Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day!

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
By: Martin Luther (1st Published in 1528)

A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing;
Our helper He, amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great, and, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His Name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Reformation Week Continues

Pray, and let God worry.

-Martin Luther

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Reformation Week

Either sin is with you, lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, the Lamb of God. Now if it is lying on your back, you are lost; but if it is resting on Christ, you are free, you will be saved. Now choose what you want.

-- Martin Luther

Friday, October 26, 2007

Salute to Legalism

An easy, obvious example...more on this topic later when I have time.

From The Global Anabaptist and Mennonite Encyclopedia Online.

Old Order Amish:
"In theology the Amish have retained the basic doctrines of their forefathers, but have certain characteristic emphases. One of these is the denial of assurance of salvation; they commonly hold that one can only hope to be saved, that it is pride to claim certainty of salvation. There is also little teaching or preaching of conversion, and no pietistic type of piety. There is a strong emphasis on living a righteous life, being and doing good, and obeying the rules of the church."

Rules of the Amish church:
"The Ordnungen comprise the rules and regulations of the church community. The word is used in Mennonite, Amish, and Hutterite tradition to cover both the written and oral compendia of modes of behavior and organizational structure which give form and meaning to daily life. The Ordnung may contain broad principles of faith, e.g., nonresistance and common ownership of goods (in the case of Hutterites), as well as very specific applications of principles, e.g., permissible styles of clothing, (dress) or home furnishings.

The purpose of the Ordnung is not only to provide a list of individually acceptable or proscribed ethical behaviors but to structure a whole way of life, lived according to God's will, as expressed in the gospels. The Ordnung reflects God's order as opposed to the order of the world."

More from Religious Tolerance:

"Knowledge of one's salvation: For Evangelicals and other conservative Protestants, salvation is an unmistakable experience which happens when one trusts Jesus. Amish are different. They don't believe that anyone is guaranteed salvation as a result of a conversion experience, baptism, joining the church, etc. "...they would consider it arrogant or prideful to claim certainty of salvation." The Amish believe that God carefully weighs the individual's total lifetime record of obedience to the church and then decides whether the person's eternal destiny will be the reward of Heaven or the punishment in Hell. If a person is baptized into the Amish church and later leaves the church or is excommunicated, they have no hope of attaining Heaven. As a result, an Amish believer lives their life and dies not knowing if they are saved and will attain Heaven. This lack of certainty has made the Amish church susceptible to raiding from other Christian evangelists at various times in its history."

"Authority: They believe that their church has received the authority from God to interpret his will. "Submission to church is submission to God."

Friday, October 19, 2007

Good Works vs Faith Alone

From the WELS:

Some believe that we are saved by good works, period. For them, faith in Jesus as Savior is nice, but not absolutely necessary. Others believe that we must start the process by trying to do good works, but we won’t be able to do enough. That’s where God’s grace in Christ “kicks in” and takes us the rest of the way. Others believe that God’s grace gets us started, but then it’s up to us to complete the “salvation process” by doing good works. Still others believe that the one good work that we can do is to invite Jesus into our heart. They believe that no other good works will save us, but this one will.

All possible views of the way of salvation can be reduced to just two. That’s because all the views listed in the paragraph above have something fundamental in common. They all make our salvation depend on something we do. Whether the good works are supposed to be done before,after, or apart from our believing in Jesus as Savior really makes no difference. Mixing salvation by grace with salvation by works always yields salvation by works, just as mixing milk and poison always gives you poisoned milk, or multiplying a negative and a positive number always yields a negative. There are only two ways of salvation: trust in God’s grace to do it all, or rely on your own ability to do enough good works (See Galatians 2:16, Romans 4:4-5, 11:6, etc.). No compromise between the two ways is possible.

Why is this important? First, understand that how many good works someone “feels” that he or she has done or can do has no importance at all. The only thing that matters is how many good works God demands, and God demands absolute perfection (Matthew 5:48). What Luther recognized about himself is true of all of us. None of us has or can live the perfectly righteous life that God demands (Romans 3:9-20, 23, etc.). But depending on our good works to save us, even a little, obligates us to do the impossible—i.e., to keep God’s whole Law perfectly (Galatians 3:10, 5:2-4,etc.) In other words, to depend on our own good works to save us, even partially, is essentially to throw our salvation away. It’s like refusing to let a helicopter carry us across a canyon because we would rather try flapping our arms and flying across. Whether we try to fly all the way across, or only part of the way, the result will be the same.

There are other reasons why this matter is important. If our good works can achieve salvation for us, even a little bit, then Christ died for nothing (Galatians 2:21). To trust in our own works to save us, even a little bit, is to rob God of the glory he deserves for accomplishing all of our salvation from beginning to end. Perhaps worst of all, it destroys the certainty of our salvation that God wants us to have. If our salvation depends on us, even a little, it immediately becomes uncertain. But if it depends 100% on God--and it does--then we can be absolutely sure it will get done.

Amen to that. Have a great weekend. See you Monday.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Comforting Thought

What about those who are unable to speak for themselves? Paul offers this:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Romans 8:26-27

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sola Fide Today

Luke 10:38-42

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Monday, October 15, 2007


"Will you walk into my parlor?" said the spider to the fly;
"'Tis the prettiest little parlor that ever you may spy.
The way into my parlor is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there."

The charming spider reminds me of Candy. She lures women in with homekeeping advice and recipes, but the real intent is to proselytize.

Back in college we had street preachers. They would stand on benches and yell at people to repent, call people names and get into pointless shouting matches with students. They were quite a contrast to the Christianity I had experienced in my small midwestern hometown. The Christianity I knew was John 3:16, not Revelation 21:8.

One day in college, on my way to work shelving books in the library, I had to pass by where a couple of the street preachers were setting up. Classes were still in session and there weren't many people around so I was an easy target. They called me a whore, told me I was going to hell and that I needed to repent NOW!

I ignored them.

The point:
Some folks see hostility and antagonism as a legitimate form of evangelism. They try to scare you into belief. But how long will faith based on emotion (such as fear) last? Not very long. Faith is the work of the Holy Spirit through the Gospel and the Sacraments. It is not a fickle human emotion.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


If only this were an isolated case....

The Infant of Prague
Some highlights:
"...the statue has remained in Prague and has drawn many devotees worldwide to go and honor the Holy Child. Many graces, blessings, favors and miraculous healings have been received by many who petitioned before the Infant Jesus."

"Fr. Cyril cleaned the statue and placed it in the oratory for worship. While he was praying before the Infant Jesus, he heard the Infant Jesus say, "Have pity on Me and I will have pity on you. Give Me My hands and I will give you peace. The more you honor Me, the more I will bless you".

"The Divine Infant spoke to him again, "Place Me near the entrance of the sacristy and you will receive aid" Fr. Cyril then did what he was told and in a few days time, the statue was fixed by a man who came to the sacristy to offer help....Since the statue was fixed, a number of miracles had occurred and the word began to spread, resulting in a large increase of veneration to the Holy Child."

"In 1641, an altar was built for the Infant Jesus in the church, and in 1644 a chapel was built, but was not completed until 1654."

"...the crown over the Divine Infant's head came from Bernard Ignatius, who presented the Infant statue with a little gold crown set with precious stones and jewels on January 14, 1651 during a procession that carried the Infant Jesus statue from the Lady of Victory church to other Prague churches. The Infant Jesus was solemnly coronated on April 4, 1655 by the Archbishop Josef Corta..."

Here are pictures of the statue being dressed. Of particular interest is the note toward the bottom (emphasis mine, of course): "The dress is put on from the front, over it a mantle with sleeves, so it can bless with the right hand and hold the globe in the left."

Luther Statue

I searched Google for a picture of a Martin Luther statue with people bowed in prayer before it. The closest I could come up with is kids having lunch by one in Germany. Probably what he would have preferred.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Converts 2

Just for fun...

Tom Cruise former Catholic now Scientologist

Kristie Ally former Methodist now Scientologist

John Travolta former Catholic now Scientologist

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor) former Catholic now Muslim

Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) former Baptist now Muslim

Mary Hart former Lutheran now Jewish

Madonna former Catholic now Kabbalah-Jewish

Source: Wikipedia


Candy at KTH and the ladies at VTC like to publish the testimonies of converts to their brand of Christianity. Most people who convert do so because of marriage or friendships. A few do it for spiritual reasons.

Critically thinking for a moment...should we trust the testimony of a convert when it pertains to the faith they left behind? On the one hand, they do have the experience of at least being in the pew at the other church. They may have varying degrees of other experience with the corporate church. So they do have some credibility. On the other hand, they are not likely to defend the church they left -- why would they?--and their testimony is therefore biased and subjective. With little exception they will defend they new faith they have chosen.

We, of course having our own personal bias, agree with whoever converts to our way of thinking and disagree (and often try to discredit) those who convert to that with which we disagree.

Let's look at the convert issue from a different angle.

Many Christians (both RC & non-RC) convert to Judaism. To Islam. To Buddhism. To Hinduism. To Mormonism. They become atheists. Pagans. Wiccans. Jehovah Witnesses. The list goes on....

Is the testimony those converts give about Christianity wholly accurate? Totally objective? Or would you say it biased against Christians and they don't have a clue what they are talking about?!

Conclusion: The testimonies of converts should be taken with a BIG grain of salt. While they may have some experience (possibly exaggerated) they are by no way, shape or form an reliable, objective source.

Oops, Sola Fide is not enough!

It has to be paired with Solus Christus.

In Christ alone.

Sola Fide means nothing if one doesn't have faith in Christ alone.

Today's Sola Fide example:
Luke 23:39-43
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!"
But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong."
Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."

The Word War Rages On

A ton of activity at Keeping the Home and Visits to Candyland. Busy me (mom/worker bee) can't keep up.

Candy's post about pictures being worth a thousand words was a good clean hit. My only complaint is the guy who published the pictures insisted on using Philippians 2:10 (KJV) over and over. He's a little out of context, though in a broad sense I suppose it could mean "bow only to Jesus." Here's Philippians 2:9-11 in modern English:

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I'd rather see this scripture included with the photos:
Isaiah 44:6-11
This is what the LORD says— Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty:
I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.
Who then is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and lay out before me what has happened since I established my ancient people, and what is yet to come— yes, let him foretell what will come.
Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.
All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame.
Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit him nothing?
He and his kind will be put to shame; craftsmen are nothing but men. Let them all come together and take their stand; they will be brought down to terror and infamy.

Over at Visits to Candyland someone countered with a bunch of pictures of national monuments. Since when to people bow & pray to national monuments? Lame retort.

Monday, October 8, 2007


True Presence = in Holy Communion Christ's actual body given for us and His real blood shed for us on his cross are received by the communicant along with the bread and wine. His true body and blood are present not because I receive the cracker and wine with a sincere heart, but because Christ has promised that we will receive his body and blood whenever we partake of Holy Communion.

Matthew 26:26-28
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Mark 14:22-24
And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

Luke 22:19-20
And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

1 Cor. 11:23-26
For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.

Martin Luther writes in the small catechism:
Christ’s words in the Sacrament must be taken at face value especially because:
A. These words are the words of a testament, and even an ordinary person’s last will and testament may not be changed once that person has died;
1 Cor. 11:25
After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Gal 3:15
Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto.

B. God’s Word clearly teaches that in the Sacrament the bread and wine are a communion or participation in the body and blood of Christ;
1 Cor. 10:16
The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

C. God’s Word clearly teaches that those who misuse the Sacrament sin not against bread and wine but against Christ’s body and blood.
1 Cor. 11:27-29
"Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."

If I commune with faith in Christ's promise (that the bread and wine are also His body and blood), or lack thereof, will determine whether I receive those gifts to my blessing or to my judgment.

This is not RCC's transubstantiation which goes beyond Scripture to try to come up with a "magical" explanation of "how" the body and blood of Christ are present together with the bread and wine.

True Presence simply echos what Scripture says: according to Jesus' promise we receive four things whenever we commune (bread and wine, Christ's body and blood).

Narrow gate?

The narrow gate = Jesus.

Where do we find the narrow gate in scripture:

Matthew 7:13-14
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

Luke 13:22-30
He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.

John 10:1-10
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly."

The one and only way to Salvation is through Christ Jesus. He lets in those who recognize His voice, those He knows (i.e. the faithful).

He says nothing in any of those passages about the gate being opened for on us based on our works.

Friday, October 5, 2007

The Solas

Sola Fide, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia. Faith alone, in Christ alone, by God's grace alone.

Perhaps it is too simplistic.

Perhaps the simple answer is just that....The Answer.

Why do some wish to complicate things? To whose advantage would that be? Satan's, perhaps?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Everyday Paganism

etymology - the study of the origin and history of words.

English: Monday = Day of the Moon. Also see, Lunes (Spanish), Lundi (French), Lunedi (Italian), Montag (German)

Compare with...

Hebrew - Yom She-Nee (Second Day)

Church Latin (RCC) - Feria Secunda (Second weekday)