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Topics - Donald_Kirchner

Your Turn / Tschüss
June 22, 2024, 11:02:53 AM
After 15+ years, it's time. This board has been taken over by an atheist who often feels victimized by Christians, another with a profound Dunning–Kruger effect, and a crabby, name-calling old man, making Stoffregenisms downright innocuous.

Your Turn / Sound familiar?
June 05, 2024, 05:07:37 PM
"When the church absorbs the prevailing culture into its practices and then adjusts its theology to justify these practices, the church becomes so undistinguishable from society that it is no longer recognizable as church..."

David Scaer

Concordia Theological Quarterly 75 (2011), page 334
Your Turn / Yes, they do live among us.
May 17, 2024, 12:16:34 PM
As Charles likes to fondly point out, we do have dissident congregations in the LCMS. This local one happens to be vacant, so we can't blame the pastor. As one in the know responded, "They [the congregation] are a law unto themselves."
"'The Lutheran World Federation Today: Missio Dei, Imago Dei and the Ongoing Reformation,' written by LCMS Church Relations Director Rev. Dr. Jonathan Shaw, details how the LWF has rejected God's Word and instead embraced a social justice gospel.

Part 1 gives an overview of LWF history — from its first assembly in 1947 in Lund, Sweden, to the 2023 assembly in Kraków, Poland — while Part 2 does a deep dive into the most recent assembly in Kraków.

Through this examination, Shaw traces how the LWF has lost its confessional Lutheran theology; redefined itself "as a practicing communion based on reconciled diversity"; and replaced the Gospel with 'a liberal agenda of political, social, sexual, gender and environmental justice and reconciliation.'

In the paper's appendix, Shaw has included an evaluation of the LWF by the LCMS Commission on Theology and Church Relations, as well as a list of resources for future study."

Download here:*rwjp2u*_ga*NDQ1NjM5NTkyLjE3MTUyNTYyNzM.*_ga_Z0184DBP2L*MTcxNTc3NDY4NS4yLjEuMTcxNTc3NTUxNC4wLjAuMA..
Your Turn / Busy Mom!
May 12, 2024, 12:31:05 PM
Happy Mothers' Day to the "Accounting Mom"! Wonderfully serving in a vocation given her to do!
Your Turn / "Without the Shedding of Blood"
May 04, 2024, 09:16:39 AM
"Antinomianism has taken root within Lutheran circles. This branch of Gnosticism substitutes the totality of Scripture and the accepted doctrine of norma normans with the Gospel as a selective carve-out. Consequently, the Antinomians relegate any Scripture with a supposed insufficiency of the Gospel to a lesser status, perhaps on par with the Book of Concord.

The Antinomian infection is visible in theologian Gerhard Forde's infamous aphorism, "The answer to the question why doesn't God just forgive sins is, He does!" For Forde and his acolytes, the forgiveness of sins (and everything that precedes and follows from that forgiveness) happens in the mind of God and has no material reality. This idea converts Christ's vicarious atonement into a fiction that is little more than a drama staged by God for our benefit. This idea is a startling contrast to Hebrews 9:7, which teaches that there is no forgiveness without blood - non sine sanguine."
"No one should at the same time say yes and no about the same thing, unless he be an utter ignoramus or a desperate scoffer.

That is what my Antinomians, too, are doing today, who are preaching beautifully and (as I cannot but think) with real sincerity about Christ's grace, about the forgiveness of sin and whatever else can be said about the doctrine of redemption. But they flee as if it were the very devil the consequence that they should tell the people about the third article, of sanctification, that is, of the new life in Christ. They think one should not frighten or trouble the people, but rather always preach comfortingly about grace and the forgiveness of sins in Christ, and under no circumstances use these or similar words, 'Listen! You want to be a Christian and at the same time remain an adulterer, a whore-monger, a drunken swine, arrogant, covetous, a usurer, envious, vindictive, malicious, etc.!' Instead they say, 'Listen! Though you are an adulterer, a whore-monger, a miser, or other kind of sinner, if you but believe, you are saved, and you need not fear the law. Christ has fulfilled it all!'

Tell me, my dear man, is that not granting the premise and denying the conclusion? It is, indeed, taking away Christ and bringing him to nought at the same time he is most beautifully proclaimed! And it is saying yes and no to the same thing. For there is no such Christ that died for sinners who do not, after the forgiveness of sins, desist from sins and lead a new life. Thus they preach Christ nicely with Nestorian and Eutychian logic that Christ is and yet is not Christ." [AE 41:113, Church and Ministry III, On the Councils and the Church, 1539]
Your Turn / Don Matzat
April 28, 2024, 10:25:28 PM
He was the host of Issues, Etc when I was at Sem StL in the late 90s. Awesome theologian! I got into it and would occasionally call in. One time, I called in, I don't remember the topic, but Don Matzat asked me, "Don, have you ever known a true antinomian?" I hesitated, and guessed, "No." His response: "Nor have I! Antinomians always end up back in the law."

We've certainly seen this demonstrated with the comments hereon by Charles, Brian, and the nudnik.
Your Turn / John 15:1-8
April 28, 2024, 09:37:09 PM
This morning, Pastor was preaching on the text, Jesus' analogy of "I am the vine; you are the branches" and bearing fruit. He took an excursus about vineyards, and my mind harkened back to several years ago, traveling in Tuscany in the early spring. As we drove past vineyard after vineyard, I remembered the pungent smell... of manure! It came to me...Following the analogy of the vine and the branches, manure is the means of grace! It feeds, nourishes and strengthens, as given by the "farmer."  ;)

Actually, those of us with a farming background don't find that analogy quite so bizarre. I mentioned it to Pastor on the way out, we discussed it and chuckled, and he quipped, "I'll have to think about how I can weave that into the sermon." ;D
From Jane Wilke, CSP Center for Biblical Studies:


It was an honor hosting you at this year's Confessio: A Retreat on the Lutheran Confessions. As promised, Ps. Weedon's presentation was recorded and he has given permission for it to be shared.

Confessio 2024 Recording: Will Weedon

May God's richest blessings rest upon you!

In Christ,

Jane Wilke

Concordia University, St. Paul

Church Relations Event Ambassador"

"A tattoo on her upper left arm shows a 'tree of life' but 'in reverse.'

'Where the tree of life stands for growth and new beginnings, my tree is the opposite,'ter Beek told The Free Press. 'It is losing its leaves, it is dying. And once the tree died, the bird flew out of it. I don't see it as my soul leaving, but more as myself being freed from life.'"

"The Netherlands in 2001 became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia. Now, at least eight countries have legalized it. Assisted suicide is also legal in 10 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., and all six states in Australia.

Protestant Theological University** healthcare ethics professor Theo Boerin served on a euthanasia review board in the Netherlands from 2005 until 2014. During this time, he told The Free Press, he observed Dutch euthanasia 'evolve from death being a last resort to death being a default option.'"

** "After the Reformed Church in the Netherlands merged with the Dutch Reformed Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in 2004 to form the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), the Protestant Theological University became part of the PKN."
On Friday, we spoke of Christ's crucifixion on Golgotha–the Place of the Skull. Some standing crucifixes show a skull under Christ and the cross-- that in paying the penalty of sin, Christ was putting death under His feet. How would such a victory over sin be manifested? How could the victory be shown? "Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen in Christ all will be made alive."
  The promise of God, foretold by Isaiah is come to pass.  Death is swallowed up in victory.
In his Oratorio, The Resurrection, Georg Frederic Handel portrays the Angel of the Lord descending in a flood of light to unbar the gates of Hell and let Christ enter to conquer death. Satan, rejoicing in his supposed victory in the death of Jesus, is furious and calls his infernal forces to fight the power of Heaven, to no avail. In Part II, the Angel appears on earth to announce Christ's victory but Satan vows to keep the news from mankind. He is shown the women going to the tomb and, realizing he has lost the battle, he descends to Hell full of impotent rage.
Handel's little piece focuses in, however, on the climactic moment in the Gospel of Matthew, the actual announcement of Christ's victory to the world: "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. "He is not here; for He has risen, as He said."

The decisive battle has been fought and won. Jesus versus Satan...never a question as to the outcome. But, the salvation of God's people, that is the true victory, the real prize, the victory to be fully complete on the Last Day when we will all be physically raised-- For as in Adam all men die, so in Christ all will be raised.

  As St. John foretells: "I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem...and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.' He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Then he said, 'Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'"

These words are trustworthy and true: Christ is risen!  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!    And Amen.
Your Turn / Holy Saturday
March 30, 2024, 03:50:47 PM
Thanks to Will Weedon for sharing this in the past.

The Classic Holy Saturday Reading

Something strange is happening - there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.

He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrows the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: "My Lord be with you all." Christ answered him: "And with your spirit." He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying, "Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light."

I am your God, who for your sake has become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated.

For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.

See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.

I slept on a cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that turned against you.

Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by the cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

--An Ancient Homily, read at Matins of Holy Saturday
Your Turn / A Blessed Triduum
March 29, 2024, 09:45:36 AM
"It is finished," our Lord cried. A single word in the original Greek: τετέλεσται, "tetelesthai."

In his hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," Luther states that one little word will fell Satan, The Accuser. But Luther never actually told us what the one little word was. I always assumed that it was the single Greek word for "It is written," i.e., γέγραπται, "gegraptai," Jesus' response to Satan in His temptation in the wilderness.
In contemplating Good Friday and what Jesus accomplished, however, I am no longer so convinced. On this Good Friday, I would argue that the one little word that fells Satan is the single Greek word for "It is finished," i.e., τετέλεσται, "Tetelesthai!"

This word sounded loudly that afternoon in the silence that had fallen on Calvary. "Tetelesthai!" Jesus proclaimed, "It is finished!" This was no whimper of resignation, no acknowledgment of defeat. This was a cry of victory. "Tetelesthai!" means the goal has been reached, all is completion, the finish line crossed, the victory won! And the perfect tense of this verb means that the accomplishment is continuing, once and for all. There will be no need to revisit the work. Jesus declares that everything is now completed, forever.

"Tetelesthai!" "It is finished!" This is the word Satan dreads. He loves to tempt us to sin, and then, when we've fallen, to throw our sins back in our faces. But when The Accuser attacks and your conscience strikes you, especially then, learn to take comfort in this word, "Tetelesthai!"

It is finished. Christ has done it all. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). And because you are baptized, you are in Christ, united in his death, in his accomplished mission. You, too, are finished.

But there's more. Just wait until Sunday! For now, on this Good Friday, rest assured that The Evil One can no longer accuse you. One little word fells him."Tetelesthai!" for you are forgiven of all your sins, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I received this announcement in an email earlier this week:

"Pastor ----, Zion Lutheran -----, received his Crown of Glory, Monday March 18th.
We pray for his family as they grieve in this life and rejoice in the celebration of his new life in heaven."

This brings to mind articles on the subject written by Professor Jeffrey Gibbs over the years, about true Biblical hope:

"Five Things You Should Not Say at Funerals"**

"Regaining Biblical Hope: Restoring the Prominence of the Parousia"


In the past, I've received some pushback, as I often do when bringing up this subject. A very common, if not prevalent, view in Christianity today is that, when we die, we immediately enter eternal life, go to heaven, meet our loved ones and pets, and walk around with perfect bodies, or maybe become an angel. The popular "If you were to die tonight, would you go to heaven?" is touted even on FB Lutheran boards! The earthly body is thrown away, for it is no longer needed. The "interim state of the soul" becomes the "end state," and the resurrection on The Last Day is forgotten. Ignored is what we confess in our Creeds because that is what Holy Scripture proclaims: "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." John 6:40. "On the last day [Christ] will raise up me and all the dead and give me and all believers in Christ eternal life. This is most certainly true." The 3rd Article.

Professor Glenn Nielsen of Concordia, St Louis, has written about this most important subject, true Biblical hope, and references Prof Gibbs:

"A focus on the physicality of the death of the body necessitates the redemption of the body. Death is not fully undone when the soul goes to be with Jesus. The death that consigns the body to decay and dust needs to be defeated as well. The Apostles' Creed directs us to the final day resurrection of the body for that victory. So does Paul, "And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies" (Rom 8:23).

Unfortunately, that final day resurrection of the body has nearly disappeared from American piety and too much of the church's preaching. What has taken its place? An overwhelming concern for life after death, and not, as N. T. Wright says, life after life after death.

People and preaching have zeroed in on what Scripture barely mentions—the interim state of the soul—and neglected what Scripture predominantly offers as the Christian's hope—the final day, resurrection of the body, and the new creation of the heavens and earth.

Preaching on the state of the soul in between death and the last day is not wrong by any means, but the tunnel vision which preaches almost exclusively on it is. It is important that people know that life after death is a rest from our labors with Jesus. It is a time of refreshment and joy. It is far better than what we experience now in this life. It is a blissful consciousness of our Savior's loving and protecting presence. Truly, it is a time when the soul rests in peace with Christ while the body is asleep in the grave.

But read through the Bible and you will find that this interim period is not the end. It is more of a temporary state while we wait for Jesus to return in glory when he will fully and finally defeat death.

Perhaps even more surprising to most church goers today, including many pastors, is that when you dig deep into the Scriptures you don't find much talk about dying and going to heaven. It's just not there like we think it is. Instead, what you come across over and over again is wonderfully consistent with Jesus's words, "For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day" (Jn 6:40).

Yet listen to sermon after sermon today and you will hear almost nothing of the final day resurrection of the body. Rather, people are directed to the state of the soul with Jesus. And such preaching unfortunately, even heretically, does not prepare people to die.

My colleague at Concordia Seminary, Jeff Gibbs, has called attention to the consequences of focusing so extensively on the soul in the interim state. First, he asserts that a false anthropology is at work—the soul is really the immortal part of us. Thus, the body becomes "somewhat unnecessary, really a hindrance, and this view, incredibly, regards the death of the Christian's body as a victory, as something good rather than as an ongoing manifestation of sin and evil." This becomes a form of Gnosticism in which the spiritual is good while the physical "if not bad, is at least indifferent or unimportant."

So what is the final and ultimate victory over death? The Last Day finds God not abandoning His creation but remaking it. He redeems His creation in its physicality, where space and matter matter. The Last Day resurrection brings back our bodies with all their senses and members. These bodies will be incorruptible, not subject to disease and decay; we will be transformed like Jesus' glorified body. Justice will finally prevail as all things are made right. You know the phrases—no more tears, no more hunger, no more thirst, no more pain, no more abuse, AIDS, rape, genocide, homelessness, addiction. No more of death's friends to wreak havoc on our bodies. And joyfully, wonderfully—no more death. Indeed, no more death!


And all this happens when Jesus comes back to earth (not when we go to heaven). Jesus's return is the biblical answer to death. Even though Jesus will give Martha more than she could have ever imagined with Lazarus's exit from his tomb after four days, her confident hope is for a different day: "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day" (Jn 11:24).

In the face of death, the Christian's confident hope is the same as Martha's—on the last day we will rise again in the resurrection. Hope anticipates. Hope looks forward. Hope eagerly awaits.

I haven't seen the cemetery myself, but I've heard of a small, countryside graveyard where one headstone has only one word written on it. What is that word? "Waiting." We simply are not prepared to die unless our hope is the true biblical hope, which is standing on its tiptoes watching and waiting for Jesus's return." [Nielsen]

Also helpful is a video study that I have used for Bible class.

"This series 'Reaching the Summit and Holding On to Hope: 1 Corinthians 15 and the Resurrection' is presented in five video vignettes. The first four videos feature discussion of the text of 1 Corinthians Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs with Dr. Jeffrey Kloha in a casual, fun setting. In the video for the last session, Dr. Gibbs and Rev. Gary Ellul discuss implications for hope in Christ as it applies to challenging questions of life and death. The Leader Guides and Student Handouts were written by Pastor Ellul. The flexible format allows the facilitator to complete this study in as little as one session, or up to five."

**"First: "Bob has received the crown of righteousness, and he has heard the Lord say, Well done, good and faithful servant'." No, actually, he hasn't— not yet...

Second: "Margaret has now entered into eternal life." There is no Biblical support for a statement like this-this is not, in fact, a Christian thing to say."
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