The Glory Has Departed

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

Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

Audio Gutenberg - Travis and Lauren Cartee

Audio Gutenberg Blog

Bethany Lutheran Worship on Ustream

Sunday, 10 AM
Central Daylight Time.
Lenten Services Wednesdays - 7 PM, Central Standard Time. Greek starts after the Ash Wednesday service.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.


    Essential Lutheran Books
Lutheran Resources and Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Jackson's Amazon Author's Page

Lutheran Librarian Author's Page - Print Books

All Bethany Lutheran Media Ministries

Dropbox links to free public domain books, Lenski Commentaries, Keil-Delitzsch, Luther's Sermons,
plus free books edited and written by Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Navigation for Luther's Sermons, Lenker Edition

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:10-13 KJV

Alec Satin, Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry - Ebooks

How to Send Money to the Bethany Philippine Mission

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Saxon Exodus to America Did Not Arise from Persecution but from Prosecution.
Syphilitic Stephan Was Under Arrest. His Career Was Over.

narrow-minded has left a new comment on your post "Another Resurgence of Rationalism in the Lutheran ...":

From what I recall from "Zion on the Mississippi," it would be a false claim to say the Saxons came to the States to escape persecution. Had Stephan not defiantly held his illegal small group meetings, the government would have left him alone. I'm sure the "late night nature walks" with the ladies didn't help his credibility in either country. Stephan rings of Jim Jones and other cult leaders. Is that Kool-Aid in the chalice?

Randy Hunter, the Failed Latte Church Leader, Will Teach All of WELS about What?
Paul Kelm Speaks from Retirement - Harder To Get Rid of Than Ski

Wisconsin Lutheran College - Center for Christian Leadership:

Center for Christian Leadership

Leadership Conference 2013
WLC's Second Annual Leadership Conference

Epic fail - thanks to the morons behind this leadership conference.

WELS favors safe sects.
It's Luther they can't stand.

  • Sponsored by the Center for Christian Leadership at Wisconsin Lutheran College, in cooperation with the Commission on Congregational Counseling of the WELS.
  • Saturday, May 4, 2013, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., in the Raabe Theatre of Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, and simulcast via the internet to participating congregations.
  • Opening presentation by Dr. Richard Gurgel of Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary on the theological rationale for sharing best practices in ministry.
  • Five sessions - each with 30 minutes of presentation, 25 minutes of application to their congregation's ministry by participants, and the introduction of a book to assist leaders in follow-through. The five sessions will be:
    • DEVELOPING LEADERS by St. Andrew in Middleton, Wisconsin. Pastor Randy Hunter and a key lay leader. [Hahahahahahahaha.]
    • CREATING MISSION MINDEDNESS by Immanuel in Greenville, Wisconsin. Pastor David Scharf and two key lay leaders.
    • SMALL GROUP MINISTRY by St. Paul in Muskego, Wisconsin. Pastor Peter Panitzke and a key staff leader. [Not Peter Pan! Give us a break!]
    • RECRUITING AND ENGAGING VOLUNTEERSby Hope in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Pastor Jason Ewart and a key lay leader.
    • GETTING THINGS DONE by Faith in Sharpsburg, GA. Pastor Jonathan Schroeder and a key lay leader. [Cell groups - that's a real Lutheran Pietist.]
  • The goal of the conference is to provide church leaders practical examples and tools that they can adapt to their own ministry context in the most user-friendly format possible. A secondary goal is to demonstrate the ability of technology to facilitate leadership development and ministry enhancement for the future. [They can get that free from Ichabod and Bethany Lutheran - without all the Fuller/Willowcreek nonsense.]
  • Congregations participating via simulcast will be provided step-by-step technological instructions and a test date in advance.
  • Cost: $60 per "live" participant at the college, which includes continental breakfast and lunch; $150 per congregation participating via simulcast with as many leaders as possible.

'via Blog this'

Luther is definitely the bogey-man in WELS - always do the opposite.
The worship comment makes perfect sense for idiots who reject the Means of  Grace.

Cost of Seminary a Scandal - And LCMS Charges Far More Than the Average

bruce-church ( has left a new comment on your post "LCMS Seminary Cost Scandal: Fabulous Costs To Supp...":

'Cost of Seminary Is Out of Control,' Says President of The Urban Ministry Institute:

NEW YORK – Pointing to research showing that the average cost of a seminary education ranges from $35,000 - $50,000, the president of The Urban Ministry Institute (TUMI), Don Davis, said the hefty price tag has become one of the main barriers to training more leaders for ministry.

"Frankly, traditional education costs too much. The cost of seminary is out of control, $35,000 - $50,000 is the average," said Davis at the "Educate: Empower" conference of church leaders at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan, N.Y., on Thursday.

"People come out of seminary and they can't go to a little congregation where on a good Sunday our offering is $27.20. They have to service a loan. They will not go to a poor church. It's a bad system. We train people and none of them deploy to urban poor neighborhoods. None of them virtually," he added.

Classic Ichabod -

bruce-church ( has left a new comment on your post "LCMS Seminary Cost Scandal: Fabulous Costs To Supp...":

Average LCMS seminary graduates owes $30 grand at least. 10% of seminary graduates owe over $50 grand.

The pastors must all be choosing the 30-year payoff option on their student loans (rather than the more common 10-year payoff), since a representative sample of LCMS pastors (between 1 and 30+ years of service) were asked how much student debt they still had to pay off, and the median figure was a whopping $18,100!


The Pastor Debt Monster
LCEF conducted a survey in 2011. This was a similar survey to one conducted in 2006. The respondents ranged from newly called workers to those having been in the ministry several (30+) years. This tends to “skew” the medians. The respondents were nearly equally divided into ranges of 0-10, 10- 19, 20-29 and 30+ years in the ministry, The median numbers for those in each category, for example, is not available. However a couple of things that jump out: The median level of outstanding STUDENT LOAN debt was $18.1K. On the surface, that doesn’t appear alarming. However this figure is 20% higher than reported in 2006. In addition, the number of workers that incurred student loan debt increased from 48% to 61%. Those reporting outstanding debt in excess of $50K increased from 4% in 2006 to 10% in 2011. An increase of 250%!....

Based on this data my guess that the average (not median) for my 2009 graduating class was at least $30k per student is probably accurate. That’s over $4 mil for the graduating class of CSL/CTSFW of 2009 alone.

Another Resurgence of Rationalism in the Lutheran Church.
Unhitching Doctrine from the Efficacy of the Word Is Pietism's Gift to Apostasy

Why u no trust the Word of God?
Pietism has had several peaks. The first came after Spener blended Calvinism with Lutheran doctrine. When Halle University--founded to teach Pietism--turned rationalistic in one generation, a hybrid formed in Europe. The state churches were thoroughly rationalistic, but some people and pastors still believed in the basics of the Christian faith. 

The Lutheran pastors who came to America were hybrids. They received plenty of rationalistic training. Several examples would be Stephan, Walther, and Hoenecke. But they also were influenced by Pietism and unionism.

Our family friend, whose parents are from Taiwan, was considered too Asian for the American girls, but the Taiwanese girls thought he was too American.

Likewise, the American Lutheran pioneers are often seen as leaving Europe so they could escape the oppression of their rationalistic state churches. Like the Swedish Augustana Synod, they looked to mission societies and Pietistic methods as their uniting characteristics against the dark background of a degraded state church.

Bishop Stephan, syphilis and all, led his congregation and his circle of pastors through the Pietistic cell group. Augustana involved itself in revivals and temperance causes (Pietism). The General Synod had altar calls and the mourner's bench, where individuals moved by an emotional sermon came forward to confess their sins and be born again.

Pietism loved small lay-led Bible study groups, avoided the liturgy, and made Holy Communion a quarterly Means of Grace.

The slogans of WELS and Missouri were often voiced around the Swedish Lutherans because they come from the same Pietism:

  • I worship Jesus not Luther.
  • Doctrine divides.
  • I love my home Bible study group.
  • I have that Book of Concord but it is old-fashioned and not interesting.

Because Pietists do not rely on the Confessions, which define Lutheran Orthodoxy, they quickly become unhitched from the Scriptures they imagine they honor. That leads them into emotionalism, to get the right effect, and rationalism, to find out what really works.

Their favorite authors (non-Lutheran, or unionistic, or both) constantly teach against the efficacy of the Word, whether openly or covertly. Opposing the efficacy of the Word means rejecting the Means of Grace, so there must be something else that works.

Hence the rationalistic Pietists constantly search for man-made methods and human reasons for doing whatever work they do.

Tim Glende gave a good example in his promotional film about their new church building designed by the chief architect for Holiday Inns. Tim began with the classic passage about the efficacy of the Word, Isaiah 55, but switched to "studies show that..."

The Lutheran Church in America used to take fads and ask, "How can we baptize this? Heh. Heh. Heh."

Starting with Isaiah 55 is a great way to mask Fuller Seminary studies. Mexicans will sit on top of each other in church, but Americans like more space. I heard that one in 1978. The real agenda is designing a church for the Fuller agenda of entertainment. Look at those giant screens. Is that Pastor Tim on the left? Almost as good as Ski on the jumbo screen at the movie theater they abandoned in haste.

The new plan is a stage, not an altar.

"Did you see how little room Koine had for their rock band at the old church? Pathetic. We need a big old stage and mega screens on the right and left to display the timeless tosh of their hand-scooped songs."

Note Pastor Tim on the left-hand computer screen.
The architect knows how to sell a plan - to the pastor first.
No altar, no font. No pulpit.
The lectern is probably wired to the Net to provide a
stream of Groeschel tidbits.

Leaving the A-Frame Behind

Is that the "carriage light of day"
or someone taking a flash photo of their architect's drawing.


April 03, 2013 - Peace Lutheran Church, 737 Barracks-view Road, plans to break ground Sunday, April 7, for a new sanctuary that is estimated to cost $5.5 million.

The ground-breaking ceremony will take place at 8:45 a.m. The structure, with ecclesiastical symmetry, theater seating and a 37-rank organ, is intended to offer parishioners a sense of majesty and reverence while at worship, according to a news release.

Completion is set for late spring 2014.

Plans were drafted by Stauder Architecture, with R.G. Ross & Associates as the general contractor. The 5,800-square-foot sanctuary, with a mezzanine and undercroft, will seat roughly 500, with overflow capacity for additional worshipers.

Annually, Peace's choirs present a Christ-mas Boar's Head Festival, the Living Last Supper and other religious and nationalistic holiday musical features. Peace also is noted for its involvement with the Bosnian community, offering computer, English as a Second Language classes and other training in preparation for U.S. citizenship.

The Revs. Dennis A. Kastens and Jon C. Furgeson are pastors of the 1,700-member congregation, which serves the Mehlville and Oakville areas and reaches also into Jefferson County, as well as Monroe County, Ill.


St. Peter, WELS, Freedom, Wisconsin

Monday, April 29, 2013

On the Road Again with Ski and Glende - The CORE's Secretive Program

I knew I needed to keep my Ski graphics.

2138 has left a new comment on your post "Ominous - No Views for The CORE's Video Announceme...":

What’s this “The Road” at all about at the end of these videos?

First, I had to register and be approved before I could access that part of the site.

Once I was approved, I was met with this welcome message:

“Welcome to The Road. Prepare to embark on your learning adventure. The end destination: You can become a formal member of The CORE. Grab your keys, unlock your car, hop in, and get on The Road.

After you fully explore each neighborhood you will have the opportunity to reminisce your adventure and answer a few questions for us. After you have answered the questions we will contact you to schedule a visit with Ski who will give you the key to enter the next neighborhood. This gives us the opportunity to get to know each traveler on The Road. Explore all four neighborhoods and visit Ski four times to complete the process.

We also invite and encourage you to make use of the travel log. This is a place for you to make note of your thoughts or questions about your trip on The Road. This is completely private unless you chose to give Ski permission to view your log.

If you have questions you want to ask Ski when you visit with him, make note of them here so you don't forget.”

I entered a video game map of four locations—Darboy, Kimberly, Greenville, and Appleton. First stop is Darboy. Clicking on Darboy puts me in a VW beetle that drives past the sites of Darboy—a house and the Silver Spur Saloon (proudly serving Pabst Blue Ribbon). The three lessons include a slideshow of biblical teachings and intermittent Groeschel-esque videos. After viewing the lessons, there is a multiple choice quiz to take. I left this one about objective justification blank (spelling is unaltered):

“8. Which of the following is the correct definition of objective justification?

A. When the Holy Spirit gives me faith to believe that Jesus died for my sins

B. God’s declaration that Jesus' death paid for the sins of all people

C. Jesus’ act of dyeing (sic) on the cross [
GJ - fabric dye? But Tim. Studied. Greek.]

D. Jesus’ keeping the law perfectly in our place”

I must have done okay on the quiz, because I got the following email:

“I just received your Darboy Road results. Congratulations on beginning your journey!

The next step in the process is to meet with one of our pastors from our CORE/St. Peter campuses. At this meeting, you will be able to ask any questions you may have, and the pastors will also go over your test results with you. Finally, you will get the password for the Kimberly stop so that you can continue on the Road at your own pace.

Please let me know which campus you attend most regularly, and I will forward your results on to the appropriate pastor for your first meeting.

Blessings on your journey on The Road. I look forward to hearing from you.”

So I can’t continue on to the other locations on “The Road” until I meet with the pastors…or Ski…or something.


GJ - I suspected they were pulling a bait and switch, because Doug Engelbrecht was telling Schroeder and the DPs that Ski would be suspended but not removed - and this would be secret.

The same formula was used by WELS with Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, who was completely disqualified for the pastoral office. VP Paul Kuske and DP Robert Mueller made up a bunch of new distinctions that allowed Floyd to play the part of a pastor until they could finagle him into a parish - and they did!

Tim Glende studied this Antinomianism under Stolzenburg hisself - at St. Paul German Village. And UOJ expert Jay Webber and CG expert Roger Kovaciny treated Floyd as a fellow pastor in their work with Thoughts of Marvin Schwan.

Fake Pastoral Program To Be Divisive at LCMS Convention

LCMS leaders encouraged a convicted, unrepentant sex offender
to enter the SMP program - and gave him a "passtoral" position.
He offended again - he is Missouri's Hochmuth.

bruce-church ( has left a new comment on your post "The Gulf between Christ-Centered Means of Grace Wo...":

LCMS' July 2013 convention set to be stormy, since they have several resolutions that are deadset against other resolutions, such as one "for" the SMP program, and one "against":

Overture 5-29 [p. 227]
To Discontinue Specific Ministry Pastor Program

Overture 5-31 [p. 227]
To Commend and Enhance Specific Ministry Pastor Program

One Third of Mexicans Would Move to America If They Could

bruce-church ( has left a new comment on your post "Ominous - No Views for The CORE's Video Announceme...":

20% of Mexicans say they want to enter and live in the US even if that meant living in the shadows:

About six-in-ten Mexicans (61%) say they would not move to the U.S. even if they had the means and opportunity to do so. However, a sizable minority (35%) say they would move to the U.S. if they could, including 20% who say they would emigrate without authorization.

Ominous - No Views for The CORE's Video Announcements

10 views at midnight! It's gone viral!


GJ - There is a lot of power in information and asking questions. Everyone should keep informed about the mysterious evening service that pretends to be a church, the man who pretends to be the pastor of a non-existent congregation, and the frauds behind these deceptions.

How many men are called "The Pastor of the 11 AM Service"? None.

But The CORE is simply the evening service of St. Peter, Freedom, Wisconsin. And yet, Ski was not listed on the staff roster at St. Peter even though he was in the WELS Yearbook.

My intuition is that Doug Engelbrecht is setting up a way for Ski to return as if he never resigned from the clergy roster. Just pretend some more. Adultery, divorce, alcoholism, and lying are so much easier with practice.


Pastor emeritus Nathan Bickel has left a new comment on your post "Ominous - No Views for The CORE's Video Announceme...":

Ichabod -

How do those poor souls at the CORE have time to work their daily employment, serve their families and read their Bibles with all the heavy loads of CORE activities?

Nathan M. Bickel 


GJ - According to the Church Growth forum I attended, a large congregation (St. Peter in Freedom) needs to create activities to keep the laity involved.

Inventing The CORE evening service and pretending it was another congregation gave the volunteers plenty to do - moving to three different locations, remodeling, and now fumigating an old, abandoned bar.

I had to buy communion wine at the Last Chance Liquor Store just down the road from our place. The dank, degraded aroma of the place made me sick to my stomach.

Imagine coming home from church, wearing your best lawn-mowing clothes, and smelling like that. Ugh.

The Gulf between Christ-Centered Means of Grace Worship and Entertainment Seeker Shows

twissted_sisster has left a new comment on your post "Facebook Discussion about Koine Crowding Chancel E...":

It's conversations such as this one on FB that only serve to point out the great divide in the WELS. There are those who obviously love this type of touchy/feely emotion-laced entertainment in lieu of confession and absolution in a liturgical worship service. Fine and dandy - have at it. For those of us who would have turned around and left immediately upon seeing this praise band set up in the front of your church, especially on Easter Sunday of all times, we know we are cut from a different cloth. We cannot sit there and stomach that. We cannot and should not be forced to accept it. We must not be complacent sitting in the pews. Each of us has a voice and now is the time to use it. We cannot all be WELS together. It is an either/or, apples/oranges situation. But we can NOT all be unequally yoked.


Make sure everyone knows you
are passionate about sharing Jesus,
so they overlook your drinking habit.

GJ - The SynCons (WELS-LCMS-ELS) have deliberated polarized their own sects by making Gospel entertainment shows the gold standard of their dying denominations.They are consciously imitating the Pentecostal shows of 50 years ago--minus the beehive hairstyles--that made Lutherans ask, "What are we doing wrong?"

A Lutheran who returned from the Assemblies of God reported that the Pentecostals order obedience. They demand that "real Christians" attend all their services and educational programs - and pay up. Imagine this - "You must take this program. Leave your kids in the church basement to fend for themselves. Pay us $50 for that notebook we are giving you. We expect everyone to be there."

The same law motivation is at work in LCMS-WELS-ELS. "You don't like this? Then you do not love Jesus or your neighbor." And - "This is very important for the Savior's work, so we need money to pay  for it."

Of course there is gloating over those who do not get it. The scattered mega-churches that draw thousands are their model, but I heard a retired minister say he felt completely lost in the one he joined, so he stayed home.

Luther's point about pastors versus physicians argued that a town needed many more ministers than doctors. A doctor could take care of a large number of people at once, but a pastor spent more time with each person.

The wolf-preachers like the mega-style of walking out of their posh office and letting the thousands gasp at their jumbo-screen image in awe and wonder. They do not visit their members. They do not spend time in real evangelism. They covet and copy one another until I cannot tell them apart or offer any difference between them and the motivational gasbag named John Maxwell.

Their most repulsive trait, among many others, is boasting about all they doing to rescue the lost. They will get down in the mud for Jesus, but they will not write a Biblical sermon - since copying another motivational coaching session from the Net is so much easier.

They are not content to slaughter and scatter the flock. They must also silence anyone who questions their divine intent and passionate love for sharing Jesus.
And yet they

  • Mangle the Means of Grace:
  • Abandon the Scriptural liturgy and Confessions.
  • Mock faithful hymns.
  • Exchange the Gospel sermon for a Law rant.
  • Remove the baptismal font to make room for the praise band.
  • Drop the embarrassment of Holy Communion, but
  • Make the coffee bar the ultimate requirement for their hideous covens. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

What Does That Priest Think He is? A Member of the Hyles Cult?

He married Hyles' daughter, cheated outrageously on her,
just as her dad cheater on her mother.
Read here about the Jack Hyles' clan.
List of Hyles' cult's crimes.

bruce-church ( has left a new comment on your post "The Woody Woodpecker Debate Rages On: Pileated or ...":

Showing that there is diversity in the Catholic church hierarchy (sexual diversity, that is), a monk has been arrested and charged for trying to abduct teen girls for sex in northern Illinois.

In a statement, SNAP’s Director, John Pilmaier says: “Thomas
Benedictine monk assigned to retreat center between Milwaukee and Chicago arrested for trying to pick up teen girls:

Chmura, a Benedictine monk assigned in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was arrested on Thursday for attempting to abduct a 14-year-old girl in Antioch, Illinois. Chmura informed police that he approached the child because he wanted sexual gratification. He further admitted to law enforcement officials that he had attempted similar child abductions up to 10 times in the past six weeks.”

St. Benedict’s Abbey Retreat Center:


When the Pope's own Master of Ceremonies Biagio da Cesena said "it was mostly disgraceful that in so sacred a place there should have been depicted all those nude figures, exposing themselves so shamefully, and that it was no work for a papal chapel but rather for the public baths and taverns,"

20 Nude youth in Sistine chapel:

The Woody Woodpecker Debate Rages On:
Pileated or Acorn Woodpecker?

The pileated woodpecker is known for its loud knocking sound
as it hammers for insects or chisels out his nest.

Lara Bailey has left a new comment on your post "The Pileated Woodpecker Sighted Again":

actually the acorn woodpecker was the inspiration for woody. I was confused too since they both have that tuft of red on their heads.Great article anyway, keep up the good work! :-)


GJ - Some scholars believe Woody is indeed modeled after the acorn woodpecker, according to this story on NPR.

Several of them happened to know the truth and had discussed it at length, in between identifying puzzling shorebirds, curating museum collections and writing books and stuff like that. It turns out that Walter Lantz, the animator who created Woody Woodpecker, had personally given Garrett a copy of his biography, and in that book it says that Walter and his wife, Grace, while honeymooning in a California cabin, were amused by an acorn woodpecker who was poking nuts under the roof shingles. They liked the "little raucous scream" the bird emitted. Grace said to Walter, "Why don't you make him into a character?"

That may be true of the call of the cartoon character. But bird-watchers will  back me up in saying the first Woody cartoon figure looked more like a pileated, which are rarely seen because of their wide-ranging habitat. I think the pileated is a ham, because he posed for me the first time and also for our friends when he was spotted. 

Here is the very first Woody Woodpecker cartoon, which was found by our over-worked research department. He did not look like an acorn woodpecker. He looked like a pileated.

The acorn woodpecker sounds are found here. The last two calls sound more like the Woody Woodpecker theme, allowing for creative expression.

The acorn woodpecker had the raucous song that attracted the honeymooners.

I thought my suet was drawing the pileated, but they are also keen on the acorn woodboring beetle, which was feasting on our dying oaks in Bella Vista. The drought killed the very tree we saw the pileated feasting upon. As the readers know, a compromised tree will become a great place for insects to dine.

Most birds will fly away when spotted, except for the brave little hummingbirds, who deliberately approach their friends. In Phoenix I often had them buzz by me, thanking me for all the friendly cover and food I provided. Once or twice I was able to provide a shower with my garden hose, as it flew back and forth for a bath.

The pileated woodpecker post remains in the top five of the all-time favorites on Ichabod:

Apr 9, 2012, 1 comment

We love woodpeckers because they are great insect eaters, whether they are downy, hairy, pileated, acorn, or flickers

Insect eating birds appreciate suet feeders, which are inexpensive and last awhile. I used to get suet for almost nothing, but now I have to buy little cakes of it or larger bags. Starlings love suet because they are also insect eaters. A gardener always wants insect eaters settling down in his yard.

We have four living and two dead trees in the back yard, one large tree in the front yard.

Cantate Sunday - The Fourth Sunday after Easter. John 16:5-15.
Of Sin Because They Believe Not on Me


Cantate, The Fourth Sunday after Easter, 2013

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time

The Hymn #458   Our Father – Luther                         4:50 
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 #462                I Love Thy Kingom                4:21 

This World’s Prince Is Judged

The Communion Hymn #305            Soul Adorn Thyself             4:23
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 #657                           Beautiful Savior                    4:24                 

Fourth Sunday After Easter

Lord God, heavenly Father, who didst through Thy Son promise us Thy Holy Spirit, that He should convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment: We beseech Thee, enlighten our hearts, that we may confess our sins, through faith in Christ obtain everlasting righteousness, and in all our trials and temptations retain this consolation, that Christ is Lord over the devil and death, and all things, and that He will graciously deliver us out of all our afflictions, and make us forever partakers of eternal salvation, through the same, Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV James 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. 18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

KJV John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

This World’s Prince Is Judged

KJV John 16:5 But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? 6 But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.

The context of this sermon is after the Last Supper. The disciples know that a crisis is looming. Thomas said that journeying toward Jerusalem would be equal to dying together.

Already in 14:28 Jesus had told the disciples that he was going to his Father. When he now calls the Father “him that did send me,” the sense is the same save that now the mission of Jesus is specifically mentioned: Jesus returning to his Sender, having completed his mission and the visible stay on earth which it required. He goes to his Sender in order to make report to him of his successful task. When saying that he is returning to his Sender, Jesus makes a basic statement, one that governs all that follows in this chapter.
The addition: “and none of you inquires of me, Where art thou going?” while it is joined with “and,” is adversative, “and yet.” Strange to say—and Jesus says it with a touch of gentle reproof and of pain in his own heart—not one of the eleven makes a request of him as to where he is going.
Lenski, R. C. H.: The Interpretation of St. John's Gospel. Minneapolis, MN : Augsburg Publishing House, 1961, S. 1078.

There is an interesting transition in this powerful passage, as Lenski teaches. The disciples should be asking about where Jesus is going because what follows will comfort and guide them. In sorrow, they do not ask. That is our normal reaction when we face bad news – we do not want to hear more. We would rather deny it or put it off a little longer.

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.

It would difficult for any group to think about the world-wide spread of the Gospel at this stage of sorrow. And yet, that is one theme in this message. Jesus earthly ministry meant that the Gospel was limited to His travels in one tiny outpost of the Roman Empire. Soon the Spirit would move the disciples to take the Gospel around the civilized world, by creating centers of the Faith that would copy the New Testament and spread it even farther, with local pastors taking over for the apostles.

In the last century Christians have neglected the doctrine of the Holy Spirit in many different ways. For that reason Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement have stepped in to replace the vacuum.

One Form of Neglect
The Scriptures have been treated as an ordinary, man-made book. That is the majority opinion among mainline, Left-wing denominations. The extent of fiddling with the manuscripts and the translations has meant the same for the so-called conservative denominations as well.

Why would someone seriously study a book written by men, a book with a constantly changing message?

Another Form of Neglect
Congregations and denominations have assumed that the Word of God has no power at all unless man can find some way to make it attractive and appealing to human reason and emotion. The drive to sell the Gospel by making it a secular coaching tool is another way of saying that the Word of God must satisfy the carnal appetites of man – What’s in it for me?

What This Theme Means
The direct connection between the Word and the Spirit means that we never question the power of the Holy Spirit when someone is faithful to the Bible, which is the only book written, published, and protected by God Himself. No other book has that claim; therefore, the Bible judges all books.

This truth satisfies the questions of:
  1. Do I have the Holy Spirit? Yes – faith in Christ shows that someone has the Spirit, because faith is a creation of the Spirit through the Word.
  2. Do I know the truth even when everyone denies it and teaches against it? Yes, because the true Word of God never changes, even though man changes.
  3. Am I forgiven? Yes – if someone has faith in Christ alone for salvation, that individual is justified by the Spirit/Word and saved for eternal life.

God’s plan is to expand the Gospel message throughout the world, so the departing of Christ will mean the sending of the Spirit. And this includes, as we know, the actual resurrection of Christ.

He was raised for our justification - His actual rising from the dead, before the Tomb was opened, shows us the reality of our own eternal life. When we grieve for someone who has died before us, we always keep in mind the risen Savior. How can this be, that we are promised eternal life? We remember the resurrection of Christ and that strengthens our faith.

James 1:21 wrote:

receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

This half-verse is a classic passage on the efficacy of the Word. Receive is used as a synonym for believe, and it expresses the Biblical concept of faith/trust very well. Faith or trust is not a decision and not a merit or virtue. Faith means receiving what God offers as the truth (with abundant Promises and prophetic evidence).

Engrafted is a fine agricultural word. When we splice two plants together they have the nature of both. Most roses are a hybrid graft on a wild rose root. That give the rose the staying power of the wild rose and the beauty of the hybrid. Most roses have that lump which betrays the graft.

The Gospel Word is grafted onto us, received in faith. This Word is the Holy Spirit’s power behind faith and justification, forgiveness and salvation.

The arrogant, proud, and self-righteous do not have faith. They reject faith and have no meekness. By not receiving with meekness they deny to themselves the grace that comes from the Gospel Promises.

The Holy Spirit’s work in three Words

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

Some time ago, these verses really tied me up in a knot. They were so simple and yet I had to struggle to see the complete message. Luther said in one of his sermons about this lesson – it is a fine lesson but it takes fine readers to understand it.

As he realized, most of the world reading this passage rejected its meaning. How can something so simple on the surface be so complex and powerful? That of course is the strength of John’s Gospel – a profound message expressed in child-like simplicity, with many repetitions.

9 Of sin, because they believe not on Me;

What is sin? Most people will define sin as actions. And they have a hierarchy of sins. The worst is criticizing the synod, according to various synods, because that is a sin against the Holy Spirit (no forgiveness!) I am not kidding. One parson said, “I cannot disagree with the circuit pastor, because the Holy Spirit put him in that office.” The same is said about other political functionaries, who have no trouble arguing against the Word. Because. They. Know. Greek.

The world knows what sin is. All the messages of this age are about sin. Do you fail to recycle? Sin. Do you oppose every kind of marriage? Sin. Do you own a gun? Sin. Do you believe in traditional values? Sin.

Christians have quite a few definitions too, all based on actions and attitudes. Did you play the pipe organ of a non-WELS church? Sin.

But all this is thrown aside in a few words from Jesus. And John gave us these sermons as essential supplements to Matthew-Mark-Luke. Essential – not extra credit read. So essential that we should especially take the Johannine words to our hearts as the elder Apostle’s final testimony, for the salvation of all who believe.

Sin is not believing on Jesus. I am going to use the old wording because too many people think faith is just thinking Jesus is a good Teacher and perhaps even the Savior. They have some knowledge of Jesus but also hedge their bets with their trust in their own righteousness.

In those few words Jesus rejected the world’s definition of sin and the false teacher’s version of sin. If your church is not growing, you are sinful!

But those words also toss us into the abyss when we realize their complete meaning. When we harbor doubts and anxieties about past sins, we fail to believe on Jesus, who has taken all sins upon Himself.

Continuing regret, remorse, sorrow, and anxiety is making a side-bet. I will show my true contrition by clinging to the thought of not being completely forgiven until I am perfect and free of sin. But that fulfills the meaning of this verse. That is THE sin – not believing in God’s complete, full, free forgiveness through faith in Christ.

Were you not a perfect child or a perfect parent? Sin is not imperfection, a weakness we all have. Sin is not believing in our complete forgiveness. We cannot lay a side-bet on our future perfection, which really paves the road to repetition. All the gurus have proven this by making their law the savior and driving people right back to the same thing (food, addiction, etc). And when people come back for another dose of the law, the guru says, “See, you need me.”

10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father and ye see me no more

I had a lot of trouble with this. What is the connection? The constant debate over justification and many great Scriptural insights from others have helped me see the connection.

Righteousness is God’s forgiveness or justification by faith. This is the great comfort to be offered by the Paraclete (Advocate). The Gospel will be declared across the world and spread as the first social network came into being. Jesus designed it, saying,

Take advantage of hospitality. When you are invited into a home, speak about the Gospel. If they receive you and listen to the Word, they receive Me, since I am conveyed by the Word of God. If they reject you, they do not reject you but Me, the One who sent you. Knock the dust off your shoes and move on.
The Spirit will convict the world of forgiveness because the teaching of the Resurrection will plant faith in the hearts of people across the world.

The risen Savior was seen and heard by hundreds of people, who established the Gospel everywhere, found themselves persecuted, and traveled on to establish it in new places, often in world ports where the Gospel would travel even faster. In essence, Jesus friended 500 people in addition to the Twelve, and He certainly had believers among those He healed. Since all of them witnessed to the resurrection, the Christian faith spread across the Roman Empire in one generation.

Luther is one who was convicted of righteousness. As he said in one sermon, the entire world would be forgiven IF every single person believed on Jesus Christ. But they do not. So we can preach about the possibility, due to God’s Promises, but not about the reality, because many do NOT believe, and many fall away from faith in Christ.

Righteousness comes to us through faith, and Jesus is consistent in all His teaching about that truth.

Therefore the wisdom of the world and all the teachers is thrown aside in a few words. That is why there will always be great hatred about faith in Christ, constant disruption and anger, especially among the self-righteous religious leaders, whether they are the Pharisees of the past or the synodical drones of the present.

John 16:11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

This message can be treated under the topic of faith but it is especially good here at the end of the triad.

Christ is teaching – Satan may rule this world and define all that is good, holy, honored, and worshiped, but he is judged, condemned, and nearing his final destruction. Do not adhere to those things he honors and upholds. He is condemned for eternity.

And yet – I see this in the church – members and pastors in larger churches think they are really something based on material measures – money, local prestige, synodical honors, and so forth. And they brag about everything except being faithful to the Word of God.

Only in America could a church brag about being 150 years old. In Europe some are 1,000 years old. Some are so big that one can hardly see the altar from the balcony. So much marble and gold that tourists gasp.

All wordly wisdom is Satan’s. All the best scientists trust in evolution, not Creation. Don’t you want to be among the best, the wisest, the most up to date?

25. But now, since the prince of this world and the Holy Spirit, the kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the devil, are directly opposed to one another, and the Holy Spirit is not willing that anyone should parade his own deeds and praise himself on account of them, the holy cross must soon follow. The world will not consent to be reprimanded for its blindness. Therefore one must willingly submit and suffer persecution. If we have the right kind of faith in our hearts, we must also open our mouths and confess righteousness and make known sin. Likewise we must condemn and punish the doings of this world and make it known that everything it undertakes, is damned. For this we must be considered heretics, and must pass through the fire. They say: This is against the holy councils and the canon of the holy father, the pope. Then you are to answer: How can I help it? Here it stands — the text does not say the Holy Spirit is to convict them and say their doctrine is error, blindness and the government of the devil. This, of course, they will not endure, but would have us call them gracious noblemen. Therefore, one must here risk his neck.

26. These are the three parts we have in this Gospel lesson: Sin is unbelief; righteousness is faith; the judgment is the holy cross. Therefore give heed and learn to consider everything that is without the Spirit as nothing and as condemned, and afterwards be prepared for the holy cross that thou must suffer on account of it. Now follows in the Gospel further: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth.”

So many people say, “I would speak the truth and not hedge it, but my family would be angry. My church friends would stop speaking to me. My ecclesiastical bosses would shun me.”

“I must have said something wrong or said it in the wrong way, because everyone wants my scalp.”

That is a measure of the truth. In one setting the truth will make convicts cry and repent. In another setting it will make the self-righteous furious and full of vindictiveness.

12 I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. 13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

This is another great section, because we can see the wisdom and compassion of Christ. He is not going to tell them too much because their capacity is not great enough to grasp all of it.

How did they record such harmonious Gospels, four in all? The Holy Spirit came to them as promised and stirred up their memories so that their words were divinely in accord. The Gospels and Letters became the foundation of the Church, an unchanging standard or norm for the Christian faith.

Jesus received from the Father and taught it to the apostles. The apostles received from Jesus and the Holy Spirit and taught it to the early church in preaching and teaching, to us in the written Word of God.