“The sacraments are what make the church relevant”

Yesterday we blogged about Rachel Held Evan’s contention that church growth techniques designed to reach Millennials–contemporary worship, attempts to make church relevant, efforts to make Christianity seem cool–do not, in fact, work.  Her suggestion instead:   “Keep worship weird.”  That is, recover the sacraments.  “The sacraments,” she says, “are what make the church relevant.” [Read more…]

Worship is more than praising God

Pastor Mark Schroeder cites a rather compelling quotation on worship from Klemet Preus:

“If the Divine Service is viewed primarily as our praising God, then you can do that just as well from home. In fact, once we have looked at the topic of vocation, you will see that we can serve God better in the world than in the church building. But if the service is understood as God giving us the forgiveness of sins, then you’ve got to be there. It is very possible that the low attendance at Sunday services seen in so many churches today is a reflection of how we define the service. If I am acting, then I can do it another time. If God is acting, I better be there.”

Pastor Klemet Preus, The Fire and the Staff, Kindle ed. loc 2871

Rev. Schroeder goes on to discuss the point, telling about a sermon he heard that was all about our need to praise God, but forgetting to say anything about Jesus and His cross.  [Read more…]

Beggars at the Temple gates

The reading for last Sunday at our church was about the lame beggar at the Temple gate who was healed by Peter (Acts 3:1-21).  You should see what our pastor did with that passage, showing how we are in the position of the beggar and how we too receive God’s grace at a different kind of Temple gate. [Read more…]

What Sunday means

What does it mean that we worship on Sunday, the first day of the week?  Bart Day, national mission director for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, says that Sunday isn’t just a Christian sabbath, nor even just a “little Easter.”  It’s the first day of creation, when God called light into existence.  It’s the eighth day, an emblem of eternity after the earthly cycle of the week.  And more, after the jump. [Read more…]

Evangelicals who believe in Purgatory

It has long struck me how many evangelicals–including some of the most anti-Catholic–actually hold to a Roman Catholic soteriology, though without the sacraments, putting a big emphasis on the role of the will, good works, and moral perfection in salvation.  Now some evangelicals are advocating belief in Purgatory.  Scott McKnight reviews a book that makes the case for an evangelical doctrine of Purgatory. [Read more…]

Why Marco Rubio goes to two churches

A piece on the religious beliefs of presidential candidate Marco Rubio says that he attends both a Baptist church with his family and also attends mass at the  Roman Catholic church of his childhood.  This is because he appreciates gospel preaching and also “craves” Holy Communion.  He says, “I wondered why there couldn’t be a church that offered both a powerful, contemporary gospel message and the actual body and blood of Jesus.”

There is such a thing, Marco Rubio!  It’s called the Lutheran church!  You don’t have to go to two different churches to get both the Gospel and the true Body and Blood of Christ.  Those go together, which is the whole point of Lutheranism.  Why don’t people know this?  [Read more…]