The Glory Has Departed

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Justification by Faith and fighting UOJ.

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

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Argumentation Must Have Warrants - Or Reasons - For the Claims

 Coming soon to Lutheran Library!

As I have written before, argumentation requires warrants (reasons, evidence) for the claims made. If people want to disagree, the framework is before them. They normally begin with the sources.

This also applies in law enforcement. A police officer does not have the right to search someone or a house or car without a warrant or the agreement of the person involved. His  warrant is the reason sworn before a judge, but not all reasons are accepted. It must credible and appropriate for the matter.

False doctrine, like Objective Justification, assumes there is no other doctrine. They shriek and clutch their pearls, but have nothing to offer. It is true because their professors told them so, not because there is a speck of evidence for the dogma.

They refuse to quote the opposition fairly and address what they think are errors.

  • Is Genesis 15:6 about Justification by Faith or not?
  • Does Romans 4 - 5:2 teach Justification by Faith- or as the Brief  Statement claims - Objective Justification?
  • If that is so, does the Holy Spirit contradict Himself, misleading Paul?
I look over their sources, and they rely on the Walther disciples alone, Rambach the Pietist, Walther and Stephan the Pietists, and Luther/Melanchthon on the Atonement.

Did Luther and the Reformation scholars contradict themselves - or did they speak in such an obscure way that the world's great scholars heard Justification by Faith while the brilliant if syphilitic mind of Martin Stephan heard Objective Justification?

Missouri was not built on OJ, but the Chief Article, Justification by Faith. The synod began crashing in 1932, not because Pieper died, but because Stephan lived  and the creeping cancer of OJ took over.

OJ now rules in ELCA-WELS-ELS-CLC-LCMS.
Lenker, Luther's editor, was a member of the forerunner of ELCA.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

WELS Has a Plan for Its Failing College in New Ulm

 "We need millions of dollars to make up for the ridiculous plans of the past."



Report from the Field:
"There are teachers without a call because pastors are being used in teachers' positions.

This "need" for more students is more about the need to get more money than it really is about filling vacancies (that wouldn't exist if we weren't calling pastors to teach PE and be IT directors).

Falling enrollment because of rising prices and the fact that in the day of the internet they can't hide what goes on there like they used to - that is the real problem they want to fix.

And how are they going to do that you ask? By conning old people to give money to MLC so they can build boutique sports facilities, build a new dorm to replace the one that they tore down to build the diaper changing training center, and give staff raises!"

 "Our Friendship Sundays have not worked out well.
Ski suggested Friendship Sundaes instead."

No Faith, No Love, No Sense of Humor

The bright, illusive butterfly of growth evades the lupine leaders. But why?


Those who preach and teach against faith in Christ are also loveless and humorless. One can find no better collection of pickle-faces than those on the misnamed LutherQuest, where their first grab for authority is citing CFW Walther, BA. If they have run out of blanks to shoot, they pick up faithless Election, once again teaching against the Scriptures and the Book of Concord.

Luther wrote, "You have as much laughter as you have faith." (Martin Luther, What Luther Says, An Anthology, 3 vols., ed., Ewald Plass, St. Louis:  Concordia Publishing House, 1959, II, p. 692.  Psalm 126:5.)

That explains it all. Not knowing the source of grace, they obsess on a never-recorded declaration of God's grace for all people, not only without faith, but with special delight in excluding faith.

As Luther wrote, they talk about Jesus all the time but tear down the bridge to Jesus - the Means of Grace. No really, it just happens. When? Nobody knows exactly. So where is this recorded? Nowhere except among Calvinists and Halle Pietists.

When confronted with 20 years of documented research against their fables, they double-down and become overjoyed they all believe in Justification without and before Faith.

 They do not have to support their rationalistic, anti-Biblical claims, because there is only one side - theirs.


  1. Lutheran worship chases the clown entertainment evangelism train. 
  2. Hint - the best example - Community of Joy - folded faster than tours to Red China.
  3. Lutheran leaders only promote bad Bible translations from bad texts.
  4. Lutheran colleges are tanking, not just MLC.
  5. Lutheran seminaries are emptying. Many are ghostly shells of the past, the name without the campus, faculty, or students.




Sexagesima Sunday,2020



Sexagesima Sunday, 2020

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson




The Hymn #190               Christ the Lord                       
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 # 339   All Hail the Power              

Living, Growing Seed - The Word of God
The Hymn #46     On What Has Now Been Sown                           
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 #283       God's Word  Is Our Great Heritage        

 Norma A. Boeckler
Prayers and Announcements


  • Treatment and recovery - John Hicks, Rush Limbaugh, Pastor Shrader, Kermit Way, Christina Jackson.
  • Pray for our country as the major trials begin.
  • Thanksgiving - Glen Kotten is doing well.
  • The Last Pilgrim's Progress is this Wednesday at 7 PM.
  • Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, followed by The Gospel of John in Greek, starting slowly for newcomers.


2 Corinthians 11:19 For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. 20 For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.  21 I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.  22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.  23 Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool ) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.  24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;  26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen,in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;  27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.  28 Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.  29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?  30 If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.  31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.  32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:  33 And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands. 12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.  2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.  3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)  4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.  5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.  6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.  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. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  9 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.

KJV Luke 8:4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:  5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.  6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.  7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.  8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?  10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. 11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

 Norma A. Boeckler designed the Bethany altar
and created this photograph of it.

Sermon Background, Luke 8, The Sower and the Seed

The Word of God is compared to seed more than once in the New Testament.

"Christ compares the Word of God to a seed, to a grain of wheat sown in the ground. (Matthew 13:3-23) A seed possesses power and life in itself. Power and life belong to the properties of the seed. Power is not communicated to the seed only now and then, under certain circumstances, in peculiar cases. But the Word of God is an incorruptible seed, that is able to regenerate, a Word which liveth and abideth forever. (1 Peter 1:23)"
~E. Hove, Christian Doctrine, Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1930, p. 27. Matthew 13:3-23; 1 Peter 1:23.
The Sower and the Seed is explained by Jesus Himself. In the Means of Grace chapter of Isaiah, the Word is compared to rain and snow, which invariably cause growth. In this comparison, the Word is similar to seed, full of potential growth. If God gave us only one illustration, or a few, we would have more than enough to consider. But our gracious Heavenly Father shows His abundance in providing many different ways for His Scriptures to illustrate the whole counsel of God.
The Seed  Seed is a marvel because it is a storehouse of life in a portable package. Seed will endure heat, cold, storage, travel, and perhaps many years of hardships before taking root and growing. Seed travels by wind, animal, and human transportation. Each seed has its own destiny programmed within its genetic structure. The vitality of seed is easy to appreciate when a few beans or peas are placed in a damp towel to germinate. The dry, rough seed swells with moisture at first, and then sends both a root to drink water and absorb moisture, and a cotyledon (baby plant) to search for the rays of the sun.
J-208
1) "Preach you the Word and plant it home  To men who like or like it not, The Word that shall endure and stand When flowers and men shall be forgot.

2) We know how hard, O Lord,  the task Your servant bade us undertake:  To preach your Word and never ask  What prideful profit it may make.

3) The sower sows; his reckless love  Scatters abroad the goodly seed, Intent alone that men may have The wholesome loaves that all men need.

4) Though some be snatched and some be scorched And some be choked and matted flat, The sower sows; his heart cries out, 'Oh, what of that, and what of that?'

5) Preach you the Word and plant it home And never faint; the Harvest Lord Who gave the sower seed to sow Will watch and tend his planted Word."
~Martin H. Franzmann, 1907-76, "Preach You the Word," Lutheran Worship, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1982, Hymn #259.

As everyone should know, seed is alive and ready to grow and produce the moment it has the chance. The fact that some seed will not germinate points out that almost all seed, when harvested and stored correctly, is alive.

That should startle people who start from Calvin's position that the Word is dead by itself and needs to be made attractive, reasonable, and relevant. I heard a Calvinist professor berate Dr. Robert Preus in front of the Chicago Inerrancy Conference for not making the Word attractive and relevant. Instead, the Lutheran scholar only described what the Word said about God. The Calvinist was quite mean.

When people think the Word needs help, entertainment, sweeteners, hooks, or other blasphemous helps, they are blind to this basic description of the living Word. The Word is ready to grow with the power of the Holy Spirit and never lacking in the Holy Spirit. That also means the Spirit is never at work without the Word.

What happens when there is lack of trust in the Word of God, the Means by which we receive Christ and His forgiveness? The Word conveys Him to us. If we doubt that, we will neglect the Means by which He comes to us. And we will look for something else. That is why there is a new religious fad every two weeks. Taking one for being old-fashioned and not so interesting, they grab the other.

Trust is connected to the concept of sowing - tossing the seed, where it is bound to land in various places and have different results. But Jesus promises the results. The answer is not measuring the soil (rich suburbs, the mission pros say) but recklessly, heedlessly, carelessly sowing the Gospel seed.

Living, Growing Seed - The Word of God

KJV Luke 8:4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:   

The parables of Jesus are quite distinctive and memorable. Even when people get the interpretation wrong, they remember the basic plot. The Mormon missionaries say, "Every verse of the Bible can be understood 100 ways." I agreed, and they smiled, then I added, "Ninety-nine wrong ways and one right way. Do you actually think God created the world, became man, born of the Virgin Mary, performed miracles, die on the cross for our sins, rose from the dead, and left a record of it so confusing nobody knew what it meant?"

9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?  10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.

Jesus said that the parables were not meant for idle curiosity. In fact, if one does not have faith in Christ, the parables are puzzles. I even had a professor who said no one knew what the parables actually said. And he wrote a book on The Parables of Jesus! His version should have been very short.

The parables are stories from everyday life, but they always teach us about Jesus the Savior. The observations from life are the concrete examples that help us remember the heavenly meaning of the story. Like stories about Jesus and sayings of Jesus, the meaning is missed by those with no faith in Him.

5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. 


11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

This is not about planting deliberately but sowing, where the seed is thrown this way and that. When lettuce seeds were inexpensive by the pound, I took my extras and threw them on top of all the bare spots in the yard and in the planter by the unused front door. I did not soften soil or water the places afterwards - and the lettuce grew here and there.

This example includes the detail of the hardened non-growing surfaces of paths between plots (fell by the way side) in community gardening spaces. Nothing kills plant growth like walking on the soil. Air is pushed out and clay soil will harden like a brick. Birds are very good at noticing food in open places, so they will pounce on it and devour it. I put stale dog food on the plastic garbage barrel lid, and the birds (robins, cardinals, starlings) make it disappear.

These are the people who hear the Word, never take it seriously, and are not influenced by the Gospel at all. Take note:

Luther:
And these are not the mean people in the world, but the greatest, wisest and the most saintly, in short they are the greatest part of mankind; for Christ does not speak here of those who persecute the Word nor of those who fail to give their ear to it, but of those who hear it and are students of it, who also wish to be called true Christians and to live in Christian fellowship with Christians and are partakers of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But they are of a carnal heart, and remain so, failing to appropriate the Word of God to themselves, it goes in one ear and out the other. Just like the seed along the wayside did not fall into the earth, but remained lying on the ground in the wayside, because the road was tramped hard by the feet of man and beast and it could not take root.

These people know each other and work together. Many are clergy and professors at Christian institutions. They listen carefully and ask questions to make sure faith never enters their community. A few concise questions from them determines what they need to know to initiate their sacrament - the shun. "You don't believe in the Six Day Creation, do you?" they ask smirking. The correct answer is, "Oh no! Science has shown us..."

There are convenient substitutes for faith in Christ. One is smells and bells worship. Someone can have no use for anything taught in the Bible, yet conduct the most elaborate rituals where those terms are used, abused, manipulated, to serve the cult of  smells and bells. And do they ever bring down the Law on anyone not of their obsessions! They mock the people who do not grasp their holiness and the perfection of their performances.

Another convenient substitute is seemingly the opposite, but not. They are the clown leaders. They find so many ways to subvert anything resembling worship, from wearing Goodwill donations in the chancel to hosting a band that would be tossed out of Joe's Bar and Grill for lack of talent. Both these groups belong to the entertainment substitute. One entertains with burning incense, the other with popping popcorn. 

Luther on Satan's work:
3. Therefore Christ says the devil cometh and taketh away the Word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved. What power of Satan this alone reveals, that hearts, hardened through a worldly mind and life, lose the Word and let it go, so that they never understand or confess it; but instead of the Word of God Satan sends false teachers to tread it under foot by the doctrines of men. For it stands here written both that it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it. The birds Christ himself interprets as the messengers of the devil, who snatch away the Word and devour it, which is done when he turns and blinds their hearts so that they neither understand nor esteem it, as St. Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:4: “They will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables.” By the treading under foot of men Christ means the teachings of men, that rule in our hearts, as he says in Matthew 5:13 also of the salt that has lost its savor, it is cast out and trodden under foot of men; that is, as St. Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:11, they must believe a lie because they have not been obedient to the truth.

4. Thus all heretics, fanatics and sects belong to this number, who understand the Gospel in a carnal way and explain it as they please, to suit their own ideas, all of whom hear the Gospel and yet they bear no fruit, yea, more, they are governed by Satan and are harder oppressed by human institutions than they were before they heard the Word. 
For it is a dreadful utterance that Christ here gives that the devil taketh away the Word from their hearts, by which he clearly proves that the devil rules mightily in their hearts, notwithstanding they are called Christians and hear the Word.

Likewise it sounds terribly that they are to be trodden under foot, and must be subject unto men and to their ruinous teachings, by which under the appearance and name of the Gospel the devil takes the Word from them, so that they may never believe and be saved, but must be lost forever; as the fanatical spirits of our day do in all lands. For where this Word is not, there is no salvation, and great works or holy lives avail nothing, for with this, that he says: “They shall not be saved,” since they have not the Word, he shows forcibly enough, that not their works but their faith in the Word alone saves, as Paul says to the Romans: “It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Romans 1:16.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.


13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away

Seed, like the Word, will spring up unusually fast in shallow ground. The sun warms seed to make it germinate. Programmed to grow in sunlight (Who wrote the software for the seed?), seed will perform its duty even on bare, tiled roofs. Those initial leaves will sprout and the roots will reach out for dust and debris. But this moment of green-ness is brief.

The group consists, for example, of those who measure Christianity by the emotions expressed. They must weep and shudder when hearing the Gospel, go through the torments of Hell, and then become overwhelmingly joyful. If they achieve the maximum in joy, they feel they are forgiven and saved. But when those emotions fade and the cross is laid on their shoulders, they feel lost, betrayed, and stop believing.

When Christian and Faithful were about to enter Vanity Fair, they were warned, "You may end up witnessing to your Faith by dying."
They were tried and found guilty of offending the Founder of that city - Beelzebub - their great lord. The judge was Lord Hate-Good, so they had no chance to experience mercy. (The Pilgrim's Progress)

But the hard rock followers are told, "God will give you whatever yo want. You have come to the right place." Like the success seminars, they are skilled in pumping up the emotions and draining the wallets. My student told me he went to those seminars for the excitement but only took his driver's license. "They will take your money, I am telling you. No matter how silly the program is, they will have you signing up and paying on the spot." So when church is like this and just the opposite of "Take up the cross daily and follow Me," then the rock followers will disappear faster than a July frost.

Luther:
They also know that they are free from the bondage of the law, of their conscience and of human teachings; but when it comes to the test that they must suffer harm, disgrace and loss of life or property, then they fall and deny it; for they have not root enough, and are not planted deep enough in the soil. Hence they are like the growth on a rock, which springs forth fresh and green, that it is a pleasure to behold it and it awakens bright hopes. But when the sun shines hot it withers, because it has no soil and moisture, and only rock is there. So these do; in times of persecution they deny or keep silence about the Word, and work, speak and suffer all that their persecutors mention or wish, who formerly went forth and spoke, and confessed with a fresh and joyful spirit the same, while there was still peace and no heat, so that there was hope they would bear much fruit and serve the people. For these fruits are not only the works, but more the confession, preaching and spreading of the Word, so that many others may thereby be converted and the kingdom of God be developed.

7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.


14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 
The thorns that grow around faith are innocent and fragile looking - at first. I planted some Honeysuckle years ago. Mr. Gardener said, "It can take over your yard." I hoped it would, but nothing like that happened. Birds landed on it and planted holly seeds. I was going to cut away the holly growing there, but neglected that. Now I have a very strong holly bush with little sprigs of Honeysuckle peeking out.

I found when volunteering in the past that anything done promoted several new tasks termed automatical by virtue of attending. Fund-raisers, etc. One volunteer post meant others assumed they had a free laborer and their organizations could not live without me. That happens within the typical parish, where the pastor's most important role is managing all kinds of activities that have little to do with teaching, preaching, and visiting. Ministers can be very busy every day while having no time to meditate on the Word, grow in spiritual knowledge, or write out a sermon. When I was listed in a publishing book once, my first contact was a request to buy sermons from me. (No.) Sometimes I match words and Scripture from one celebrity preacher, only to find it used all over, verbatim, by many different denominations.  Few sermons are posted verbatim on the church website.

This has been taken to new levels, where a church has become hostage to the rich foundation established there, so Christianity is suppressed and social justice warriors run the show. (Glide Memorial)

Even on modest everyday levels, more time should be allocated for the Word alone, especially for the clergy, but also for the laity. 

Luther:
6. The third class are those who hear and understand the Word, but still it falls on the other side of the road, among the pleasures and cares of this life, so that they also do nothing with the Word. And there is quite a large multitude of these; for although they do not start heresies, like the first, but always possess the absolutely pure Word, they are also not attacked on the left as the others with opposition and persecution; yet they fall on the right side, and it is their ruin that they enjoy peace and good days. Therefore they do not earnestly give themselves to the Word, but become indifferent and sink in the cares, riches and pleasures of this life, so that they are of no benefit to any one. Therefore they are like the seed that fell among the thorns. Although it is not rocky but good soil; not wayside but deeply plowed soil; yet, the thorns will not let it spring up, they choke it. Thus these have all in the Word that is needed for their salvation, but they do not make any use of it, and they rot in this life in carnal pleasures. To these belong those who hear the Word but do not bring under subjection their flesh. They know their duty but do it not, they teach but do not practice what they teach, and are this year as they were last.

8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 


15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Gardeners have discovered that they can make thousands of seed germinate and grow, because God created them to do that, but it is another task to grow a fruit to perfection. I have seen squirrels finish off the only blueberries that grew, birds launching themselves after enjoying raspberries, squirrels stealing the corn and leaving the stalk for me.

What stands out is the amount of produce that comes from planting and tending the garden.

The seed is sown in this example to emphasize the fact of growth wherever the living Word lands. Someone wondered on Facebook if the discussion about election and salvation would bear fruit. I answered, "The Word is always effective. Isaiah 55:8ff." 

The Gospel Word has to have an effect, because the Word is always alive with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit. The non-Word has an effect too, by attracting non-Word followers who find their "felt needs" met (Fuller/WELS/LCMS term). That is why so many churches are converted into homes, theaters, and art galleries. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness  must find the Gospel somewhere else. One man said, "My Methodist church had dozens of discussion groups, on everything from WWI to sports, but not one about the Bible. I mentioned that and people were not happy with me." (Cue, Vanity Fair trial)

Individual View -
This parable is both a warning and an encouragement. We may have been in one stage or another described in this lesson, which is a warning. The encouragement is the fact that the Gospel Word in us grows like leaven and spreads to others - family, friends, neighbors. It is not necessarily overt, but is often subtle and experienced over time.

Pastoral View -
Statistics have shown that
The most powerful tool in the ministry - the only one - is the Word of God. Anything else is like comparing static electricity to a power plant. For that reason, everything the pastor does should be aimed toward the Gospel Word - teaching, preaching, visiting. Several of those who graduated from Ft. Wayne said this was a revolutionary concept to them. It changed their view of the ministry.

Congregational View -
The congregation must proclaim the Word of the Gospel because the purpose of the Bible is to teach faith in Jesus, the Son of God, the Savior who died for our sins and rose from the dead. We are not to judge the result but to employ the method in this parable - broadcast the living Seed of the Word.

Some examples are:

  1. Blogging based on teaching Biblical Christianity. Encouraging other blogs, like Pastor Shrader, Pastor Palangyos.
  2. Posting the sermon verbatim and the video.
  3. Broadcasting over the Internet.
  4. Teaching Christianity over the Net with special lessons, like Greek, Romans 1-5, Mark, Pilgrim's Progress.
  5. Publishing low-cost and free books related to the Gospel.
  6. Visiting the neighborhood and answering questions.
  7. Mailing free books to people to support sound doctrine.
  8. Supporting a mission in the Philippines.
  9. Making all published books non-profit and free as PDFs, low cost as Kindles, free to be used as Word documents (soon).
  10. Our media ministries, which annoy some Lutherans (CN). The Latin name for Means of Grace - media gratiae.
10. All this is spoken for our instruction, that we may not go astray, since so many misuse the Gospel and few lay hold of it aright. True it is unpleasant to preach to those who treat the Gospel so shamefully and even oppose it. For preaching is to become so universal that the Gospel is to be proclaimed to all creatures, as Christ says in Mark 16:15: “Preach the Gospel to the whole creation;” and Psalm 19:4: “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” What business is it of mine that many do not esteem it? It must be that many are called but few are chosen. For the sake of the good ground that brings forth fruit with patience, the seed must also fall fruitless by the wayside, on the rock and among the thorns; inasmuch as we are assured that the Word of God does not go forth without bearing some fruit, but it always finds also good ground; as Christ says here, some seed of the sower falls also into good ground, and not only by the wayside, among the thorns and on stony ground. For where-ever the Gospel goes you will find Christians. “My word shall not return unto me void.” Isaiah 55:11.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Like Calvin Ferdinand Wlhelm Walther - They Look for Relief in Calvin's Dogma

If people avoid foundational doctrines, they can outdo Calvin anytime. Ask Walther and his adoring fans.

Article XI, which Chemnitz wrote to prevent future problems, warned against speculation.

What did Walther do? He promoted his own ideas so he could split the Synodical Conference and rule as king over the remnant. That was probably good, because the LCMS became good at producing copies - strutting popinjays shouting down anyone who questioned them.

The OJists, with nowhere to turn, always go back to treating faith as a work of man, not as a gift from God.

They cannot escape their bedrock dogma, that God enthusiastically declared the entire world righteous, free of sin.


Alec Satin Found a Great Luther Quote

John Lenker, graduate of Hamma Divinity School, editor.


22. The Devil Directs His Main Attack Against Faith

Point fifteen: The devil directs his main attack against faith. When that has been overthrown he has won. The Sacrament of Repentance,[*] also, of which mention was made before, is based upon this Sacrament. No others receive forgiveness of sin but those who are baptized, that is, those who have received the promise from God that their sin shall be forgiven. The Sacrament of Repentance points back to the Sacrament of Baptism and confirms it. It would be quite in order for the minister to say when pronouncing absolution: “Behold, God has now forgiven thy sin according to the promise made before in Baptism, a forgiveness which I have been empowered to pronounce by virtue of the office of the keys. Now you are once more in possession of Baptism, its power and life. If you believe, it is true in respect of you. If you do not believe, you perish.” You will find, then, that sin will hinder Baptism in working its appropriate effects: the forgiveness and destruction of sin. Unbelief alone, however, with reference to these effects will render Baptism absolutely destitute of all power. Hence everything depends upon faith.
[*]: Now no longer called and considered a Sacrament among Lutherans.

***
GJ - No one finds Lutheran classics the way Alec Satin does - The Lutheran Librarian.

Luther's Sermon on the Sower and the Seed. Sexagesima



SEXAGESIMA SUNDAY.
   


TEXT:

Luke 8:4-15. And when a great multitude came together, and they of every city resorted unto him, he spake by a parable:

The sower went forth to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it. And other fell amidst the thorns; and the thorns grew with it, and choked it. And other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit a hundredfold. As he said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

And his disciples asked him what this parable might be. And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to the rest in parables; that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. And those by the way side are they that have heard; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the Word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved. And those on the rock are they who, when they have heard, receive the Word with joy; and these have no root, who for a while believe, and in the time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among the thorns, these are they that have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. And that in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, hold it fast, and bring forth fruit with patience.


I. THE NATURE OF THE WORD SPOKEN HERE.

1. This Gospel treats of the disciples and the fruits, which the Word of God develops in the world. It does not speak of the law nor of human institutions; but, as Christ himself says, of the Word of God, which he himself the sower preaches, for the law bears no fruit, just as little as do the institutions of men. Christ however sets forth here four kinds of disciples of the divine Word.

II. THE DISCIPLES OF THIS WORD.

2. The first class of disciples are those who hear the Word but neither understand nor esteem it. And these are not the mean people in the world, but the greatest, wisest and the most saintly, in short they are the greatest part of mankind; for Christ does not speak here of those who persecute the Word nor of those who fail to give their ear to it, but of those who hear it and are students of it, who also wish to be called true Christians and to live in Christian fellowship with Christians and are partakers of baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But they are of a carnal heart, and remain so, failing to appropriate the Word of God to themselves, it goes in one ear and out the other. Just like the seed along the wayside did not fall into the earth, but remained lying on the ground in the wayside, because the road was tramped hard by the feet of man and beast and it could not take root.

3. Therefore Christ says the devil cometh and taketh away the Word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved. What power of Satan this alone reveals, that hearts, hardened through a worldly mind and life, lose the Word and let it go, so that they never understand or confess it; but instead of the Word of God Satan sends false teachers to tread it under foot by the doctrines of men. For it stands here written both that it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it. The birds Christ himself interprets as the messengers of the devil, who snatch away the Word and devour it, which is done when he turns and blinds their hearts so that they neither understand nor esteem it, as St. Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:4: “They will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables.” By the treading under foot of men Christ means the teachings of men, that rule in our hearts, as he says in Matthew 5:13 also of the salt that has lost its savor, it is cast out and trodden under foot of men; that is, as St. Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 2:11, they must believe a lie because they have not been obedient to the truth.

4. Thus all heretics, fanatics and sects belong to this number, who understand the Gospel in a carnal way and explain it as they please, to suit their own ideas, all of whom hear the Gospel and yet they bear no fruit, yea, more, they are governed by Satan and are harder oppressed by human institutions than they were before they heard the Word. For it is a dreadful utterance that Christ here gives that the devil taketh away the Word from their hearts, by which he clearly proves that the devil rules mightily in their hearts, notwithstanding they are called Christians and hear the Word.

Likewise it sounds terribly that they are to be trodden under foot, and must be subject unto men and to their ruinous teachings, by which under the appearance and name of the Gospel the devil takes the Word from them, so that they may never believe and be saved, but must be lost forever; as the fanatical spirits of our day do in all lands. For where this Word is not, there is no salvation, and great works or holy lives avail nothing, for with this, that he says: “They shall not be saved,” since they have not the Word, he shows forcibly enough, that not their works but their faith in the Word alone saves, as Paul says to the Romans: “It is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Romans 1:16.

5. The second class of hearers are those who receive the Word with joy, but they do not persevere. These are also a large multitude who understand the Word correctly and lay hold of it in its purity without any spirit of sect, division or fanaticism, they rejoice also in that they know the real truth, and are able to know how they may be saved without works through faith.

They also know that they are free from the bondage of the law, of their conscience and of human teachings; but when it comes to the test that they must suffer harm, disgrace and loss of life or property, then they fall and deny it; for they have not root enough, and are not planted deep enough in the soil. Hence they are like the growth on a rock, which springs forth fresh and green, that it is a pleasure to behold it and it awakens bright hopes. But when the sun shines hot it withers, because it has no soil and moisture, and only rock is there. So these do; in times of persecution they deny or keep silence about the Word, and work, speak and suffer all that their persecutors mention or wish, who formerly went forth and spoke, and confessed with a fresh and joyful spirit the same, while there was still peace and no heat, so that there was hope they would bear much fruit and serve the people. For these fruits are not only the works, but more the confession, preaching and spreading of the Word, so that many others may thereby be converted and the kingdom of God be developed.

6. The third class are those who hear and understand the Word, but still it falls on the other side of the road, among the pleasures and cares of this life, so that they also do nothing with the Word. And there is quite a large multitude of these; for although they do not start heresies, like the first, but always possess the absolutely pure Word, they are also not attacked on the left as the others with opposition and persecution; yet they fall on the right side, and it is their ruin that they enjoy peace and good days. Therefore they do not earnestly give themselves to the Word, but become indifferent and sink in the cares, riches and pleasures of this life, so that they are of no benefit to any one. Therefore they are like the seed that fell among the thorns. Although it is not rocky but good soil; not wayside but deeply plowed soil; yet, the thorns will not let it spring up, they choke it. Thus these have all in the Word that is needed for their salvation, but they do not make any use of it, and they rot in this life in carnal pleasures. To these belong those who hear the Word but do not bring under subjection their flesh. They know their duty but do it not, they teach but do not practice what they teach, and are this year as they were last.

7. The fourth class are those who lay hold of and keep the Word in a good and honest heart, and bring forth fruit with patience, those who hear the Word and steadfastly retain it, meditate upon it and act in harmony with it.

The devil does not snatch it away, nor are they thereby led astray, moreover the heat of persecution does not rob them of it, and the thorns of pleasure and the avarice of the times do not hinder its growth; but they bear fruit by teaching others and by developing the kingdom of God, hence they also do good to their neighbor in love; and therefore Christ adds, “they bring forth fruit with patience.” For these must suffer much on account of the Word, shame and disgrace from fanatics and heretics, hatred and jealousy with injury to body and property from their persecutors, not to mention what the thorns and the temptations of their own flesh do, so that it may well be called the Word of the cross; for he who would keep it must bear the cross and misfortune, and triumph.

8. He says: “In honest and good hearts.” Like a field, that is without a thorn or brush, cleared and spacious, as a beautiful clean place: so a heart is also cleared and clean, broad and spacious, that is without cares and avarice as to temporal needs, so that the Word of God truly finds lodgment there. But the field is good, not only when it lies there cleared and level, but when it is also rich and fruitful, possesses soil and is productive, and not like a stony and gravelly field. Just so is the heart that has good soil and with a full spirit is strong, fertile and good to keep the Word and bring forth fruit with patience.

9. Here we see why it is no wonder there are so few true Christians, for all the seed does not fall into good ground, but only the fourth and small part; and that they are not to be trusted who boast they are Christians and praise the teaching of the Gospel; like Demas, a disciple of St. Paul, who forsook him at last, 2 Timothy 4:10; like the disciples of Jesus, who turned their backs to him. John 6:66. For Christ himself cries out here: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” as if he should say: O, how few true Christians there are; one dare not believe all to be Christians who are called Christians and hear the Gospel, more is required than that.

10. All this is spoken for our instruction, that we may not go astray, since so many misuse the Gospel and few lay hold of it aright. True it is unpleasant to preach to those who treat the Gospel so shamefully and even oppose it. For preaching is to become so universal that the Gospel is to be proclaimed to all creatures, as Christ says in Mark 16:15: “Preach the Gospel to the whole creation;” and Psalm 19:4: “Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” What business is it of mine that many do not esteem it? It must be that many are called but few are chosen. For the sake of the good ground that brings forth fruit with patience, the seed must also fall fruitless by the wayside, on the rock and among the thorns; inasmuch as we are assured that the Word of God does not go forth without bearing some fruit, but it always finds also good ground; as Christ says here, some seed of the sower falls also into good ground, and not only by the wayside, among the thorns and on stony ground. For where-ever the Gospel goes you will find Christians. “My word shall not return unto me void.” Isaiah 55:11.

III. THE FRUIT OF THIS WORD.

11. Here observe that Mark 4:8 and Matthew 13:8 say the seed yielded fruit some thirty, some sixty and some a hundredfold, which according to all interpretations is understood of three kinds of chastity, that of virgins, married persons and widows; and virgins are credited with a hundredfold of fruit, wedded persons with thirtyfold, the least of all, and widows with sixtyfold. But this is such coarse and corrupt talk that it is a sin and a shame that this interpretation has continued so long in Christendom and has been advocated by so many noted teachers, and criticized by none of them. In this one perceives how many wide-awake, well-armed and faithful teachers the church has had heretofore, and how one blindly believed another, and how God allowed many noted saints and people to play the fool so completely in these important matters pertaining to the soul that he warned us to believe no teacher, however saintly and great he may be, unless he comes with the pure Word of God.

12. First, it would be doing the Word of God injustice to hold that it brings forth no other fruit than chastity, since St. Paul boasts quite differently in Galatians 5:22. In brief, the Word of God accomplishes all good, it makes us wise, sensible, prudent, cautious, pious, kind, patient, faithful, discreet, chaste, etc. Hence this comment referring only to three kinds of chastity is wholly unchristian. The heathen and wicked people, who neither possess the Gospel nor persecute it, have also virgins, widows and married persons. Doubtless Anna and Caiaphas had been properly married. Thus there were virgins, widows and consorts before the Word of God; for virgins were born, and when the Gospel comes it finds virgins, widows and wives; the Gospel did not first make them virgins, widows or wives.

13. Secondly, thus marriage, virginity and widowhood are not fruits, nor virtues, nor good works; but three stations or states in life created and ordained by God, and are not creatures of our power. They are divine works and creations like all other creatures. For if it should be valid to interpret a station or state in life as good fruit, one would have to say the state of a lord, a servant, a man, a child and of officers was only fruit of the Gospel; in this way there would be no fruit at all left for the Gospel, since such states or callings are found everywhere regardless of the Gospel. But the chastity of virgins is paraded thus for the sake of a show, to the great danger and injury of immortal souls; just as if no virtue adorns a Christian but virginity.

14. I will say further, that chastity is a different and a far higher thing than virginity, and is nothing more than that a woman has never been under any obligation to a man. Besides, however, it is possible that a virgin has not only a desire and a passion for man, in harmony with the character and nature of her female body; but she must also be full of blood and life in order to bear children and multiply the race, for which God created her, and that creation is not her work but God’s alone. Therefore that woman may not hinder God’s work, nature as created by God must take its course, whether children be born or not. But chastity must indeed be a state of a woman’s mind that has no or little desire for man, and has in her body also little or no seed to bear fruit or children.

15. Now it is generally the case that a married woman does not so often experience such desire and lust, such a flow of love or life; for she will be relieved of the same by or through her husband; and besides, where a virgin has only passion in the thoughts of her heart and in the seed of her body, a married woman has much displeasure mingled with the pleasure of her husband, so that to speak in common terms, the high and best chastity is in the married state, because in it is the least lust and passion, while the least chastity is in the state of virgins, because in it there is much more lust and passion. Therefore chastity is a virtue far above virginity; for we call a bride still a virgin, although she is indeed full of desire, passion and love for her bridegroom. Chastity waves high over all three states, over marriage, over widowhood and over virginity. But when God does not work wonders it sinks low and exists most in the married state and least in the state of virgins, and there are not three kinds of chastity, but three states of chastity.

16. True, when we consider virginity according to its outward appearance, it seems great that a woman restrains herself and never satisfies her desires with a man. But what does it help if persons restrain their passions longer without a man or a woman and then satisfy them more than with a man or woman? Is there not more unchastity where there is greater lust, love, lewdness and sensation than where there is less? Therefore to calculate according to the amount of lust and sensation, as unchastity should be considered, virginity is more unchaste than the state of marriage. This is very apparent among prostitutes, who are virgins and yet are very forward and obscene, and cherish greater thoughts of the sin than the sin itself is. In short, I wonder if there is a virgin twenty years of age, who has a healthy, perfect female body.

17. This is enough concerning chastity, that we know how the fruits of the Word must be understood differently and in a wider sense than pertaining to chastity, and be applied especially to the fruits, by which many are converted and come to the knowledge of the truth. For although works are also called fruits, yet Christ speaks here especially of the fruits the seed of the Word brings forth in hearts that become enlightened, believing, happy and wise in Christ, as St. Paul says in Romans 1:13: “That I might have some fruit in you also, even as in the rest of the Gentiles;” and Colossians 1:6: “Even as the Gospel is also in all the world bearing fruit and increasing, as it doth in you also;” that is, many will be made alive through the Gospel, delivered from their sins and be saved; for it is the characteristic work of the Gospel, as the Word of life, grace and salvation to release from sin, death and Satan. In harmony with this fruit follow the fruits of the Spirit, the good works of patience, love, faithfulness, etc.

18. Now that some seed brings forth thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold, means that more people will be converted in some places than in others, and one apostle and minister may preach farther and more than another; for the people are not everywhere alike numerous and do not report the same number of Christians, and one minister may not preach as many sermons or cover as great a territory as another, which God foresaw and ordained. To the words of St. Paul, who preached the farthest and the most, we may indeed ascribe the hundredfold of fruit; although he was not a virgin.

IV. WHY CHRIST CALLS THE DOCTRINE CONCERNING THE DISCIPLES AND THE FRUITS OF THE WORD A MYSTERY.

19. But what does it mean when he says: “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Gad”, etc.? What are the mysteries? Shall one not know them, why then are .they preached? A “mystery” is a hidden secret, that is not known: and the “mysteries of the kingdom of God” are the things in the kingdom of God, as for example Christ with all his grace, which he manifests to us, as Paul describes him; for he who knows Christ aright understands what God’s kingdom is and what is in it. And it is called a mystery because it is spiritual and secret, and indeed it remains so, where the spirit does not reveal it. For although there are many who see and hear it, yet they do not understand it. Just as there are many who preach and hear Christ, how he offered himself for us; but all that is only upon their tongue and not in their heart; for they themselves do not believe it, they do not experience it, as Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:14 says: “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God.” Therefore Christ says here: “Unto you it is given”, the Spirit gives it to you that you not only hear and see it, but acknowledge and believe it with your heart. Therefore it is now no longer a mystery to you. But to the others who hear it as well as you, and have no faith in their heart, they see and understand it not; to them it is a mystery and it will continue unknown to them, and all that they hear is only like one hearing a parable or a dark saying. This is also proved by the fanatics of our day, who know so much to preach about Christ; but as they themselves do not experience it in their heart, they rush ahead and pass by the true foundation of the mystery and tramp around with questions and rare foundlings, and when it comes to the test they do not know the least thing about trusting in God and finding in Christ the forgiveness of their sins.

20. But Mark says, Mark 4:33, Christ spake therefore to the people with parables, that they might understand, each according to his ability.

How does that agree with what Matthew says, Matthew 13:13-14: He spake therefore unto them in parables, because they did not understand? It must surely be that Mark wishes to say that parables serve to the end that they may get a hold of coarse, rough people, although they do not indeed understand them, yet later, they may be taught and then they know: for parables are naturally pleasing to the common people, and they easily remember them since they are taken from common every day affairs, in the midst of which the people live. But Matthew means to say that these parables are of the nature that no one can understand them, they may grasp and hear them as often as they will, unless the Spirit makes them known and reveals them. Not that they should preach that we shall not understand them; but it naturally follows that wherever the Spirit does not reveal them, no one understands them. However, Christ took these words from Isaiah 6:9-10, where the high meaning of the divine foreknowledge is referred to, that God conceals and reveals to whom he will and whom he had in mind from eternity.

Seventh Lesson - Understanding Pilgrim's Progress



SEVENTH LESSON

Great-Heart

After many lessons at the Interpreter’s House, and being washed (baptism), Great-Heart went with them, as protection. P. 233
GREAT-HEART. With all my heart; but first I must premise, that He of whom we are now about to speak is one that has not His fellow. He has two natures in one Person, plain to be distinguished, impossible to be divided. Unto each of these natures a righteousness belongeth, and each righteousness is essential to that nature; so that one may as easily cause the nature to be extinct, as to separate its justice or righteousness from it. P. 234
Later, at Beautiful Palace, Great-Heart went back to the Interpreter’s House. Prudence asked the sons of Christiana basic catechism questions – James, Samuel, and Matthew.

The Two Valleys

They left to enter the Valley of Humiliation and the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
GREAT-HEART. It is true, said their guide, I have gone through this Valley many a time, and never was better than when here. I have also been a conductor to several pilgrims, and they have confessed the same. ‘To this man will I look (saith the King), even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My Word’ (Isa. 66:2). P. 269
In the second valley, they were pursued by a lion –
The lion also came on apace, and Mr. Great-heart addressed himself to give him battle. But when he saw that it was determined that resistance should be made, he also drew back, and came no further (1 Peter 5:8, 9). P. 271
Honest Blessed the Four Sons and Mercy
HONEST. I have heard much of your husband, and of his travels and wars, which he underwent in his days. Be it spoken to your comfort, the name of your husband rings over all these parts of the world: his faith, his courage, his enduring, and his sincerity under all, has made his name famous. Then he turned him to the boys, and asked them of their names, which they told him. And then said he unto them: Matthew, be thou like Matthew the publican, not in vice, but in virtue (Matt. 10:3). Samuel, said he, be thou like Samuel the Prophet, a man of faith and prayer (Psa. 99:6). Joseph, said he, be thou like Joseph in Potiphar’s house, chaste, and one that flees from temptation (Gen. 39). And James, be thou like James the Just, and like James the brother of our Lord (Acts 1:13, 14). Then they told him of Mercy, and how she had left her town and her kindred to come along with Christiana and with her sons. At that the old honest man said, Mercy is thy name; by Mercy shalt thou be sustained, and carried through all those difficulties that shall assault thee in thy way, till thou shalt come thither, where thou shalt look the Fountain of Mercy in the face with comfort. P. 279

Later, Mercy Married Matthew, Phoebe Married James

Then Samuel whispered to Christiana, his mother, and said, Mother, this is a very good man’s house, let us stay here a good while, and let my brother Matthew be married here to Mercy, before we go any further. The which Gaius the host overhearing, said, With a very good will, my child. So they staid there more than a month, and Mercy was given to Matthew to wife. P. 297
Now, about this time, Matthew and Mercy were married. Also Gaius gave his daughter Phoebe to James, Matthew’s brother, to wife; after which time they yet staid above ten days at Gaius’ house, spending their time, and the seasons, like as pilgrims used to do. P. 303

Two More Marriages, Mnason

Thus they sat talking and spending the time, until supper was set upon the table; unto which they went and refreshed their weary bodies; so they went to rest. Now they stayed in this fair a great while, at the house of this Mr. Mnason, who, in process of time, gave his daughter Grace unto Samuel, Christiana’s son, to wife, and his daughter Martha to Joseph. P. 310


Christiana Crossed the Dark River

Now the day drew on, that Christiana must be gone. So the road was full of people to see her take her journey. But, behold, all the banks beyond the river were full of horses and chariots, which were come down from above to accompany her to the city gate. So she came forth, and entered the river, with a beckon of farewell to those that followed her to the river side. The last words that she was heard to say here, were, I come, Lord, to be with Thee, and bless Thee. P. 342
So her children and friends returned to their place, for that those that waited for Christiana had carried her out of their sight. So she went and called, and entered in at the gate with all the ceremonies of joy that her husband Christian had done before her. At her departure her children wept. But Mr. Great-heart and Mr. Valiant played upon the well-tuned cymbal and harp for joy. So all departed to their respective places. P. 342

The Four Sons and Their Wives

As for Christian’s children, the four boys that Christiana brought with her, with their wives and children, I did not stay where I was till they were gone over. Also, since I came away, I heard one say that they were yet alive, and so would be for the increase of the CHURCH in that place where they were, for a time. Shall it be my lot to go that way again, I may give those that desire it an account of what I here am silent about. Meantime, I bid my reader Adieu.

Concluding Thoughts about The Pilgrim’s Progress

History has already decided that this book has had enormous impact on Western culture, with 2000+ editions, movies, cartoons, free Kindles, children’s editions, modern language editions, and translation. The used book market shows that other works are considered far more valuable, when issued by the same press in the same number – Limited Editions Book Club copies of The Pilgrim’s Progress are priced from $30 to $100. Copies of Moby Dick from the same source are $5,000 on eBay. Both titles were limited to 1500 numbered copies. Muck-raker would buy Moby Dick as an investment, sure to grow in value.
This book is entertaining, with a lot of wry comments about human failings, but also edifying, with its unusual concentration of Biblical material expressed visually with descriptive names of people and short stories about their challenges and losses. I know from German-speaking boys that dramatic stories and transparent names are easy to remember and repeat – Struwwelpeter is an example. Caspar-Suppe would not eat his soup, so he shriveled up. They laughed at the extreme stories. So The Pilgrim’s Progress has lions, giants, swords, and beheadings.
The Pilgrim’s Progress should be read a little at a time, because the lessons are not at the end but on every page. Bunyan’s favoring Luther’s Galatians over any other book except the Bible is clearly evidenced among those who love both works, but not by those who have read neither one.

The Pilgrim’s Progress Map

Pages from the Lutheran Library Print Edition


City of Destruction – Christian leaves;  Christiana and their children follow in Part 2
Slough of Despond - Pliable, Obstinate, Worldly Wiseman, Evangelist
Wicket Gate – Good Will
Interpreter’s House - Interpreter (Holy Spirit)
The Cross – Three Shining Ones
Difficulty Hill – Formalist, Hypocrisy
Palace Beautiful - Discretion, Prudence, Piety, and Charity
Valley of the Shadow of Death – Two Men, Demons, Pope and Pagan, Faithful met again
Vanity Fair – Talkative, Lord Hate-Good, Hopeful, By-Ends, Witnesses: Envy, Superstition, and Pickthank; Demas, Lot’s Wife
Doubting Castle - Giant Despair, his lovely wife Diffidence
Delectable Mountains -  Shepherds: Knowledge, Experience, Watchful, and Sincere