Video from BEING LUTHERAN — NOTHING TO BE ASHAMED OF

These are low-production videos of three of the four evening of the Lutheran identity/renewal week. The fourth evening’s video should be up by Friday, June 12.

The first, third and fourth evenings were held in the fellowship space of St. John’s Riverside Lutheran Church outside of Gillett, Wisconsin. The second evening was filmed in the sanctuary on the evening of June 2, 2009–Tuesday after Pentecost.

Again, many thanks to Pastor Cota for serving as chaplain during the event.

Your comments are encouraged so that we can refine this for use throughout the circuit. Ideally each evening would have a different presenter.

May God use our feeble efforts to strengthen the faith of the faithful.

Treasures in the Attic, part 1:

Treasures in the Attic, part 2:

God’s Pottery Wheel, part 1:

God’s Pottery Wheel, part 2:

On the third evening, the record button was pressed — but the camcorder had not been turned on. Sorry!!

Honorable Beggars, part 1:

Honorable Beggars, part 2:

Renewed and Refreshed

It was a joy for all who participated. Special thanks goes to Pastor Shane Cota who led the opening prayer service each night which included a meditation. They were so good, people asked for copies. There was a general consensus that it was worthwhile for those who were able to attend. Participants included members of St. John’s Riverside, members of sister LCMS congregations, other Lutherans, and non-Lutherans. It is now hoped that this can be refined and expanded to include more pastors and to be held in each parish in the Gillett circuit. God willing, that will happen.

One of the joys of the evenings was closing with Compline. Compline will certainly become a staple in St. John’s Riverside prayer life.

If you would like to gain a sense of what each evening was like, you can link to the handouts which provide the information for the prayer services and a summary of what was covered. Note that these are tri-fold brochures. The content is on the second page of each pdf. We hope to upload video of the evenings also. The third evening did not get recorded because of human frailty. The record button was pressed — but the recorder had not been turned on!

May God guide and bless the continuation of this endeavor to renew and deepen our faith and understanding.

1 – Treasures in the Attic — Our Faith is Not Clutter

2 – God’s Pottery Wheel — The Shape of Worship; Worship that Shapes

3 – Everyday Life — Where Faith Bears Fruit

4 – Sharing the Gospel — Being Honorable Beggars

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

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

If This Is How We Pray, What Do We Believe?

A rather disturbing video of an Ablaze!(c) event is available online. The event took place at Salem Lutheran Church in Houston, TX. President Kieschnick spoke at this “worship”. Beginning with shofar and an idiosyncratic confession of sins, the “worship” moves to liturgical dance and then something which might remind one of the Lord’s Supper if all the dispensationilist trappings were removed. If this is where the LCMS has moved or is moving to, there are serious questions which need to be asked by every pastor and congregation faithful to the witness of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions. There are so many questions—and I fear the answers. Personally, I am so weary of wackos taking over the Lutheran Church. In the ELCA the left-wing revisionist have seized the reins. If this “worship” which featured Lutheran bishops from overseas (some of whom were not amused by the foolishness) is how the LCMS wants to present the Gospel and itself to the world, it can hardly be considered Lutheran. Has Zola Levitt superseded Loehe, Walther, Pieper and Sasse in matters of worship and doctrine? The “worship” seems like some sort of dispensationalist production with tiny remnants of classical Lutheran liturgy. If this is what Ablaze!(c) is all about, then it seems more like the flames of hellfire than the kindling of the Holy Spirit.

Posted by pomeranus.

Accomodations to the Culture Are Not Universally Benign

One often hears so called progressives calling for accommodations to contemporary culture in order to “reach out with the Gospel.” The same appeal was made in Germany in the 1930s. It was hotly debated, even among those who were not sympathetic with National Socialism. A rift among students studying under Bonhoeffer even developed and led to a parting of ways. Accommodations are not necessarily innocuous nor are outward things necessarily “adiaphora.” This link to a Spiegel article from last year (in English) brings this home. If hip hop music is used in worship or sage brush burned before the altar, are those simply “adiaphora” or steps in the direction of paganism and slips away from a sense of the holiness and majesty of God? When does a blurring of boundaries signal their erasure?

Luther Memorial Church

Posted by pomeranus.

The Correct Focus of Worship

Greg Laurie has some fine thoughts in his WND article, The Worship of Worship. When Trinitarian worship is replaced by forms which glorify the self, the preacher, or the performers, it certainly does become a form of idolotry. Once the focus ceases to be the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, many other things take center stage. There is no doubt that worship needs our attention. Without the proper focus, the attention is misdirected.

Posted by pomeranus.