Tuesday, June 18, 2019

To What Intent Does God Afflict Us With Sickness? by Rev. Dr. Wilhelm Sihler

Image result for wilhelm sihler

This short paper, "To What Intent Does God Afflict Us With Sickness?", is an excellent, brief resource that addresses common questions surrounding the reality of suffering and God's omnipotence. The PDF of the work is provided by 1580 Press, a site where one can find many other L-TOMs and other Lutheran works. I believe 1580 Press is run by Nathan Higgins.

Sihler was an important figure in the formation of the Missouri Synod and the establishment of the Fort Wayne Seminary. For a article on his life and work, see "Professor Wilhelm Sihler: Founding Father of Lutheranism in America and First President of Concordia Theological Seminary" by Lewis Spitz Jr.

In this brief paper, Sihler directly confronts the often troubling truth that God sends sickness to both unbelievers and believers. Straightforward assertion of the truth and childlike trust in the Word and promises of God are hallmarks of Missourian writing--especially from this era. And on this front, Sihler does not disappoint. When discussing God sending sicknesses to unbelievers, he writes: 

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Victory of the Cross: Chapters from the History of the Early Church by Theodore Graebner

Our Faith Victorious was published in 1913 by Ernst Kaufmann in New York and was printed in Germany. It sold for 25 cents a copy. The book is a summary of early church history by Theodore Graebner. Graebner was a prodigous writer, especially of popular books and tracts, who served as the Lutheran Witness editor for 35 years (1914 to 1949) as well as teaching at Concordia Seminary--St. Louis. 

Here is a brief review of the book in the Augustana Synod's periodical The Lutheran Companion (November 22, 1913). 

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

Engelder on "The Hades Gospel": Still Needed Today! (Compilation of All Links)

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

Zwingel Illustrated Bible History Timeline (Pictures of Artwork Included)

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

"Propositions on Marriage and Divorce" (and Engagement) by P.E. Kretzmann

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.

Need to Get Read Level: Pastors 10/10, Laymen 5/10