The Glory Has Departed


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Sunday, November 30, 2014

The First Sunday in Advent, 2014. Romans 13:11-14



The First Sunday in Advent, 2014

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

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

Bethany Lutheran Church, 10 AM Central Time


The Hymn #657             Beautiful Savior                                 4:24
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 # 290       We Have A Sure                        4:89

The Night Is Far Spent

The 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 # 463            For All the Saints                                   4:31





KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

KJV Matthew 21:1 And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples, 2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me. 3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them. 4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass. 6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them, 7 And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon. 8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. 9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.


First Sunday in Advent - The Collects of Veit Dietrich
Lord God, heavenly Father, we thank Thee, we bless and praise Thee forever, that Thou didst send Thy Son to rule over us poor sinners, who for our transgressions did justly deserve to remain in the bondage of sin and Satan, and didst give us in Him a meek and righteous King, who by His death became our Savior from sin and eternal death: We beseech Thee so to enlighten, govern and direct us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may ever remain faithful to this righteous King and Savior, and not, after the manner of the world, be offended with His humble form and despised word, but, firmly believing in Him, obtain eternal salvation; through the same, Thy beloved Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.



The Night Is Far Spent

KJV Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

This week I thought about the Seminex crisis, how things have changed since that time. For those who do not recall, it was a time when Missouri Synod (and WELS) came to realize that a substantial number of teacher in their groups did not trust in the Word of God but judged and rejected the Scriptures.

No one really denied this was the case. The LCA/ALC leaders favored the liberals in the LCMS, because the LCMS liberals agreed with them that--as Karl Barth taught--the Bible contained God's Word but the Bible was not God's Word.

The LCMS/WELS liberals considered themselves the real Lutherans, but they were just another generation of rationalists, the usual outcome of Pietism from Halle University, modeling exactly what happened at Halle Univeristy, where a Biblical university became rationalistic in one generation.

WELS liberals like Richard Jungkuntz fled to Missouri, where liberals were petted, rewarded, and promoted. Since Jungkuntz (and Gehrke) were liberal teachers at Northwestern College in Watertown (WELS), they had quite a following in WELS, too. Soon they had a following in the LCMS, then in the ALC.

Jack Preus became LCMS president over this issue and he promoted a walk out of the liberals at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. This led to a new denomination forming (AELC) and new seminary (Seminex), with a library of stolen books from Concordia and an agreement to be a gay seminary for the Metropolitan Community (all gay) Church. Jungkuntz chaired the board of that new seminary.

Here is the difference today - the same opposition to the Scriptures and Confessions are still being broadcast at the same seminaries - St. Louis and Ft. Wayne (LCMS); Mequon (WELS); Mankato (ELS); Oh! Claire (CLC sic). But there is no debate, no national discussion, and few  posts or publications that rise above the level of synod worship.

In the 1970s we had years of discussions, national press stories, gigantic meetings in large congregations, firings, newly made liberal saints and martyrs. Seminex was the story of the year when it happened, and people followed the story in the years following. I recall an LCA ministers meeting where the three Seminex exiles were sitting together at a table. The brotherhood had tight bonds.

Conclusion - American Lutherans are so far along the road to apostasy that they do not even discuss the issues anymore, let alone act on them. My peers - the Baby Boomers - would rather ride the ship down into the deep than alarm anyone with the truth, even though they acknowledge it in private.

The night is far spent.  Night has always been symbolic of evil, darkness, and error. We can find it in ancient cultures as well as the New Testament, because darkness was really dark. Nothing much could be done, so those who were active in the night were objects of suspicion - demons, robbers, killers.

Paul's letters and John's Gospel emphasize light as the symbol of truth and life, darkness as the symbol of error and eternal death.

This verse uses night in a hopeful sense - the night is almost over. Dawn approaches. This is not the time to be sleepy and unaware but awake and hopeful. Salvation is near. People were impatient then, too. Jesus was supposed to come sooner, although He cautioned that no one knew the time.

A thousand years is like a day, and a day like a thousand years. We have no concept of God's time, and He is not limited by ours.

12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

Hedonism is the enemy of the Gospel, and we live in an age of hedonism. We are re-establishing all the errors of the Roman Empire in Paul's time. An accurate description of their public entertainments at that time is even more x-rated than our rock concerts of today.

We have rapidly became a culture of leisure and addiction. People dwell upon their favorite intoxicants, so what God intended for the good (such as alcohol) is being abused as an end in itself. With that comes the abuse of legal and illegal painkillers and many new concoctions aimed at only one thing - escape.

The armor of light is the truth of God's Word. That is the only truth, the truth that judges all others. The Word of God is sharper than the sharpest doubled-edges sword, discerning our thoughts and intents.

The contrast between the works of darkness and the armor of light is a clear distinction. One cannot have both. Darkness is the absence of light, and light ends darkness. That is why we say - enlightenment. "Enlighten me." And "I am still in the dark about this."

Even a tiny bit of light begins to dispel darkness, so those who cling to the works of darkness hate the light. They do not say, "I hate the truth and love error." They make up many excuses.

13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering (literally - bed-hopping) and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

These are three kinds of carnal sin, different types that lead to the same end. Those who pursue hedonism, who live for pleasure, develop a hatred for the Word. Or - they began with that hatred. Often their favorite teachers have given them that hatred, which is often cloaked in a false gospel, such as being born forgiven. It is difficult to find a more convenient excuse for doing anything and everything while being extremely sanctimonious about it.

14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

This putting on is related to getting dressed. I am quite sure, based on Galatians that this reference is based on putting on the baptismal gown for Holy Baptism. We also have references to the robe of righteousness and not having the right garment for the wedding feast, implying that one can only enter wearing the righteousness of Christ.

Galatians 3:26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

Ephesians 4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

This is an exhortation to wear the robe of Christian baptism, which represents the righteousness of Christ. Faith in Him means resisting and abhorring the works of darkness.


Luther's Sermon for the First Sunday in Advent




Luther's Sermon for the FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT. Romans 13:11-14


EPISTLE TEXT:

ROMANS 13:11-14. 11 And this, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep: for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in reveling and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.

AN EXHORTATION TO GOOD WORKS.

1. This epistle lesson treats not of faith, but of its fruits, or works. It teaches how a Christian should conduct himself outwardly in his relations to other men upon earth. But how we should walk in the spirit before God, comes under the head of faith. Of faith Paul treats comprehensively and in apostolic manner in the chapters preceding this text. A close consideration of our passage shows it to be not didactic; rather it is meant to incite, to exhort, urge and arouse souls already aware of their duty. Paul in Romans 12:7-8 devotes the office of the ministry to two things, doctrine and exhortation. The doctrinal part consists in preaching truths not generally known; in instructing and enlightening the people.

Exhortation is inciting and urging to duties already well understood.

Necessarily both obligations claim the attention of the minister, and hence Paul takes up both.

2. For the sake of effect and emphasis the apostle in his admonition employs pleasing figures and makes an eloquent appeal. He introduces certain words ¾ “Armor,” “work,” “sleep,” “awake,” “darkness,” “light,” “day,” “night” ¾ which are purely figurative, intended to convey other than a literal and native meaning. He has no reference here to the things they ordinarily stand for. The words are employed as similes, to help us grasp the spiritual thought. The meaning is: Since for sake of temporal gain men rise from sleep, put aside the things of darkness and take up the day’s work when night has given place to morning, how much greater the necessity for us to awake from our spiritual sleep, to cast off the things of darkness and enter upon the works of light, since our night has passed and our day breaks.

3. “Sleep” here stands for the works of wickedness and unbelief. For sleep is properly incident to the night time; and then, too, the explanation is given in the added words: “Let us cast off the works of darkness.”

Similarly in the thought of awakening and rising are suggested the works of faith and piety. Rising from sleep is naturally an event of the morning.

Relative to the same conception are Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians 5:4-10: “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness... ye are all sons of light, and sons of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that are drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, since we are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God appointed us not unto wrath, but unto the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.”

4. Paul, of course, is here not enjoining against physical sleep. His contrasting figures of sleep and wakefulness are used as illustrations of spiritual lethargy and activity ¾ the godly and the ungodly life. In short, his conception here of rising out of sleep is the same as that expressed in his declaration ( Titus 2:11-13): “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us, to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world; looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.” That which in the passage just quoted is called “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,” is here in our text described as a rising from sleep; and the “sober, righteous, godly life” is the waking and the putting on the armor of light; while the appearing of grace is the day and the light, as we shall hear.

5. Now, note the analogy between natural and spiritual sleep. The sleeper sees nothing about him; he is not sensitive to any of earth’s realities. In the midst of them he lies as one dead, useless; as without power or purpose.

Though having life in himself he is practically dead to all outside.

Moreover, his mind is occupied, not with realities, but with dreams, wherein he beholds mere images; vain forms, of the real; and he is foolish enough to think them true. But when he wakes, these illusions or dreams vanish. Then he begins to occupy himself with realities; phantoms are discarded.

6. So it is in the spiritual life. The ungodly individual sleeps. He is in a sense dead in the sight of God. He does not recognize ¾ is not sensitive to ¾ the real spiritual blessings extended him through the Gospel; he regards them as valueless. For these blessings are only to be recognized by the believing heart; they are concealed from the natural man. The ungodly individual is occupied with temporal, transitory things, such as luxury and honor, which are to eternal life and joy as dream images are to flesh-andblood creatures.

When the unbeliever awakes to faith, the transitory things of earth will pass from his contemplation, and their futility will appear. In relation to this subject Psalm 76:5, reads: “The stouthearted are made a spoil, they have slept their sleep; and none of the men of might have found their hands.” And Psalm 73:20: “As a dream when one awaketh, so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou wilt despise their image.” Also Isaiah 29:8: “And it shall be as when a hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and his soul is empty: or as when a thirsty man dreameth, and, behold, he drinketh; but he awaketh, and, behold, he is faint, and his soul hath appetite: so shall the multitude of all the nations be, that fight against mount Zion.”

But is it not showing altogether too much contempt for worldly power, wealth, pleasure and honor to compare them to dreams ¾ to dream images? Who has courage to declare kings and princes, wealth, pleasure and power but creations of a dream, in the face of the mad rage of earth after such things? The reason for such conduct is failure to rise from sleep and by faith behold the light. “For now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed.”

7. What do these words imply? Did we believe before, or have we now ceased to believe? Right here we must know that, as Paul in Romans 1:2-3 says, God through his prophets promised in the holy Scriptures the Gospel of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom all the world was to be saved. The word to Abraham reads: “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 22:18. The blessing here promised to the patriarch, in his seed, is simply that grace and salvation in Christ which the Gospel presents to the whole world, as Paul declares in the fourth chapter of Romans and the fourth of Galatians. For Christ is the seed of Abraham, his own flesh and blood, and in Christ all believing inquirers will be blessed.

8. This promise to the patriarch was later more minutely set forth and more widely circulated by the prophets. All of them wrote of the advent of Christ, and his grace and Gospel, as Peter in Acts 3:18-24 says: The divine promise was believed by the saints prior to the birth of Christ; thus, through the coming Messiah they were preserved and saved by faith. Christ himself ( Luke 16:22) pictures the promise under the figure of Abraham’s bosom, into which all saints from the time of Abraham to Christ’s time, were gathered. Thus is explained Paul’s declaration, “Now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed.” He means practically: “The promise of God to Abraham is not a thing for future fulfillment; it is already fulfilled. Christ is come. The Gospel has been revealed and the blessing distributed throughout the world. All that we waited for in the promise, believing, is here.” The sentence has reference to the spiritual day Paul later speaks of ¾ the rising light of the Gospel; as we shall hear.

9. But faith is not abolished in the fulfillment of the promise; rather it is established. As they of former time believed in the future fulfillment, we believe now in the completed fulfillment. Faith, in the two instances, is essentially the same, but one belief succeeds the other as fulfillment succeeds promise. For in both cases faith is based on the seed of Abraham; that is, on Christ. In one instance it precedes his advent and in the other follows. He who would now, like the Jews, believe in a Christ yet to come, as if the promise were still unfulfilled, would be condemned. For he would make God a liar in holding that his word is unredeemed, contrary to fact.

Were the promise not fulfilled, our salvation would still be far off; we would have to wait its future accomplishment.

10. Having in mind faith under these two conditions, Paul asserts in Romans 1:17: “In the Gospel is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith.” What is meant by the phrase “from faith unto faith”?

Simply that we must now believe not only in the promise but in its past fulfillment. For though the faith of the fathers is one with our faith, they trusting in a Christ to come and we in a Christ revealed, yet the Gospel leads from the former faith to the latter. It is now necessary to believe not only the promise, but also its fulfillment. Abraham and the ancients were not called upon to believe in accomplished fulfillment, though they had the same Christ with us. There is one faith, one spirit, one Christ, one community of saints; but they preceded, while we come after, Christ.

11. Thus we ¾ the fathers and ourselves ¾ have had and still have a common faith in the one Christ, but under different conditions. Because of this common faith in the Messiah, we speak of their act of faith as our own, notwithstanding we were not alive in their day. And similarly, when they make mention of hearing, seeing and believing Christ, the reference is to ourselves, in whose day they live not. David says ( Psalm 8:3): “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers,” that is, the apostles. Yet David did not live to see their day. And ( Psalm 9:2): “I will be glad and exult in thee; I will sing praise to thy name, O Thou Most High.” And there are many similar passages where one individual speaks in the person of another in consequence of a common faith whereby believers unite in Christ as one body.

12. Paul’s statement “Now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed” cannot be understood to refer to nearness of possession. For the fathers had the same faith and the same Christ with us, and Christ was equally near to them. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yea and for ever.” That is, Christ exists from the beginning of the world to all time, and through him and in him all are preserved. To him of strongest faith Christ is nearest; and from him who least believes, is salvation farthest, so far as personal possession of it goes.

Paul’s reference here is to nearness of the revelation of salvation. When Christ came the promise was fulfilled. The Gospel was revealed to the world. Through Christ’s coming it was publicly preached to all men. In recognition of these things, the apostle says: “Salvation is nearer to us” than when unrevealed and unfulfilled in the promise. In Titus 2:11, it is said: “For the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation.” In other words, God’s grace is revealed and publicly proclaimed; though the saints who lived prior to its manifestation nevertheless possessed it.

13. So the Scriptures teach the coming of Christ, notwithstanding he was already present to the fathers. However, he was not publicly proclaimed to mankind until after his resurrection from the dead. It is of this coming in the Gospel the Scriptures for the most part teach. Incident to this revelation he came in human form. The taking upon himself of humanity would have profited no one had it not meant the proclamation of the Gospel. The Gospel was to present him to the whole world, revealing the fact that he became man for the sake of imparting the blessing to all who, accepting the Gospel, should believe in him. Paul tells us ( Romans 1:2) the Gospel was promised of God; from which we may infer God placed more emphasis upon the Gospel, the public revelation of Christ through the Word, than upon his physical birth, his advent in human form. God’s purpose was concerning the Gospel and our faith, and he permitted his Son to assume humanity for the sake of making possible the preaching of the Gospel of Christ; that through the revealed Word salvation in Christ might be brought near ¾ might come ¾ to all the world.

14. Some have presented four different forms of Christ’s advent, adapted to the four Sundays in Advent. But the most vital form of his coming, that upon which all efficacy depends, the coming to which Paul here refers, they have failed to recognize. They know not what constitutes the Gospel, nor for what purpose it was given. Despite their much talk about the advent of Christ, they thrust him from us farther than heaven is from earth. How can Christ profit us unless he be embraced by faith? But how can he be embraced by faith where the Gospel is not preached?

THE DAY OF GRACE.

“The night is far spent, and the day is at hand.”

15. This is equivalent to saying “salvation is near to us.” By the word “day” Paul means the Gospel; the Gospel is like day in that it enlightens the heart or soul. Now, day having broken, salvation is near to us. In other words, Christ and his grace, promised to Abraham, are now revealed; they are preached in all the world, enlightening mankind, awakening us from sleep and making manifest the true, eternal blessings, that we may occupy ourselves with the Gospel of Christ and walk honorably in the day. By the word “night” we are to understand all doctrines apart from the Gospel. For there is no other saving doctrine; all else is night and darkness.

16. Notice carefully Paul’s words. He designates the most beautiful and vivifying time of the day ¾ the delightful, joyous dawn, the hour of sunrise. Then the night has passed and the day broken. In response to the morning dawn, birds sing, beasts arouse themselves and all humanity arises.

At daybreak, when the sky is red in the east, the world is apparently new and all things reanimated. In many places in the Scriptures, the comforting, vivifying preaching of the Gospel is compared to the morning dawn, to the rising of the sun; sometimes the figure is implied and sometimes plainly expressed, as here where Paul styles the Gospel the breaking day. Again, <19B003> Psalm 110:3: “Thy people offer themselves willingly in the day of thy power, in holy array: out of the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth.” Here the Gospel is plainly denominated the womb of the morning, the day of Christ’s power, wherein, as the dew is born of the morning, we are conceived and born children of Christ; and by no work of man, but from heaven and through the Holy Spirit’s grace.

17. This Gospel day is produced by the glorious Sun Jesus Christ. Hence Malachi calls him the Sun of Righteousness, saying, “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in its wings.” Malachi 4:2. All believers in Christ receive the light of his grace, and righteousness, and shall rejoice in the shelter of his wings. Again in <19B824> Psalm 118:24, we read: “This is the day which Jehovah hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” The meaning is: The natural sun makes the natural day, but the Lord himself is the author of the spiritual day.

Christ is the Sun, the source of the Gospel day. From him the Gospel brightness shines throughout the world. John 9:5 reads: “I am the light of the world.”

18. Psalm 19:1 beautifully describes Christ the Sun, and the Gospel day: “The heavens declare the glory of God.” As the natural heavens bring the sun and the day, and the sun is in the heavens, so the apostles in their preaching possess and bring to us the real Sun, Christ. The Psalm continues: “In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run his course. His going forth is from the end of the heavens, and his circuit unto the ends of it; and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.”

It all refers to the beautiful daybreak of the Gospel. Scripture sublimely exalts the Gospel day, for it is the source of life, joy, pleasure and energy, and brings all good. Hence the name “Gospel” ¾ joyful news.

19. Who can enumerate the things revealed to us by this day ¾ by the Gospel? It teaches us everything ¾ the nature of God, of ourselves, and what has been and is to be in regard to heaven, hell and earth, to angels and devils. It enables us to know how to conduct ourselves in relation to these ¾ whence we are and whither we go. But, being deceived by the devil, we forsake the light of day and seek to find truth among philosophers and heathen totally ignorant of such matters. In permitting ourselves to be blinded by human doctrines, we return to the night. Whatsoever is not the Gospel day surely cannot be light. Otherwise Paul, and in fact all Scripture, would not urge that day upon us and pronounce everything else night.

20. Our disposition to run counter to the perfectly plain teachings of Scripture and seek inferior light, when the Lord declares himself the Light and Sun of the world, must result from our having incurred the displeasure of Providence. Had we no other evidence that the high schools of the Pope are the devil’s abominable fostering-places of harlots and knaves, the fact is amply plain in the way they shamelessly introduce and extol Aristotle, the inferior light, exercising themselves in him more than in Christ; rather they exercise themselves wholly in Aristotle and not at all in Christ. “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

21. As Christ is the Sun and the Gospel is the day, so faith is the light, or the seeing and watching on that day. We are not profited by the shining of the sun, and the day it produces, if our eyes fail to perceive its light.

Similarly, though the Gospel is revealed, and proclaims Christ to the world, it enlightens none but those who receive it, who have risen from sleep through the agency of the light of faith. They who sleep are not affected by the sun and the day; they receive no light therefrom, and see as little as if there were neither sun nor day. It is to our day Paul refers when he says: “Dear brethren, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep, etc.” Though the hour is one of spiritual opportunity, it has been revealed in secular time, and is daily being revealed. In the light of our spiritual knowledge we are to rise from sleep and lay aside the works of darkness. Thus it is plain Paul is not addressing unbelievers. As before said, he is not here teaching the doctrine of faith, but its works and fruits.

He tells the Romans they know the time is at hand, that the night is past and the day has broken.

22. Do you ask, Why this passage to believers? As already stated, preaching is twofold in character: it may teach or it may incite and exhort.

No one ever gets to the point of knowledge where it is not necessary to admonish him ¾ continually to urge him ¾ to new reflections upon what he already knows; for there is danger of his untiring enemies ¾ the devil, the world and the flesh ¾ wearying him and causing him to become negligent, and ultimately lulling him to sleep. Peter says ( 1 Peter 5:8): “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” In consequence of this fact, he says: “Be sober, be watchful.” Similarly Paul’s thought here is that since the devil, the world and the flesh cease not to assail us, there should be continuous exhorting and impelling to vigilance and activity. Hence the Holy Spirit is called the Paraclete, the Comforter or Helper, who incites and urges to good.

23. Hence Paul’s appropriate choice of words. Not the works of darkness but the works of light he terms “armor.” And why “armor” rather than “works”? Doubtless to teach that only at the cost of conflicts, pain, labor and danger will the truly watchful and godly life be maintained; for these three powerful enemies, the devil, the world and the flesh, unceasingly oppose us day and night. Hence Job ( Job 7:1) regards the life of man on earth as a life of trial and warfare.

Now, it is no easy thing to stand always in battle array during the whole of life. Good trumpets and bugles are necessary preaching and exhortation of the sort to enable us valiantly to maintain our position in battle. Good works are armor: evil works are not; unless, indeed, we submit and give them control over us. Then they likewise become armor. Paul says, “Neither present your members unto sin as instruments of unrighteousness” ( Romans 6:13), meaning: Let not the works of darkness get such control of you as to render your members weapons of unrighteousness.

24. Now, as already made plain, the word “light” here carries the thought of “faith.” The light of faith, in the Gospel day, shines from Christ the Sun into our hearts. The armor of light, then, is simply the works of faith. On the other hand, “darkness” is unbelief; it reigns in the absence of the Gospel and of Christ, through the instrumentality of the doctrines of men ¾ of human reason ¾ instigated by the devil. The “works of darkness” are, therefore, the “works of unbelief.” As Christ is Lord and Ruler in the realm of that illuminating faith, so, as Paul says ( Ephesians 6:12), the devil is ruler of this darkness; that is, over unbelievers. For he says again ( 2 Corinthians 4:3-4): “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this world [that is, the devil] hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ... should not dawn upon them.” The character of the two kinds of works, however, will be discussed later. “Let us walk, becomingly (honestly), as in the day.”

25. Works of darkness are not wrought in the day. Fear of being shamed before men makes one conduct himself honorably. The proverbial expression “shameless night” is a true one. Works we are ashamed to perform in the day are wrought in the night. The day, being shamefaced, constrains us to walk honorably. A Christian should so live that he need never be ashamed of the character of his works, though they be revealed to all the world. He whose life and conduct are such as to make him unwilling his deeds should be manifest to everyone, certainly does not live in a Christian manner. In this connection Christ says: “For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God.” John 3:20-21.

26. So you see the urgent necessity for inciting and exhorting to be vigilant and to put on the armor of light. How many Christians now could endure the revelation of all their works to the light of day? What kind of Christian life do we hypocrites lead if we cannot endure the exposure of our conduct before men, when it is now exposed to God, his angels and creatures, and on the last day shall be revealed to all? A Christian ought to live as he would be found in the last day before all men. “Walk as children of light, for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” Ephesians 5:9. “Take thought for things honorable,” not only in the sight of God, but also “in the sight of all men.” Romans 12:17. “For our glorying is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and sincerity of God, not in fleshly wisdom... we behaved ourselves in the world.” 2 Corinthians 1:12.

27. But such a life certainly cannot be maintained in the absence of faith, when faith itself ¾ vigilant, active, valiant faith ¾ has enough to do to remain constant, sleepless and unwearied. Essential as it is that doctrine be preached to the illiterate, it is just as essential to exhort the learned not to fall from their incipient right living, under the assaults of raging flesh, subtle world and treacherous devil. “Not in reveling and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy.”

28. Here Paul enumerates certain works of darkness. In the beginning of the discourse he alludes to one as “sleep.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:6, it is written: “Let us not sleep, as do the rest, but let us watch and be sober.”

Not that the apostle warns against physical sleep; he means spiritual sleep ¾ unbelief, productive of the works of darkness. Yet physical sleep may likewise be an evil work when indulged in from lust and reveling, through indolence and excessive inebriety, to the obstruction of light and the weakening of the armor of light. These six works of darkness include all others, such as are enumerated in Galatians 5:19-21, and Colossians 3:5 and 8. We will divide them into two general classes, the right hand class and the left hand class. Upon the right are arrayed these four ¾ reveling, drunkenness, chambering and wantonness; on the left, strife and jealousy. For scripturally, the left side signifies adversity and its attendant evils ¾ wrath, jealousy, and so on. The right side stands for prosperity and its results ¾ rioting, drunkenness, lust, indolence, and the like.

29. Plainly, then, Paul means to include under the two mentioned works of darkness ¾ strife and jealousy ¾ all of similar character. For instance, the things enumerated in Ephesians 4:31, which says: “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and railing, be put away from you, with all malice”; and again in Galatians 5:19-21, reading: “Now the works of the flesh are... enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties, envyings, drunkenness, revellings and such like.” In short, “strife and jealousy” here stand for innumerable evils resulting from wrath, be it in word or deed.

30. Likewise under the four vices ¾ reveling, drunkenness, indolence and lewdness ¾ the apostle includes all the vices of unchastity in word or deed, things none would wish to enumerate. The six works mentioned suffice to teach that he who lives in the darkness of unbelief does not keep himself pure in his neighbor’s sight, but is immoderate in all his conduct, toward himself and toward his fellow-man. Further comment on these words is unnecessary. Everyone knows the meaning of “reveling and drunkenness” ¾ excessive eating and drinking, more for the gratification of appetite than for nourishment of the body. Again, it is not hard to understand the reference to idleness in bed-chambers, to lewdness and unchastity. The apostle’s words stand for the indulgence of the lusts and appetites of the flesh: excessive sleeping and indolence; every form of unchastity and sensuality practiced by the satiated, indolent and stupid, in daytime or nighttime, in retirement or elsewhere, privately or publicly ¾ vices that seek material darkness and secret places. These vices Paul terms “chambering and wantonness.” And the meaning of “strife” and of “jealousy” is generally understood.

PUT ON CHRIST, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT.

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

31. In this admonition to put on Christ, Paul briefly prescribes all the armor of light. Christ is “put on” in two ways. First, we may clothe ourselves with his virtues. This is effected through the faith that relies on the fact of Christ having in his death accomplished all for us. For not our righteousness, but the righteousness of Christ, reconciled us to God and redeemed us from sin. This manner of putting on Christ is treated of in the doctrine concerning faith; it gives Christ to us as a gift and a pledge. Relative to this topic more will be said in the epistle for New Year’s day, Galatians 3:27: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.”

32. Secondly, Christ being our example and pattern, whom we are to follow and copy, clothing ourselves in the virtuous garment of his walk, Paul fittingly says we should “put on” Christ. As expressed in Corinthians 15:49: “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” And again ( Ephesians 4:22-24): “That ye put away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and that ye be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth.”

33. Now, in Christ we behold only the true armor of light. No gormandizing or drunkenness is here; nothing but fasting, moderation, and restraint of the flesh, incident to labor, exertion, preaching, praying and doing good to mankind. No indolence, apathy or unchastity exists, but true discipline, purity, vigilance, early rising. The fields are couch for him who has neither house, chamber nor bed. With him is no wrath, strife or envying; rather utter goodness, love, mercy, patience. Paul presents Christ the example in a few words where he says ( Colossians 3:12-15): “Put on therefore, as God’s elect, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, if any man have a complaint against any, even as the Lord forgave you, so also do ye: and above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfectness, and let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

Again, in Philippians 2:5-8, after commanding his flock to love and serve one another, he presents as an example the same Christ who became servant unto us. He says: “Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man.”

34. Now, the armor of light is, briefly, the good works opposed to gluttony, drunkenness, licentiousness; to indolence, strife and envying: such as fasting, watchfulness, prayer, labor, chastity, modesty, temperance, goodness, endurance of hunger and thirst, of cold and heat. Not to employ my own words, let us hear Paul’s enumeration of good works in Galatians 5:22-23: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.”

But he makes a still more comprehensive count in 2 Corinthians 6:1-10: “We entreat also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain (for he saith, At an acceptable time I hearkened unto thee, and in a day of salvation did I succor thee: behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation) [in other words, For now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed, and now is the time to awake out of sleep]: giving no occasion of stumbling in anything, that our ministration be not blamed; but in everything commending ourselves, as ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in watchings, in fastings; in pureness, in knowledge, in longsuffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in love unfeigned, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” What a rich stream of eloquence flows from Paul’s lips! He makes plain enough in what consists the armor of light on the left hand and on the right. To practice these good works is truly putting on Jesus Christ.

35. It is a very beautiful feature in this passage that it presents the very highest example, the Lord himself, when it says, “Put ye on the Lord.”

Here is a strong incentive. For the individual who can see his master fasting, laboring, watching, enduring hunger and fatigue, while he himself feasts, idles, sleeps, and lives in luxury, must be a scoundrel. What master could tolerate such conduct in a servant? Or what servant would dare attempt such things? We can but blush with shame when we behold our unlikeness to Christ.

36. Who can influence to action him who refuses to be warmed and aroused by the example of Christ himself? What is to be accomplished by the rustling of leaves and the sound of words when the thunder-clap of Christ’s example fails to move us? Paul was particular to add the word “Lord,” saying, “Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” As if to say: “Ye servants, think not yourselves great and exalted. Look upon your Lord, who, though under no obligation, denied himself.” “And make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

37. Paul here briefly notices two different provisions for the flesh. One is supplying its natural wants ¾ furnishing the body with food and raiment necessary to sustain life and vigor; guarding against enfeebling it and unfitting it for labor by too much restraint.

38. The other provision is a sinful one, the gratification of the lusts and inordinate appetites. This Paul here forbids. It is conducive to works of darkness. The flesh must be restrained and made subservient to the spirit. It must not dismount its master, but carry him if necessary. Sirach (chapter 33:24) says: “Fodder, a wand, and burdens are for the ass; and bread, correction, and work for a servant.” He does not say the animal is to be mistreated or maimed; nor does he say the servant is to be abused or imprisoned. Thus to the body pertains subjection, labor and whatever is essential to its proper welfare. Paul says of himself: “I buffet my body, and bring it into bondage [subjection].” 1 Corinthians 9:27. He does not say he brings his body to illness or death, but makes it serve in submission to the spirit.

39. Paul adds this last admonition for the sake of two classes of people.

One class is represented by them who make natural necessity an excuse to indulge their lusts and gratify their desires. Because of humanity’s proneness to such error, many saints, deploring the sin, have often in the attempt to resist it, unduly restrained their bodies. So subtle and deceptive is nature in the matter of its demands and its lusts, no man can wholly handle it; he must live this life in insecurity and concern.

The other class is represented by the blind saints who imagine the kingdom of God and his righteousness are dependent upon the particular meat and drink, clothing and couch, of their own choice. They look no farther than at their individual work in this respect, and fancy that in fasting until the brain is disordered, the stomach deranged or the body emaciated, they have done well. Upon this subject Paul says ( 1 Corinthians 8:8): “Food will not commend us to God; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse; nor, if we eat, are we the better.” Again ( Colossians 2:18-23): “Let no man rob you of your prize by a voluntary humility and worshipping of the angels... which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and severity to the body; but are not of any value against the indulgence of the flesh.”

40. Gerson commended the Carthusians for not eating meat, even though debility made meat a necessity. He would deny it even at the cost of life.

Thus was the great man deceived by this superstitious, angelic spirituality.

What if God judges its votaries as murderers of themselves? Indeed, no orders, statutes or vows contrary to the command of God can rightfully be made; and if made they would profit no more than would a vow to break one’s marriage contract. Certainly God has here in the words of Paul forbidden such destruction of our own bodies. It is our duty to allow the body all necessary food, whether wine, meat, eggs or anything else; whether the time be Friday, Sunday, in Lent or after the feast of Easter; regardless of all orders, traditions and vows, and of the Pope. No prohibition contrary to God’s command can avail, though made by the angels even.

41. This wretched folly of vows has its rise in darkness and blindness; the looking upon mere works and trusting to be saved by the number and magnitude of them. Paul would make of works “armor of light,” and employ them to overcome the works of darkness. Thus far, then, and no farther, should fasting, vigilance and exertion be practiced. Before God it matters not at all whether you eat fish or meat, drink water or wine, wear red or green, do this or that. All foods are good creations of God and to be used. Only take heed to be temperate in appropriating them and to abstain when it is necessary to the conquest of the works of darkness. It is impossible to lay down a common rule of abstinence, for all bodies are not constituted alike. One needs more, another less. Everyone must judge for himself, and must care for his body according to the advice of Paul: “Make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Had there been any other rule for us, Paul would not have omitted it here.

42. Hence, you see, the ecclesiastical traditions that flatly forbid the eating of meat are contrary to the Gospel. Paul predicts their appearance in <540401> Timothy 4:1-3, where he says: “But the Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own conscience as with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God created to be received with thanksgiving.” That these words have reference to ecclesiastical orders and those of the entire Papacy, no one can deny. They are plain.

Hence the nature of papistical works is manifest.

43. Also you will note here Paul does not sanction the fanatical devotion of certain effeminate saints who set apart to themselves particular days for fasting, as a special service to God, one for this saint, another for that.

These are all blind paths, leading us to base our blessings on works.

Without distinction of days and meats, our lives should be temperate and sober throughout. If good works are to be our armor of light, and if the entire life is to be pure and chaste, we must never lay off the arms of defense, but always be found sober, temperate, vigilant, energetic. These fanatical saints, however, fast one day on bread and water and then eat and drink to excess every day for one-fourth of the year. Again, some fast from food in the evening but drink immoderately. And who can mention all the folly and works of darkness originating from regarding works for the sake of the efforts themselves and not for the purpose they serve. Men convert the armor of good works into a mirror, fasting without knowing the reason for abstinence. They are like those who bear a sword merely to look at, and when assailed do not use it. This is enough on today’s epistle lesson.

The Theory of Everything - Movie about Stephen Hawking - Black Hole Theorist with Motor Neuron Disease

From The Theory of Everything,
about Stephen Hawking.
Here is a typical sophomoric review.


In 1982, when I received a PhD at the University of Notre Dame, Stephen Hawking was given an honorary doctorate. The entire stadium became silent as his nurse lifted up his head from the wheelchair--the neck entirely limp-- to allow the doctoral stole to be put on.

We paid special attention to that moment, because our daughters Bethany and Erin Joy both suffered from a similar motor neuron disorder. Like Hawking, their intelligence was unaffected, but they slowly weakened, passing on to eternal life in 1980 and 1987. Hawking is still alive and working at age 70.

Here is the book, Angel Joy,  about our daughters -

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/5009355/9317339angel_joy_sep2010.pdf

The movie originated with the book his first wife wrote about him, so it is faithful in telling his life and quite romantic as well. They fell in love just as his disorder was making itself known. Some call it ALS (Lou Gerig's Disease) in the movie, and others say it is similar to ALS. Jane Hawking persisted in marrying him and taking care of his needs for 30 years. They have three children and grandchildren as well.

I recall the global gasp as he divorced Jane to marry his foxy nurse, who apparently abused him. He divorced that nurse and is on good terms with Jane again.

Bethany loved the camera, and had the best smiles for each picture.
O ye beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road

And hear the angels sing.

Motor neuron diseases can affect thinking, but Hawking was spared that difficulty, just as our daughters were. We learned to communicate with their facial expressions as we asked them about important issues, like, "Which dress do you want to wear?"

Erin could not always respond immediately, so I missed one cue. I asked her again, "Erin, do you want to go to the gift shop?" She threw her entire body into the reaction and off we went, pushing her wheelchair. She loved to hear debates about going to the money machine in the hospital. LI insisted on calling it the Nummy Machine. We got increasingly loud about it and took off to the place where it was located. I put in my card and out came money. "It's a money machine, not a nummy machine!" Erin Joy laughed and laughed the whole time.

What did our daughters have? No one came up with an answer and the Cleveland Clinic threw away all their records. Various world experts were consulted.  Everyone was very smart about our daughters, and knew better than we did - that is - until they got to know them.

Many clergy avoided our daughters altogether and ran from opportunities to get to know them - their loss. LCA leaders were hopeless and WELS leaders were criminally stupid, using Erin Joy's death to cover up their crimes.

Erin Joy loved her swing.



Hawking's Life
Stephen Hawking began at Oxford at the age of 17, coasted through a honors physics degree, and enrolled at Cambridge for doctoral studies. He met his future wife Jane at Oxford, and soon learned he had only two years to live (sic). Although her domestic chores are featured in the movie, Jane certainly was a major factor in Hawking's brilliant career, allowing the physicist to progress through his doctorate and establish himself as an international expert.

Hawking's A Brief History of Time has sold 10 million copies.

The movie develops a theme seldom addressed much in the popular literature about Hawking. Jane is a practicing Christian and always challenged her husband about his theories and God. She seems to have moved him toward acknowledging God over the course of their work together.

As I told my wife after the movie, "God's existence does not depend on Hawking's theories, but I'm glad they addressed the issue in the movie."

One can find a similar debate in the life of Charles Darwin, whose wife challenged him about evolution.

Martin held each sister, by having them lying on a blanket.


Communication
We have seen the letter board used when they first communicated with Hawking. He graduated to a primitive computer interface, one like the kind used by a church member with ALS (in Columbus). Hawking was able to write his popular book, one letter at a time. How he dealt with complicated formulae is left to the imagination. He had more help from graduate students as his disorder progressed.

We talked to our daughters and watched their facial and body reactions. Their emotions matured as they grew older, and they understood more. All of us talked to them, and nurses learned that they could ask questions and get answers the same way we did.

Bethany and Erin Joy loved pranks. Bethany deliberately spit food back into her favorite nurse's face. They both laughed about that, again and again. Children never tire of funny stories. Erin Joy liked falls and spills, including her own, as long as no one was hurt. Once a nurse dropped a large tub of yogurt on the floor. Disney-like, the food bounced back all over the nurse. Gales of laughter followed from Erin. How could anyone be upset about yogurt mess with so much laughter?

At the nurses' station, a large file opened up and all the papers spilled across the floor. Loud cussing followed, but from Erin's room - a burst of laughter. That became the funniest story of the month.

Erin liked to get her Mom in trouble,
but she really loved hearing
"Dingy Daddy, you broke the camera."

Another World Opens Up
Wise people will not run from those who have special health problems. Those are the very ones who teach us the most about what is important in life. Hawking was blessed to have a spouse who did so much for him when she could have run away from his disorder. His colleagues helped out in many ways, too, recognizing his genius.

Medical crises are not very pretty. Anyone can see the effects on Hawking's body from his disorder. Nurses and doctors are used the very things that make us gag, close our eyes, or quickly leave the area. Are the medical staff sad and beaten down by their experiences? The emergency room is pretty upbeat when I am there. They enjoy patching people up and sending them out the same doors where they came in.

The sad and beaten down people are the ones whose white carpet just got ruined, RUINED, by some spill. Or they neglected to buy Ford at $1 a share.

God delights in doing things His way, working through weakness rather than through man's earthly glory.

Bethany held up her own head at four months, but not later.
This photo diagnosed her disorder as neurological degeneration.


2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Erin Joy had a terrible time doing things deliberately,
but she liked to be contrary for fun.
After many failed poses we ordered her,
"Do not hold that bear!"
She grabbed it and grinned. She knew the drill.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Wondering about the Crystal Cathedral Grounds - They Are Landscaping with Crepe Myrtle Bushes

Crepe myrtle bushes can be left to develop in this fan-like shape
or pruned for the tall vase effect, which I prefer.

People are reading about the Crystal Cathedral from earlier posts, perhaps because the Church of Rome is completing the re-design of the property they bought from the bankruptcy court. To set the church off from the rest of the campus, the building will be  surrounded by hundreds of crepe myrtle bushes.

I only need a few hundred more crepe myrtles to set off the location of Bethany Lutheran Church. The first one is doing well.

All the prosperity Gospel nonsense comes from various occult religions, via Norman Vincent Peale, who plagiarized his best-seller--The Power of Positive Thinking--from another writer, Florence Shinn. Another key player in Church Growth is Karl Barth, the Swiss Commie adulterer, who remains the official theologian of Fuller Seminary, not far from the late Crystal Cathedral. Later I will post about Barth being the most famous theo-plagiarists of all time.

Robert Schuller's Prosperity Gospel Bears Fruit
Milner said she is unsure if the case would go to the next level, which would require asking the full 9th Circuit to hear the case or appealing to the Supreme Court. The cases and financial uncertainty have taken a toll on Schuller, who is 87 and has had a number of health problems recently, Milner said.
“Even though he’s happy, he’s penniless,” Milner said. “He has no assets. His house is fully mortgaged. Medi-Cal takes all of his Social Security. It hurts that he was abandoned by people who he served faithfully and loved.”
The Power of Positive Thinking is occult religion garbed in a Calvinist preaching gown, first through Peale, then through Schuller. If someone passed out the original book, with ties to the Ashcan School of American Art and the Unitarian Church, few would have taken notice. But when cloaked with pop Reformed thinking, and promoted as conservative, the same thoughts took root. Who has not said, "When one door shuts, another one opens"? (I don't think I have.)

Read the full article here about Peale and the occult:

Peale’s New Age Endorsements
In his letter to me, the Indiana pastor wrote how he remembered the Lutheran Quarterly article after reading my book Deceived on Purpose. My observation that Rick Warren emulated so many of Robert Schuller’s ideologies reminded him of Norman Vincent Peale’s alleged unattributed use of Florence Scovel Shinn’s writings. The Indiana pastor was surprised I had not mentioned the New Age link between Peale and Schuller. He said that the New Age implications of Warren’s teachings did not stop with Schuller or even with Schuller’s mentor, Peale. It stretched back through all of them to the occult itself.
Needless to say, the apostasy of the LCMS, WELS, Little Sect, and CLC (sic) rest upon the occult and the imbeciles fronting it for the Christian Church - Peale, Schuller, Warren, and Cho - all vastly honored and rewarded by their disciples.

Study this Luther quotation -
it explains everything about WELS/ELS, LCMS, and their pals in ELCA.
Satiety and curiosity drew Kelm, Valleskey, Olson and many more nitwits
through the fetid gates of Fuller Seminary.
Like the unusually hearty crepe myrtle, the earthworm multiplies and grows easily, so it is scorned and ignored. When I was explaining the spectacular beauty of our crepe myrtle, which easily outshines the rest in the neighborhood, I listed pruning and earthworms as the two causes. Our helper laughed and said, "You and your earthworms." Nevertheless, I gave him a children's book on earthworms...for his children.

What does a worm eat? Bacteria, primarily, which is why it should come as no surprise that soils with large populations of worms are usually bacterially dominated. Other foods are fungi, nematodes, and protozoa, as well as the organic matter on or in which these microorganisms live. How does a worm eat?

Jeff Lowenfels, (2010-09-10). Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener's Guide to the Soil Food Web, Revised Edition (Kindle Locations 1386-1388). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.

The Means of Grace - Once Abundant - Still Available
Lutherans supposedly know about the Means of Grace. I am only guessing, since the term hardly ever comes up, even when they write about worship on their blogs and Facebook.

The term short-circuits any discussion about Universal Objective Justification (Forgiveness Without Faith). If the worship service is the Means of Grace, what does that do to forgiveness before birth?

Those who quietly believe in justification by faith do not want to incur the wrath of the UOJ Stormtroopers, who never cease following their Father Below.

Here is the WELS Means of Grace.