Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Witness Duck?

This picture is from the Southeastern District's latest newsletter found here. As you can see, the blurb highlights a new evangelism technique, the Witness Duck, at the National Youth Gathering.

Uh, the Witness Duck? Really?

On a related topic, my missus, whose vocation is law enforcement, told me just two days ago that LSD never completely leaves your system. I always thought that eventually it worked it's way out. She says I'm mistaken it really stays in your system, forever, really. Hmm, who knew.

Monday, August 27, 2007

One Of These Things... Part Deux

One of these things is not like the others

one of these things just doesn’t belong.

Can you tell which thing is not like the other

by the time I finish my song?
Let's try a new game shall we? One of the pictures in this post is not like the others. The question is which one, and why. Good luck!

Yes, I will answer the question, on this post as welll as the last, myself. I promise. I will. Really.

Lutheran Carnival LVII

Lutheran Carnival LVII is now up and running at Random Intolerance. Be sure to stop by, say howdy and thank Dan for doing a great job with hosting the carnival.

The next host is The Moose Report. Posts are due by September 7. The Carnival will be up September 9.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

One Of These Things...

One of these things is not like the others
one of these things just doesn’t belong.
Can you tell which thing is not like the other
by the time I finish my song?

Remember that little ditty from Sesame Street? The game was to teach children to differentiate various objects and point out the one odd object out of the four shown. Cookie Monster would show off three pieces of fruit and one cookie with, of course, predictable results. Oscar the Grouch would display three pieces of garbage and one nice new item that he throw away at the end of the game. Mr. Hooper could display candy bars and, well, you get the picture.

With that, let’s play a little game ourselves shall we?

One of the pictures in this post is not like the others. The question is which one, and why. Good luck!

Answers here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Anger And Forgiveness

I had a bad weekend where I for the most part ended up very, very angry. My words and my thoughts both were sinful. My deeds always fall short of God’s perfect law and are always sinful as well. This weekend my anger was sinful and it consumed me.

St. John writes in 1 John 1:8-9;

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Yesterday in the Divine Service I confessed my sin and my pastor in the stead and by the command of Christ himself announced the forgiveness of all my sins. Where in Scripture does it say that pastors have this authority? Again we look to St. John writing in John 20:21-23

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Thanks be to God.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

New Evangelism Suggestion

I wonder if this could be modified for Ablaze!? Hmm, I see possibilities here. Imagine running after people with a flamethrower telling them they only have one chance to respond so that his or her response may be recorded on a website as a critical event. A powerful message that is sure to noticed by all.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Well, I’ll Be A Puppy’s Uncle

The missus and I live far, far away from our respective families. It’s a day’s drive to my side of the family and two very long day’s drives to hers. So, she and I only get to see our nieces and nephews about once every four years. There are however numerous ragamuffins in my extended family that call me Uncle Frank. Most of you are familiar with my adopted niece Valerie whom the wife and I love more than sushi grade tuna (I just checked with the missus and she does in fact agree with that statement). Valerie started a trend eight or nine years ago when she snuck in a “good night Uncle Frank” at the end of a Friday night Bible study. Soon I started noticing lots of crumb crunchers big and small declaring me their long lost Uncle Frank. And I’ve always been cool with that.

With that as the backdrop imagine my surprise when I found out that Melanie Francis linked to me. Who is Melanie Francis? That’s a very good question. It seems that Melanie is a tri-colored Jack Russell Terrier (smooth variety) who now calls me Uncle Frank. I’ve never met Melanie, but hey I’ve got several nieces and nephews of the bipedal human variety that I’ve never met either. Cool, my first stalker!

If everyone can do me a favor and go to Melanie’s blog and say hi I would be most appreciative. Thanks a bunch and as Bob Barker used to say, remember to have your children spayed or neutered.

Lutheran Carnival LVI

Lutheran Carnival Fifty-Six, the Fathers and Families edition is up and running over at Children of God. be sure to stop by, say howdy, and thank Emily for doing a great job!

Friday, August 10, 2007

I'm Not A Conservative!

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. I’ve been a little busy at work. I've also been dealing with all the folks linking to me because of my post entitled Thoughts On The LCMS Youth Gathering. Not too many of those links have been positive.

Because of that post there are some folks out there that have been labeling me either a nut or worse yet; a conservative. I am not a conservative. I am not a conservative Lutheran. What I am however is a confessional Lutheran. So what is the difference?

Confessional Lutherans subscribe to the doctrines laid out in the Book of Concord because they are in agreement with the Scriptures. In other words they offer a quai subscription. Confessional Lutherans believe and confess that Scripture has given us poor miserable creatures very clear doctrines and that those very same doctrines needn’t be understood by human reason, common sense, or in context of whatever century or year we might all be living in.

The confessors wrote in the Formula of Concord the following:

“Therefore, it is our intent to give witness before God and all Christendom, among those who are alive today and those who will come after us, that the explanation here set forth regarding all the controversial articles of faith which we have addressed and explained–and no other explanation–is our teaching, faith, and confession. In it we shall appear before the judgment throne of Jesus Christ, by God’s grace, with fearless hearts and thus give account of our faith, and we will neither secretly nor publicly speak or write anything contrary to it. Instead, on the strength of God’s grace, we intend to abide by this confession (FC SD, XII, 40).”

With all that being said, you might see why I’m not a conservative, or maybe not.

Most Christians (and I would dare say Lutherans) in America these days are conservative with Billy Graham being at the top of the most admired list. Billy Graham is a conservative Christian because he believes that the Bible is God’s word. But he also believes and promotes decision theology, which means that one must make a conscious decision to accept Christ, is why Rev. Graham had alter calls at his crusades. This in spite of Jesus himself saying;

“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.”
[Matthew 11:27]

Decision theology is just the tip of the iceberg which separates Confessional and conservative Christians. I happen to be the former, because I confess. I don’t confess insofar as I understand the Bible but rather I confess. That insofar as is what separates me from the conservatives.

So in conclusion, I am not a conservative!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Bold Confession, Fear Of Syncretism, Or Sin Of Pride

I was asked recently by a dear friend why I wouldn’t visit a Calvinistic reformed variety church. I explained that I could visit, if I had to, a reformed congregation if the people that I was with understood perfectly that my confession on what the catholic faith has always been differed from theirs. As long as everybody involved was on the same page that I don’t confess making decisions for Jesus, I don’t believe Baptism is only an outward sign, and that I confess that the Eucharist isn’t a mere remembrance but is the same body and blood that was nailed to the cross even if “hidden” in, with, and under bread and wine, it would be possible to attend a worship service with friends and family who are standard American evangelical types. But that’s a pretty tall order.

But therein lies the problem. The friends and family that would invite me to a Sunday service either can’t understand or flat out reject my confession of faith as being too old school with ties going back too far in the historical church. Because, the thinking goes, there were problems in the Roman church we should all start over again every time we don’t like what is rubbing us the wrong way.

But I was hit with something that I’d never heard of before on a recently. I was accused of the sin of pride because I refused to attend any service with an individual who believes all churches are paths up the same mountain. “Why can’t you meet people where they are? Didn’t you just say that you believe God works His will where ever His Gospel is preached or read? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that you will lose a part of yourself?” were the questions thrown at me by someone very well intentioned.

I don’t believe pride is the issue but rather syncretism. The more I read the more I find American style evangelicals calling anyone willing to stand and confess a core truth, prideful. By saying let’s just set aside our differences (confessions) as if they don’t matter, those who would do this are creating an entire new confession, unwittingly or not.

If we look at scripture we find that Christ all through the gospels is eating with Pharisees. But at no time does our Lord ever say, “Well, maybe you guys have a point, I’ll concede that we could all use a lot more law around here. So let’s just agree to agree and sit down and eat these tasty looking ham on rye sandwiches that one of the girls cooked up. I mean after all, I’m all about making peace.” On the contrary, He calls them on their misguided and self righteous doctrine of law and in turn they plot to kill Him.

If we look at Saint Paul’s epistle to the congregation at Corinth he tells them that their confession must be one and unified:

1 Corinthians 1:10 (NKJV)
Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

So am I being prideful or not? I just can’t see how, after explaining (confessing) what the Church has always confessed and being told that that same confession (even the most basic confession like the Apostles, Nicene, or Athanasian Creeds) is (are) rejected for whatever reason, my sin is pride. In other words “In casu confessionis nihil est adiaphora”


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Update From Saint Paul, MN

Well it’s time for a quick update on my visit to the Saint Paul, Minnesota. I can say without equivocation that Saint Paul is the nicest “big” city I’ve ever visited. Maybe there is something the water, I’m not certain, but the people here are nicer than all the peoples of Utah combined. Maybe it’s because I just got away from the uptight rigor of the high tech areas of the haut south where I reside. Why folks are so pleasant here is really of no concern to me as I’m more than content to just enjoy a friendly, clean, and apparently a very safe city.

TKls2myhrt over at Be Strong in the Grace and Katie’s Beer was kind enough to point me to a great congregation to visit this past Sunday. Glory of Christ pastored by Klemet Preus made me feel as welcome there than any place I’ve ever visited. It’s always nice to visit a congregation where the Word is preached purely and the Sacrament is administered rightly. You can listen to the sermon by clicking the Eighth Sunday after Trinity on the sermon page which falls under the media tab. It was a great sermon! Thanks for the heads up TK, you're awesome.

For Bible study after the Divine Service we focused on the second son of the prodigal son parable. Afterwards I had the chance to chat metrology, precision versus accuracy in measurements, and vocations with former chemist and now Pastor William Cwirla for about forty-five minutes. He was in town for the Higher Things conference held in Minneapolis.

The only thing that’s bothered me this trip is that as much as I’ve driven around Saint Paul, I cant seem to find that big arch thingy that’s supposed to be sitting right next to the Mississippi river. I found the river with no difficulty but I can't seem to find the arch. I know a few weeks ago they had some people get stuck in the darned thing. I’m just hoping they didn’t have to tear the thing down to get the people out. Hmm.