Monday, June 30, 2008

Issues, Etc. Returns Today!

In only six hours, everybody’s favorite Christ centered, cross focused talk radio program returns. Oh happy day!

Issues, Etc.™ broadcasts live weekdays from 3:05 to 5:00 PM Central. You can listen via webstreaming. Webstreaming provided through Pirate Christian RadioIssues, Etc.™ can also be heard in St. Louis from 4:05 to 5 PM Central on 1320 AM Bott Radio Network.

Podcasts will also be available. Oh yeah!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

In Case You Haven't Heard...

From the inbox; a message from Todd Wilken:


In case you haven't heard...

Issues, Etc. will re-debut this Monday, June 30, 3:05pm CST.

The show will be LIVE and on demand from 3:05-5:00 at

The second hour will also be LIVE on AM 1320 in St. Louis.

You'll be able to subscribe to the Issues, Etc. podcast via iTunes. There will
be a direct subscription link at our website. You can also listen on-demand at
the website.

Issues, Etc.’s LIVE call-in number is (877)623-MYIE (877-623-6943).

The 24-hour Issues, Etc. Listener Comment Line is (618)223-8384.

The Office line is (618)223-8385.

You can support Issues, Etc. at our website, or by check: Lutheran Public Radio,
PO box 1046, San Juan Capistrano, CA 92693.

By the way, you can shorten "San Juan Capistrano" to "SJC"



Two more days until everyone's favorite Christ centered, cross focused talk radio program is back on the air. Boy howdy!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Issues, Etc. Picks Up Right Where Issues, Etc. Left Off

The first guests on the new and long awaited Issues, Etc., as reported by the Issues, Etc. website, are John Green of The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, speaking on religious voters and the 2008 election, and Dr. Carl Fickenscher, of Concordia Theological Seminary, speaking on the Gospel. The first show is only three days away. Monday, June 30th will be a happy, happy day.

When Todd Wilken announced that the new Issues, Etc. would be picking up right where the old left off, he was not kidding! Christ-centered and cross-focused all the way!

From the website:

Issues, Etc.™ broadcasts live weekdays from 3:05 to 5:00 PM Central. You can listen via webstreaming, provided through Pirate Christian Radio.

Issues, Etc.™ can also be heard in St. Louis from 4:05 to 5 PM Central on 1320 AM Bott Radio Network.

Studio Line - (877) 623-MYIE (6943)

Comment Line - (618) 223-8384

Email -

Only 3 Days Until Issues, Etc. Returns!

The new Issues, Etc. will debut on June 30th on St. Louis radio station KSIV, 1320 AM. The program runs on the radio from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays, as well as live internet streaming on Pirate Christian Radio from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Podcasting and downloading will also be available. Issues, Etc.'s new website is promising that downloads from iTunes will be coming soon. Oh yeah!

Issues, Etc.’s new home on the web is . Be sure to stop by, say howdy, and please donate whatever you can to support this Christ centered, cross focused program. Let's all keep Issues, Etc. on the air for good!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Thoughts On The Many Paths Up The Mountain Story, Part Deux

From Gene Veith’s post found via Necessary Roughness’ contribution:

That’s worth a chuckle, but the Lutheran Kantor finds disturbing numbers:

The survey classified the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) to be an Evangelical denomination. Based on the survey results of the 588 LCMS respondents, the LCMS is very open minded and tolerant. So open minded and tolerant that 78% of the LCMS respondents believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life.” We beat the national average! That’s not something to be proud of.

Other statistics about the 588 surveyed:

Only 84% are absolutely certain there is a god;
12% are fairly certain.
9% seldom go to church;
2% never do.
Only 42% said the Bible should be taken literally.
28% believe there is one correct way to interpret scripture.

For all our efforts to divide the human populace between “churched” and “unchurched” for programmatic and spending purposes, this data shows that we cannot take the beliefs of the “churched” for granted.

As someone who sits on a mission board it always hurts my brain when I have to listen to other members say we “need to meet the people where they are at” as well as the criticizing of the insertion of Word and Sacrament into the purpose of the church mission statement as useless wordsmithing.

I’ve never understood how we can claim to care for the unchurched if we go out of our way to appear nonchurched ourselves. As I’ve said ad nauseam; if we present ourselves as no different than the local high school glee club how can we claim that we are in fact any different. When are we going to tell them why there is a Church to begin with?

If the study is accurate then the people who accused me of being too focused on church stuff might be better understood. Maybe “meeting people where they are at” should be reworded to “meeting people where we are most comfortable.” If the study is accurate of course.

Part 1 is here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Thoughts On The Many Paths Up The Mountain Story

I’m sure by now that most everybody that reads this blog has heard about the survey of 35,000 adults that came to conclusion that most Americans believe that there are many different paths to heaven. 70 percent of Americans, including 57 percent of evangelical church attendees said they believe other religions can lead to eternal life.

57 percent of evangelicals think that there is a way to heaven other than Jesus? Wow. I’ll have to be honest and say that number surprised even me! What had me rolling my eyes last night while watching the news was the little old lady leading her small group Bible study who said “well, I just don’t think that my Jesus is the only way.”

So when Christ says in John 14:6I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” is our Lord speaking in hyperbole? According to the survey, it seems that the majority of Christians in this country say “yes, he is.”

Christ’s words aside, (oh, that ought to be a heresy all by itself) why would anyone bother to lead a small group Bible study, assuming that they are actually studying a Bible not some purpose driven drivel, if there are many paths to heaven? Wouldn’t a better use of time be to watch Oprah and her message of a Christless non-sanctified changed life that focuses on the good works that we do for our neighbor?

Americanized Christianity is reaping what was sown many years ago when proper catechesis was thrown out the window so that we all could decide for ourselves what we thought Scripture meant instead of what the Church catholic has always taught. Good catechesis has always been lacking in our country and the situation has only gotten worse as the postmodern culture was ushered in full force by the baby boomers.

The good news, although not reported in the linked story, is that even the pioneers of the church growth movement and the mega church model are admitting that they lose members after only a few years due to vapid preaching that would make Oprah proud. What these same people still fail to realize is that they teach only the changed life of sanctification and leave out the fact that we first become justified, that is to say, we are declared righteous by grace through Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross. One of the largest mega churches; Willow Creek, had been conducting “exit interviews” for years and recently admitted that nearly all the people that left the congregation left because the felt spiritually starved. In other words, they wanted to be fed real spiritual meat and not the same hogwash that they could see on Dr. Phil. They wanted more Jesus! Imagine that!

So many churches, and I’ll lump Lutherans into this category as well as we are certainly not immune, are so afraid to address the fact that we are sinful and we don’t just need help. We need an atoning sacrifice that must be made for our transgressions of God’s holy law that we fail to keep every second of every day. We need a substitutionary atonement. What we need to make ourselves right with God is Christ. If Christ crucified is not preached and taught what then is the outcome? I’d say 70 percent of American already know the answer to the question.

Once you take away the unpleasantness that is Christ’s cross, is it any wonder why so many people think there can be so many paths up the mountain? Not really, not when you stop and think about it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Deviating From My Zombie Action Plan

The world will end, period. However, what will not happen is a rapture that will leave a whole bunch of folks “left behind” so they will have a second chance to make a decision to accept Jesus into their hearts. The theological term for this whole “left behind” nonsense is premillennial dispensationalism and is contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture. For more on why Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins’ are oh so wrong go here.

But the world will end and the only thing up for debate is how. Personally my thought is it’ll all end with zombies. I’m not sure if it will be the slow moving George Romero types or the fast moving 28 Days Later rage filled ones, but I’m near certain it will be zombies. Good ole flesh eating zombies. Yep, that’s the ticket, zombies.

Which is why of course I think everybody needs to have a zombie action plan. Just like we all need to be prepared for floods, hurricanes, and other natural disasters, it’s important to have a plan to deal with the inevitable inundation of zombies. In addition to normal food stuff that you will need for any natural disaster the adding of many large caliber weapons for defense is well advised. I’m near certain that the founding fathers had zombies in mind when writing the second amendment to the constitution. They were a smart bunch back then.

Also, the best thing to do is go it alone. At the end of the day it is better for everybody involved if we all take the every man for himself approach. Having to keep track of even one other person can be a distraction that may lead to a bite by one of the infected. That would be very bad. This may sound selfish but it is a matter of survival, plain and simple. Going it alone increases the chances of continued existence in a world overrun by a vast plague of undead.

So that’s the plan; stock up on food, don’t forget the guns, and go it alone and never look back.

But Heaven's to Betsy there is that little problem of my missus in the whole zombie action plan thingy. As we will be married sixteen years tomorrow, I think I’m gonna have deviate from my plan should we be overrun by flesh hungry ghouls. Being alone in a zombie filled apocalypse would just not be any fun at all without my missus.

And isn’t that what a good marriage should look like; sticking it out together even in the face of the walking dead who's only wish is to eat your brain. I’m just a romantic when it comes to the missus!

Happy Anniversary missus!

I’m Not Voting Republican, But…

I’ve already stated that I’m voting the Roslin/Airlock ticket come November. But this video almost makes me want to Republican. I mean, if Rev. David Madison, Evangelical Leader says he’s going to vote Republican, uh, do I even have a choice here?

This video was brought to you by the good folks at I’m Voting Republican and SyntheticHuman Pictures.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

“Youth Ministry” E-Bulletin

From the inbox courtesy of Rev. Terry Dittmer, Director-Youth Ministry, LCMS:

YOUTH MINISTRY 2009, a Symposium is now scheduled for January 9-11, 2009. This is the first announcement for what promises to be an exciting and challenging conference. Search Institute is releasing a major new study on adolescent spirituality in fall 2008. In an age of "spiritual diversity" where everyone's "religion" is accepted and tolerated, how do Lutherans respond and provide appropriate "catechesis" to our youth and young adults. Make plans to attend. The conference will again take place in Houston at the J.W. Marriott (Galleria). Details will be coming.

It’s a common tactic in mass media that anytime a reporter wishes to discredit an individual or group of participants in the story he or she will attach a label in quotation marks. For example; the statement “the Mormon candidate was shouted down by a group of “Christian” demonstrators” reveals an obvious bias against people that say they are Christians. Now, if the reporter wanted to explain the theological differences of one group or another that would be just fine and dandy and probably be considered fair by all. But seriously, how often does that happen? Not too terribly often I assure you. FYI, I’ll award a No-Prize to the first person that can site quotation marks around an adjective that is used in a positive manner.

For a good look at how the media looks at matters of faith take a gander at Get Religion, a website run by a great group of real live professional type reporters that includes the awesomeness that is Mollie Ziegler Hemingway.

The media’s little bias tactic was front and center as I read the latest Youth Ministry E-Bulletin. Spiritual diversity is put in quotation marks to highlight the fact that diversity is rather frowned upon as syncretism. One can only assume that religion is put in quotation marks as a swipe against denominationalism, something I think is necessary as folks confessions of faith differ.

But what really has got me all verklempt is the fact that catechesis is put in quotation marks! Since when did teaching anybody, youth or adults, become something that required quotation marks? Why is catechesis treated in the same way as diversity? The very definition of Christian catechesis is the teaching that there are absolutes and there are right and there are wrongs. I know that seems narrow minded in today’s postmodern culture but that is simply the way it is. Anyone who thinks otherwise probably would feel more at home at the local Unitarian congregation than a Christian one if there was in fact a decent catechesis of members.

I know I’m gonna sound like a broken record here but it seems these days that we are going out of our way to not catechize our youth (or adults for that matter). And when I see synodical leaders treating catechesis as they do syncretism, is it any wonder why I get verlempt?

Too often we throw out Matthew 28:19Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and forget what follows in 28:20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” We need to teach all things that Christ has given us in Scripture, in other words we need to catechize youth and adults alike and not be afraid to do so.

Maybe “Rev.” Dittmer should consider that catechesis shouldn’t be looked at in such a negative light. If proper catechesis was done more often, our beloved synod would not be in the shape it is today. Ditto for the rest of Americanized Christianity.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Killing Joke

Stop me if you’ve heard this one…

When talking about our youth group’s Sunday night Bible studies and why it’s important to hold them, a parent says to me; “We have been unable (despite many efforts) to get sustained adult interest in evening bible studies at this congregation. Why should the kids be different than their parents?”

In other words should, the parent asks, (ok, breathe deep… exhale) should we even hold Bible studies since most of the adults simply don’t want attend one themselves.

Yes we should, period.

And the reasons we should is so that not only do these kids can see that church is where we go as a community of believers and that theology and Scripture is fun to study, but to put it bluntly, we don’t want your kids picking up your bad habits that lead their happy selves to think that “church stuff” is only done one hour a week on the way to Sunday brunch at Applebee’s.

Gathering together to discuss theology and Scripture and hearing Jesus speak to us through His called servants is fun. The real question the parent needs to ask is why the adults don’t want to gather for a Sunday night or midweek Bible study and not the other way around.

I don’t know of any parent who thinks that if their kids don’t like school they should just stay home and play with their Xbox. Of course the parent is going to demand the kid go to school, as they should. Shouldn’t God’s Word and churchly stuff be placed at least as high on the list as the local school system?

Arguing that the kids probably don’t want to go to a Bible study on a Sunday night so therefore it’s a waste of time to even offer it may have been said half jokingly, but it just wasn’t funny.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

“Every Time I Start My Truck, A Polar Bear Dies”

Before our youth group’s Sunday night Bible study we got talking about all things automotive. I found that some things will never change and teenagers will always have a fascination with cars that go too fast and that are way too expensive.

Our only girl attending the study made the statement that she hates driving. If she did drive she explained, she would drive a Prius and not anything like the Buick Roadmaster with wood panel siding like dear ole dad. She’s very concerned about the environment.

Upon hearing this, another student of mine made the comment “Every time I start my truck, a polar bear dies.” He explained his thirty year old jeep gets six miles a gallon. Ouch!

After talking about cars for a bit we discussed the perpetual virginity of Mary, a doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church and why the cult of saints is popular in the evangelism of Africa.

Following our usual meal of pizza, we played Apples to Apples: Bible Edition and I learned that the Helmet of Salvation is not always a wild card as had been previously assumed.

There are some people in my congregation that think it is the elected members of the Board of Youth that generate the enthusiasm that I see at our Sunday night studies. This is simply not the case. The folks that think that could not be more wrong and as many times as I try to explain it to them, I don’t think they will ever get it. I wish everybody could see the results of, to borrow a little Higher Things lingo, youth that dare to be Lutheran.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Send Emails After The Rapture!

The new website offers Christians a new evangelism tool that they can use after the rapture has occurred.

For forty bucks a year, your unchurched loved ones can have a second chance to make their decision for Jesus by reading an evangelgram from the other side of eternity.

The site promoting the service says:

"You've Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends For Christ. Imagine being in the presence of the Lord and hearing all of heaven rejoice over the salvation of your loved ones. It is our prayer that this site makes it happen."

Final e-mails from vanished subscribers will be triggered when three of the site's five Christian staffers fail to log in for six days in a row.

And why would anyone do this you ask? The website explains:

We all have family and friends who have failed to receive the Good News of the Gospel.The unsaved will be 'left behind' on earth to go through the "tribulation period" after the "Rapture"…. Each fulfilled prophecy will cause your letter and plea to be remembered and a decision to be made.

"WHY" is one last chance to bring them to Christ and snatch them from the flames!

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried, I couldn't! I can’t help but wonder when our beloved synod will offer the same service. Oh wait, I forgot, we don't want to snatch the unchurched from the flames but rather we want them to be Ablaze!.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Mini Symposia Dealing With The Means Of Grace

I was asked last week to participate in something of a mini-symposium on the Means of Grace and the relationship of the efficacy of the Gospel outside the Means to the teaching Office of the Holy Ministry when looked through the lens of Romans 10:14-18.

So, it’s like what every slack jawed yokel sits around on a Saturday blabbering about. It is… ain’t it?