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Archive for December, 2011

Defense of the Liturgy by Pastor Heath Curtis

December 25, 2011 Leave a comment

Pastor Curtis makes many valuable points in his presentation:

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Categories: Right Worship

Some Thoughts on the Common Cup

December 24, 2011 Leave a comment

From Pastor Paul A. Rydecki on Intrepid Lutherans, “A Pastoral Rationale for Using the Common Cup”:

The following is a pastoral letter sent to the members of my congregation. I share it with our readers here in the hopes that you might find something useful in it.

* * *

Rorate Coeli, AD 2011

Dear members of Emmanuel,

As promised, I have put down in writing an expanded version of the things I shared with you on Sunday after the service regarding our introduction of the Common Cup on Christmas Day. I hope you find it edifying. (And I hope you’ll read all the way to the end. Take a break in between sections if you have to!)

THE SYMBOLISM OF “THE CUP” IN SCRIPTURE

“The cup” is a picture used throughout the Scriptures to symbolize what we receive from God, as we “drink” from his hand either blessing or wrath.

Read more…

Categories: Right Worship

Shepherds That Hate Their Flocks 2

December 24, 2011 1 comment

UPDATE: I intend to repost this every month with a few changes. Hopefully, more pastors will take it to heart.

Farther down this blog is a post about the Issues, Etc., programs on Preaching with Pastor David Petersen. It is a five-part series that should be heard by every lay member of every congregation of the LCMS along with their pastors. Lay people should insist their pastors do the things that Pastor Petersen encourages.

Unfortunately, most pastors won’t listen to the series, because their so-called ministries are focused on the wrong things. Instead of the preaching Law and Gospel every sermon, he talks about what he and his family did this past week. Oh, he’ll throw in a little Jesus now and then, but he mostly talks about himself, how his people should be doing this or that (attainable law), or even how they have separated themselves from those who are heterodox (self-righteousness).

And forget about the pastor actually studying the Scriptures in the original languages to see how the Gospel (or any) lesson for that Sunday should be preached. No, he’ll just get up and tell us what *he* thinks it means. No context; nothing. Either he’s too lazy to study the original languages or just busies himself with “doing ministry” or with his personal life that the languages fall by the wayside.

Mostly, though, he hates his people. He has given up on his promise, spoken so solemnly during his installation, to preach the Gospel in all its truth and purity and to administer the Sacraments according to Christ’s institution. He refuses to confront sins with the Law, especially his own sins, let alone his members’ sins. He refuses to examine the Ten Commandments to see through the mirror of God’s Law how utterly terribly he hates his own parishioners. He would rather neglect telling them that they are damnable sinners, completely deserving of God’s wrath and punishment, including the fire of hell and eternal separation from God. He refuses to call them to repentance and to turn from their sins and believe the Gospel, that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, paid for their sins on the bloody crucifixion cross.

You pastors that can’t be bothered with keeping your promises: quit. Either quit neglecting your promises, or quit the ministry. Either start fulfilling what you promised to do, or you will continue sending your members to hell. Stop hating your people and love them enough to call them to repentance through God’s Law and Gospel. Give them what they so desperately need, even if they are not aware of it: the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 1:8-10 (ESV):

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 John 2:1-2 (ESV):

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

Jesus died for you, faithless shepherd of Christ’s flock, so that you are to now preach the Law in all its sternness and the Gospel in all its sweetness.

Categories: Wrong Worship

Children and Learning

December 24, 2011 1 comment

Why do some treat children as they do imbeciles? They believe children are incapable of learning either the hymns of the church or even the catechism.

Pastor Larry Peters examines this in his article, “Unpleasant truths and comforting lies

Excerpt:

I find it interesting the modern complaint that the great Lutheran chorales and hymns as too heavy, too difficult to sing, too doctrinal, and too long.  We are told that the kids cannot sing or get anything out of those hymns (and perhaps it is true of the adults, as well).  How is it that nearly five hundred years ago, without benefit of a universal system of public education and without the abundant presence of music in their lives like we have today, these children learned, sang, and grew in the faith through the use of the great Lutheran chorales and hymns?  Were these children smarter than our kids today?  Were they more apt musically or theologically to sing the music and to understand the doctrine inherent in these hymns?I believe that we are selling our kids short.  We have already decided for them that there is nothing for them in the liturgy or the hymnal.  We have already taught them to expect to hear the music of the radio or mpe player in Church on Sunday morning.  We have already taught them that feelings are more important than truth and that personal taste is the primary criteria for what we sing or do on Sunday morning.  We have made these choices for them and we have sold them short.  We have told them lies about what they can learn, what they can sing, and what needs to be present in the music of the liturgy and then we are surprised when they turn up their noses at the hymnal.  It is not their fault.  It is our fault.  We have sold them short, discounted their intelligence, their capability, and their wisdom.

Too much of what is dumbed down in the liturgy and hymnody of Sunday morning is because the parents have decided what their kids can learn, what they will like, and what will be effective teaching and nurturing them in the faith.  We as adults in Church should repent of the way we have sold short our youth, made poor decisions on their behalf using them as excuses or justifications for those bad choices, and then criticized them when they fit into the stereotype we have have created.  It is time to stop.  If not for their sake, at least for ours…

We dull their senses with the baby talk of Sunday school, catechism, hymn, liturgy, and children’s sermons.  We act as if they are incapable when, in reality, we boomers and the like are using our kids and grandkids to justify our personal preference for entertainment that is both shallow and trite.  We are pushing them out the door by deciding not to emphasize catechesis, by putting down what happens on Sunday morning, by allowing them to make decisions that are reserved for parents, and by using them to justify our own doubts, fears, and personal taste for what we think the Church should be and do.  I think it is high time we stopped selling our kids short.  They are smart.  They are capable of far deeper levels of learning and comprehension than we have allowed.  They watch what happens on Sunday morning.  They learn by memorizing familiar texts and melodies (not by a constant parade of new things).  They want to learn.  They want to participate.  Maybe we should give them a chance!

Categories: Catechesis

The Evidence Strikes Back

December 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Pastor Jonathan Fisk on the historicity of the Bible:

Categories: Right Worship

Conception to birth — visualized — A Ted Talk by Alexander Tsiaras

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Image-maker Alexander Tsiaras shares a powerful medical visualization, showing human development from conception to birth and beyond. (Some graphic images.)

Categories: Pro Life

What We Learn Before We Are Born – A Ted Talk by Annie Murphy Paul

December 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Pop quiz: When does learning begin? Answer: Before we are born. Science writer Annie Murphy Paul talks through new research that shows how much we learn in the womb — from the lilt of our native language to our soon-to-be-favorite foods.

Categories: Pro Life