The Glory Has Departed

Books are being donated to those studying
Justification by Faith and fighting UOJ.

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I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

Alec Satin, Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Laissez les bons livres rouler!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Note the Insidious Form of Attack on the Chief Article - Still Being Used by the UOJ Salesmen

Jungkuntz taught at the WELS college, got caught in false doctrine,went to Missouri, and ended in The ALC. As Seminex board chairman, he had the portable school become the official seminary for the gay Metropolitan Community Church.
This is a major point in the Robert Preus Objective Justification essay below. Dr. Walter A. Maier II is not charged with teaching Justification by Faith, but with denying - yes denying Objective Justification.

There is a brief passage about OJ/General Justification protecting and keeping JFB pure. This glib claim from Stoeckhardt is blasphemous, because the Word of God does not need to be "protected and kept pure" by man-made dogma. That is like saying the Immaculate Conception of Mary and her Assumption are doctrines that keep pure the Virgin Birth and divinity of Christ. I chose that wording for a reason, because Edward Preuss anonymously supported - as a Roman Catholic - the Marian dogmas that he criticized as a Missouri seminary professor.

Here is what George Stoekhardt, perhaps the greatest of all Lutheran biblical expositors in our country, says, "Genuine Lutheran theology counts the doctrine of general (objective) justification among the statements and treasures of its faith. Lutherans teach and confess that through Christ’s death the entire world of sinners was justified and that through Christ’s resurrection the justification of the sinful world was festively proclaimed. This doctrine of general justification is the guarantee and warranty that the central article of justification by faith is being kept pure."  
(Stoeckhardt, in the Preus essay, quoted in the post below)
Edward Preuss was not "an old Lutheran theologian of our church." He was a turncoat, who became a Roman Catholic after seeing a brilliant sunset, which he took to be a sign from God. If he were such a great theologian, his Biblical scholarship would have strengthened against Rome. As far as proving or disproving Marian dogmas, Edward Preuss said, "Give me the sources and I can prove anything." And yet his confused essay on Justification is considered a classic by the UOJ Stormtroopers.

Edward Preuss' evil essay also has had an impact in the UOJ, because "the Justification of the sinner" - the title of his essay - has become a favorite deceptive phrase of the cult. They really mean "the forgiveness of all sinners - without faith" but that does not run trippingly off the tongue.

Edward Preuss blended Justification by Faith into his essay, as Robert Preus and Missouri did in their 1987 Theses in dishonor of the Reformation. If I hold two treats in my hands, our dog Sassy's eyes go back and forth, distracted by two objects at once. Magic acts work the same way - "Watch my right hand while I pull an object out with my left hand." No Lutheran should be shocked that their professors make a fine living doing the same magic trick.

Robert Preus' last book provided some excellent refutations of Objective Justification. Two are posted below.

Quoted by Robert Preus, Justification and Rome.


 Quoted by Robert Preus, Justification and Rome.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Pastor Herman Otten - While You Are Both Alive - Will You Apologize to Dr. Walter A. Maier II? Maier and His Father Were Correct about Justification by Faith.
You and the Preus Brothers Were Wrong!

Jack Preus became LCMS Synod President by working with Pastor Herman Otten, who took sides against Dr. Walter A. Maier II in the Jack and Robert Preus beat-down of WAM II. Herman - this is your chance to apologize and show your praise of his father was not just empty flattery.

I scanned this from Christian News. Note that Walter A. Maier (PhD, Harvard, Semitics) named Justification by Faith as the keystone of Protestantism. But the Preus brothers and their children have promoted Halle Pietism's Objective Justification and treated WAM II as a pariah, a heretic, and a false teacher.

WAM II is pictured here with a few of his many relatives.

 $2.96 used.



Cascione, as always, misinterpreted what I wrote, when I said Robert Preus changed from OJ to Justification by Faith.

Dr. Robert Preus and Justification


Dr. Robert Preus on Justification
By Rev. Jack Cascione



Dr. Greg Jackson has repeatedly stated on Luther Quest that Dr. Robert Preus was not in agreement with Objective Justification. I served as the PR Director for Fort Wayne from 1978-1981. “Missouri In Perspective” the ELIM paper, criticized the LC-MS position on Objective Justification. As editor for the Concordia Theological Seminary - Fort Wayne “News Letters” I asked Dr. Preus to respond in the Spring 1981 Issue. The following is his reply, plus other relative excerpts.

CONCORDIA THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

NEWSLETTER – Spring 1981
6600 North Clinton
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825

THE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – "OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION"

The doctrine of objective justification is a lovely teaching drawn from Scripture which tells us that God who has loved us so much that He gave His only to be our Savior has for the sake of Christ’s substitutionary atonement declared the entire world of sinners for whom Christ died to be righteous (Romans 5:17-19).

Objective justification which is God’s verdict of acquittal over the whole world is not identical with the atonement, it is not another way of expressing the fact that Christ has redeemed the world. Rather it is based upon the substitutionary work of Christ, or better, it is a part of the atonement itself. It is God’s response to all that Christ died to save us, God’s verdict that Christ’s work is finished, that He has been indeed reconciled, propitiated; His anger has been stilled and He is at peace with the world, and therefore He has declared the entire world in Christ to be righteous.

THE SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT

According to all of Scripture Christ made a full atonement for the sins of all mankind. Atonement (at-one-ment) means reconciliation. If God was not reconciled by the saving work of Christ, if His wrath against sin was not appeased by Christ'’ sacrifice, if God did not respond to the perfect obedience and suffering and death of His Son for the sins of the world by forgiveness, by declaring the sinful world to be righteous in Christ -–if all this were not so, if something remains to be done by us or through us or in us, then there is no finished atonement. But Christ said, "It is finished." And God raised Him from the dead and justified Him, pronounced Him, the sin bearer, righteous (I Timothy 3:16) and thus in Him pronounced the entire world of sinners righteous (Romans 4:25).

All this is put beautifully by an old Lutheran theologian of our church, "We are redeemed from the guilt of sin; the wrath of God is appeased; all creation is again under the bright rays of mercy, as in the beginning; yea, in Christ we were justified before we were even born. For do not the Scriptures say: ‘God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them?'’ This is not the justification which we receive by faith...That is the great absolution which took place in the resurrection of Christ. It was the Father, for our sake, who condemned His dear Son as the greatest of all sinners causing Him to suffer the greatest punishment of the transgressors, even so did He publicly absolve Him from the sins of the world when He raised Him up from the dead." (Edward Preuss, "The Justification of a Sinner Before God," pp. 14-15) GJ - Edward Preuss left the Lutheran Church to become a prominent Roman Catholic scholar. Robert was gilding the skunk cabbage, I think.

OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION AND JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH

The doctrine of objective justification does not imply that there is no hell, that God’s threats throughout Scripture to punish sins are empty, or that all unbelievers will not be condemned to eternal death on the day of Christ’s second coming. And very definitely the doctrine of objective, or general, justification does not threaten the doctrine of justification through faith in Christ. Rather it is the very basis of that Reformation doctrine, a part of it. For it is the very pardon which God has declared over the whole world of sinners that the individual sinner embraces in faith and thus is justified personally. Christ’s atonement, His propitiation of God and God’s forgiveness are the true and only object of faith. Here is what George Stoekhardt, perhaps the greatest of all Lutheran biblical expositors in our country, says, "Genuine Lutheran theology counts the doctrine of general (objective) justification among the statements and treasures of its faith. Lutherans teach and confess that through Christ’s death the entire world of sinners was justified and that through Christ’s resurrection the justification of the sinful world was festively proclaimed. This doctrine of general justification is the guarantee and warranty that the central article of justification by faith is being kept pure. Whoever holds firmly that God was reconciled to the world in Christ, and that to sinners in general their sin was forgiven, to him the justification which comes from faith remains a pure act of the grace of God. Whoever denies general justification is justly under suspicion that he is mixing his own work and merit into the grace of God."

THE REALITY OF OBJECTIVE JUSTIFICATION

Objective justification is not a mere metaphor, a figurative way of expressing the fact that Christ died for all and paid for the sins of all. Objective justification has happened, it is the actual acquittal of the entire world of sinners for Christ’s sake. Neither does the doctrine of objective justification refer to the mere possibility of the individual’s justification through faith, to a mere potentiality which faith completes when one believes in Christ. Justification is no more a mere potentiality or possibility than Christ’s atonement. The doctrine of objective justification points to the real justification of all sinners for the sake of Christ’s atoning work "before" we come to faith in Christ. Nor is objective justification "merely" a "Lutheran term" to denote that justification is available to all as a recent "Lutheran Witness" article puts it – although it is certainly true that forgiveness is available to all. Nor is objective justification a Missouri Synod construct, a "theologoumenon" (a theological peculiarity), devised cleverly to ward off synergism (that man cooperates in his conversion) and Calvinistic double predestination, as Dr. Robert Schultz puts it in "Missouri in Perspective" (February 23, 1981, p. 5) – although the doctrine does indeed serve to stave off these two aberrations. No, objective justification is a clear teaching of Scripture, it is an article of faith which no Lutheran has any right to deny or pervert any more than the article of the Trinity or of the vicarious atonement.

THE CENTRAILITY AND COMFORT OF THE DOCTRINE

Objective justification is not a peripheral article of faith which one may choose to ignore because of more important things. It is the very central article of the Gospel which we preach. Listen to Dr. C. F. W. Walther, the first president and great leader of our synod, speak about this glorious doctrine in one of his magnificent Easter sermons: "When Christ suffered and died, He was judged by God, and He was condemned to death in our place. But when God in the resurrection awakened Him again, who was it then that was acquitted by God in Christ’s person? Christ did no need acquittal for Himself, for no one can accuse Him of single sin. Who therefore was it that was justified in Him? Who was declared pure and innocent in Him? We were, we humans. It was the whole world. When God spoke to Christ, ‘You shall live,’ that applied to us. His life is our life. His acquittal, our acquittal, His justification, our justification….Who can ever fully express the great comfort which lies in Christ’s resurrection? It is God’s own absolution spoken to all men, to all sinners, in a word, to all the world, and sealed in the most glorious way. There the eternal love of God is revealed in all its riches, in its overflowing fullness and in its highest brilliance. For there we hear that it was not enough for God simply to send His own Son into the world and let Him become a man for us, not enough even for Him to give and offer His only Son unto death for us. No, when His Son had accomplished all that He had to do and suffer in order to earn and acquire grace and life and blessedness for us, then God, in His burning love to speak to us sinners, could not wait until we would come to Him and request His grace in Christ, but no sooner had His Son fulfilled everything than He immediately hastened to confer to men the grace which had been acquired through the resurrection of His Son, to declare openly, really and solemnly to all men that they were acquitted of all their sins, and to declare before heaven and earth that they are redeemed, reconciled, pure, innocent and righteous in Christ."

THE ISSUE AT OUR SEMINARY

Many of our readers know that our seminary, and one professor in particular, has been recently criticized for undermining this comforting and clear teaching of objective justification. The criticism and garbled accounts of the situation have become so widespread lately that I must now comment on the matter in this issue of the "Newsletter.

For over 15 years now Professor Walter A. Maier, Jr., has been teaching a course in the book of Romans, and, although he states he has always presented the doctrine of objective justification as taught in our synod (e.g. in the "Brief Statement"), he has taught in class that some of the key passages used in our church to support the doctrine actually do not speak to the subject at all. As a result some within the seminary community and some outside concluded that Dr. Maier did not in fact believe, teach, and confess the article of objective justification. A few – very few – complaints were brought against Dr. Maier and against the seminary for letting this go on.

The president of our synod, who has the responsibility for supervising doctrine in the synod, contacted me and asked me to try to settle the issue and to persuade Dr. Maier to teach an interpretation of the pertinent passages (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:16-19; II Corinthians 5:19) compatible with that which the great teachers of our church in the past (C. F. W. Walther, Francis Pieper, Theodore Engelder, George Stoeckhardt, Martin Franzmann, William Beck and others) publicly taught. Meetings and discussions immediately took place between Dr. Maier and myself. Later on the matter was considered in faculty meetings, in department meetings, and in special committees appointed to discuss and hopefully to settle the issue. During these meetings, which were always most cordial, Dr. Maier has remained unpersuaded that his interpretation of the pertinent passages is faulty. At the same time he has consistently assured all that he has always taught the doctrine of objective justification as understood in the Missouri Synod. He has, however, referred to other biblical evidence for the doctrine.

In the meantime the president of the synod, growing anxious for a clear solution to the problem wrote to the entire church body a letter cautioning congregations not to nominate Dr. Maier for president of the synod until the issue was cleared up to his satisfaction.

Now the issue became political, and protests and criticisms against the president of the synod for his action and also against Dr. Maier'’ teaching began to multiply all over the synod. People naturally began to take sides, not always so much on the doctrinal issue which was not always understood and is still being discussed at our seminary, but for ecclesiastical and personal reasons. We now know that the warning of our synodical president against Dr. Maier not only failed to dissuade congregations from nominating Dr. Maier for the presidency of our synod (as Fourth Vice-President Dr. Robert Sauer had forewarned when attempting to persuade the synodical president not to send his letter), but possibly gained more nominations for Dr. Maier. Dr. Maier is now one of the five men nominated for the presidency of our synod.

On January 30, 1981, the Board of Control met with Dr. Maier and three representatives of the synodical praesidium (which had severely criticized Dr. Maier’s doctrinal stance). We heard from two members of the praesidium and then from Dr. Maier and two faculty members who he had requested to accompany him. The results of this meeting, many of us believed, represented a real breakthrough in understanding, and the Board exonerated Dr. Maier of any false doctrine. It was my belief that the representatives of the praesidium present were also satisfied and happy with the report. In the discussions of this meeting Dr. Maier expressed many genuine concerns related to the doctrine of objective justification, e.g., that no one is saved eternally who is not justified by faith, that God is even now angry with those who reject Christ and do not repent, and that objective justification ought to be preached and taught in such a way that the biblical doctrine of justification by faith is always prominent. The report, in the form of a news release, is found on page 4 of the "Newsletter", and I urge the reader to read it because "The Reporter," "The Lutheran Witness," and most of the newspapers over the country which reported on the matter did not reproduce the report in its entirety. At the same meeting the Board of Control strongly expressed its disapproval of some of the actions of our synodical president in the matter.

Meanwhile the administration of the seminary, with the concurrence of the Board of Control, determined that it would be best for the seminary and for Dr. Maier if he not teach the course in Romans during the next academic year. At first I tried to keep this matter private, but later I decided to make a public report of the fact. My reason for this was threefold. First, Dr. Maier was reported in the news media all over the country as stating that he had not changed his position on the doctrine of objective justification, suggesting o many that three years of discussions with him had been quite fruitless and that he still did not wholeheartedly believe in objective justification. Second, several people sympathetic to Dr. Maier had threatened to withhold funds from the seminary and had even reported our action to the accrediting association of our seminary, "The Association of Theological Schools;" it was obvious to me that they would make the matter of Dr. Maier’s courses public whenever it served their purposes. Third, the president of the synod was preparing a release revealing the fact that Dr. Maier would not be teaching Romans during the next academic year. I thought it would be preferable that the president of the seminary make this fact known rather than those who have no business making such and announcement and who might make the announcement in a way detrimental either Dr. Maier or the seminary.

This is where the matter now stands. The Board of Control has stated its confidence in the doctrine of Dr. Maier. Dr. Maier is presently teaching Romans, will teach the course this summer, but is slated to teach courses other than Romans next year. The faculty will continue to discuss and try to achieve total agreement in the interpretation of those passages of Scripture which teach objective justification.

A PLEA FOR CONCERN AND UNDERSTANDING

Through this entire and uncomfortable time the Board of Control and the administration of the seminary have found themselves in an understandably awkward position. We are pledged to remain faithful to the doctrinal position of our church, a position which we believe with all our hearts, and we will not deviate from this obligation one iota. We are at the same time pledged to defend a professor and colleague if he fails under unjust attack or abuse. I think we were able to maintain this delicate balance while the present issue was pending, until the political issue was injected. Now we find ourselves uncomfortably between two rather large conflicting elements in our synod, both friends of our seminary; those who believe that the president of the synod, whether they agree with his actions or not, had legitimate concerns about the doctrinal position of Dr. Maier, and those who believe that Dr. Maier had been wronged by the president of the synod and that the seminary could have done more to defend and protect him. How can we respond to this divisive situation in the middle of which we find ourselves? We can only say that we regret deeply the anxiety and consternation which good friends of our seminary have experienced because of the episodes I have recounted. May I ask these friends to bear with us and put the best construction on how we have acted in these circumstances. If you question Dr. Maier’s teaching on justification, please read and believe the report on page and trust the honesty and sincerity of those, including Dr. Maier, who had a part in releasing it. If you believe that Dr. Maier has been wronged by various parties during the last three year which have been trying to him, please believe that our Board of Control and all here at Concordia agree with you; but God, who saved this lost world and forgave the sins of mankind before anyone ever asked Him, commands us also to forgive those who wrong us. And please do not try to defend Dr. Maier by denying the public teaching of the Lutheran Church. God’s forgiveness shines bright and clear above all the pettiness and weakness and wrongs and controversy that have transpired in connection with our dear colleague Dr. Maier, and it WILL cover the sins of us all. Lent teach us this, and Easter confirms it.

ROBERT PREUS, President

For those who wish to read more on Objective Justification the following articles can be secured from our bookstore for a nominal charge:

H. J. Bouman _Conference Paper on Romans 4:5" "Concordia Theological Monthly" (CTM), Vol. 18, 1947, pp. 338-347.

Theodore Engelder, "Objective Justification," CTM, Vol. 4, 1933, pp. 507-516, 564-577, 664, 675.

Theodore Engelder, "Walther, a Christian Theologian," CTM, Vol. 7, 1936, pp. 801-815.

Martin H. Franzmann, "Reconciliation and Justification," CTM, Vol. 21, 1950, pp. 81-93.

E. W. A. Koehler, "Objective Justification, CTM, Vol. 16, 1945, pp. 217-235.

Miscellanea, "God Purposes to Justify Those That Have Come to Faith," CTM, Vol. 14, 1943, pp. 787-791.

George Stoeckhardt, "General Justification," "Concordia Theological Quarterly," April, 1978, pp. 139 – 144.

STATEMENT ADDED TO PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE

While the president’s message "Objective Justification" was being typeset, an "Official Notice" from the president of Synod was issued which bears on the Walter A. Maier matter. In the notice the president of Synod expressed his disagreement with our Board action which announced a "basic understanding" with Dr. Maier on objective justification. I felt compelled to respond on behalf of our Board of Control with an Official Notice from the Seminary. This Official Notice which seeks to clarify the Board’s action and position vis-à-vis Dr. Maier’s doctrinal stand has been submitted to "The Reporter." It is herewith appended to the present article for our readers’ information. – Robert Preus

BOARD OF CONTROL MEETS WITH SEMINARY PROFESSOR

The Board of Control of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, has announced that a basic understanding resulted from a lengthy and thorough discussion on January 30th, between the Board, Dr. Walter A. Maier, Jr., of the seminary faculty, three representatives for the president and vice-presidents (praesidium) of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and two additional faculty members. In a January 5-6 meeting the Praesidium stated that, in its opinion, "Doctor Walter A. Maier, Jr., holds a position different from that of the official doctrinal position of the Synod."

At the January 30 meeting, however, Dr. Maier emphatically affirmed his belief that on the basis of Christ’s vicarious atonement God has put His wrath away against the world and has declared the whole world to be righteous; that the benefits of this objective forgiveness are appropriated only by faith; the even though the entire human race has been redeemed, the Law in all its severity, including the wrath of God against sinners as well as the Gospel of forgiveness must be preached to all, including Christians. According to the Gospel, God is indeed reconciled; according to the Law, the wrath of God abides on all who reject Christ and His work of reconciliation, refuse to repent, and live in their sins.

Dr. Robert Sauer, Dr. George Wollenburg, and former synodical vice-president Dr. Theodore Nickel represented the praesidium at the January 30 meeting. Professors Kurt Marquart and Howard Tepker of the seminary faculty were also present.

The frank five-hour exchange focused on several theological issues which were isolated for clarification. The discussion showed that there have been misunderstandings, unclear thinking, and poor communication because of overstatements, lifting of phrases and snippets of doctrinal expression out of context, and sometimes even pressing of casual expressions to ultimate conclusions not intended by the speakers.

More than semantic differences surfaced early in the January 30th meeting. At the close, however, basic agreement emerged on such topics as the wrath of God, Law and Gospel, and "objective justification" – a term used in the Lutheran Church to summarize a concept in the Bible and the Lutheran Confessions that forgiveness and justification because of the death of Christ are objectively available for all mankind through the ages, whether or not individuals appropriate it through faith.

Difference in the interpretation of several critical passages remain. The Seminary board, as well as Dr. Maier, is concerned that variant interpretations can lead to a misinterpretation of doctrine. Therefore, the Seminary board reported, discussions will continue by the faculty.

Dr. Maier stated: "I regret that some publicly quoted statements of mine from a technical paper ‘prepared for faculty discussion purposes only’ have given a wrong impression about my doctrine of justification as a whole. I, therefore, withdraw that paper from discussion. Doctrinally, I stand with our Synod’s historic position."

In his statement to the Board of Control Dr. Maier further stated: "When the Lord Jesus was ‘justified’ (I Timothy 3:16) in His resurrection and exaltation, God acquitted Him not of sins of His own, but of all the sins of mankind, which as the Lamb of God He had been bearing (John 1:29(, and by the imputation of which He had been ‘made….to be sin for us’ (II Corinthians 5:21), indeed, ‘made a curse for us’" (Galatians 3:13).

"In this sense, the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and sacraments of Christ."

"Faith alone can receive this treasure offered in the Gospel, and this faith itself is entirely a gracious gift and creation of God through the means of grace. Faith adds nothing to God’s forgiveness in Christ offered in the Gospel, but only receives it. Thus, ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on Him’" (John 3:30).

"My reservation concerning some of the traditional terminology employed in expressing the doctrine of justification are fully covered by the following statements from the major essay delivered to the first convention of the Synodical Conference, assembled in Milwaukee July 10-16, 1872:

"When speaking with regard to the acquisition of salvation (by Christ), God has wrath for no man any longer; but when speaking with regard to the appropriation, He is wrathful with everyone who is no in Christ ("Proceedings," p. 32). Before faith the sinner is righteous before God only according to the acquisition and the divine intention, but he is actually ("actu") righteous, righteous for his own person, righteous indeed, first when he believes ("Proceedings," p. 68."

Following the meeting Board Chairman Raymond N. Joeckel commented, "We only wish that we could have reached this stage of the discussions and that we could have had this kind of interchange before unfortunate statements appeared in the public press. The church can learn from this that the Lord blesses sincere efforts to discuss and clarify the meaning and message of the Holy Scriptures."

COMMENT ON AN OFFICIAL NOTICE

The Official Notice of our synodical president regarding Dr. Walter A. Maier and the doctrine of objective justification in the March 30 issue of "The Lutheran Witness Reporter" requires an answer by me as president and executive officer of the Board of Control of Concordia Theological Seminary where Dr. Maier teaches.

Once again we wish to express our deep appreciation to the president for his recognition of the central importance of the doctrine of objective justification and his concern that this comforting teaching be taught clearly at our school. We agree wholeheartedly with his citation from Dr. Francis Pieper, ""he doctrine of objective justification is of vital important to the entire Christian doctrine. Only by keeping this doctrine intact will the Christian doctrine remain intact. It will be irretrievably lost if this doctrine is abandoned."

However, there are some serious inaccuracies and mistaken judgments in the Official Notice which call for correction and comment.

First, the president of the Synod points to an apparent conflict between my summary of the issues on the subject of justification sent to the Board of Control December 23, 1980, and some later statements made by me and the Board of Control concerning Dr. Maier’s position. In the December statement I described Dr. Maier’s position as he expressed it to the Board at its November, 1980 meeting (with the president of Synod in attendance). There I state that Dr. Maier can find no explicit Biblical evidence for the doctrine of objective justification and no explicit Biblical evidence for the doctrine that God was reconciled (put His anger aside) on account of the ransom paid by Christ. Two months later I stated that Dr. Maier "has always believed" – it would have been better to have said "has consistently affirmed to the Board and to me his belief" – in objective justification; and the Board in its release said that Dr. Maier emphatically affirmed his believe that on the basis of Christs’s vicarious atonement God put His wrath away against the world and has declared the whole world to be righteous." The explanation for this apparent discrepancy lies in the simple fact that in the January meeting of the Board of Control (which the president of Synod did not attend) Dr. Maier clearly affirmed that Scripture does in fact teach the doctrine of objective justification and that on the basis of Christ’s atonement God put away His wrath, whereas in the November meeting, as reported, he did not do so. An so "all" the statements cited are true and factual

Our synodical president says "I must report that the vice-presidents are of the opinion that there is no evidence from the Board of Control meeting which would change their judgment that Dr. Maier is at variance with the doctrinal position of the Synod." This must be a mistake. Former Vice-President Theodore Nickel and Vice-President George Wollenburg, together with Vice-president Robert Sauer, represented the Praesidium at the January Board meeting. Dr. Nickel and Dr. Wollenburg criticized Dr. Maier’s position at the meeting. But when Dr. Maier affirmed his belief that objective justification was taught in Scripture (I Timothy 3:16) and that God’s wrath has been appeased through the death of His Son, the Board gained the distinct impression that both Dr. Nickel and Dr. Wollenburg were sufficiently satisfied that Dr. Maier was not at variance with the doctrinal position of the Synod. At least, these two men never expressed themselves to the contrary to the Board or to Dr. Maier. The Board report of the January 30 meeting with Dr. Maier and representatives of the Praesidium has been out since February 2, and so Dr. Wollenburg and Dr. Nickel have had plenty of time to dissociate themselves from it, if they wanted to do so. It does seem strange to us that the president of the Synod did not announce his misgivings soon after the Board meeting and news release, but rather waited until after Dr. Maier has been clearly nominated for the presidency of the Missouri Synod.

Furthermore, Vice-President Sauer is a member of the Board of Control and had a hand in writing and issuing the Board release of February 2. According to the February 14 St. Louis Globe Democrat Dr. Sauer said, "’After a recent discussion lasting several hours,’ Dr. Maier ‘appears to be in a position of changing with regard to the vital doctrinal matter.’" So the president of our Synod apparently is not including Dr. Sauer when he said, "I must report that the vice-presidents are of the opinion that there is no evidence from the Board of Control meeting which would change the judgment that Dr. Maier is at variance with the doctrinal position of the Synod." Perhaps there are other vice-presidents he is not including.

The suggestion of our synodical president that the Board of Control is engaging in a cover up in regard to Dr. Maier is unkind and false. The Board has acted with utmost integrity. While the president may differ with the Board’s conclusion and decision in the Maier matter, it is not right of him publicly to question the ethics and posture of the Board in the entire matter.

The president’s only evidence for a cover up is the fact that the Board did not publicly announce that Dr. Maier would not be teaching a course in the Book of Romans beginning with the next academic year. This was not considered significant for the news release. At the same meeting the Board also objected "strenuously" to "certain things" done by the president of the Synod "which are high-handed, inexcusable, and harmful to Dr. Maier or our school." The Board did not think of including such items in its release either, and that out of love and concern for the reputation of our synodical president. The omission of pertinent or irrelevant facts in a release does not necessarily constitute a "cover up." If it did, the president of the Synod would be guilty of a serious "cover up." In his Official Notice he omitted any mention of a verbatim quotation from Dr. Maier in the Board release, affirming that Scripture does indeed teach objective justification. Dr. Maier’s statement goes as follows, "When the Lord Jesus was ‘justified’ (I Timothy 3:16) in His resurrection and exaltation, God acquitted Him not of sins of His own, but of all the sins of mankind, which as the Lamb of God He had been bearing (John 1:29), and by the imputation of which He had been ‘made…..to be sin for us’ (II Corinthians 5:21), indeed ‘made a curse for us’ (Galations (sic) 3:13). In this sense the justification of Jesus was the justification of those whose sins He bore. The treasure of justification or forgiveness gained by Christ for all mankind is truly offered, given, and distributed in and through the Gospel and Sacraments of Christ." It was on the basis of this statement and other assurances given by Dr. Maier that the Board announced in its February 2 release that a "basic understand resulted from a lengthy and thorough discussion on January 30 between the Board, Dr. Walter A. Maier, Jr. of the seminary faculty, three representatives for the president and vice-presidents (Praesidium) of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, and two additional faculty members."

We share our synodical president’s "frustration and amazement" at the confusion which shrouds both the issue itself and the way it has been handled. I know I speak for Dr. Maier and the Board of Control when I say that we all are sorry for anything we have said or done which adds to this confusion. I am sure that the president of the Synod too is sorry for what he has contributed to the confusion and misunderstanding which surrounds the matter. It is my hope that this response to his Official Notice will serve to clarify the matter.

Rolf Preus Says I Am Not Allowed To Quote His Father's Book, Which Lists Rolf as an Editor. Funny Thing - Rolf Never Mentioned His Father's Book in His Recent N.D. Lectures. 






New Job Offer for Ski - Open to All WELS Workers,
Who Will Get Fast-Tracked for Participating in the Study




The Big Reveal for Newcomers to Classic Lutheran Books.
House Postils in All FormatsT

 The three volumes of the House Postils (sermons for Luther's household) will be produced in print, Kindle, and free PDF - all public domain.

We have had so many join the Classic Lutheran Books page on Facebook that I wanted to bring everyone up to date.

I began the Facebook page to let people know about all the great, classic Lutheran ebooks being offered by the Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry.

Meanwhile, I decided to make all my books public domain, so anyone could reprint, use, and translate those books without asking permission, paying a fee, or dodging my attorney, Glen Kotten.

The next logical step was - identify sources for other free or inexpensive books, including those in other languages. I am putting them on one Ichabod page for now. I may have to do some sorting in the future as the list grows. The titles I have are accessed by Dropbox links, whether the reader has that software or not.


  1. Luther's Semons and Gems in one file.
  2. Lenski's Commentaries in individual files.
  3. Some of my books - the rest will be added.
  4. Additional resources, such as Luther in many languages.
So the big reveal today is that the complete Luther's House Postils will be produced, as public domain books:
  • Full color, illustrated by Norma A. Boeckler.
  • Black and white print.
  • Color Kindle, 99 cents for each volume.
  • Combined color, all three volumes plus Household Gems, free PDF.
One volume is almost ready for the finishing editor and Amazon.

 Our artist-in-residence, Norma A. Boeckler, has contributed vast amounts of art to illustrate the Scriptures and hymns. She has helped others with their books as well.

The UOJ Agenda - Secretive and Dishonest. Destructive Dogma.
"Faith Is Not a Work, Believe It or Not!" - Christina Jackson

 Dead Last Lutherans will not allow anyone to post about Justification by Faith: it gets their didies in a knot.

Example 1:
One person read the posts on WELS' secret hazing rites, which begin at the prep schools and continue to seminary at Mordor in Mequon. Response? - jaw dropping. No one knows about GA, now called HB, because squealers are punished and complainers are never forgiven for hating GA/HB and all it stands for.

Example 2: 
A conservative LCMS pastor had no idea about UOJ. He was near retirement, a friend of Otten. When he heard the details from a layman, he was appalled and thought UOJ was nonsense. However, once the UOJ palace guards were alerted, someone re-educated the pastor. If anything, he ended up confused. He became quite hostile toward anyone who doubted UOJ.



The Destructive Dogma of UOJ
Consider this, readers - I was a student at Mordor, second semester, and took Panning's class on Romans. I knew some details about the Kokomo Statements, but somehow we got through Romans 6 without ever discussing it. Therefore, no feathers were ruffled, no little boats rocked. Mequon, so ossified and mummified, did not want doctrinal discussions.

For some time I thought Objective Justification was simply another name for the Atonement. Wrong!

By the way - OJ, UOJ, General Justification, and the Justification of the World are all the same bucket of Dreck. The salesmen rest their dogma on God declaring the entire world forgiven and saved, without the Means of Grace, without faith. Of course, they are not so clear and simple in their wording. Note these two things:

  1. The declaration by God is justification language.
  2. The forgiveness language is from Justification by Faith but ripped from its original place in the Scriptures. The UOJ salesmen hate to say the dreaded words - Justification by Faith. They make people feel bad about faith.

The Attack on Faith
As Brett Meyer pointed out many times, the LCMS like to repeat the Waltherian version of faith as cold, dead fingers clinging to forgiveness.

Walther's version of faith is agreeing, making a decision, that the entire world has already been forgiven. Agreeing to false doctrine is not faith, but stupidity and error.

There are constant, ominous warnings that "You are making faith a work." One version is "Your faith is in faith. You are not a Christian, you are a Faithian." Luther called himself a Sola-fide-ist, so that would make him a Faithian too.

My wife Christina summed it up, saying, "Faith is not a work, believe it or not." That is worth remembering - catechism with humor.

Faith comes from God, the Holy Spirit at work in the Gospel Word, so impugning faith is dishonest, heretical, and ignorant. And yet, that is the reigning dogma of the LCMS, WELS, and Little Sect on the Prairie.

 Edward Preuss became a Roman Catholic lay leader, a very important editor. The UOJ salesmen love E.P., who left teaching at Concordia, St. Louis - for the Church of Rome.


The Attack on the Atonement
The UOJ salesmen would like everyone to think they are overflowing with grace and experts on the Atonement. But that is not so. They abuse and distort the Atonement.

The Old Testament Gospel shows how wrong they are. Let us simply read it here.

---

Isaiah 52 13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.


14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.


53 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.

11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

---



The Old Testament Gospel, central to converting Jews to Christianity, is not "God's declaration of the entire world of unbelievers being forgiven and saved" (Walther, Pieper, Sig Becker, Bivens, Jon-Boy Buchholz, Webber, Valleskey). It is the Atonement. Missing above is any kind of Universalism, universal forgiveness, universal absolution. No one is born forgiven, as Edward Preuss claimed.

How can someone be forgiven unless they believe the Gospel? Romans 10 connects to this Isaiah passage. How can they believe unless the Gospel (above passage) is preached to them?

Consider for a moment how many Lutheran pastors and professors do not comprehend Romans 10, Romans 3 - 5, and Romans 1.

The Atonement is the act of God the Father and God the Son, taught to us by God the Holy Spirit. The efficacious Word of the Gospel creates faith in our hearts (unless it evolves, as St. Louis professors might claim). And this same Gospel Word nurtures our faith and keeps it alive and energetic. 

UOJ Stormtroopers seize every Atonement passage and try to brand it UOJ. Not so, never works. Therefore, they have kicked the true Atonement teaching to the curb to merge it with Justification by Faith.


Notice how this Fuller alumnus dishonestly moves from the Atonement to universal forgiveness without faith.

 Decision Theology - from C.F.W. Walther. He used the Halle Pietism formula - the entire world was declared forgiven when Christ rose from the dead. Walther did not know the Biblical languages and replaced Biblical exposition with his theses.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

The First Sunday after Epiphany, 2019. Luke 2:41-52

Norma A. Boeckler

The First Sunday after the Epiphany, 2019

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson


Bethany Lutheran Worship, 10 AM Central Standard Time

The Hymn #649      Jesus Savior Pilot Me                          
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16
The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19
The Epistle and Gradual             Romans 12:1-5
The Gospel                                 Luke 2:41-52   
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #660    Heaven Is My Home

Jesus in the Temple - The Father's Message

The Hymn #130         O Jesus King of Glory    
The Preface p. 24
The Sanctus p. 26
The Lord's Prayer p. 27
The Words of Institution
The Agnus Dei p. 28
The Nunc Dimittis p. 29
The Benediction p. 31
The Hymn #267         If God Had Not                       

KJV Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. 3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

KJV Luke 2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. 45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. 48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.


Background for the Sermon
I have written this many times before, but the basics need repeating. Almost all the divinity schools and seminaries treat the Scriptures as their personal sandbox, where they can play and make up whatever they want.

The conservative Lutheran seminaries are no better than ELCA; in fact, they are worse. Together they can be discussed as the same bunch, since all seminary professors have been working together for many decades, quietly through Thrivent, where the money flows and the truth never goes. How else does one explain the LCMS working with ELCA to produce the Kolb-Wengert (LCMS-ELCA) Book of Concord? 

The Sandbox. If we were lucky as kids, we had a sandbox. There armies amassed in pitched battles. Silverware was lost. In another corner, the dolls were arranged to show off their clothes. No child saw sand: each one saw a new place to imagine each day.

Ever since Halle University - once rationalism set in, and some other centers of higher learning, the Medieval view of the Bible took over. The Scriptures were a source for quotations to use in building a vast, imaginary edifice - a theology, a Life of Jesus, a history of the "development" of the Bible, a dogmatics book. The old saints were tossed out, which was good, since the stories were imaginary, but the new saints replaced them, no less imaginary - Tischendorf, Wescott, Hort, Semler, Wolff, Albert Schweitzer, CFW Walther, Pieper, Braaten-Jenson. One is properly trained when responding with a gasp when some of those names are mentioned. Head nodding shows agreement with the inventors of strange new truths mined - not from the Word - but from their own imaginations.

Is the story of Jesus as a boy in the Temple a quaint tale that tells us about Luke? Or is it the revelation of the Holy Spirit? The former approach is the modern, rationalistic one, and it is also used by dogmatic sects to prove whatever they want at the moment. As people have begun to realize, the foundation of Synodical Conference falsehoods is no different from the approach of the Jehovah's Witnesses or Seventh Day Adventists, ELCA's deep deep theologians (ha) or the Unitarian Universalists.

Jesus in the Temple is a captivating story because we can all identify with the lost boy aspect of it. But we are missing God's message if we stop there or use it as a springboard for imaginary conclusions and lessons - the typical output of a sect or cult.

 This graphic is not sponsored by Thrivent.


Jesus in the Temple - The Father's Message

KJV Luke 2:41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. 

This story is unique to Luke, and it shows first of all the precision of the Gospel. These are fascinating facts. The family went to the Passover in Jerusalem every year, and this took place when Jesus was 12. Our grandson has just turned 13, so I can picture what a 12 year-old looks like and how he conducts himself. At that age, they are more child-like than mature, but becoming adults.

Lenski, Luke, p. 141:
Every male was originally expected to appear in Jerusalem at the Passover, at Pentecost, and at Tabernacles, Exod. 23: 14-17 ; 34:23; Deut. 16:16; but the dispersion rendered this impossible. Godly Jews, however, made it a point to attend at least the Passover. Women were not required to attend, yet many did, nevertheless, and Mary belonged to this class. We see the devoutness of the parents of Jesus, the kind of a home in which he grew up. See the Bible dictionaries on the nature of the Passover.

This introduction gives us facts, but we should also notice - the Gospel went to Jerusalem every year. The public ministry makes us think of Galilee, but this began next door to Jerusalem and the parents participated in the Temple rites in Jerusalem. God did not spare any effort in bringing His Son to the headquarters of Judaism, which did plant the seed of faith in Jesus from the beginning.

We should note how realistic Luther was about Mary. The Church of Rome and the Lutheran wannabee Romanists treat Luther as if he spent all his time in Roman veneration of Mary. His words tell us something different, in spite of his earlier training.

2. Thus they also falsely imagined to exalt the mother of Christ and know of no greater honor for her than to fill and over-load her with graces and gifts, as if she had never suffered temptations, had never faltered nor failed in reason, nor in anything else. The holy Scriptures and this Gospel, on the other hand, show how God deals with his saints in a wonderful manner, according to Psalm 4:4 and in a way altogether contrary to human reason; and that the more highly he endows them with grace and exalts and honors them, the deeper he thrusts them into sorrow and suffering, yea, even into dishonor, shame and desertion.

3. Human reason would undoubtedly teach and advise God not to permit his own Son to be shamefully and ignominiously dealt with as a murderer and malefactor, and allow his blood to be shed, but rather see to it that the angels should bear him on their hands, all kings and nobles fall at his feet and render him all honor. For human wisdom consists in this, that it neither sees, nor seeks, nor desires anything except that which is high and precious, and that which brings honor; and, again, neither shuns nor flees from anything more readily than dishonor, contempt, suffering, misery, and the like. Thus God reverses the order and acts in a contrary way, deals so harshly and offensively, according to human reason and opinion, with his dearly beloved Son as he would not deal with any man on earth, as if he were not the Son of God, or of man, but the child of Satan! In the same way he also dealt with his well-beloved servant, John the Baptist, of whom Christ says, Matthew 11:11, that among those that are born of women there hath not arisen a greater than he, and yet upon him he conferred the honor of being beheaded by a knave. This was, indeed, a most dishonorable and shameful death.

The message in Luke 2 - God tells us through the earthly parents of Christ that being a believer does not mean floating on clouds of ease, but enduring great suffering. Luther taught this often in his many sermons - the Gospel and the cross go together, as they did with Joseph and Mary, John the Baptist, Jesus, and the disciples.

43 And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. 44 But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance.

This part is so down to earth that everyone can remember a time, perhaps several times, when they experienced the same loss, panic, wild searching, and finally relief and anger when coming across the lost child. The family went to the entire festival and went home, assuming Jesus was with the entire group. The parents headed home, knowing Jesus was with the group. But after a day of travel toward home, they began to look for him. 

When Team Jackson went to Hoover Dam, we all had identical, bright yellow t-shirts, so looking for a family member in the crowds was not difficult. It is natural to do a head count every so often, because each grouping can imagine one or more children has been with the others. Various distractions can delay the head count. Our youngest, when fascinated by the mall's merry-go-round, hopped on a Sears trike and pedaled fast back to the attraction, weaving through the crowds. I did not catch up until she stopped at the attraction, so that scattered the two groups.

We can imagine, with the company spread out over way back, how Joseph and Mary asked people about Jesus and kept pressing on.

45 And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. 46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.  47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

Lenski, Luke, p. 163:
They made their search where they supposed the boy would most likely be found, "among their relatives and their acquaintances,'* most of whom camped together, and the boys in the party travelled in their own company during the day. Tissot has a painting of the boys marching in ranks with locked arms in the great Temple court, shouting Hosanna for Jesus, and thus shows how the boys went together at these times.

The best part of this narrative is the way we can identify with the fear, the searching, and finding Jesus completely unconcerned. My parents told me they searched for me along the Mississippi banks for a long time, perhaps fearing the worst, only to find me with a stray cat or dog. "How long have you been sitting there?" The whole time.

Jesus was in the Temple, revealing Himself to the learned religious teachers of the time, "both hearing them, and asking them questions.  47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers."

To listen and respond with questions and answers, that showed the ultimate mission of Jesus, even if not all could be revealed or even understood at that time.

Jesus naturally attracted the poor, sick, and outcast, but he also went to the powerful, learned, and influential. No group was neglected, as we also see with His work among non-Jews.

48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. 49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? 50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. 

These three verses are the main lesson of this very significant story.  "Amazed" should not be taken as "pleased and proud." It was a profound shock, the gap between their days of panic and Jesus' seeming indifference to their plight. "We looked for you, grieving..." 

My Father's business - Unfortunately, business is taken to be commerce today, and the Church Growth salesmen would have it no other way. But Jesus is referring first of all to HIS Father - the Father/Son relationship so clearly and repeatedly taught in John's Gospel. It is only through His atonement and resurrection that His Father could also be called Our Father. 

18. Therefore, this holy Virgin was a real martyr for three days, and these days were heavier to her than was the external pain of martyrdom to other saints. She had had such anxiety on her Son’s account that she could not have suffered any more bitter pain, For that is the greatest torture and woe, when the heart is attacked and tortured. All other sufferings that assail the body are more endurable; yea, amid them the heart can be joyful and can scorn all bodily suffering, as we read concerning St. Agnes and other martyrs. That is only half-suffering when the body alone is afflicted, while the heart and soul remain full of joy; but when the heart alone is compelled to endure suffering only great and noble spirits, and special grace and strength, are able to endure it.

19. Now, why does God permit these afflictions to come upon his loved ones? Certainly not without reason, nor from wrath or lack of grace, but from motives of great grace and mercy, in order to show us how, in all things, he deals with us in a friendly and paternal manner and how faithfully he cares for his own and so guides them that their faith may be more and more exercised and become stronger and stronger. But he does this especially for the following reasons.

This torture of Mary is small compared to what she would face during the Passion of Christ. In fact, this is a foreshadowing of what had to happen. Yet Mary was with the apostles afterwards (Acts) and not bitter, alienated, and alone.

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

Joseph and Mary were ideal parents, but they had to learn this lesson, which is also for us as well. We worry about the immediate future and the long-term future. That is natural. I can only say to anyone younger, no matter what we think will happen, it is never like that. We picked this location because I was going to teach at a nearby college. If someone had said, "No, the president of the college will be arrested on federal charges and go to prison," I would have been shocked in disbelief.

And yet, this is a perfect location - neighbors, neighborhood, proximity to family and medical staff. Yesterday we had a pizza birthday party with Ranger Bob and his brother. 


"My Father's business" is not food, clothing, what we will wear, where we will live, but the Gospel. When the financial committee of a congregation gets together, the Bad News Bears will begin lamenting how terrible things are, no matter what. I have seen that in every congregation, many of them overflowing with prosperity. Equally bad, I have seen people thinking that a D5 avalanche of money will solve every problem and do everything God blesses.

Our only concern should be God's Gospel Word, hearing it as it is, studying it, broadcasting it. In the next few months we will publish a set of Luther's sermons that has been out of reach for most people, unless they burrow into the Internet and know where to find it. One member of our scholars group asked for it and several others are making it happen. Soon it will be offered free as a public domain work, available for everyone to use - printed, Kindle, PDF, and bundled in one file for world-wide use. That sounds like a gigantic enterprise, and it is fairly big in one piece. However, each one plays a part in getting it done.

No one can erase the Old Adam's influence on our thinking. As I told one member - the various filters are always going to influence us, those thoughts that take us away from the plans of God, the sufficiency of His grace, His power to solve anything in a flash.

This fallacy is the same on both sides - The very rich think they are good, pleasing to God, and loved by everyone because their yes-men tell them so. Those believers who are struggling with poverty, disease, and bearing the cross imagine God has forgotten them or is punishing them for some wrong in the past. Judging the moment is beyond our ability. We are to treasure Jesus and His Gospel, not the saints, not the institutions and buildings.

Luther:
48. The same truth has been previously presented in many figures and examples, as in the Gospel for Christmas, Luke 2:12, where the angels give no other sign to the shepherds by which they might find Christ than the manger and the swaddling clothes. There they should find him lying and wrapped up, not in the bosom of the mother, nor on her lap, which would have seemed credible. That is, God does not wish to direct us to any saint or person of man, but only to the Word or Scripture, in which Christ is wrapped as in swaddling clothes, and in the poor manger (that is the preaching of the Gospel), which is so highly esteemed, and serves merely for the feeding of the cattle. Again, we have also heard from the aged and holy Simeon who, as had been promised him by God, should not die until he had seen Christ, but who does not recognize him until by the instigation of the Holy Spirit he enters the temple. So also the wise men from the east who, when they came to Jerusalem and no longer saw the star, hear of no other sign concerning Christ, as to where he was born and where he could be found, than the Scripture of the prophet Micah. So much may be said concerning the most important teaching and the principal parts of this Gospel. Finally, it is also to be noted that the Evangelist says: “His mother kept all these sayings in her heart.”

49. This is also given for our admonition, in order that we may endeavor to keep the Word of God in our hearts, as the blessed Virgin did, who, seeing she had erred and lacked understanding, became all the more diligent to keep in her heart all she heard from Christ. She furnishes another example, that above all things we should adhere to the Word and not permit it to go out of our hearts, but constantly use it, learn to gain strength from it, find comfort in it, and increase in it, as is indeed necessary for all of us. For when we come to the point where we shall be tried and tempted, we are liable to be forgotten or dropped even by those who are diligent.

 Norma A. Boeckler