The Glory Has Departed
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Friday, September 30, 2016
Brave Download Here - I Like It!
I was reading this small book in the car repair shop when the Ichaboat was being repaired. The alternator went bad and a bad alternator was used to replace it, so the replacement had to be replaced.
I ran across one paragraph where Chemnitz described the Cathari in his list of those who botched and twisted justification.
The Cathari considered themselves completely blameless and free of sin. Therefore, repentance was a foreign idea to them.
The UOJists insist they were saved "2000 years ago." Like the Cathari, one bad foundational idea leads to a host of rejections of Biblical truths. The UOJists are extreme hedonists, because they were born forgiven. Repentance is a foreign concept for them, too, because of this false concept.
The UOJists are habitual liars, because their deception is always for a good cause, such as getting Al Barry elected with deceit while denying it, attending Fuller Seminary while acting offended anyone would even mention that idea.
The Cathari were also known to feel superior to those not of their elite group. The three UOJ sects - LCMS, WELS, and ELS - never stop congratulating themselves about their UOJ. And oh what a blessing they are to Lutherans. Here is one example - the juxtaposition is too funny to ignore...
From One Reader:
Dear Pastor Jackson...
I want to express my thanks to God for the great blessings that He has given to me through you, Pastor Jackson, and your Ichabod website. I have been introduced not only to your own writings ("Catholic, Lutheran and Protestant" and "Thy Strong Word") but also to further readings of
Luther (Romans and Galatians Commentaries, "The Bondage of the Will"), Gerhard ("Annotations on the 1st Six Chapters of Romans", "Schola Pietatis, Vol. 1), Robert Preus ("Justification and Rome"), and Lenski. (Presently I am reading his Romans commentary and finding it immensely
rewarding.) And this has just been my reading in the last 8-9 months! You have also introduced me to "Zion on the Mississippi" and "The Error of Modern Missouri", both of which gave me insight into my own Christian/Lutheran background and increased my understanding of the apostasy found in so many of today's churches.
Lately I have been hearing from a number of people. Several younger men are in regular contact about Lutheran books to read and authors to avoid. I am getting three (3) boxes of books ready for some Lutheran book fans, which began with a fourth person buying a small library, scanning it, and giving the books to me to distribute.
That is why I began re-reading Chemnitz on Justification, translated by Jack Preus, a real treasure. More on that later. Some car issues slowed down my blogging but I read Chemnitz in the car repair shop.
My primary aim is to shock people into reading the classics of the Lutheran Reformation, starting there rather than having the pea-brains of today tell us what Lutheran doctrine is. The current Lutheran leaders have no clue and clearly hate Lutheran doctrine.
ELCA is obvious enough, but their "conservatives" did not discover the problems of their radical group until the 2009 vote. But keep them in mind, because the LCMS-WELS-ELS combine works with them all the time.
The handpicked zombies of the ELS-WELS-LCMS gathered to work on a more obvious unity, merger, and closing of schools in the future. They all agreed on repudiating Justification by Faith. They were thankful to God for agreeing on UOJ. That was no accident.
Matt the Fat could not manage to get an easy "doctorate" from a Missouri seminary, and his best pal in politics, Paul McCain, spent two extra years at Ft. Wayne without a "graduate" degree - STM or anything else. The Matt the Fat fanclub is impressed that their plump hero started a doctorate and never finished. Matt and Paul are in the sack with UOJ, so their merger group would be 100% UOJ, even though Missouri has never produced a UOJ catechism.
Mirthless Mark Schroeder (WELS) and Pope John the Malefactor (ELS) are so gonzo for UOJ that nothing more needs to be said. I just want Lutherans in this 500th celebration year to note all the UOJ essays being excreted from Mankato, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Ft. Wayne.
Liz Eaton must be so proud of her dedicated followers.
| I have heard of "conservative" Lutheran pastors|
who think this ELCA pastor is the greatest.
One can easily run around and wonder, "Where do I start with Reformation Lutheran theology?" Here are some ideas:
- Luther's Large Catechism is really an edited set of his sermons.
- Luther's Galatians Lectures, starting at chapter 3 of Galatians. Read a paragraph and think about that for a time.
- Melanchthon's Augsburg Apology - on Justification, a brilliant and lucid lecture.
- Any given Chemnitz volume.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
I bought Butterfly Bushes for two reasons. One was to screen the view of the houses behind us. There I have two Bonnies, which are reputed to grow very tall.
I planted a White Profusion near our bird feeders, to attract butterflies while enjoying a view from close-up. We have seen more butterflies all the time since the Whtie Profusion grew so tall and full of blooms.
Butterfly Bushes need watering and sunshine. Supposedly the watering needs of the plant will decrease when established, but this area is notorious for ending the summer with heat, humidity, and no rain. We were fairly dry again at the end of this summer.
The White Profusion near our window was blessed with stored rainwater and the soaker hose that runs out to the fence. I also dumped the dirty birdbath water on the bush at regular intervals, getting back my investment in birdseed.
The plant transformed itself from a weak little bush this spring to a 9-foot tall woody shrub now.
The squirrels used it as a ladder to their food but found the branches easy to break at first. The birds were also flummoxed by the flimsy branches. Now every creature is happy, and the Butterfly Bush is the waiting room for the feeders:
- Sunflower seed platform
- Finch seed, squirrel-proof feeder
- Hanging sunflower seed feeder
- Hanging baskets with six pounds of suet in them.
- Wild Strawberries
- Butterfly Bushes
- Rugosa Rose (for shade)
- Willow Bushes
- Pokeweed (for birds and beneficial insects)
- Praying Mantids (hatched the eggs, turned them loose)
- Dutch White Clover - now most of the lawn
- Trumpet Vine
- Morning Glory Vine
- Honeysuckle Vine
- They need money.
- They need plans.
- They need an organization.
- They need time.
|Three Promises -|
1. The Word never returns empty.
2. The Word always accomplishes God's purpose.
3. The Word always prospers God's plans.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal had a list of the top 500 colleges in the USA. No LCMS school made the list. My wife went through the list as well, and she didn't see any.
However, some ELCA-affiliated ones did make it: Concordia Moorhead, Luther in Decorah, Wartburg, Wittenberg, Augsburg, Gustavus Adolphus, St. Olaf, & Augustana. She did say she could have missed some. While there are always problems with lists of this kind, if the standards are applied uniformly it does say something about ranking.
What do you want to bet the Stuckfast Lutherans and the Questing Lutherans won't say anything?
|Martin Luther College changed Samantha Lily,|
who arrived as a male student and graduated pumped full of hormones.
But nobody knew. Nope - no one.
|Short version - 50% of members in Wisconsin,|
where they are densest.
25% in Minnesota, 25% in Michigan.
The rest are scattered.
GJ - Please do not try to fool an information maven. The official story is not true. WELS is so used to lying that the officials think they can fool an entire synod. WELS Pastor Aaron Frey was asked in doctrine class at MLS about how far one could go sexually. He said, "As far as your conscience allows." That was several weeks ago. An uproar followed, which climaxed in his resignation.
Since the DP was leading the chapel service when the announcement was made, some might conclude (as I did) that some high-level meeting took place that morning. Mrs. I did not believe the story. I asked various sources about what happened, and their utter silence told me it was something.
WELS leaders have used the burn-out excuse too often to be believed. That is how they finessed the Michigan District VP from a congregation to director of a WELS nursing home, with the previous DP lying to beat the band. When that district VP was exposed as an adulterer, one of his members--a student at MLS--decided not to be a pastor.
LPR in Columbus was a collection of lies and slander.
"For the good of the ministry" means something bad happened, and now we know. Perhaps WELS pastors and leaders should stop deceiving people, for the good of the ministry. Do they expect people to believe them the next time?
excerpt:Recently, Wisconsin mandated a sex education curriculum that required teachers to teach about condoms and other forms of birth control. Sounds pretty straight-forward, right? It would have been, but last week, a D.A. named Scott Southworth announced that teachers who followed this law, could end up in jail for breaking another: namely, contributing to the delinquency of minors.
The classes also must inform students that teenagers who have sex can wind up on the state's sex offender registry because sex with children 16 or younger is a crime.
President Frey Resigns
Yesterday, Pres. Aaron Frey informed our MLS Governing Board Chairman, Pastor George Ferch, and me that he was resigning his call as president of Michigan Lutheran Seminary for the good of the ministry.
This news was announced to our student body and faculty following our chapel service this morning by Pastor John Seifert, the president of our Michigan District. Pastor Seifert is an advisory member of our governing board.
While this resignation is unexpected, we are already making the necessary adjustments to our school’s program. Pastor Ferch will be calling each of the governing board members today to inform them of the news. The board meets in New Ulm, Minnesota, next week Friday. At that meeting the board will appoint an acting president and begin the calling process to fill the vacancy in the president’s office.
Pres. Frey’s teaching assignment of Doctrine 12 will be taken over by Instructor Andrew Naumann, who taught the course last year following Pres. Prange’s departure. We will have to make some other small adjustments to the academic schedule to accommodate this change, but they will be insignificant.
Vacancies in ministry can be unsettling. At the same time MLS has had experience in its recent history of continuing its important ministry very well in times of vacancy in the administration, faculty, and staff of our school. The Lord has blessed MLS with capable men and women who will pick up the work that needs to be done and to do it well. They have done it in the past, and they will meet this new challenge with the same ability and service now. They will do it as they serve our students, our special ministry at MLS, and their Lord and Savior.
I encourage you to keep the needs of MLS in your prayers, as well as Pastor Frey and his family as they face changes in their life.
In our Savior’s service,William Zeiger, Ph.D.Vice President
- Reverends Lange, Huber, Hoyer, Linsemann, and Beer 1887–1907
- Reverend Otto J.R. Hoenecke 1910-1950 (Taught until 1958)
- Reverend Conrad I. Frey 1950–1966
- Reverend Martin Toepel 1966–1978
- Reverend John C. Lawrenz 1978–1994
- Reverend Paul T. Prange 1994–2009
- Reverend Aaron Frey 2010–present
GJ - Ski and Glende are the fruit of MLS, so I knew the Appleton fake blog would jump on this. They are daily readers of Ichabod, when they are not copying Groeschel into their sermon files or blocking Google access to my ruminations about Fox Valley apostasy.
I should name my sources so a fake, anonymous blog from plagiarists can lead the way in sliming a new set of victims? Church and Money Changers are so transparent.
Cease and desist, Tim and Ski. The school, faculty, and parents know the truth, if they spend a few seconds asking some questions. This has been brewing for several weeks.
I am confident in my story, my sources, and the truth - as distinguished from the smokescreen being laid down.
Ta-ta. I actually write my sermons. Right now I am studying Luther so I have no time for the aging, balding, blubbery juveniles of The SORE.
Rev. Aaron Frey announced Sept. 17 that, effective immediately, he is resigning as president of Michigan Lutheran Seminary (MLS) in Saginaw, one of two preparatory high schools operated by the synod.
In a letter from Frey read to students and faculty by Rev. John Seifert, president of the Michigan District, Frey states: "It is with deep sadness that I must tender to you my resignation as the president of Michigan Lutheran Seminary for the good of the ministry at our beloved synodical preparatory school." Seifert, who counseled with Frey, says, "He has not disqualified himself from serving in the public ministry, and he did not have to resign."
Frey had been serving as president of MLS since February after serving since July 2006 as pastor at Emanuel in Tawas City, Mich.
The governing board of MLS meets in New Ulm, Minn., Sept. 24. At that meeting the board will appoint an acting president and begin the calling process to fill the vacancy in the president's office.
William Zeiger, vice president of MLS, in a separate letter to students and faculty writes: "Vacancies in ministry can be unsettling. At the same time MLS has had experience in its recent history of continuing its important ministry very well in times of vacancy in the administration, faculty, and staff of our school. The Lord has blessed MLS with capable men and women who will pick up the work that needs to be done and to do it well."
Both Zeiger and Seifert are asking the synod to keep Frey and his family in their prayers.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
|Art by Norma Boeckler.|
Visitors come to this blog and wonder what Universal Objective Justification is, so I will summarize the discussion briefly.
Justification means being declared forgiven of all sins by God. The Holy Spirit works through the Gospel to create faith, and that faith receives all the blessings of the Gospel. This Gospel is the invisible Word of teaching and preaching, the visible Word of the Sacraments. That is why the Word and Sacraments are called Means of Grace, since they are God's instruments of grace to bring forgiveness to people.
The Bible, Luther, the Book of Concord, and Lutheran theologians all teach justification by faith. The Lutheran theologians include Melanchthon, Chemnitz, Chytraeus, Andreae, Gerhard, Calov, Quenstedt, and many others.
|Pastor Paul Rydecki translated Hunnius, who eviscerated Samuel Huber.|
Samuel Huber, UOJ Stylist
UOJ first appeared shortly after the Book of Concord was published in 1580. Samuel Huber, a partial convert from Calvinism, got a teaching gig at Wittenberg and began railing against justification by faith. Alas, he was like a gunman robbing a gun store. The Lutheran orthodox opened up on him. Polycarp Leyser, the biographer of Chemnitz, an expert on justification, and Hunnius, another genius, shredded the weak arguments of Huber and removed him from his post.
Huber taught that everyone was already righteous, by virtue of Christ's resurrection.
Pietism and Halle University, the Mother Ship of Blended Doctrine
Pietism won the battle against Lutheran orthodoxy, and Halle University served as the main (but not the only) source of Pietistic ministers and missionaries.
UOJ emerged again with the peculiar argument of the Halle Pietist Rambach and others that the entire world was absolved of sin the moment Christ rose from the dead. Although Romans 4:25 is commonly used today for this bizarre notion, Rambach argued his case from 1 Timothy 3:16.
Rambach's world absolution is still argued by Jay Webber (ELS) and Jon-Boy Buchholz, the tantrum prone WELS District President.
Stephan-Walther UOJ Sex Cult Expelled from Europe
Bishop Martin Stephan, who infected his wife and children with syphilis, gathered the Walther circle of Pietists around him, demanding total obedience in all his edicts. Pietism was the alternative to state-sponsored rationalism, so the Walther group gravitated from one abusive Pietistic leader (Johann Gottlieb Kuehn) to another (Stephan) when Kuehn died.
When Stephan's troubles from adultery and misuse of money grew, he planned a mass exodus to America, the first such emigration from Europe. He was under house arrest until his departure, when he took his main mistress along (Louise Guenther) and left his wife and children in Dresden to manage without him. Stephan only took his healthy son along, even though the society made arrangements for the entire Stephan family to move.
Walther and his brother kidnapped their niece and nephew from their father's parsonage, so Walther escaped arrest warrants (unlike his future mother-in-law) and left Europe in a hurry.
Walther's UOJ never varied from what he gained from Stephan, a fact that should make his diminishing fan club shudder.
Walther taught that God declared the entire world absolved of sin. People just needed to be told they were already forgiven and then believe in this world absolution. He later approved the double-justification language from the English translation of Knapp, the Halle Pietist.
Walther was unable to gain total dominance of the Halle position in the Synodical Conference.
Gausewitz was president of the Synodical Conference, and his catechism did not teach UOJ.
Hoenecke graduated from Halle, but he definitely gave UOJ a light touch in his Dogmatics.
Concordia Publishing House still publishes a KJV catechism (2 million in print!) that omits UOJ entirely.
UOJ, Church Growth, and Gay Activism
The UOJ advocates (WELS COP, Valleskey, Bivens, Wayne Mueller, VP Huebner, SP Mark Schroeder) are also the Church Growth salesmen in their synods (denying it, of course).
Gay activism thrives in the Fuller Seminary alumni, whether they are nominal Lutherans like Mark Schroeder, or emergent church gurus like Andy Stanley or Brian Mclaren.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
|John Paul II white roses are picture perfect when cut,|
but they fade faster than most.
Many people are surprised to learn that roses love cooler weather. In fact, the great rose farms ship their dormant roses very early in the spring, so the plants arrive before most are active in their gardens.
The old rose books used to suggest pruning roses before the cold set in, to prevent canes whipping around in the wind or freezing at the ends. One gardener of 200 bushes said he did that. I tried to hide my shock, because that made the roses more vulnerable by encouraging growth when the roses needed to take a winter nap. Besides, that is a lot of work with zero benefits.
Our hot spell was difficult for the roses and the water bill, because roses bloom and fade so quickly in the heat. In early spring, the buds form slowly and bloom slowly, so the display of color is long and inspiring. During the Inferno season, they need more rainwater, which is sparse, and relief from the long, hot nights.
Now the autumn cool has visited with some extra rain, and the roses are showing the benefits of rain added to thorough watering. I begin by soaking the main rose garden with under-mulch soaker hoses. I no longer remember exactly where the hoses run. I have a sprinkler that I use for the corners and finish by using that sprinkler alone on the main sections, raining down on the bushes and giving the canes a good shower.
Roses vary in their growth habits, so Veterans Honor has an enormous bloom more slender canes.
In contrast, Easy Does It and Mr. Lincoln always boast long, strong canes and astonishing growth.
A good rain or a deep watering will produce surprising blooms the next day, which is fun.
| Veterans Honor red roses are fragrant, long-lasting|
and large on slender stems.
The orange Easy Does It roses are fast growing,
prolific in bloom, with strong stems.
Monday, September 26, 2016
|Our backyard - heavily Photoshopped.|
Vines are so much fun - and trouble. The ones we want do not grow overnight. The ones we hate will lie in wait and make their way across the places they are not wanted.
The Ivy League is called that because a Harvard bigshot liked Japanese ivy and began growing it on the old buildings, so it is called Boston ivy. Yale copied it. No one thought the vines could be tree-like and destructive of buildings. The other schools united with the ivy fad and called their football league of eggheads the Ivy League.
I have English ivy - not the kind grown at Harvard in Boston - growing on the front of the house. We like it and let the vine grow over the picture window. Those are our organic drapes, always changing a bit, and perfect for male birds to land on and see the reflection of imagined rivals in the spring.
The best and worst about vines is their seeking for sunlight. The English ivy tried to grow into the house through the window and under the door. The ivy spread across the patio and entered the rose garden. We found it easy to cut away from unwanted areas, but that is only an armistice, not a peace treaty.
I planted three Trumpet vines, one by the maple tree in the front, one on the fence where it would get sunlight and water, one in the shade behind a tree. The most neglected is still growing up a tree and finding sunlight. The most coddled is growing ferociously now and has bloomed. The one in the maple tree rose garden is doing well on the ground and up the tree.
Morning Glory vines reach out for support, just like pumpkins. I enjoy the architecture of those plants, willing to grab a fence spring, a rose branch, anything for support.
| Hostas thrive in shade,|
and Hummingbirds love Hosta flowers.
The pine needles already look good on the Hosta garden, which only lacks another dose of needles and more Hostas.
We got the first application from the neighbors on Saturday, and they promised more would fall. I offered to harvest them too.
The rain got all the fresh cardboard soggy and heavy, and rain will bring down more needles and leaves.
The mulch not only preserves moisture and soil, but keeps the soil warmer for the soil creatures that decompose and re-arrange all the useful chemicals. The soil creatures keep up some activity as it gets cooler, but more is done when the critters are kept warm.
They proposed bubble plastic for swimming pools in the winter, in Phoenix. The sun would beat down and warm up the water, they claimed. I tried that once and got an algae bloom that was second to none, but not the desired warmth in the pool.
Coverings on the soil can promote all kinds of growth, including fungi and algae, but in natural conditions the food is eaten by the vegetarian creatures. The vegans are eaten by the predators, and the predators by other predators - even their own kind.
In this circle of life designed by the Creator and managed expertly by Him, nothing gets out of hand unless man steps in with some wild ideas.
- Landscaper's cloth - that will block weeds for a time, then the weeds break through to make an unholy mess.
- Black plastic partially covered by rocks or wood mulch. Plastic does not last and those coverings do not work very well at all. Soil should not be suffocated with plastic.
- Herbicides kill a lot more than weeds, and many weeds can be covered and converted to compost. Some weeds are easily pulled - like crabgrass. Other weeds are herbs that should be left alone - like dandelion.
- Pesticides kill spiders, beneficial insects, and lots of other life. If I kill a million skeeters with poison, a billion more will replace them.
- Fungicides are good for killing fungus, which is what we really want in our gardens. I like slime molds that show up to devour other molds. They look like dog vomit and go away fast. Some pranksters used to buy plastic stuff like that - it's free.
- Excess digging, rototilling, double digging, plowing. If God wanted all those delicate fungus strands broken up, all the earthworms killed, and all the balance destroyed, He would have done it by now.
| Our drugged and alcohol-pacified society is content to copy and paste|
creativity while assailing anyone who disturbs their three-day naps.
The video above deals with the lost civilizations of the world whose accomplishments are still carved in stone. My mother was fascinated with the Mexican and South American cultures. People still scratch their heads and wonder how this massive engineering feats were imagined, designed, and created.
That is also true for the pyramids of Egypt, which exist in various formations and sizes throughout the world.
I used to laugh at the ultimate answer to all these questions - "Aliens from outer space did this." That is how I answer similar questions on Facebook.
There are no alien records to dispute, no aliens to interview, no ships to board for inspection. That is the perfect answer for all questions.
My rudest shock in teaching undergraduates again, whether they were smart or not, from public schools or homeschooling, was this - their utter lack of curiosity.
Almost every question in the world can be answered (often badly) by putting the issue in Google for a search. I had some electrical problems with the Ichaboat, which were not solved by replacing the alternator. I was able to search the Net for a discussion page about my 94 Lincoln Town Car, Executive Series. That gave me a lot of clues, but the AAA repairman had the final answer - a $4500 testing device - revealing a bad, new replacement alternator.
The Net gave me a chance to think through the answers and consider what each one meant for repair or future troubles.
Why was the Chaste Tree doing so badly on the rainwater I gave it? Answer - never water the Chaste Tree and give it plenty of sun. I was wrong on two counts and moved it. The plant responds to pruning so I pruned all of it and new life came out of that drooping shrub.
What was the weird growth on two roses? I checked articles and photos - the dreaded rosette disease. Cure? Dig it up with the roots and remove all traces. That ended the problem and made me far more aware of the issue. I also found false statements about causes, which can be compared against well established research.
History of Civilizations
Few people know the history of Rome. We studied that history as a normal part of Latin 1 and 2. We had to know how and when it began, who Julius Caesar was, and read his self-promoting diaries. No one takes Latin now - a statistically insignificant number can claim that distinction.
|Martin Luther College, WELS|
The Roman Republic - which required marriage for citizens - turned into the Roman Empire, where the first 15 emperors were either bi or homosexual. That includes Julius, who was called "the wife of every man and the husband of every woman," as well as the "Queen of Bithynia."
Rome absorbed every engineering achievement from the cultures it conquered and implemented them, building upon the foundation of Greek and Egyptian math and engineering. "The Romans had the drains, but the Greeks had the brains."
Once Rome settled into the excesses of wealth and power, the culture began to decline. I grew up hearing, "We are just like Rome, going the same direction," and that was during Good Old Days, when men had spines instead of management techniques.
Biblical studies are a good example. We have centuries of scholarship, good and bad, but plenty to use. We have the texts available on the computer. And yet a business can add and subtract from the Bible - as the New NIV has done - and the simpletons of WELS say, "Love it. Buy it. Use it." The others are no better.
I read that giant celebrity churches like Willow Creek demanded and feminist Bible and got it in the New NIV, which will change more often than cloud formations in the years to come.
Thousands of Lutherans will graduate from colleges and seminaries and never ask the important questions, because they have no curiosity. They only want to subjugate their minds so they can graduate and progress in the synod.
As my professor at Notre Dame (now at Harvard) said, "Those who never leave school fail to develop independent thinking." She was supporting me in disagreeing with her in class, while other students thought that meant expulsion from the program.
America may turn things around again, but not without repentance. Too many want the rivers of drugs and vice that cross the borders. Too many want easy jobs with total security, as long as they behave and cause no waves.
I am sure that those Lutherans who watch the Moody video to the end with cringe at the Decision Theology at the end. But why? All your leaders look to the Decision Theology Evangelicals to teach them evangelism. They go to those schools and let themselves and Luther be pistol-whipped by the professors of Fuller, Willow Creek, and Trinity Divinity. And those subjugated leaders, who are no better or wiser than sheep, get out their whips and cattle prods to order the pastors and congregations to follow their example.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
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
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
Gospel Fruits and Weeds
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 #651 Be Still My Soul
Eighteenth Sunday After Trinity
4. In this wise he extols to them the preaching of the Gospel (as indeed he does on different occasions); his purpose is to induce them to regard it most appreciatively. He gives them an example of his own gratitude, thanking God on their behalf, for the purpose of calling forth their especial gratitude when they should consider what they formerly were and what they now had received through the Gospel. And again, he would have them beware lest, forgetful of their former misery and present grace, they relapse into their old blindness. A sad beginning in such backsliding had been made by factions in their midst, who, satiated with the Gospel and indifferent to the abundant grace they enjoyed, began to cast about for something else.
5. Now observe: If the exalted apostle and venerable teacher of the Gentiles in his day had to witness in his own parish such factions and sects as those which, in sinful security and ingratitude toward the Gospel, arose during his life, what wonder is it that today, when we do not have the excellent preachers and pious Christians of those times, there are similar sects? We are aware of the great benefits bestowed upon us, but at the same time we see and realize that the devil instigates divisions and scandals. And the cause of these evils may be traced to our ingratitude; we have quickly forgotten the ills we endured under the blindness of popery, and how miserably we were deluded and tormented. Necessarily, where God’s mercies are lightly dismissed from the mind and disregarded, gratitude and regard for God’s Word cannot be the result; satiated, listless Christians go their way fancying that spiritual conditions always were and always will be as now.
Therefore, the Gospel itself is a treasure in Luther's sermons. Paul used a similar expression - you are enriched by Him in all utterance and knowledge. And in 2 Corinthians - that Christ became poor to enrich others with the Gospel.
For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
Like everything else we have in abundance, we take these spiritual treasures for granted. That is why I experience people either rooted in the current fads and illusions or else eager to study what is being thrown away.
I can order a used Lutheran book at random and find one in perfect condition owned by a famous seminary professor. Or by a member of the Stellhorn family, a clan instrumental in the LCMS and the ALC. The prices are almost always very low because the demand is low. But when my friends look for this discarded treasure they find it sold short at Salvation Army and other bookstores.
The enrichment of the Gospel is not only what God gives us through grace but also how He spares us by keeping us away from the bogs and swamps that trap so many. Simply read the Internet for news and the words, actions, and thoughts of people will stun the believer with crassness, gross language, and a careless attitude toward everything.
Gerhardt's hymn expresses this perfectly.
Someone wrote, "It may be too hard to translate into English." And yet 9 and 90 Red Balloons was translated from German and became a hit in English. It all depends on what we value. Enormous, expensive efforts are made to support and promote secular quasi-religious music while Lutherans stop once a century to nod toward Gerhardt. One ELS professor could not distinguish between Gerhardt the hymn-writer and Gerhard the theologian. If the professors are so ignorant of their own history, what will the students know and teach in the future?
6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
Paul called upon the experience of his readers to remind them of the powerful effect of the Word of God. They knew individually where they came from, because most of the Christians in the Apostolic Age came from the slaves and the most despised, which Paul recalled for them later.
1 Corinthians 6 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
| Pier Francesco Sacchi_-_Dottori_della_Chiesa_-_ca._1516|
Doctors of the Church