Saturday, March 31, 2012

David Jay Webber, MDiv, Misleading the LaughQuest Audience about Double Justification



David Jay Webber, LQ:

The teaching of "objective justification" in Synodical Conference circles was clarified earlier than the election controversy, in the context of a dispute over absolution that involved the old Norwegian Synod and other Scandinavian Lutheran groups. The question was: Is absolution a wish that sins be forgiven, or is it a powerful impartation of forgiveness, to be received in faith? The Norwegian Synod and other orthodox synods said it was the latter.

Absolution was confessed as conveying to penitents a justification and a forgiveness that was already an objective reality for them - not just a potentiality - by virtue of the death and resurrection of Christ. This was not a new doctrine, but it was an accentuation and re-emphasis of the old Lutheran doctrine of the keys and of the means of grace, as necessitated by new pietistic and synergistic departures.

Marquart is correct when he says that the terminology that was devised at this time "grew out of" the disputes with Rome and Calvinism in the Reformation era, even though the terminology itself - in so many words - did not come from the Reformation era.


Gausewitz Catechism? Nope.
LCMS German Catechism. Nope.
LCMS KJV Catechism - still being sold. Nope.




***

GJ - The term "general justification" was used by the Pietist Burk and cited by Hoenecke.

The OJ/SJ terminology appeared in the English version of Knapp (Halle University, where Bishop Martin Stephan studied). Woods, the translator, was a celebrity Calvinist, a super-star in America.

The Scandinavians were all Pietists, and the Missouri Synod was (and is) Pietistic.

Webber's sloppy claims are offered without a shred of evidence. The bizarre OJ/SJ terms are peculiar to the Synodical Conference (tm) because Walther took over the Stephan cult and imposed the Stephan scheme on everyone. The OJ dogma came from Halle, but that did not keep Missouri from making it worse and more extreme in each generation.

Anyone who does not report the sexual abuse of minors is guilty,
according to the law in most states.

Dogmatic Illiteracy Dominates the UOJ Host


Dr. Lito Cruz pointed out, in the post below, the utter lack of discernment among the UOJ fanatics.

Their basic problems include a obstinate refusal to acknowledge the efficacy of the Word and the definition of Enthusiasts. Neither do they understand the Means of Grace or Universalism.

Their mishandling of Scripture reveals their lupine nature.

For them, the atonement of Christ means every single person in the world is forgiven - even before birth. That applies to everyone born in the past, everyone who will be born in the future. They associate their strange dogma with all the synonyms for the atonement, such as expiation and redemption. Rolf Preus and the rest of the Stormtroopers continue to assert this.

The UOJ Enthusiasts cannot grasp that justification is NOT a synonym for the atoning death of Christ. Their stupidity shows when they constantly repeat that justification by faith is Calvinist and assumes a limited atonement.

The difference is that justification by faith is God's declaration of innocence, the result of the Gospel in Word and Sacrament. The Gospel is the proclamation of the atonement, reconciliation, or expiation. Merging the two terms reveals complete ignorance of the Means of Grace.

Terms are bandied about without any consciousness of their meaning in different confessions. Roman Catholics speak about the Means of Grace, but that grace is quite diluted if believers must spend thousands of years tortured in Purgatory because that grace was not sufficient for complete forgiveness. (They say "sins forgiven but not paid for.")

Likewise, the generic Protestant churches have baptism and the Lord's Supper. They seldom say "Holy Communion" because that suggests the Real Presence. Lutherans still use their NIV with "communion" removed from the crucial passages and 1 Peter 3:21 butchered. The LCMS and WELS gave up the Means of Grace when they promoted the NIV, so ignorance  has grown over time. Or is it apathy?

The generic Protestants have a version of the sacraments, but they deny the efficacy of the sacraments. When they say those "ordinances" - as they call them - are witnesses to one's faith, are they not in harmony with the UOJ fanatics who say the Means of Grace tell people they are already forgiven?

How can the Word and Sacraments be Instruments of Grace when the entire universe already has the benefit of grace - forgiveness and salvation?

Needless to say, the most ignorant of the Church and Changers are the loudest about UOJ. Tim Glende started his blog of bad spelling, worse grammar, and odious dogma by defending the Appleton craving for Church and Change.

Also superfluous - the Appleton area is the prime example of WELS plagiarism, whether at St. Peter Freedom, St. Mark Depere, or Bethany Appleton.

The prosecution rests, but not for long.


Try Not To Laugh When Reading This Doctrinal Comparison.
LaughQuest Earning Its Nickname

False teachers are sharing this advice.


Question: A Lutheran friend is considering joining an Orthodox congregation. What are the most significant differences between Lutheranism and Orthodoxy?

Pastor Rolf David Preus: 
The Eastern Orthodox deny justification by faith alone. There are other differences, but this is the most signifant one.

***

GJ - Ba-da-bing.

Extra Nos: Col 2:13-14 a UOJ Text? Tertium non datur once again.



Extra Nos: Col 2:13-14 a UOJ Text? Tertium non datur once again.:


Col 2:13-14 a UOJ Text? Tertium non datur once again.
Over at so called Luther Quest, Mr. Joe Krohn (LutherRocks), a JBFAer and Mr. Jim Pierce of Confessional Bytes, a UOJer, had an interchange.

In that interchange, Jim Pierce employed Colossians 2:13-15, to prove that this passage teaches the forgiveness of the whole world, without faith, prior to faith before we were born. I quote Mr. Pierce in one comment said...

If you deny that the sins of the whole world have been forgiven on account of the blood sacrifice of Christ, then you have likely fallen into error regarding the atonement. That is, you must reject that Christ has made full satisfaction for the debt of sins for the whole world. Here the debt of sin is defined for us by Paul in the epistle to the Colossians:

"And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him" (Colossians 2:13-15 ESV).
----
After Joe replied saying the context of that passage refers to believers, Jim replied with

I understand that the greater context of the Colossians quotation is directed at believers. However, the text I cite to you deals with the sins of the world. If that is not true, as you assert, then you are left defending a version of limited atonement, which I know you do not want to do, but it is inescapable. Deny that the cancellation of the record of debt, by nailing it to the cross, is universal and you are left with the cancellation of debt only being for some and namely only the elect.

In my study, I find this doctrine of universal objective justification, truly a peculiar doctrine found amongst synodic Lutherans in USA. This doctrine teaches that the whole human race has been declared righteous (effectively forgiven) already even before any of them (humans) ever believed in Christ or not. Faith has nothing to do with this declaration, so they say. In fact if I recall in that interchange, one UOJer opposing Joe Krohn even confessed that Sodom and Gomorrah were forgiven (hence, declared righteous) too. I grin since I recall that God told Abraham if He found 10 righteous people there he would not destroy the twin cities.

Thankfully there are some pastors and theologians who oppose this UOJ teaching on Justification.



Jim homed in on the phrase " having forgiven us all our trespasses" (v.13-14). His contention is the "us" there refers to all human beings and he asserts that if you do not believe like he does, you are guilty of being a Calvinist, believing in Limited Atonement. Is this true?

More at this link.


'via Blog this'

Friday, March 30, 2012

Hitler Loses the UOJ War



Tim Glende:


He has even gone so far as posting a comedic video clip of Hitler discussing UOJ. Jackson’s buddies seem to revel in it all.
---

bruce-church (https://bruce-church.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "Hitler Loses the UOJ War":

I heard Hitler's secret bunker is under the Walther mausoleum. There's an access point in the tunnels of Concordia Seminary, and under the Purple Palace.

---

Brett Meyer has left a new comment on your post "Hitler Loses the UOJ War":

Priceless. My Ichawidow and I are crying we're laughing so hard. The best part is that it's spot on.



Posted by Brett Meyer to Ichabod, The Glory Has Departed at March 31, 2012 9:11 AM



---


LPC has left a new comment on your post "Hitler Loses the UOJ War":

I hope you guys can hear me from here. This is the best laugh for this week.

Very much ROFL.

LPC


---


Adolph Hoenecke has left a new comment on your post "Hitler Loses the UOJ War":

Well, we know the WELS pastors won't know what's really being said. I believe German is now an elective. Who wants to read that Luther guy anyway?

---

Someone:
I think I’ve watched it ten times now.  The Hitler saint in hell, Sodom and the ladies making the irony comment lines were brilliant.

---
Someone else:
I like the video!  It's funny because it's true.

---

bruce-church (https://bruce-church.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "Hitler Loses the UOJ War":

I heard Hitler's secret bunker is under the Walther mausoleum. There's an access point in the tunnels of Concordia Seminary, and under the Purple Palace. 

Zion on the MississippiExplains the Sickness of the Synodical Conference




Forster's Zion on the Mississippi is more than 50 years old, but most facts have not emerged in the mytho-poetic retelling of the Missouri Synod's history.

Close reading explains many characteristics of the LCMS, past and present.

The theology students were influenced by rationalism (university and state church) and by Pietism. There was not a third alternative. However, Stephan did insist on the Confessions, so that distinguished him from other Pietists. Doubtless it provided a foundation for positive influences once Walther took over.

Pietism and Unionistic Protestantism amalgamated to some extent. Zion, p. 15. The main opponent was rationalism, so they had a common cause together. Zion, p. 21.

CFW's connection with Stephan began with his brother, who was first connected with the harsh Pietist, Kuehn.

For the theology students, the Pietistic circle was their alternative to the rationalism of their studies and their future careers. However, the harsh Pietist  Kuehn was not a healthy alternative. Kuehn led the Bible study (philobiblicum) that Lindner started in imitation of Halle methods. Kuehn remained the leader of the Leipzig Pietists until he took a parish in 1831 and died in 1832. Zion, p. 37.

Favorite authors of the Kuehn group included Rambach (Webber's favorite), A. H. Franke, Spener, and Fresenius. Zion, p. 38.

Walther and Buenger became deeply afflicted in trying to atone for their sins through works of the Law. When Kuehn died, that opened the way for Stephan to influence the group. CFW's big brother led them to Stephan's circle, and Stephan alleviated their neurotic obsessions about paying for their sins.

Martin Stephan had not been much of a student, but he became a pastor after studying at Halle University and Leipzig. As I wrote before, he was a Bohemian (Czech) Pietist who accepted a call to a Bohemian Pietist congregation, St. John's in Dresden, after one year in another congregation.

Although the government was against Pietistic cell groups, St. John had permission to hold those meetings at the church because of its charter as a Moravian Pietistic congregation. Therefore, Stephan was a Pietist among Pietists, serving a congregation with direct connections with Zinzendorf.

Stephan was involved in the unionistic Bible Society in Dresden, quite prominent in it. Zion, p. 30. The Dresden Mission Society was another unionistic endeavor where Stephan participated. Zion, p. 30. Lutherans are used to everyone except Missouri being unionistic, but Stephan was too. That was common in Europe where rationalism was the enemy.

Stephan was quite prominent in Dresden and also controversial. Delitsch (Old Testament scholar) admired his work (Zion, p. 51), and Benjamin Kurtz (p. 57) from America came to see him. The Saxon migration was Stephan's mission, his plan - front page news in Europe, when it happened and when it blew up in scandal a few months later.

The leaders of the migration were the pastors, although a few laymen were used as leaders for their skills, too. The lawyers Marbach and Vehse were useful for all of Stephan's troubles, and the tax collector Fred Barthel (p. 57) became the first treasurer (an office that continued in the Missouri Synod).

The clergy followers of Stephan are extremely important, because they were close to one another for years before they knew Stephan, then joined Stephan and organized the migration under his leadership. They were loyal to one cult leader, then transferred loyalty to a new cult leader, Stephan, when Kuehn took a call and died soon after. These clergy (who did not all have parishes) are:

  • O. H. Walther, the older brother of CFW Walther. He died in 1841, so CFW accepted the call to Trinity, his late brother's congregation.
  • CFW Walther, aka the Great Walther, came into the fold via his brother Otto, first as a disciple of Kuehn.
  • Ottomar Fuerbringer, who did not receive a call in Europe, but was trained as a pastor.
  • Johann F. Buenger, the younger pastor in the kidnapping family. His two sisters were wives to CFW, O. H., and Ottomar Fuerbringer, who married the widow of O. H.Walther. Ottomar fathered Ludwig Fuerbringer, pastor in Frankenmuth and president of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. Johann's mother helped with the kidnapping of the Walther niece and nephew and went to prison for a short time.
  • Ernst Keyl battled with Stephan but had to submit to his authority. Zion, p. 39.
  • Gotthold Loeber (Zion, p. 53) also had to submit to the authority of Stephan. Loeber was very close to CFW, since Ferdinand was a tutor at the Loeber estate for two years. That may explain the Walther-Loeber story of the adultery confession (shock!) and everyone knew about it (then why the mob, the threats, the robbery, and kidnapping?). 

When the Society landed in New Orleans, Stephan had the clergy sign a statement making him bishop and pledging their obedience to him. Given the nature of their relationship over the years, it is not surprising that he formalized his relationship to them. Nor is it remarkable that they were willing to sign.


In spite of the ferocity of the mob action organized by CFW Walther, the clergy still refused to confront the bishop directly. They even had a real estate agent take over as prosecutor, with the lawyers helping.

Walther cleverly rescued the cult from their bind and resumed the episcopacy without the title. Just as everyone had to submit to Stephan in the past, everyone had to submit to Walther - not to Scripture. He became the American Pope, not the American Luther. What do the shrines, statues, and outrageous lies about the Great Walther suggest? A cult.






Febreze Has Spoken:
People Are Catching onto the Scam of UOJ

Refreshing thoughts.


Febreze has left a new comment on your post "Dark Thoughts from Black Sheep":

Thanks for that comment. It's VERY simple yet very relevant. They'll spew their Objective Justification (God has forgiven everyone, regardless of faith, at the cross and/or the Resurrection) but then say that there is a subjective part -- faith.

Where I'm coming from, there's no reason to state a "subjective justification" if there is an already declared, divine forgiveness given to all at Christ's death and/or Resurrection.

At this point they'll say I'm misrepresenting how UOJ is to be understood. The fact of the matter is that no matter how anyone describes *their* definition of it, it always incorporates a declaration of forgiveness and Salvation prior to faith.

My advice: don't be fooled by the multiple definitions...stick to Justification by Faith alone as Scripture and the Confessions retain ad nauseum.

Note to those who adhere to this false doctrine of forgiveness given prior to faith: the numbers are rising who realize the heresy of UOJ. It's very refreshing :)



---

Brett Meyer has left a new comment on your post "Febreze Has Spoken:People Are Catching onto the Sc...":

The excommunications will continue until acceptance of UOJ improves.

A Wonderful Unanimity among the Apostates.
All Celebrate Their Guilt-Free Zones,
Until They Extend the Left Foot of Fellowship


bruce-church (https://bruce-church.myopenid.com/) has left a new comment on your post "Children of the Heavenly Father":

UOJ leads to people with over-assured consciences, and that often leads to libertine behavior. Here LCMS Rev. Clint Poppe declares the Lutheran church is a "guilt-free zone," something I don't think Luther would have said, but a UOJer would say it. Luther taught the law and gospel, but in reality UOJers don't preach the law, but only the gospel, since what power does the law have to convict people of sin if people are forgiven before they are even born?

Saying the church is guilt-free is like saying that the laundry room is free of dirty clothes when that's the very place where most dirty clothes is found. The sinful world feels guilt-free, and now the UOJers want people in the church to feel just like the worldly do every day. Why have the church at all since the worldly feel guilt-free without the church?:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church — A No Guilt Zone.
March 30th, 2012Post by Pastor Clint Poppe

http://steadfastlutherans.org/?p=17989

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Rolf Preus on SpenerQuest:

As a matter of fact, this particular thread has shown that there is a wonderful unanimity in teaching on the central doctrine of the Christian religion on the part of the synods that used to comprise the Synodical Conference (tm). Conversations such as these serve to solidify that precious agreement on the truth and to put into perspective our disagreements. I am not one to appeal to synods as authorities in divine teaching, but it is remarkable to me how these conservative / confessional Lutheran synods have remained in fundamental agreement on what is most important.

I'm not sure that we have always rightly applied Romans 16, 17, but I am quite sure that the Apostle does not wish to forbid arguing against false doctrine on a website -- or anywhere else, for that matter.


***

GJ - The SpenerQuest denizens seldom resist an opportunity to start praising one another and thanking God for their purity.

I will get into more detail in a new post, but the UOJ Stormtroopers are exactly in the mold of 19th century liberal theology. All is grace. All are forgiven. The atonement made the entire world free from sin. The Saxon
group was a Pietist cult, following one man, Stephan, who was a serial adulterer and syphlitic. Like all the Stormtroopers he demanded absolute obedience.

Children of the Heavenly Father




Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in Heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.


Lina was the daugh­ter of Jo­nas San­dell, pas­tor of the Lu­ther­an church in Fröd­eryd. At age 26, she ac­com­pa­nied her fa­ther on a boat trip across Lake Vättern to Gö­te­borg, dur­ing which he fell over­board and drowned be­fore her eyes. The tra­ge­dy pro­found­ly af­fect­ed Lina and re­port­ed­ly in­spired her to write hymns. Known as the Fan­ny Cros­by of Swe­den, she wrote 650 hymns. She mar­ried Stock­holm mer­chant C. O. Berg in 1867, but con­tin­ued to in­i­tial her hymns “L. S.”
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/s/a/n/sandell-berg_kw.htm




---

Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel has left a new comment on your post "Children of the Heavenly Father":

Thank you for this special posting! And, also, the background about the author! This song is especially dear to me, as Mom picked it for my father's funeral. I never did know, until that time, that it was one of Dad's personal favorites. Some things, husbands only share with their spouses.

***

GJ - You are welcome, Pastor Bickel. This hymn is loved by many people, and it means a lot to our family, too.

Student Loans on Rise -- for Kindergarten - SmartMoney.com



Student Loans on Rise -- for Kindergarten - SmartMoney.com:


Instead of saving up for their sons' college education, Bill Dunham and his wife are taking out loans for high school. Their eldest son will begin ninth grade at a school in Boston where annual tuition runs around $10,000 -- and they already pay $5,000 a year for their younger child. A project manager for a mechanical construction company, Dunham says the schools referred him to lenders who specialize in pre-college education loans. He's taking a loan to cover his son's full high school tuition, which he plans to repay over two years. "If we had the money, we'd pay it now," he says.

ALSO SEE

Why College Aid Makes College More Expensive
Endowments Grow, but Tuition Stays High
A New Challenge for College-Aid Seekers
It used to be that families first signed up for education loans when their child enrolled in college, but a growing number of parents are seeking tuition assistance as soon as kindergarten. Though data is scarce, private school experts and the small number of lenders who provide loans for kindergarten through 12th grade say pre-college loans are becoming more popular. Your Tuition Solution, one of the largest lenders in this space, says demand for the upcoming year is already up: This month, the total dollar amount of loans families requested rose 10% compared to a year ago; at that pace, the company expects its total funding to rise to $20 million for 2012-13. Separately, First Marblehead, which exited the market in 2008, reentered last year as demand for loans began to rise.

Much of this demand is coming from high-income families. Roughly 20% of families that applied for aid to pay for their children's kindergarten through 12th grade private school education had incomes of $150,000 or more, according to 2010-11 data, the latest from the National Association of Independent Schools. That's up from just 6% in 2002-03. Those who don't get approved for free aid, like grants, increasingly turn to loans, experts say.

For parents who sign up for pre-college loans the risks can be significant. To begin with, they could be repaying the loans for a long time. Sallie Mae's and Your Tuition Solution's pre-college loans have repayment periods of up to three and seven years, respectively. Loans at the Hawken School in Chesterland, Ohio, don't have to be repaid until after the child graduates college. That means parents could be on the hook to repay K-12 and college loans simultaneously. Already, about one in six parents of college graduates have loans, and they're projected to owe nearly $34,000 on average this year, according to FinAid.org. Taking on loans before college leaves parents at risk of owing larger sums of debt, experts say.

Schools are offering their own financing options as well. The Blake School in Hopkins, Minn. says 132 of its families signed up for its 10-month payment plan this year -- which charges an 8.5% fixed rate -- and that's up 19% from the previous academic year. The Hawken School says it provides a small number of loans with a 6% rate. "These loans aren't as taboo as they once were -- there are a lot more schools that are much more willing now to present a loan program as an affordability option," says Kristen Power, northeast regional director for the NAIS' School and Student Services, which processes families' financial aid applications to private schools.

The rise in private school loans coincides with a rise in tuition. The average cost of private school is nearly $22,000 a year, up 4% from a year ago and up 26% from 2006-07, according to the NAIS. While schools increased their financial aid budgets, the gap between free aid and tuition costs is getting bigger for many parents. As a result, enrollment is dropping as fewer families can afford to pay. Total private school enrollment is projected at around 5.3 million this year, down 11% from 2007, according to the Department of Education.


'via Blog this'


Good morning Pastor Jackson,
This sounds a bit like the direction that I have seen the Lutheran Elementary and Area High Schools go. Many have encouraged parents to take on more debt.


***


GJ - "Sorry kid. You cannot go to high school. You have used up your student loan limit."

Lord, Thee I Love

Art by Norma Boeckler.



"Lord, Thee I Love with All My Heart" by Martin Schalling, 1532-1608
Translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1829-1878

1. Lord, Thee I love with all my heart;
I pray Thee ne'er from me depart,
With tender mercies cheer me.
Earth has no pleasure I would share,
Yea, heaven itself were void and bare
If Thou, Lord, wert not near me.
And should my heart for sorrow break,
My trust in Thee no one could shake.
Thou art the Portion I have sought;
Thy precious blood my soul has bought.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
Forsake me not! I trust Thy Word.

2. Yea, Lord, 'twas Thy rich bounty gave
My body, soul, and all I have
In this poor life of labor.
Lord, grant that I in every place
May glorify Thy lavish grace
And serve and help my neighbor.
Let no false doctrine me beguile
And Satan not my soul defile.
Give strength and patience unto me
To bear my cross and follow Thee.
Lord Jesus Christ,
My God and Lord, my God and Lord,
In death Thy comfort still afford.

3. Lord, let at last Thine angels come,
To Abram's bosom bear me home,
That I may die unfearing;
And in its narrow chamber keep
My body safe in peaceful sleep
Until Thy reappearing.
And then from death awaken me
That these mine eyes with joy may see,
O Son of God, Thy glorious face,
My Savior and my Fount of grace,
Lord Jesus Christ,
My prayer attend, my prayer attend,
And I will praise Thee without end.

Hymn #429 from The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Psalm 18
Author: Martin Schalling, c. 1567
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1863, alt.
Titled: "Herzlich lieb hab' ich dich, o Herr"
Tune: "Herzlich lieb hab' ich dir, o Herr"
1st Published in: Berhnard Schmid's Orgelbuch
Town: Strassburg, 1577


Spelling Counts

Anonymous spells better when he copies and pastes.
His counting skills are stunted, too.


From the Fake-o-Blog, after his Twelve Step Meeting:


Anonymous said...
If Jackson's blog was (sic) as popular as he claims it is, and I frankly think he is lying even about that, he would have more than two people commenting on his blog posts. The LPCruz guy and a "member" of his "congregation" the Brett Meaier (sic) guy.

***

GJ - Only two obvious errors in two sentences! You are improving. Since the Appleton Plagiarist uses Google Blogger, the graphics should be familiar, but not the large numbers.

Copy and paste the graphics from the statistics page and show us the results for the day, week, and all-time.

---

Brett Meyer has left a new comment on your post "Spelling Counts":

I may have heavily skewed the "all-time" stats since I visited the anti-Ichabod site six times this week to check on their response to my request for discussion.

Sorry, about that.

***

GJ - You are entitled to a few laughs, Brett.

Everyone is impressed with the fake blogger's production.
Copy and paste is not the easiest task.

Dark Thoughts from Black Sheep



Der Schwarz Schaf has left a new comment on your post "Condescending LaughQuest Denizens Hep Out Joe Kroh...":

Hi,

Would someone please answer this question:

(Maybe Dr. Weber would be so kind.)


If I am declared completely forgiven, holy, and righteous in God's eyes, by God Himself, already before I was born or came to faith, then what, please, is the point of believing or having faith in the first place?

If you say - well, God commands us to have faith, then it seems to me that you have turned faith into a law that must be kept in order to be saved. Isn't that work-righteousness?! I don't get it.

Are we saved by faith in Jesus as our Savior, or are we saved regardless of whether we believe in Jesus or not? Help!!!

Lost!

---

Febreze has left a new comment on your post "Dark Thoughts from Black Sheep":

Thanks for that comment. It's VERY simple yet very relevant. They'll spew their Objective Justification (God has forgiven everyone, regardless of faith, at the cross and/or the Resurrection) but then say that there is a subjective part -- faith.

Where I'm coming from, there's no reason to state a "subjective justification" if there is an already declared, divine forgiveness given to all at Christ's death and/or Resurrection.

At this point they'll say I'm misrepresenting how UOJ is to be understood. The fact of the matter is that no matter how anyone describes *their* definition of it, it always incorporates a declaration of forgiveness and Salvation prior to faith.

My advice: don't be fooled by the multiple definitions...stick to Justification by Faith alone as Scripture and the Confessions retain ad nauseum.

Note to those who adhere to this false doctrine of forgiveness given prior to faith: the numbers are rising who realize the heresy of UOJ. It's very refreshing :)

Who Predicted ELCA Seminary Mergers?
Ichabod!

"It's not what you think, Brett."



ELCA NEWS SERVICE
March 27, 2012
Lenoir-Rhyne University, Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary to merge

CHICAGO (ELCA) - At a March 26 signing ceremony, representatives of Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C., and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., celebrated the decision to merge the two institutions, effective July 1. The merger is the first such combination of an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) seminary and university since the founding of this church in 1987. The ceremony took place at the Martin Luther Statue on Shaw Plaza in Hickory.

With the merger, Lenoir-Rhyne University is establishing a school of theology which will include an ELCA seminary -- Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. The seminary will retain its own name and identity while integrating with the larger university system.

The ELCA has eight seminaries and 26 colleges and universities.

The merger illustrates "the kind of trust that developed among the leaders of each institution," said the Rev. Marcus J. Miller in a Lenoir-Rhyne news release. "Before, we had compatible missions. Going forward we have the promise of a vibrant, singular mission. That's powerful," said Miller, who will retire as president of the seminary this summer.

Dr. Wayne B. Powell, president of Lenoir-Rhyne, called the merger a "win-win" for both institutions. "As one university, we will be both broader and deeper, and that makes it a win for students, faculty and alumni."

"Both institutions will be enriched with a greater diversity and an increased capacity to serve both church and society," said ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson.

In 2011 the boards of Lenoir-Rhyne and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary recommended that the institutions enter into a formal collaborative partnership leading to a merger. The recommendation came as a result of a feasibility study initiated when it became clear between the boards and institutions that each had similar goals and strong reputations.

"There was a time and place decades ago when seminaries were integral units of colleges and universities," according to the Rev. Mark N. Wilhelm, who oversees the mission leadership of ELCA schools, colleges and universities.

Wilhelm said the merger "is the first for the ELCA. It's somewhat a 'back to the future' movement."

Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary was founded in 1830 and has been located at its current campus in Columbia since 1911. Lenoir-Rhyne was founded in 1891 by four Lutheran pastors.

The Odd Couple, Hanson and Schori.

ELCA Says, "Write Your Own Sermons."
WELS Says, "Plagiarize Ur Idols. LOL."



My source:

This article proves that even the ELCA can be correct at times as Pastor Schmalenberger slams people giving sermons written by others as they "lack integrity and border on fraud and deceitfulness."  Can't get much clearer than that.  It kind of reminds me of when I was at Sem in St Louis and one of the profs said that the biggest complaint CPH received was that Concordia Pulpit had a blue cover instead of a red one; with a blue cover, pastors couldn't take it into the pulpit and pretend it was a "Bible."  The cover color was eventually changed to red.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

ELCA, LCMS, and the Antichrist


Condescending LaughQuest Denizens Hep Out Joe Krohn


David Jay Webber (Djw) 
Perhaps something that has contributed toward Mr. Krohn's confusion on what the authentic Lutheran teaching is, is that he was accepted into membership in an LCMS church, even though the one and only reason for his having been disciplined in his former WELS church was his rejection of objective justification. On that point, the LCMS pastor and church should probably have told him that the LCMS and the WELS are in agreement regarding objective justification, so that a rejection or questioning of this doctrine is not in itself a valid reason either to depart from the WELS or to go to the LCMS. 


If his previous WELS pastor had perhaps not explained objective justification clearly, or if he had explained it in a misleading way, that pastor could have been encouraged to read WELS Pastor Jon Buchholz's essay on the topic, in which Buchholz points out and corrects certain weak and even erroneous forms of expression that have sometimes been used in WELS to explain this doctrine; and in which Buchholz also lays out the balanced and correct way to explain it. 


His crypto-Universalism is different from J. P. Meyer's?
How?






Mr. Krohn likewise should have been encouraged to read and study this essay himself. But on this particular issue, Mr. Krohn should have been guided back toward a reconciliation with his WELS pastor and church, and not to have been taken into LCMS membership, as if the LCMS does not also embrace and confess objective justification.


Jim Pierce (Jim_pierce)
For those who are interested, Mr. Krohn has his own blog Luther Rocks. If one were so inclined to do a search against Dr. Jackson Ichabod blog, you would find many a comment by Mr. Krohn aka "Luther Rocks" in support of Dr. Jackson and Jackson's views against OJ. 


If I am mistaken, then please correct me, Mr. Krohn. 


Btw, Mr. Krohn is somewhat of a hero in the Jackson sect, because he was "persecuted" for his faith and kicked out of his WELS congregation for teaching against OJ, according to the information at Dr. Jackson's blog. Please correct that if it is wrong, Mr. Krohn.


***


GJ - I recall Joe Krohn daring to ask about the WELS-LCMS fund-raising fee of $40,000. Never get between a Changer and his money.




---
Brett Meyer has left a new comment on your post "Condescending LaughQuest Denizens Hep Out Joe Kroh...":

Pastor Webber is directing people to (W)ELS DP Buchholz' Universal Justification paper for clarity. He's got to be kidding. Note that it was Pastor Jon Buchholz' primary goal in writting the essay to move people to use terms that Scripture uses to describe and teach the doctrine of Justification. Here's the clarity and return to Scriptural verbage that Buchholz provided:

"God has forgiven the whole world. God has forgiven everyone his sins." This statement is absolutely true! This is the heart of the gospel, and it must be preached and taught as the foundation of our faith. But here’s where the caveat comes in: In Scripture, the word "forgive" is used almost exclusively in a personal, not a universal sense. The Bible doesn’t make the statement, "God has forgiven the world."

"God has forgiven all sins, but the unbeliever rejects God’s forgiveness." Again, this statement is true—and Luther employed similar terminology to press the point of Christ’s completed work of salvation.16 But we must also recognize that Scripture doesn’t speak this way."

"God has declared the entire world righteous." This statement is true, as we understand it to mean that God has rendered a verdict of "not-guilty" toward the entire world. It is also true—and must be taught—that the righteousness of Christ now stands in place of the world’s sin; this is the whole point of what Jesus did for us at Calvary. However, once again we’re wresting a term out of its usual context. In Scripture the term "righteous" usually refers to believers." [GJ - "Usually"?]

What a scam these guys are pulling over on the laity and weak willed clergy!

***



GJ - Buchholz portrayed his paper as a corrective, so they could slither away from the Kokomo Statements, which they lied about while supporting and enforcing them.

Buchholz considers himself an expert, but when I asked him about studying the issue, he said, "I haven't unpacked your book." I did not go to him about UOJ. He went to me. He had time to dig a giant pool, worthy of an emperor, but not time to study the Word. The requirement is "apt to teach," not "apt to swim."

Thy Strong Word has been available free on the Net for years, so he could have done that without unpacking his books.

Webber is another one who pursues the logical fallacy of Special Pleading. He endlessly repeats the same, lame arguments. He has no grasp of his errors because any interruption causes the recording to play over again.


The New NIV Contradicts Inerrancy with Its
Mytho-Porno-Feminist Language



Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel has left a new comment on your post "WELS Translators Do Due Diligence":

My wife and I are presently members of a WELS congregation. We have been having a very tough time thinking how it would be conscionable for us to remain with WELS should WELS choose the gender neutral Bible (NIV11) for its official publications. The very reality that WELS is considering the NIV11 is distressing and also, revolting to us.

We believe the choice is both simple and clear. I continue reading literature from WELS and our local congregation that WELS is committed to sound doctrinal Christian belief and practice, based upon the inerrant Word of God. However, the very consideration of the gender neutral NIV11, renders that repeated resolve, inconsistent (incompatible).

Adopting a gender neutral Bible is tantamount to messing with God's Word. I prefer to liken it to "molestation" of God's written revelation. Adopting gender neutrality in Scripture, has the effect of humanly micro managing and tweaking Scripture to suit one's own (carnal political correctness, Bible study slothfulness, or, whatever) ends. There is no Scriptural or rational excuse to intentionally remove and / or alter / edit Scripture's patriarchal language. Doing so would be akin to literary revisionism, - as the altering of other literary works of antiquity, such as Homer's Iliad, Caesar's Gallic Wars, Josephus’ writings, etc. Even in the secular world, I’m convinced that many would consider this, type of "editing alteration," unconscionable and irresponsible.

Scripture, itself makes it clear that "every word of God is pure." Scripture, also states that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God" [God-breathed - the very words] - [Proverbs 30:5-6 ; 2 Timothy 3:14-17]

If WELS leadership and congregational pastors would be (Biblically) wise, (and aware of the offense they are conveying), they would drop the NIV11 consideration from their mix of options. Presently, I'm reminded of the Scriptural reality: ".....Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you....." [2 Corinthians 6:14-18 - in context]

It speaks volumes that the large [Christian] Southern Baptist Conference gave thumbs down to the NIV11. Knowing that the Southern Baptists are committed to the doctrinal teaching of Biblical inerrancy as well as the continued (such) profession of WELS – we ask ourselves the rational question: “How can WELS persist in riding the fence, including a gender neutral translation in the mix of its consideration for a new translation change for synodical and congregational publications?”

Again, I believe, it all boils down to shifting the patriarchal language of Scripture [the manuscripts] and “adapting” the present culture’s ever changing language usage. It will be utterly gagging to my wife and me, (should WELS adopt the NIV11) to hear WELS synodical leadership and pastors profess the “inerrancy of Scripture” having [then] decided that the NIV11 was acceptable for synodical publications and congregational usage!

Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel
www.thechristianmessage.org

***

GJ - Somehow the "conservative" Lutherans have left all KJV alternatives off the table. We all know why WELS is going to <s>finesse</s> study the issue - they knew they would be clobbered at the district meetings.

Lutherans are free to choose between Romanism or Fullerism:
anything is better than Lutheran doctrine, the leaders say.

Fake-o-Blog Accuses Luther of Contradicting Himself



Nothing is more pathetic than Luther-haters quoting the Reformer to promote their false doctrine.

If Luther did teach UOJ, then the quotation from the same commentary--in the graphic--contradicts the fake's citation.

I figure Jim Pierce provided the quotation, because Tim Glende is too lazy to find something from Luther. Maybe Uncle John forwarded it to him.

I read every word of the Galatians commentary out loud to Mrs. Ichabod. We have read thousands of pages of Luther together. The Reformer did not contradict himself. He never departed from the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace.

The Luther-haters use the hunt and peck method. They look for what they want and bray about it, never thinking their claims only show how little they know.



Beware of Crypto-Calvinists Selling Calvinist Bibles to Lutherans

Paulus locutus est - causa finita est.


Paul McCain is selling his Calvinist Bible from a supposedly Lutheran publishing house, simultaneously warning everyone about crypto-Calvinism.

Driscoll, on the far left, is the potty-mouth pastor admired by Glende and Ski.
J. I. Packer is a famous Calvinist who edited McCain's favorite Bible, the ESV.

rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Beware of Crypto-Calvinists Selling Calvinist Bibl...":

I once made a Crypto Calvinist bristle when I jokingly referred to him as one. The whole premise of Crypto Calvinism is deceit. They say that they are Lutheran, but are really in the Reformed camp.

***

GJ - The crypto-Calvinists are no longer crypto, as one NPH publication stated. To be precise, the main influence in the Synodical Conference (tm) is Arminian, Decision Theology.

Time To Study John Calvin

John Calvin was a prolific author.



J-721
"When intent upon establishing their peculiar tenets, Calvin and Zwingli likewise preferred rational argumentation to the plain proofs of Holy Writ. Their interpretation of the words of the Sacrament is but one glaring instance; but there are many more. The schools and the denominations which they founded became infected with this same disease of theology."
Martin S. Sommer, Concordia Pulpit for 1932, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1931, p. iii.

J-722
John Calvin, Commentaries, Amos 8:11-12: "...we are touched with some desire for strong doctrine, it evidently appears that there is some piety in us; we are not destitute of the Spirit of God, although destitute of the outward means."
            Benjamin Milner, Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Heicko A.Oberman, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 109. CO, XLIII, 153.

J-723
“Wherefore, with regard to the increase and confirmation of faith, I would remind the reader (though I think I have already expressed it in unambiguous terms), that in assigning this office to the Sacraments, it is not as if I thought that there is a kind of secret efficacy perpetually inherent in them, by which they can of themselves promote or strengthen faith, but because our Lord has instituted them for the express purpose of helping to establish and increase our faith. The Sacraments duly perform their office only when accompanied by the Spirit, the internal Master, whose energy alone penetrates the heart, stirs up the affections, and procures access for the Sacraments into our souls. If He is wanting, the Sacraments can avail us no more than the sun shining on the eyeballs of the blind, or sounds uttered in the ears of the deaf. Wherefore, in distributing between the Spirit and the Sacraments, I ascribe the whole energy to Him, and leave only a ministry to them; this ministry, without the agency of the Spirit, is empty and frivolous, but when He acts within, and exerts His power, it is replete with energy. ...then, it follows, both that the Sacraments do not avail one iota without the energy of the Holy Spirit; and that yet in hearts previously taught by that preceptor, there is nothing to prevent the Sacraments from strengthening and increasing faith.”
            John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 volumes, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970, I, p. 497. Also cited in Benjamin Charles Milner, Jr., Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 119. Institutes. IV.xiv.9.

J-724
“We must not suppose that there is some latent virtue inherent in the Sacraments by which they, in themselves, confer the gifts of the Holy Spirit upon us, in the same way in which wine is drunk out of a cup, since the only office divinely assigned them is to attest and ratify the benevolence of the Lord towards us; and they avail no farther than accompanied by the Holy Spirit to open our minds and hearts, and make us capable of receiving this testimony, in which various distinguished graces are clearly manifested… They [the Sacraments] do not of themselves bestow any grace, but they announce and manifest it, and, like earnests and badges, give a ratification of the gifts which the divine liberality has bestowed upon us.”
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 volumes, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970, I, p. 503. Institutes, IV, XIV, 17. 

J-725
“But assuming that the body and blood of Christ are attached to the bread and wine, then the one must necessarily be dissevered from the other. For the bread is given separately from the cup, so the body, united to the bread, must be separated from the blood, included in the cup.”
John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 volumes, Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1970, I, p. 570. Institutes, IV, XVII, 18.

J-726
John Calvin, Institutes IV.xvii.19: "We must establish such a presence of Christ in the supper as may neither fasten Him to the element of bread, not enclose Him in bread, not circumscribe Him in any way (all of which clearly derogate from His heavenly glory)...."
Benjamin Charles Milner, Jr., Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 128.

J-727
John Calvin, True Method of Reforming the Church: "The offspring of believers are born holy, because their children, while yet in the womb, before they breathe the vital air, have been adopted into the covenant of eternal life."
Benjamin Charles Milner, Jr., Calvin's Doctrine of the Church, Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1970, p. 123. 


***

GJ - Two characteristics of John Calvin are most important. First of all, he separates the work of the Holy Spirit from the Word and Sacraments.


I. Enthusiasm
Calvin is an Enthusiast in divorcing the Spirit from the Word. Luther, Melanchthon, the Concordists, and the post-Concord Lutherans were clear, forceful, and consistent in following the Scriptures in this fine summary from Hoenecke - "The Spirit never without the Word. The Word never without the Spirit. That is sound doctrine."


UOJ has all babies born forgiven (Eduard Preuss and J. P. Meyer) while Calvin has the children of believers born holy. The difference is UOJ's crypto-Universalism, which makes it so easy to join Rome or ELCA or Craig Groeschel or anyone else.


Grace without the Means of Grace is characteristic of Calvin and UOJ, except Calvin is relatively consistent.


II. Reason above Scripture
Calvin placed human reason above Scripture, but Luther understood the Word of God as revelation that transcended and often opposed human reason. 


The problem of Calvin's magisterial use of reason is where to stop. If the Real Presence of Christ is a mystery that cannot be explained by human reason, then so are the Two Natures of Christ. If someone cannot calculate the waters being sufficient to cover the earth in the Genesis Flood, then it did not happen.


Lutherans treat the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace as central to the Gospel, foundational for everything claimed about the true Christian Church. 


Schleiermacher - Halle and UOJ



Brett Meyer has left a new comment on your post "Fail-o-Blog Should Call Himself the Real Calvin":

So (W)ELS' chief UOJ theologian Siegbert W. Becker was channeling Schleiermacher when he wrote their confession of the false gospel of Universal Justification.

Becker - "But there are times when a Christian does not know that he has faith. And many people who think they have faith do not have it, and many that think they are not believers are believing children of God."
http://www.wlsessays.net/files/BeckerJustification.PDF

Becker's essay is ground zero for this false teaching in the (W)ELS. It's required reading for anyone who cares to know what the (W)ELS teaching concerning this doctrine including his determination that the Kokomo statements contained no false doctrine.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Appleton Mission Vision

Tim and Ski have a dream, a vision,
SMART goals.

"We'll buy some de-lousing spray at Lowe's."

Historic St. John Lutheran Church, Milwaukee.



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rlschultz has left a new comment on your post "Appleton Mission Vision":

What a juxtaposition! Both physically and theologically, The Core and Historic St. John Lutheran Church are polar opposites.

Fail-o-Blog Should Call Himself the Real Calvin


From Lito Cruz:
I posted on Fake Ichabod let's see if they do not moderate it.
---

The Real Calvinists are the UOJers. I tell you why...

1.) UOJers follow the same paradigm as Calvinists. Like Calvinists, UOJers equate the Atonement with Justification only in the case of Calvinism, the Calvinist conclude Atonement is limited. While the UOJers conclude justification is for all.

2. Here is where UOJers are also similar in paradigm but in the opposite direction. When the pronouns "we", "our" are used for all people in Scripture, Calvinists think these refer to the elect. When the pronouns "we", "our" are used for the saints in Scripture, UOJers think these refer to the world. JBFA people are the ones who get these pronouns correct. The point is that it is your paradigm and method of interpretation that make you Calvinistic and in fact UOJers are crypto-Universalist.

So you do not believe since you are Universalists you can not be a Calvinists? Sure you can be, just look at Karl Barth and the present Unitarians, they all began in Calvinism.

***

GJ - Karl Barth was profoundly influenced by Schleiermacher, the Halle Pietist who pioneered faith without belief.

I will post more on Calvin tomorrow.

The Barth Home
Who is standing close to the old goat Karl? - Charlotte Kirschbaum.
and who is standing farthest away? - his wife.
Truly Karl was the model for the Church Growth leader,
just as he was the official theologian for Fuller Seminary.

Are Some of Those UOJ Fanatics Really Justification by Faith Guys - In Substance?

LCMS and ELCA pastors who join Rome or Eastern Orthodoxy
have this comfort awaiting them.



Someone theorized that some UOJ cheerleaders are justification by faith alone - deep down. I am sure that some are confused and really JBFA, but most are not. 

Furthermore, their ambiguous language deceives many people. One must account for their belligerent name-calling and attacks against faith itself. In addition, some--like Rolf--switch sides when convenient and switch back again. That is not a confession but opportunism. The Preus clan is famous for that - The Two Natures of Jack Preus, etc.
 
Most of the UOJ tribe suffer from top-doggism. Each one  wants to be more UOJ than the others. Knapp's original formula is flexible enough to appease mild Lutherans, but it gets more ridiculous with each generation. The Sodomites are righteous Christ? Guilt-free saints in Hell?
 
My doctrinal test is this - If someone cannot articulate the efficacy of the Word in the Means of Grace, then he is not an orthodox Christian. He has no grasp of Luther, Melanchthon, Chemnitz, Chytraeus, Leyser, or Gerhard.
 
The people who fail the test are really unionistic Pietists. They have taken on the patina of Lutherdom but they are Calvinists on the inside, in substance. That is why Pentecostalism and Church Growth grew so fast in Missouri, CG in WELS and the Little Sect on the Prairie.

The answer is Eastern Orthodoxy or joining the Church of Rome - proof that Missouri pastors are devoid of Lutheran doctrinal discernment.

WELS pastors are so starved for the Gospel that the Babtists draw  them like Velcro attracts lint.

Rolf Preus is UOJ, except for brief JBFA vacations.

Mid-Week Lenten Service




Mid-Week Lenten Vespers


Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/bethany-lutheran-worship

Bethany Lutheran Worship, 6 PM Phoenix Time

The Hymn #347 Jesus, Priceless Treasure 2:77
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody Psalm p. 123
The Lection The Passion History

The Sermon Hymn #175 When I Survey 2:43  

The Sermon –   The True Vine

The Prayers
The Lord’s Prayer
The Collect for Grace p. 45

The Hymn #558 All Praise 2:8


 KJV John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.


The True Vine

Spring is a good time to speak about Jesus as the True Vine.

The Bible is filled with Creation metaphors, which are impossible to forget. The Song of the Vineyard is from Isaiah.

KJV Isaiah 5:1 Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. 4 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 5 And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: 6 And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. 7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry. 8 Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth! 9 In mine ears said the LORD of hosts, Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant. 10 Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of an homer shall yield an ephah.

The Kingdom of God is compared to yeast growing in dough, a treasure buried in a field, the pearl of great price, and seed being sown.

The more we learn about Creation, the more we understand about these comparisons.

Many of us have grown roses, rather than grapes. A whole group of plants are just like grapes in the way they produce and grow. So I will use the rose bush as the example.

John 15:1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Verse one shows Jesus as the True Vine, the eternal-life giving source for all those who believe. The Father-Son relationship is described with the Father as the vine-dresser (gardener or farmer).

The True Vine is similar to the Good Shepherd. While the Good Shepherd is compared to all shepherd, the Good Shepherd is the shepherd above all shepherds, Who does what no mere human would do – He lays down His life for the sheep and takes it up again.

The True Vine has characteristics of the rose, so we remember better. Since Jesus is the Lord of Creation, all the characteristics described are those He imbued in them at the beginning.

2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

This is the yes or no of the Christian faith. One is a believer or not. The unbeliever bears no fruit and is taken away. The believer bears fruit and is pruned to bear even more fruit.

Fruiting plants want to bear seed, and they begin with a flower. Even lawngrass grows a flower. The rose blooms so it can set seed in its fruit, the rose hip. The roses that have productive hips are used to produce Vitamin C and rose hip tea.

Rosarians are like vinedressers. They prune their plants to make them more fruitful. There are two reasons to prune roses. Deadwood is pruned away. Any deadwood on a rose plant will hamper it from growing. The moment it is pruned, the rose will grow better and faster. Pruning the right way is a skill, but amateurs do not prune at all and have non-bearing roses.

Here He says “every branch in Me” which means those who were with Him but have lost faith. Judas has just departed from Jesus at this point, so he is the unfruitful one who will be taken away.

The disciples are the fruitful branches that will be cleansed to become more fruitful.

This is the two-fold pruning of the rose (or grapevine). The deadwood is cut away, and the productive parts are also pruned to grow even more.

There is a way to prune a rose where the right cut will produce 4 roses (not the whiskey) the cut.  Even a bad cut will help, but a judicious cut will help, beautify, shape, and stimulate the bush.

That by itself should give us pause. Why is this good for the plant? The answer is – because the Creating Word designed it that way, in His wisdom.

John 15:3 Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you.

So the Vinedresser knows how to cleanse us through contrition and forgiveness, to make us more fruitful for the Kingdom.

God’s forgiveness, love, and compassion makes us eager to serve Him. Likewise, when this is part of our lives, everything is improved by the presence of this Gospel forgiveness and love and compassion in what we do.

John 15:4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.

We have no eternal-life apart from Christ. The branch separated from the rose bush is dead and cannot bear anything. When we abide (remain, stay with) Christ through the Means of Grace, He abides in us.

This three-fold use of “abide” reminds us that this is the action of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

We are branches of the True Vine, so all our life comes from Him. Therefore, simply remaining in Him, believing in Him, studying the Gospel, receiving Holy Communion, dwelling on His Promises – these Instruments of His grace will make us very fruitful.
Apart from Him we can do nothing.

Without faith, everything is a sin. In faith, everything glorifies Him.

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

This is about apostasy, having faith and falling away from Him. If someone stops believing in Jesus, he is like the deadwood that is cut away, withers up, gathered up, thrown into the fire and burned.

Gardeners do not leave deadwood on the ground after pruning, because it promotes disease and harmful insects. When apostates are tolerated in the visible church, they are harmful. It is a sign of the Endtimes that apostates are rewarded and promoted while the faithful are punished by their own clergy – not by unbelievers of the outside world – by the unbelievers who remain in the visible church but no longer abide in the True Vine.

John 15:7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

After all these Gospel promises, this great promise is given us. The basic Gospel truths build up our faith. But the Son of God promises even more. Those who remain in Him are encouraged to ask whatever they want it will be done. That is a remarkable promise, one which is made many times over in the Bible.

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

This is another turn on this passage. Bearing fruit glorifies the Father, not us, and makes us His disciples. This is done in such a miraculous way that people can only say, “God accomplished this.” Thus we can describe Paul, Augustine, and Luther the same way. It was not human reason but the overwhelming power of the Word that converted them and made them fruitful.

John 15:9 As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.

For good reason the Gospel of John has been called the Gospel of love, for its emphasis upon God’s love.

John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

Keeping Jesus’ Word is abiding in His love and following His example.