Commentary

Opinion, editorial and commentary by Lutherans or relating to topics important to Lutheranism.

Objective Justification

Objective Justification

Court dramas can be captivating. Perry Mason, Murder She Wrote, and Law and Order captivated television viewers for seasons. The intrigue and suspense generally…
"A young pastor spoke to me at the end of the seminar, expressing incredible gra...

"A young pastor spoke to me at the end of the seminar, expressing incredible gra…

“A young pastor spoke to me at the end of the seminar, expressing incredible gratitude for the reminder that his call was not to manage development projects, but to bring salvation to the people he served through the means of grace.” -Rev. Matt Anker http://mad.ly/9e96c4 Notes from the Mission Field: Guest Report from Rev. Matt Ankermad.lyNotes from the Mission Field:Guest Report from Rev. Matt Anker Rev. Matt Anker teaching in Shinyanga, Tanzania Shinyanga may not be one of the world…
More neutrality for some than others. . . Thrivent Update

More neutrality for some than others. . . Thrivent Update

Another has reported:  70% of the pro-life organizations that Thrivent had kicked out of their charitable giving programs in the name of “neutrality” have been quietly reinstated…again eligible for Thrivent Choice dollars as well as other Thrivent charitable giving programs. BUT. . . the heavy hitters, the larger pro-life Lutheran organizations that do much of the heavy lifting for the pro-life cause were NOT reinstated… at least not yet. . . Lutherans for Life, Nevada, IA WELS Lutherans for Life, West Allis, WI Christian Life Resources, Richfield, WI (and their affiliates, including in Saginaw, MI and Columbus, OH) . . . Read All Sooo… the battle continues to reinstate organizations that had received Thrivent funds regularly prior to the dust up
We Need Christmas!

We Need Christmas!

Someone asked me the other day what I hoped to see by the end of my tenure as Synod president. I thought for a moment and responded. It is my deepest desire that the Synod be strengthened theologically (a deepened commitment to Holy Scripture and our …
UACCommentary: Thrivent Financial and The Beating Heart of God

UACCommentary: Thrivent Financial and The Beating Heart of God

At only four weeks after conception, the heart of Jesus – the heart of our Lord and God – was pumping the blood that would be shed upon the cross to save us from our sins. Through their aptly named, “ThriventChoice” program, Thrivent Finanical funnels money to Planned [un]Parenthood, an organization proven to be dedicated to the destruction of human life and the stilling of hearts that pump the blood of God’s redeemed children.
Works of God

Works of God

I’ll never forget my first visit to Bethesda Lutheran Communities in Watertown, Wis. As we walked along, we had the opportunity to greet and observe a number of individuals with profound disabilities. One man, I recall, used an electronic device with a keyboard to communicate with us. He was busy about his job stripping copper wire from an unusable electrical motor. He had his vocation. Slowly and methodically, he produced a large pile of copper to be recycled. I was fascinated to learn that many such individuals actually bid for various jobs and enjoyed compensation for their work. While Bethesda housed provided group care for a number of people with disabilities, its goal was and is to have those with disabilities do for themselves and to become active, integral members of the body of Christ—the Church on earth. As biblical Christians, we treasure all life—in whatever way God chooses to provide it. There is a continuity in our views regarding drugs that kill life in the womb; government programs that force us to pay for such drugs; the value of children, no matter their context or genetic makeup; and the value of every life from conception to grave and in a resurrected eternity. There is simply no other option for those who believe what Jesus told Nicodemus, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” There are great ministries of mercy and outreach happening right now by individuals who themselves are challenged. Today, the wonderful thing about work with those with disabilities is that these people are more and more respected for their particular gifts and are encouraged to find and flourish in their particular vocations as they serve in and among us as the Church. While those who are hearing impaired or unable to see face specific challenges in life, these individuals—often knowing no other state of existence—don’t view their disability as a disability at all. In fact, their challenge in life has helped to give them, and all of us, a unique perspective on living life that is rich in our Lord’s grace. Some years ago, while traveling in the Baltics, I first became aware of the worldwide challenges many who have disabilities face. At that time in Latvia, as in the former Soviet Union and in virtually the whole developing world, those with disabilities (mental or physical) were most often shunted out of sight. People with disabilities bore the burden that a larger society imposed upon them because very often society associated disability with divine retribution. When seeing a man blind from birth, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Who sinned? This man or his parents?” Jesus responded, “Neither this one sinner nor his parents, [This happened] that the works of God might be manifest in him” (John 9:1ff). In our congregations today, there are still a myriad of opportunities for us to behold the “works of God” made manifest among us in and with people who have disabilities. There are great ministries of mercy and outreach happening right now by individuals who themselves are challenged. Unfortunately, disabled populations are hugely unchurched. Opportunities abound for a vibrant ministry of mercy and life together with families and parents who care for profoundly impaired children. I’m delighted this issue of The Lutheran Witness is highlighting these opportunities.
Who am I?

Who am I?

. . . Read All Perhaps the worst that has been done to self-identity is how it is answered by desire.  So you are gay, straight, consumer, fashionista, careerist, seeker of happiness or pleasure, Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc… In other words, we have succumbed to the temptation to define ourselves by what we want.  Children learn to answer the parental request with the ultimate in self-identity:  “I don’t want to….”  Of course they learned it from their parents and the media.  Marriage, family, work, society, citizenship, and the marketplace are all about what I want.  Nothing more and nothing less. There is hardly anything less noble than to define yourself  by your desires.  In part this is because desire changes.  Sometimes we feel like it
No Liberalism in Lutheranism. . .

No Liberalism in Lutheranism. . .

. . . Read All We often greet one another with question “What’s new?”  It is often the question that relates to the Church.  “What’s new at Church?”  On one level, it is the request for news.  We are newsy people (or is that nosy people) and we don’t want to be left out or the last one to find out something.  On another level, it is the inclination toward what is new or novel.  It attracts us.  We are drawn to the new even when it is curious or specious.  It is because it is new we give it place, even priority.  “What’s new” has already defined what is interesting but it offers us a question that can seldom be definitively answers.  Instead it
How do I tell my Pastor what I do not like about him?

How do I tell my Pastor what I do not like about him?

. . . Read All A million years ago I was brand new out of seminary, on vicarage, sitting at a circuit meeting (what we Missourians affectionately call a winkel) and a Pastor of some experience was lamenting who had been elected chairman of the council in the parish where he served.  “I cannot work with that man!” he said.  And around the table other Pastors commiserated with him.  One solitary voice answered his statement.  “But you will have to or you must leave.”  It was a stunning silence that followed this comment.  Yet everyone there, even this youthful, willful vicar, knew the truth of what was said.  You will have to work with him… or you will have to leave. Fast forward a few

Manipulation of our Children. . .

Propaganda.  Aimed at children.  Aimed against Christians.  Aimed against doctrine.  Aimed against morality.  One of saddest things about being a child today is the terrible quality of the cartoons.  Our kids are left without fun and with entertainment that is designed to manipulate them.  Why, you cannot even go to a children’s movie without an agenda being pushed.  Some is obvious and some is more subtle.  But do not be deceived.  People are out to take your children and impart to them values that are in direct conflict with traditional Christian values regarding sex, children, and marriage.  Watch if you must but engage your children and expose the messages foisted upon them (on your dime, I might add).  Things are. . . Read All
Defeating The Monster Of Uncertainty

Defeating The Monster Of Uncertainty

Where do we look for assurance and what syllable do we place the emphasis on in the Christian life? Today, most people in the church seem to place the emphasis on sanctification and the individual.  According to Todd Wilken of Issues, Etc. many pulpits across the land consistently preach the Christian and not the Christ  The problem with this emphasis is that when we look internally to our actions as Christians we will never have enough assurance and the foundation of assurance shifts from Jesus to us.  We end up turning inward focusing on our life, looking at our sanctification, assessing our accomplishments, taking our spiritual temperature, and become fixated with navel gazing; we become overtaken by the Monster of Uncertainty.  That’s right, . . . Read All
Drunk and dazed. . .

Drunk and dazed. . .

. . . Read All While listening to some Anglicans discussing the Archbishop of Canterbury describing the Anglican Church as a drunk wavering on the edge of a precipice, it occurred to me that there is much in this analogy and not for Anglicans only. The Anglicans discussing this were saying that unlike the college kid on spring break who awakens from his drunken stupor with a tattoo and a social disease, Anglicans are hard core drunks — the kind you find sleeping it off in alleys and under an overpass.  They awaken not to sober reality but to pursue more of the stuff that numbs the pain and clouds the mind.  So Anglicans, as these Anglicans said, are the hard core drunks who have
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