Sunday, October 28, 2007

Wonderful News from Northern Europe! Pray for the Ordained in Finland

Try holding -without reservation - to the Book of Concord in Finland..... and you'll end up renting out the local Seventh Day Adventist church for your divine service.

There may be great and wonderful Lutheran parishes and cathedrals there. And hey, if you are lodge member or having some kind of secular event, you may use it. If you are a pastor who stands on scripture and opposes the ordination of women, you must rent space elsewhere to feed your flock.

Rev. Markus Pöyry is such a man who stands on scripture and holds to the Book of Concord. He was a student at Fort Wayne and was supported by the Lutheran Heritage Foundation.

He was ordained in Gothenburg Sweden on October 20th. He will be serving Luukas-koinonia in Seinäjoki, Finland. St. Luke's has 50 members and is renting space from the local Seventh Day Adventist congregation, because there is, as it were, "no place for them in the inn".

Please pray for Pastor Markus and his flock. May our blessed Lord strengthen and preserve them and use their example to strengthen us all!

Happy Reformation Day Markus!

For pictures of the ordination go to:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Is your Lutheran pastor trying to make you a Roman Catholic?

I recently heard my pastor publicly accused of trying to make our church in Marshall, Michigan a 'Roman Catholic' church. The brothers and sisters in Christ who suggested this were, quite frankly, just plain silly. They have a grave need for catechesis, especially since several of them actually teach Sunday School.

The accusations reminded me of an
Issues, Etc. interview from about three or four years ago in which my favorite regular guest on that fine program, Pastor Will Weedon, read some apposite quotations from the founding father of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, C.F.W. Walther.

I tried to find the episode, but couldn't, so I wrote Pastor Weedon, and he was kind enough to, amazingly, almost immediately send me the following:
No one would ever argue that C.F.W. Walther was a true Lutheran! This man who was so instrumental in the founding of the Missouri Synod wished to be nothing other than a faithful Lutheran. I’d like to offer for your consideration, then, some of his statements about the liturgy and the fear of being “too catholic”:

"It is too bad that such entirely different ceremonies prevail in our Synod, and that no liturgy at all has yet been introduced in many congregations. The prejudice especially against the responsive chanting of pastor and congregation is of course still very great with many people - this does not, however, alter the fact that it is very foolish. The pious church father Augustine said, “Qui cantat, bis orat - he who sings prays twice."

- C.F.W. Walther
Explanation of Thesis 17 in “The True Visible Church”

Below is an excerpt from a Reformation sermon delivered by C. F. W. Walther in 1858. Source is listed at bottom.

"It is true that of all the church bodies which have left the papacy, it is precisely the Lutheran Church which is accused of retaining many papal abuses and of having been the least successful in cleansing itself. It is pointed out, for example, that in our church priestly clothing, church ornamentation, pictures, altar, crucifixes, candles, confession, the sign of the cross, and the like are still apparent. But, my friends, whoever regards these innocent things as vestiges of the papacy knows neither what the papacy is, nor what the Bible teaches. The very fact that the Lutheran Reformation was not aimed at indifferent adiaphora, but retained those things which were in harmony with God's Word, shows that it was not a disorderly revolution, but a Biblical reformation; for whatever did not agree with God's Word was unrelentingly cleansed from the church by the Lutheran Reformation even though it seemed to glow with angelic holiness.

"The Lutheran Reformation, however, was complete not only in the destruction and tearing down of all the idols which had been erected in the church, but also in bringing forth its treasures and in setting up its truly sacred possessions. Luther followed not only the principle, "truth and nothing but the truth," but also the principle, "and the whole truth." Therefore, through his efforts, not only this and that truth, not just half the truth, but the whole truth of Holy Scripture was opened for the church, was used, and made the Christians' common possession. Not only did the Lutheran Reformation get all its doctrines out of the marble quarry of the written Word of God, but there is no doctrine of the Word of God which it did not place on the candlesticks of the church like a heavenly light in its purity. This includes the doctrine concerning God as well as the doctrine concerning man; the doctrine concerning the foundation of salvation as well as those concerning the means of salvation and the order of salvation; the doctrine concerning faith as well as those concerning love and hope. The whole counsel of God for man's salvation was clearly and purely brought to the light of day out of the gold mine of Scripture, beginning with the doctrine of justification; namely, that a man is righteous before God and can be saved only by grace through faith in Christ without the merits of works. This laid the foundation on which the whole Christian doctrinal edifice rises like a holy diamond temple. In its holy of holies the New Testament mercy seat of the holy sacraments and the absolution is enthroned."

(Excerpt of C. F. W. Walther's 1858 Reformation sermon published in "Gottesdienst: A Quarterly Journal of the Evangelical-Lutheran Liturgy" Michaelmas 2000, Volume 8 Number 3 (2000:3), p. 12. "Gottesdienst" provides us with more from the same sermon which they reprint from: "The Word of His Grace: Sermon Selections, C. F. W. Walther", Lake Mills, Iowa: Graphic Publishing, 1978, pp. 50-53.)

In an essay delivered to a district convention, Walther said:

“We refuse to be guided by those who are offended by our church customs. We adhere to them all the more firmly when someone wants to cause us to have a guilty conscience on account of them…. It is truly distressing that many of our fellow Christians find the difference between Lutheranism and Papism in outward things. It is a pity and a dreadful cowardice when one sacrifices the good ancient church customs to please the deluded American sects, lest they accuse us of being papistic (i.e., too catholic!). Indeed! Am I to be afraid of a Methodist, who perverts the saving Word, or be ashamed in the matter of my good cause, and not rather rejoice that the sects can tell by our ceremonies that I do not belong to them?”

We are not insisting that there be uniformity of perception or feeling or of taste among all believing Christians – neither dare anyone demand that all be minded as he is. Nevertheless it remains true that the Lutheran liturgy distinguishes Lutheran worship from the worship of other churches to such an extend that the houses of worship of the latter look like lecture halls in which the hearers are addressed or instructed (NOTE: if he were writing today, he’d no doubt add: they look like movie theatres in which the hearers are entertained!), while our churches are in truth houses of prayer in which Christians serve the great God publicly before the world.
(Essays for the Church, Volume 1, p. 194 (St. Louis, CPH, 1992).
Thank you, Pastor Weedon!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

New Feed for Our Podcast

Law & Gospel at Zion (Sermons, Bible Classes, Eric and Polly Rapp concerts, and even sound bites from Snoopy!)

Here is a new feed for our podcast:
  1. Go to the "Advanced" menu of iTunes.
  2. Select "Subscribe to Podcast."
  3. Copy and paste the above feed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Bible Class on the Royal Priesthood: Lesson #3

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

Here is this week's Bible class on the Royal Priesthood:


Protecting My Family from False Doctrine and Bad Pastors

I want to protect my family from false doctrine and bad pastors.

I know that this blog deals with honoring the Office of Holy Ministry, so it seems odd to be talking about bad pastors. But I have already acknowledged in a previous post
("The Spiritually Abused and the OHM", 7/2/07) that there are Lutheran pastors today, called and ordained servants of the Word, who are simply bad.

My family has been spiritually abused in the past by clergy who have, in the name of evangelism or 'compassion' for the lost, brushed aside the need for sound doctrine. So it was with great sadness, disappointment, and more than a few hairs standing up on the back of my neck that I read a disturbing series of contrasting quotations in an e-mail that I received this morning.

The following quotations contain language that I heard all of the time during our years in manipulative, abusive charismatic/Evangelical churches, and I thank Rev. Charles Hendrickson for pointing out the sharp contrast between them and those (further below) of C.F.W. Walther:
President Kieschnick:

"The church cannot afford to waste time on incessant internal purification at the expense of the lost in the world."
--Jerry Kieschnick, synodical president gs.html

"We have not the luxury of time and energy spent on incessant internal purification at the expense of the eternal destiny of the souls of men and women for whom Christ died, but who know not His name and have accepted not His saving grace."

"My concern is that we can spend so much time in incessant internal purification that we do so at the expense of the eternal destiny of people who are dying every minute."
--Jerry Kieschnick, synodical president

"People, this is NOT a game. Our incessant internal purification at the expense of the eternal destiny of the souls of men and women for whom Christ died must stop!"
--Jerry Kieschnick, synodical president

President Walther:

"Many say, 'Instead of disputing over doctrine so much, we should much rather be concerned with souls and with leading them to Christ.' But all who speak in this way do not really know what they are saying or what they are doing. As foolish as it would be to scold a farmer for being concerned about sowing good seed and to demand of him simply to be concerned about a good harvest, so foolish it is to scold those who are concerned first and foremost with the doctrine, and to demand of them that they should rather seek to rescue souls. For just as the farmer who wants a good crop must first of all be concerned about good seed, so the church must above all be concerned about right doctrine if it would save souls."
--C. F. W. Walther, synodical president
"Our Common Task--The Saving of Souls," 1872

Whether our Synod gains friends or makes enemies, wins honor or invites disgrace, grows or declines in numbers, brings peace or incites enmity, all this must be unimportant to us--just so our Synod may keep the jewel of purity of doctrine and knowledge. However, should our Synod ever grow indifferent toward purity of doctrine, through ingratitude forget this prize, or betray or barter it away to the false church, then let our church body perish and the name "Missourian" decay in disgrace.
--C.F.W. Walther, synodical president
First Sermon Delivered at the Opening of Synod,
1 Corinthians 1:4, 5

Oh my dear friends of the Lutheran faith, confession, and conflict, do not be misled when today those are everywhere accused of lovelessness who still do not give up the battle for pure doctrine in our Church. . . . Oh my dear friends, let us indeed sorrow and lament over this: that false teachers constantly assail the pure doctrine in our Church and thus are at fault for the conflict and strife in the Church. However, let us never lament but rather extol and praise God that he always awakens men who fight against those false teachers, for, I repeat, this pertains to "the common salvation." . . . This conflict is one commanded us by God and is therefore certainly one blessed in time and in eternity. . . . Oh, therefore, let us never listen to those who praise and extol the conflict of the Reformation for the pure Gospel but want to know nothing of a similar conflict in our days.
--C. F. W. Walther, synodical president
"Why Dare and Can We Never Give Up
the Church's Struggle for the Pure Doctrine?" 1876

Pastors who brush aside the critical importance of sound doctrine in the name of 'compassion' for the lost have brushed aside God's Word and do not, in spite of all their pious platitudes, give a rat's behind for the unsaved. Show me a pastor who does not care about doctrine or apologetics, and I will show you a man who does not care about the lost. When they complain about others who are concerned about sound biblical teaching, they really are saying that they do not want to stand under the authority of God's Word. They do not want their doctrine or practice to be questioned.

As a lay person who almost rejected the Christian faith due to spiritual abuse at the hands of such men 'ablaze' with such a supposed 'compassion' for the lost, I became a Lutheran because of the explosively liberating doctrine of the Reformation. So now when I hear that pastors in the Missouri Synod are using the very same rationale to avoid standing under the authority of Holy Scripture, I realize that honoring the holy ministry is one thing, whereas honoring the specious, manipulative, and damnable teachings of truly bad pastors is another.
The Office of Holy Ministry ends where pastors step out from underneath the authority of God's Word, even in the name of Evangelism.

Such teaching is a public, deadly evil, and I will, by God's grace, keep my wife and children far from such men.

"Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." Acts 17:11


Saturday, October 13, 2007

Paper Just Published by Rev. Joel Baseley, Emmanuel-Dearborn

"The Lord, the Keys and the Church vis a vis Synodical Offices"


"The Department of Redundancy Department"

A paper delineating the Authority and Responsibilities of the mandated Office of the Keys, theologically diagnosing current synodical confusions with remedies suggested. It contains copious Walther quotes previously unavailable in English. This paper is deep and long, but is
addressed to every member of our church vis a vis their own responsibilities for the use of the Office of the Keys.
Available in three formats:

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Priesthood of all Believers: Lesson #2 (9/30/07)

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9

Our second lesson on the Royal Priesthood last Sunday focused upon 1 Peter 2.