Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mid-Week Lenten Service.
7 PM Central

The third temptation of Christ, by Norma Boeckler.
"Bow down and worship me, and all this will be Yours."

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 6 PM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #            558                 All Praise             4:44     
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody                  
The Lection                            The Passion History

The Sermon Hymn # 657            Beautiful Savior                    4:24   

The Sermon –  Access to Grace
The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace                                            p. 45

The Hymn #538   Now the Shades                4:53

Access to Grace

KJV Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

In the last 50 years, the word used most has been peace. Many times it referred to world peace, to the point of becoming a joke in movies. But the other emphasis has been upon inner peace. From the hippies of the 1960s to the Indian gurus of the present, inner peace has been a goal.

This passage teaches us about inner peace, something far more important than outward peace, since many people feel anguish and turmoil while everything seems to be going well for them. Celebrities are good examples. The moment they become famous and rich they start worrying about when they will lose it.

Davy Jones just died of a heart attack. He went from fame to obscurity to a bit of fame again. He was most famous in a group, but the group could not operate together in peace, so peace is quite important, by any definition.
The ultimate meaning of peace is peace with God. The Bible uses peace in relation to forgiveness of sin and salvation.

The other dominating word in the last 50 years has been grace. Everyone is in favor of grace, and Amazing Grace is a popular (if vague) hymn, appropriate for almost any occasion, including the burial of a Vulcan in a science fiction film.

Apart from the superficial use of grace, there is a real longing. The Biblical meaning of grace is complicated, because it means so much at the same time. Grace means God’s favor and love, but it also means a divine favor and love that is given away free rather than earned.

In these two verses we have the entire Gospel message summarized, but summarized so that we want to know more. That is how the Gospel works. When God teaches us the Good News, we want to hear even more, know more, and pursue even more knowledge about it.

When we follow Luther’s method of reading the Bible, we see the unity of the Biblical message, because the Holy Spirit is the unity. Every Word of the Bible comes from human authors speaking through the Holy Spirit. As one pope said so eloquently, the Bible has a human nature and a divine nature, like Christ. The human nature we can see in Paul’s personality. This is an ordinary human being, with flaws and faults and sins, but the Holy Spirit speaks through him in this apostolic letter. Because it comes from the Holy Spirit, the harmony of the Scriptures is evident. The Bible is like Jesus in having a divine and a human nature, yet free from error, as Jesus was free from sin.

Paul, as a perfectionist  and follower of the Law, had no peace. He was restless and sought peace by persecuting the Gospel.

So this opening to Romans 5, which is also the conclusion of Romans 4, is deeply person as well as being apostolic and Spirit-inspired.

Let’s start with grace. How do we enjoy the grace, favor, love, and forgiveness of God? That can come only through the Spirit/Word. I use the slash to express this because one cannot be separated from the other, as Isaiah 55:8-10 reveals (supported by many other passages).

God’s grace can only come through God’s Word, specifically the Gospel Word – Scriptural passages of forgiveness, blessing, comfort, and hope.

For that reason the Word is called a Means of Grace. Sometimes an Instrument of Grace. I like the second term, because Instrument is even more concrete.

God’s grace comes to us only through the Means of Grace, because the Holy Spirit is bound to the Word at all times and never works apart from the Word.

That is the origin of so much confusion and false doctrine, separating the Holy Spirit from the Word.

The Word can be invisible in teaching and preaching, visible in the Sacraments. Non-Lutherans get their chasubles in a bunch, saying, “Why so many means? Isn’t one enough?”

Why so many Gospels? Isn’t one enough?

Who so many Epistles? Isn’t one enough?

Why so many Gospel Promises and blessings and comforting passages? Why not one, good, easy to memorize passage? People are always grabbing God by the shoulders and telling Him to do things differently, better, their way.

Luther subordinated himself to the Word, the Word that belongs to God alone and not to us.

Therefore, the peace that people long to have is there is the Means of Grace. It comes to us through the forgiveness that is objectively true because Christ died for our sins.

Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

We could say – Having been justified by faith… That is important, because believing is forgiveness.

That is saying – We have peace with God the moment we believe in Christ as our Savior and Redeemer.

2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Faith in Him gives us access to this grace, favor, love and forgiveness – so we stand upon this Truth and rejoice in all future glory accomplished by God.

3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

The “dear holy cross” (as Luther expresses it) is placed in the midst of this great Gospel passage.

We glory in tribulations because they produce patience.

4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

The cross, attached to the faithful adherence to the Gospel, produces good effects in our lives.

Many do not want the cross or to teach the cross, so the divorce the Gospel from the cross. In avoiding the cross they also lose the Gospel.

5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Paul was able to see the Gospel spread throughout the Roman Empire in the midst of persecution and all the other bad experiences of Paul, including imprisonment, which served to glorify God and serve His purpose.

This passage should bring the greatest comfort to anyone, because Romans 5:1-5 teaches us the truth of the Gospel, the grace of forgiveness, and the blessings of the cross.

Fuller Seminary Is the Favorite School for WELS and LCMS:
Rick Warren Is Their Idol

LutherRocks has left a new comment on your post "The Difference Between Apostasy and Confession of ...":

"The Rev. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and one of America's most influential Christian leaders, has embarked on an effort to heal divisions between evangelical Christians and Muslims by partnering with Southern California mosques and proposing a set of theological principles that includes acknowledging that Christians and Muslims worship the same God."

File:Rick Warren - PressKit.jpg
Rick Warren, Larry Olson, and Kent Hunter
have drive-by DMins from Fuller Seminary.
WELS Seminary Professors David Valleskey and Frost Bivens
studied at Fuller -
and denied it, and admitted it.

From article:

Warren has faced criticism from some evangelicals for his outreach to Muslims. Late last year, he issued a statement flatly denying rumors that he promulgates what critics term "Chrislam," a merging of Islam and Christianity.
The "rumor is 100 percent false," Warren wrote at, a website he founded that provides practical advice to church leaders. "My life and ministry are built on the truth that Jesus is the only way, and our inerrant Bible is our only true authority."

GJ - Mrs. Ichabod and I stopped at Rick Warren's church, which we passed by accident on a business trip. We went inside and listened to Warren clown around a bit. The woman at the door did not want to let us in because it was a "paid-for conference."
Saddleback Community Church is a Babtist church, but they deny that in their congregation's name. Now they deny it in their rush to unify two opposing religions.
Thank you for the link, Joe Krohn.

Storms Damage Country Music Resort Town, Kill 9 | NBC 4i

Storms Damage Country Music Resort Town, Kill 9 | NBC 4i:

BRANSON, Mo. -- A powerful storm system that produced multiple reports of tornadoes lashed the Midwest early Wednesday, roughing up the country music resort city of Branson and laying waste to small towns in Illinois and Kansas. At least nine people were killed.

An apparent twister rolled through Branson just before 1 a.m. and seemed to hopscotch up the city's main roadway, ripping roofs off hotels and damaging some of the city's famed music theaters dangerously close to the start of the heavy tourism season. More than 30 people were reported hurt, mostly with cuts and bruises.

"If it was a week later, it'd be a different story," said Bill Tirone, assistant general manager for the 530-room Hiltons of Branson and the Branson Convention Center, where windows were shattered and some rooms had furniture sucked away by high winds. Hotel workers were able to get all guests to safety as the storm raged.

John Moore, owner of the damaged Cakes-n-Creams '50s Diner, said the tornado seemed to target the city's main strip, moving down the entertainment district, through the convention center, across a lake and into a housing division. He said the tornado appeared to "jump side to side."

"The theater next to me kind of exploded. It went everywhere. The hotels on the two sides of me lost their roofs. Power lines are down. Windows are blown out," Moore said. "There's major, major destruction. There has to be millions dollars of damage all down the strip."

'via Blog this'


GJ - We had several tornado warnings. One was having the locked front doors blow open - twice. Another was the Internet going down. That means Precious hid behind the desk and knocked the power cord of the router out of the socket. The third warning was Precious hiding under my feet. We had a few gusts of wind and a little rain - nothing like the night Joplin blew away, about a year ago.

Precious hides near the power cords when loud storms arrive,
often knocking me off the Internet.
Photo by Norma Boeckler

From Rogue Lutheran - "And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple and turned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, 'It is written, 'My house show be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers.'" Matt21:12

Thrivent is more than ELCA-WELS-LCMS.
It is pan-religious.

"And Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple and turned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, 'It is written, 'My house show be called a house of prayer'; but you make it a den of robbers.'" Matt21:12:

'via Blog this'

Ooooh! This is what you pay for with Thrivent dollars -
a pan-religious stained glass window.
They publish their own satire.

I think the last figure I saw was $160 million
for Habitat for Humanity.
Jeske is involved there, too.

The Difference Between Apostasy and Confession of Faith

Some people try to fit in with the Andy Stanley/Craig Groeschel
clown ministry model.

Apostasy is falling away from the Christian faith, predicted in the pastoral epistles and 2 Thessalonians.

KJV 1 Timothy 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith [verb form of apostasy], giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

KJV 2 Timothy 4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

KJV 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away [apostasy] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

A Baptist is opposed to infant faith and infant baptism, most of all to baptismal regeneration. Baptists and associated groups always use immersion.

Many Lutheran pastors are ga-ga
over Rick Warren. Why?

Andy Stanley and Rick Warren are both Baptists, but they avoid the term like herpes. They think their confession of faith might hinder the numerical growth of their congregations, so they hide what they believe.

Crypto-Babtist Andy Stanley sold a bunch of WELS workers
on attending his worship conference.
Glende's pal, Ski, blogged about the awesome worship at Northpoint Community Church.

Andy Stanley has a big D-Day event for dedicating babies, which includes a designated professional photographer. Apparently that is their imitation or mockery of infant baptism. Imitation is sincerest form of flattery, but out of place with Biblical doctrine.

What does a congregation believe or not believe? My friend wanted his baby baptized at an Evangelical Free congregation. The minister said, "We do not believe in infant baptism, but we will baptize babies for those who wish."

Doctrine and practice merge, so a church's practice says more about its beliefs than any formal statement. How many WELS congregations have "Christian Academies" that are really day-care businesses for the pastor's wife and friends?

"Jesus is my rice,"
says WELS Church and Changer Jeff Gunn.

First, the name goes. Robert Schuller pioneered this by making his Dutch Reformed congregation "Garden Grove Community Church." All the big Fuller clones have community churches or oddball names that avoid the term church.

Next, the statement of faith turns generic. As David Becker wrote in Christian News, Time of Grace is completely generic, fitting the nickname I gave it long ago - Time of Generic Grace. Is it Lutheran? No one could accuse them of Lutheran doctrine. The TV show is listed as Mark Jeske on Daystar, and Mark Jeske never stops promoting Mark Jeske.

I gave up matching all the WELS congregations with Rick Warren generic confessions. That is one certain sign of apostasy. A congregation wants to be LCMS or WELS or something else for the base of members, but they are nothing distinctive for the general population.

The apostates answer, "But look at how well we do!" Yes, they are skilled at turning large populations into indifferent worshipers of the Old Adam, excellent preparation for Unitarian-Universalism.

Bishop Katie sent a Tweet where she rejoiced over finding former members of Jeske's congregation (where she worked with Ski) at Granger Community Church (where she and Ski were learning how to "do church," something missing at Mequon).

The big laugh--or sob--will be the populations of all these generic emergent churches leaving Holy Mother Synod. The strength of the current generation is leaving quickly because those Lutherans were raised on a catechism (not Kuske's) and taught something of substance.

May you prosper like Schuller,
may you leave an indelible bad impression on everyone,
and may you take your minions down the same road to perdition.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Condescension Is Sometimes Appropriate

Ichabod, The Glory Has Departed - 327 posts in 2012.

Dog Vader: UOJ Enforcer.
The Crumbling Defenses of UOJ

Read LutherQuest
for examples of the Dark Side.
Watch them bite and devour each other,
with McCain leading by example.

Universal Objective Justification is facing hard times, because advocates for this bizarre opinion have found their defenses crumbling. I was thinking about the many ways they run themselves off the cliff.
  1. First of all, no Scripture passage says that God has declared the entire world forgiven and saved. Quite the contrary is true, especially about the LCMS favorite passage, Romans 4:25. The entire verse reveals that we are justified by faith, just as Abraham was. The transition to Romans 5:1-2 reinforces justification by faith.
  2. Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, Chytraeus, Andrae, Gerhard, and Calov all taught justification by faith with utmost clarity. In fact, Luther anticipated the opinions of Huber (below) before the heretic appeared on the scene, after the Book of Concord.
  3. UOJ Enthusiasts have conceded that justification--in the New Testament and in the Book of Concord-- always means justification by faith.
  4. UOJ cheerleaders have no answer for the Huber conflict, when P. Leyser, an editor of the Book of Concord, repudiated the oddball concept that the entire world was forgiven. The Huber position is exactly what WELS, Missouri, and ELCA embrace today.
  5. Hardt showed that Walther's justification concept never changed, and Walther fan Suelflow pointed out that C. F. W. got it from Bishop Stephan, who studied at Halle University.
  6. The double-justification scheme, adored by UOJ, came from the Woods translation of Georg Christian Knapp, a professor at Halle University. Walther later approved that language, which is found in the writings of his chosen disciples, Pieper and Stoeckhardt.
  7. The 19th century European Protestants assumed UOJ, because that century in Europe was dominated by Pietism and Unionism.
Luther was a faith-ian, unlike Paul McCain,
who denounces justification by faith.

David Scaer has been teaching this bilge to innocent seminarians for decades.


rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Dog Vader: UOJ Enforcer. The Crumbling Defenses of...":

"Luther anticipated the opinions of Huber (below) before the heretic appeared on the scene, after the Book of Concord."

Luther thanked God for his adversaries. He certainly made sport of those who tried to take him on. His discernment was razor sharp. He could have sold out for a bowl of porridge, like so many after him. Yet, so many today avoid him like the plague.


Brett Meyer has left a new comment on your post "Dog Vader: UOJ Enforcer. The Crumbling Defenses of...":

Justification is the forgiveness of sins and salvation.

Interesting how the Lutheran Synods have separated forgiveness from Salvation. They've separated the benefits of Christ's righteousness (forgiveness of sins and salvation) from Christ's atonement. They've separated Christ's righteousness from the Holy Spirit's faith so that faith is now taught to be a withered and empty "beggars" hand which does nothing but receive what was already declared by God to be true. How blasphemous! By faith, Christ's righteousness, graciously worked by the Holy Ghost through the Means of Grace, we die to sin and the Law, are raised again to live under God's grace, are completely renewed in spirit and have the forgiveness of sins and are saved instantaneously and not as a blasphemous process which the UOJists teach.

Halle was also the armchair of  Tholuck who was the admired and cherished professor of Hoenecke and both Peipers:

Here is a portion of an interview with Tholuck:
THOLUCK - I suppose my American brethren would consider me orthodox in general, except for my Universalism.
INTERVIEWER - They would, most certainly. But with them that one point would be a serious matter. With this sentiment you could not hold a standing in our orthodox churches. Now, where did you find this doctrine - in the Bible, or in your philosophy?
THOLUCK - In both.,M1

This isn’t to show guilt by association. It does provide a reason behind why the Universalism in UOJ was attractive to Hoenecke and the Peipers. Evergreen Lutheran High School (WELS) defended UOJ by using August Pieper’s quote in the third volume of the Quartalschrift , "But whoever molests the doctrine of justification stabs the gospel in the heart ...even if he ever so much emphasizes justification by faith."


GJ - By this time, from what I read, UOJ was assumed by Protestant theology, which quickly moved into total rationalism. Tholuck and Schleiermacher were Halle professors who were the transition between the old era and the new. Modern theology follows Barth, Tholuck, and Schleiermacher in using the words without the meaning.

August Pieper's peculiar hyperbole reminds me of a statement from Schmauck - the farther these Lutherans are from the actual doctrine, the more they claim to be the real Lutherans.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Go Global - Steal Local.
Leadership Conferences as Income for Has-beens

He needs notes for saying the same things, over and over?
WELS and Missouri eat this stuff up.

rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Wisconsin Lutheran College: Paul Kelm Leads Anothe...":

These WELS Leadership Conferences are small potatoes. They need to go global like Bill Hybels has done:


GJ - Please assume that I always include the Little Sect on the Prairie and micro-mini sects in my jeremiads. They are simply so tiny and inconsequential that they do not merit a mention most of the time. They will be gone soon enough. WELS and Missouri will follow, but like large animal carcasses, they will take longer to rot away.

Note how many religious businesses feel the need to train people in "leadership." And the Shrinker Salesmen all go to each other's leadership conferences. They hire each other, too. And they sell each other's books. And audio tapes.

The denominational headquarters like to send their minions to these events, so a multitude of non-leaders parrot the same idiocies of non-leaders, which they have heard from professional leadership conference leaders.

Even if someone has a belt-size bigger than his IQ, he can say, "I can do this." So he offers his plagiarized nonsense. He may even rent his brains as a coach, for a hefty monthly fee. See Team Patterson for your costs.

Readers need to do their own research. They should attend the Lutheran copy-cat conferences and report on them. The Changers are deathly afraid of the truth being found out. Google is the orthodox Lutheran's friend, the crypto-universalist's enemy.

Wisconsin Lutheran College:
Paul Kelm Leads Another Shrinker Conference.
No Names. Ichabod Effect

Paul Kelm is so famous for his heresies that he has
endured several minutes of unemployment in WELS.
They are so strict about doctrine in the Wisconsin Sect.
Kelm had two calls at once, so he could pick and choose.
He is the oldest college chaplain in North America.

Wisconsin Lutheran College:

2012 Leadership Conference Agenda

Friday, June 8 (morning)

Opening Worship
Plenary Session Presentations: "Leadership Roles and Relationships in the Church"
Pastoral Leadership, a biblical and practical overview
Lay Leadership, a biblical and practical overview
Issues of Tension and Opportunity, led by a panel of WELS leaders
Friday, June 8 (afternoon)

Seminar Sessions: "Leadership Skills for a 21st Century Church"
(choose three)
Defining Current Reality so that People Get It
Establishing a Vision for the Future, with Buy-In
Strategic Planning: Getting from Here to There
Recruiting and Mentoring Volunteers
Team Building
Dealing with Disagreement
Assessment and Accountability
Friday, June 8 (evening)

Networking fellowship, sharing common problems and successes, according to the size or situation of congregation
Saturday, June 9 (morning)

Yes, Paul. Reading Luther and Chemnitz
would just confuse the sheep.

Opening Worship
Plenary Session Presentation: "Jesus' Mission in my Situation," introducing the importance of implementing leadership principles in a congregation's specific ministry context
Workshop Sessions: "Processing Principles – How Leaders Address Areas of Ministry"
(choose two)
Community Outreach
Children's Ministry that Connects
Leading the Lutheran School through a Time of Change
Connecting Adults through Small Groups
Ministries of Compassion for Hurting People
A Fresh Look at Financial Support
Leading Worship for the People You Want to Serve
Wrap-Up Open Forum (Quo Vadis) and Closing Devotion

'via Blog this'


GJ - Someone told me Paul Kelm and Al Sorum were running a conference. Thanks to a doctor of divinity, I found the link and confirmed the conference led by Kelm in the WLC magazine.

Kelm is famous for hosting the Leonard Sweet conference, in spite of objections from his fellow pastors. Remember that Matthew 18 claim about going to someone and telling him his fault? - which does not apply to false teachers. Kelm would not even answer anyone who objected.

I find this announcement  strangely devoid of names. Normally the celebrity speaders are named on the agenda to attract more people. The silence may be Ichabod-effect, "the hiding and shredding of data to deny content to everyone's favorite blog." That is why I copy all the wording or create PNG images when necessary.

The magazine did not mention Sorum, but one source said he was named in Fickle. If anyone wants to add information, feel free to comment.

Leonard Sweet is not even a nominal Christian.
He is a space cadet for the New Age Movement.


LutherRocks has left a new comment on your post "Wisconsin Lutheran College: Paul Kelm Leads Anothe...":

And of course the all important bullet point "Dealing with Disagreement". What's wrong with this picture?


GJ - Opponents of Church and Change are wolves, according to the lupine Church and Changers.


rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Wisconsin Lutheran College: Paul Kelm Leads Anothe...":

The latest FICL lists the conference on pages 20-21. There are no speakers listed. It is held at the WLC "Center for Christian Leadership". The listing of conferences and workshop in FICL is enough to produce cognitive dissonance. This leadership mantra is repeated ad nauseum.


GJ - Mercury, like false doctrine, is toxic. Hit a blog with a hammer and it will scatter into a bunch of little shiny blogs. Mercury quickly attaches itself to silver and gold, just as false doctrine puts a sheen on sound doctrine. False teachers say, "Look at us, because we can get between you and those old legalists of the past, to open things up for everyone. It's all for Jesus. We are passionate about sharing Jesus."

Kelm's cell groups were supposed to cause explosive growth in Milwaukee, according to his advocates at WLC, one of many schools owned and operated by Church and Change. Milwaukee residents have heard no explosions, on decrepitation.

Your Liturgical Calendar Comes from the Church of Rome,
O Naive Lutherans

"Wake up, Holy Father Antichrist!"

Some people began mentioning Transfiguration Sunday rather late. Then I remembered. Rome got rid of the gesima Sundays, which always preceded Ash Wednesday. Yes, I know, they made up Ash Wednesday, too.

Rome lengthened the Epiphany season, ending it with Transfiguration, just before Ash Wednesday.

Also, Latin names are dropped.

So what did those brave "confessional" Lutherans do? They adopted the three-year Vatican readings cycle, Rome's gay-friendly liturgical colors, then eliminated the gesima Sundays and Latin names.

When I included my annual typo, Invocabit for Invocavit, I realized why the Latin-ignorant wanted to rid rid of those odious names. Imagine trying to explain a Latin name without knowing the language.

But the adiaphora article in the Formula of Concord says we should make a point of NOT agreeing with false teachers on "matters of indifference." The very fact of flexibility in all these matters means that Lutherans should NOT use the three-year cycle, should NOT drop the Latin names, should NOT extend the Epiphany season to make the Antichrist happy.

And yet, like the feminist ecumenical Creeds, the pretense is made that "we have to do that."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Invocavit: The First Sunday in Lent.
Matthew 4:1ff

Invocavit Sunday, The First Sunday in Lent, 2012

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

The Hymn #148   Lord Jesus Christ               3:61
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       
The Gospel              
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn # 146               Lamb of God                        3:62

the Two Kingdoms

The Hymn # 153                 Stricken Smitten                  3:63
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 # 154     Alas and Did My Savior             3:14

KJV 2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 3 Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4 But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5 In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7 By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8 By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9 As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10 As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

KJV Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. 5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

First Sunday In Lent

Lord God, heavenly Father, inasmuch as the adversary doth continually afflict us, and as a roaring lion doth walk about, seeking to devour us: We beseech Thee for the sake of the suffering and death of Thy Son, Jesus Christ, to help us by the grace of the Holy Spirit, and to strengthen our hearts by Thy word, that our enemy may not prevail over us, but that we may evermore abide in Thy grace, and be preserved unto everlasting life; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

The Two Kingdoms – Of Christ and Satan

KJV Matthew 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

This verse illustrates what Luther said about the Two Kingdoms. One is the Kingdom of God; the other is the Kingdom of Satan. They are perpetually at war with each other, one striving against the other.

Some people confuse this with the Two Regiments, another issue. That is Luther’s distinction between the spiritual regiment (the Church) and the material regiment (government, armies, the police). One has the Gospel, the other has the power of the sword. Luther saw the problems with the Church trying to be the government, which was a foundational problem for the Roman Catholic Church. Vatican controlled lands in Italy were the most corrupt and held back the progress of the country.

To show the original parallelism in the first verse, it is good to say, Jesus was led by the Spirit and tempted by Satan.

In view of 3:16, 17, “by the Spirit,” cannot mean “by Jesus’ own spirit” but must mean by the Holy Spirit who had come upon Jesus and remained upon him permanently for his ministry. This passive verb, however, in no way expresses a reluctance on the part of Jesus to meet the tempter. It intends to bring out the very opposite: the willingness of Jesus to do the divine will. It does even more: it wards off the idea that Jesus entered into this temptation of his own accord when at this very beginning of his ministry it might have been wise to avoid such a decisive test. We often rashly subject ourselves to temptation. Jesus was led into his ordeal by his Father’s own Spirit. And this means that the temptation had to occur, and at this very time. It was God’s own will that this mighty battle should be fought now.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 138.

When we have a balanced view of the Scriptures and see the Bible as a whole, we can understand how one passage keeps us from going to extremes about one particular emphasis.

The temptation of Jesus emphasizes His human nature. The modernists today like this a lot. They turn it into a psycho-drama where Jesus is engaged in a battle within Himself, imagining all these things while starving in the desert. Of course, they have to ignore the whole point of the Bible to say this, but the modernists today are no different from the false teachers of the past. Each generation picks an approach to use, often exclaiming that it is a brand-new discovery when it is actually a rehash of past mistakes.

Clearly both natures of Christ are taught in the Temptation, but the human nature of Jesus is what we see most clearly. That is an important corrective to the tendency to make Him only divine, with only one nature, and not the unique person of Christ, human and divine.

The Gospel ceases to be the Good News when Jesus is either just a man or purely divine. The human nature of Christ means that He sees and understands our temptations, which were His as well.

The Hebrews passage fits this Gospel lesson so well, because it urges us to continue on the path to eternal life. The divine efficacy of the Word of God is followed by the compassion and understanding of Christ, who was tempted every way we are tempted (human nature), and yet was without sin (divine nature).

KJV Hebrews 4:11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

The First Temptation
KJV Matthew 4:2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

These temptations are a prelude to the final temptations, as Jesus faced His death and said, “Let this cup pass from Me.” Therefore, we understand His human nature better during the crucifixion if we compare the time of temptation.
Jesus never lost His divine nature, but most of the time it was not in the forefront. He allowed Himself to be treated as an ordinary human because that was the Father’s will – and His.

Thus Satan truly tempted Jesus, who was in the tempter’s power. Some people get wound up and say, “Jesus was incapable of sinning.” If that is so, then there was no temptation. (Our friend from years ago said he was never tempted before he became a Christian because he did whatever he wanted. That is the other side of this issue. We used to call children like that “godless,” which is a good description.)

The temptation of Jesus is best understood in realizing that Jesus felt the power of Satan’s trials but maintained the divine will to resist and to defeat Satan. This also became apparent during the crucifixion, when Jesus was under the power of Pilate and the religious opponents, under the power of Satan, and yet reigned victorious over them. He could have destroyed them with legions of angels but yielded to the divine will to die for our sins.

This first temptation is easy to understand, even though we have an abundance of food. When we have not eaten for a long period of time, whether through illness or other causes, the idea of food can become a sudden obsession. It is all we can think about. When crowds of people are starving, they are driven mad with rage over the prospect of getting some of it. The famous Indian war in Southern Minnesota began when the Indians were denied their food allotment. The original Dr. Mayo took part in the battle and might have canceled the future Mayo Clinic by dying – over food allotments.

If you are the Son of God…
We can identify with this temptation, because it comes in another form. If you are a Christian, if God really loves you, then prove it.

This can eat away at us, when problems come our way, especially when they come because of the Word. It is easy to say, “I would be happy without this trouble.” God does not take away the trouble, as Luther said more than once, but God changes the heart rather than the affliction. That is how the martyrs and apostles faced persecution and death. That is how believers face the ultimate enemy, death.

The temptation is that we should prove that God is God by bending Him to our will, when He uses the cross and other troubles to show us His gracious will. 

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Jesus answered Satan and defeated him at this point with the Word of God. Man does not live by bread. The believer can say, because of Jesus, “You can starve me to death, but life comes from the Word, which never fails and unites me with Christ in eternity.”

This is the constant battle we face, because it is material versus spiritual, Satan versus God. The dark forces say, “Look at our money and prestige.” Believers admit, “We are poor and scattered, despised and scorned, especially by apostates within the visible church.”

But God’s Word says throughout, Better a short time of turmoil and eternal peace than a short time of peace and eternal turmoil. Knowing that gives us peace in the midst of anxieties, temptations, turmoil, afflictions, and the cross. Although Paul is accused of patting himself on the back, we can be glad that the Spirit moved him to say those things we find in 2 Corinthians. We get some feeling for what he suffered gladly for the sake of the Gospel.

The man who played Superman, Christopher Reeve, said suffering had no meaning. But the believer says, “The cross sanctifies suffering.”

Today, if a Lutheran clearly teaches justification by faith, his friends desert and rebuke him. They give him the silent treatment, which can be very painful. Sometimes it takes months to sink in – so and so won’t speak to me or write to me and won’t even say why. So-called friends will betray, cajole, ridicule, and scold. They will drive away a faithful person, clergy or laity, and then complain, “He deserted us – so he deserves even more scorn.”

I know from reading on the Net that many people face the same treatment, based on the battle being fought at the moment. The traditional Christians, who have about 1950 years behind them, are suddenly the outsiders, the mad dogs to be driven away and sued with animosity and spite. Their spiritual supervisors say, “We will take away your beautiful church, which you own and you kept up, and lock you out of it. Maybe we will give it away to someone else. Maybe we will just lock it up forever and let it stand empty.”

That is a bitter pill for those who think happiness is a church building. Many have found their faith renewed by these episodes. What they took for granted was wrenched from them so they had to re-evaluate what mattered.

Chemnitz wrote, “These are the last days of an insane, old world.”

Knowing that, Chemnitz labored to present the Gospel in its purest form. No one has equaled him since.

The Second Temptation
5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, 6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

In this temptation Satan immediately takes the weapon used against him and employs it against Christ. He took Jesus to the pinnacle of the Temple, which was so high that it made people dizzy to look down. I think it was Josephus who said one could hardly see to the ground, it was so high. What better place?

Satan expertly quoted from the Scriptures, to challenge Jesus to throw Himself down and let the angels rescue Him and set Him down gently in safety, because the Word promised as much.

This is the temptation Christians face when the false teachers use the Word of God to defeat the meaning of the Scriptures. The best example lately is quoting Romans 4:25 to contradict Romans 4:24. The answer is not to be awed by anyone or any authority - except the Word.

The plain meaning of the Word trumps all the fancy footwork of false teaches, who have dozens of citations that fit their claims. I saw that done better times 100. When I used the Vatican owned library in Columbus, Ohio, they had centuries of tradition to back up every claim. On the topic of Mary alone they had an entire range of library shelves. One recent work had 3 thick volumes. As Eduard Preuss said, after he went from UOJ to Roman Catholicism, “Give me the sources and I can prove anything.” And he was a brilliant expert in doing that – just not a student of the Word.

Bad Biblical interpretation is especially toxic, because it imposes a poisonous meaning upon the Word when God’s grace is being questioned and examined.

Jesus answered with the appropriate verse, rebuking Satan:

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

The believer needs to know the basic passages of the Bible that teach fundamental Christian truths. John 3:16 is a good example. If the “expert” has claims that contradict John 3:16, then the appropriate question is, “Should we expel the Little Gospel from its place in Christian theology? You are so angry about faith and against believing, so why are you fighting against the obvious meaning of John 3:16 and Romans 4:24-25?”

Invariably there is a bonus for the person who embraces false doctrine. They are getting something from it. Taking that away is dangerous and it can be scary, because the rage that follows is truly Satanic.

God promises:

KJV Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Third Temptation
8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Luther says that he who in the first temptation showed himself as a black devil, and in the second as a light, white devil, using even God’s own Word, now displays himself as a divine, majestic devil, who comes right out as though he were God himself. Satan drops his mask and appears as the prince and ruler of this world. He no longer operates with the appeal, “if thou art a son of God,” suggesting some ungodly way by which Jesus is to prove that he is such a son. Cunningly he accepts the fact that Jesus is a son, even the one chosen to be the Messiah, and on this Satan rests the final temptation.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. Matthew's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN. : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 153.

Satan truly is the Prince of This World. We see that in slaughter, corruption, false doctrine, paganism, and especially in all the evils of the world rewarded beyond comprehension.

Perhaps people think Jesus could not be tempted by such things, but Jesus knew what was ahead of Him – the cross. Here He is truly the Hero, the Example for us all. He scorned the easy path and bore the cross for us.

He was destined to say this again, when Peter tempted Him in a similar way, rebuking Jesus for predicting the cross and suffering –

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

KJV Matthew 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. 18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ. 21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. 24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

So many walk the tightrope today. They do not want to give up the esteem of the visible church while claiming to be faithful to the Word. I have witnessed people doing mental gymnastics to defend the worst false teachers. Why? Because a break away from the rulers of the denomination will mean punishment and retribution, for them and their families. Their fears about reprisals should tell them all they need to know about defending such thugs, but that seldom happens. They walk the tightrope and praise themselves for being faithful, even while supporting the worst kind of falsehood.

As Luther said, fear is the opposite of faith. Those who think the Word is weak and the synod is all-powerful will shrink from the Word of God. After all, the Word brings the cross. They do not see that their hatred of the cross is also a loathing of the Gospel. They may think themselves shepherds of the sheep, but they are only fattening the sheep for a later slaughter.

Every rebuking of false doctrine is a rebuking of Satan. Every compromise with false doctrine is a compromise with Satan.



"He shows, moreover, that it is customary in Scripture to call temptation and tribulation in this life a fire. As the furnace tests the vessels of the potter, so also tribulation tests unjust people."
Martin Chemnitz, Examination of the Council of Trent, trans., Fred Kramer, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1986, III, p. 254. 1 Corinthians 3:15.

Sins Against the Third Commandment

"The sins which militate against the Third Commandment are the profanation of the Sabbath through neglect and contempt of the ministry, through Judaic and superstitious observance of the Sabbath, or through a shifting of the ministry into the kingdom of this world. The faithfulness of those who teach is the virtue by which the ministers of the Church, aware of their modest skill in Christian doctrine, carefully and zealousy discharge and steadfastly protect all the duties of the faithful dispenser of the mysteries of God in teaching, debating, comforting and setting their hearers an example of true devotion and of all the virtues. The other extreme are faithlessness, heedless teaching or negligence in office, or deserting the ministry because of excessive anxiety or concern over one's own weakness."
David Chytraeus, A Summary of the Christian Faith, (1568), trans., Richard Dinda, Decatur: Repristination Press, 1994. p. 71f.      

"Those, however, who set the time, place and measure, tempt God, and believe not that they are heard or that they have obtained what they asked; therefore, they also receive nothing."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 172.  
"So it is with all Christian; where faith is not continually kept in motion and exercised, it weakens and decreases, so that it must indeed vanish; and yet we do not see nor feel this weakness ourselves, except in times of need and temptation, when unbelief rages too strongly; and yet for that very reason faith must have temptations in which it may battle and grow."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 254.                 

"That temptation occurs before God's Word is heard; this after we hear the Word, namely thus: when we know that God has promised help in the time of any trouble, but are not content with it, go forward and will not abide His promise, but prescribe time, place, and manner for His help; and then if He does not come as we expect and desire, faith vanishes."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 366.  

Faith Is Trust

"He who holds fast to the Word alone, trusts and abides in it, does not doubt that what the Word says will come to pass; he who does not dictate aim or time or means and ways, but resigns all freely to God's will and pleasure as to when, how, where, and by whom He will fulfill His Word; he, I say, has a true living faith which does not nor cannot tempt God."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, I, p. 367.  

Nature of Faith

"The second characteristic of faith is that it does not desire to know, nor first to be assured whether it is worthy of grace and will be heard, like the doubters, who grasp after God and tempt Him. Just as a blind man runs against a wall, so they also plunge against God, and would first gladly feel and be assured that he can not escape out of their hands."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 66.                 

Power of Faith

"Behold, so powerful is faith, to obtain all it wants of God, that God considers it done before the asking. Of this Isaiah says, 65:24: 'And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.' Not as though faith or we were worthy of it, but in order that he might show His unspeakable goodness and willing grace, thereby to stir us to believe in Him, and comfortingly look to Him for every good thing, with joyful and unwavering consciences, which do not stumble after Him nor tempt Him."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 69.  

[ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy] "This is spoken to all Christians, for every Christian must have temptations, trails, anxieties, adversities, sorrows, come what may. Therefore He mentions here no sorrow nor trial, He simply says they shall weep, lament, and be sorrowful, for the Christian has many persecutions. Some are suffering loss of goods; others there are whose character is suffering ignominy and scorn; some are drowned, others are burned; some are beheaded; one perishes in this manner, and another in that; it is therefore the lot of the Christian constantly to suffer misfor- tune, persecution, trials and adversity. This is the rod or fox tail with which they are punished. They dare not look for anything better as long as they are here. This is the court color by which the Christian is recognized,and if anyone wants to be a Christian, he dare not be ashamed of his court color or livery."   
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed. John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, III, p. 79.  

Temptation Tests People
"When the Gospel begins to assert its influence, everybody wants to become a Christian. All seems well, and everybody is pleased. But when a wind or rainstorm of temptation comes on, people fall away in droves. Then sectaries arrive, as worms and bugs, gnawing and polluting the fruits of the Gospel, and so much false doctrine arises that few stay with the Gospel."   
What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1959, I, p. 37. John 4:46-54.              

Contempt for the Means of Grace

"Observe, then, the depreciative, contemptuous, and scorning ring in the words of the Reformed when they speak of the sacred Means of Grace, the Word and the Sacraments, and the grand majestic ring in the words of the Lord and the apostles when they speak of these matters...The true reason for the Reformed view is this: They do not know how a person is to come into possession of the divine grace, the forgiveness of sin, righteousness in the sight of God, and eternal salvation. Spurning the way which God has appointed, they are pointing another way, in accordance with new devices which they have invented."
C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 152f.