Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas

Excerpts from a sermon Martin Luther preached from his Wartburg Church Postil, 1521-1522:

...The Evangelist shows how, when they arrived at Bethlehem, they were the most insignificant and despised, so that they had to make way for others until they were obliged to take refuge in a stable, to share with the cattle, lodging, table, bedchamber and bed, while many a wicked man sat at the head in the hotels and was honored as lord. No one noticed or was conscious of what God was doing in that stable. He lets the large houses and costly apartments remain empty, lets their inhabitants eat, drink and be merry; but this comfort and treasure are hidden from them. 0 what a dark night this was for Bethlehem, that was not conscious of that glorious light! See how God shows that he utterly disregards what the world is, has or desires; and furthermore, that the world shows how little it knows or notices what God is, has and does.

See, this is the first picture with which Christ puts the world to shame and exposes all it does and knows. It shows that the world's greatest wisdom is foolishness, her best actions are wrong and her greatest treasures are misfortunes. What had Bethlehem when it did not have Christ? What have they now who at that time had enough? What do Joseph and Mary lack now, although at that time they had no room to sleep comfortably?

...Behold how very richly God honors those who are despised of men, and that very gladly. Here you see that his eyes look into the depths of humility, as is written, "He sitteth above the cherubim" and looketh into the depths. Nor could the angels find princes or valiant men to whom to communicate the good news; but only unlearned laymen, the most humble people upon earth. Could they not have addressed the high priests, who it was supposed knew so much concerning God and the angels? No, God chose poor shepherds, who, though they were of low esteem in the sight of men, were in heaven regarded as worthy of such great grace and honor.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christian Worship supplement

Earlier there was a post about CW. I thought I would open up discussion for those that have used the CW supplement.

Among other things there is a "new" confession that is used. I believe that it is also in the new LC-MS hymnal.

Here is a link to an article about this confession: (the confession is at the end)

Comments on any other portion of CW (supplement) are welcome.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

U.S. News and World Report -- A Return to Tradition

From the "for what it's worth" department:

It seems that people have grown weary of the superficial and sappy contemporary worship trend of the last decade.

Do you think it is possible that a liturgical renewal can begin in the WELS?

(Can you believe it? US News even talks about weekly communion.) But we will leave this can of worms closed. US News talks about this return as "innovative." Maybe the Church and Change group will jump on the bandwagon.

Monday, December 17, 2007

2007 Blog of the Year : )

I nominated 'Bailing Water' as the 2007 blog of the year. I said that you generated many comments and that you must be read by many persons.


Norman Teigen
ELS layman
(I am not Mr. Anonymous)

Introducing... The Lutheran Blog of the Year Award

The Lutheran Blog Directory will be honoring one blog with the distinction of "Lutheran Blog of the Year - 2007".

Voting is now open. Rules are as follows:

1. Vote only once
2. Do not vote for your own blog
3. Vote before January 1st, when I will tabulate results and announce the winner.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Article V - Means of Grace - OHM

Anonymous said... December 17, 2007 6:55 PM

I would like to hear someone actually respond to the statement that "to interpret AC V as a reference to the public ministry rather than to the means of grace" is to read more into the article than is there. The LCMS editors of "Concordia- the Lutheran Confessions" include the note "While the most direct concern of Article V is to confess the Holy Spirit's work through the means of grace, there is also in view, indirectly, the Office of the Ministry".
AC V --

Anon said:
"If you believe that AC V actually refers to the OHM and not the means of grace..."

I don't see anyone saying this. But in any case, the following comes from a recent WELS Q&A response:

"The small groups that have left the LCMS, like the other CLC (Concordia Lutheran Conference) and LCR, insist on a doctrine of the ministry that does not agree with Article V of the Augsburg Confession."

Maybe you should alert the Sem that one of their Q&A answering profs is a heretic, because he also seems to think that AC V pertains to the ministry.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Wauwatosa Gospel

Awhile back a poster asked for discussion concerning the Wauwatosa theological perspective. I have done some reading on this topic and thought readers might be interested in clarify or commenting on this topic and "its impact on pastoral study, preaching, and teaching" (as discussed in a recent WELS paper cited below).

Here are a few sources I have located.


Here is a recent WELS blog on this topic:

"Between 1900-1929, three professors at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, reshaped the theological approach of the Wisconsin Synod, especially through their writing in the seminary's theological journal, Theologische Quartalschrift.....Professor John Philipp Koehler, Professor John Philipp Koehler, and Professor John Schaller."

Pastor Wayne Mueller’s dedicatory preface.... In the first 30 years of this century, these professors at the Wisconsin seminary in Wauwatosa refreshed the church with a direct appeal to the Bible."
From Charis:
Here is another recent paper:

This recent paper suggests that the Wauwatosa approach is: The Historical Grammatical Approach.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The True Lutheran Church


What are the marks of a confessional Lutheran church?

1) The pure preaching of the Word and right administration of the Sacraments are a mark of a confessional Lutheran church.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Evangelical-Lutheran Liturgical Congregations

Christian Worship.

RandomDan said...

It has often been said that WELS has the worst hymnal in all of Lutheranism. Let us discuss the bad and the good of our hymnal. Is the current hymnal good enough? Should we completely redo it? If alternatives are available, which would be best for our synod?

One of the more fascinating directions might be the development of Evangelical Lutheran Hymnal, especially in light of the fact that the ELS had Christian Worship available to them.

December 6, 2007 7:38 AM

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Confessional WELS churches' Web sites

Anonymous said...

Could someone direct me to some confessional WELS churches' Web sites which have online sermons? I have several LCMS that I enjoy listening to (Petersen, Cwirla) and have been searching for some in Wisconsin. I know all say they are confessional, but ... nothing contemporary, please.



A woman serving on a church board

AP said...
I know this has been discussed before, so I thought some of your readers might find this interesting. This is the complete text of an answer given recently on the WELS Q&A in response to a question about a woman serving on a church board:

"WELS believes that women may participate in all the offices and activities of public gospel ministry where the service does not involve authority over men (cf. 1 Timothy 2:11,12)."

Has the WELS always taught this? Do your readers believe this?

It is also worth noting that this contradicts what the ELS says on the matter: "God has given the ministry of the Gospel to all believers; it is the office of the pastoral ministry that he has restricted to qualified men" and "...when Scripture refers to one who officiates at the Word and sacrament liturgy it speaks in male terms (1 Timothy 3:2, 1 Timothy 4:13). Therefore women shall not read the Scripture lessons in the divine service, preach the sermon, adminster Baptism or distribute the Lord's Supper, for these things are intimately related to the pastoral office (1 Timothy 4:13-14, 1 Corinthians 4:1)."

"Bible Studies for Wemon" (sic)

Since Mr. Grammarian has been so helpful here, I thought that the Church and Change group might seek his advice on their site.

Monday, December 3, 2007

LCMS - thread (by request)

Anonymous said...

Let's start with an officially sanctioned and distributed LCMS worship service promoting their Ablaze! program.

That's the link. Make sure you check out the official contemporary worship options, including a praise band playing "I Am Here to Worship" and "Shine Jesus Shine". The person who had such a problem with a confession not mentioning "three days" will want to note that the Ablaze! confession doesn't mention the resurrection at all. I also like the suggestion that a "worship leader" pray spontaneously throughout the service.

There's plenty more too. Check it out! Whoever said that LCMS members should worry about the plank instead of the speck was right on.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Members not allowed

The "new" perspective on ministry is to do away with church membership. Several WELS churches no longer claim members but rather partners. Membership is too inclusive and has an elitist connotation. So the latest trend is to turn members into partners. So what are the ramifications?

Remember churchianity is also being taught. Is it time to move the worship service from the sanctuary into homes?

More on Communion

www.Connected to Jesus
We are connected to Jesus individually and personally in the Lord's Supper. But we are also connected to each other.
....FIC - John Braun - 12/07
This Supper is not just a memorial meal for everyone to join in. Scripture makes that clear when it speaks of “proclaiming the Lord’s death,” receiving the Sacrament “in an unworthy manner,” and eating and drinking “without recognizing the body of the Lord” and instead of forgiveness receiving “judgment” (
1 Corinthians 11:26-29). A person must know what the Sacrament is all about. This sacrament is different than Baptism. Baptism initiates faith and is the entry point for most believers, including children. But this sacrament is for believers who know and who have been instructed.

The apostle Paul also reminded Christians to examine themselves before coming to the Lord’s Table. This sacrament is not meant for those who cannot “examine themselves” Those coming to the altar must be able to reflect on who they are and what they are about to do. Children and those with certain diminished mental abilities should not attend. Simply, communicants must be able to examine themselves lest they do something they don’t know and understand—lest they receive the Sacrament “without recognizing the body of the Lord.”

How is this done? Luther said that only faith makes us ready to receive the Sacrament. His question was “Who then, is properly prepared to receive this Sacrament?” His answer was the answer of the Scriptures: “. . . he is properly prepared who has faith in these words ‘Given’ and ‘poured out for you for the forgiveness of sins’ ” (The Reception of Holy Communion, Luther’s Small Catechism). .....

Does our faith merit us worthy of the Lord's Supper? J.