What pastors do

Last Sunday at church, in addition to receiving Holy Communion as we do every week, we baptized a child and sent off one of our members to seminary.  Our pastor gave a sermon on the readings for the day–Jeremiah 16, Luke 13,  and Philippians 3–and tied them into all of those events.  You should read the whole sermon, but what he said about the life and calling of a pastor deserves to become a classic. [Read more...]

Ethiopian Lutherans sever fellowship with ELCA

It’s not just Missouri Synod Lutherans!  Russell Saltzman reports:

The Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus (Place of Jesus) has severed all ties with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), according to an ELCA press release.

The Mekane Yesus action came during their general convocation meeting in Addis Ababa January 27-February 2, ratifying a July 2012 initiative of the church council. While they were at it the Mekane Yesus included the Church of Sweden (Lutheran) and, for good measure, other “churches who have openly accepted same-sex marriage.” The decision specifically bans Eucharistic hospitality. Mekane Yesus pastors may not receive Holy Communion from ELCA pastors, nor are they permitted to commune them. . . . [Read more...]

Fanaticism

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...]

Rejecting Christ’s sacrifice

Liberal Catholic intellectual Garry Wills has a new book out entitled Why Priests?:  A Failed Tradition in which he makes the rather un-Catholic argument that Jesus institute the priesthood.  But he goes farther, giving a Catholic version of what many mainline Protestants and even some supposed evangelicals are saying:  That Christ was not sacrificed for our sins. [Read more...]

Lutheran crisis deja vu

Pastors of the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod are not allowed to participate in joint worship services, not with other denominations we are not in fellowship with and certainly not interfaith services with other religions and where other gods are worshiped.  After 9/11, a pastor led a prayer in the interfaith service in Yankee Stadium organized by Oprah Winfrey and the LCMS was torn with controversy that lasted for years.

Now another emotional national tragedy, the shootings at Newtown, has sparked an interfaith service at which an LCMS pastor led the benediction.  This time the president of the LCMS, Rev. Matthew Harrison, reprimanded the pastor and asked him to apologize, which he did.  But now the media is seizing on the act of church discipline and people who do not understand or care anything about the LCMS theology of worship are attacking the church body for one of the few things that our culture considers absolute evil:   intolerance. [Read more...]

7 rules that Christians must break

Rev. Jonathan Fisk, the young pastor known for his lively  Worldview Everlasting videos, has published a book entitled Broken – Seven “Christian” Rules That Every Christian Ought to Break as Often as Possible.  This is a book that needs to get into the hands of Christians who are emergent, burnt out, disillusioned, lapsed, millennial, cynical, and the pastors who minister to them.  What are the 7 rules that need to be broken? [Read more...]


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