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Showing posts from February, 2005

The Greeks have more than a word for it

The Greek Orthodox Church- destination for many Lutherans disillusioned by the current direction of the LCMS and other problems with contemporary American Lutheranism- is having problems of its own. Rome and Constantinople both seem to be reaping the consequences of a celibate priesthood (in Orthodoxy, the parish clergy may marry, but bishops, as I understand it, must be celibate).

Hat tip to Bunny Diehl.

A servant is not greater than his Master

Pastor Paul McCain's Cyberbrethren reports that Bp. Arne Olsson, newly consecrated as head of the orthodox Mission Province of the apostate Church of Sweden, has been suspended from the pastoral office in that post-Christian "church" for putting loyalty to Christ and the needs of his flock ahead of the organizational claims of the institution.

The mindset is widespread in the ELCA, too. Where human ecclesiastical structures are confused with the Church of Christ, all sorts of strange things are done by presumptuous hierarchies.

In any event, Bp. Olsson now bears, in addition to his call as bishop (valid de jure divino), the mark of the Cross. A servant is not greater than his Master.

Machen on the Second Use of the Law

J. Gresham Machen on why we need better preaching of the Law (note that neither those who wonder What Jesus Would Do, call themselves Promise Keepers, or seek to lead Purpose Driven Lives have truly heard the Law preached as Machan would have it preached):

A new and more powerful proclamation of law is perhaps the most pressing need of the hour; men would have little difficulty with the gospel if they had only learned the lesson of the law. As it is, they are turning aside from the Christian pathway; they are turning to the village of Morality, and to the house of Mr. Legality, who is reported to be very skillful in relieving men of their burdens... 'Making Christ Master' in the life, putting into practice 'the principles of Christ' by one's own efforts-these are merely new ways of earning salvation by one's obedience to God's commands.

Dave H. goes Anglican

Dave H. of Here We Stand is leaving the LCMS for Anglicanism.

Note especially his comments on the Law/Gospel hermaneutic. He had a post or two on that subject previously, and I always wanted to get into it with him on this topic in some depth, but I just never had the time.

I think it was he who once dismissed my illustration of the judgment one experiences when one violates the law of gravity by walking out of a fourth story window as an example of the way in which the Law and judgment are built into the very structure of Creation as "silly." He seems not to understand that God's decrees as to the laws of physics and other matters of divinely- ordained fact are as much Law as "Thou shalt not kill." Yes, Dave, the Law/Gospel hermaneutic does serve as an interpretive principle for all of Scripture; it's just that it's a hermaneutical principle you don't understand as well as you think you do!

He also thinks that Walther's dictum that Law and Gosp…

The word from Titan

Cassini's Huygens lander has confirmed what scientists suspected: Titan is a "wet" world, where the "water" is liquid methane- natural gas.

My internship (vicarage) supervisior was endlessly amused by the name of one of the Midwestern utilities: People's Natural Gas.

One thing we know: wherever the stuff on Titan comes from, it isn't from Uranus.

Oh, and by the way...there are rainbows on Titan!

The ELCA, the LCMS, and paedocommunion

Twyla over at Lutheran in a Tipi has an article about an LCMS church not communing her nine year-old son, who communed in an ELCA church before.

She reaches the dubious conclusion that "the ELCA has a better grasp of paedocommunion than the LCMS does."

First off, "paedocommunion" is a big topic. A great deal depends on whether we're talking about nine year-olds or newborns!

Kids can "discern the body" at a much earlier age than tradition-bound LCMS congregations are often willing to acknowledge. Nor is there any biblical connection between the purely human rite of confirmation and the Sacrament.

It's true that Communion is an act of confession, and that kids who have been merely taught about Communion and not about the rest of the Faith can only confess that Faith to the limited degree that they understand it. But that doesn't make the connection any less human or arbitrary. Kids don't grow up in a vacuum, either- and hopefully their doctr…

The cost of discipleship?

Pastor Paul McCain's Cyberbrethren shares word of a courageous bishop, whose faithfulness I recently remarked upon, whom the apostate "Lutheran" World Federation is seeking to discipline for the high crime for tending to Christ's starving flock in an equally apostate state church:

GENEVA, 22 February 2005 (LWI) * The Executive Committee of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has recommended the termination of the tenure of Kenyan Bishop Walter E. Obare Omwanza as Council adviser after he consecrated a Swedish pastor as bishop of the Mission Province in Sweden.

At its February 19-21 meeting near Geneva, the Executive Committee recommended to the Council "on the basis of the appropriate provisions in the LWF Constitution to terminate the service of Bishop Obare as adviser to the Council." Obare heads the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK), one of two LWF member churches in Kenya.

The 13-member committee confirmed it had received the news that Obare con…

A hockey season after all?

Rumors spread that a deal is in the works to uncancel the hockey season.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. As bad as they are, I miss my Blackhawks. On the other hand, I'm rather disgusted with the lockout.

Don't get me wrong; I'm thoroughly on the owners' side. It would be a good thing if one major sport (which is becoming less and less major as time goes on) drew the line on the outrageous salaries athletes make. But the stupidity of staging this lockout at a moment when hockey has fallen behind even NASCAR (shudder) in popularity deserves the nasty surprise I have a feeling that the owners are about to get: a salvaged, if truncated, season- played to empty stands.

The Semi-Pelagian Catechism

Pastor Paul McCain's Cyberbrethren has a cute item on what today's pop- "Evangelicals" might use as a catechism...if they "did" catechisms:

The Semi-Pelagian Narrower Catechism

1. Q: What is the chief end of each individual Christian?
A: Each individual Christian's chief end is to get saved. This is the first and great commandment.

2. Q: And what is the second great commandment?
A: The second, which is like unto it, is to get as many others saved as he can.

3. Q: What one work is required of thee for thy salvation?
A: It is required of me for my salvation that I make a Decision for Christ, which meaneth to accept Him into my heart to be my personal lord'n'saviour

4. Q: At what time must thou perform this work?
A: I must perform this work at such time as I have reached the Age of Accountability.

5. Q: At what time wilt thou have reached this Age?
A: That is a trick question. In order to determine this time, my mind must needs be sharper than any two-edged s…

Rice in 2008?

Auspry'sAn Evangelical Catholic Lives Here has a well-written and well thought- through piece promoting a Draft Condi Rice in 2008 campaign.

I've always been impressed by Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. I also like the cut of Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich's jib, and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be drifting rightward on social issues; he may eventually be a good option, if he keeps drifting long enough.

But as Auspry points out, a Rice presidency would mean something very special to this country. It might heal some very old wounds, and send a message to the world in unmistakeable terms that some ancient hatreds and idiocies no longer constrict our hearts and minds.

Maybe a Draft Condi movement is in order...

The message behind the message

Cartoon courtesty Cox and Forkum

"When is that bitch gonna die?"

Here's documentation on the history of Michael and Terri Schiavo's marriage.

Why is it relevant? Because we may be about to have a helpless woman starved to death through the efforts of an unfaithful, neglectful, probably abusive husband who does not have her best interests at heart in any case- and this with the permission of the Federal courts. The ultimate act of spousal abuse is underway- under full color of the law which betrayed this woman into the hands of this least appropriate of possible guardians in the first place!

You'd think the feminist Left would be up in arms...

Hat tip: Intolerant Elle.

Who is the one acting stupid?

I happened to pick up a copy of USA Today this morning to see what their baseball preview had to say about my Cubs. While perusing said publication, I made the mistake of reading a column by a sports writer- something Italian; he doesn't deserve the publicity even if I remembered his name- who was discussing the charges of steroid use by certain major league ball players.

The columnist was amused by the comment that George W. Bush, while owner of the Texas Rangers, could not have helped knowing about steroid use by his players. While I don't see why this would necessarily be true of any owner, I do take umbrage at this columnist's suggestion that "the Alfred E. Newman of presidents" knew this the way he "knew Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

Leaving aside the apparent denseness of a man who just doesn't get the fact that the alleged stupidity of a very bright (though admittedly dyslexic and verbally inept) man is an invention of Left W…

Nothing "normal" here!

How many times have you heard that ten percent of the population is gay?

That's only one of the myriad pieces of misinformation resulting from the distorted sampling- disproportionately heavy on homosexuals, bisexuals, prostitutes and convicts- Dr. Alfred Kinsey (his doctorate was in zoology) employed in a supposed effort to determine what was sexually "normal!"

A new movie about Kinsey, staring Liam Neeson, is seeking to revive the myth of the heroic, pioneering researcher.

You know. The heroic, pioneering researcher who included in his book "expert" data on the sexuality of young boyhood, provided by a pedophile. The one with whom Abraham Maslow refused to work because his sampling methods were so bad.

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday.

It is the beginning, not of Forty Days of Purpose, but of forty days of repentance for our warped purposes and corrupted hearts.

It summarizes the genuine Christian faith: it is about repentance, not achievement; weakness, not power; unworthiness, not reward; and the only "victory" involved here is the victory of Jesus, Who bore a cross to win it.

It is an occasion not much celebrated- and certainly not appropriately- in "megachurches" and other citadels of apostasy to the popular culture. It is an offense to everything that is popular, and everything likely to draw a crowd or make a profit.

It is a reminder that before we are ready to receive what Christ has to give us, we have to be brought by God's Law to the recognition that we ourselves have nothing.

It is a terribly, terribly un-American and subversive occasion.

Run- don't walk- to your nearest confessional Lutheran congregation, hear God's Word of Law and condemnatio…

One of my favorite episodes from the old WKRP in Cincinnatti was the one in which Dr. Johnny Fever overheard the voice of his neighbor in the apartment upstairs through the heating duct, thought it was the voice of God, and decided that the Almighty wanted him to become a professional golfer. Mr. Carlson- presumably a good, no-nonsense Lutheran (or ELCAn, anyway), set him straight.

But the Doctor's delusion was no more ridiculous than that of many Christians who justify their actions by alleging that "God told me." Bunnie Diehl reasonably asks whether He used email, the U.S. Postal Service, or the telephone to express His will:

A few years ago I was on a campus of one of those schools that defines wealthy, pietistic, subjective American Protestantism. A group of people, inclusive of me, were deciding whether to use the campus for a function.

As we toured the grounds, our guide explained to us that the trustees had wanted to renovate a building where the school's theo…

Two courageous bishops

Following the example of my seminary advisor, Dr. Ralph W. Quere, I make it a point to re-read The Hammer of God, by confessional Swedish bishop and theologian Bo Giertz every year. The book is a series of three short novels about young pastors and how they manage to screw up- either by not taking God's Law seriously, or (the more subtle danger) making it, rather than Christ, the center of what they preach. Liberalism and Pietism alike are exposed for what they really are, and the reader is clearly shown the alternative- the faith once delivered to the saints: justification (and sanctification!) by grace, for Christ's sake, through faith.

The Hammer of God has just come out in a new edition in commemoration of the centenniary of Giertz's birth. I cannot recommend this wonderful book highly enough.

A few years ago I attended a conference of confessional Lutherans in Chicago where a young Swedish pastor spoke on the trials and tribulations of a minister who tries to be fai…

Wictory Wednesday, February 9

Sen. Rick Santorum once again is the beneficiary of our Blogs for Bush Wictory Wednesday.

Sen. Santorum's finance site can be found here.

Remember...2006 isn't that far away!

Where it all leads

Pastor Paul McCain's Cyberbrethren has a disturbing account of just where this "McChurch" business finally leads.

Pastor McCain merely repeats the story, and is not responsible for the logical and theological problems in it. It's a cry from a heart pillaged by false teaching, trust in promises God never made- and a failure to be confronted with its own, desperate need for continual forgiveness rather than personal power, as well as for a Savior rather than...well, whatever these outfits are peddling.

Mixed emotions

"You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn't wear a veil. You know, guys like that ain't got no manhood left anyway. So it's a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.'"

Thus Lt. Gen. James Mattis.

I suppose he did have to be reprimanded, and I find it difficult to imagine it being fun to shoot anybody. But I have to admit that a few near misses might be a hoot.

Can't win for losing

Cartoon courtesy Cox and Forkum

Wictory Wednesday, February 2

Today's Wictory Wednesday appeal is for the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

No matter how many Supreme Court vacancies arise during his second term, President Bush is still going to have to get them confirmed... and midterm elections are less than two years away!