Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation

And ‘The Theology of the Cross’.

If you don’t listen to at least 15 minutes of this one, you’ll have to go to bed with no dessert:

 Listen to > Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation


Thanks, Pastor Mark.

Thanks to, for the photo.




The “Great Mistake” that Many Christians Make from the Start.



Got 10 minutes to find out? And to learn why our experience is the wrong thing to look at with respect to our Christian faith?





Thanks, Pastor Mark.


And thanks to flickr and jayneandd, for the photo.











Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, unpacked by Gerhard Forde


The narrator mispronounces his name (should be pronounced Gare-hard Fur-dee), but the book is surely a winner.


By the way, anyone, no matter their denominational affiliation (or non) can  become a ‘theologian of the cross’.




Thanks to for the review.



Sanctification – The Theology of the Cross – and the similarities between Evangelical and Roman Catholic theologies

Where does the Christian life start?  From the resurrection…or the cross?

A good one. It will no doubt ruffle a few feathers…but then the pure gospel always seems to do that.


Listen to >Sanctification vis a’ vis the Theology of the Cross




Thanks, Pastor Mark.
And thanks to flickr and mirandoll, for the photo.

‘How You Doin’?’

Goodfellas (1990) by Cine&TV_fan

Here’s a sermon from our friend, Pastor Patrick Thurmer of

 Living-Faith-Church in Cape Coral, FL.

Good stuff, Pastor Pat.  Thanks!





 click here >   How-You-Doin?


If you think you’ll skip this one…faghettaboutit!




And thanks to flickr and Cine&TV_ fan, 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

God Set up a Cross

By Pastor Mark Anderson  

The ancient world was a vast field of magnificent temples. Only symbols bespeaking power, permanence, and ultimate authority could faithfully proclaim the mystery of divinity. The gods deserved nothing less, or so thought the ancients.

Then God set up a cross.

It was forged by nameless servants of imperial authority. A bare, rude thing. A time tested instrument designed to evoke terror and coerce obedience through the application of unspeakable cruelty. Only the very worst, despised offenders suffered the fate of the crucified ones. The Romans lined roadways with them so that passers by would be forced to carry the weight of pitiful suffering and inhale the stench of rotting corpses. It was about as far from divinty as one could get.

This is the symbol of God’s presence with us?   


God set up His cross where the four roads we travel most, meet: guilt, failure, spiritual poverty, and willful disobedience. The gift of God’s cross, the baptism into Christ’s death, is not given until I see that nothing in the world – nothing – can address my sickness unto death except this one, impossible, ridiculous sacrifice. For only by the shame, cruelty and utter godlessness of the cross can the true magnitude of our guilt be measured. The cross proclaims to us what our true position in life really is.  No wonder we flee from it for all we’re worth.

But Christ Jesus did not flee from the cross. He embraced it’s suffering and shame – for you. And three days after they laid His battered corpse to rest, God vindicated His trust and raised Him from the dead.

For Lutherans the season of Lent, therefore, is no occasion for self-conscious schemes of spiritual navel gazing or sentimental musings on self-pity and the like. Lent is no time for half-measures. You may want to give yourself some sort of moral or ethical tune-up during Lent. That’s fine. Your life might need one. But have no illusions that it will somehow earn points with God.

During Lent we return to Holy Baptism, through an active and living faith. There we remember with joy that our lives were drowned with Christ, crucified with Christ (Romans 6), and then raised with Christ. We give thanks to God who forgives our sins and who has brought all our works and all our ways under His judgment and mercy on the cross.

Through Word and sacrament God continues to set up the cross – and the empty tomb – in the center of our lives, and through them release hope and the divine power of His kingdom. And since Christ Jesus embodies hope He rightly calls us to hope – not in our efforts, will or determination, but in Him, the crucified. This is the scandal of the gospel – Jesus appears in the defenseless form of the crucified God to put an end to our pretensions to righteousness in order that we might have a righteousness based on faith. A righteousness won for us, the ungodly, through His death on the bloody cross, where the true glory of God is revealed.






Mark Anderson is pastor at Lutheran-Church-of-the-Master , Corona del Mar, CA




Do you notice what’s missing from Pastor Anderson’s piece?

An appeal to you to do, or think, or feelanything.


This is a great example of Christ centered, cross focused Christianity.

Death and resurrection. Both Christ’s, and yours…in Him.


Is there anything else that is needful?







Working towards those “good fruits”

This post is courtesy of our friend Larry Hughes in Kentucky. It is actually a comment he made in our discussion of Mormonism.

 He touched upon something that I have oft noticed myself, the similarities in many Evangelicals, Catholics,  Mormons, Lutherans,  and others with respect to the desire to prove their metal.

 Fasten your seatbelts:


    Those zealous for working their way to heaven are always good outward workers. The great irony here is that what many think is “fruit” is witness for their perdition.

Numbering, and measuring “fruit” is ALWAYS, without fail, a sign of law and self salvation no matter what “grace” words attend it. This is why “sanctification” as a process is false rather than “getting use to your justification”. That’s what Jesus meant when He said good fruit ONLY comes from the good tree (he/she who is getting use to his/her justification) and thorn trees cannot “make good fruit”.

When Luther was asked if Jesus was coming tomorrow what he would do he replied, “I’d go plant a tree”, that’s faith breathing and living. But to works salvation, whether overt or hidden, that seems to be “no fruit”. When a Christian man or woman eats, sleeps, stands still, does his/her job, is a wife, is a husband, is a child, is etc…he/she exhibits true fruits of the faith (that is no fear of punishment nor hope of reward – false faith). But yet when a zealous man or woman works in the church yard all the time he/she exhibits unbelief, but they will call it “fruit of faith”.

Luther points out that he who actually tries to do the law and performs sanctification as a growth by his/her self appointed works actually despises and hates God’s holy Law. But he who does not, and RESTS firmly in Christ alone with no self appointed works or sanctification = growth in holiness, such that “nothing is left TO DO”, actually loves God’s holy Law and is drawn INTO the love of neighbor and bears his/her cross. So “getting used to one’s justification”, IS the one actually being sanctified.

What drives their “evangelism” is a zeal for themselves and their salvation and their sanctification, which is all of the devil. This is the “form of godliness that denies the power therein”.

What drives true evangelism of the evangel, is NOTHING less than the stunning hilarity of the evangel itself. It is SUCH Good News it cannot BE contained. The Law or man’s laws have NOTHING to do with driving the Gospel, it is as Paul says the “power” the “dynamite” entirely in and of itself OF God. This is the power therein that paradoxically does not look like ‘godliness’ any more than Christ looked like God being crucified as an apparently helpless, impotent man bleeding on the Cross at the hands of mere men.

         –  Larry Hughes


Did Larry nail it?    Or is he a little off?   How can we seperate our desire to produce good fruit from spilling over into ‘works righteousness’?

It’s Worse than We Thought

‘ The Problem’ turns out to be a lot worse than we thought.

There is actually not one wit of hope. With all of our reason, with all of our know- how, with all of our striving, with all of our good will… there is no overcoming it.

“But we are making advances!” “But we now have one that is a little bit smarter than the rest!” But we are now a little more caring!”  “But we…”

But we…will all die, anyway.

There is no way out other than the grave. There is no outsmarting it. There is no outlasting it. Death will have us in the end, as it always does. We will die. I will die. You will die.

End of story… right?


That is not the end of the story. For there is Someone that absolutely loves to pull people out of the grave and breathe life back into them! Not just any ol’ life…but His Life…a life without end! A life that death can never conquer! A life that is guarnteed to be far better than anything we could ever imagine and it will never, never ever end!

Christ Jesus will wipe away all our tears. Christ Jesus is not content to have you get sick and die and stay dead. Christ Jesus is the One who will put an end to your suffering. He has conquered your sin. He has conquered the devil. And He has conquered your death. There will be no grave deep enough, or strong enough to hold us.

After all the pain, after all the suffering, after all the unrealized dreams and broken promises…this is our future…life in the One who will give us His very life!

All of this, every bit of it, He gave to you in your baptism.

It’s better than you thought!

Looking Good…on Wood.

Do you look good on wood?

If you’re going to have anything to do with Jesus the Christ, you will find out.

Every single person in this world is going to go to the cross…either in this life, or the next.

For followers of Jesus it is the same story.  Jesus told us that we also will have to take up our cross. He told us that we will have trouble in the world. He told us that we will be hated on account of Him.

The life in Christ is a paradox. When Paul wrote of his beatings and jailings and mockings for the sake of Christ, he called them blessings.

Some Christians have things much worse (or better?) than others. Some Christian’s lives are literally at stake each and every day in countries where Christians are viewed as a disease to be wiped out.

The day is evil. Our own flesh is evil. The devil is evil…and is after us.

There is a spiritual battle raging. The world, the flesh, and the devil are at odds with our Lord Jesus and wish to steal us from Him.

But Jesus is the conqueror. He has won the war for us. “It is finished.”

But until the New Creation is brought into being by our Lord, we will “have to suffer for a little while.”

As followers of Christ, we will go to the cross in this life…but not in the next.

We live in our baptisms. We experience many deaths, and many resurrections as we are carried along in this life by our baptisms. Dying…and rising. Repentance and forgiveness. Over and over, and over again…until we are laid down for the last time and put into the ground.

But that is not the last word. Our Lord has the last word and indeed is the last Word! He is the First and the Last. The Alpha and Omega. All things are subject to Him, and He has defeated the last enemy, death, on the cross and in His resurrection.

So while we suffer in this life, to varrying degrees, we have the assurance that when we are raised with Him on that last Day…there will be no more suffering, no more tears. We will spend an eternity in peace and joy and unimaginable bliss in our Father’s House. 

 He is our sure Hope.