|This Luther graphic was designed by Norma Boeckler.|
Luther lived 63 years, a long life for his era, dying in 1546.
Melanchthon was younger, and also lived 63 years, dying in 1560.
Martin Chemnitz was born after the Reformation started, and he united the warring factions of Lutherdom, dying in 1586, dying at the age of 64. Taught by Luther and Melanchthon, he unitd the warring factions among the Lutherans. Few people realize how all his previous work led to his masterful work in fashioning the Book of Concord and writing the Formula of Concord, both published in 1580. He worked with a team of genius theologians, including Selnecker, whom he converted from the wobbly Lutheranism popular at the time.
Living past the age of 63 is a gift from God, which is clear when looking over the memorial list of my highschool in Moline. My best friend from Yale died young from cancer. Several friends were born with weak hearts and died very young. One wasted his health and talents on alcohol and drugs.
I decided, upon reaching the magical age of 63, that I would get as much writng done as possible for whatever years might be left. Fortunately, I am blest with good health, inherited from my ancestors and not merited by any virtues on my part.
Two groups of people have done wonders for my understanding of Biblical theology.
- Opponents of Christianity.
- Faithful laity.
Opponents of Christianity
The opponents of Christianity are a sorry lot - obnoxious in behavior and greedy for gain. The obvious apostates turn the miracles of Christ into hilarious parodies and the divinity of Christ into the "Easter faith of the disciples," descending into Fundamentalism only when it comes to tithing.
Unfortunately, the open apostates control old, established denominations and their failing gay seminaries. Around 1981 I met the Philadelphia LCA seminary professor who published the traditional, heterosexual view of marriage in The Lutheran (LCA) magazine, and I knew the previous two editors of that publication.
The ELCA got rid of professors like him, and replaced them with the hair-on-fire radicals who promptly turned the schools into wastelands while soaking up enormous salaries for doing no more than posturing. Even in the old days, LCA professors did some great work for Lutheran doctrine, such as Tappert and his edition of the Book of Concord, which did not have to be recalled and pulped, unlike Paul McCain's misbegotten effort.
The founders of the previous ELCA denominations - Lenski, Jacobs, Krauth, Schmauk, Passavant - are good examples and good reading for those who might imagine the obvious apostates are true to their heritage. Someone has to remember these forgotten giants, so I mention them often.
Worst Apostates - NIV and ESV Salesmen
The worst apostates are far more subtle, sneaking out to conferences with ELCA, calling themselves "conservatives" and "confessional" and even "orthodox." But they do everything together to eliminate Lutheran doctrine from WELS-ELS-LCMS and the micro-minis. These spineless, lazy, and overfed apostates are far more dangerous than the obvious ones, because they borrow the faith words of Christianity to destroy the Faith, while gloating and rewarding one another for their efforts.
WELS-ELS-LCMS are quickly replacing the KJV with the surfer-dude paraphrase called the New NIV. Some replace the KJV with the Calvinist edition of the RSV - the ESV. These two factions do not acknowledge the KJV, based upon Luther, or any of its updates, which vary somewhat in doctrinal precision but at least share in a common heritage and honor for the Word of God.
The NIV and ESV are money machines for the owners. The RSV is owned by the National Council of (Communist) Churches, so I wonder how much ESV money goes to the red faction of the mainlines.
Church Growth, Pietism, and Universal Objective Justification
The most dangerous apostates despise the KJV family of Bibles, and share a common love of these three toxic influences:
- Church Growth marketing.
- Pietism and the congregation defined by cell groups.
- UOJ's rationalism and Pietism.
Church Growth has already been defined by C. Peter Wagner as a failure, but it was useful in introducing apostasy into the Christian Church. It only took one generation of drunken, stupid denominational leaders to make Church Growth habits habitual.
The genius of the Church Growth apostates is revealed in their simplistic tactics. They start with the cell groups of Pietism. That is the real church, they say. The Means of Grace at church worship services - they are nothing except a gathering place for the cell groups. Unlike my apathetic peers, I attended some of these CG beehives, and they all share common, nauseating characteristics. One was all the self-talk, completely supplanting any talk of God. Another was the rationalism that grows from Pietism - this works, so this is good. The Scriptures are set aside, except for sentimental slogans.
UOJ has been the best motivation to study Luther's doctrine and the Book of Concord. How could anyone turn Justification by Faith into Justification without Faith? That was like tracing the wiry roots of Bermuda grass and pulling them out, only to find those tenacious roots ripping up the soil and leaving remnants for a new generation of weeds.
A few - very few pastors - have been encouraging. The more they contacted me to verbally abuse me, the more I saw how addicted they were to synod control, like baby scorpions hanging onto the tail of mama scorpion.
| Holy Mother Synod will take care of her babies|
and give them a free ride.
Faithful laity do not need the approval of any synod. They read Luther and the Bible, so the complex truth-twisting of UOJ, Church Growth, and Pietism are unknown to them. They want to learn more and obtain books that teach them to discern the spirits.