'Lutheran Confessions' Tagged Posts

'Lutheran Confessions' Tagged Posts

“PREACH THE GOSPEL!”

Over the chancel of our seminary chapel the words were inscribed in the Greek language of the New Testament – “Preach The Gospel”  (κηρύξατε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον).  These words from the 16th chapter of St. Mark were a reminder in every daily chapel service of what we were training to do. It is all too easy for those called to the work of preaching and teaching God’s Word to take an airborne flight into the everlasting “busyness” of “running” the church…

THE CONSOLATION OF BRETHREN

In one of our Lutheran Confessions, The Smalcald Articles, Martin Luther talks about the different ways in which the Gospel gives us counsel and help.   Predictably he says, “Through the spoken Word…Secondly, through Baptism, Thirdly, through the holy Sacrament of the Altar, Fourthly through the power of the keys.”  And then Luther adds this neat little phrase:  “And also through the mutual conversation and consolation of brethren.” “The mutual conversation and consolation of brethren” is what happens when Christians…

“SHIBBOLETHS”

The 12th chapter of Judges tells us how the men of Ephraim crossed to the east side of Jordan to fight against Jephthah and the men of Gilead.  Jephthah and the Gileadites won. The survivors of Ephraim tried to retreat to their own territory on the west side of the Jordan. But whenever an Ephraimite requested safe passage across the Jordan River, the men of Gilead would ask:  “Are you an Ephraimite?” When the frightened Ephraimite said, “No,” the men…

PRAYER & FASTING

The Pharisees ask Jesus about “fasting” in part of today’s text.  To “fast” in the strict sense of the word is to abstain from all food and to drink only water for a specified period of time, whether short or long. People sometimes fast to signify sorrow, while confessing their sins, in times of trouble, to concentrate on some spiritual issue, or for physical discipline. A lot of famous people were in the habit of fasting:  the philosophers Socrates &…

GOD’S GARAGE

“Lord, who has believed our message?” asked the prophet Isaiah.   Moses, Isaiah, John the Baptist, Paul, Jesus Himself tasted disappointment at lukewarm and downright cold reactions to the gospel. This is not the fault of the gospel.  There is no new and improved gospel, no “different” gospel which is no gospel at all, as Paul put it in Galatians.   “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ,”  says the great…

“NO OTHER FOUNDATION”

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” asks the terrified jailer, cutting through all the other questions of life which pale in comparison.  “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved,” said the apostles. Paul said it elsewhere: “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” Our Lutheran Confessions call this “the chief article” by which the Church stands or falls.  It is the doctrine of justification –…

“SHIBBOLETHS”

The 12th chapter of Judges tells us how the men of Ephraim crossed to the east side of Jordan to fight against Jephthah and the men of Gilead.  Jephthah and the Gileadites won.  The survivors of Ephraim tried to retreat to their own territory on the west side of the Jordan. But whenever an Ephraimite requested safe passage across the Jordan River, the men of Gilead would ask:  “Are you an Ephraimite?”  When the frightened Ephraimite said, “No,” the men…

“THE BELT OF TRUTH”

In his famous summons to “put on the full armor of God” in Ephesians chapter 6, St. Paul says:  “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” The Roman soldier wore a heavy belt that guarded and supported his middle.  It was more than some decorative Elvis belt.  It allowed him to tuck in or gird up any loose-flowing robes or clothing to be prepared for action, free from anything that would trip him up, free…