“Conscience,” “calling,” and the new pastoral counseling

More from Terry Mattingly’s column about the new Protestant-like role of “conscience” in liberal Catholicism:   He quotes Blase Cupich, the Archbishop of Chicago, on how he counsels the divorced and remarried, gays, and others in what the Church officially considers to be a sinful lifestyle. [Read more…]

The Communion of the Saints

The body consists of innumerable cells.  Each of these has its own distinct life–its own systems of nutrition, reproduction, and protection–and yet these cells group together to form highly specialized organs that, in turn, make up a single body.  The whole scheme, with its incredibly complex relationship of the parts to the whole and the whole to the parts, is astonishing to contemplate.  And the makeup of the body is the Bible’s explanation for the Church and for the relationship each Christian has with the others. This is the “Communion of the Saints” that we celebrated yesterday on All Saints Day. [Read more…]

The Reformation of the church

Tomorrow is Reformation Day, the anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 Theses against the sale of indulgences.  I keep reading online about how tragic the Reformation was, how unneeded it is now, and how it’s wrong to celebrate the breaking up of the church.

But does anyone think that the medieval church did not need to be reformed?  Can anyone say that the sale of indulgences was a good thing?  Can anyone defend the corruption of the Renaissance popes–their selling of church offices, their bribes, their mistresses, their illegitimate children whom they made cardinals, their inquisitions, their wars?  The great medieval authors–Dante, Chaucer, Langland, and many others–all criticized these abuses in the church.

Even the Roman Catholic Church came to admit these evils.  Luther’s Reformation provoked the Counter-Reformation, which finally the moral and financial corruption.  It also set in stone some theological issues that were not all that clear when Luther first proposed his reforms.  [Read more…]

God always begins with NOTHING

“It is God’s nature to make something out of nothing; hence one who is not yet nothing, out of him God cannot make anything. . . .Therefore God accepts only the forsaken, cures only the sick, gives sight only to the blind, restores life only to the dead, sanctifies only the sinners, gives wisdom only to the unwise.  In short, He has mercy only on those who are wretched, and gives grace only to those who are not in grace.”

–Martin Luther, “Commentary on Psalm 38,” Luther’s Works 14:163. [Read more…]

The “all’s” of the Great Commission

More from Knut Tveitereid in Oslo:  I love it when Bible expositors mine riches out of a text by attending to the details of the language.  Knut discussed the importance of the four “all’s” in the Great Commission:

 And Jesus came and said to them, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, [another “all” word in Danish] to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18-20)

[Read more…]

Jesus of Galilee, Jesus of Jerusalem, Jesus post-resurrection

The other speaker at the Inner Mission youth ministry conference in Oslo, in addition to me, was Knut Tveitereid, who teaches at the NLA University College, a Christian and Lutheran university in Norway.  He spoke about the different approaches to discipleship and what it means to follow Jesus.  He said that we can distinguish three distinct, but related ministries of Jesus:  Jesus of Galilee, Jesus of Jerusalem, and the post-resurrection Jesus. [Read more…]