The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist in Residence

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
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May 31, Ascension Day Holy Communion,
7 PM Centray Daylight Time
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Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Bente's Historical Introductions,
and Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Just Stop Trying


Often I run into an observation from Luther that I cannot get out of my mind. The latest is this, and it is very simple - Jesus rejoiced in the faith of a few people. The stories we know best are the ones where the Word says:

  • Your faith has made you well.
  • I believe, help my unbelief.
  • Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15:28.
Jesus' own defense was never, "Did you see all the crowds I attract? Look at them. We have gone from mega to meta!" Instead, He said, "I taught publicly."

So many are caught up in the self-crippling attitude of measuring success - and why not? Fulleroids (combining Fuller and hemorrhoid) have taught people to get out graph paper and measure how well their congregations are doing. All we need is an x-y axis. Years are placed on the x line, and numbers on the y. No mention is made of faithfulness to the Word. Maybe one county is filling up while another is emptying from hope and change.

I know those textbooks well, from Waldo Werning's timeless rubbish to the claims of Kent Hunter, wizard to the LCMS Council of Elrond. Did I mention that I met Hunter (DMin, Fuller) on his way into the Purple Palace? Not yet today? He made a point of telling me he was addressing the COP, something Paul McCain failed to mention in our friendly meeting just before.

Thanks to peddlers of stupidity like Werning, Hunter, Valleskey, Bivens, Olson, Huebner, and Kelm, everyone looks at his own numbers and never at theirs. They have already lived long enough (except Werning, RIP) to see their numbers have collapsed. They even had Schwan's adultery and divorce guilt money to try money as a means of grace. That failed fast and made them spendthrifts just as offerings were failing and numbers dropping.

But - back to the positive side. The clergy and laity should only look at the faith of a few and rejoice in the effect of the Gospel in those people. Instead of trying to get more and enlist them on the membership roll, as if that meant anything at all, they should broadcast the Word, in season and out of season.

One famous Lutheran communicator was fond of saying, "This is not the right time to address the issue." That is a blatant repudiation of "preach the Word, in season and out of season." Eventually his compromises silenced him and he tried to play victim. He was a victim of his own politics, which is always the devil's game.

So the question should be, "Am I teaching the Gospel Word often enough and faithfully enough?" There are many ways:
  • Prepare Justification by Faith sermons (hint - the Chief Article).
  • Buy and give away the classics by Luther (Sermons), Chemnitz, Gerhard, Krauth, Jacobs, etc.
  • Publish them in print for everyone.
  • Stream them to the public, no password needed.
  • If videoed or audioed, publish those versions on the Net.
  • Write about Christian topics on a blog.
  • Use the social media to leverage those messages.
  • Print, Kindle, and YouTube messages.
  • Teach the Word to adults and children.
  • Take the Word along when visiting shut-ins, the sick, and the spiritually inert.
The most precious soul is not the millionaire's or billionaire's, but the elderly patient who looks forward to a visit in the nursing home. She has outlived her friends and her spouse, in all likelihood. She has lost many abilities. But she believes in the Savior and loves to hear the Gospel.



One woman, dying of cancer, claimed she knew when I was coming to give her Holy Communion. She told her husband each time. But one day I did not appear after her prediction - only once. I told her a little later, "Yes, I know that day. I was almost at your home when I realized an appointment I had to keep, so I turned around about one block away." She grinned and told her husband, "I told you! I told you!" I no longer remember that appointment but I remember her so well and her sixth sense about the sacrament.

Clergy and congregations do not need to try to be successful, not in the sense of numbers. They do need to apply themselves to the Word and the Confessions. We only have so much time on earth. Do we spend it reading the drivel of the Fulleroids or the spiritual insights of the Reformation?

Once trained in the Word, it only takes a few seconds to see where various flavors of false doctrine originate. Justification by Faith in Christ produces the fruit of the Gospel. Everyone else produces rank weed growth - and fools say "Look at the growth over there! Why can't we be like them? Like the Assemblies of God? Like the no-name generic popcorn and soda entertainment meccas?"

Fulleroids say, "Look at the mega-churches and copy them." I have been reading about their collapses for decades, so I do not copy them. The mega of the moment is the empty shell of tomorrow, from the Hour of Power near Disneyland to the Church of Joy in Phoenix - both deader than a tavern on Sunday morning, lifted up in the media and buried in my generation.


The Word bears fruit. If that creates doubt in the stygian darkness of your soul, you might be a District President, a seminary professor, or a poorly trained layman.