Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Cult of Ignorance...

Watch this video and reflect upon how Unitarianism and liberal protestant theology is theological multi-culturalism.
If everything is everything.  Nothing is anything, as I am fond of saying...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Dual, Related Links from LCMS...

Below is the LCMS's position paper on last week's Supreme Court ruling.

And, in a related, perhaps more anticipatory commentary...

Free to be Faithful!


Your COL

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ELCA Losing Members Concurrent with...

The liberal Lutheran denomination know as the ELCA, has lost members at a sharply increasing rate, concurrent with their recent decision to ordain openly homosexual pastors, culminating in the the election of its first openly homosexual bishop.

Liberal "lutherans" from the ELCA, which has recently considered merging with the liberal Episcopal Church (see my blog below on their openly gay bishop) often cop out on taking communion openly and unrepentant homosexuals by saying, "hey not my problem it's between them and God".  This attitude goes to the most interest point made in the comments of this article in First Thoughts.  To wit, communing, ordaining and electing as high officers folks who are embracing a sinful lifestyle is not the cause but rather the symptom of a long, deep slide from scriptural orthodoxy in the ELCA.

Lutheran historians more astute than I will point out that it started with redefining communion itself, ordaining women as pastors and moving to less doctrinal hymnal.  At each pivotal juncture in this long slide into contemporary secular humanism, the ELCA has suffered a hemorrhage of members.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Sins of the Father/Faithful Servants for Unfaithful Ones...

Perhaps most of you don't know that I am an avid fan of Mad Men.


So many reasons.  I spent the first twenty years of my professional career selling radio advertising, calling on ad agencies in San Francisco and around the big ad markets of the country on behalf of the San Francisco stations that I represented.  Mad Men invokes the culture of mid-century Madison Avenue.... the ad scene, the mad scene of big time commercial advertising.

Reaching deeper into my past, the adult characters in Mad Men are exactly my parent's age. Therefore I am around the same age as there kids, like Sally, who is building up a head of steam to launch the same rebellion against her parents as I did against mine.


Because like the Mad Men characters, my parents, whose lifestyle and mannerisms resembled the Mad Men characters were inwardly sinful people who maintained a veil of outward respectability, just like we all do to one extent or another.  In other words.... sinners.... big sinners and little sinners.... just like all of us.

In this final episode of the current season, Don, steeped in the shame of a cluster of sins that are coming to a festering and undeniable head, finds himself alone, downing tumblers of straight scotch in a dive bar.  A barroom street pastor (I did not know there was such a creature!)  approaches Don and begins preaching the Gospel.  Don flashes back to his teenage childhood, spent in a depression-era brothel run by his father, and his teenage confrontation with a similar street preacher, who upon his being 86'd by Don's father, admonishes the teen Don Draper on his way out... "the greatest sin is to believe that you can't be forgiven by God".

In this instant and throughout other scenes is transmitted amidst all of the pop-culture/pop-theology of Mad Men, is a kernel of deep, Gospel truth.  The only way we can absolutely separate ourselves from God and eternal life in Him is by rejecting the gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.  Later Don begins to shed his outward layer of respectability and taps into remorse and truth.  See it.  You'll see.

We are left to wonder if there is faith in that repentance or just ego gratification of being "real".  One can be deeply remorseful, repentant and still not be saved.  Faith and repentance are inseparable, after all.

Guilty enjoyment of indulgent sins, rational deployment of survival mechanisms in the knowledge that they are not pleasing to God pale in comparison to the resolute utter rejection of God and his Gift of faith and salvation.  For once one makes that choice, his or her entire life, already one of sin, becomes one of sin for sin's sake and death is assured.  But, amazingly, while one is alive it is never too late to have faith as well as to \ repent.

And, so, prompted by Mad Men and conscious of six weeks of neglect, we come we at last to the topic of Pastor Lassman's  brilliantly delivered May 12th sermon on Acts 1: 12-16 where Judas, who betrayed Our Savior commits the greatest sin of all.  Everyone knows of "Judas Priest" (a common curse phrase during the Mad Men era, at least in my household) and his betrayal of Christ.  And most of us when prompted would count that betrayal as Judas's greatest sin.

Yet it was not.  Again, as that preacher told the teenage Dick Whitman, aka Don Draper, "the greatest sin is believe that you cannot be forgiven".  Remember?

Judas's greatest sin occurred at the last moment of his earthly life.  And it was committed not in the mirthful, indulgent manner of an adulterer reaching out to his paramour or a conniving account executive manipulating his way into a juicy piece of new business but rather by an utterly shamed and broken man ... rejected in reality by the Pharisees who egged him onto his ultimate betrayal and then, in their hypocrisy refused to take back the filthy blood money they had paid Judas to commit his heinous act.

Just as everyone in this last episode of Mad Men is steeped in regret, remorse and scrambling to find some sort of human redemption, a faithless repentance offers no salvation and, in fact seals condemnation.   As Christ intones in John 17, I do not ask for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word..."  If you turn aside the word of salvation in Christ so will He turn you aside as chaff from the wheat kernel.  Whether you are in despite or in delight of yourself.

Judas then repaired to a lonely dead tree on a forsaken plot of land to hang himself and reject himself as a child of Christ, who would have accepted even His betrayer Judas had his remorse been coupled with a faith in God's power to forgive him.  Even in selling out Jesus into the hands of Pilate and the Pharisees, Judas had not out-sinned God.  Tragically, he had only out-sinned himself.

For, although it makes no sense, defies logical and will remain a mystery until that Last Day of Judgment, we cannot out-sin God and the Son.  We can only out sin ourselves.  And by rejecting God's salvation in Jesus Christ we only reject ourselves.  God cannot, will not reject us.  But we can reject ourselves.

Salvation, therefore is a passive thing, utterly given unto us.  Everyone reading this has read and knows the saving Word of Christ and is therefore saved.  You can only be unsaved by your own hand.  And whether you do it blithely, deliberately, ploddingly, in misery, in shame or in joy YOU do it.  Just as we are saved in mirth, in misery, in joy and in all places in between.  Jesus saves you but you condemn yourself.

Even a crabby old Lutheran.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A Woman in Purple and Scarlet...

Read this and then Google "a woman in purple and scarlet".  Probably just a coinky =;-0).  But pretty interesting.  If you understand Christian doctrine, you understand that this woman is more than just mealy mouthed.

Coming soon or someday to your neighborhood, a world empire of false religion.  Preview now showing in Venezuela.

Whose words are being spoken through her?  The Word Our Lord or the word of the foe.  When in doubt remember that scripture interprets scripture.

Rev 17:4, "The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries."

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Pagan Clock at Home Depot

Kind of a lighter version of "eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we all die". Hey. Just satan, whoops I mean sayin' "

Satan loves love and good works as long as Jesus is excluded.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Two Things Most People Don't Believe, But They Should:

1.  I can die at any moment.  Life is much more fragile than I perceive it to be.

2.  Jesus Christ is who says he was and therefore the only way to eternal life in Heaven.  Believing that Jesus was just a "wonderfully wise man" and/or "there are many other ways to heaven (buddhism, hinduism, being a nice person, etc.)" will NOT grant me eternal salvation and the only alternative to eternal salvation in heaven is eternal damnation in hell.  

That is really all the Bible is about, folks.  Please don't waste your time or mine positing any other path in life OR death.

Finally, believe it or not, this IS a loving statement.  No?  Well, I could have left it unsaid.  Don't you.  If you believe.  If you don't believe, do.  For you own sake.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Are We Fools to Be Christians? St. Paul Said So....

Pastor Lassman's Easter (Resurrection) sermon held forth on what of my favorite scriptural passages (1 Corinthians 15:19).

Please listen to or read Pastor's sermon

My comments on the text...

In his first letter to the  Greek church at Corinth, Greece, St. Paul invoked a theme that seems particularly timely in our increasingly "Greek" culture in contemporary America.  Greek culture has resonated through the ages and, along with Christianity, presents a parallel but opposing influence on western civilization.  The Greek way of thought emphasizes multiple Gods, created by humans, who are accessed by human earthly achievement in the arts, intellect and sensual pursuits.  "Achieve great things on earth, eat, drink and be merry", pretty much sums up the Hellenistic way of looking at life.  It is one of many pagan religions that have flourished in the absence of God's Word.

Don't your agnostic, atheist friends of which we seem to have more and more these days seem think to themselves or even say out loud, "how foolish you Christians are to waste a lifetime of Sundays going to church!"

Paul must have heard similar admonitions from these Greeks in 30ish AD Greece and he responded in sarcastic agreement, "If only in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are [indeed] of all people most to be pitied".

Boil down the Gospel to it's essence (John 3:16) and Christianity addresses only one big issue in life.  You can be an outwardly good person without Christ.  You can get along fine in this life without Christ.  In fact it is probably much easier to be popular among most people you are likely to encounter in contemporary US coastal urban life.  Be an outspoken Christian?  Naaah.  Go along to get along.  Easy peasy.

So why suffer the consequences of being a Christian?  Because "in fact Christ has been raised from the dead", continues St. Paul.  If Christ was not resurrected from the dead then we will not also be raised as he promised.  To study Christ as a philosopher or a "wise man" is utter folly.  As C.S. Lewis points out in Mere Christianity, Christ was either who he said he was or he was raving lunatic.

But Christ was raised from the dead.  The dual ruling classes (Romans and Jewish Hierarchs) had every motive and all means to produce the dead body of Our Lord and Savior after His Resurrection, but could not.  Many people saw Jesus in his resurrected and Holy state in many different places and testified as such.  Paul himself was confronted by Christ Himself on the road to Damascus decades after Christ's resurrection.

And it was the Resurrected Christ who intoned the Apostles (and us) to "go and make disciples of all nations, teaching. preaching and baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:16-20).  We can't very well do that in silence.  Christ is no less clear, forthright and violently demanding of us as Christians on any other topic than our duty to spread His word.  (Luke 19:11-27)

Such is our faith.  Such is our eternal salvation.  We believe in Christ because He has destroyed the elephant in the room for us all... Death!!  We are "grateful alive" forever in Him!!

Yes, "the message of the cross is folly to those who perish" (1Cor 1:18). Paul said that too in this same letter to the Greek church at Corinth so long ago.  It's hard to be a Christian.  Hard.  But is it not more foolish to perish?  Amen.

"Lost Boys" from Sudan or Are We the Lost Ones?...

In truth these are missionaries of Christ witness to an increasingly arrogant and faithless American culture.  Just sayin'...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Farewell to Alleluia/Song of Gladness (and Mourning)...

It sounds like a contradiction, does it not?  That there would be song that is both a one of mourning and gladness.  But the Christian understands ...

Each year on the last Sunday before Lent (and this seems to have come quite quickly, already!), we sing "Farewell to Alleluia" at the close of the service.  This hymn marks the prelude to the five weeks of Lent before Easter week when meditate on our sinful state for which Christ died... five weeks or forty days of solemnity before we can celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord, our resurrection in Him and thus return to celebratory alleluias.

As the moving lyrics of this hymn intone...

Alleluia cannot always be sung while here below;
Alleluia our transgressions;
Make us for awhile forego;
For the solemn time is coming;
When our tears for sin must flow;

In other words, in order understand and acknowledge that depth of sacrifice given TO us and FOR us by God in the death of his beloved and perfect Son we must feel, in our admittedly small and human way, a portion of mourning.  

But the hymn also intones the joy that ultimately will be ours through salvation to eternal joy made possible only by this  Holy sacrifice in the death of Our Lord on the cross.

I pray that you were able to attend a divine service this day and felt the depth of this uniquely bittersweet blessing, as expressed in the hymn, Alleluia, Song of Gladness.

I also pray that you will attend services, pray and meditate throughout the Lenten season on yours and all of our human shortcomings and do so with the sure knowledge of and in the Name of Our Savior Jesus Christ.


Yours in Christ,


P.S. It is interesting to note that retiring the alleluia, while not a uniquely Lutheran liturgical feature, is practiced by orthodox Lutheran congregations as well "in Traditional Catholic and Anglican" congregations.
Here is an audio of the 10th century chant in Latin with text in English.

Other material ...  (Amazing LCMS Church in downtown Detroit)