BoC Drawing 2016 Followup

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In recognition of the four hundred ninety-nine year anniversary of the beginnings of the Reformation, Light from Light hosted a giveaway of a copy of the Christian Book of Concord, Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.

Over seventy people entered.  The winner chosen at random was Abigail L.

Congratulations.

The Book of Concord should be in every Lutheran home.  If a person isn’t familiar with this book, he’ll think, ‘That old book is just for pastors.  I don’t have to preach.  After working all day, I can’t sit down and study in the evening.  If I read my morning and evening devotions, that’s enough.’  No, that is not enough!  The Lord doesn’t want us to remain children, blown to and fro by every wind of doctrine; instead of that, He wants us to grow in knowledge so that we can teach others.

Dr. C.F.W. Walther.

Click here for additional reasons why every Lutheran home should have a copy of the Christian Book of Concord.

May God bless you in the upcoming holiday / holy-day season.

Book of Concord Drawing, Reformation 2016

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Four hundred ninety-nine years ago, Martin Luther posted ninety-five theses.  Those theses sparked a discussion in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church that is still ongoing.  The first theses said:

When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent,’ He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

In recognition of this 499th anniversary, I would like to give away a copy of the Christian Book of Concord bonded-leather-cover Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.  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 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 a resident of the United States.

After the winner is chosen at random, all names and emails will be permanently deleted.  The deadline for entries is 12 noon on All Saints’ Day (Tuesday, November 1), 2016 A.D.

A Lutheran Satire Thank You

Create in me a clean heart, O God
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from Thy presence,
and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation,
and uphold me with Thy free spirit.
Amen.

— Offertory, LSB 192-193
(Psalm 51:10-12).

Lutheran Satire links:

May we be always grateful.

BoC Drawing, Reformation 2015 Followup

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In recognition of the four hundred ninety-eight year anniversary of the beginnings of the Reformation, Light from Light hosted a giveaway of a copy of the Christian Book of Concord, Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.

Over 140 people entered.  The winner chosen at random was Shelley Z.

Congratulations.

The Book of Concord should be in every Lutheran home.  If a person isn’t familiar with this book, he’ll think, ‘That old book is just for pastors.  I don’t have to preach.  After working all day, I can’t sit down and study in the evening.  If I read my morning and evening devotions, that’s enough.’  No, that is not enough!  The Lord doesn’t want us to remain children, blown to and fro by every wind of doctrine; instead of that, He wants us to grow in knowledge so that we can teach others.

Dr. C.F.W. Walther.

Click here for additional reasons why every Lutheran home should have a copy of the Christian Book of Concord.

May God bless you in the upcoming holiday / holy day season.

God’s Pure Word Alone Brings Genuine Peace

In our day, many Lutherans wish to compromise the pure word of God.  They believe such compromise brings prosperity and peace with the world.  But such peace is only a temporal peace.  And the success such compromises bring is only a temporal success.  It does not last.

God’s word endures forever.  (1 Peter 1:25, Isaiah 40:8).  Therefore, God’s word alone brings genuine peace.  This is because genuine peace is a lasting peace.  It lasts forever.  Christ alone gives us this peace with God in His word of promise.

*

The excerpt below is from C.F.W. Walther’s “Fourth Evening Lecture” delivered October 3, 1884:


When a theologian is asked to yield and make concessions in order that peace may at last be established in the Church, but refuses to do so even in a single point of doctrine, such an action looks to human reason like intolerable stubbornness, yea, like downright malice.  That is the reason why such theologians are loved and praised by few men during their lifetime.  Most men rather revile them as disturbers of the peace, yea, as destroyers of the kingdom of God.  They are regarded as men worthy of contempt.

clinging to the pure teaching of the divine Word … in the midst of greatest dissension, builds up the Church

But in the end it becomes manifest that this very determined, inexorable tenacity in clinging to the pure teaching of the divine Word by no means tears down the Church; on the contrary, it is just this which, in the midst of greatest dissension, builds up the Church and ultimately brings about genuine peace.

Therefore, woe to the Church which has no men of this stripe, men who stand as watchmen on the walls of Zion, sound the alarm whenever a foe threatens to rush the walls, and rally to the banner of Jesus Christ for a holy war!

woe to the Church which has no men of this stripe, men who … sound the alarm whenever a foe threatens to rush the walls

Try and picture to yourselves what would have happened if Athanasius had made a slight concession in the doctrine of the deity of Christ.  He could have made a compromise with the Arians and put his conscience at ease; for the Arians declared that they, too, believed Christ to be God, only not from eternity.  They said: … “there was a time when He did not exist,” meaning, He had become God.  But they added: “Nevertheless He is to be worshiped, for He is God.”  Even at that remote time, had Athanasius yielded, the Church would have been hurled from the one Rock on which it is founded, which is none other than Jesus Christ.

Again, imagine what would have happened if Augustine had made a slight concession in the doctrine of man’s free will, or rather of the utter incapacity of man for matters spiritual.  He, too, could have made a compromise with the Pelagians and put his conscience at at ease because the Pelagians declared: “Yes, indeed; without the aid of God’s grace no man can be saved.”  But by the grace of God they meant the divine gift which is imparted to every man.  Even at that time, had Augustine yielded, the Church would have lost the core of the Gospel.  There would have been nothing left of it but the empty, hollow shell.  Aye, the Church would have retained nothing but the name of the Gospel.  For the doctrine of the Gospel that man is made righteous in the sight of God and saved by nothing but the pure grace of God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, is, as everybody knows, the most important doctrine, the marrow and substance of Christian teaching.  Wherever this doctrine is not proclaimed, there is no Christ, no Gospel, no salvation; there men perish, and for such people it has been in vain that the Son of God has come into the world.

bless all the faithful champions who have fought for every point of Christian doctrine, unconcerned about the favor of men

Lastly, picture to yourselves what would have happened if Luther had made a slight concession in the doctrine of the Holy Supper.  At the time of the Marburg Colloquy he could have made a compromise with Zwingli and put his conscience at ease, because the Zwinglians said: “We, too, believe in a certain presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper, but not in the presence of Christ’s corporeal substance, because God does not set up such sublime, incomprehensible things for us to believe.”  By this claim Zwingli made Christianity in its entirety a questionable matter, and even Melanchthon, who was usually greatly inclined to make concessions, declared that Zwingli had relapsed into paganism.  Had Luther yielded, the Church would have become a prey to rationalism, which places man’s reason above the plain Word of God.

Let us, therefore, bless all the faithful champions who have fought for every point of Christian doctrine, unconcerned about the favor of men and disregarding their threatening.  Their ignominy, though it often was great, has not been borne in vain.  Men cursed them, but they continued bearing their testimony until death, and now they wear the crown of glory and enjoy the blissful communion of Christ and of all the angels and the elect.  Their labor and their fierce battling has not been in vain; for even now, after 1500 years, or, in the last named case, after several centuries, the Church is reaping what they sowed.

Let us, then, my friends, likewise hold fast the treasure of the pure doctrine.  Do not consider it strange if on that account you must bear reproach the same as they did.

— C.F.W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel,
Concordia Publishing House, 1929, 1986,
pages 28-30.


Jesus said:

I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.  Do not fear what you are about to suffer.  Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation.  Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.

— Revelation 2:9-10, ESV.

Book of Concord Drawing, Reformation 2015

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Four hundred ninety-eight years ago, Martin Luther posted ninety-five theses.  Those theses sparked a discussion in the one holy catholic and apostolic Church that is still ongoing.  The first theses said:

When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent,’ He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.

In recognition of this 498th anniversary, I would like to give away a copy of the Christian Book of Concord bonded-leather-cover Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.  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 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 a resident of the United States.

After the winner is chosen at random, all names and emails will be permanently deleted.  The deadline for entries is 12 noon on All Saints’ Day (Sunday, November 1), 2015 A.D.

Pastor Lidtke to Receive Letters of Recognition

WELS logoToday, I received a news release indicating that Pastor Paul Lidtke will be receiving letters of recognition for his work in advocating for victims and helping to rehabilitate offenders.  The letters will be presented on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 10 am after the 9 am divine service at Bethlehem Lutheran Church; 1206 Ontario Street; Oshkosh, WI 54901.

Oshkosh Pastor Receiving Eight Letters of Recognition

Reverend Paul J. Lidtke, a Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) pastor, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Oshkosh, WI will receive 8 Letters of Recognition from Wisconsin leaders and government officials on Sunday, April 19th at 10:00am for his work as a victim advocate and with offender rehabilitation.

Several victims along with other ministers and attorneys contacted Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s office to let him know how much Pastor Lidtke has done for them and what he has meant to them.  In his written Letter of Commendation, Governor Scott Walker thanked Pastor Lidtke for encouraging and assisting crime victims in the State of Wisconsin, particularly in advocating on their behalf to make sure they received the help and support they so desperately need.

Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch also adds, “His work in the victim advocacy and offender rehabilitation fields is praiseworthy.”  Kleefisch further stated that Pastor Lidtke’s, “efforts and leadership over the past 25 years have helped make a lasting difference in countless lives.”

Pastor Lidtke’s commitment and dedication to victims goes well beyond his congregation.  As expressed by one victim, “It is with his leadership and crucial contributions to assist and empower victims, that he has given hope to many, even under the most difficult circumstances.”  Pastor Lidtke has gone above and beyond advocating for victims and, “his voice became their voice and that gave them strength” states Harry Sydney, former Green Bay Packer and founder of My Brother‘s Keeper.

In addition to victim advocacy, Sydney also states, “The impact of Reverend Lidtke’s relentless efforts can be felt from his work in prisons as he works with individuals preparing themselves for their next chapters in their lives.”  On at least one occasion, he spent four years encouraging and supporting a woman on parole so she wouldn’t reoffend again recalls Reverend Daniel Krause, a former Wisconsin Lutheran Institutional Ministries pastor and Winnebago County Sheriff’s chaplain.

Governor Scott Walker, in closing, praised Pastor Lidtke by saying that he “is a wonderful example that others would do well to emulate”.

Reverend Paul J. Lidtke Recognitions:

  • Letter of Commendation Given by:  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker
  • Letter Given by:  Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch
  • Attending and speaking:  Wisconsin State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt
  • Attending and speaking:  U.S. House of Representatives Congressman Glenn Grothman (WI-06)
  • Letter Given by:  United States Senator Ron Johnson
    • Read by:  Camille Solberg – Regional Director/State Minority Outreach Coordinator for Ron Johnson
  • Letter Given by:  Burke Tower, Former Mayor of Oshkosh
  • Letter Given by:  Harry Sydney, Former Green Bay Packer and founder of My Brother’s Keeper
  • Letter Given by:  Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS) Northern Wisconsin District President Joel Zank

When this first started, it was supposed to be a surprise for Pastor Lidtke, but this simple expression of gratitude and appreciation quickly grew too large to keep it a secret from Pastor Lidtke.  So now the information is public.

For members of WELS churches who might be interested in attending the 9 am divine service, Bethlehem Lutheran Church receives the Lord’s Supper every Lord’s Day (every Sunday).

May the Lord bless Pastor Lidtke.

Registration Open for 2015 BJS Conference

1662544_10152444063081500_4306235128816276750_nRegistration is now open for the February 20 & 21, 2015 Brothers of John the Steadfast Conference in Naperville, Illinois.  The rates are $65 per person or $100 per couple or $45 per student.  If one registers before January 20, 2015, there is a $10 discount.

Regarding the conference, Pastor Scheer has written an article entitled, “What can you expect in Naperville in February?”  In a few words he says: food, faith, friends, news, and good news, etc.

I have attended the previous five annual Brothers of John the Steadfast conferences, and appreciated every one.  The scheduled slate of speakers at this conference looks to be excellent:

  • Larry Beane (Gottesdienst magazine)
  • Hans Fiene (The Lutheran Satire)
  • Clint Poppe (Good Shepherd Lutheran Church)
  • Todd Wilken (Issues, Etc.)
  • Bryan Wolfmueller (Table Talk Radio).

Click here for the conference schedule.

Click here to register for the conference.

Book of Concord Drawing, Reformation 2014

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Four hundred ninety-seven years ago, Martin Luther posted ninety-five theses.  Those theses sparked a discussion in the one holy Christian and apostolic Church that is still ongoing.  The first theses said: “When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, said ‘Repent,’ He called for the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

In recognition of this 497th anniversary, I would like to give away a copy of the Christian Book of Concord bonded-leather-cover Second Edition from Concordia Publishing House.  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 a resident of the United States.

After the winner is chosen at random, all names and e-mails will be permanently deleted.  The deadline for entries is 12 noon on All Saints’ Day (Saturday, November 1), 2014 A.D.

A Photograph and A Confessional Meme

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What can a picture say?

What does the above picture show?  First, the book is not sitting on a shelf.  Second, it is open, and being held open for reading.  Third, it has a bookmark showing that it is being studied.  Fourth, it is a copy of The Lutheran Confessions.  Fifth, light shines on the book from above.  The Lutheran Confessions reflect the light.  God’s word alone is the light of the world and the judge of all confessions.  “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights …”  (James 1:17, ESV).

To confess means to breathe out words of belief.  It is to say, “This is what I believe because this is true.”  It is a restatement of truth.

Unfortunately, most “Lutherans” in America do not even know what our Confessions say.  Our “unity” is not based on a common confession of truth, but rather our “unity” is based on politics or history.

However, a confession means nothing if it is not confessed, if it is not lived, or if it is not even known.  We should know our Confessions, and if we believe, then we should confess them in our practice.

Can a simple picture say that much?

Recently, someone used my photo to create an internet meme:

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True theological unity is based on a common confession of truth.  It is not based on setting aside theological differences, and promising to be united.

The meme didn’t give me any credit for the original photo, but I’m glad that the truth is being promoted.  It is a good meme, and my thumb is proud to be a part of it.