The Death of the 1980’s

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In the baptismal formula of the LSB Agenda we pray that the sins of the person being Baptized would be drowned and die.  I pray this also for the 1980’s in the Lutheran Church.

Tony Cook, a professor of the Seminary and friend of mine, comes under fire.  He specifically focuses on postmodern theology and thought, which is now even transitioning to post-colonial, post-constantinian theology and thought.  He comes under fire because some of the brethren see postmodern theology and thought as an enemy of historical church and churchly thought and practice.  I disagree.  Let this man be!  And let his thoughts flourish.  I will be the first to say I do not agree with Professor Cook on all the avenues he takes in thinking and conclusions he ends up with in practice.  But, one of his thesis of thought is “let the 80’s die, and be Lutheran in everything you do.”  Let that thinking, and doing flourish!

Stop trying to assimilate 1980’s methobapticostal worship practices: preaching, hymnody, and fellowship into the life of the Lutheran church.  We are Lutheran for a reason.  Our Theology shapes what we do, however we have lost that.  Prof. Cook will be the first to tell you that the “new” evangelical is becoming a creedal, sacramental, liturgical group because they see the historical link to the early church and are beginning to desire that connection.  We have that.  It is what Luther reclaimed in the Reformation.  It is what the confessional writers sealed in the Book of Concord.  It was what was preserved in the formation of the LC-MS in America, and NOW is the time when it must needs be embraced by all Lutheran churches and ministers.

All this comes from the feeble mind of a man who is not yet authorized to think such things and have such opinions.  Take it all for what it is worth.  Be Lutheran my friends.

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Christology and Biblical Academia

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Any work of Biblical Theology, Exegesis, Homiletics, Biblical Ethics, or thought might not be completely useless if it does not have an Orthodox Christology as its rubric, framework, or heart, because we still need kindling to start fires.

Nothing Like Good Conversation

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I wrote about the tentatio in my life.  Amazing the way the devil flees when the Spirit invades.

I conversed with a good man.  He is a splendid Lutheran man, and faith is refreshed by our speaking.  Isn’t that amazing?  I believe it is.  How is it that sometimes refreshment comes through reading a sermon, reading the Father’s, spending time with your wife, your children, the service of Morning Prayer, or in this case a man who knows what Lutheranism is, and conversation with him.

God be praised!

The Human Will and Worship…

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How much does the human will influence the worship of the church?  Inevitably our will does play a part, but what part, and how much of a part?

The Tentatio of Fourth Year

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Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio.  Here we see the cycle of a spiritual life.

Oratio (Prayer)-I must admit, before vicarage I prayed little.  I prayed little for the church, for my wife, and especially for myself.  Prayer has become a cornerstone, a foundation, for daily activity.  My wife and I end nearly every day with Vespers, Evening prayer, or Compline now.  We commend ourselves to the angels care daily.  We now believe, as the author of Hebrews wrote in 12:1-2, that we are truly in a race that needs endurance and hope.  That race is now more pressing than before.

Meditatio (Meditation)- Prayer leads to Meditation.  Scripture, the Sermons of great men, and the writings of the fathers; these are the places I turn.  What better to meditate on than the meditations of the hearts of men much more faithful than I am and will be.

Tentatio (Temptation)- The stuff that leads back to prayer.  These are the days when the devil shakes faith.  The fruits of faith are so fragile.  They fall at the slightest wiggle.  They sway at the devils lying breathe.  Tentatio is the way the sinful world inevitably attacks faith because of the light faith glares in a dark world.  The devil attacks our resolve in prayer and meditation.  I pray less.  We pray less.  I am less interested in the Word.  I care less for the words of faithful men.  I am  turned in on my joyless wanderings.  I feel alone.  I feel attacked.  We feel attacked.  What is there that can combat this tentatio?

The Words of Paul to Timothy.  Endure Evil!  Run the race!  Keep going!  The fruits of faith are seasonal.  As we know seasons change.  Leaves fall.  Fruits fall.  But soon after cold, dark, dead days there is a warm dawn of life.  Thanks be to God for His pledge of Resurrection!  Thanks be to God for His final judgment of the devil!  These cold, dark days of exile and death will soon, and very soon, give way to that final bright, righteous dawn when the King Returns!

Small Groups continued…

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After talk, discussion, wrong speaking on my part in some cases (which is common) I think I have a grasp on what small groups mean.

I am not in favor of small groups over chapel time.  I was in a discussion which revolved around “what is chapel anyway?”  When I think of chapel I think of Matins, Morning Prayer, Office of Prayer and Preaching or the like, hymns, prayers, Scripture, and preaching perhaps.  I think of the Divine Service on Thursday with  Eucharist.   I do not think of bible study in small groups all over campus.

I will say I am in favor of Bible Study, of getting together to do Bible Study with brothers and sisters, devotional reading and the like.  I am just not in favor of breaking into small groups to do Bible Study over the designated time for chapel at the seminary and here are a few reasons why:

  1. The reason chapel time and the Eucharist were moved was for the purpose of gathering a larger collection of the community together in one place for chapel.  (Granted that these small groups are happening once a month)
  2. While seminarians might be trustworthy to discuss Biblical issues and texts we are at the Seminary for a reason, to learn how to do just that, read and teach the Scriptures rightly.  Now, if each group had a faculty advisor I might think differently.  I am not interested in who thinks what about a text, I am interested in “Thus sayeth the Lord.”  I am not getting in a pulpit on Sunday saying, this is what the text means to me, this is what I THINK it is saying, I am getting in the Pulpit and “Thus Sayeth the LORD.”

Those are the two biggest reasons why I am a little hesitant to be excited about small groups as chapel.  I do also have a radical different opinion about what might be nicer and more beneficial for the community.

  1. Make all morning classes sixty minutes.  There would be classes from 8-9, 9-10, and then at 10 sound the chapel bells.  There would then be a mandatory class  in the chapel called, “Reading the Scripture and the Confessions.”  It would be led by faculty members 4 days a week, perhaps only 2.  There would be discussion, time for argument  with everyone present and faculty to help.  Perhaps the faculty could  hammer out some of their differences too and teach us students how theological discourse happens outside the Blogoshpere.  Then we would roll right into chapel: prayer, preaching, singing chapel.  Lunch, then afternoon classes.

I like the sound of that.