Aquinas Quoting Augustine on Scripture Alone

“Nevertheless, sacred doctrine makes use of these authorities as extrinsic and probable arguments; but properly uses the authority of the canonical Scriptures as an incontrovertible proof, and the authority of the doctors of the Church as one that may properly be used, yet merely as probable.  For our faith rests upon the revelation made to the apostles and prophets who wrote the canonical books, and not on the revelations (if any such there are) made to other doctors.  Hence Augustine says (Epis. ad Hieron. xix, 1): ‘Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them.  But other authors I so read as not to deem everything in their works to be true, merely on account of their having so thought and written, whatever may have been their holiness and learning.'”

— St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologia,
Part 1, Question 1, Article 8
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Emphasis added.

Happy Easter 2013 A.D.

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Happy Easter!

He is risen!

Holy Week Message from Pastor Harrison

In Christ God’s power was made perfect in weakness.

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”

— Ephesians 3:14-21, NKJV.

Pictures from the 2013 BJS Conference

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The Brothers of John the Steadfast held their fifth annual conference on Friday and Saturday, February 15 & 16, 2013 A.D. at Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL.  Bethany recently installed some new stained glass windows.  The window above depicts some of the church buildings in which Bethany has called home.

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On Friday, Pastor Fisk spoke about being raised Lutheran, but not staying Lutheran, and the challenges we face in passing on the faith to future generations.

One of the goals of the Brothers of John the Steadfast is to use new media to pass on the faith.  Pastor Fisk exemplifies that approach in his video podcast, Worldview Everlasting.  Pastor Fisk’s presentation can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.

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On Saturday morning, Pastor Bryan Wolfmueller, a co-host of Table Talk Radio, spoke about loving God’s word.  (Click here to view the video of his presentation).

God’s word causes us to understood, is without error, and inspires love.  One of the best aspects of a Brothers of John the Steadfast conference is the fellowship of brothers in Christ.  Scott Diekmann wrote about the fellowship of this year’s conference in a post entitled: “Joy.”

Because God has filled our hearts with love, we also love one another.  Every year the BJS conference features fine fellowship, delicious food, and generous hospitality.  This year was no different.  We were also treated to two fine sermons by Pastor Hans Fiene (“Steadfast in Doctrine, Steadfast in Love“) and Pastor Tony Sikora (“The Shallow Promises of the Defeated Devil“).

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On Saturday afternoon, Pastor James May spoke about Lutherans in Africa.  Pastor May said the best way to make disciples was by preaching and teaching the word of God.  He said that Islamic missionaries were teaching their faith, while many Christian missionaries gave out T-shirts.  We should never neglect people’s physical needs, but we should not pretend that helping other people physically is the same thing as teaching the gospel.  The Church Growth Movement does not work in America or Africa.

One story that stood out was of a mother who wanted her babies to be baptized, but could not afford the baptismal fees charged by the Roman Catholic priests.  The fee for a baptism was $15, but $15 was two weeks wages in that part of Africa, and she had twins.  She was trying to find a priest who would bless her babies for free, when she discovered Pastor May.  Pastor May explained that he was not a priest, but that baptism was not so much about becoming a member of the Roman Catholic Church, as it was about becoming united to Christ.  The gospel is freedom, so Pastor May baptized her babies for free.  Her children later died, and she was comforted by their baptism.  She believed that baptism united her children with Christ and saved them because God so said.  (Romans 6:3-5).

Pastor May’s presentation can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.

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The picture above is of Bethany’s nave after the conference concluded.  For additional pictures from this and past year’s conferences, click here.

BoC Bonded Leather Edition Giveaway BJS 2013

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I have some extra copies of the Christian Book of Concord bonded-leather-cover edition from Concordia Publishing House, and thought I’d try to give away one of them here on Light from Light in conjunction with my attendance at an upcoming Lutheran conference.  This is similar to the regular hard-cover second edition, except it has a bonded-leather-cover with gold trim on the page edges and it comes in a gift box.  The condition is new, never used.

If you would like to enter the drawing for a free copy, just fill out the form below.  However, you must be at least 18 years old, may enter the drawing only once, and you must be able to find me at the Brothers of John the Steadfast conference in Naperville, IL on February 15 and 16, 2013 A.D. to receive the book in person.

This giveaway is my own independent effort, and is not done in conjunction with the Brothers of John the Steadfast.

After the winner is chosen at random, all names and e-mails will be permanently deleted.  The deadline for entries is 12 noon on Thursday, February 14, 2013 A.D.

Can we keep our children safe from harm?

Can we keep our children safe from harm, or are we powerless?  Is violence against children the price of our freedom?

In the video above, President Obama’s words are taken out of context.  He cares nothing for the lives of children before they are born or even right after they are born if they are unwanted by their parents.  (Barack Obama on Human Rights).  In the face of callous disregard, all men of goodwill must march for life.  They must stand up for life everyday and in every way.

One way people stand up for the dignity of human life is by taking part in the annual March for Life in Washington D.C.  This literal march takes place every year on the anniversary of the infamous U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.  In the forty years since this infamous decision, over fifty-five million babies have been intentionally killed in the United States.  (Number of Abortions.com).

Are we powerless to stop this violence against children?  Are we powerless to even make it illegal to intentionally kill a child?

Word a Week Challenge: Cloud

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The blog A Word in Your Ear has a weekly photographic word challenge.  This week’s word challenge is: cloud.  I couldn’t resist posting something about clouds.

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Clouds often make me think of Jesus because He ascended into heaven with the clouds.

After He ascended, His disciples stood looking intently into the sky.  Suddenly “two men dressed in white stood beside them.  ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky?  This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.'”  (Acts 1:11, NIV1984).

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Cloud watching is a good activity; it is relaxing, and can be very spiritual.  They symbolize heaven and the sacred hidden nature of God.

Jesus is the Word of God made flesh.  (John 1:1, 1:14).  Someday, He will return with the clouds.  (Revelation 1:7).

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“Hail the day that sees him rise
To his throne above the skies!
Christ, the Lamb for sinners given,
Reascends his native heaven.

“See, the heaven its Lord receives,
Yet he loves the earth he leaves;
Though returning to his throne,
Still he calls mankind his own.

“Still for us he intercedes;
His prevailing death he pleads.
He, the first of all our race,
Near himself prepares a place.

“There we shall with you remain
Partners in your endless reign,
There your face unclouded view,
Find our heaven of heavens in you.”

— “Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise,”
Christian Worship 175:1, 3, 5, 6.

All the pictures in this post were taken on the same day.

This Week’s Photo Challenge Word: Glitter

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This post is my entry in a word a week photography challenge.  This week’s word is glitter:  Downtown Naperville, Illinois, glittered during a snowstorm on New Year’s Eve.

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The picture above is from the Riverwalk in Naperville.  Behind the covered bridge is a campanile.  A campanile is a free standing bell tower.  Also, the wreath on the covered bridge glittered.

:)

The pictures were taken on New Year’s Eve 2007-2008 A.D.

Photographing Outdoor Christmas Lights

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The best time to take pictures of outdoor Christmas lights is in the snow right after sunset.  That way the camera can record a good balance of interesting light.

During the day, the holiday lights will often be overwhelmed.  At night, the lights will stand out, but most everything else will be pitch black.  Christmas lights look best in a twilight setting, preferably next to a warmly illumined church or home.  Especially appreciated are days with a sweet twilight winter blue.

Red, white, and green decorations provide a nice color contrast.

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Snow also brightens up a scene by reflecting light from the sky and the decorations.  In the photograph above, notice how the snow on the ground and the tree trunks adds to the interesting light.  Also, the snow on the house is blue, while the snow on the tree trunk is lit up by the red tree.  It adds depth, and makes for an interesting contrast of color and light.  Interesting light is what photography is all about.

The snow also provides a blank slate making the world fresh and new.  Instead of darkness, the world is clean, crisp, new, and white.  It is a clean slate upon which to shine new light.

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Putting up holiday lights can be an act of worship.  The Good Book says, “Let my prayer be set before You as incense, The lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”  (Psalm 141:2, NKJV).  Christmas lights are put up in celebration of the birth of the Savior.  May their light rise to heaven as a prayer, and may they illuminate the hearts of men by symbolizing the true Light of the world, Jesus.

Through the wonder of internet photography, the light from these trees can now travel around the world.

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Merry twelve days of Christmas!  Happy New Year!

Christmas ends on January 5.  The first day of Epiphany is January 6.  Epiphany is also a festival of revelation and light.

Candlelight at St. John

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The pictures in this post are from the late Christmas Eve service at St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Christmas is a time to ponder and pray.  Ponder the fact that God has noticed us.  Why would He even notice?  We are but tiny specks on the earth which itself is a tiny particle floating in the vast universe of empty space.  Yet He did more than notice, He came here to live with us, and to be one of us, forever.

Late on Christmas Eve after church, I usually watch Christmas specials on television.  The last show I usually watch is midnight mass at the Vatican which I appreciate for its quiet reverence and beauty.  After mass, I enjoy the lights while pondering the divine mystery of salvation.  Late on Christmas Eve, it is quiet.  There is a quiet stillness that descends on the world, and it lasts through the morning of the First Day of Christmas.  It is the beautiful stillness of a shared holiday.

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St. John is a small church, but the lens on my G12 still isn’t wide enough to take in the entire view.  That’s okay.  Life isn’t lived through a camera.  A camera can help only to remember the reality: the heat from the candle, the collective glow from many small lights, the wax I later found on my pants, and the fellowship of other Christians.

The real reason we gather together as the Body of Christ, is not for the pretty lights, but rather to be with each other and to receive from our Lord.  He is one of us.  He is with us.  He unites us together in truth.  The lights merely symbolize the spiritual reality.  “In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”  (John 1:4).

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Light reveals truth.  Love brings unity.  Truth with unity is life.  On the night He was betrayed, Jesus prayed for all Christians:

“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

— John 17:20-24, NIV1984.

May you have a blessed Fourth Day of Christmas.