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Month: April 2017

A Pastoral Letter

The Missouri Synod was organized at First Saint Paul’s church in Chicago in the spring of 1847. Years later their Pastor wrote a letter. A pastoral letter from the Rev. James G. Manz informs his parishioners that four Moslems recently attended the Sunday evening vesper service at First St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Three of the group also attended the Wednesday evening adult inquiry class. The two men were evidently born, trained, and educated in Mohammedan culture. The two women, however, were both converts to Islam -one was a former Methodist and the other a former Lutheran (Missouri Synod). These people came to First St. Paul’s not to observe in an openminded manner, nor to engage in true dialog but to convert Christians to their faith, the pastor or any members they would be able to win. They were intelligent, ,well educated, informed, assertive, and bold in an almost unbearable manner. They were absolutely sure of their position. After the Sunday evening vespers they ex·pressed strong objections to the crucifix on the altar. They repeatedly claimed that they believe in Jesus Christ -yet they denied His deity and all vestiges of orthodox Christian and Biblical teaching concerning our Lord and Savior. Shukar Ilahi Husain, the leader of the group, said that he is the director of the U. S. Islamic missions in the midwestern states. These people are n0t in any...

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Praying for the Persecuted.

The LCMS passed a resolution at our last convention that encouraged congregations and individuals to raise awareness about the plight of Christians being persecuted around the world and if nothing else to pray for them.  Persecution of Christians has reached an all time high, to the point where Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. Many Coptic Christians and others have been persecuted in Egypt in the last few weeks and the Pope bravely went to Egypt to visit and then celebrate Mass.  It is a brave show of solidarity with persecuted Christians and I am sure a nightmare for Egyptian security. There is an interesting view about how far solidarity among Christians extends in a portion of an article written for USA Today by Jacob Wirtschafter and Mina Nader on April 29.  “Around 25,000 Catholics and others were slated to attend the mass. Coptic, Greek Orthodox and other Christian leaders were also expected, said Father Rafik Greish, the head of the Information Office of the Egyptian Catholic Church. “They will have seats of honor and be wearing their turbans and robes but will not be taking part in the Eucharist,” he said.” It is a simple fact that the Catholic Church practices a form of “close communion” which means if you are not a Catholic you cannot come to the Lord’s Supper.  It is explained this...

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The Local “Forgiveness Person”.

The glorious Easter Gospel is to be preached throughout the world and applied to folks in the local congregation so they have faith in Christ.  As the Lutheran Confessions state, “that we may obtain this faith, the office of teaching the Gospel and administering the sacraments was instituted. For through the Word and sacraments, as through instruments, the Holy Spirit is given, who works faith where and when it pleases God in those who hear the Gospel. That is, God, not because of our own merits, but for Christ’s sake, justifies those who believe that they are received into favor for Christ’s sake. (AC V). Faith comes by hearing Paul says and then asks the question, how can they hear unless someone preaches? This is an interesting part of the church that many take for granted and yet others take hard.  I will never forget the women who came to church one Sunday and was furious when I announced the forgiveness of sins.  She felt that she did not need to be forgiven by me or anyone else.  Jesus forgave her, that was all she needed.  I said I was announcing Christ’s forgiveness and she didn’t like that either. “It has always been dismaying to people that the comfort of the conscience comes down to a local “forgiveness person.” But there is the Holy Spirit using weak people with...

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How are you Going to Pay for It?

I doubt very seriously that anyone has heard that Ben Carson, head of Housing and Urban Development, ran an audit that found 550 billion dollars in accounting errors in that department.  You probably haven’t heard that medicare will be broke in ten years.  The press is too busy counting the hisses that Evanka Trump gets when she speaks overseas and the never ending Russia hacking story that continues under the interesting claim that because there is no evidence of hacking they have to keep investigating.  Of course the biggest story is the jeans being sold at Nordstrom that look like they are covered in mud and sell for $495. The story that no one wants to talk about is the constant yammering for tax cuts and the constant question of how they are to be “paid for”.  Being products of the public school system most people do not understand that the government pays for nothing – you do.  The government can print money but the only money they have is the money that you are forced to give them.  The other story that most miss, is that the government never cares about how to pay for anything because if they did we would not be trillions in debt.  The fact that there are 550 billion dollars in accounting errors in one department and no gets fired should speak volumes.  VA can’t...

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Strengthening an Inherited Idolatry part 2

This is referring back to the blog on April 20. In a world in which college students need crying time and safe spaces, adult coloring books and stress relieving  animals when Republicans win elections, what we are talking about here may seem strange.  We have been talking about the pure Gospel or the Gospel rightly taught.   We need to understand that the Gospel is about Christ and His death being our death to self and His rising is creating us to be new people.  The new people created are not about self assurance or self justification, but about Christ.  The Gospel is meant to make us unaware of self and aware of Christ and neighbor.  The college students seem to be non self assertive if they need to be locked into a room where they can cry and color and hug animals, but it is the opposite.  The need for those things, and the demands for those things is all about self- actualization and assertion.  The world is about them.  Here is an interesting statement by F.A. Hertwig Jr way back in 1957. “Have faith! Have faith!” is the advice offered to people who are weary of life. Another way of saying: “Get a hold of yourself, pull yourself together.” Like shaking hands with yourself, talk to yourself, have faith in yourself. Believe what you tell yourself with complete faith, and...

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