Who is a Christian… and who is not?

Just because someone does not understand the Sacraments as Lutherans understand them, does that mean that they are not saved?

No, it doesn’t mean that at all. All it means is that the assurance that God’s so dearly wants us to have, is compromised. It also means their Christian freedom, that God wants them to enjoy, is compromised. It means (quite often) that they will be engaging in “religious activities” to prove to themselves and others that they really do have the faith that they claim to have.

We don’t know who the true believers are. “The wheat and tares grow together.” Only God knows the hearts of people and He will separate those whom He knows from those He doesn’t know, at the Day of judgement.

Anyone who professes Christ Jesus, I call brother, or sister. After that, we can have some good discussions about just what that means.

I just wanted to make this clear to anyone who thought I was being judgemental in the last post. As St. Paul said, “I judge no one. I don’t even judge myself.” Only Christ is qualified to fill that job description.


‘The Baptism of Jesus’

The Baptism of Jesus by Travis S.

This was not the sermon for the 2nd Sunday in Lent 2011, but it is a Lenten sermon about Holy Baptism.  Yes, “Holy Baptism”.  Baptism is an act that God performs for us, so it is set apart for God’s special purpose, which more than qualifies it to be “Holy”.

Yesterday while driving to church, my wife and I were listening to a radio preacher who has a program called  ‘The Jesus Christ Show’, where he speaks and takes caller’s questions as though he were the person of Jesus Christ. He says things like this, “I walked on the water in order to…”    Anyway, a caller called in to ask about baptism, infant baptism, etc., and this radio preacher proceeded to demolish baptism as an act of God and made the thing into into an act of faith on the part of believer.  Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. This heretic radio preacher proceeded to rob the assurance, that God wants His children to have, right from under them. It was sickening. But hey, that’s what Southern Baptist (non-denominational) preachers do, they turn the whole thing (Christian faith) into a spiritual ladder climbing project that focuses on ‘your faith’, ‘your seriousness’, ‘your feelings’, ‘your whatevers’. It always ends up that way.

Here’s a sermon that explains  Holy Baptism:

                                 click here > The Baptism of Jesus


For those of you expecting to hear yesterday’s sermon, the master (CD) was inadvertantly taken home by a parishoner. Once I get it back, I’ll put it up for you.


If anyone wants to defend heretical forms of baptism such as “believer’s baptism”, feel free to chime in. We may not love heresies, but we love heretics, and we’re always happy to fill you in on what the Bible has to say about these bones of contention that we have together. 

And we are not afraid to do a little theology in order to make the Bible more clear in bringing forth Christ and His great love for sinners. 


Thanks to flickr and Travis S. for the photo.



What is it that stands between you and God?

Apple Temptation by Lawrence OP

Here’s a Lenten message delivered by Pastor Mark. The first few seconds were cut off, due to my ineptness on the sound board. The sermon opens with a passage from an accounting of events from WWII by German pastor and theologian Helmut Thielicke.

There’s a very tough word of law here. But a soft and gentle and easy word of grace that wipes away every tear, at the end.


                  click here >What is it that stands between you and God ?



Thanks to flickr and Lawrence OP for the photo.



Last night’s class

It ‘s on the Lutheran difference in the understanding of the ‘external Word’.

It’s about an hour, and it’s a good one. I usually listen while I am working on the computer, but you can download into an mp3 player.

(I have no idea what I am talking about)


Listen here > Wed. night class in Lent








They are alright!

I just received word from my (our) friend Rebecca of ‘Raggedy Lamb’ blog,  fame.

She and her husband and her four children who live very near the epicenter of the quake, are alright! Thanks be to God!

She describes what happened when the earthquake struck: http://araggedylamb.blogspot.com/2011/03/day-one-at-my-house-of-great-tohoku.html


She also sent this video:

Please continue your prayers for Rebecca and her family and the people of Japan, and all those assisting them.  Thank you.


  Please help by donating to the Japanese Red Cross Tsunami fund at:



Differing views of the Christian Life

Poem Pie by Urban Sea Star

 Well, back to bits and slices of the theological pie.

Enjoy a slice or two. Most are short and sweet and easy to digest. The biggest is Slice #1 at 18 min, but most of the rest are just a few minutes long. Some really good stuff here. If you are not fully satisfied, see the baker for a full refund.

 The whole pie is at the bottom of the page for those with the time and hunger for the whole shabang.



Slice #1                    Slice #8

Slice #2                    Slice #9

Slice #3                    Slice #10

Slice #4                    Slice #11

Slice #5                    Slice #12

Slice #6                    Slice #13

Slice #7                    Slice #14


And the whole pie  Differing views of the Christian Life – the whole pie


Thanks to flickr and Urban Sea Star for the photo.



Creating a ‘paper pope’

Pope In a Book by Disco Cat


Who said this? (hint at end of  quote)

All upright sacred books agree on one thing, that they all collectively preach and promote Christ.  Likewise, the true criterion for criticizing all books is to see whether they promote Christ or not, since all scripture manifests Christ.  Whatever does not teach Christ is not apostolic, even if Peter and Paul should teach it.  On the other hand, whatever preaches Christ is apostolic, even if Judas, Annas, Pilate, and Herod should do it!”  (LW 35:396)


To pull out the text of Scripture, without pulling Christ out of it, is biblicism, and should be avoided. It can lead you away from Christ and back to yourself. I’m not sure about you, but that is the last place that I need to go.

Yesterday’s pastor’s class taught by Pastor Anderson, dealt specifically with this problem, that is so prevalent in many Protestant churches and Lutheran churches, as well.


click here > The-Danger-of-Biblicism


We mustn’t forget, however, that God’s Word is both the Law, and the Gospel.  Many liberal churches, including many within my own denomination have forgotten this and have thrown God’s Law out the window in favor of a reasonable, generous view that allows for our own inclinations to self. This does not promote Christ, either.


As always, your comments pro or con, are welcome.


Thanks to flickr and Disco Cat for the photo




‘Baptism leads to Conflict’

Those voices out there that are promising the Christian a fulfilled life are…a lie.

How so?   Psalm038 by traqair57

Take a listen to the sermon for the 1st Sunday in Lent:

 click here> Baptism leads to Conflict



 Thanks to flickr and traquair57 for the photo



‘Where God Meets us’


Cross by Marc Melander


This is a pastor’s class on the theology of the cross using the late Dr. Gerhard Forde’s book, ‘Where God Meets Man’.

I hope you can listen to the whole thing, if not all at one sitting.

It’s a fun class!




      click here >  ‘Where God Meets Man’



Please remember the Japanese people in your prayers.


Thanks to flickr and Marc Melander for the photo

How the Law Trumps the Gospel