The Meaning of Words, a Man’s Word, the Word of God — Part II

One of the things which saddens me most about the present state of the Lutheran Church is the basic lack of integrity among those called to proclaim and teach God’s Word and rightly administer the sacraments. By this I do not mean the human weakness and sinfulness in which we all find ourselves. We all are tempted. Only Christ was and is without sin. My concern is more focused and is basic to the health of the Church and the proclamation of the Word. Rather than beat around the bush, I’ll get to the point. If a pastor is going to be a faithful servant of the Word, he has to be a man of his word. Pastor’s make solemn vows when they are ordained. Those vows are not coerced, but freely spoken. They are not based on some fine print which the pastor has overlooked, but on years of hopefully careful study and acquaintance with the teachings of the Church, especially Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. Studying the ancient languages, learning to listen to God’s Word through careful and faithful exegesis, being immersed in the witness of the consensus of the church catholic in general, and the Lutheran Church specifically — these are not mere hurdles to be jumped, but preparation for ministry and a part of the informed consent involved in the ordination vows and subscription to the Confessions. The Church, including the average person sitting in the pews, should be able to trust that the pastor before them did not cross his fingers when saying his vows. The hearers of the Word should be able to trust that the man in the pulpit did not engage in some Lutheran form of the Jesuits’ reservatio mentis when he promised fidelity to God’s Word as witnessed in the Lutheran Confessions. Continue reading

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The Meaning of Words, a Man’s Word, the Word of God–Part I

We live in a paradox in the world of blogs. On the one hand, the importance and power of words underlies the whole blogging enterprise. On the other hand, post-modern thought tends to downplay the meaning of words per se and centers meaning in the hearer. The former is the underlying assumption of this post. The latter is a malignancy which threatens not just language, but faith, trust, integrity, and any sense of Truth. As Lutherans, we are very aware of the centrality of God’s Word not only in theology, but in the very existence of the Church and the genesis of faith. As Christians, especially as theologians, we have a decided interest in words and meanings. We also trust that no matter how much men may try to empty words of their meaning, no matter how worthless a man’s word may be, VDMA.
From my perspective, the whole post-modern enterprise is a matter of deception. It is a matter of deconstruction and reconstruction. What this entails in regard to words is to render words meaningless or to at least raise doubts as to the meaning of words. Continue reading

The Church Needs A Constant Reformation

One of our brethren has shared these reflections on the relationship of the LCMS and ELCA. It is thoughtful and timely.

The Church Needs A Constant Reformation

Each year at the end of October we celebrate Reformation Sunday. This year it will take place on October 28, just three days before the actual anniversary of that great event. On October 31st, 1517, the eve of All Saints’ Day, Luther posted his 95 Theses on the door of the castle church in Wittenburg Germany. These were 95 points that he found wrong with the church of his day. By posting these 95 Theses it was Luther’s intent to debate these statements and to show where the church had erred. Luther never intended to break from the Roman Church – he simply wanted them to correct the false teachings that were not in accordance with the Bible.
Refusing to consider Luther’s claims the church excommunicated him and referred to him as a heretic. All of this is brought out very clearly in the movie called “Luther.” I suggest if you haven’t watched this movie that you either purchase it or rent it from the library and that you view it for yourself. It presents the struggles that Luther endured as he tried to bring the truth of the Gospel back to light. I especially like the part where he is asked to recant (to take back) his teachings. In that scene Luther makes his famous statement. “Unless convinced by Scripture or plain reason, – for I believe neither the Pope nor the councils alone, since it is certain they have often erred and contradicted one another, – I am overcome by the Scriptures quoted and my conscience is bound to the Word of God, I cannot and will not revoke anything, for it is unsafe and dishonest to act against conscience.” Continue reading

There ARE Consequences

Click here for a take on the results of the ELCA decision on not disciplining pastors practicing perversion. We are seeing the first moves of members of the ELCA checking out LCMS congregations. Especially older members seem upset. The above link raises questions for people who have children or youth in their families. How does a parent teach chastity when the church teaches that perversion is right. It affects the kids. How does one reach out responsibly to those who want to leave the ELCA?

Posted by pomeranus.

Is the ELCA Inherently Racist?

Lars Walker’s description of the ELCA’s motivation for reaching out to minorities is right on target. It is inherently selfish and based on a universalist theology. Walker accurately describes the ELCA statistical report process and the dishonesty inherent in the formation of the ELCA. What Walker describes is perhaps also at the heart of why there is such support of the GLBTQ agenda. If the Theology of the Cross is no longer at the center of institutional life, a new raisons d’etre must be found. Inclusivity has become the new definition of the Gospel. It is not about bringing the real Gospel to people, but justifying an institution by statistically proving that it is inclusive. There is a lot to ponder here. It also raises questions for non-ELCA Lutherans about why we evangelize. To meet goals? To justify institutional existence ? To bring the life-giving word of the Cross of Christ to those caught in the chains of sin, death, and the power of the devil?

Posted by pomeranus.

Fugetaboutit!

The Church Wide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America came to a close today. It is now official that bishops should refrain from or exercise restrain in disciplining pastors engaged in homosexual practices or congregations who call such pastors who have been removed from the roster. In other words, fugetaboutit!

The claim is made that policy has not changed by this action. That claim is but another deceptive ploy by the revisionists. If nothing was to change, why was the resolution supported so vehemently? To put it in perspective, consider such maneuvers apart from the ELCA’s present chaos. Could one honestly claim that nothing has changed if such actions took place in the secular realm. What would the consequence be, if the state legislature left laws concerning rape and murder on the books, but told law enforcement and prosecutors not to arrest or bring to trial any murderers or rapists. Common sense tells us that policy has been changed, rape and murder are now allowed. This is what has happened in ELCA.

Let us pray for the faithful in the ELCA who will hopefully find refuge somewhere. Let us also pray that God would show the vacillating the error of accomodating sin and give them the courage to make a good confession. All Lutherans will now be forced to answer questions about clergy integrity. May non-ELCA pastors also give a good witness and account of themselves and their ministry.

Posted by pomeranus