Sunday, January 31, 2010

FW: January 29, 2010: Faith-Based Help For Haiti

The LCMS, particularly LCMS World Relief and Human Care, featured on Religion & Ethics Newsweekly (watch the video online)

 

Feed: Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly
Posted on: Friday, January 29, 2010 2:23 PM
Author: janice henderson
Subject: January 29, 2010: Faith-Based Help For Haiti

 

(View full post to see video)

 

KIM LAWTON, correspondent: At Miami International Airport this week, Cili Dubersaint anxiously awaited the arrival of her sister, an earthquake victim who had part of her leg amputated. On the same flight, a team from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) returned to the US after doing emergency relief assessments and providing medical and spiritual support in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Even the veterans among them were still reeling from the horror they had all just left behind.

REV. GLENN MERRITT (LCMS World Relief and Human Care): I'm experienced as a disaster responder and a first responder and also as a canine responder, and the things that I saw were almost unimaginable.

LAWTON: American faith-based groups continue to play an active role in getting emergency help into Haiti. They say while the situation remains chaotic, more food, water, and medical attention are making it to the people in need. For the next six to eight weeks, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod will be sending regular shipments to feeding centers being set up in Haitian churches. The logistical obstacles remain immense.

MERRITT: It's often, in Dominican Republic, easy to find the food to go into Haiti, but it's difficult to find a way to get it in there and that's the challenge, and of course fuel is in short supply, too, so if you're running a truck to Port au Prince you need to know that you can get the fuel to come back out again.

post01-helpforhaiti

Rev. Glenn Merritt

LAWTON: In addition to providing food, water, and medicine, relief officials are now moving from the immediate emergency response to more long-term recovery planning. This week, Samaritan's Purse, the humanitarian group led by evangelist Franklin Graham, sent a barge to Haiti loaded with 400 tons of machinery that was too heavy to fly in.

LUTHER HARRISON (Samaritan's Purse): They need other equipment to continue their work as they're coming out of the emergency phase and into the recovery phase. You can see we have everything—heavy equipment, dump trucks, bull dozers, excavators, skid steer loaders, things that we can get in and help start cleaning up this debris.

LAWTON: The group is also shipping in supplies for water purification and materials for building shelters. They say providing practical help is part of their religious mission.

HARRISON: No red tape. Show them the love of Jesus Christ as we go out and try to help them get back on their feet.

LAWTON: Notre Dame D'Haiti Catholic Church in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood is coordinating the Archdiocese of Miami's response. Every day, volunteers sort and pack the donations that keep pouring in. Father Reginald Jean-Mary is also developing more long-range plans.

REV. REGINALD JEAN-MARY (Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic Church): In the next two months, the next three months, I think we need to start restoring the economy of the country to give people the sense of autonomy, the sense of dignity, and also I see a great need of trying to begin establishing structures that's going to help the people in the future.

post02-helpforhaitiLAWTON: Father Reginald and other faith-based groups are also focusing efforts on helping Haitians here in the US—those who've recently arrived after surviving the earthquake and those who have been here and now can't go back.

The US government has announced a new program that will allow undocumented Haitians who were living in the US, or those who were visiting here when the earthquake hit, to apply for Temporary Protected Status or TPS. That means they would be able to legally live and work here for the next 18 months. The US Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services expects up to 200,000 Haitians to apply for TPS.

OSCAR RIVERA (Church World Service): Right now, the way the situation is in Haiti, it would be inhumane to send them back, so this is something very good that our government has done to be able to keep these folks here and assist them.

LAWTON: Oscar Rivera directs the Miami office of the ecumenical Christian group Church World Service (CWS). CWS has a long history of refugee assistance and has already begun a nationwide project helping Haitians wade through the regulations and fill out the paperwork to apply for TPS. The group is also offering legal advice to Haitian families with differing immigration statuses.

NANCY DENIS (Managing Attorney, Church World Service): This is a catastrophe of really epic proportions, and it's going to take a kind of a comprehensive approach to deal with the various situations that people are being faced with.

LAWTON: And CWS is helping the Haitians who came here with family members who were seriously injured in the earthquake and medevacked to US hospitals. In all of these projects, the group is working with a network of affiliated local churches.

RIVERA: The churches are a key part that, with their help, with their time, with their donation, with their expertise that they have greatly helps us with making a difference in these peoples' lives.

post03-helpforhaitiLAWTON: Reverend Joanem Floreal of Miami's Shalom Community United Methodist Church says working within the churches builds community trust.

REV. JOANEM FLOREAL (Shalom Community United Methodist Church): As pastors, we are trusted voices. As men of God, as women of God, people really trust us.

LAWTON: Floreal is part of a South Florida pastors' group that has come together to address the many dimensions of the crisis—comforting the grieving in their congregations here and strategizing about how to provide more aid to Haiti.

FLOREAL: There is a sense of solidarity. There is a sense of unity I have never experienced before. We have Baptist pastors, Pentecostal pastors, United Methodist pastors, Free Methodist pastors, nondenominational pastors, pastors across denominational lines getting together to help people in Haiti. This is a great thing. This is something for us to celebrate.

LAWTON: Reverend Matthew Harrison, director of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod's World Relief and Human Care, says he found cause to celebrate in the strength of the Haitian people. He just returned from providing pastoral care to Haitian refugees at a Dominican Republic hospital.

REV. MATTHEW HARRISON (LCMS World Relief and Human Care): The strength of the people just absolutely impressed everybody—a woman who just had her arm guillotined with nothing but Tylenol being treated by our doctors, smiling and thanking them for the love. It was an experience that was just overwhelming for our people.

LAWTON: He believes spiritual and emotional counseling will be a necessary part of Haiti's future.

HARRISON: It's going to be very important for all the religious community in the United States to come along with their faith communities, their denominational partners in Haiti and walk together with them, but especially to realize the strength is there. The strength of the future is in Haiti, not the United States, and the answers to their future are there, not here.

LAWTON: At Notre Dame d'Haiti, Father Reginald says he and his congregation are exhausted by the trauma of the last two weeks. But, he says, he's still preaching hope.

JEAN-MARY: It is not a time for them to continue mourning and crying. This is the time to lift up your head, look in the sunrise direction, because the light of God is not off in Haiti. The hope will continue to burn and to shine. Therefore keep your head up, keep your dignity, and continue to strive to stay alive, because once you lose it, you lose it all.

LAWTON: He says sustaining that hope is the only way to Haiti's ultimate recovery.

I'm Kim Lawton in Miami.

One Lutheran minister who responded to the Haiti disaster says US religious communities must help, but "the strength of the future is in Haiti, not the United States." /wnet/religionandethics/files/2010/01/thumb-helpforhaiti1.jpg


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Enclosures:

episode.1322.help.for.haiti.m4v (88 MB)
http://www-tc.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/rss/media/video/episode.1322.help.for.haiti.m4v

 

Noted Review: Darwinian Danger


Wiker, Benjamin. The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2009. 196 Pages. Cloth. $18.45. http://www.regnery.com/ (N)




On the occasion of Charles Darwin’s 200th anniversary of his birth, and the 150th anniversary of his publishing Origin of Species, Benjamin Wiker sorts through the life of Charles Darwin and gives a more historically accurate assessment of this influential man. For those who are bent on only demonizing Charles Darwin, Wiker gives a fair picture of Charles Darwin and gives credit where credit is due. Wiker shows also, however, that supporters of Charles Darwin have overestimated him and his work to the extent that true science has been affected. Wiker states in the introduction his purpose: “The problem with Charles Darwin is not evolution itself, but his strange insistence on creating an entirely godless account of evolution. That evolution must be godless to be scientific is the Darwin Myth, so profoundly misleading that it must be called a great lie, one that is unfortunately at the heart of his life and legacy” [x-xi]. Evolution is greater than Darwin.

The scientific community of the nineteenth century in England could be divided into two groups. One group is the Whig, and the other the Tory. Even though historic Christianity had been deconstructed in both groups, the Whig disregarded any form of religion. The Tory, in either form of Deism or Theism, saw the need of including God as an influence in science, creation, and society. Christianity was valuable only as promoting morality among the masses. Charles Darwin and his family were Whigs. This was influential in Charles Darwin life in that when he developed the theory of evolution it had to be mutually exclusive to any involvement of the supernatural. Even though there are passages in his writings where it seems that Charles Darwin was open to divine involvement, albeit minimal, Wiker shows the greater context of Darwin’s background and views and shows how such references of Darwin in the Origin of Species was to show his movement from superstition towards science. Wiker shows however that Darwin had long followed his father’s and grandfather’s view of not involving God in one’s view of creation.

Wiker illustrates that many renowned scientists of Europe did not agree with Darwin completely, only in part. Yet Darwin was determined to publish an account of evolution that included transmutation without any superstition. Wiker shows that it is here that Darwin was disingenuous. Darwin presented the theory of evolution as his theory, even to the exclusion of those who had similar ideas decades before. Darwin’s own grandfather, Erasmus, expressed similar views as his grandson’s in a book titled, Zoonomia. Wiker illustrates that there are a lot of ideas expressed by Charles Darwin that had been espoused by others, some centuries before that had become entrenched in European thought. The ownership that Charles Darwin took in the theory he would popularize even kept him from listening to his allies. Wiker writes, “The great historical irony is that even among his closest allies – Hooker, Huxley, Gray, Lyell, and Wallace – there were doubts about Darwin’s theory. It is precisely here, among his allies, that we find the most interesting evidence to contradict the notion that all good, intelligent, and honest men leapt immediately to the conclusion that Darwin was completely right” [107]. Wiker shows that a small group of scientists, who advocated Darwin’s theory, was able to eventually influence the scientific community so that his theory was the only theory of evolution that would be acceptable. Yet, to this day it is still presumed that “all good, intelligent, and honest men” will immediately leap to the conclusion that Darwin was completely right. For example, anyone who attempts to explain anything according to Intelligent Design, {a term not used by Wiker}, is automatically discounted. {See Ben Stein’s Expelled.}

Wiker shows how even the Whig’s point of view has been conceded and promulgated by those who would disagree with Darwin’s theory of evolution. For example, he talks about the debate between Bishop Samuel Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley over evolution. The Whigish account of the debate makes Wilberforce look as though he was condescending and ignorant towards Huxley. Personally, I had a seminary professor share this interpretation of the debate with a class on creationism. I appreciated it very much that Wiker provides evidence and argument to the contrary on pages 100-103. Samuel Wilberforce was very much informed, civil, and winsome in his debate with Huxley. Even though Wilberforce would have spiritual concerns with Darwinian evolution, he ably presented scientific concerns with Darwin’s theory.

Wiker shows the connection of Darwin with Hitler. Though defenders of Darwin try to distance his theory of evolution to social engineering, Wiker shows that there is a definite connection between Darwin’s two books, Origin of Species and the Descent of Man with Hitler’s design of social engineering, that is establishing the Aryan Race. Wiker, though, speculates that Darwin himself would have been “absolutely mortified” with Nazism. But he wonders if it would have been enough for Darwin to give up Darwinism itself, [164.]

He indicates that there were other forces at play that allowed the Holocaust. In passing, Wiker includes in the same sentence anti-Semitism and Luther. Just as it is important to address the Darwin myth, so is it important to finally acknowledge and dismiss the Shirer myth. For that task I refer readers to Uwe Siemon-Netto’s book, The Fabricated Luther: the Rise and Fall of the Shirer Myth. I am not sure what Wiker’s particular view is on this matter, since his comment is only in passing and tangential to the argument of his book.

In the last chapter of Wiker’s work he breaks down how Christians today respond to evolution. Wiker addresses and distances himself from those “fideist” Christians who outright dismiss any kind of evolution and believe in a young earth. In fact, he says on page 166, “Needless to say, Christians of this camp appear entirely irrational and unscientific.” This reviewer wonders if Wiker is aware that today there are some scientists who argue for a young earth for scientific reasons. If one were to apply Wiker’s premise in addressing the Darwin myth, then it would be fair to listen to all scientists regardless if one is associated with “literalist” view of scripture.

He also addresses and distances himself from that group of “rationalist” Christians who uncritically have accepted the Darwin Myth that the theory of evolution must be a godless theory. One may apply what Wiker says to the problem of a liberal church that has given up divine revelation. If God no longer sets the agenda for the church through His Word, then culture and government are left to fill that void. Countless Christians who had accepted the Darwin Myth had no basis to resist Nazism.

Wiker offers a third option to the “fideist” and “rationalist” Christians with the “reasonable” Christian. The “reasonable” Christian avoids both extremes. Revelation and a theory of evolution can coexist. However, God’s revelation in scripture has precedence over nature.

The Darwin myth continues to be perpetuated in academia and Christianity to this day. Wiker serves us well by presenting in one hundred seventy-one pages information that helps us see more accurately the life and work of Charles Darwin. The Darwin Myth: The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin, by Benjamin Wiker is well written, easy to read, and very informative. This would be a great resource for any High School or college student of history, science, and religion. I am glad it is now in my library.



Reviewer: The Rev. Richard Neugebauer is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church, Gering, Nebraska and serves as First Vice President of the Wyoming District of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

FW: Great Luther Quote on Caring for Others in Trying Times

Learning pastoral care from Luther is always a good idea!

 

Feed: Mercy Journeys with Pastor Harrison
Posted on: Saturday, January 30, 2010 5:20 PM
Author: Rev. Matt Harrison
Subject: Great Luther Quote on Caring for Others in Trying Times

 


On August 2, 1527, this dread plague struck Wittenberg. Fearing for the safety of Luther and the other professors at the university, Elector John, on August 10, ordered Luther to leave for Jena. Five days later the university moved to Jena, then to Schlieben near Wittenberg, where it remained until April of the following year. Unmoved by the elector's letter or by the pleas of his friends, Luther, along with Bugenhagen, stayed to minister to the sick and frightened people. By August 19 there were eighteen deaths; the wife of the mayor, Tilo Dene, died almost in Luther's arms; his own wife was pregnant and two women were sick in his own house; his little son Hans refused to eat for three days; chaplain George Rörer's wife, also pregnant, took sick and lost both her baby and her life; Bugenhagen and his family then moved into Luther's house for mutual encouragement. Writing to Amsdorf, Luther spoke about his Anfechtungen and about the hospital in his house, closing his letter by saying, "So there are battles without and terrors within, and really grim ones; Christ is punishing us. It is a comfort that we can confront Satan's fury with the word of God, which we have and and which saves souls even if that one should devour our bodies. Commend us to the brethren and yourself to pray for us that we may endure bravely under the hand of the Lord and overcome the power and cunning of Satan, be it through dying or living. Amen. At Wittenberg on All Saints' Day in the tenth year after the trampling down of the papal bull, in remembrance of which we, comforted .in both respects, have drunk a toast."1 By the end of November the plague had definitely receded and in December Luther's wife was happily delivered of her child, Elizabeth. LW 43.115

 

 

Those who are engaged in a spiritual ministry such as preachers and pastors must likewise remain steadfast before the peril of death.4 We have a plain command from Christ, "A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep but the hireling sees the wolf coming and flees" [John 10:11]. For when people are dying, they most need a spiritual ministry which strengthens and comforts their consciences by word and sacrament and in faith overcomes death. However, where enough preachers are available in one locality and they agree to encourage the other clergy to leave in order not to expose themselves needlessly to danger, I do not consider such conduct sinful because spiritual services are provided for and because they would have been ready and willing to stay ff it had been necessary. We read that St. Athanasius5 fled from his church that his life might be spared because many others were there to administer his office. Similarly, the brethren in Damascus lowered Paul in a basket over the wall to make it possible for him to escape, Acts 9 [:25]. And also in Acts 19 [:30] Paul allowed himself to be kept from risking danger in the marketplace because it was not essential for him to do so.

 

Accordingly, all those in public office such as mayors, judges, and the like are under obligation to remain. This, too, is God's word, which institutes secular authority and commands that town and country be ruled, protected, and preserved, as St. Paul teaches in Romans 13 [:4], "The governing authorities are God's ministers for your own good." To abandon an entire community which one has been called to govern and to leave it without official or government, exposed to all kinds of danger such as fires, murder, riots, and every imaginable disaster is a great sin. It is the kind of disaster the devil would like to instigate wherever there is no law and order. St. Paul says, "Anyone who does not provide for his own family denies the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" [I Tim. 5:8]. On the other hand, if in great weakness they flee but provide capable substitutes to make sure that the community is well governed and protected, as we previously indicated, and ff they continually and carefully supervise them [i.e., the substitutes], all that would be proper.

 

What applies to these two offices [church and state] should also apply to persons who stand in a relationship of service or duty toward one another. A servant should not leave his master nor a maid her mistress except with the knowledge and permission of master or mistress. Again, a master should not desert his servant or a lady her maid unless suitable provision for their care has been made somewhere. In all these matters it is a divine command that servants and maids should render obedience and by the same token masters and ladies should take care of their servants.6 Likewise, fathers and mothers are bound by God's law to serve and help their children, and children their fathers and mothers. Likewise, paid public servants such as city physicians, city clerks and censtables, or whatever their titles, should not flee unless they furnish capable substitutes who are acceptable to their employer.

 

In the case of children who are orphaned, guardians or close friends are under obligation either to stay with them or to arrange diligently for other nursing care for their sick friends. Yes, no one should dare leave his neighbor unless there are others who will take care of the sick in their stead and nurse them. In such cases we must respect the word of Christ, "I was sick and you did not visit me …" [Matt. 25:41–46]. According to this passage we are bound to each other in such a way that no one may forsake the other in his distress but is obliged to assist and help him as he himself would like to be helped.7

 

Luthers Works 43.1212


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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

LCMS Reporter Article on the MTC on Worship

Response to model theological conference on worship 'positive'


By Joe Isenhower Jr.




Response from participants in the Synod's Jan. 11-13 Model Theological Conference on Worship has been largely positive, based on comments several of them have shared with Reporter and according to conference planners.



The goal of the conference -- co-sponsored by the LCMS Commission on Worship and the Commission on Theology and Church Relations (CTCR) -- was to "build greater understanding of our theology of worship and foster further discussion of worship practices that are consistent with that theology." The goal is from resolutions of the 2004 and 2007 Synod conventions.



Completely funded with a $200,000 grant from the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation, the conference drew about 260 participants to sessions at a St. Louis airport hotel and at Concordia Lutheran Church, about a mile from the Synod's International Center in Kirkwood, Mo.



Among registrants were up to five parish representatives nominated by each district president, chaplains from LCMS colleges and seminaries, executives of Synod boards and commissions, and members of the two sponsoring commissions.



This was the fourth synodwide theological conference and the third model theological conference in the Synod since 2001, when Synod President Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick originally called for such conferences.



Already, conference organizers say they are aware of plans among several districts to hold similar theological conferences on worship.



The model conference's theme was "Toward a Theology of Worship That Is ... ." Six individual presentations on five topics completed the theme.



Basically, the conference agenda included those presentations from theologians and pastors; responses from Synod seminary and university faculty members, musicians, and pastors; table talks and other opportunities for discussion; traditional and contemporary worship services; and opportunity for individual and corporate confession and absolution.



The five covered topics were:





"... Scriptural and Confessional," with the opening presentation by Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs, professor of Exegetical Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.



"... Pastoral and Sacramental," by Rev. Larry Vogel, CTCR associate executive director.



"... Personal and Contextual," by Dr. Dien Taylor, pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church, Bronx, N.Y.



"... Missional and Vocational," by Rev. Mason Beecroft, senior pastor of Grace Lutheran Church, Tulsa, Okla., and Rev. Jeffrey Cloeter, pastor of Reliant Church, an urban ministry in St. Louis.



"... Practical and Theological," by Dr. Charles Arand, professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Responders included Dr. Steve Arnold, professor emeritus of education and chaplain at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn.; Dr. Paul Grime, dean of the chapel and associate professor at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne; Dr. Arthur A. Just Jr., professor of Exegetical Theology, director of Deaconess Studies, and co-director of The Good Shepherd Institute at the Fort Wayne seminary; and Dr. James Waddell, graduate instructor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at the University of Michigan.



As the conference drew to a close, CTCR Executive Director Dr. Joel Lehenbauer told the assembly that he had already heard words of appreciation "from many of you, especially for the theological presentations, the quality of worship, and opportunities for discussion and fellowship."



Lehenbauer said he had also heard "a few words of constructive criticism" that practical questions about diversity of worship had not been adequately addressed.



"This conference was intentionally put together as a theological conference," he continued, "meant to build greater understanding about our theology of worship. It is our hope and intention that as we move toward consensus on the theology of worship, we also will work toward consensus on issues related to diversity of practice."



Lehenbauer and Rev. David Johnson, executive director of the Commission on Worship, said that all six major theological presentations will be made available as podcasts on the Web sites of the two Synod commissions.



Johnson said that an online evaluation where about half of those attending had registered their impressions in the week following the conference indicated a "satisfaction rate" of between 70 and 90 percent for each of the major presentations.



"Largely, the response to this conference has been enormously favorable," Johnson told Reporter.



He added that its design "was to steep us into theological thought and discourse, moderating our differences, seeking reconciliation and concord."



He also said that "more practical issues" regarding music, preaching, and presiding at worship will be considered during the worship commission's Institute on Liturgy, Preaching, and Church Music in 2011.



Ted Kober, president of Ambassadors of Reconciliation and moderator for this model conference, said that "overall, I believe that [it] met the objectives described in the [2007] convention resolution. Those involved in planning did not expect that the conference would solve all the issues that affect our disagreements on worship. On the other hand, [they] did hope that the conference would provide an opportunity to begin such a process and help people learn how to discuss important issues that affect our walk together in Synod. I believe that this purpose was achieved, and I pray that people will continue the work that began in these short three days."



Kober also observed that conference participants engaged in "Christ-like dialogue." He said that "many shared with me that they appreciated that the conference tone was established when we as a group established ground rules reminding us of what Scripture teaches [and that] we also discussed how to separate 'theological issues' from 'relationship issues.' "



"One of the main objectives of the resolution that called for this conference was achieved because people learned how to discuss difficult issues in a God-honoring way," Kober said.



Two first-time attendees at a Synod model theological conference also offered their thoughts regarding this conference -- Rev. James Travis, pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church, Sioux City, Iowa, and Charles Craig, a lay deacon from Lincoln, Ala., who is a member of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church in Birmingham, Ala.



In addition to planning his congregation's worship services, Travis has helped teach local Lay Leadership Institute classes in the history of music in the Lutheran church. After studying organ at Concordia University, Ann Arbor, he went to the St. Louis seminary, where he served as organist for chapel services.



Travis said the conference "did well at engaging us in conversation" that he said proved "helpful in that it did not begin with practice, but with theology -- the reason we do worship." And he said its "best aspects" were the question-and-answer sessions and worship -- especially "seeing good contemporary and traditional Lutheran worship."



Travis also said that the conference had helped him realize that concerning traditional and contemporary worship practices, "it is not about preference, but about Jesus and keeping Him at the center."



Craig said that he found conference presenters "were very prepared" in presenting "unique" topics with "information that I think we could all take back [and use in] our congregations."



Craig said he feels that "bringing together [leaders] of the Synod, seminaries, and universities" with laity "to refocus our attention on the true worship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ [was] a step in the right direction. ... It gave each of us a chance to dialogue, learn, hear, and focus on the thoughts of others ... on an equal basis."



Rev. Terry Forke, president of the LCMS Montana District, agreed that the conference was "a valuable first step," especially "by inviting various perspectives and tilting each presentation 'Toward a Theology of Worship.' "



When it comes to worship, "emotions run deep," Forke wrote to Reporter, "so I would not expect to see substantial changes in practice immediately. However, the Word of God is powerful. By bringing leaders together to discuss what the Word of God has to say about worship, we have done the best that can be done to effect corrections where they are needed, understanding where it is needed, and forgiveness where it is needed.



"I hope that the conversations that were begun ... will continue in the districts, congregations, and homes of the participants," Forke stated. "We dare not think that we can settle this matter with one conference."



Rev. Joel A. Hoelter, president of the LCMS North Wisconsin District, addressed the conference in his column for the March issue of the district's "Messenger" insert to The Lutheran Witness, as follows:



"Discussions about worship tend to revolve around the labels 'traditional' and 'contemporary.' Often they express preference and nothing else. The conference offered an additional description -- 'sacramental' and 'non-sacramental' -- to remind us that worship is something that includes both Word and Sacrament. This is more in keeping with our Lutheran confession of the Christian faith.



"Another positive and helpful reminder received was not to let preconceptions shape our attitude toward others. We will work intentionally so the conference our district conducts is one at which each person can speak freely and openly without being labeled or judged.



"We are brothers and sisters in the faith and we are to build one another up in Christ," Hoelter wrote.



Synod President Kieschnick shared in an e-mail to Reporter that his "overall impression" of the conference "is very positive, as has been the case with all previous model theological conferences.



"While no conference is perfect and every conference is limited by time and cost constraints," Kieschnick observed, "our beloved Synod is blessed when brothers and sisters in Christ gather to worship, work, dialogue, and pray together. Relationships are formed and strengthened, stereotypes are dismantled, and sensitivities to perceived or real positions of others regarding doctrine and practice are heightened."



He stated that his impressions of the conference were in line with a statement the LCMS Council of Presidents adopted in 2002 and amended two years later, in which the council committed itself to "leading the Synod in seeking peace and harmony in the Synod."



Kieschnick indicated that his "main objective" in calling for model theological conferences "has been to encourage thoughtful study of Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions, in the context of serious dialogue, by pastors and lay leaders across the Synod.



"These conferences provide a safe place for such study and discussion in an effort to work toward agreement in doctrine and practice regarding matters on which our Synod is not in complete agreement," he wrote. "Only through such serious study and reflection on controverted matters will we be able to achieve the harmony and unity we all desire."



"I'm not aware of anyone who came away from this experience convinced that all disagreements in our Synod regarding worship were resolved by this conference," Kieschnick sated. "But I believe it was a significant step in the right direction and further pray for the Lord's blessings on subsequent conferences that will be held in districts throughout the Synod."



Posted Jan. 27, 2010



Archive Date: February 27, 2010



Prepared by the Division of News & Information, Board for Communication Services

FW: Time Out to Start Featuring Kretzmann’s Popular Commentary

 

 

Feed: Necessary Roughness
Posted on: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 8:35 PM
Author: Dan
Subject: Time Out to Start Featuring Kretzmann's Popular Commentary

 

On the White Horse Inn radio show, their "man on the street" segment interviewed students at a Christian college to see if they could summarize the main theme of the Book of Galatians. Two out of 12 mentioned justification by grace and not by works.

I would have gotten that one right, but I thought about other books that I might stumble on. Other people might have the same issues, and I started asking around for pastors who might be willing to summarize or point me to some public domain commentary that I could use on Time Out.

Pastor Will Weedon of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Hamil, IL., stepped up.  He pointed me to The Kretzmann Project, home of the electronic edition of The Popular Commentary of the Bible by Paul E. Kretzmann, Ph. D., D. D.  The introductions to each book alone are filled with such good stuff, not only summarizing the content of the book but laying out Christ in the Old Testament.

The introductions will probably take another one to two minutes to read per book. It's likely that they will be included as part of the Time Out episode on Pirate Christian Radio, but they will for sure be available as part of the podcasts on the Time Out site. When the summaries are included on the podcast, I will provide a link back to the Kretzmann Project site so you can follow along.

Thank you, Pr. Weedon, and thank you big time to those who digitized The Kretzmann Project.


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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Resources Received



Nance, James B. Introductory Logic for Christian and Home Schools Test Booklet. Moscow, ID: Logos Press, 2006. 37 Pages. Paper. $10.00  http://www.logospressonline.com/ (LHP)

Nance, James B. Introductory Logic for Christian and Home Schools DVD. Moscow, ID: Logos Press, 2006.  2 DVD set. $55.00. http://www.logospressonline.com/ (LHP)


Nance, James B. Intermediate Logic for Christian and Home Schools Test Booklet. Moscow, ID: Logos Press, 2006. 34 Pages. Paper. DVD. $10.00  http://www.logospressonline.com/ (LHP)


Nance, James B. Intermediate Logic for Christian and Home Schools DVD. Moscow, ID: Logos Press, 2006. DVD. $55.00. http://www.logospressonline.com/ (LHP)

For the Next Roundup

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We will have information and reflections on the Model Theological Conference on Worship soon.

 

 

Pastor Paul J Cain

revpaulcain@gmail.com

Monday, January 25, 2010

Resources Received



Gingrich, Newt. Featuring the photography of Callista Gingrich. Rediscovering God in America: Reflections on the Role of Faith in our Nation's History and Future. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2009. 118 Pages. Cloth. $16.99. http://www.thomasnelson.com/ http://www.newt.org/ www.gingrichproductions.com/map (N)

Nance, James B. Intermediate Logic for Christian & Home Schools (Second Edition, Revised and Expanded). Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2006. 209 Pages. Paper. $27.00. http://www.canonpress.org/ (LHP)

Nance, James B. Intermediate Logic for Christian & Home Schools-Answer Key (Second Edition, Revised and Expanded). Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2006. 103 Pages. Paper. $20.00. http://www.canonpress.org/ (LHP)

FW: What Makes the Divine Service "Divine"?

Consider subscribing to Jim Pierce's blog…

 

Feed: Confessional's Bytes
Posted on: Monday, January 25, 2010 11:44 AM
Author: Jim Pierce
Subject: What Makes the Divine Service "Divine"?

 

What makes the Sunday divine service so "divine"?

1) We get to be with Jesus (Matthew 18:20).
2) The Lord comes to us with His forgiveness of sins through the preaching of His word, and the Lord's supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-28).
3) Along with angels and archangels, the saints in heaven, and the saints on earth, we get to respond to the Lord with thanksgiving for the forgiveness of sins through praise and worship. The congregation joins together making "supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings" for all (1 Timothy 2:1).

What makes the divine service "divine" is God's word and His forgiveness of sins being faithfully delivered to sinners who need and receive Christ's forgiveness through sound law and gospel preaching and at our Lord's table where they receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ, truly present in, with, and under the bread and wine.

It is pretty simple, really. Peter nailed it with "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life...." —John 6:68


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FW: LSB Resources: Additional Indexes

Thank you to this blogging Lutheran Kantor, the following additional LSB Indices (I had to use the old word) are available for your use. Please let your church musicians know, too!

 

Feed: Lutheran Kantor
Posted on: Monday, January 25, 2010 7:01 AM
Author: Chris
Subject:
LSB Resources: Additional Indexes

 

For a number of years I've had lofty goals to catalog my music library — not just the books, but also the individual pieces within the book, associated hymn tunes, composers, when I used a piece, etc.  While I haven't made much progress on the cataloging, awhile back I did create the underlying structure that would link everything back to Lutheran Service Book and the associated hymn tunes.  Through that project I had the data to create several indexes that had more detail than those provided in the back of the LSB editions — primarily around the hymn tunes used in LSB.

All of the information in these indexes are already in LSB — these indexes will just minimize some page flipping going back and forth to cross reference hymn numbers.  They answer two primary questions: What tune does a hymn use? What hymns use this tune?  Who knows, some of you might find these useful.  If you do, I'd be interested to know – please leave a comment.

  1. LSB Hymn Names, Number, and Tune sorted by Hymn Name
  2. LSB Hymn Names, Number, and Tune sorted by Hymn Number
  3. LSB Hymn Names, Number, and Tune sorted by Hymn Tune


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Sunday, January 24, 2010

FW: Christ in the Ruins Port-au-Prince

 

 

Feed: The ABC3s of Miscellany
Posted on: Sunday, January 24, 2010 2:16 PM
Author: ABC3+
Subject: Christ in the Ruins Port-au-Prince

 

This morning we were able to obtain some photos from Rev. Dr. Doug Rutt, who was a part of the assessment team that went into Haiti. He documented the destruction in photos. The picture here is of Christ in the midst of the ruins. The photo is of a Roman Catholic Church in Port-au-Prince.

 

 



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Friday, January 22, 2010

FW: No “End Run” Around the Cross

 

 

Feed: Cyberbrethren Lutheran Blog Feed
Posted on: Friday, January 22, 2010 5:01 AM
Author: Paul T. McCain
Subject: No "End Run" Around the Cross

 

Here is a graphic that, Rev. James Douthwaite, at St. Athanasius Lutheran Church in Vienna, Virginia, uses to explain how we should always factor in the Cross when we consider our relationship to God and His relationship to us. (A parishioner made this visual image.)

So, in God's relationship to us, we might wonder, "Am I really saved?" "Am I of the elect?" "Is God angry with me?" "Why does God allow suffering in the world?" In each case, if we leave out the Cross, questions like these can drive us to despair or insanity. But consider them in light of the Cross–of Christ's intercession, His atonement, and His suffering for us–and the paradigm shifts. I am saved because Christ paid my penalty. I am elect in the Cross where God placed my sins. God's anger is appeased in the death of His Son. God does not just look down in detachment at the sufferings of the world; rather, He entered that world in His incarnation in Christ and Himself suffered on the Cross, where He also bore MY afflictions.

In our relationship to God: "Does God hear my prayers?" "What do I need to do to satisfy God?" "I'm not worthy of God's love." God hears us through our Intercessor Jesus who has won perfect access for us to the Father through His death and resurrection. God is already satisfied because of Christ's sacrifice for us. We are not worthy, but Christ is worthy, and because of the Cross His worthiness is imputed to us.

Again, end runs around the Cross lead to doubt and torment, but considering God through the lens of the Cross, and understanding that God considers us through the lens of the Cross makes all the difference.

Source: Dr. Gene Edward Veith


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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Welcome to CPH.org

Have you seen the NEW http://www.cph.org/ ??

FW: NPH News - Take advantage of this special offer from NPH

FYI.

 

QBR loves both of these!

 

From: newsNPH@nph.wels.net [mailto:newsNPH@nph.wels.net]
Sent: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 6:39 PM
To: revpaulcain@gmail.com
Subject: NPH News - Take advantage of this special offer from NPH

 

Northwestern Publishing House

Shop NPH

NPH News - January 20, 2010

You still have time to save on two books on Lutheranism!

 

LIMITED TIME OFFER! Get "The Lutheranism Set"(the two books below) for $17.99 (CC15N0768) until February 28, 2010.

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WELS & Other Lutherans  Cover Art

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REVISED! What's happening to Lutheranism in the 21st century? Just recently the largest Lutheran church body in the United States approved of clergy involved in same-sex relationships! Not all Lutheran denominations agree with THAT decision. Now there's an updated and expanded answer to the question: What are the differences among the Lutheran church bodies? In this new edition, author John Brug describes what has been happening doctrinally in recent years in major Lutheran church bodies in the USA as well as in smaller Lutheran groups around the world.
Paper cover, 285 pages. View sample pages.
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Positively Lutheran  Cover Art

Positively Lutheran: A Simple Statement of What Lutherans Believe

by John A. Braun

 

This small book helps you answer the question: What does your Lutheran church believe? It's a book to pass along to others so they can learn what it means to believe and live as a Lutheran Christian, in the love of Christ.
Paper cover, 32 pages. View sample pages.
CC15N0765, $5.00.

 

Our annual NPH Stock-Up Sale will take place Friday, February 5, through Saturday, February 13, 2010. Mark your calendar! This popular sale features special savings--including 40% off many products published by NPH, along with FREE shipping on orders of $125 or more! Click here for details, or visit online.nph.net/stockup, then bookmark this page! More details will be added as the sale approaches.

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FW: Rubrics

Consider this along with our recent review of books filled with rubrics.

 

PJC

 

Feed: Weedon's Blog
Posted on: Wednesday, January 20, 2010 7:20 PM
Author: William Weedon
Subject: Rubrics

 

Written in red in the Altar Book and hymnal (many more in the Altar Book than the hymnal). They are everyone's favorite whipping boy. But they get a bum rap. I love how the intro to the Lutheran Service Book: Altar Book puts it:

Rubrics are never to be seen as an end in and of themselves. Their purpose is not to call attention either to themselves or to those leading the service. The purpose of the rubrics is to promote reverence toward God, thus freeing the worshiper to receive God's gifts offered through His means of grace, and to offer Him the sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise. A genuine and authentic use of the rubrics allows the focus of the service to be on the grace and mercy of the triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (p. x.)

In other words, they delineate good habit. So you don't have to think about them. So you don't have to think about what to do at this point or that, which way to turn, what gesture to make with your hands. They become second nature and instead of looking like a "performance" they become simply how we live together in the Divine Service.

When rubrics are all made into "may" rubrics - when everything is treated as optional - the result is that no one knows what to expect or how to act. The pastor moves onto "center stage" and he holds the service together by his antics. Rubrics are there so that you don't have to think about such things - the focus is solidly on the Lord, His Word, His gifts. For the parish that respects and observes them, the pastor's actions become totally unremarkable.

Rubrics. They're all about getting the spotlight off the presider and letting it stay fixed on our Lord who comes among us with His gracious words of life and with His body and blood for our forgiveness, our life, and our salvation.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/WeedonsBlog


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FW: THOSE BUZZWORDS

On new words…

 

Feed: Fine Tuning
Posted on: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 11:52 AM
Author: Phillip Magness
Subject: THOSE BUZZWORDS

 

I know language changes. And some new words are helpful. "Trinity" doesn't actually occur in the Bible. Neither does "Sacrament." So some of the new buzzwords may be OK. Accordingly, I am going to lay off "missional" as a buzzword, though it tends to irritate me. Certainly the book of Acts describes the mission of the early church, and we have always sent and supported "missionaries". Church usage is normative, so I'll agree with Dr. Gibbs' assertion, made at the conference, that "God is in the gaps" between "Scripture and the Confessions". He works through His church. Through working with the Word, the Church came up with "Trinity" and "Sacrament". So maybe some of the new words will turn out OK.

 

But given the frequency and novelty of some of these terms today, I think it is fair to ask whether the church being shaped by the world - rather than by the Word - when we use so many buzzwords that carry either modernist or post-modernist freight.

 

Sure, some of these words might serve the Church well. For example, there was much talk of "context". Certainly there is much truth in the proposition that those who preach and teach need to be sensitive to the situation of their hearers. One does not preach in a language the hearers do not understand. One must teach at a level the hearers can comprehend. Properly used, "context" might become a 21st-century American English equivalent of the Lutheran theological Sitz im leben ('setting in life").

 

But "contextual" if often used in our culture to justify "whatever works", or "what is true for me may not be true for you." It is the way our public university English and History teachers speak. Accordingly, it has post-modern baggage connected to other buzzwords I heard often at the Conference and also at the regional "Blue Ribbon" gathering I attended in Madison: perspective, relative, impact, diversity, empower and community. None of these words are necessarily wrong when used carefully. But they all stem from the world of relativism. So careful use should also mean minimal use, lest the words echo in the body of Christ and overwhelm the commonsense, Biblical way in which the Church has historically spoken: see, confess, convict, nations, save, and communion.

 

Words matter. Are we sharing different glimpses of glory in a passionate way so that we can grow stronger by enlarging the numbers of our faith community? Or are we to share what we have seen with our neighbor, that they may know the truth, and be freed to join us at the Lord's table?

 

The former is the way of organizations marketing themselves to religious consumers. The latter is what we read about in the Scriptures. Can we have it both ways?

 

 


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FW: A Different Issue...

Thoughts from Clarksville, TN…

 

Feed: Pastoral Meanderings
Posted on: Monday, January 18, 2010 3:41 PM
Author: Pastor Peters
Subject: A Different Issue...

 

I mentioned on another forum that there was a difference between those who add to the Divine Service ceremonies and liturgical elements not spoken of in the rubrics or in ordinary use in the Church and those who take away the minimal ceremonies and liturgical elements specified in the rubrics or in ordinary usage in the Church...

What I mean is this, while incense in the Divine Service is not specified nor even mentioned in the rubrics as an option, there are those parishes and those Pastors in the LCMS who include incensing the altar as part of the Divine Service. This is an addition to the rubrics and an exception to the ordinary usage of our church body today (though certainly historic and ordinary in the church at large). To add this to the Divine Service represents a change but a change distinctly different from those who routinely omit major portions of the Divine Service or substitute non-liturgical elements or hymns that do not actually replace those elements (though as with the Divine Service, Setting 5, there are hymns appointed for this purpose).

I am less concerned about these additions than I am the omissions. These additions would certainly be noticed by those who do not routinely see them but, within the fabric of the ordinary, would recognize and feel at home with the Divine Service. In contrast, those who omit whole portions of the ordinary and therefore cause a substantial tear in the fabric of the Divine Service, present the worshiper with something unrecognizable and strange.

Friend Will Weedon put it this way. You can watch a service in Latvian and because it follows the form and pattern (indeed the very words) of the Divine Service, you feel at home within this liturgy. From personal experience, I mention a time when I visited a Swedish parish celebrating their 150th anniversary. They invited the choir of the Uppsala Cathedral to be the choir for the Divine Service (LBW form) and later for a concert. Because they followed the form of the LBW Divine Service, it was familiar to me, though I do not speak much Swedish.

So you may add incense or a different form of the Eucharistic Prayer or different musical settings or additional ceremonies (deacon, sub-deacon, etc), and it is familiar even with the addition of these elements. You may change the musical forms but keep the ordo and it is familiar and recognizable. But mess with the ordinary, change the form of the ordo, substitute different elements of your own composition for the parts of the Divine Service, and the service is no longer recognizable. It has become alien and foreign -- it may be Biblical, it may be orthodox, it may be welcomed by the congregation but it is a rift within the communion and a tear of the fabric of the Lutheran Church.

Therefore, I may not like musical changes but if the Divine Service is there, if the liturgical form and its words recognizable, I find it hard to complain (well, I will, but you get what I mean). Rather, the problem we have is when the fabric of the Divine Service has been tampered with in such way that it is no longer recognizable, then, Houston, we have a problem...


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Monday, January 18, 2010

FW: Microchurches really are “in”

 

 

Feed: Cranach: The Blog of Veith
Posted on: Friday, January 15, 2010 3:00 AM
Author: geneveith
Subject: Microchurches really are "in"

 

In my "in" and "out" prediction of fashions for the new year, I predicted that megachurches would be "out" and microchurches would be "in." That was based primarily on wishful thinking. But now I see that I was right! This is what the church growth experts are saying! Terry Mattingly quotes and discusses a news story on the subject:

Microchurches have been around since New Testament days but have become more popular in the past decade. Though the groups differ widely in their practices, the majority serve less than 100 members, typically don't own the building where they meet, often practice nondenominational evangelism and intentionally offer believers a worship atmosphere unlike that of established churches. Many of the groups wish to remain small and will plant a new congregation if numbers grow too large.

"People are yearning for a more intimate type of fellowship that they, in many cases, did not find in the very large church," said Carol Childress, founder of FrameWorks, a church consulting firm based in Texas. "In the course of one generation, as a culture here in the United States, we made a 180-degree turn — from valuing strong individuals to searching for a sense of community."

That second sentence describes my congregation (except for the nondenominational part)! Our worship atmosphere is indeed unlike established churches, in that we are highly liturgical, while "established churches" now largely use contemporary worship. I assure you that it was not our intention to be fashionable; indeed, we have been trying to NOT be fashionable. But there you go.

But just consider the advantages of small churches. You get to actually know your pastor, and he knows you. He can give you the pastoral care that you need. You can get to know and interact with all your fellow members, making a true sense of community possible. Such things are virtually impossible in a megachurch.

via This little church of mine, I'm gonna … » GetReligion.


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FW: Rote Worship Loses Meaning?

 

 

Feed: Necessary Roughness
Posted on: Sunday, January 17, 2010 5:09 AM
Author: Dan
Subject: Rote Worship Loses Meaning?

 

One of the critiques I repeatedly heard at the LCMS Model Theological Conference on Worship was that a person can mindlessly run through the liturgy and not apply it in their lives. This is a slightly different critique than the one I heard in the Ohio District talks, that liturgy is justification for one's weekly misdeeds.

I suppose theoretically one could divorce one's mind from the meaning of the words, but this isn't a charge unique to liturgical worship. In fact, it's more likely to happen when one is getting lost in ecstatic music.

The aversion to rote worship and memorization is counter to how we learn and harms our ability to use knowledge. Do we memorize multiplication tables, or do we sit down with a piece of paper and do the basic math every time? Do we turn screws each way to see what works, or does "righty-tighty-lefty-loosey" come into the mind without effort?

Rote worship — liturgical worship — is part of the institutional knowledge of the church. It is the shorthand of our vocabulary to convey bigger ideas. It is also a guard by which we ensure we believe the same things. We do not live in Wonderland, where Humpty Dumpty chooses the meaning of words.

How many times in a Lutheran's life do the following phrases fit various situations?

  • poor, miserable sinner
  • by what we have done and by what we have left undone
  • I forgive you
  • Lord, have mercy
  • From the creeds: I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins, etc.

These are the church's tools, and we make them ours. We do not get the opportunity to collect every little question about God during the week, seek a judgement of appropriate application by the pastor, then run it back to our daily vocations and apply it. No, some situations simply call for a nice, polite, "I'm a poor, miserable sinner." That's simply the best explanation for stuff I have done and stuff I haven't done (oh, there's another one…).

The liturgy will not tell you how to have your best life now, prescribe a program for evangelism, or communicate some vision from the pastor regarding where he wants the congregation to be in five years. It will tell you that you are a sinner, that you need to be and have been redeemed by Christ, and that He has provided His Supper to strengthen your faith. That's not bad stuff to recite every week. If it loses meaning to me, then the fault is mine, not the liturgy's.

http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NecessaryRoughness?d=yIl2AUoC8zAhttp://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NecessaryRoughness?i=IkT3UVG7PHk:4En_g3P7SrU:gIN9vFwOqvQhttp://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NecessaryRoughness?i=IkT3UVG7PHk:4En_g3P7SrU:D7DqB2pKExkhttp://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NecessaryRoughness?d=qj6IDK7rITshttp://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/NecessaryRoughness?d=YwkR-u9nhCs

http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/NecessaryRoughness/~4/IkT3UVG7PHk


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