The learned and wise John T. Pless, a professor at  Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, warns against fanaticism.  He is discussing the recent controversy over a pastor participating in an interfaith service, showing that some on both sides have slipped into fanaticism, as described by both Hermann Sasse (the anti-Nazi confessional Lutheran theologian) and Steven Paulson (the radically Lutheran ELCA theologian).  If you remain interested in that particular controversy, which seems to have run its course with the pastor’s apology followed by the synodical president’s apology, follow the link.

However, this is not a post about that, nor do I want that to be the subject of the discussion in the comments.  We have exhausted that topic.  I will instead excerpt what Prof. Pless says about fanaticism, a far broader and more applicable topic that deserves our reflection. [Read more...]

The last pope before the End Times?

More doomsday predictions, this time from the Roman Catholic side!  According to writings attributed to St. Malachy in 1139, pope #112 will be the last one, and then Jesus will return.  That would be the successor to Pope Benedict XVI, who is #111. [Read more...]

Lent and Ash Wednesday are NOT pagan relics

Pastor Joseph Abrahamson dismantles  the myth that Lent and its practices have pagan origins.  An excerpt from his longer post on the subject:

The ancient Church chose to keep a fast during the forty days before Passover/Easter to focus on repentance and the gift of the Resurrection at Easter. St. Athanasius, who led at the Council of Nicea to defeat Arianism—a denial of Christ being truly God and man in one person—was a bishop in Alexandria, Egypt. He wrote annual Festival letters to the Church as they prepared to celebrate Easter. In the year 331 he wrote in order to encourage his congregations in Egypt to keep the Lenten fast for 40 days. [Read more...]

LCMS president apologizes for the Newtown controversy

Rev. Matt Harrison leads the way for Lent by repenting for what he now describes as mishandling the controversy over the pastor who participated in an interfaith gathering in Newtown, Connecticut.  Read the whole letter, but here is an excerpt:

As president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, I take responsibility for this debacle. I handled it poorly, multiplying the challenges. I increased the pain of a hurting community. I humbly offer my apologies to the congregation, Christ the King Lutheran Church, Newtown, Conn.; to Pastor Morris; and to the Newtown community. [Read more...]

The pope resigns

The pope has surprised the world by announcing his resignation.  From BBC:

Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month after nearly eight years as the head of the Catholic Church, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.

The unexpected development – the first papal resignation in nearly 600 years – surprised governments, Vatican-watchers and even his closest aides.

The Vatican says it expects a new Pope to be elected before Easter. [Read more...]

“God is really blessing the LCMS”

Todd Wilken with an important  reminder in light of the uproar over the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s stand against our civil religion, with its president disciplining a pastor for participating in an interfaith service for the school shootings in Connecticut:

God is really blessing the LCMS this week.

How do I know? Here’s how.

All I had to do was read some recent comments on the LCMS Facebook page after the story of the Pr. Morris’ apology hit the secular press. [Read more...]