reveal in various ways and Brenner must concede. UOJ led to Walther's bizarre speculations on Election and divided Lutherans, benefiting Walther's struggle for power and control.

    Brenner articulates Justification by Faith a bit and mentions the efficacy of the Word, but he is like a Mormon in dealing with the Gospel. He uses the words but he does not believe them. Like Brug, he writes about the Word without grasping the Biblical doctrine of the efficacy of the Word. Therefore, teaching forgiveness - without the Word, without faith, without the Holy Spirit at work in the Gospel Word - is no problem for him or Brug.

    However, this puts the Olde Synodical Conference at the lowest point in its checkered history. The ELS/WELS/LCMS agree with ELCA, which is also going downhill and picking up speed toward its destruction. Mainline Protestantism in America came from Pietism and gradually became more rationalistic and Universalistic. The ELS/WELS/LCMS have nothing germane to say about ELCA or apostasy. They are the Me Too Lutherans.



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    I began reading a column from Norm Fischer, originally from the Steadfast News group blog, reprinted in Christian News, p 5. I was surprised to find something good in Steadfast News, but then I realized Fischer is a layman. He is a clear writer and fun to read.

    The issue has three or four steps, maybe more by now:

    1. Concordia, St. Louis questioned key issues in Creation, caving toward evolution - the length of a day and the age of Mother Earth. Chuck Arand either wrote the article or followed up on it.
    2. Two districts sent letters to Concordia to address the issue.
    3. The entire faculty accused every pastor in two districts of violating the Eighth Commandment.
    4. Matt the Fatt, who failed to get his doctorate at the seminary, joined in.



    As always, Lutherans want to argue the fine points of the distraction rather than deal with the main issue, which is not Creation in this case.

     Do the faculties teach this? If so, they should
    reject UOJ and fellowship with ELCA.


    Why is the Missouri Synod working religiously with ELCA?
    Why do LCMS pastors join Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy?
    Why do Walther's disciples agree with WELS/ELS about Church Growth and Justification without Faith? and
    Why are they fudging on Creation?

     The Jackson Rose Garden grows flowers without chemical
    fertilizers or chemical toxins. Neighbors wonder, "How do you do that?" It is Creation gardening, I explain. God mulches and so do I. The best pest destroyers spin webs and fly around the roses.


    We went to see a famous Calvinist talk about religion and politics. The attendance was small. I looked him up and he was quoted saying - "We have to compromise on evolution or we will become irrelevant to the modern world."

    The problems with the LCMS/WELS/ELS seminaries will never be solved until they believe, teach, and confess the efficacy of the Word. There are little proofs of their apostasy, such as working with ELCA, going to Fuller, scarfing down Thrivent dollars, and teaching against the Chief Article - not to mention not knowing the Chief Article at all.



    The question is not -

    • Do you believe God created the universe in six 24-hour days? but - 
    • Do you believe the Son is the Creating Word of John 1:3?

    • Does the Gospel Word plant faith in our hearts through the work of the Holy Spirit? or
    • Do we hear the entire world has been absolved of sin, without faith, and say - Yes, I have decided that is true!


    All the Lutheran synods are swarming hives of Enthusiasts, always buzzing about this and that, filling the world with their nonsense while insisting on being taken seriously. The synod leaders are no better.




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    From the posted article.

     From Martin Luther College - WELS.

    Are skirts the next men’s fashion trend? | New York Post:



    "In an era during which rules seem meant to be broken — and more and more people are calling for gender equality — it should surprise no one that the fashion world is the head cheerleader for change. Case in point: the Fall 2018 Menswear designers presenting a variety of skirts on their runways."



    'via Blog this'

    From Martin Luther College - WELS - their School of Ministry.

     From WELS Church and Change Your Gender -
    Eve Mueller is one of their pastors.

    Adam Mueller took the WELS organization's name seriously -
    so he changed. So did his church council - and they photographed their romp for everyone to see.
     Michigan Lutheran Seminary - WELS - prepares future pastors in WELS by having them dress as girls. Remember when a tranny was an automatic transmission in a car?

    Sam Birner was actually going transgender while at Martin Luther College. His roommate Zak was a big help, according to Sam.

     
     Sam has had various names since graduation. He was Lily in this photo.

     How to get a call in WELS - go transgender.
    Each one of these nymphets received a call.
     




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     Norma Boeckler, Our Artist-in-Residence


    SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY.



    TEXT: John 2:1-11. And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and Jesus also was bidden, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when the wine failed, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. And Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatever he saith unto you, do it. Now there were six waterpots of stone set there after the Jews’ manner of purifying, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they tilled them up to the brim. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the ruler of the feast. And they bare it. And when the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and knew not whence it was (but the servants that had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast calleth the bridegroom, and saith unto him, Every man setteth on first the good wine; and when men have drunk freely, then that which is worse: thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of his signs did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed on him.



    1. Enough has been written heretofore on marriage; hence we leave that subject for the present, and treat the following three topics in this Gospel text: first, the consolation this history affords married people by virtue of their marriage; secondly, the faith and love revealed in this Gospel lesson; thirdly, the spiritual significance of this marriage.

    I. THE CONSOLATION OF MARRIED PEOPLE AND THE GLORY OF THE MARRIED STATE.

    2. In the first place, it is indeed a high honor paid to married life for Christ himself to attend this marriage, together with his mother and his disciples.

    Moreover, his mother is present as the one arranging the wedding, the parties married being apparently her poor relatives or neighbors, and she being compelled to act as the bride’s mother; so of course, it was nothing more than a wedding, and in no way a display. For Christ lived up to his doctrine, not going to the rich, but to the poor; or, if he does go to the great and rich, he is sure to rebuke and reprove, coming away with disfavor, earning small thanks at their hands, with no thought of honoring them by a miracle as he does here.

    3. Now the second honor is his giving good wine for the poor marriage by means of a great miracle, making himself the bride’s chief cup-bearer; it may be too that he had no money or jewel to give as a wedding present. He never did such honor to the life or doings of the Pharisees; for by this miracle he confirms marriage as the work and institution of God, no matter how common or how lowly it appears in the eyes of men, God none the less acknowledges his own work and loves it. Even our Caiaphases themselves have often declared and preached that marriage was the only state instituted by God. Who then instituted the others? Certainly not God, but the devil by means of men; yet they shun, reject and revile this state, and deem themselves so holy that they not only themselves avoid marriage — though they need it and ought to marry — but from excess of holiness they will not even attend a marriage, being much holier than Christ himself who as an unholy sinner attends a wedding.

    4. Since then marriage has the foundation and consolation, that it is instituted by God and that God loves it, and that Christ himself so honors and comforts it, everybody ought to prize and esteem it, and the heart ought to be glad, that it is surely the state God loves and cheerfully endure every burden in it, even though the burdens be ten times heavier than they are. For this is the reason there is so much care and unpleasantness in marriage to the outward man, because everything that is God’s Word and work, if it is to be blessed at all, must be distasteful, bitter and burdensome to the outward man.

    On this account marriage is a state that cultivates and exercises faith in God and love to our neighbor by means of manifold cares, labors, unpleasantnesses, crosses and all kinds of adversities, that are to follow everything that is God’s Word and work. All this the chaste whoremongers, saintly effeminates and Sodomites nicely escape, serving God outside of God’s ordinance by doings of their own.

    5. For this is what Christ also indicates by his readiness to supply any want arising in marriage, bestowing wine where it is needed, and making it of water; as though he would say: Must you drink water, that is, suffer affliction outwardly, and is this distasteful? Very well, I will sweeten it for you and change the water into wine, so that your affliction will be your joy and delight. I will not do this by taking the water away or having it poured out; it shall remain, yea, I will have it poured in and the vessels filled up to the brim. For I will not deprive Christian marriage of its cares and trials, but rather add to it. The thing shall be wondrous, so that none, except they themselves who experience it, shall understand it. It shall be on this wise: 6. God’s Word shall do it, by which all things are made, preserved and transformed; that Word which turns your water into wine, and distasteful marriage into delight. That God has instituted marriage ( Genesis 2:32) the heathen and unbelievers do not know, therefore their water remains water and never becomes wine; for they feel not God’s pleasure and delight in married life, which if they did feel they would experience such delight in my pleasure as not to feel the half of their affliction, feeling it outwardly only, but inwardly not at all. And this would be the way to turn water into wine, mixing my pleasure with your displeasure and placing the one against the other, so that my pleasure would drown your displeasure, and turn it into pleasure; but this pleasure of mine nothing will reveal and give to you except my Word, Genesis 1:31: “God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.”

    7. Here too Christ indicates that he is not displeased with a marriage feast, nor with the things belonging to a wedding such as adornments, cheerfulness, eating and drinking, according to the usage and custom of the country; which appear to be superfluous and needless expense and a worldly matter; only so far as these things are used in moderation and in keeping with a marriage. For the bride and groom must be adorned; so also the guests must eat and drink to be cheerful. And such dining and doing may all be done in good conscience; for the Scriptures occasionally report the like, even the Gospel lessons mentioning bridal adornment, the wedding garment, guests and feastings at weddings. Thus Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24:53 presents ornaments of gold and silver to Rebecca, the bride of Isaac, and to her brothers; so that in these things no one need pay attention to the sour-visaged hypocrites and self-constituted saints who are pleased with nothing but what they themselves do and teach, and will not suffer a maid to wear a wreath or to adorn herself at all.

    8. God is not concerned about such external things, if only faith and love reign; provided, as already stated, it be in moderation and in accord with each person’s station. For this marriage, although it was poor and small, had three tables; which is indicated by the word Architriclinus, showing that the ruler of the feast had three tables to provide for; moreover, the groom did not himself attend to this office, but had servants; then too there was wine to drink; all of which, if poverty were to be urged, might have been dispensed with, as is frequently the case with us. So also the guests did not merely quench their thirst with the wine; for the ruler of the feast speaks of how the good wine ought first to be set on, then, when men have freely drunk, that which is worse.

    All this Christ allows to pass, and we likewise should let it pass and not make it a matter of conscience. They were not of the devil, even if a few drank of the wine a little beyond what thirst required, and became merry; else you would have to blame Christ for being the cause by means of his presence, and his mother by asking for it; so that both Christ and his mother are sinners in this if the sour-visaged saints are to render judgment.

    9. But the excess customary in our times is a different thing, where men do not eat and drink but gorge themselves with food and drink, revel and carouse, and act as though it were a sign of skill or strength to consume overmuch: where, moreover, the intention is not to be merry, but to be full and crazy. But these are swine, not men; to such Christ would not give wine, nor would he visit them. So also in the matter of dress, it is not the marriage that is kept in mind, but display and pomp; as though the most admirable were those most able to wear gold, silver and pearls, and to spoil much silk and broadcloth, which even asses might do and switches.

    10. What then is moderation? Reason should teach that, and cite examples from other countries and cities where such pomp and excess are unknown.

    But to give my opinion, I would say a farmer is well adorned if for his wedding he have clothes twice as fine as he daily wears at his work; a burgher likewise; and a nobleman, if he have garments twice as costly as a townsman; a count, twice as costly as a nobleman; a duke, twice as costly as a count, and so in due order. In like manner food and drink and the entertainment of guests should be governed by their social position, and the purpose of the table should be pleasure not debauchery.

    11. Now is it a sin to play and dance at a wedding, inasmuch as some declare great sin is caused by dancing? Whether the Jews had dances I do not know; but since it is the custom of the country, like inviting guests, decorating, eating and drinking and being merry, I see no reason to condemn it, save its excess when it goes beyond decency and moderation.

    That sin should be committed is not the fault of dancing alone; since at a table or in church that may happen; even as it is not the fault of eating that some while so engaged should turn themselves into swine. Where things are decently conducted I will not interfere with the marriage rites and customs, and dance and never mind. Faith and love cannot be driven away either by dancing or by sitting still, as long as you keep to decency and moderation. Young children certainly dance without sin; do the same also, and be a child, then dancing will not harm you. Otherwise were dancing a sin in itself, children should not be allowed to dance. This is sufficient concerning marriage.

    II. THE DOCTRINE AND EXAMPLE OF LOVE AND OF FAITH.

    12. In the second place, to return to. our Gospel lesson, we here see the example of love in Christ and his mother. The mother renders service and takes the part of house-keeper: Christ honors the occasion by his personal presence, by a miracle and a gift. And all this is for the benefit of the groom, the bride and the guests, as is the nature of love and its works.

    Thus Christ lures all hearts to himself, to rely on him as ever ready to help, even in temporal things, and never willing to forsake any; so that all who believe in him shall not suffer want, be it in spiritual or temporal things; rather must water become wine, and every creature turned into the thing his believer needs. He who believes must have sufficient, and no one can prevent it.

    13. But the example of faith is still more wonderful in this Gospel. Christ waits to the very last moment when the want is felt by all present, and there is no counsel or help left. This shows the way of divine grace; it is not imparted to one who still has enough, and has not yet felt his need. For grace does not feed the full and satiated, but the hungry, as we have often said. Whoever still deems himself wise, strong and pious, and finds something good in himself, and is not yet a poor, miserable, sick sinner and fool, the same cannot come to Christ the Lord, nor receive his grace.

    14. But whenever the need is felt, he does not at once hasten and bestow what is needed and desired, but delays and tests our faith and trust, even as he does here; yea, what is still more severe, he acts as though he would not help at all, but speaks with harshness and austerity. This you observe in the case of his mother. She feels the need and tells him of it, desiring his help and counsel in a humble and polite request. For she does not say: My dear son, furnish us wine; but: “They have no wine.” Thus she merely touches his kindness, of which she is fully assured. As though she would say: He is so good and gracious, there is no need of my asking, I will only tell him what is lacking, and he will of his own accord do more than one could ask.

    This is the way of faith, it pictures God’s goodness to itself in this manner, never doubting but that it is really so; therefore it makes bold to bring its petition and to present its need.

    15. But see, how unkindly he turns away the humble request of his mother who addresses him with such great confidence. Now observe the nature of faith. What has it to rely on? Absolutely nothing, all is darkness. It feels its need and sees help nowhere; in addition, God turns against it like a stranger and does not recognize it, so that absolutely nothing is left. It is the same way with our conscience when we feel our sin and the lack of righteousness; or in the agony of death when we feel the lack of life; or in the dread of hell when eternal salvation seems to have left us. Then indeed there is humble longing and knocking, prayer and search, in order to be rid of sin, death and dread. And then he acts as if he had only begun to show us our sins, as if death were to continue, and hell never to cease. Just as he here treats his mother, by his refusal making the need greater and more distressing than it was before she came to him with her request; for now it seems everything is lost, since the one support on which she relied in her need is also gone.

    16. This is where faith stands in the heat of battle. Now observe how his mother acts and here becomes our teacher. However harsh his words sound, however unkind he appears, she does not in her heart interpret this as anger, or as the opposite of kindness, but adheres firmly to the conviction that he is kind, refusing to give up this opinion because of the thrust she received, and unwilling to dishonor him in her heart by thinking him to be otherwise than kind and gracious-as they do who are without faith, who fall back at the first shock and think of God merely according to what they feel, like the horse and the mule, Psalm 32:9. For if Christ’s mother had allowed those harsh words to frighten her she would have gone away silently and displeased; but in ordering the servants to do what he might tell them she proves that she has overcome the rebuff and still expects of him nothing but kindness.

    17. What do you think of the hellish blow, when a man in his distress, especially in the highest distress of conscience, receives the rebuff, that he feels God declaring to him: “What have I to do with thee?” Quid mihi et tibi? He must needs faint and despair, unless he knows and understands the nature of such acts of God, and is experienced in faith. For he will act just as he feels, and will not think of God in a different way and mean the words. Feeling nothing but wrath and hearing nothing but indignation, he will consider God only as his enemy and angry judge. But just as he thinks God to be so will he find him. Thus he will expect nothing good from him.

    That is to renounce God with all his goodness. The result is that he flees and hates him, and will not have God to be God; and every other blasphemy that is the fruit of unbelief.

    18. Hence the highest thought in this Gospel lesson, and it must ever be kept in mind, is, that we honor God as being good and gracious, even if he acts and speaks otherwise, and all our understanding and feeling be otherwise., For in this way feeling is killed, and the old man perishes, so that nothing but faith in God’s goodness remains, and no feeling. For here you see how his mother retains a free faith and holds it forth as an example to us. She is certain that he will be gracious, although she does not feel it.

    She is certain also that she feels otherwise than she believes. Therefore she freely leaves and commends all to his goodness, and fixes for him neither time nor place, neither manner nor measure, neither person nor name. He is to act when it pleases him. If not in the midst of the feast, then at the end of it, or after the feast. My defeat I will swallow, his scorning me, letting me stand in disgrace before all the guests, speaking so unkindly to me, causing us all to blush for shame. He acts tart, but he is sweet I know. Let us proceed in the same way, then we are true Christians.

    19. Here note how severely he deals with his own mother, teaching us thereby not only the example of faith mentioned above, but confirming that in things pertaining to God and his service we are to know neither father nor mother, as Moses writes in Deuteronomy 33:9: “He who says of his father and of his mother, I know them not, observes thy Word, Israel.” For although there is no higher authority on earth than that of father and mother, still this ends when God’s Word and work begin. For in divine things neither father nor mother, still less, a bishop or any other person, only God’s Word is to teach and guide. And if father and mother were to order, teach, or even beg you to do anything for God, and in his service that he has not clearly ordered and commanded, you are to reply: Quid mihi et tibi? What have I and you to do with each other? In this same way Chris there refuses absolutely to do God’s work when his own mother wants it.

    20. For father and mother are in duty bound, yea, God made them father and mother for this very purpose, not to teach and lead their children to God according to their own notions and devotion, but according to God’s command; as St. Paul declares in Ephesians 6:4: “Ye fathers; provoke not your children to wrath: but nurture them in the chastening and admonition of the Lord;” i.e. teach them God’s command and Word, as you were taught, and not notions of your own.

    Thus in this Gospel lesson you see the mother of Christ directing the servants away from herself unto Christ, telling them not: Whatsoever I say unto you, do it; but: “Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.” To this Word alone you must direct everyone, if you would direct aright; so that this word of Mary (whatsoever he saith, do it) is, and ought to be, a daily saying in Christendom, destroying all doctrines of men and everything not really Christ’s Word. And we ought firmly to believe that what is imposed upon us over and above God’s Word is not, as they boast and lie, the commandment of the church. For Mary says: Whatsoever he saith that, that, that do, and that alone; for in it there will be enough to do.

    21. Here also you see, how faith does not fail, God does not permit that, but gives more abundantly and gloriously than we ask. For here not merely wine is given, but excellent and good wine, and a great quantity of it. By this he again entices and allures us to believe confidently in him, though he delay. For he is truthful and cannot deny himself; he is good and gracious, that he must of himself confess and in addition prove it, unless we hinder him and refuse him time and place and the means to do so. At last he cannot forsake his work, as little as he can forsake himself — if only we can hold out until his hour comes.

    III. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS MARRIAGE.

    22. In the third place, we must briefly touch upon the spiritual significance of the text. This marriage and every marriage signifies Christ, the true bridegroom, and Christendom, the bride; as the Gospel lesson of Matthew 22:1-14 sufficiently shows.

    23. This marriage took place in Cana of Galilee; that is, Christendom began in the days of Christ among the Jewish people, and continues still among all who are like the Jews. The Jewish nation is called Cana, which signifies, zeal, because it diligently practiced the Law and zealously clung to the works of the Law, so that even the Gospel lessons always call the Jews zealots, and especially St. Paul in Romans 9 and Romans 10. It is natural too that wherever Law and good works are, there zeal will be and contention, one claiming to be better than the other, first of all, however, opposing faith which cares naught for works and boasts only of God’s grace. Now wherever Christ is there such zealots will always be, and his marriage must be at Zeal City, for you always find by the side of the Gospel and faith work-righteous people and Jewish zealots who quarrel with faith.

    24. Galilee signifies border or the edge of the country, where you pass from one country into another. This signifies the same people in Zeal City who dwell between the Law and the Gospel, and ought to emigrate and pass from works to faith, from the Law into the Christian liberty; as some also have done, and now still do. But the greater part remain in their works and dwell on the border, achieving neither good works nor faith, shielding themselves behind the shine and glitter of works.

    25. Christ’s being bidden to the marriage signifies that he was promised long ago in the Law and the prophets and is earnestly expected and invoked to turn water into wine, fulfill the Law and establish faith, and make true GalileansOF US.

    26. His disciples are bidden with him; for he is expected to be a great King, hence to need apostles and disciples in order to have his Word freely and fully preached everywhere. Likewise, his mother is the Christian church, taken from the Jews, who herself most of all belongs to the marriage, for Christ was really promised to the Jewish nation.

    27. The six waterpots of stone, for the purification of the Jews, are the books of the Old Testament which by law and commandment made the Jewish people only outwardly pious and pure; for which reason the Evangelist says, they were set there after the Jews’ manner of purifying, as if to say: This signifies the purification by works without faith, which never purifies the heart, but only makes it more impure; which is a Jewish, not a Christian or spiritual purification.

    28. There being six waterpots signifies the labor and toil which they who deal in works undergo in such purification; for the heart finds no rest in them, since the Sabbath, the seventh day, is wanting, in which we rest from our works and let God work in us. For there are six work-days, in which God created heaven and earth, and commanded us to labor. The seventh day is the day of rest, in which we are not to toil in the works of the Law, but to let God work in us by faith, while we remain quiet and enjoy a holiday from the labors of the Law.

    29. The water in the pots is the contents and substance of the Law by which conscience is governed, and is graven in letters as in the waterpots of stone.

    30. And they are of stone, as were the tables of Moses, signifying the stiffnecked people of the Jews. For as their heart is set against the Law, so the Law appears outwardly to be against them. It seems hard and difficult to them, and therefore it is hard and difficult; the reason in that their heart is hard and averse to the Law; we all find, feel and discover by experience that we are hard and averse to what is good, and soft and prone to what is evil. This the wicked do not feel, but those who long to be pious and labor exceedingly with their works. This is the significance of the two or three firkins apiece.

    31. To turn water into wine is to render the interpretation of the Law delightful. This is done as follows: Before the Gospel arrives everyone understands the Law as demanding our works, that we must fulfill it with works of our own. This interpretation begets either hardened, presumptuous dissemblers and hypocrites, harder than any pot of stone, or timid, restless consciences. There remains nothing but water in the pot, fear and dread of God’s Judgment. This is the water-interpretation, not intended for drinking, neither filling any with delight; on the contrary, there is nothing to it but washing and purification, and yet no true inner cleansing. But the Gospel explains the Law, showing that it requires more than we can render, and that it demands a person different from ourselves to fulfill it; that is, it demands Christ and brings us unto him, so that first of all by his grace we are made in true faith a different people like unto Christ, and that then we do truly good works. Thus the right interpretation and significance of the law is to lead us to the knowledge of our helplessness, to drive us from ourselves to another, namely to Christ, to seek grace and help of him.

    32. Therefore, when Christ wanted to make wine he had them pour in still more water, up to the very brim. For the Gospel comes and renders the interpretation of the Law perfectly clear (as already stated), showing that what belongs to us is nothing but sin; wherefore by the law we cannot escape sinning. When now the two or three firkins hear this, namely the good hearts who have labored according to the law in good works, and are already timid at heart and troubled in conscience, this interpretation adds greatly to their fear and terror; and the water now threatens to rise above the lid and brim. Before this, while they felt disinclined and averse to what is good, they still imagined they might yet succeed by their good works; now they hear that they are altogether unfit and helpless:, and that it is impossible to gain their end by good works. That overfills the pot with water, it cannot hold more. This is to interpret the Law in the highest manner, leaving nothing but despair.

    33. Then comes the consoling Gospel and turns the water into wine. For when the heart hears that Christ fulfills the law for us and takes our sin upon himself, it no longer cares that impossible things are demanded by the Law, that we must despair of rendering them, and must give up our good works. Yea, it is an excellent thing, and delectable, that the Law is so deep and high, so holy and righteous and good, and demands things so great; and it is loved and lauded for making so many and such great demands.

    This is because the heart now has in Christ all that the Law demands, and it would be sorry indeed if it demanded less. Behold, thus the Law is delightful now and easy which before was disagreeable, difficult and impossible; for it lives in the heart by the Spirit. Water no longer is in the pots, it has turned to wine, it is passed to the guest, it is consumed, and has made the heart glad.

    34. And these servants are all preachers of the New Testament like the apostles and their successors.

    35. The drawing and passing to the guests is, to take this interpretation from the Scriptures, and to preach it to all the world, which is bidden to Christ’s marriage.

    36. And these servants knew (the Evangelist tells us) whence the wine was, how it had been water. For the apostles and their successors alone understand how the law becomes delightful and pleasant through Christ, and how the Gospel by faith does not fulfill the Law by works, every thing being unchanged from what it formerly was in good works.

    37. But the ruler of the feast does indeed taste that the wine is good, yet he knows not whence it is. This ruler of the feast is the old priesthood among the Jews who knew of naught but works, of whom Nicodemus was one, John 3:9; he indeed feels how fine this cause of Christ would be, but knows not how it can be, and why it is so, clinging still to works. For they who teach works cannot understand and apprehend the Gospel and the actions of faith.

    38. He calleth the bridegroom and reproacheth him for setting on the good wine last, whereas every man setteth on last that which is worse. To this very day it is the surprise of the Jews that the preaching of the Gospel should have been delayed so long, coming first of all now to the Gentiles, while they are said to have been drinking the worse wine for so long a time, bearing so long the burden and heat of the day under the Law; as is set forth in another Gospel lesson. Matthew 20:12.

    39. Observe, God and men proceed in contrary ways. Men set on first that which is best, afterward that which is worse. God first gives the cross and affliction, then honor and blessedness. This is because men seek to preserve the old man; on which account they instruct us to keep the Law by works, and offer promises great and sweet. But the out-come is stale, the result has a vile taste; for the longer it goes on the worse is the condition of conscience, although, being intoxicated with great promises, it does not feel its wretchedness; yet at last when the wine is digested, and the false promises gone, the wretchedness appears. But God first of all terrifies the conscience, sets on miserable wine, in fact nothing but water; then, however, he consoles us with the promises of the Gospel which endure forever.



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    The Second Sunday after the Epiphany, 2018


    Pastor Gregory L. Jackson





    The Hymn #39                     Praise to the Lord                   

    The Confession of Sins
    The Absolution
    The Introit p. 16
    The Gloria Patri
    The Kyrie p. 17
    The Gloria in Excelsis
    The Salutation and Collect p. 19
    The Epistle and Gradual       

    The Gospel              

    Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
    Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
    The Nicene Creed p. 22
    The Hymn # 370             My Hope Is Built             


    The Creating Word - Forgotten Today

    The Hymn #128                Brightest and Best               

    The Preface p. 24
    The Sanctus p. 26
    The Lord's Prayer p. 27
    The Words of Institution
    The Agnus Dei p. 28
    The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
    The Benediction p. 31
    The Hymn #309          O Jesus, Blessed Lord             


    KJV Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on ourministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9 Letlove be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. 10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; 11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; 13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. 15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. 16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.


    KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: 2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. 5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. 9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. 11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.




    SECOND SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY

    Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, that of Thy grace Thou hast instituted holy matrimony, in which Thou keepest us from unchastity, and other offenses: We beseech Thee to send Thy blessing upon every husband and wife, that they may not provoke each other to anger and strife, but live peaceably together in love and godliness, receive Thy gracious help in all temptations, and rear their children in accordance with Thy will; grant unto us all to walk before Thee, in purity and holiness, to put all our trust in Thee, and lead such lives on earth, that in the world to come we may have everlasting life, through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.


    KJV John 2:1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:


    Lenski:
    2:1-11. — By the power of his personality and by his divine knowledge and words Jesus had attested himself as truly being the Messiah of whom the Baptist
    had testified, as the Son of God and the Son of man. To the attestation through the word is now added that of the deed, which was made evident in the first
    miracle.

    As people often mention, Matthew-Mark-Luke are clearly associated together, seen together (synoptic) Gospels. The Fourth Gospel adds many details and many unique sayings and sermons of Jesus. That means the apostle assumed our knowledge of the basics and added his material, so anything unique to John should be especially important to us. What makes this especially satisfying for us is the knowledge that all four Gospels agree, which can only be through the inspiration and guidance of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus promised, "The Spirit will bring to mind all that has happened." Simon Greenleaf is an example of a famous lawyer who set out to prove the disagreements of the Gospels and found himself converted by the Word to faith in Christ and in the inerrancy of the Scriptures, through the Easter narratives. As Paul said - "raised for our justification." The ultimate prove of the divinity of Christ is his resurrection from the dead. But  please read Romans 4:24 with Romans 4;25, Rolf Preus and CFW Walther.

    People have a way of adopting human authorities, which they treat as the last word on anything. Unfortunately, that often means a college or seminary professor, because students are easier to influence at that age. Since we cannot count on human authorities, who often err, we should only treat the Word as the final authority on all matters and let Dame Reason go. Therefore, if we have something from Jesus on any given matter, that settles the question. As one DP said about his sect, "The matter is settled." That is partially true - all doctrinal matters are already settled by the Scriptures, but they are often not confessed and taught by man. Thus we have the Word of God as the authority that never varies, never contradicts itself.

    In a famous scene from "Bringing Up Baby," Katherine Hepburn speaks so fast that the police cannot take down all the details in their notes. Likewise, the Gospel has so many important details that we need to stop and look at passages, phrase by phrase.

    And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee

    The apostle is careful to mark out times, to show when things happened. Lenski's commentary is very useful in looking at the background material and places and the order of events. 

    and the mother of Jesus was there:

    Jesus was invited, but the mother of Jesus was there. That suggests Mary being part of the wedding party, perhaps as a relative or close friend taking over, in place of the bride's parents. A guest would not take over to solve as problem, but Mary takes charge. It reminds me of a wedding for a Christian girl whose parents were from Kerala, India. The mother of the bride was constantly scanning the entire reception for any possible problems and dealing with them with speed and authority. 

    Not to be forgotten is the old-fashioned wedding which is still found in various ethnic groups. In Jewish weddings, the betrothal took place first, but the couple did not live together - though they were truly married. The second part was the celebration which meant they were going to live together as man and wife. Thus when Joseph and Mary were betrothed, they were married but not living together.
    This wedding ceremony at Cana was the celebration part. 

    Lenski: 
    This wedding must be thought of in the Jewish fashion. In the betrothal bride and groom were pledged to each other in a way that truly made them man and wife, although the two did not at once live together following this ceremony. An interval, longer or shorter, followed, and then the gamos (wedding) took place. The groom with his companions brought the bride with her companions to the groom's home, and there without any further pledge the celebration began, starting toward evening with a feast as grand as possible and continuing for a week, the couple now living together.

    2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

    The miracle itself is very important, but so also is the presence of Jesus as His disciples, who were all invited to this feast. The early Church came to be influenced by those who thought marriage was not the best state for someone to live in, and the monastic ideal grew from that wrong idea and caused a great deal of immorality and corruption by the time of the Reformation.

    By attending the marriage, Jesus blessed the married state. He did not come alone, by stealth, as some people do with gatherings that are not approved, but brought along His disciples who were all witnesses to this event and the first of His miracles.  

    2. In the first place, it is indeed a high honor paid to married life for Christ himself to attend this marriage, together with his mother and his disciples.

    Moreover, his mother is present as the one arranging the wedding, the parties married being apparently her poor relatives or neighbors, and she being compelled to act as the bride’s mother; so of course, it was nothing more than a wedding, and in no way a display. For Christ lived up to his doctrine, not going to the rich, but to the poor; or, if he does go to the great and rich, he is sure to rebuke and reprove, coming away with disfavor, earning small thanks at their hands, with no thought of honoring them by a miracle as he does here.

    3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

    His mother is not named, just as the author is not named, de-emphasizing them without denying their importance. As someone perhaps hosting the wedding for this impoverished couple, Mary told Jesus they were already running out of wine. That was a calamity she felt and trusted Him to take care of the matter. Jesus addressed her as "woman" - not as "dear woman" or anything else that would soften this address. The Scriptures balance the description of Mary blessed above all women with several reminders that Jesus was still her Lord. So at His crucifixion, He said, "Woman behold your son." And he said to John, "Behold your mother." John 19:26

    As mentioned last week, the time after the Ephesus Council, 431. was an era when Mary was raised to divine status. That was not the result of the council but an example of what happens when issues become unbalanced. That has continued to this day, where Mary is really the central emphasis of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox worship. Still, we should not overlook that Mary trusted in Jesus to take care of the problem and continued to trust Him when she told the helpers, "Do whatever He says." Jesus is not harsh, but maintaining His Lordship with Mary; Mary is ever-trusting, knowing His true nature.

    5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it. 6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. 7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

    In this first of all His miracles, Jesus made it impossible to refute what happened. Rationalism has offered various explanations for other miracles - rather absurd, because they assume details never given - such as lunches hidden away for the Feeding of the Multitude. There is no way to find a similar solution, so the sceptics simply ignore this Gospel or date it centuries later (impossible) and therefore attribute it to someone untrustworthy. This miracle demands faith in the power and efficacy of God's Word, which is lacking today.

    Many "conservative" Christian leaders will confess their trust in the inerrancy of God's Word, but they deny that Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are sacraments that provide what God promises - the forgiveness of sin.

    Many "conservative" Lutheran leaders say they believe in the sacraments but cannot say to the evolutionists or compromisers, "The Word of God that changed water into wine can also fashion the entire universe in six 24-hour days." These fine men are worried they will be mistaken for illiterate hillbillies and not up to the demands of science, technology, engineering, and math. 

    And though the Scriptures and Book of Concord clearly say we are declared forgiven through faith in our Savior, they deny this and agree with notions that come from Pietism and Calvinism.

    9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, 10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

    I find some humor in the steward of the feast becoming alarmed at the quality of the wine and scolding the bridegroom. This is a feature of John's Gospel - someone misunderstanding what has just happened, which helps us see how great a gap exists between faith in Christ and one's natural (but blind) understanding. Without faith we are like the man who was walking his dog on an exceptionally cold morning and thought he saw a dog frozen in place in its back yard. It was more of a silhouette in the early morning and seemed logical, given the weather and the sudden cold snap. Yes, it looked exactly like a dog and was motionless. Walking toward it, the light slowly resolved the tragic shape into something for holding a garden hose, each part serving as parts of a dog's body.

    Bridegroom
    It is not by accident that the bridegroom is the object of the rebuke. In the New Testament, Jesus is the Bridegroom, and the Church is the bride. 

    Luther wrote - "22. In the third place, we must briefly touch upon the spiritual significance of the text. This marriage and every marriage signifies Christ, the true bridegroom, and Christendom, the bride; as the Gospel lesson of Matthew 22:1-14 sufficiently shows."

    So, as Luther says, this is not only a very special miracle showing the power and efficacy of the Word, but also a parable about bearing the cross and about marriage. 

    As he says so wisely, we are used to providing the best first and the not-so-good later. That is what the steward expected. How dare they save the best for last!

    That is exactly what God teaches in His Word, and Jesus exemplified in His ministry, His teaching, and His example. If we expect the best and most rewarding at first, and only remain faithful to Christianity, all that it teaches, we are going to fall into the Slough of Despond (Pilgrim's Progress) and turn back as soon as we feel frustrated, annoyed, tired, or "offended" in the Biblical sense. When Jesus spoke of being offended, He meant setting off the deadly trigger of the trap. 

    That can be - the Six-Day Creation, the Virgin Birth, walking on water, the Atonement, etc. For many, the cross is that trigger, and it will be when whoopee Christianity is taught, only good things are expected, especially at first.

    This miracle applies to the Christian life and especially those efforts which are focused on teaching the Gospel. That seems as if the worst punishments are handed out for being faithful. If we do not remember this miracle, as clergy and laity, then we are quick to turn to man-made solutions and abandon the vexations of the cross. Feeling a sense of accomplish may take decades, if that. Someone else may have the rewards of a lifetime of labor. As I told one conservative Lutheran writer, it is not God-pleasing until it is persecuted. 

    Miracle and Marriage
    Americans have made a disaster of marriage because everyone is listening to the steward rather than to the Word. As Luther said, many disagreeable things are associated with marriage and raising children. The difficulties seem overwhelming at first, and they often continue for years. 

    God does things in reverse. He gives us the worst wine, even the dregs. But later, through faith in Him, that becomes the best and the sweetest wine. An enormous challenge is wonderful in retrospect, when it has been overcome. But only in retrospect. At the time, it can occupy all our thoughts and energy. I thought I was finished with Volume V of Luther's Sermons. Suddenly various objections were raised in printing. The title was "suppressed" - that was their term. I wondered how I could meet the demands. Then I discussed this with our son.

    "I think I am talking to a computer."

    He said, "You are."

    "I think the work is handed to the Third Word, maybe India."

    He said, "More like the Philippines."

    I did not have an answer yet. Suddenly, everything was ok and the title (BW) was clear again for publishing. That was such a good feeling.

    Children
    There are many exceptional children. Each child is unique in his or her own way. Even the greatest pain can be transformed by faith in the Savior, in one way or another. What seems impossible to solve at the moment can be suddenly changed by God's power.

    11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

    So Jesus began by showing the power and efficacy of His Word. Was that true only then? Not at all. That is still true today. The emergency of the moment or year or decade is transformed by the Word.



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     Did this event ever happen? These brave souls were going to foist Walther, Hoenecke, and Koren - each hero as a "Luther Unawares." I copied this graphic and the fervid news of the next Emmaus flop, but...nothing came of this.

    Stealth UOJ is the normal mode of this fervid false doctrine, its energy derived from the flames of perdition. Did Jesus say that wolves would arrive in lupine costumes? No, they wear their ovine fleece, appearing meek, gentle, and eager to help. When asked about what they really teach, they use flattery and change the subject. But when pinned down, the fangs and claws come out.

    Typical examples of Stealth UOJ can be found in the duplicity of Mark Zarling and Frosty Bivens. Justification in the Bible always means:

    • Justification by Faith.
    • Justification of the individual.
    • God's declaration of forgiveness to an individual who believes in Christ (Romans 4:24 - Rolf Preus).

    So these deceivers take a Biblical term used for individual forgiveness (Justification) and apply the language of Luther - and others - their precious dogma of Universal Absolution without Faith. Their UOJ is:

    1. The Chief Article of Christianity (never was, in fact).
    2. The Master and Prince (only of fools who teach it).
    3. The doctrine that judges all other doctrines of the Bible (but in reality is refuted by every verse of the Bible).
    But - some of you are objecting - what about Christ dying for the sins of the world? Is that not universal? Are you not embracing Calvinism? No, the first Lutheran UOJist was a "former" Calvinist at Wittenberg, Samuel Huber, who was exposed for his false teaching and expelled from the faculty.

    The Bible clearly teaches throughout that Christ died for the sins of the world, so there are many synonyms for the Atonement - 
    • redemption, 
    • ransom,
    • expiation, 
    • propitiation, and 
    • reconciliation.
    The Gospel - throughout the Bible - is not that the entire world is forgiven without faith - but that Christ paid for the sins of the world. The UOJists want to have people imagine that their message of billions of pagans forgiven and saved without faith will somehow convert people to the same absurd notion. The only laity I know who fall for UOJ are those who have been thoroughly and savagely brainwashed by the WELS-ELS-LMCS dogma bullies. That is why the UOJ Stormtroopers cloak their demonic dogma with the flimsy and tattered remains of the Reformation they despise so fiercely. The UOJists grab the words of Luther and abuse their meaning, just as they snatch terms from the Scriptures to turn them inside out.

    In short, the UOJists turn the universal act of Atonement into universal absolution and salvation. Let us pause and read carefully the words of CFW Walther and David Valleskey...

     Valleskey is either hopelessly stupid or devilishly clever, turning Justification by Faith into "universal justification." Look at the results. The leadership of WELS is Fuller Seminary trained. The clergy lawsuits and arrests are countless. And they love, love, love Church Growth to this day.

     

     Cascione and others are happy to quote Edward Preuss, who left Concordia St. Louis and joined the Church of Rome, becoming a major Catholic leader in America. The march to Rome continues from the same school, the same UOJ dogma, which joyfully undermines Creation.

    UOJ Unawares
    Clergy and laity will use UOJ terms without knowing what they really mean, thanks to the efforts of the stealth army of false teachers.

    Objective Justification is not a Biblical term and its meaning is anti-Scriptural. World absolution and salvation are concepts dear to the apostates. All the mainline denominations and virtually all modern theologians teach that concept, using various terms for it.

    Subjective Justification is not faith and not justification. Look at Walther's idiotical claim: SJ is a decision to accept universal- absolution-without-faith. He did not use the double-justification terms from the Knapp translation at first, but he did like the labels, which became standard in the Olde Synodical Conference.

    The true UOJists want this confusion and promote it, so people mistakenly use OJ for the Atonement (wrong!) and imagine SJ to be faith in Christ (wrong twice over, because it means faith in Walther and JP Meyer).

    UOJists like to say that Hitler, Stalin, and Mao
    are guilt-free saints.

    The UOJists correctly state that Justification is a declaration, and it is. Lutherans have called Justification "forensic justification" - like unto a judge declaring someone not guilty. Ah yes, but God has never "declared the entire world forgiven and saved." Forensic Justification is God declaring the individual forgiven if he believes.

    Romans 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

    25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

     Sparky Brenner uses the term
    Justification of the World - OJ.

    The Augustana Synod was concerned that the expression “justification of the world” denied the necessity of justification by faith. In fact, Schmidt declared that the real issue in conflict was justification. Schmidt’s essay on justification presented at the very first convention of the Synodical Conference, however, had clearly taught a justification of the world.p.  150

    Note Sparky Brenner's almost effortless slide into UOJ on the same page - 

    The final free conference met in Goodhue County, Minnesota, June 27-July 4, 1883. The subject for discussion was the doctrine of absolution. One side historically taught universal or objective justification (justification of the world), contending that the pronouncement of forgiveness won by Christ and declared by God to the world leads people to believe in their Savior. The other side was not willing to speak of justification apart from faith (subjective or personal justification). p. 150

    Sparky aligns SJ with faith - but Pope JP Meyer called SJ a decision for OJ, not faith. "Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive."



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    From a Reader:
    I kept thinking..."Where did I hear that name before..." Then I remembered Repristination Press, and did some searching -- sure enough: http://repristinationpress.org/2017/10/07/hunnius-aegidius-theses-opposed-to-huberianism-a-defense-of-the-lutheran-doctrine-of-justification

    "As Hunnius wrote in the dedication to this work, “we propose…not only to wash away the charges he has made, but especially to refute his shameful errors concerning the eternal election and predestination to eternal life, not only of the children of God, but also of the children of the devil (that is, all the impenitent); similarly, his errors concerning the universal justification of all men—of unbelievers no less than believers..."



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    Dr. Robert Preus and Justification:


    Dr. Robert Preus on Justification
    By Rev. Jack Cascione



    Dr. Greg Jackson has repeatedly stated on Luther Quest that Dr. Robert Preus was not in agreement with Objective Justification. I served as the PR Director for Fort Wayne from 1978-1981. “Missouri In Perspective” the ELIM paper, criticized the LC-MS position on Objective Justification. As editor for the Concordia Theological Seminary - Fort Wayne “News Letters” I asked Dr. Preus to respond in the Spring 1981 Issue. The following is his reply, plus other relative excerpts.

    [GJ - Note that I have repeatedly said "Robert Preus once taught UOJ but refuted it in his last book," even though his thick-headed sons did their best to edit it. They remind me of house painters touching up a Da Vinci. Like good ol' Jack, the Preus Bros cannot keep their stories straight.]

    CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

    NEWSLETTER – Spring 1981
    6600 North Clinton
    Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825

    THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – "OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION"

    The doctrine of objective justification is a lovely teaching drawn from Scripture which tells us that God who has loved us so much that He gave His only to be our Savior has for the sake of Christ’s substitutionary atonement declared the entire world of sinners for whom Christ died to be righteous (Romans 5:17-19).

    Objective justification which is God’s verdict of acquittal over the whole world is not identical with the atonement, it is not another way of expressing the fact that Christ has redeemed the world. Rather it is based upon the substitutionary work of Christ, or better, it is a part of the atonement itself. It is God’s response to all that Christ died to save us, God’s verdict that Christ’s work is finished, that He has been indeed reconciled, propitiated; His anger has been stilled and He is at peace with the world, and therefore He has declared the entire world in Christ to be righteous.

    THE SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT

    According to all of Scripture Christ made a full atonement for the sins of all mankind. Atonement (at-one-ment) means reconciliation. If God was not reconciled by the saving work of Christ, if His wrath against sin was not appeased by Christ'’ sacrifice, if God did not respond to the perfect obedience and suffering and death of His Son for the sins of the world by forgiveness, by declaring the sinful world to be righteous in Christ -–if all this were not so, if something remains to be done by us or through us or in us, then there is no finished atonement. But Christ said, "It is finished." And God raised Him from the dead and justified Him, pronounced Him, the sin bearer, righteous (I Timothy 3:16) and thus in Him pronounced the entire world of sinners righteous (Romans 4:25).

    All this is put beautifully by an old Lutheran theologian of our church, "We are redeemed from the guilt of sin; the wrath of God is appeased; all creation is again under the bright rays of mercy, as in the beginning; yea, in Christ we were justified before we were even born. For do not the Scriptures say: ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them?'’ This is not the justification which we receive by faith...That is the great absolution which took place in the resurrection of Christ. It was the Father, for our sake, who condemned His dear Son as the greatest of all sinners causing Him to suffer the greatest punishment of the transgressors, even so did He publicly absolve Him from the sins of the world when He raised Him up from the dead." (Edward Preuss, "The Justification of a Sinner Before God," pp. 14-15)

    OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION AND JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH

    The doctrine of objective justification does not imply that there is no hell, that God’s threats throughout Scripture to punish sins are empty, or that all unbelievers will not be condemned to eternal death on the day of Christ’s second coming. And very definitely the doctrine of objective, or general, justification does not threaten the doctrine of justification through faith in Christ. Rather it is the very basis of that Reformation doctrine, a part of it. For it is the very pardon which God has declared over the whole world of sinners that the individual sinner embraces in faith and thus is justified personally. Christ’s atonement, His propitiation of God and God’s forgiveness are the true and only object of faith. Here is what George Stoekhardt, perhaps the greatest of all Lutheran biblical expositors in our country, says, "Genuine Lutheran theology counts the doctrine of general (objective) justification among the statements and treasures of its faith. Lutherans teach and confess that through Christ’s death the entire world of sinners was justified and that through Christ’s resurrection the justification of the sinful world was festively proclaimed. This doctrine of general justification is the guarantee and warranty that the central article of justification by faith is being kept pure. Whoever holds firmly that God was reconciled to the world in Christ, and that to sinners in general their sin was forgiven, to him the justification which comes from faith remains a pure act of the grace of God. Whoever denies general justification is justly under suspicion that he is mixing his own work and merit into the grace of God."

    THE REALITY OF OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION

    Objective justification is not a mere metaphor, a figurative way of expressing the fact that Christ died for all and paid for the sins of all. Objective justification has happened, it is the actual acquittal of the entire world of sinners for Christ’s sake. Neither does the doctrine of objective justification refer to the mere possibility of the individual’s justification through faith, to a mere potentiality which faith completes when one believes in Christ. Justification is no more a mere potentiality or possibility than Christ’s atonement. The doctrine of objective justification points to the real justification of all sinners for the sake of Christ’s atoning work "before" we come to faith in Christ. Nor is objective justification "merely" a "Lutheran term" to denote that justification is available to all as a recent "Lutheran Witness" article puts it – although it is certainly true that forgiveness is available to all. Nor is objective justification a Missouri Synod construct, a "theologoumenon" (a theological peculiarity), devised cleverly to ward off synergism (that man cooperates in his conversion) and Calvinistic double predestination, as Dr. Robert Schultz puts it in "Missouri in Perspective" (February 23, 1981, p. 5) – although the doctrine does indeed serve to stave off these two aberrations. No, objective justification is a clear teaching of Scripture, it is an article of faith which no Lutheran has any right to deny or pervert any more than the article of the Trinity or of the vicarious atonement.

    THE CENTRAILITY AND COMFORT OF THE DOCTRINE

    Objective justification is not a peripheral article of faith which one may choose to ignore because of more important things. It is the very central article of the Gospel which we preach. Listen to Dr. C. F. W. Walther, the first president and great leader of our synod, speak about this glorious doctrine in one of his magnificent Easter sermons: "When Christ suffered and died, He was judged by God, and He was condemned to death in our place. But when God in the resurrection awakened Him again, who was it then that was acquitted by God in Christ’s person? Christ did no need acquittal for Himself, for no one can accuse Him of single sin. Who therefore was it that was justified in Him? Who was declared pure and innocent in Him? We were, we humans. It was the whole world. When God spoke to Christ, ‘You shall live,’ that applied to us. His life is our life. His acquittal, our acquittal, His justification, our justification….Who can ever fully express the great comfort which lies in Christ’s resurrection? It is God’s own absolution spoken to all men, to all sinners, in a word, to all the world, and sealed in the most glorious way. There the eternal love of God is revealed in all its riches, in its overflowing fullness and in its highest brilliance. For there we hear that it was not enough for God simply to send His own Son into the world and let Him become a man for us, not enough even for Him to give and offer His only Son unto death for us. No, when His Son had accomplished all that He had to do and suffer in order to earn and acquire grace and life and blessedness for us, then God, in His burning love to speak to us sinners, could not wait until we would come to Him and request His grace in Christ, but no sooner had His Son fulfilled everything than He immediately hastened to confer to men the grace which had been acquired through the resurrection of His Son, to declare openly, really and solemnly to all men that they were acquitted of all their sins, and to declare before heaven and earth that they are redeemed, reconciled, pure, innocent and righteous in Christ."

    THE ISSUE AT OUR SEMINARY

    Many of our readers know that our seminary, and one professor in particular, has been recently criticized for undermining this comforting and clear teaching of objective justification. The criticism and garbled accounts of the situation have become so widespread lately that I must now comment on the matter in this issue of the "Newsletter.

    For over 15 years now Professor Walter A. Maier, Jr., has been teaching a course in the book of Romans, and, although he states he has always presented the doctrine of objective justification as taught in our synod (e.g. in the "Brief Statement"), he has taught in class that some of the key passages used in our church to support the doctrine actually do not speak to the subject at all. As a result some within the seminary community and some outside concluded that Dr. Maier did not in fact believe, teach, and confess the article of objective justification. A few – very few – complaints were brought against Dr. Maier and against the seminary for letting this go on.

    The president of our synod, who has the responsibility for supervising doctrine in the synod, contacted me and asked me to try to settle the issue and to persuade Dr. Maier to teach an interpretation of the pertinent passages (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:16-19; II Corinthians 5:19) compatible with that which the great teachers of our church in the past (C. F. W. Walther, Francis Pieper, Theodore Engelder, George Stoeckhardt, Martin Franzmann, William Beck and others) publicly taught. Meetings and discussions immediately took place between Dr. Maier and myself. Later on the matter was considered in faculty meetings, in department meetings, and in special committees appointed to discuss and hopefully to settle the issue. During these meetings, which were always most cordial, Dr. Maier has remained unpersuaded that his interpretation of the pertinent passages is faulty. At the same time he has consistently assured all that he has always taught the doctrine of objective justification as understood in the Missouri Synod. He has, however, referred to other biblical evidence for the doctrine.

    In the meantime the president of the synod, growing anxious for a clear solution to the problem wrote to the entire church body a letter cautioning congregations not to nominate Dr. Maier for president of the synod until the issue was cleared up to his satisfaction.

    Now the issue became political, and protests and criticisms against the president of the synod for his action and also against Dr. Maier'’ teaching began to multiply all over the synod. People naturally began to take sides, not always so much on the doctrinal issue which was not always understood and is still being discussed at our seminary, but for ecclesiastical and personal reasons. We now know that the warning of our synodical president against Dr. Maier not only failed to dissuade congregations from nominating Dr. Maier for the presidency of our synod (as Fourth Vice-President Dr. Robert Sauer had forewarned when attempting to persuade the synodical president not to send his letter), but possibly gained more nominations for Dr. Maier. Dr. Maier is now one of the five men nominated for the presidency of our synod.

    On January 30, 1981, the Board of Control met with Dr. Maier and three representatives of the synodical praesidium (which had severely criticized Dr. Maier’s doctrinal stance). We heard from two members of the praesidium and then from Dr. Maier and two faculty members who he had requested to accompany him. The results of this meeting, many of us believed, represented a real breakthrough in understanding, and the Board exonerated Dr. Maier of any false doctrine. It was my belief that the representatives of the praesidium present were also satisfied and happy with the report. In the discussions of this meeting Dr. Maier expressed many genuine concerns related to the doctrine of objective justification, e.g., that no one is saved eternally who is not justified by faith, that God is even now angry with those who reject Christ and do not repent, and that objective justification ought to be preached and taught in such a way that the biblical doctrine of justification by faith is always prominent. The report, in the form of a news release, is found on page 4 of the "Newsletter", and I urge the reader to read it because "The Reporter,""The Lutheran Witness," and most of the newspapers over the country which reported on the matter did not reproduce the report in its entirety. At the same meeting the Board of Control strongly expressed its disapproval of some of the actions of our synodical president in the matter.

    Meanwhile the administration of the seminary, with the concurrence of the Board of Control, determined that it would be best for the seminary and for Dr. Maier if he not teach the course in Romans during the next academic year. At first I tried to keep this matter private, but later I decided to make a public report of the fact. My reason for this was threefold. First, Dr. Maier was reported in the news media all over the country as stating that he had not changed his position on the doctrine of objective justification, suggesting o many that three years of discussions with him had been quite fruitless and that he still did not wholeheartedly believe in objective justification. Second, several people sympathetic to Dr. Maier had threatened to withhold funds from the seminary and had even reported our action to the accrediting association of our seminary, "The Association of Theological Schools;" it was obvious to me that they would make the matter of Dr. Maier’s courses public whenever it served their purposes. Third, the president of the synod was preparing a release revealing the fact that Dr. Maier would not be teaching Romans during the next academic year. I thought it would be preferable that the president of the seminary make this fact known rather than those who have no business making such and announcement and who might make the announcement in a way detrimental either Dr. Maier or the seminary.

    This is where the matter now stands. The Board of Control has stated its confidence in the doctrine of Dr. Maier. Dr. Maier is presently teaching Romans, will teach the course this summer, but is slated to teach courses other than Romans next year. The faculty will continue to discuss and try to achieve total agreement in the interpretation of those passages of Scripture which teach objective justification.

    A PLEA FOR CONCERN AND UNDERSTANDING

    Through this entire and uncomfortable time the Board of Control and the administration of the seminary have found themselves in an understandably awkward position. We are pledged to remain faithful to the doctrinal position of our church, a position which we believe with all our hearts, and we will not deviate from this obligation one iota. We are at the same time pledged to defend a professor and colleague if he fails under unjust attack or abuse. I think we were able to maintain this delicate balance while the present issue was pending, until the political issue was injected. Now we find ourselves uncomfortably between two rather large conflicting elements in our synod, both friends of our seminary; those who believe that the president of the synod, whether they agree with his actions or not, had legitimate concerns about the doctrinal position of Dr. Maier, and those who believe that Dr. Maier had been wronged by the president of the synod and that the seminary could have done more to defend and protect him. How can we respond to this divisive situation in the middle of which we find ourselves? We can only say that we regret deeply the anxiety and consternation which good friends of our seminary have experienced because of the episodes I have recounted. May I ask these friends to bear with us and put the best construction on how we have acted in these circumstances. If you question Dr. Maier’s teaching on justification, please read and believe the report on page and trust the honesty and sincerity of those, including Dr. Maier, who had a part in releasing it. If you believe that Dr. Maier has been wronged by various parties during the last three year which have been trying to him, please believe that our Board of Control and all here at Concordia agree with you; but God, who saved this lost world and forgave the sins of mankind before anyone ever asked Him, commands us also to forgive those who wrong us. And please do not try to defend Dr. Maier by denying the public teaching of the Lutheran Church. God’s forgiveness shines bright and clear above all the pettiness and weakness and wrongs and controversy that have transpired in connection with our dear colleague Dr. Maier, and it WILL cover the sins of us all. Lent teach us this, and Easter confirms it.

    ROBERT PREUS, President

    For those who wish to read more on Objective Justification the following articles can be secured from our bookstore for a nominal charge:

    H. J. Bouman _Conference Paper on Romans 4:5""Concordia Theological Monthly" (CTM), Vol. 18, 1947, pp. 338-347.

    Theodore Engelder, "Objective Justification," CTM, Vol. 4, 1933, pp. 507-516, 564-577, 664, 675.

    Theodore Engelder, "Walther, a Christian Theologian," CTM, Vol. 7, 1936, pp. 801-815.

    Martin H. Franzmann, "Reconciliation and Justification," CTM, Vol. 21, 1950, pp. 81-93.

    E. W. A. Koehler, "Objective Justification, CTM, Vol. 16, 1945, pp. 217-235.

    Miscellanea, "God Purposes to Justify Those That Have Come to Faith," CTM, Vol. 14, 1943, pp. 787-791.

    George Stoeckhardt, "General Justification,""Concordia Theological Quarterly," April, 1978, pp. 139 – 144.

    STATEMENT ADDED TO PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

    While the president’s message "Objective Justification" was being typeset, an "Official Notice" from the president of Synod was issued which bears on the Walter A. Maier matter. In the notice the president of Synod expressed his disagreement with our Board action which announced a "basic understanding" with Dr. Maier on objective justification. I felt compelled to respond on behalf of our Board of Control with an Official Notice from the Seminary. This Official Notice which seeks to clarify the Board’s action and position vis-à-vis Dr. Maier’s doctrinal stand has been submitted to "The Reporter." It is herewith appended to the present article for our readers’ information. – Robert Preus

    BOARD OF CONTROL MEETS WITH SEMINARY PROFESSOR

    The Board of Control of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, has announced that a basic understanding resulted from a lengthy and thorough discussion on January 30th, between the Board, Dr. Walter A. Maier, Jr., of the seminary faculty, three representatives for the president and vice-presidents (praesidium) of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and two additional faculty members. In a January 5-6 meeting the Praesidium stated that, in its opinion, "Doctor Walter A. Maier, Jr., holds a position different from that of the official doctrinal position of the Synod."

    At the January 30 meeting, however, Dr. Maier emphatically affirmed his belief that on the basis of Christ’s vicarious atonement God has put His wrath away against the world and has declared the whole world to be righteous; that the benefits of this objective forgiveness are appropriated only by faith; the even though the entire human race has been redeeme3d, the Law in all its severity, including the wrath of God against sinners as well as the Gospel of forgiveness must be preached to all, including Christians. According to the Gospel, God is indeed reconciled; according to the Law, the wrath of God abides on all who reject Christ and His work of reconciliation, refuse to repent, and live in their sins.

    Dr. Robert Sauer, Dr. George Wollenburg, and former synodical vice-president Dr. Theodore Nickel represented the praesidium at the January 30 meeting. Professors Kurt Marquart and Howard Tepker of the seminary faculty were also present.

    The frank five-hour exchange focused on several theological issues which were isolated for clarification. The discussion showed that there have been misunderstandings, unclear thinking, and poor communication because of overstatements, lifting of phrases and snippets of doctrinal expression out of context, and sometimes even pressing of casual expressions to ultimate conclusions not intended by the speakers.

    More than semantic differences surfaced early in the January 30th meeting. At the close, however, basic agreement emerged on such topics as the wrath of God, Law and Gospel, and "objective justification"– a term used in the Lutheran Church to summarize a concept in the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions that forgiveness and justification because of the death of Christ are objectively available for all mankind through the ages, whether or not individuals appropriate it through faith.

    Difference in the interpretation of several critical passages remain. The Seminary board, as well as Dr. Maier, is concerned that variant interpretations can lead to a misinterpretation of doctrine. Therefore, the Seminary board reported, discussions will continue by the faculty.

    Dr. Maier stated: "I regret that some publicly quoted statements of mine from a technical paper ‘prepared for faculty discussion purposes only’ have given a wrong impression about my doctrine of justification as a whole. I, therefore, withdraw that paper from discussion. Doctrinally, I stand with our Synod’s historic position."

    In his statement to the Board of Control Dr. Maier further stated: "When the Lord Jesus was ‘justified’ (I Timothy 3:16) in His resurrection and exaltation, God acquitted Him not of sins of His own, but of all the sins of mankind, which as the Lamb of God He had been bearing (John 1:29(, and by the imputation of which He had been ‘made….to be sin for us’ (II Corinthians 5:21), indeed, ‘made a curse for us’" (Galatians 3:13).

    "In this sense, the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and sacraments of Christ."

    "Faith alone can receive this treasure offered in the Gospel, and this faith itself is entirely a gracious gift and creation of God through the means of grace. Faith adds nothing to God’s forgiveness in Christ offered in the Gospel, but only receives it. Thus, ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him’" (John 3:30).

    "My reservation concerning some of the traditional terminology employed in expressing the doctrine of justification are fully covered by the following statements from the major essay delivered to the first convention of the Synodical Conference, assembled in Milwaukee July 10-16, 1872:

    "When speaking with regard to the acquisition of salvation (by Christ), God has wrath for no man any longer; but when speaking with regard to the appropriation, He is wrathful with everyone who is no in Christ ("Proceedings," p. 32). Before faith the sinner is righteous before God only according to the acquisition and the divine intention, but he is actually ("actu") righteous, righteous for his own person, righteous indeed, first when he believes ("Proceedings," p. 68."

    Following the meeting Board Chairman Raymond N. Joeckel commented, "We only wish that we could have reached this stage of the discussions and that we could have had this kind of interchange before unfortunate statements appeared in the public press. The church can learn from this that the Lord blesses sincere efforts to discuss and clarify the meaning and message of the Holy Scriptures."

    COMMENT ON AN OFFICIAL NOTICE

    The Official Notice of our synodical president regarding Dr. Walter A. Maier and the doctrine of objective justification in the March 30 issue of "The Lutheran Witness Reporter" requires an answer by me as president and executive officer of the Board of Control of Concordia Theological Seminary where Dr. Maier teaches.

    Once again we wish to express our deep appreciation to the president for his recognition of the central importance of the doctrine of objective justification and his concern that this comforting teaching be taught clearly at our school. We agree wholeheartedly with his citation from Dr. Francis Pieper, ""he doctrine of objective justification is of vital important to the entire Christian doctrine. Only by keeping this doctrine intact will the Christian doctrine remain intact. It will be irretrievably lost if this doctrine is abandoned."

    However, there are some serious inaccuracies and mistaken judgments in the Official Notice which call for correction and comment.

    First, the president of the Synod points to an apparent conflict between my summary of the issues on the subject of justification sent to the Board of Control December 23, 1980, and some later statements made by me and the Board of Control concerning Dr. Maier’s position. In the December statement I described Dr. Maier’s position as he expressed it to the Board at its November, 1980 meeting (with the president of Synod in attendance). There I state that Dr. Maier can find no explicit Biblical evidence for the doctrine of objective justification and no explicit Biblical evidence for the doctrine that God was reconciled (put His anger aside) on account of the ransom paid by Christ. Two months later I stated that Dr. Maier "has always believed"– it would have been better to have said "has consistently affirmed to the Board and to me his belief"– in objective justification; and the Board in its release said that Dr. Maier emphatically affirmed his believe that on the basis of Christs’s vicarious atonement God put His wrath away against the world and has declared the whole world to be righteous." The explanation for this apparent discrepancy lies in the simple fact that in the January meeting of the Board of Control (which the president of Synod did not attend) Dr. Maier clearly affirmed that Scripture does in fact teach the doctrine of objective justification and that on the basis of Christ’s atonement God put away His wrath, whereas in the November meeting, as reported, he did not do so. An so "all" the statements cited are true and factual

    Our synodical president says "I must report that the vice-presidents are of the opinion that there is no evidence from the Board of Control meeting which would change their judgment that Dr. Maier is at variance with the doctrinal position of the Synod." This must be a mistake. Former Vice-President Theodore Nickel and Vice-President George Wollenburg, together with Vice-president Robert Sauer, represented the Praesidium at the January Board meeting. Dr. Nickel and Dr. Wollenburg criticized Dr. Maier’s position at the meeting. But when Dr. Maier affirmed his belief that objective justification was taught in Scripture (I Timothy 3:16) and that God’s wrath has been appeased through the death of His Son, the Board gained the distinct impression that both Dr. Nickel and Dr. Wollenburg were sufficiently satisfied that Dr. Maier was not at variance with the doctrinal position of the Synod. At least, these two men never expressed themselves to the contrary to the Board or to Dr. Maier. The Board report of the January 30 meeting with Dr. Maier and representatives of the Praesidium has been out since February 2, and so Dr. Wollenburg and Dr. Nickel have had plenty of time to dissociate themselves from it, if they wanted to do so. It does seem strange to us that the president of the Synod did not announce his misgivings soon after the Board meeting and news release, but rather waited until after Dr. Maier has been clearly nominated for the presidency of the Missouri Synod.

    Furthermore, Vice-President Sauer is a member of the Board of Control and had a hand in writing and issuing the Board release of February 2. According to the February 14 St. Louis Globe Democrat Dr. Sauer said, "’After a recent discussion lasting several hours,’ Dr. Maier ‘appears to be in a position of changing with regard to the vital doctrinal matter.’" So the president of our Synod apparently is not including Dr. Sauer when he said, "I must report that the vice-presidents are of the opinion that there is no evidence from the Board of Control meeting which would change the judgment that Dr. Maier is at variance with the doctrinal position of the Synod." Perhaps there are other vice-presidents he is not including.

    The suggestion of our synodical president that the Board of Control is engaging in a
    cover up in regard to Dr. Maier is unkind and false. The Board has acted with utmost integrity. While the president may differ with the Board’s conclusion and decision in the Maier matter, it is not right of him publicly to question the ethics and posture of the Board in the entire matter.

    The president’s only evidence for a cover up is the fact that the Board did not publicly announce that Dr. Maier would not be teaching a course in the Book of Romans beginning with the next academic year. This was not considered significant for the news release. At the same meeting the Board also objected "strenuously" to "certain things" done by the president of the Synod "which are high-handed, inexcusable, and harmful to Dr. Maier or our school." The Board did not think of including such items in its release either, and that out of love and concern for the reputation of our synodical president. The omission of pertinent or irrelevant facts in a release does not necessarily constitute a "cover up." If it did, the president of the Synod would be guilty of a serious "cover up." In his Official Notice he omitted any mention of a verbatim quotation from Dr. Maier in the Board release, affirming that Scripture does indeed teach objective justification. Dr. Maier’s statement goes as follows, "When the Lord Jesus was ‘justified’ (I Timothy 3:16) in His resurrection and exaltation, God acquitted Him not of sins of His own, but of all the sins of mankind, which as the Lamb of God He had been bearing (John 1:29), and by the imputation of which He had been ‘made…..to be sin for us’ (II Corinthians 5:21), indeed ‘made a curse for us’ (Galations 3:13). In this sense the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and Sacraments of Christ." It was on the basis of this statement and other assurances given by Dr. Maier that the Board announced in its February 2 release that a "basic understand resulted from a lengthy and thorough discussion on January 30 between the Board, Dr. Walter A. Maier, Jr. of the seminary faculty, three representatives for the president and vice-presidents (Praesidium) of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and two additional faculty members."

    We share our synodical president’s "frustration and amazement" at the confusion which shrouds both the issue itself and the way it has been handled. I know I speak for Dr. Maier and the Board of Control when I say that we all are sorry for anything we have said or done which adds to this confusion. I am sure that the president of the Synod too is sorry for what he has contributed to the confusion and misunderstanding which surrounds the matter. It is my hope that this response to his Official Notice will serve to clarify the matter.


    'via Blog this'

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     March in step, keep your head low,
    hate Luther, and love the New NIV.
    Good boy, you may get a call.

    From the BORAM - WELS - Via a Reader
    Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary prepares pastors for the worldwide mission of WELS, including churches and cultural groups within its confessional fellowship. In partnership with sister seminaries and theological training programs of its fellowship, WLS accomplishes that singular purpose with two distinct emphases. Primarily, WLS prepares men to begin pastoral ministry by providing the spiritual, theological, and professional training needed to enter that ministry. WLS also partners with pastors in their ministry-long pursuit of spiritual, theological, and professional growth in all their God-given callings.
    Our current situation
    Enrollment
    Our calling
    This year we had 30 juniors, 28 middlers, and 26 seniors on campus. In addition, 25 vicars are serving in congregations throughout the United States and Canada this year. One student is serving in an emergency situation and one colloquy student joined us on campus, bringing our enrollment to 112.
    For the 2017–18 school year we anticipate 30 juniors, 30 middlers, and 26 seniors. With 27 vicars in the field, this would put our total student enrollment at 113.
    ____________________________________________________________________________________________
    86 students on campus. 
    Reader - Also, I don’t know how they got to 112.  The math isn’t correct from the information given.

    ***
    GJ - Their math skills are similar to their language skills. In 1987, 60 graduated.




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     WELS Seminary professor John Brenner made similar points in his Marquette University dissertation.

    The Robert Preus essay promoting UOJ can be found here.

    I am just going to provide some summary statements about the Preus UOJ claims, then finish with graphics made from his last book, Justification and Rome.


    1. Jack Cascione presented the material dishonestly, as if I denied Robert Preus had been a UOJ salesman. In fact, I often made that point to show how Preus changed in his last book, Justification and Rome.
    2. Robert Preus was following a Preus family tradition in promoting UOJ, a divisive issue in the Synodical Conference in the 19th century. Pastor Herman Preus was kicked out of his congregation on Good Friday for sticking to UOJ.
    3. Preus clearly stated in Paragraph #1 that UOJ is a declaration by God - "declared the entire world of sinners for whom Christ died to be righteous." He cited Romans 5, a blatant error used by UOJists.
    4. Robert Preus distinguished Objective Justification from the Atonement - "Objective justification which is God’s verdict of acquittal over the whole world is not identical with the atonement..." Paragraph #2 - The President's Message. Many people mistakenly believe OJ is just another term for the Atonement (as I did in the very first edition of Catholic, Lutheran, Protestant).
    5. The LCMS seminaries currently teach UOJ and wonder why some of their graduates become Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox priests soon after graduation. 
    6. In paragraph #3, Preus promoted the Easter absolution of the world exegesis from 1 Timothy 3:16, taught by Rambach (a Halle Pietist) but not by Martin Chemnitz. Please check this account of Rambach versus Chemnitz. Walther learned this Easter absolution of the entire world from Bishop Martin Stephan, who studied at Halle, never graduated from any school, and was known as a Pietist managing cell groups.
    7. In paragraph #4, Robert Preus dishonestly offered Edward Preuss as an authority on UOJ - "an old Lutheran." But Robert's distant relative left his teaching post at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, becoming Roman Catholic, baptized a Roman Catholic, and serving as their great scholar. Notre Dame gave Preuss a medal for his efforts in Mariology. Ludwig Fuerbringer also referenced the Preuss papal conversion - it was never a secret.
    8. Here is a detailed account of UOJ at work in WELS.
    9. Paragraph #5 is Preus' effort to insert UOJ into Luther's doctrine, where the terms cannot be found, where the UOJ claims are constantly refuted with faithful teaching from the Scriptures.
    10. Paragraph #5 also names Stoeckhardt as a great expert (UOJ) on Romans but fails to mention Luther's Galatians Lectures as recommended by the Book of Concord itself. Preus might have defined the Chief Article - as Melanchthon, Luther, and the Concordists did - as Justification by Faith. All citations in this essay are from the UOJ mob - certainly not an example of scholarship.
    11. Paragraph #6 is nothing but confusion, claims without any evidence to support them. "No, objective justification is a clear teaching of Scripture, it is an article of faith which no Lutheran has any right to deny or pervert any more than the article of the Trinity or of the vicarious atonement." The first time UOJ came up among Lutherans, Samuel Huber ("former" Calvinist) was teaching it at Wittenberg University. He was examined carefully about his doctrine and expelled from the school. The next time UOJ hid its fangs behind fleece, it came from Halle Pietists like Rambach, Stephan, and Walther.
    12. Paragraph #7 proves that Walther was a bonafide Enthusiast who got high on his own supply of babble: "No, when His Son had accomplished all that He had to do and suffer in order to earn and acquire grace and life and blessedness for us, then God, in His burning love to speak to us sinners, could not wait until we would come to Him and request His grace in Christ, but no sooner had His Son fulfilled everything than He immediately hastened to confer to men the grace which had been acquired through the resurrection of His Son, to declare openly, really and solemnly to all men that they were acquitted of all their sins, and to declare before heaven and earth that they are redeemed, reconciled, pure, innocent and righteous in Christ."So orthodoxy is grace without the Means of Grace, without the Word, and yet somehow received without faith!
    13. The shameful public execution of Walther Maier began with Paragraph #8. The carefully chosen words are painful to read, even today. UOJ is not in the Bible, just as Maier said. UOJ is not in Luther or the Book of Concord. Most importantly, because the LCMS is the expert on everything, UOJ has never been found in the catechisms of the sect. One Missouri DP said as much when he received a "UOJ-denier" into the ministerium.




    PS - Need I say it? The UOJ clowns treat Justification and Rome as a nuclear waste dump, staying so far away from it that one suspects they cannot grasp the truth of his clear and compelling final words.

     Should we follow Stephan into syphilitic insanity
    or Luther to eternal life?

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    More examples of Norma A. Boeckler's art can be found here.


    Last night the wind chill was -7 or worse. The faucets were set to drip all night. Plumbing was exposed, with cupboard doors open. We counted ourselves blessed that the furnace conked earlier in the week, before the deep freeze arrived. We had two repair visits to make sure everything was working.

    Yesterday, the birds ate all day at our feeders, where they can get kernel corn, cracked corn, sunflower seeds, Nyjer (thistle), and suet, with dried berries still available on Poke bushes and other plants.

    This morning, the feeders were almost empty, so birds were clustered around to see what was left for them to eat. Sassy wanted her walk, so she went out with me for a quick walk. I have not been that cold since Minnesota. I looked at the rose cones packed with leaves - "That was a good year to do that."

    When we returned, Sassy took up her post on the bed, and I fed the birds outside. They have many places to feed from, and all were nearly empty. Birds seldom wipe out the supply, even in weather like this. The flocking birds will arrive in an armada, eat a bit, then leave for a new location.

    I added sunflower seeds and cracked corn in a total of seven places. Soon the backyard was Action Alley again. But lo, I saw for the first time - pigeons joining their cousins, the mourning doves, finding food on the ground.


    Famine of the Word

    10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.
    Amos 8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the Words of the Lord:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the Word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
    People are starting to realize that the Lutheran leaders have been replacing sound doctrine with false doctrine - for decades. That was not so clear in the heady days of the 1980s, when money was plentiful and men were attending seminary in large numbers. How great and glorious all sides felt. The Preus brothers had replaced the liberals. The biggest liars of Seminex had their own little seminary - and free to be, whatever that meant. The WELS pastors bragged about how they saw it coming decades before that, and the ELS declared they stood up to Missouri even before that.

    But now alarm, insecurity, and fears are growing. Their money is all gone because the Lutheran leaders spent their Schwan indulgence loot like congressmen on a junket. And yet, the object of their UOJ doctrine remains where he belongs, because he thought he really could buy absolution from all three synds. Maybe he was not born forgiven, as they taught.

    Sound doctrine is like investments in this sense. I can easily find people who have gambled everything on a particular sure-fire fund. One man borrowed $300,000 equity from his insurance to win big and ended up with about $1,100. He is unlikely to reverse that and turn the paltry remainder into a fortune.

    The mainline seminaries are emptying out. They find creative ways to make their enrollments seem larger, such as calculating "full-time equivalents." Some of the FTEs are online students living far away. Some are graduate students. Bottom line - they are all shrinking faster than cheap socks in a hot drier. That not only includes the worst  - ELCA seminaries - but also the ELCA wannabees like LCMS, ELS, WELS. The ELDONUTs are in danger of losing 100% of their enrollment when Heimbigner's son-in-law graduates.

     Our Army Ranger neighbor loved seeing all the finches
    feeding at the kitchen window.


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    Today, God willing, I am finishing up Volume VI of The Sermons of Martin Luther. At the moment I am mining the gems of this volume, which is one of the most enjoyable of all writing efforts. I get to copy and paste the best from each volume. When Volume VIII is finished, I will gather all the gems for the final volume - Gems Mined from the Sermons of Martin Luther.

    Here are the steps in getting one volume into production:

    1. I copied and pasted the 8 volumes of Lenker's edition into this blog, using an unlikely source, which used lots of open source material for promoting ads.
    2. When I realized the old Lenker sets were hard to find and expensive, I decided to recreate the set with illustrations. Norma A. Boeckler was happy to illustrate them.
    3. Various people volunteered to edit the blogged sermons, which I pasted into 8 Word files. Scanning errors were varied, strange, and tedious to locate. Laity and a pastor agreed to help.
    4. First I use control-f to find typical format errors. I look for other mistakes and send that to someone to edit.
    5. The edit suggestions come back on emails, spreadsheets, whatever works.
    6. I go over each suggestion and make the changes needed.
    7. I created a table of contents and collect the gems from suggestions made. Virginia Roberts and Mrs. Ichabod mine the gems.
    8. Norma A. Boeckler inserts her art into the sermon volume. We use DropBox to send these large files back and forth.
    9. I make "final" corrections and send them to Janie Sullivan.
    10. Janie does her work for Amazon and Kindle, and I approve the proofs.
    11. Amazon may raise issues with production, so I have to deal with those. 
    12. The first printings begin to go out, first in color, then in black and white. Each volume has a color version, a BW version, and a Kindle.
    13. Donations make it possible to send a box of Luther and Lutheran books to African seminaries. Two have been sent and a third is being prepared for sending. The box costs about $90 to print and send to our contact, $100 to mail to Africa, for a total of $190. 


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    Zwingli's diamond was his verse in John 6:63 that the flesh  profits nothing. That was the way he saw it - typical of sectarians, who find a verse and build a systematic theology upon it, a house built on sand.

    Book of Concord, Large Catechism, Lord's Prayer

    88] Therefore there is here again great need to call upon God and to pray: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not as though He did not forgive sin without and even before our prayer (for He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it). But this is to the intent that we may recognize and accept such forgiveness.

    ***

    GJ - This is the point where the pinheads dance around, grinning like the cat who found the cream, and say, "Here is proof that Luther taught Objective Justification - forgiveness without faith. Here is the the Book of Concord teaching OJ. You are dastardly heretics for denying this great truth!"

    But avast, one little thing is overlooked. This is Luther's explanation of prayer, and only those who believe in Christ pray the Lord's Prayer, The Perfect Prayer, as recently published by the Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry.

    To see this in context, we also need to look at the Small Catechism, which Luther called one of his two books that needed to be kept - the rest could be thrown away. The Lutheran leaders have obeyed Luther too well and thrown they away away, keeping only this sentence in red. (The other book was his Galatians Lectures, but try to find a Lutheran pastor who has read it! The great team of Buchholz and Webber, the Laurel and Hardy of Justification, mentioned the book and ignored it.)



    I believe in the Holy Ghost; one holy Christian Church, the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen.

    What does this mean?--Answer.

    I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true.

    GJ - So WELS, for example, sells a gigantic meadow muffin against Justification by Faith and entombs a perfectly wonderful Small Catechism in exactly the opposite teaching. That is the Kuske Catechism, a book by a moron designed for zombies. And yet, this useless trash prepared the way for the New NIV with its invention of UOJ (in a feeble, conflicted way) in Romans 3.

    Thus Luther clearly taught forgiveness through faith in Christ, and never even suggested forgiveness or salvation without faith. The person praying "forgive us our sins" is acknowledging the Atonement, not OJ, UOJ, General Justification, or any other manufactured dogma of Calvinism and Pietism. The Atonement means Jesus has not only died for minor sins and those sins we think we can conquer, but also for great and terrible sins.

    Laurel and Hardy,
    or Abbott and Costello?

    0 0

     Graphic by Norma A. Boeckler

    Gems from Volume VI

    Epistle Sermons, Starting with Advent

    “The night is far spent, and the day is at hand.”

    15. This is equivalent to saying “salvation is near to us.” By the word “day” Paul means the Gospel; the Gospel is like day in that it enlightens the heart or soul. Now, day having broken, salvation is near to us. In other words, Christ and his grace, promised to Abraham, are now revealed; they are preached in all the world, enlightening mankind, awakening us from sleep and making manifest the true, eternal blessings, that we may occupy ourselves with the Gospel of Christ and walk honorably in the day. By the word “night” we are to understand all doctrines apart from the Gospel. For there is no other saving doctrine; all else is night and darkness.

    16. Notice carefully Paul’s words. He designates the most beautiful and vivifying time of the day - the delightful, joyous dawn, the hour of sunrise.

    First Sunday in Advent


    Put on the Lord – strengthens us

    35. It is a very beautiful feature in this passage that it presents the very highest example, the Lord himself, when it says, “Put ye on the Lord.” Here is a strong incentive. For the individual who can see his master fasting, laboring, watching, enduring hunger and fatigue, while he himself feasts, idles, sleeps, and lives in luxury, must be a scoundrel.

    First Sunday in Advent

    The Author of Papal Doctrine

    9. To this situation Paul’s teaching appropriately applies. The doctrine of the devil and his Papists is wholly destitute of compassion. In violent rage it compels immediate retraction from our doctrine of liberty. It excommunicates and curses the offender, casting him down four thousand miles below hell, if he does not recant in the twinkling of an eye and renounce every letter and tittle of his belief. From the fact of the rage manifested, as well as from the fruit of papistical doctrine, we perceive who is its author.

    Second Sunday in Advent


    The Christian Discriminates

    15. Now, the Christian hatred of sin discriminates between the vices and the individual. It endeavors to exterminate only the former and to preserve the latter. It does not flee from, evade, reject nor despise anyone: rather it receives every man, takes a warm interest in him and accords him treatment calculated to relieve him of his vices. It admonishes, instructs and prays for him. It patiently bears with him. It does only as the doer would be done by in circumstances of like infirmities.

    Second Sunday in Advent


    Like the Self-Help Books Today

    35. But how shall I express the situation? The calamity is beyond the power of words, even inconceivable. The evil spirit has accomplished his design; he has suppressed the Book and introduced in its stead so many books of human doctrine that we may well say we are deluged with them. Yet these contain only error, falsehood, darkness, venom, death, destruction, hell and the devil. This condition of things our abominable ingratitude has merited.

    Second Sunday in Advent


    Dealing with the Weak

    51. When one is weak in faith and defective in conduct, the spirit of Christian unity, though deploring his condition, does not forsake him, much less disparage, reject or condemn him. His Christian fellow is interested in his welfare and conducts himself toward the weak one as he would himself be treated, and as Christ has indeed treated him in similar and more important matters.

    Second Sunday in Advent


    Praise the Father for the Son

    63. Now, while Christ is our common blessing, as before said, we should at the same time ascribe all to the Father; for Christ is the Father’s gracious manifestation whereby our hearts are drawn to himself. So we should confidently love and praise the Father for his lavish blessings.

    Second Sunday in Advent


    Divine Leadership Cannot Be Shared

    9. Where divine leadership is shared with any other than God or Christ, there must also be doctrine and commandments differing from the doctrine and command of Christ. Service of Christ must immediately fail; Christ must be rejected for the establishment of a new sovereignty. Plainly enough, no one can be servant of Christ and at the same time teacher of his own message. The two conditions cannot exist at the same time. How can one be a servant of Christ if he does not teach Christ’s message?

    Third Sunday in Advent


    The Mysteries

    16. What, then, constitutes the mysteries of God? Simply Christ himself; that is, faith and the Gospel concerning Christ. The whole Gospel teaching is far beyond the grasp of our reason and our physical sense; it is hidden to the world. It can be apprehended only by faith; as Christ says in Matthew 11:25: “I thank thee, O father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes.” And as Paul tells us (1 Corinthians 2:7-8): “We speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, which none of the rulers of this world hath known.”

    Third Sunday in Advent


    Steward of the Mysteries of God

    23. Thus we arrive at the apostle’s meaning in the assertion that a minister of Christ is a steward in the mysteries of God. He should regard himself and insist that others regard him as one who administers to the household of God nothing but Christ and the things of Christ. In other words, he should preach the pure Gospel, the true faith, that Christ alone is our life, our way, our wisdom, power, glory, salvation; and that all we can accomplish of ourselves is but death, error, foolishness, weakness, shame and condemnation. Whosoever preaches otherwise should be regarded by none as a servant of Christ or a steward of the divine treasurer; he should be avoided as a messenger of the devil.

    Third Sunday in Advent


    Joy Is the Natural Fruit of Faith

    2. Joy is the natural fruit of faith. The apostle says elsewhere (Galatians 5:22-23): “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.” Until the heart believes in God, it is impossible for it to rejoice in him. When faith is lacking, man is filled with fear and gloom and is disposed to flee at the very mention, the mere thought, of God. Indeed, the unbelieving heart is filled with enmity and hatred against God. Conscious of its own guilt, it has no confidence in his gracious mercy; it knows God is an enemy to sin and will terribly punish the same.

    Fourth Sunday in Advent


    The Gospel Promise

    5. But what does the Gospel promise other than that Christ is given for us; that he bears our sins; that he is our Bishop, Mediator, and Advocate before God, and that thus only through him and his work is God reconciled, are our sins forgiven and our consciences set free and made glad? When this sort of faith in the Gospel really exists in the heart, God is recognized as favorable and pleasing. The heart confidently

    Fourth Sunday in Advent


    Peace from God

    38. Note the beautiful logic and order of Paul’s teaching. The Christian is first to rejoice in God through faith and then show forbearance or kindness, to men. Should he ask, “How can I?” Paul answers, “The Lord is at hand.” “But how if I be persecuted and robbed?” Paul’s reply is, “In nothing be anxious. Pray to God. Let him care.” “But meanwhile I shall become weary and desolate.” “Not so; the peace of God shall keep you.” Let us now consider the last thought.

    Fourth Sunday in Advent


    The Text Summarized

    44. Briefly, this text is a lesson in Christian living, in the attitude of the Christian toward God and man. It teaches us to let God be everything to us, and to treat all men alike, to conduct ourselves toward men as does God toward us, receiving from him and giving to them. It may be summed up in the words “faith” and “love.”

    Fourth Sunday in Advent

    Feeding and Defending, Bread and Weapon

    1. It is written in the book of Nehemiah (Nehemiah 4) that the Jews, in rebuilding Jerusalem, wrought with one hand and with the other held the sword, because of the enemy who sought to hinder the building. Paul in Titus 1:9 carries out the thought of the symbol in this teaching that a bishop, a pastor, or a preacher, should be mighty in the Holy Scriptures to instruct and admonish as well as to resist the gainsayers. Accordingly, we are to make a twofold use of the Word of God: as both bread and weapon; for feeding and for resisting; in peace and in war. With one hand we must build, improve, teach and feed all Christendom; with the other, oppose the devil, the heretics, the world. For where the pasture is not defended, the devil will soon destroy it; he is bitterly opposed to God’s Word. Let us then, God granting us his grace, so handle the Gospel that not only shall the souls of men be fed, but men shall learn to put on that Gospel as armor and fight their enemies. Thus shall it furnish both pasture and weapons.

    First Christmas Sermon


    Godless Hypocrites in Sheep’s Clothing

    13. In this expression is also condemned the conduct of godless hypocrites, who, though they may be clad in sheep’s clothing and sometimes refrain from an evil deed through cowardice or shame or through fear of heirs punishment, are nevertheless filled with evil desires for wealth, honor and power. No one loves life more dearly, fears death more terribly and desires more ardently to remain in this world than do they; yet they fail to recognize the worldly lusts wherein they are drowned, and their many works are vainly performed. It is not enough to put away wordly works and speech; worldly desires, or lusts, must be removed. We are not to place our affections upon the things of this life, but all our use of it should be with a view to the future life; as follows in the text: “Looking for the...appearing of the glory,” etc.

    First Christmas Sermon


    God Does Not Require Churches Built, But…

    27. The way of God does not require us to build churches and cathedrals, to make pilgrimages, to hear mass, and so on. God requires a heart moved by his grace, a life mistrustful of all ways not emanating from grace. Nothing more can one render God than such loyalty. All else is rather his gift to us. He says (Psalm 50:14-15), in effect: “Think not, O Israel, I inquire after thy gifts and offerings; for everything in heaven and earth is mine. This is the service I require of thee: to offer unto me thanksgiving and pay thy vows. Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.”

    First Christmas Sermon


    Strong Unquestionable Security

    45. Here is strong, unquestionable security. But our connection with it depends upon the steadfastness of our faith. Christ certainly will not waver. He is absolutely steadfast. We should, then, urge and enforce faith by our preaching and in our working and suffering, ever making it firm and constant. Works avail nothing here. The evil spirit will assail only our faith, well knowing that upon it depends all. How unfortunate our failure to perceive our advantage! for we ignore the Gospel with its saving grace.

    First Christmas Sermon


    Shaming All Hypocrites

    59. Before the testimony of this text, all hypocrites, all ecclesiastics, must lie prostrate in defeat, no matter how much they may have fasted, prayed, watched and toiled. These exertions will avail naught; ungodliness and worldly lusts will still survive in them. Though shame may cause them to conceal evil expression, the heart is still impure. Could our works, apparel, cloisters, fasting and prayers render us godly, the apostle might more properly have said that a prayer or a fast, a pilgrimage or an order, or something else, had appeared teaching us to be godly. But emphatically it is none of these; it is the appearing of saving grace. This, this alone, nothing else, renders us godly.

    First Christmas Sermon


    What God Has Done for Us


    These Two Words – Kindness and Love

    8. These two words are to be accepted with their full and broad import. No distinction of person, as prevails among men, is to be made: for divine love and kindness is not secured by human merit; it is of God’s grace alone and given to all that bear the name of man, however insignificant. God loves not what is characteristic of one person, but of all. He is partial not to one, but kind to all. Therefore a man’s honor is perfectly maintained, and no one can boast of his worthiness, or need despair because of his unworthiness. All mankind may be equally comforted in the unmerited grace God kindly and humanely offers and applies.Had there ever been a meritorious individual or a work worthy of consideration, it surely would have been found among the doers of “works of righteousness.” But Paul rejects especially these, saying, “not by works of righteousness which we have done.” How much less reason have we to think the kindness and love of God has appeared in consequence of man’s wisdom, power, nobility, wealth and the color of his hair! The grace which cancels all our boasted honor, ascribing glory alone to God who freely bestows it upon the unworthy, is pure as well as great.

    Second Christmas Sermon


    Believing and Loving

    9. This epistle instills the two further principles of believing and loving — receiving favors from God and granting favors to our neighbors. The entire Scriptures enforce these two precepts, and the practice of one requires the practice of the other. He who does not firmly believe in God’s grace assuredly will not extend kindness to his neighbor, but will be tardy and indifferent in aiding him. In proportion to the strength of his faith will be his willingness and industry in helping his neighbor. Thus faith incites love, and love increases faith.

    Second Christmas Sermon

     

    Can Only Laugh for Joy

    13. But if you possess faith, your heart cannot do otherwise than laugh for joy in God, and grow free, confident and courageous. For how can the heart remain sorrowful and dejected when it entertains no doubt of God’s kindness to it, and of his attitude as a good friend with whom it may unreservedly and freely enjoy all things? Such joy and pleasure must follow faith; if they are not ours, certainly something is wrong with our faith. This act of faith the apostle in Galatians terms “receiving the Holy Spirit” in and through the Gospel. The Gospel is a message concerning the love and mercy of God so gracious as to bring with it to preacher and hearer the presence of the Holy Spirit; just as the rays of the sun bear in themselves, and transmit, heat.

    Second Christmas Sermon


    Share the Grace, Bear the Cross, Be Called Heretic and Insane

    16. Your first desire will be that all men may obtain the same knowledge of divine grace. Hence your love will not be restrained from serving all to the fullest extent, preaching and proclaiming the divine truth wherever possible, and rejecting all doctrine and life not in harmony with this teaching. But take note, the devil and the world, unwilling that their devices be rejected, cannot endure the knowledge of what you do. They will oppose you with everything great, learned, wealthy and powerful, and represent you as a heretic and insane. Mark you, you will be brought to the cross for the sake of the truth, as was Christ your Lord. You will have to endure the extremity of reproach. You must endanger all your property, friends and honor, your body and life, until thrust out of this life into eternity. In the midst of these trials, however, rejoice, cheerfully enduring all. Regard your enemies with the utmost charity. Act kindly, ever remembering you yourself were once as they are in the sight of God. Faith and love certainly can do it. Note this: the truly Christian life is that which does for others as God has done for itself.

    Second Christmas Sermon


    God’s Grace Causes All This

    37. We see how all these sayings overthrow works and presumptuous human mandates, and make clear the nature of faith, how the individual instantaneously and fully receives grace and is saved, works not aiding him in the matter but following as a result. Salvation by grace would be perfectly illustrated were God to produce from a dry log a live, green tree, the tree then to bring forth natural fruit. God’s grace is powerful and effective. It does not, as visionary preachers presume to teach, lie dormant in the soul;. nor is it an accessory to works, as the paint is an accessory to the wood. No, not so; it carries, it leads, drives, draws, changes. It effects all in man, making itself felt. Though concealed, its works are manifest.
    Words and works show where it is present, as the leaves and the fruit indicate the nature of the tree.

    Second Christmas Sermon


    So Bountiful the Measure of Grace

    45. Were such the case, Paul here must have spoken inconsiderately and might justly be accused of falsehood. But so bountifully does he represent to us the measure of grace, clearly no one can rely too much upon the washing of regeneration; it is of unlimited importance. No one can place too much confidence in it; there is always occasion for more. For God has embraced, in the Word and in faith, blessings too great for mortal life to comprehend or to receive were they to manifest themselves. As revelation begins, the individual dies; he passes out of this life, swallowed up in the blessings he now by faith apprehends in very limited measure. Thus more than abundantly are we justified and saved without works if we only believe.

    Second Christmas Sermon


    Guard Against False Preachers

    60. Let us learn from this epistle how precious is the Gospel that proclaims these benefits, and what injury and destruction of souls they effect who silently ignore the Gospel and preach the works of the Law, yes, their own human doctrines. Guard, then, against false preachers and also against false faith. Rely not upon yourself, nor upon your faith. Flee to Christ; keep under his wings; remain under his shelter. Let his righteousness and grace, not yours, be your refuge. You are to be made an heir of eternal life, not by the grace you have yourself received, but, as Paul says here, by Christ’s grace. Again, it is said in Psalm 91:4, “He will cover thee with his pinions, and under his wings shalt thou take refuge.” And in the Song of Solomon 2:14, “O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the covert of the steep place.” That is, in the wounds of Christ the soul is preserved. Observe, true Christian faith does not take refuge in itself, as the sophists dream, but flees to Christ and is preserved under him and in him.

    Second Christmas Sermon


    The Divinity of Christ in Hebrews

    This is a strong, forcible, noble epistle, preeminently and emphatically teaching the great article of faith concerning the Godhead, or the divinity of Christ. The presumption that it was not written by Paul is somewhat plausible, because the style is unusually ornamental for him. Some are of the opinion it was written by Luke; others by Apollos, whom Luke represents as “mighty in the Scriptures,” opposing the Jews. Acts 18:24 and 28. Certain it is, no epistle enforces the Scriptures with greater power than does this. Hence it is evident the author was an eminent apostolic individual, whoever he was. Now, the object of the epistle is to establish and promote faith in the divinity of Christ, and, as already stated, scarce any portion of the Bible more strongly enforces this article of our creed. We must, therefore, confine ourselves to its words and treat it in regular order, item by item.

    Third Christmas Sermon, #1


    17. If these things are beyond the grasp of our reason, reason must surrender as a captive to these and like Scripture words, and believe. Could we comprehend this mystery by human reason, there would be no faith. Clearly enough, the words, “Through whom also he made the worlds,” make mentions of two Beings. And it is not less clear that the uncreated one through whom all things were made, also must be God. Just how this can be, the Scriptures do not teach. It must be received by faith. The Scriptures speak after this fashion: “The world is created through Christ, by the Father, in the Holy Spirit”; and though the meaning is not wholly clear, and easy of comprehension, there is good reason for the language. It is employed more by way of intimation than explanation — to imply that the Father derives not his substance from the Son, but the Son from the Father; and that the latter is the first original person in the Godhead.

    Third Christmas Sermon



    The Tongue Should Be Silent

    25. You will notice the verse is even now clearer than the explanation. “The image of his substance,” “the effulgence of his glory” — these Paul’s sayings are clear enough. The tongue should be silent here to allow the heart to reflect.

    Third Christmas Sermon


    He dwells within us because of, and by, our faith, daily continuing to cleanse us by his own operation…

    32. The apostle says “our,” “our sins;” not his own sin, not the sins of unbelievers. Purification is not for, and cannot profit, him who does not believe. Nor did Christ effect the cleansing by our free will, our reason or power, our works, our contrition or repentance, these all being worthless in the sight of God’, he effects it by himself. And how? By taking our sins upon himself on the holy cross, as Isaiah 53:6 tells us.

    33. But even this answer does not sufficiently explain how he cleanses us “by himself.” To go further: When we accept him, when we believe he has purified us, he dwells within us because of, and by, our faith, daily continuing to cleanse us by his own operation; and nothing apart from Christ in any way contributes to the purification of our sins. Note, he does not dwell in us, nor work our cleansing through himself, by any other way than in and through our faith.

    Third Christmas Sermon


    Sin So Great that the Exalted One Must Intervene

    35. Having once possessed faith, and purification being effected in us by Christ, we are then to perform good works, hating our sins and repenting of them. Under these conditions our works are really good. Before faith is present, they avail naught; rather they induce false confidence and trust. So heinous an evil are our sins, and so enormous is the cost of their purification, it was necessary that one exalted as we here read Christ was, must intervene to purge them by himself. What could the poor, vain attempts of us who are creatures, and besides sinful, feeble, corrupt creatures, accomplish where the demand was of such magnitude? One might as reasonably presume to burn heaven and earth with an extinguished brand. Our sins can be expiated only by a price commensurate with the God they offend. “Sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; having become by so much better than the angels, as he hath inherited a more excellent name than they.”

    Third Christmas Sermon


    Christ Opens Our Understanding

    68. So we see this whole epistle lesson is simply armor to clearly maintain the article of faith that Christ is God, and Lord over all things even in his humanity. We note with amazement the perfect clearness of the Scripture teaching and that the defect is in ourselves, unperceived. Well does Luke speak (Luke 24:32) of Christ’s opening the understanding of the disciples to comprehend the Scriptures. It was not the Scriptures he opened, but their understanding; the former is plain, but our eyes are not fully open.

    Third Christmas Sermon


    The Brothel Keeper Is Better Than a False Preacher

    16. The keeper of a public brothel is less a sinner than the preacher who does not deliver the true Gospel, and the brothel is not so bad as the false preacher’s Church. Even were the proprietor of the brothel daily to prostitute virgins, godly wives and nuns, awful and abominable as such action would be, he would not be any worse nor would he work more harm than those papistical preachers.

    17. Does this astonish you? Remember, the false preacher’s doctrine effects nothing but daily to lead astray and to violate souls newly born in baptism — young Christians, tender souls, the pure, consecrated virgin brides of Christ. Since the evil is wrought spiritually, not bodily, no one observes it; but God is beyond measure displeased. In his wrath he cries, through the prophets, in unmistakable terms, Thou harlot who invitest every passerby! So little can God tolerate false preaching. Jeremiah in his prayer (Lamentations 5:11) makes this complaint, “They ravished the women in Zion, the virgins in the cities of Judah.” Now, spiritual virginity, the Christian faith, is immeasurably superior to bodily purity; for it alone can obtain heaven.

    St. Stephen’s Day


    Love of God Requires Rebuking the Opposers of God

    27. But who today would the world tolerate were he to attempt such censure of the Papists? Stephen’s love for God constrained him to his act. No one who possesses the same degree of love can be silent and calmly permit the rejection of God’s commandments. He cannot dissemble. He must censure and rebuke every opposer of God. Such conduct he cannot permit even if he risks his life to rebuke it. Love of this kind the Scriptures term “zelum Dei,” a holy indignation. For rejection of God’s commands is a slight upon his love and intolerably disparages the honor and obedience due him, honor and obedience which the zealous individual ardently seeks to promote. We have an instance of such a one in the prophet Elijah, who was remarkable for his holy indignation against the false prophets.

    St. Stephen’s Day


    Stephen an Example – Laymen Can Preach

    34. The precedent of Stephen holds good. His example gives all men authority to preach wherever they can find hearers, whether it be in a building or at the market-place. He does not confine the preaching of God’s Word to bald pates and long gowns. At the same time he does not interfere with the preaching of the apostles. He attends to the duties of his own office and is readily silent where it is the place of the apostles to preach.

    St. Stephen’s Day


    Knelt To Pray for His Murderers

    36. In the second place, Stephen’s conduct is a beautiful example of love for fellowmen in that he entertains no ill will toward even his murderers.
    However severely he rebukes them in his zeal for the honor of God, such is the kindly feeling he has for them that in the very agonies of death, having made provision for himself by commending his Spirit to God, he has no further thought about himself but is all concern for them. Under the influence of that love he yields up his spirit. Not undesignedly does Luke place Stephen’s prayer for his murderers at the close of the narrative. Note also, when praying for himself and commending his spirit to God he stood, but he knelt to pray for his murderers. Further, he cried with a loud voice as he prayed for them, which he did not do for himself.

    St. Stephen’s Day


    Permit God To Work and Believe in His Wonders

    47. It matters not whether or no we fully comprehend how such a vision is effected. It is not intended that the wonders of God be brought within our grasp; they are manifested to induce in us belief and confidence. Explain to me, ye of boasted wisdom, how the comparatively large apple or pear or cherry can be grown through the tiny stem; or even explain less mysterious things. But permit God to work; believe in his wonders and do not presume to bring him within your comprehension.

    St. Stephen’s Day

     

    Where Faith Exists, Its Fruits Must Follow

    Well may the evangelist say Stephen was full of faith and power. Power here implies activity. Luke would says, “His faith was great; hence his many and mighty works.” For when faith truly exists, its fruits must follow. The greater the faith, the more abundant its fruits.

    St. Stephen’s Day, #48


    Let Works Be Alike

    9. All the world talks about doing good, but if you would know how, listen: Do not as the fools who consider various works with intent to choose such as are in their own conceptions good, and to reject such as they deem bad, thus making a distinction of the works themselves. Do not so. Let works be alike; regard one the same as another. Fear God and be just — as already advised — and then perform the duty that presents itself. Then all will be well done, it matters not if it be the duties of a hostler or a teamster.

    St. John’s Day


    The Nature of Faith Is Commended and Illustrated

    34. This epistle lesson harmonizes beautifully with the Gospel selection.
    Here Righteousness receives the individual as a virtuous mother receives her child, or the bride her bridegroom. Thus, too, Christ took John to his breast as the beloved disciple. In both selections the nature of faith is commended and illustrated.

    St. John’s Day



    How God Was Godly and Acceptable – Not by Works

    3. Therefore, it is settled that no one is justified by works; he must first be justified by other means. Moses says (Genesis 4:4-5), “Jehovah had respect unto Abel and to his offering.” First, he had respect to Abel the person, and then to his offering. Abel being godly, just and acceptable in person, his offering was acceptable. The sacrifice was accepted because of the person, and not the person because of the sacrifice. “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect.” In the first place, God had not respect unto Cain the person; hence later he respected not his offering. From this quotation we may conclude it is impossible for any work to be good in God’s sight unless the worker first be good and acceptable. Conversely, it is impossible for any work to be evil before God unless the worker first be evil and not acceptable.

    The Sunday after Christmas


    Madam Huldah Attributes All Merit to Works

    7. In the second place, Madam Huldah, basing her position simply on works and attaching very little importance to the justified individual, proceeds still further and attributes all merit and supreme righteousness to the works following justification. She quotes James 2:26, “Faith apart from works is dead.” Not understanding this statement, she undervalues faith. Consequently she continues to hold to good works, presuming to require of God acceptance of the doer for the sake of the works. So the two continually strive against one another. God respects the individual, Cain the works. God rewards the works for the sake of the doer; Cain would have the doer crowned because of his works.

    The Sunday after Christmas


    Only Faith Can Make Us Children

    23. The apostle’s design is to make plain the fact that, lacking faith, the Law, with all its works, constitutes us simply servants. Only faith can make us children. Not the Law, nor the works of the Law, nor human nature can create faith within us; the Gospel alone brings it. It is present when we give ear to the Gospel, the Word of grace, which Word is accompanied by the Holy Spirit when preached and heard in quiet sincerity. Witness the example of Cornelius and his family (Acts 10:44), who received the Holy Spirit simply upon hearing Peter preach.

    The Sunday after Christmas


    The Heart Resents the Tutor

    12. Similarly, God’s Law impels us, through fear of death and hell, to forsake many evils. Like a tutor, it holds us to an honorable outward life. But by the Law no one becomes righteous before God. The heart remains an enemy to its tutor, hates his chastisements and would prefer freedom.

    New Year’s Day


    Not Without Faith in Christ

    40. He who is under the Law, and works unwillingly, is a servant, as the preceding sermon declares. But whosoever has faith and cheerfully works, is a child; for he has received the Spirit of God, through Christ. Now, the apostle names Christ, referring to the faith that believes and abides in Jesus Christ. No other faith is effective, no other faith is the right faith, let one believe in God as he will.

    New Year’s Day


    Awful Wrath of God

    49. Of olden time, many prophesied that in Antichrist’s day all heretics would unite in the extermination of the whole world. And today, under the rule of the Pope and the Turk, heresy has full sway. In the rejection and condemnation of Christ and the entire Scriptures, a rejection leaving nothing but the name, is easily proven that all heresies, errors and darkness existing from the beginning of the world, now reign. I often have fears for the condemnation of all men of the present age except those who die in their cradles. Yet no one sees and deplores the awful wrath of God overhanging us.

    New Year’s Day


    Putting on Christ

    52. But what is meant by “putting on Christ?” The faithless will readily reply, “It means to follow Christ, imitating his example.” But in the same way I might put on Peter, or Paul, or any saint, and thus nothing special would be said of Christ. We will let faith speak here; it is faith which Paul so beautifully suggests in the words “put on.” Naturally, until baptism the individual has never followed Christ. In baptism he begins to follow. Therefore, Christ must be “put on” before he can be followed. And essentially there is a marked difference between putting on Christ and following his example. Reference is to a spiritual putting on - in the conscience. This is effected by the soul receiving as its own Christ and all his righteousness, and confidently relying on these as if it had itself earned them; just as one ordinarily receives his apparel. This spiritual reception is the putting on; such is the nature and character of true faith.

    New Year’s Day


    The Most Erroneous Are the Most Rational

    16. Here the prophet clearly implies that wherever Christ is not, there darkness exists, whatever the appearance of brilliance. Nor does he allow the medium devised by the high schools, which say that between darkness and Christ exists the light of nature and of human reason. They ascribe darkness only to the grossly wicked and the weak-minded. They highly value this mediatory light, claiming it is a sufficient preparation for the light of Christ, and that although it is darkness in comparison to the light of Christ, yet it is in itself light. They do not perceive how far they err in imagining themselves enlightened. Usually the most erroneous of the schools are the most rational. “The sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light,” as Christ says in Luke 16:8. Yet they of the schools are not nearer the true light than are others. Rather they are farther from it. This could not be if the light of reason were helpful in obtaining the true light. Devils are wiser, more artful and crafty, than men; yet they are not therefore better. No, that kind of light is always at enmity with the true light. As Paul tells us (Romans 8:7): “The mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be.”

    The Day of Epiphany


    Leaders Were Once Christian

    34. This prophecy of Isaiah had strong fulfillment in former times. Many of the nobility and of high standing among the gentiles embraced Christianity. Today, however, so perverted are these nations by the Turks and the Pope, the prophecy seems to have little bearing. And it is a remarkable fact that even other heathen nations have been led astray by the converted gentiles. But it is revealed that Antichrist shall mislead the entire Christ-restored world.

    The Day of Epiphany


    Persecution Promotes the Gospel

    41. To accomplish an object with eminent success through the instrumentality of an enemy is characteristic of the divine hand. By the very fact of their furious attempts to exterminate the Word and the people of God, men but destroy themselves and only further God’s Word and his people. Therefore, it is good and profitable, to have enemies and persecutors for the sake of the faith and the Word of God. Incalculable comfort and benefit result. Psalm 2:1 is in point here: “Why do the nations rage, and the peoples meditate a vain thing” against Christ? The thought is, they violently strive to exterminate Christ, and fail to see that in so doing they but strengthen him.

    The Day of Epiphany


    To Praise Ourselves Is Blindness

    58. Finally, Isaiah says, “They shall proclaim the praises of Jehovah.” The true, the special, work of a Christian is to confess his sins and his shame, and to proclaim God’s grace and work in himself. No man who fails to behold God’s grace and this light of the Gospel, can show forth God’s honor and praise. No man who clings to his own light, his own human nature, who values his own works, his own efforts, can perceive the grace of God. He continues in his old, blind dead Adam nature. He does not rise to behold the light; he prefers to sound his own praises. Isaiah exalts the people of wealthy Arabia because they are true Christians who proclaim only the praises of Jehovah, taught to do so undoubtedly by the light of grace and the Gospel.


    The Day of Epiphany


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    My experiences in the mission field of South Dakota during the years 1892-1897 by Frank Albert Kiess, (1867-1942) - Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry:



    "“Cyclones are very common in Dakota. I witnessed a cyclone when I was about 15 miles from shelter of any kind – out in the open prairie. When the first hail began to come down I hurriedly unhitched the ponies and let them go wherever their instinct directed them. I took down the top of the buggy and piled stones in the buggy to weight it down, then I wrapped myself from head to foot in a blanket."



    'via Blog this'

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    Last but certainly not least, there was special joy to understand that we all hold to objective justification—that God declared the world righteous through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and that we all recognize it to be the urgent mission of the church to take this gospel to the entire world.