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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Eagle Has Landed

I am back home after a wonderful trip to perform the wedding of Michael Oak and Amanda Meyer, seeing some of the Meyer clan, driving by Mt. Rainier and viewing its awesome beauty at the wedding on a clear, sunny day. 

Mt. Rainier

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Sassy Was Very Ill But Now Is Better, Has Some Meds


Sassy and I had a terrible time last night, but the doctor fixed her up. She may need a fair amount of recovery. Old age in dogs - they lose their sense of balance, feel all dizzy, and upchuck...a lot. I laundered, a lot.

IBM nixed the way we were broadcasting and I need to set up the new way, but time and energy ran out. I will be working on it with lots of help from Brett Meyer - for Sunday.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

From 2008 - The Church from Scratch - Has Anything Changed in WELS?

"How are you?" said one. "How are you?" said the other. "Well!" said the first. "Old Scratch has got his own at last, hey?" - An illustration from Dicken's Christmas Carol.

In case you wonder, the Church From Scratch website link was taken over by Matt Doebler's Rock and Roll WELS Babtist Church. The URL below does not work, but if the links part is removed from the address, the URL redirects to Christ the Rock.

The Wisconsin Synod never stops plagiarizing from Fuller Seminary and Willow Creek. Their illiterate leaders have managed to insert Satan's nickname into another project. Scratch is an English nickname for Satan. And Jesus called Satan The Father of Lies. That is appropriate, coming from the Church Growth Movement.

Church from Scratch is the rib-tickling name of the WELS website.

Whose name is first to appear on the links page? Paul Kelm - he has written a paper on Christian freedom.

Here are some of the links listed:

General Ministry
The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod
A WELS organization committed to address ministry in contemporary culture. Hosts great conferences and provides ministry ideas on the website.
God is doing some really neat things in the area of small groups, large gatherings, etc, through Crosswalk Lutheran Ministries in Phoenix, AZ.

Messiah Church in Nampa, ID has a neat statement of faith. [GJ - Ichabodians will note that the neat statement of faith was originally written by that anti-CGM pariah, me. But they have tweaked it so that their added words fall harshly on the unwaxed ear. "In an age of materialism, we believe that real treasure comes from our raith in the Savior." Is raith the future pluperfect subjunctive of faith?]
Progressive ministry in the heart of Chicago; also has a great statement of faith.
Excellent example of a vision for a church plant/daughter congregation.
This is Mars Hill Church in Seattle, WA. From a Calvinistic background. The preaching is excellent and very law/gospel oriented, speaking powerfully to the culture around them. Mark Driscoll is the senior pastor
This is Xenos Christian Fellowship in Columbus, OH. From an evangelical background. A congregation of thousands made up entirely of house churches. Very good mindset material and studies. Great on leadership/eldership.


GJ - I attended a Sunday service at Xenos in Columbus. The minister got in the pulpit and talked about himself for 40 minutes before God or the Scriptures were mentioned. The proper verb is mentioned, because the talk had nothing to do with worship, the Christian faith, God, or anything spiritual. The audience cooed and fluttered during the minister's preening, egomaniacal monologue. Not surprisingly, the minister at Community of Joy (Phoenix) gave the same kind of talk with the same results. Willow Creek had a more somber audience but the same baloney. They all sound alike.

Notice the trend, which is just as prominent in the Church of the Lutheran Confession (sic). Apostate Lutherans covet non-Lutherans so passionately that they become anti-Lutheran in thought, word, and deed.

The authors of this bizarre website have bios that remind me of fingernails scratching a blackboard:

Matt Doebler
Matt has served as a parish pastor in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod for the last eight years. After graduating from Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in 1997, he was called to St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Collins, WI where he served for four years. In 2001, he accepted a call to St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Wisconsin Rapids, WI. In the spring of 2006, he accepted a call to assist in planting Christ the Rock Church in Round Rock, TX. He is the proud husband of Christine, a Pilates/fitness instructor who uses her contacts in the fitness world to make connections for Jesus. He is also the proud father of three great kids, Madeline, Samuel and Caleb. They are great assets to him in the ministries into which God has placed him. Matt has been trained as an equipper in the Christ Care program from Stephen Ministries. He and Chris have also participated in the Church Planters training from Acts 29 Network.

[GJ - Acts 29 is a unionistic group, which is seen as a threat to Southern Baptists. That makes sense, because WELS is a unionistic sect, known as a threat to Lutheran doctrine.]

Ken Knapp

Ken retired early from the paper/hydro industries to do more ministry. Historically, he's served in most of the offices of a local congregation. His greatest passion is for nurturing life-long discipleship, and thus he logically serves on the WELS Commission on Adult Discipleship (CAD). Ken envisions a church functioning in our culture with the passion and effectiveness of an "Acts 2" church. He is the author of the soon-to-be-released book, A Womb to Tomb Guide for Nurturing Faith in and through the Family through the CAD.

GJ - I can think of better, rhyming names for the newest apostasy book -

  1. From Cell to Sell.
  2. Have an Itch? - Try Old Scratch!
  3. Faith without Belief - The Paul Kelm School of Evangelism.


Comments on this topic, from Bailing Water:

Anonymous said...
It's incredible. One day, blog moderation is disabled, another day it is enabled. What a joke. Make up your mind and decide what it's going to be, because it gives the impression that you weed out comments that hurt your opinions.

June 6, 2008 12:00 AM

John said...
Hey mr. anonymous,

Why don't you start your own blog. You can set your own topics and moderation settings.

There are times when I'm out of town and can't moderate comments. There are also topics that bring out comments that are off topic and not necessary. I guess if you don't like what I'm doing don't come back. (moderation on)

June 6, 2008 12:15 AM

Anonymous said...
Yeah you tell him John. If you can't stand the heat stay out of John's kitchen. Wus

June 6, 2008 5:24 AM

Anonymous said...
I agree Go John!! is so funny to see these WELS bots get so irritated and defensive when the truth is pointed out.

June 6, 2008 8:51 AM

Comment deleted
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 6, 2008 9:13 AM

Anonymous said...
WELS has discovered a new sin - the sin of turning off the comments when out of town. Have you no shame, Bailing Water?

I had to vent a little.


June 6, 2008 9:20 AM

Anonymous said...
Isn't that what the WELS does best- invent new sins so that Bailing Water can point them out?

WELS bot

June 6, 2008 10:29 AM

Anonymous said...
WELS bot,

How about we focus on the topic at hand.

What do you think of the church growth churches listed and their influence on the WELS?

June 6, 2008 10:47 AM

Anonymous said...
I think it is shameful. And I believe that the only answer is to give a firm and brotherly admonishment founded on scripture to show why these things are destructive. I believe this is what is being done by people who do not use blogs to do so.

WELS bot

June 6, 2008 11:02 AM

Anonymous said...
The WELS cannot err.
These churches are WELS.
These churches cannot err.

WELS bot #4738

June 6, 2008 11:13 AM

Anonymous said...
There are two things that bother me. If WELS is a confessional church - then it should confess. To leave out the name Lutheran in a church title is to try to have it both ways. Second, by leaving out the name Lutheran and using the names like:Crosswalk; Willow Creek, Cornerstone ,etc. you are giving a false impression to those twenty-somethings who assume it is a non-denominational church.

June 6, 2008 11:39 AM

Anonymous said...
Please tell me how the WELS allows this WELS pastor to claim support of these heterodox churches?

June 6, 2008 1:03 PM

Anonymous said...
This pastor from scratch goes unchecked because the WELS is steeped in Church growth methods.

June 6, 2008 10:24 PM

Watch the Waters - Xi Has Lost the Mandate of Heaven.


 Astonishing debt - denied of course - will bring everything to a halt.

Putty buildings fall apart in a few years. These are not fungible assets. Someone has borrowed to build them, a country-wide scam.

Rejecting the Inerrancy of the Bible So Cleverly - Billy Graham Style


"Acts 8:37 - I'm sure it's in here somewhere."

Some of us have talked among ourselves about the weakness of a number conservative, Biblical icons. One Calvinist influenced another who influenced a Lutheran. All this happened about a century ago. More will be in the second edition of The Bible Book.

I am just going to address one, Billy Graham, who  clearly represents those who seemed to be more and more conservative as the mainline denominations turned radical, step by step.

Graham addressed - or wiggled around - Biblical inerrancy by saying he believed the original autographs, the very first written Scripture documents, were inerrant. That meant he denied inerrancy in all Bibles, including the King James Version. 

 WELS admitted this in writing, but if they can cover up for two murders and deny them, how much easier is it for the sect to cover up their addiction to Calvinism?

I have to wonder - How could Graham know the unseen originals were inerrant? He cleverly planted doubt in the hearts and minds of his followers, which also freed the Graham organization to use and promote any translation or paraphrase they chose to use. I understand he promoted the Living Bible paraphrase, which sold by the boxcar load, and led the way in verbose flights of fancy not subdued by the original.

Graham also made the demi-semi-conservative Protestants relaxed by opening the doors and welcoming their doubts, their attendance, and their money. 

That side-step made the King James Version the enemy, a straw man to target and set aside for the great glory of the Lutheran SyNODS. 

Church Growth is at least 50 years old now. Check the timeline on WELS TELL, endorsed by Synod President Naumann even before the walking stiff, Mischke, took office.

The purpose of TELL was not evangelism but destroying Lutheran doctrine and replacing it with Calvinism. Why not? Walther, Pieper and their bootlickers had started the process in the Missouri Synod. 

Shock of shocks, Missouri and WELS jumped into promoting the NIV and using it in their Biblical study materials. It is the Millard Fillmore effect. America has forgotten him because his name is seldom brought up. A CLC pastor, trained in the ultra-something of his sect, confessed to me that he never heard of the Means of Grace until I brought it up. (I was not asked to give the paper because I was heavily invested in Biblical doctrine and rejection of Calvinism, which made Tiefel/Koenig furious.)

Mequon began training pastors to spew hatred on the KJV many decades ago. They excommunicated pastors for not liking the NIV and saying so. 

Nothing attacks inerrancy at the root like the NIV, which proved with the newest awful paraphrase that they can play with anything in the Bible and get away with it. Mirthless Mark Schroeder, the WELS bookkeeper, supposedly hated the New NIV, accepted "all translations" which are not really translations, and now sells the new hymnal which has made the New NIV official.

Listening to the ignorant dismiss the King James Version is painful fun. The exercise is painful because it reminds us how much has been thrown away. It is fun because they reveal a horde of weaknesses in their repeat-after-me dogmatism.

About 50% read the KJV and another 7% the New KJV (which bows to Westcott-Hort, Nestle, Aland, and Fuller faction). 

If the consecrated slugs of WELS-ELS-LCMS-LCMS-ELCA-ELDONUTs despise most the Bible people appreciate the most (KJV), what will happen to their glorious marketing programs? 

They raise their tired eyes, looking for excuses. How are the other denominations doing? Answer - Young Calvinists become old Unitarians. That is the path followed by apostasy. 

 Take the Acts 8:37 challenge here.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Rain and Bulbs - As Good as Planting Followed by Rain


I was concerned that we would have drenching rains for five days but relatively few bulbs in the ground to get started. Instead we just a had a good rain followed by the Daffodils I was expecting.

Since we have clay soil, which is great for everything except digging, I am happy to have some softened soil ready for bulbs. Grape Hyacinths of various colors will be the top layer of Daffodil drifts. Grape Hyacinths can cost as little as a dime each. I found one Daffodil bulb for $100 from a specialty company, but I was not moved to buy it. Besides, that was long ago, when $100 bought a lot more than now.

I plan on having more of the specialty Daffodils in the front yard with the traditional ones in the back. Yes, I want to show off the strange permutations, which can include orange highlights, orange cups, multiple cups, very large sizes and so forth. Green Daffodil flowers do not intrigue me, but they are promoted too. 

Everyone feels a bit mopey when winter lingers and the spring is damp, drippy, and cold, with few sunny days. That is when I add a few more rose bushes to replace the lost ones. And I gloat over the bulbs finishing their growth with the flowers already formed and ready to show off. 

Nobody bothers the Little Red Hen gardener when digging holes in the hardened dry clay of a drought-plagued autumn. They shake their heads when the garden gets hours of sprinkling to make the digging possible, keeping the roses alive. 

We had a cloudburst where a neighbor said, "Too bad the rain came down so hard and went right into the street." I said, "Not in my yard. Mulch absorbs the rain and holds it. Deep-rooted plants channel the rain deep into the soil. I even demonstrate this for myself every so often. I pour five gallons of water on a Joe Pye Weed and the water disappears as if it were a drain for Springdale Water and Sanitation. No run off." 

I seldom talk about the vast biosphere in the soil itself - the oceans of life alive from the water and various minerals, doing their work and keeping moisture/minerals/carbon in the root zone. Overdoing the botany lesson is obvious in the glazed eyes of the listener. 

Flowers are a delight, and they are clearly designed by the Creator to bring happiness and introspection to everyone, while carrying out the duties assigned to them.

I do not see freedom of the will as a great conundrum. If God had not given Adam and Eve freedom of the will to disobey Him, we would all be like ants, birds, bacteria, rabbits, and hawks. We would do exactly what the divine software installed in us determined and never question the hours of work, the brevity or narrowness of life.

And because of our fallen nature, we need and have a Savior, the Lord of Creation.

HAL 9000 Graphics - Bethany Broadcast.
We Have To Make Some Changes


As many know, HAL 9000 is a thinly veiled satire about the IBM 9000 mainframe computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey. HAL is difficult, touchy, and malignant in the film. I took the future Mrs. Jackson to the movie and we enjoyed the slo-mo graphics, the difficult computer, and the music.

I use HAL graphics in teaching and almost everyone knows what I am kidding about.

Now - the main point. IBM took over Ustream and stopped supporting the software we use. That change happened three years ago.

We need our own encoder to use with the IBM tool for distributing the video live.

You may recall that we had some fussing not long along when all the files were gone and then came back again. We straightened out the payments and everything was fine.

The New Lutheran Christina Is at the Final Editor's.
Next Will Be the Second Edition of The Bible Book


The last week was a daily round of finding more photographs and editing...just one more time. Janie Sullivan has the material now.

 At Kermit and Maria's wedding, 44 years ago, Christina is wearing pink. Some of the first cousins are on the left and right. 

 Sassy wore her Christmas sweater for Christina's first walk after surgery.

Christina (left) and Maria sat for a portrait. In the cedar trunk, less than 1% of the photos are good for publishing. Professional photos last better and print better.

 Nothing is quite as much fun as a personal book. Some recent ones via Lulu Press are  Andrea's Love, Joy, and Faith, one on the Creation Garden, another one on the Meyer family.

 This is the back cover of Lutheran Christina.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

SORRY! Video Simply Not Working

SORRY! No Video.

I tried the broadcast yesterday and it worked. Today I am only getting green screens.

I talked to Support and they can only pass on the problem.

The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2021. The Palsied Man, Matthew 9:1-8. Your Sins Are Forgiven.


The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity, 2021

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

The Hymn # 334 -      Let Me Be Thine Forever - Selnecker, Concordist                                
The Confession of Sins
The Absolution
The Introit p. 16

Say unto my soul, I am thy Salvation: The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth.

He delivereth them out of their troubles: He is their God forever and ever.

Psalm. Give ear, O My people, to My Law: 

incline your ears to the words of My mouth.

The Gloria Patri
The Kyrie p. 17
The Gloria in Excelsis
The Salutation and Collect p. 19

O almighty and most merciful God, of Thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech Thee, from all things that may hurt us, that we, being ready, both in body and soul, may cheerfully accomplish those things that Thou wouldst have done; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, who liveth, etc.

The Epistle and Gradual 

Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense: 

and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

V. Oh, sing unto the Lord a new song: for He hath done marvelous things. Hallelujah!

The Gospel 
Glory be to Thee, O Lord!
Praise be to Thee, O Christ!
The Nicene Creed p. 22
The Sermon Hymn #370      My Hope Is Built                                 

Your Sins Are Forgiven

The Communion Hymn #376                Rock of Ages
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 #261       Luther - Lord Keep Us Steadfast  

Our Prayers and Announcements
  • Cancer, therapy - Mary Howell, Kermit Way, Maria Way
  • Pastor K and Doc Lito Cruz - dealing with diabetes.
  • Seizure treatment: Gavin; Callie.
  • Lutheran Christina goes to the final editor today.

On Saturday, October 16th, Michael Oak and Amanda Meyer will be married by Pastor Jackson. Amanda is the daughter of Brett and Amy Meyer and the granddaughter of Alicia Meyer and the sainted Gary Meyer.

Nineteenth Sunday After Trinity
O mighty and everlasting God, who by Thy Son Jesus Christ didst mercifully help the palsied man both in body and soul: We beseech Thee, for the sake of Thy great mercy: Be gracious also unto us; forgive us all our sins, and so govern us by Thy Holy Spirit, that we may not ourselves be the cause of sickness and other afflictions; keep us in Thy fear, and strengthen us by Thy grace that we may escape temporal and eternal wrath and punishment, through Thy Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one true God, world without end. Amen.

KJV Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

KJV Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? 5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

 Books by Norma A. Boeckler


Your Sins Are Forgiven


Only God can forgive sins, which is why the opponents were so angry with Jesus. This forgiveness of sin can only be obtained through faith - not through regret, not from making up for the past (Luther called it mending and patching our good works), not because of giving (Rome still has "reparation" giving, which means paying for the sins with money). The two things required are the Gospel Word and faith to receive it. We know the Spirit is at work in the Word and opens people up to receive this priceless forgiveness from God. For this to continue means maintaining that trust in God by making the Word of God central in our lives. 

The world sees works as the great expunger of sin, so we are surrounded by people hectoring us about every possible fault of mankind - except the failure of man to believe in Jesus Christ the Risen Savior. Works are so much in control that Glide Memorial Church, San Francisco, does not permit Christian worship services at its location. It is said that the endowment fund runs the congregation and makes the rules.

The works blessed by God are those which come directly from the believing heart. They are not the cause of forgiveness of sin but the result. That is why the works-saints are always angry and never satisfied with their results. No matter how much we shovel coal to keep the fires of Hell lit, they are not happy with the works they force upon us. But where the Gospel is dominant, all kinds of evil disappears from the power of God's Word and the peace given to people from His grace and the ultimate example of that grace, Jesus Christ.

KJV Matthew 9:1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. 2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. 

If we start at the public ministry of Jesus Christ, which lasted three years, we can see that His various miracles and His teaching established His divinity before He was crucified and risen from the dead. This established believers in many areas before His death and resurrection, and these became the initial points of the Christian Church.

The Left-wingers, like Walter Rauschenbusch, who kidnap the Gospel for their Social Gospel activism, have no concept of this. It is as if Jesus did all these things to form the Marxist groups and spread their joy. 

God might have willed that all the benefits of Christ could have been taught in writing without His suffering, without the hardship of giving sermons and being opposed. But that would have have given us - who forget so easily - the wealth of Gospel passages and their predictions in the Old Testament, binding Old and New Testaments together. The Old Testament has vast areas of teaching that only make sense with New Testament fulfillment. The New Testament cites many Old Testament passages which form an enormous jigsaw puzzle putting everything together, Old and New Testaments.

So each miracle is for our faith, to build up and fill in what we need to know and believe. That leaves many sitting on the curb, complaining that the Gospels do not give them what they demand. Jesus expected and predicted that.

Jesus, seeing their faith, said to the palsied man, "Be of good cheer. Your sins are forgiven."

This is the man who was lowered from the roof by his friends, after removing roof tiles, so his arrival was dramatic and loud. Some object and say, "Why their faith? What about his faith?" Naturally, it took faithful friends to carry their burden to Jesus, showing their faith and love, then to climb on the roof with their burden, and then to open the roof and let down their friend. It required faith to go on this journey and the friends doubtless encouraged him with stories of the miracles of Jesus. The palsied man had to have faith to go along with this, because it had to be an arduous and jostling ride with no proof he would even see Jesus, no proof he could get near Jesus, no proof he could be healed.

The response of Jesus was ideal for inciting the wrath of the Pharisees. It was dramatic with the healing. Only God can forgive sins, and yet this healer is talking about forgiveness and inflaming them, which makes for an ideal Gospel lesson. Jesus knew the man had faith even if his neurological problems kept him from speaking in a smooth and urbane way. 

Faith in Christ really makes people angry, though some hide it remarkably well by deflecting the main point - faith in the Son of God.

Lenski pointed out - Jesus said first - Be of good cheer. The Savior addressed the man's inward condition and addressed his need of contrition and forgiveness. He knew what was in the man's heart.

3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?

Some of them whispered among themselves, thinking Jesus could not hear them, but He knows the thoughts and plans of men. He answered what they were thinking, which must have disturbed them. "Why does this strike you as evil?"

Nothing creates more anger than faith in Christ, more so today as we head toward the End (whether that is in two years or two centuries). That anti-faith attitude is often found in the outwardly religious, who have long robes and say all the prayers. I have found it common that those who are fanatical about the forms and styles of worship - and their clothing - are indifferent about doctrine (teaching) the only thing that matters. 

The recent arrest of an ELCA pastor noted that he was a member of their high church fraternity - STS - the Society of the Holy Trinity. He was also a member of the ALPB Online Discussion Board, with 10,000 posts.

In similar news, the most radical Christian denomination, the United Church of Christ, is so shrunken they are selling their headquarters. Name the radical Left fad and they were first. They have gone from 2 million members to 800,00 members.

5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house.

This catches the opponents in a double-bind. The palsied man is healed and forgiven. Which is easier? asks the question of whether His divine power healed the man or that power absolved him of his sins. Which is more offensive to the opponents? The man walked away praising Jesus Christ.


12. Forgiveness of sins is nothing more than two words, in which the whole kingdom of Christ consists. There must be sins, and if we are conscious of them, we must confess them; when I have confessed them, forgiveness and grace are immediately present. Before forgiveness is present there is nothing but sin. This sin must be confessed that I may feel and know that all that is in me is blindness; otherwise forgiveness of sins could not exist where there is no sin. However, there is no lack of sins to confess, but the lack is in not feeling and knowing our sins to confess them; then only forgiveness of them follows. But it is quite a different thing when God forgives sins, than when one man forgives another. One man forgives another his sins in a way that he thinks of them again tomorrow, or casts them up to him. But when God forgives sins it is quite a different thing than when man forgives. For God condemns no more, he banishes all wrath from him, yea, he no more thinks of the sin, as he himself says in the prophet Isaiah, 43:25. Now if this wrath is gone, then hell, the devil, death and all misfortune that the devil may bring with him, must also disappear; and instead of wrath God gives grace, comfort, salvation and everything good that he himself is.

13. Sin is pure unhappiness, forgiveness pure happiness. The divine majesty is great, great is also that which it forgives. As the man is, so is also his forgiveness. But you must know in your heart how great these words are in which you know how to trust, yea, for which you can cheerfully die. But only few rightly receive these words, therefore there are but few true Christians.

Luther had much to say about this, because he was tortured by the Medieval practice of paying for his sins through suffering and more suffering. Someone who is overly sensitive, as Luther was, has trouble getting away from the guilt and remorse. 

But the guilt and remorse machine do not pay for sins. No works can do that. I believe a lot of the self-harm that happens among teens is from this erroneous concept of hurting being absolving. That is why Rock of Ages is so powerful a hymn. It keeps repeating "No tears, no anguish, no suffering will take my sins away. I can give nothing to pay for them."  Christ has done this, which is the meaning of the Atonement. He is the Lamb sacrificed for the Exodus, spotless and innocent. His blood has paid, so the Gospel Word calls out this truth to those (even babies) in converting them and then in refreshing doubts when they falter, waver, and turn back to unChristian kinds of repentance.

These words can be repeated to ourselves. As Lenski says, the word is "child" rather than son. It shows the tenderness of Jesus.

Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

Child, stop being miserable and rejoice, because your sins are all forgiven, drowned in the ocean of God's grace.

You were a self-centered jerk at 16, or 14, 12? I confirm you were at 2 - and even worse at 4. All children are. Friends and family and the Gospel guide the maturing individual and God sets that person on a new path. Difficulties make us stronger - and fears are extinguished by faith.

God through Christ has given us a life of wonderful experiences - through forgiveness. It is a great blessing to be forgiven and a great blessing to forgive. In our relationships, especially husband wife, we have a chance to practice forgiving every day, because we marry our opposites. I did the A-B test with a dozen couples and they were evenly divided between A and B, opposite habits, like being early or late, or practicing "one good turn gets most of the blanket."

This expands outward to children and siblings, but it really begins with the husband wife. 

7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.

People enjoy the blessings of others. They praise God for all the miracles that become evident among believers. I mentioned before a young lady whose entire life has been one of seizures, no matter what was done. The news always pained me because I saw that in our girls, and no medicine helped. 

I saw a new post. This girl has finished high school so successfully that she is getting top offers for scholarships in her chosen field. It is a wonderful opportunity, so I passed on my knowledge about how to leverage offers for the best outcome. (I gave approvals to a certain number of potential Yale undergrads from St. Louis, long ago. One thanked me from her new dorm room. I thought, "I knew she was the type!")

Luther said, "You have as much laughter as you have faith." If we are not laughing a lot, especially with our spouse, we should take another look at forgiveness, receiving it through Christ and practicing it with those closest to us.

Luther's Sermon the Palsied Man. Christ’s Kingdom, the Faith of Others, and the Power to Forgive Sins. Matthew 9:1-8


This sermon, which is not found in the c. edition, was issued in pamphlet form under the title: “A sermon on the ninth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew; The Kingdom of Christ, which consists in the forgiveness of sins; the trying of the spirits; the efficacy of the faith of others; The twofold power on earth to forgive sins. Martin Luther, Wittenberg, 1525.” Erl. 14, 190; W. 11, 2281; St. L. 11, 1710.

Text: Matthew 9:1-8. And he entered into a boat, and crossed over, and came into his own city. And behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus, seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven. And behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth. And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? For which is easier to say, Thy sins are forgiven; or to say, Arise, and walk?

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins (then saith he to the sick of the palsy), Arise, and take up thy bed, and go unto thy house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they were afraid, and glorified God, who had given such authority unto men.

1. My friends in Christ, as we hear and enjoy this Gospel every year, I hope you also understand it, and know what it teaches us, and may God grant that the right life may also follow this knowledge! For the greater part of the Gospel we hear only with the ear, and we know it, but do not live according to it, whereas it should be so taught that few words and nothing but life would be the result. But what shall we do for it ? We can do no more than preach it and no further raise it and carry it, we must preach and urge it until God comes and gives us his grace to the end that our words be few and that life may spring forth and grow. The first theme here offered us is the Gospel when Christ says: “Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven.”

2. These words show and contain in brief what the kingdom of Christ is, namely, this sweet voice, these motherly and fatherly words penetrating our inmost soul: “Thy sins are forgiven.” In no other sense are we to view the kingdom of Christ, so far as it is understood, than how we are to live before God. As you, beloved, well know that our highest duty is rightly to establish the conscience that we may know how we stand before God and our neighbor. Therefore we must also hold fast to these words and become accustomed to the expression: “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven”, and like sayings of which the Gospel is full.

3. From this it follows that the kingdom of Christ is realized where nothing but comfort and the forgiveness of sins reign not only in words to proclaim it, which is also necessary; but also in deed, as we shall see in this example.

For he did not only speak these words into the ear of this sick man; but he also forgave his sins and comforted him. This knowledge is proper for us Christians to know. It is indeed easily and quickly said and heard; but when it comes to the test the light is early extinguished, and satan soon leads us astray; as you here observe that the scribes undertake to destroy this knowledge. I have before often said and will always say, that you should beware and properly learn the character and nature of the kingdom Of Christ. For you know how reason is inclined in its every movement to fall from faith and from this knowledge to works. But here you see no works at all, no merit, here there is neither command nor law; there is nothing more than the offering of Christ’s assistance, his comfort and his grace, only kindness meets the man sick of the palsy.

4. Therefore, if the kingdom of Christ is to grow, we must keep out of it with the law, and not be busy with works; for it is not in harmony with it to say: Go out and run hither and thither and atone for your sins; you must observe and do this and that, if you will be free from sin; but directly without any work and law, out of pure grace, your sins are forgiven.

Therefore, it is beyond the sphere of the kingdom of Christ to urge the people with the law.

5. But we receive such things only with the ear and on the tongue, and it enters not into the depth of the heart; for sin at all times still hangs about our necks, it clings firmly to us, as St. Paul speaks of this in Romans, 7:18- 19, and Hebrews 12:1. But in death we will experience it. Of this class are at present our fanatics who boast of the Holy Spirit, and pretend they would do better, some of whom are also in our midst, listen to us and contend that it is not enough for us to preach only faith and love. Yea, they say, You must do better and climb much higher. How high then must I climb? You must destroy pictures, you must kill the ungodly, and do whatever they propose. This filth now enters nearly every community where the Gospel has just been planted. These tares of satan will also come to us, as I have often warned you. Take heed that you remain sound in your knowledge, in the true doctrine of Christ, for this knowledge and light is soon lost.

6. Thus I say, my friends, and would beseech you not to esteem that spirit great who proposes to you any kind of work, call it what you may, even if it would raise the dead, which they have not yet been able to do. And how is it that they say: we must kill the godless! Even if Moses commanded it that you must really do it, what sort of Christians are you then? But by this you shall truly experience which spirits are of God. and which are not. For if you give me a work to do, it is not the Holy Spirit who does it; but he goes and first brings me the grace of Christ, and then leads me to works.

For thus he speaks: Thy sins are forgiven, be of good cheer, and the like.

He does not first insist on works, but first leads up to God through his sweet Word and grace, and does not immediately refer you to do some work; but later you will find works enough to do unto your neighbor.

7. But the fanatics soon torment us with works, and profess to have a nobler spirit; they urge and insist upon our doing something first of all, and permit faith and love to be overlooked. This of course is not of the Holy Spirit. Christ first takes possession of the conscience, and when it is right in faith toward God, then he also directs us to do works toward our neighbor.

But he first highly extols faith and keeps works in the background. This they cannot understand. I would forgive them everything, if they would only not patch and mend their good works, to which they trust their existence, honor and fame. I would not care about their destroying all pictures, and melting cups and bells into one mass; but that they should make a matter of conscience out of it for those who do not destroy pictures, just as though the Holy Spirit or faith were not present unless this work be performed.

8. I say this: Even if it were a work which God at this present hour commanded, I would not so insist upon it and condemn those who do not immediately obey it; and would find him some kind of protection, as that he is yet perhaps weak, and thus spread over him the kingdom of grace.

Let us be conscious of the fact that the work among them is directed to God, and not toward our neighbor. They make their works a necessity and say: If you do this, then you are a Christian; if you will not do it, you are no Christian. Where this or that is done there are Christians. And the fame follows their work, that they want to be esteemed better than others. Now you have the true light, therefore be warned. Prove the spirits. We do not wish to prefer ourselves, as these persons do; but we boast in this, that we hear the Word, “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven.” I know that I have a gracious God; but these spirits cannot do this. Therefore it is a mere devilish apparition that they carry from house to house. In this they lie against the Holy Spirit, and blame the Holy Ghost that he is the father of their cause. And even if the works were good, the forcing and compelling must remain in the background. Let them then keep quiet about setting us an example by their crazy works.

9. The kingdom of Christ consists in finding all our praise and boast in grace. Other works should be free, not to be urged, nor should we wish by them to become Christians, but condescend with them to our neighbor.

Thus we should hear this Gospel to hold fast to its expressions so that they may be written, in our hearts, that this light, this Word and lamp may truly shine in us, by which we can judge all other doctrines. Thus he says to the man sick with the palsy: “Thy sins are forgiven”. These and similar words are to be taken to heart and meditated upon, since they are nothing but pure grace, and no work, by which the conscience is oppressed and forced to do something. Thus, with these words you must protect yourselves against false teachers.

10. We have now sowed a little of the Word, and this the devil cannot stand, for he never sleeps; the worms and the beetles will come and infect it. Yet so it must be, Christ will prove his Word, and examine who has received it and who not. Therefore let us remain on the right road to the kingdom of Christ, and not go about with works and urge and force the works of the law, but only with the words of the Gospel which comfort the conscience: Be happy, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven.

11. By this observe how narrow and how wide the kingdom of Christ is.

Few there be who so receive the Word that it tastes good to them and judge themselves by it, and who understand what is said by: “Thy sins are forgiven.” If we are now in the kingdom of Christ why then does he mention sin? Are sins always there? No one belongs to this kingdom unless his sins are revealed to him by the Gospel, otherwise these words apply to no one: “Thy sins are forgiven.” Indeed all hear the Gospel, but it does not enter the hearts of all, for they do not all feel their sins. But the Gospel preaches that everything we have in us is sin. Therefore it also offers comfort; forgiveness of sins is here. If I am to receive forgiveness of sins, I must have knowledge of sin.

12. Forgiveness of sins is nothing more than two words, in which the whole kingdom of Christ consists. There must be sins, and if we are conscious of them, we must confess them; when I have confessed them, forgiveness and grace are immediately present. Before forgiveness is present there is nothing but sin. This sin must be confessed that I may feel and know that all that is in me is blindness; otherwise forgiveness of sins could not exist where there is no sin. However, there is no lack of sins to confess, but the lack is in not feeling and knowing our sins to confess them; then only forgiveness of them follows. But it is quite a different thing when God forgives sins, than when one man forgives another. One man forgives another his sins in a way that he thinks of them again tomorrow, or casts them up to him. But when God forgives sins it is quite a different thing than when man forgives. For God condemns no more, he banishes all wrath from him, yea, he no more thinks of the sin, as he himself says in the prophet Isaiah, 43:25. Now if this wrath is gone, then hell, the devil, death and all misfortune that the devil may bring with him, must also disappear; and instead of wrath God gives grace, comfort, salvation and everything good that he himself is.

13. Sin is pure unhappiness, forgiveness pure happiness. The divine majesty is great, great is also that which it forgives. As the man is, so is also his forgiveness. But you must know in your heart how great these words are in which you know how to trust, yea, for which you can cheerfully die. But only few rightly receive these words, therefore there are but few true Christians.

14. This then is the kingdom of Christ, and he who possesses it thus, possesses it in the right way. Here there is no work, but only the acknowledgment of all our misfortune, and the reception of all the gifts of God. Here there is nothing but simple comfort, here the words are continually heard: Be joyful, let not your conscience be troubled because of sin, or because you have not done a great amount of good; I will forgive you all. Therefore it is not by merit, but it is a simple gift. This is the Gospel, upon which faith depends, through which you grasp and keep these words, so that they may not have been spoken in vain. For we have no other comfort of which God tells us to boast than that God says: “Be of good cheer, be comforted; for I forgive thy sins; and in my forgiveness you can glory and rejoice.” Here then you have reason to boast and rejoice, but not in your own works.

15. This the workrighteous person cannot do, for honor always follows, as they have said: Honor follows virtue as the shadow follows the man. If it is the honor of works, whether man or God has commanded them, it is nothing; if it is the honor of the works God does in us it is all right, as Psalm 118:16 says: “The right hand of Jehovah is exalted; the right hand of Jehovah doth valiantly.” As though he should say: “In this will I boast and glory, namely, in that he has exalted me out of death, hell and all evil.” Workrighteous people have not this glory, for they have not the Word; but as the work is, so is the praise, they urge and compel us to depart from the Word to human work. But the Holy Spirit urges us from our works to the Word. The former boast of their works, the latter, where the Holy Spirit is, rejoice internally in the heart with God, that he has done this work, and they remain clinging to grace, and attribute nothing at all to their own works.

16. Thus the scribes do here. When they heard these words they said among themselves: “This man blasphemeth .” For this is the nature of the holy Gospel and the true Word of God where it is truly believed, that it is blasphemed on both sides, and the whole world would destroy it; as was the case in the time of the Apostles, and as our raging princes now do, who simply wish it were dead, entirely crushed and destroyed with all those who preach and confess it. This however is the least persecution.

17. The other persecution is much worse, which takes place among us as it also did in Apostolic times among the Apostles. So too our country squires, who enjoy the Gospel with us, and do not want to be followers of the Pope, but to be regarded as Christians; they must plunge into it; so furious they are that they boast of the Gospel, and yet they trust in their works. And here the Holy Spirit must be called the devil, there the beautiful spirit. But we must venture to say: Their cause is not just; then they will say again: Your cause is not right; for the wicked spirit does not rest unless it is praised. We have a Lord of protection, he will successfully accomplish his work.

18. Paul calls all false spirits bold and proud. Yes, in their filth with their protectors they are proud and impudent, otherwise they are the most cowardly villains that can be found. When they are to appear and answer for their conduct, they cannot produce a single answer. Among themselves they are bold, and venture to catch God in his own Word; but when it comes to the test, they simply despair. But the Holy Spirit stands firm, checks their buffeting, makes us bold and courageous, comforts weak consciences and says: “Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven.” The true spirit is bashful, and becomes bashful in the sight of God, as Christians do who bow before God, honor him and are not proud. But before tyrants the Holy Spirit encourages them so that they fear neither tyrants nor devils, and are not frightened even if they tore their heads from their shoulders.

But in God’s presence they fear and tremble like a rustling leaf. But, alas, I see the great mass of people are only concerned about continually hearing without understanding what is said. and when the time comes that they should give an answer, they stand like the pipers and can answer nothing.

And thus we also go forth to execution. We must endure such assaults and factious spirits and cannot change it. Nevertheless, we may well comfort ourselves with the thought that we have the true foundation, that our cause is right and theirs wrong. This they also know well enough, and for this reason they can never be bold except among themselves, and there they may boast as long as they please.

19. But the kingdom of Christ consists in this and thereby grows, namely, that the conscience be comforted with the Word. What else takes place through works and laws, all pertains to our neighbor. For I need no works before God, and must only be careful rightly to confess my sins. Then I have forgiveness of sins and am one with God, all which the Holy Spirit works in me. Then I break forth with blessings toward my neighbor, as they did here who brought the man sick with the palsy to the Lord. Those were in the kingdom, or show who are in the kingdom, as the Evangelist says, that the Lord had respect unto their faith. For had they not had any faith, they would not have brought the sick to the Lord. Faith precedes works, works follow faith. Therefore, because they are in the kingdom by faith, they bring in the sick man and thus do the work.

20. On this earth man lives not for the sake of works, in order that they may be profitable to him, for he is not in need of them. But if you do good works in order thereby to obtain and merit something from God, all is lost, and you have already fallen from this kingdom. But since you believe and continue to live you ought to know that you live for this very cause, namely, to carry in the sick man. God does not desire the Christian to live for himself. Yea, cursed is the life that lives for self. For all that one lives after he is a Christian, he lives for others. So these also do who bring in the sick man, they no longer live for themselves, but their lives serve others; yes, with their faith they win for the sick man a faith of his own. For this sick man had at first no faith, but after he heard the Word, Christ instills into him a faith of his own, and awakens him with the Gospel; as he is accustomed to instill faith by the Word.

21. Thus all works should be done, only to the end that we may see how they agree with the service for other people, to bring them to a true faith and lead them to Christ. If I tear down the pictures in churches that men may see a Christian is present, that is of no profit to the people, nor does it preach how to become free from sin; but he only desires praise, which does not lift up the consciences, and only makes the people gape with ears, eyes and mouths wide open. It is a contemptible art to demolish pictures. But to know the kingdom of Christ that I or others may be benefited, this is well done. But you will not accomplish this even if you tear down all the churches, but only by hearing the words: Son, be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven; then by bringing others to God’s Word.

22. The Word must be enforced, it must be beaten into men, here I must eat and drink, adorn and clothe myself, not that I may live, but that I may enforce the Word. For where the life of a Christian is not centered in the Word, it is not right. I am required to aid the conscience with the Word. I must give my neighbor meat and drink and do all I can for him in order to reach the chief thing, namely, to encourage the conscience, as they do here, who assist the sick man to recover his bodily health. And although it is a kindness or work to his body, nevertheless they so help him that his soul is also strengthened. Thus I feed the hungry, give the thirsty drink, clothe the naked, and the like. Yet I do this not only that he may eat and drink, but that I may secure the opportunity to tell him the Word, and thus also to bring him to Christ. These works are outside the kingdom, done to those who are not in the kingdom, in order to bring them into the kingdom.

23. Thus the Holy Spirit preaches, but the mad spirit of the separatists only desires to perform great wonders, to see and do miracles and signs. It is miracle enough that people learn by our preaching to know Christ and obtain a joyful conscience. Likewise, that I learned monachism, priestcraft, and everything belonging to popery to be nothing, is for me a great miracle. There is nothing in it when they make the charge that we perform no miracles. Although they do not shine so brightly and our ministers perform no miracles, as the Papists imagine they do, nevertheless, our light is pure and our knowledge correct. We surely preach the Gospel, and this they must of course conscientiously confess before each and every one, whether they desire to do so or not. So you have learned here that the kingdom of Christ and the Gospel are devoted to the end that you concentrate all your life, whether you be wife, child or husband, that you may be one who brings the sick to Christ, and thus be of assistance to others.


24. Now we should also consider a little the faith of others and the power to forgive sins, had we the time. I said before that it is an error to baptize the children into the faith of the church; men preached as though they were baptized without faith. This error enters among us by force at present, for the devil does not sleep. They think infants have no faith. The Pope with his subordinates has hitherto maintained that children have no faith, but are laid into the lap of the Christian church, and were baptized in the faith of universal Christendom. These new fanatics, like the Pope, also say that children have no faith; but that we should wait until they grow up.

25. We say that the faith of others does not assist unto salvation, even if two Christendoms were present. The child must itself believe in Christ. For I have not been born in the place of the child or for the child, nor will I die in its stead, it has a death and birth of its own. If it is to live and become free from death, it must also come to this through faith in Christ. However, we pray for the children as well as for all unbelievers; and preach, pray and labor that the unbelieving and children may also come and believe; for this we also live.

26. So these people here had also faith, but not the man of the palsy. Yet, he must receive it if he is to get well, otherwise their faith would not have helped him. They, however, in their faith prayed Christ to give the man sick of the palsy a faith of his own. So the faith of others assists to the end that I may obtain a faith of my own.

27. Yes, one might say: “How do we know whether children believe or not?” Neither do we know who among adults believe or who do not. If I be baptized as an adult and say: I believe; how can you know whether I believe or not? How do you know it? How, if I were to lie? No one else can know it, to this every one is brought by his own heart and thoughts; if it is right, it is right. The child cannot stand on my faith, I have scarcely enough faith for myself. Nor shall I lay it into the lap of Christendom, but into the Word of Christ where he says: “Suffer the little children to come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14. Luke 18:15. And thus I shall say: “Here, O Christ, I bring a little child to thee, thou hast commanded me to bring it to thee.” Now I have done my part, Christ will also certainly do his part.

So I do not baptize the child in my own faith or in the faith of Christendom. But my faith and Christendom bring the child to baptism, in order that by rightly bringing it God may give it a faith of its own, that it may believe as I believe and be preserved in the same Word that Christ has given me. And I do not baptize the child on that it has no faith, as the Bohemians think, that when it grows up it shall then first obtain faith, and speak the Word of God over the child: Thy sins are forgiven thee; and yet it does not, as they hold, believe the words. Is not this to charge the Word of God as being false? Now to sum up: I can of course by my prayers and faith help another that he may also believe, but I cannot believe for him.


28. The Pharisees knew very well that to forgive sins was the work of God, and belonged to him alone. For this reason they regarded Christ as a blasphemer, who as a man pretended to forgive sins. The forgiveness of sin is of two kinds: The first is to drive sin from the heart and infuse grace into it; this is the work of God alone. The second kind is the declaration of the forgiveness of sin; this man can do to his fellowman. But here Christ does both. He instills the Spirit into the heart and externally he declares forgiveness with the word, which is a declaration and public preaching of the internal forgiveness.

29. All men who are Christians and have been baptized, have this power.

For with this they praise Christ, and the word is put into their mouth, so that they may and are able to say, if they wish, and as often as it is necessary: Behold, O Man! God offers thee his grace, forgives thee all thy sins; be comforted, thy sins are forgiven; only believe and thou wilt surely have forgiveness. This word of consolation shall not cease among Christians until the last day: “Thy sins are forgiven, be of good cheer.”

Such language a Christian always uses and openly declares the forgiveness of sins. For this reason and in this manner a Christian has power to forgive sins.

30. Therefore if I say to you: Thy sins are forgiven, then believe it as surely as though God himself had said it to you. But who could do this if Christ had not descended, had not instructed me and said that we should forgive one another our trespasses? As when he says, John 20:22-23: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost; whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them, and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained unto them.” And at another place, Matthew 18:19-20, he says: “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” The word penetrates and performs it.

31. Now if there were no man on earth to forgive sins, and there were only law and works what a weak, and miserable thing a poor troubled conscience would be. But now when God adequately instructs every one, so that he is able to say to others: Thy sins are forgiven thee, wherever thou art; the golden age has arrived. On this account we are to be defiant and boastful against sin, so that we can say to our brother, who is in anxiety and distress on account of his sins: Be of good cheer, my brother, thy sins are forgiven; although I cannot give thee the Holy Ghost and faith, I can yet declare them unto thee; if thou believest, thou hast them. They who thus believe these words praise and glorify God, even as they do here in the Gospel. That is, God has given man power to forgive sins, and thus the kingdom of Christ is spread, the conscience is strengthened and comforted. This we do now through the Word. God grant that we may also thus understand it.