The Martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer

Nathan Busenitz gives a vivid account of the martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer, who was greatly influenced by Luther and who is the literary genius who gave us the Book of Common Prayer, the English rendition of the liturgy that have shaped the language of Lutheran liturgies as well. [Read more…]

“First it was your turn, and now it is our turn”

The Pope made an interesting comment to visiting Jewish leaders.  He compared the atrocities being committed against Christians in parts of the Middle East and the world’s overall silence on the subject to the way Jews were treated in the run-up to World War II.  The pope, who sees us in the beginning stages of a new world war, thinks Christians will increasingly be the new target.   “First it was your turn,” he said, “and now it is our turn.” [Read more…]

Why Christians in Iraq won’t go back

There are more Biblical sites in Iraq than in any other nation other than Israel:  Eden (maybe), the Tigris & Euphrates rivers, Abraham’s home town of Ur, the city that Jonah evangelized Ninevah, Babylon, the place of the Hebrews’ exile.  And there have been Christians there since the days of the New Testament, with the Apostles Thomas and Thaddeus said to have evangelized the region.  The Assyrians have been Christian since the 1st century, the oldest continual Christian community in the world.

But the persecutions of Christians in Iraq since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein–by Sunnis, Shi’ites, and now by ISIL–have been so horrible that Christians are leaving.  And they say they are not coming back.  After the jump, Human Rights Watch researcher Daniel Williams gives a chilling summary of what Iraqi Christians have been going through. [Read more…]

Caution: Intense Law & intense Gospel

Sunday was the commemoration of St. Matthew.  In the Gospel lesson, Matthew tells about how Jesus called him, tax collector though he was, and how the Pharisees thought about him:

As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him.

10 And as Jesusreclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:9-13)

Our pastor took this text and played off of the indignation that people are feeling about NFL stars Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.  He turned it into a powerful sermon.  Read it all at the link, but I give excerpts after the jump.  CAUTION:  INTENSE Law and INTENSE Gospel. [Read more…]

Even Billy Graham prefers liturgical worship

According to a new biography of Billy Graham–America’s Pastor by Grant Wacker (Harvard University Press)–the Southern Baptist evangelist has said that if he were starting all over again he would be “an evangelical Anglican” because he appreciates the “spiritual beauty in Anglican order.” [Read more…]

Theologically diverse churches?

One of the tenets of the “Revangelical” movement, which seeks to “renew, reform, and rethink” evangelicalism, is that churches today need to be “theologically diverse.”   I wonder what that means and if it’s possible.  And, according to both my experience and my convictions, I can’t see why it is desirable. [Read more…]