Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Happy Feast of St. Stephen: "Some Difficulties in the Speech of Stephen, Acts 7" by William F. Arndt
Longtime professor at Concordia Seminary--St. Louis, William F. Arndt, wrote numerous books and articles on "Bible difficulties." These works focused on disabusing people of the notion that the Bible contained errors, showing that with calm logic and careful investigation one could resolve most alleged discrepancies, or, even when the resolution surpassed our knowledge or insight, that this did not necessitate or prove a contradiction. Sometimes a fair evaluation was one that might not be able to settle upon a single resolution, but had to leave several possibilities open. Arndt's purpose was to both dismiss alleged proofs of inaccuracies or mistakes that skeptics clung to and to lead believers to trust in the reliability of the Scriptures and have humility when approaching God's Word.
Saturday, September 2, 2017
Once again, the worth of this theological treasure, Engelder's "The Hades Gospel," is proven. For those confused on the matter, Engelder makes clear that Lutherans do not believe in the "Hades Gospel." We do not believe that you get a "second chance" in the afterlife or on the Last Day.
People who die in unbelief go to hell. That is what the Bible teaches. If that is unsettling, than you must refresh your abhorrence and hatred for sin in conformity and in reflection of God's righteous wrath against sin. As Engelder points out, we must repent and mortify our fleshly thoughts. We are not to accuse God of sin by saying, or implying, that He wrongfully didn't give people a "fair chance" as if all men were not poor miserable sinners who deserve damnation.
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Recently, I was graciously given a box of Bible history maps by a parishioner's friend whose husband had been an Sunday School Superintendent for many years.
One of the maps was not actually a map at all. It was an illustrated Bible History Timeline. Or perhaps you would call it an Illustrated Biblical Chronology. Either way, it is an incredibly interesting and well done piece of educational art. The piece was made by Rev. Rudolph P. Zwingel, a Missouri Synod pastor whom I do not yet know much about.
Friday, August 5, 2016
There is not much to say about this little gem from the June 1932 CTM by P.E. Kretzmann besides to commend its clarity. Kretzmann succinctly summarizes, and gives the pertinent biblical citations for, the traditional Lutheran (biblical) teaching on marriage, divorce, and engagement.
Since the 1950's, the Missouri Synod has sounded an unclear note, or at least one inconsistent with its own history, concerning its teaching on what makes a marriage a marriage, particularly in regards to how one rightly enters into marriage.
Much of the confusion, or avoidance of the issue, arose from a desire during the mid-20th century to change the Synod's teaching on engagement--resulting in a weakened definition and understanding of marriage.
This is especially apparent when you trace the evolution of the synodical explanation of the catechism on the 6th Commandment. Up to and including the 1943 version, the teaching on the nature of marriage, and how it is entered into, reflects the same teaching that had been clearly set forth in countless articles, essays, books, and presentations throughout the Synod's history, which in turn stood in continuity with the teaching of Luther, Lutheran Orthodoxy, and the Scriptures themselves.
From the 1912 explanation:
Wednesday, August 3, 2016
A Short Exposition of Dr. Martin Luther's Small Catechism (1912): Reviewing the New Proposed Synodical Explanation to the Small Catechism
As the "field-test" edition of the new version of the Explanation of the Small Catechism has been sent out to all Missouri Synod pastors and congregations, I expect (or at least hope) that pastors especially will take this opportunity seriously to look at the work of the committee.
Two specific things that I am doing as I review the new version, and I would recommend to others as well, are:
1. Read the coordinate section of the Large Catechism before and after each section.
2. Compare the proposed new version to the older versions. I would not only look at the most recent/current version, but also the 1943 and 1912 versions of the synodical explanation. The current version and 1943 versions are reasonably easy to get your hands on, but it is less likely for folks to have a physical copy of the 1912 version.
Fortunately, you can find the 1912 German-English edition online here.
Friday, July 29, 2016
In the October 1931 Concordia Theological Monthly, W.H.T. Dau wrote a moving tribute in honor of the Dr. Francis (Franz) Pieper, who had passed away that June. He begins his essay by quoting part of Pieper's address to the Missouri Synod's 1893 convention.
There is no such thing in the Christian Church as mere teaching; all teaching is to be reduced to practise. The Christian Church is not a philosophers' school, where only teaching is done, but a society of people who by faith in the Gospel and mortification of the flesh are traveling on the way to everlasting life and are commissioned to lead others into this way.
Dau recalls that this essay gave the delegates confidence that Pieper was carrying on the confessionalism of Walther at the St. Louis Seminary, and noted that the convention would elect him to be the president of Synod 6 years later. Dau makes the point that according to Walther and Pieper, and in truth, teaching theology and administering practical affairs are by no means of a conflicting nature, but logically and necessarily connected. Dau further says:
Thursday, July 28, 2016
In the Concordia Theological Monthly of October 1936, P.E. Kretzmann placed sections of an editorial from the magazine America in Miscellanea. While not a Lutheran writing, it is indeed a treasure that every Lutheran would heartily celebrate and by it be uplifted. "She Stayed at Home" is true, sweet, in the best sense of the word, and a heartfelt reminder of the great gift of motherhood our Lord has bestowed upon mankind.
Would we continue to see in today's Lutheran periodicals such sentiments and praise for the work, being faithfully and lovingly carried out, that God has given to womankind.
Read it below, or go here to read/access the PDF (go to the last page in the document).