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Topics - Donald_Kirchner

Your Turn / "Tolerance is not a Christian Virtue"
September 21, 2023, 04:53:25 PM
I believe this is from about 2012. Thoughts?

"Tolerance is not a Christian virtue. Charity, Justice, Mercy, Prudence, Honesty - These are Christian virtues. Tolerating grave evil within society is itself a serious form of evil.

Tolerance comes from the Latin words tolerare , which means to bear or sustain, and tollere , which means to lift up. It implies bearing other people and their beliefs the way we bear a burden or a really nasty migraine headache. It's a negative. And it's not a Christian virtue. As Catholics we have a duty to treat all people, regardless of their beliefs, with justice, charity, mercy, prudence, patience, and understanding. We're not asked to "tolerate" them but to love them, which is a much more demanding task. Obviously, tolerance is an important democratic working principle. Most of the time, it's a good and vital thing. But tolerating lies about the nature of the human person is a sin. Tolerating grave evil in a society is an equally grave evil. And using "tolerance" as an excuse for not living and witnessing Jesus Christ in our private lives and in our public actions is not an act of civility. It's a form of cowardice.

You know, there's a reason why "spirituality" is so popular in the United States today and religion is so criticized. Private spirituality can be quite satisfying. But it can also become a designer experience. In fact, the word spirituality can mean just about anything a person wants it to mean. It's private, it's personal, and, ultimately, it doesn't place any more demands on the individual than what he or she wants. Religion is a very different creature. The word religion comes from the Latin word religare to bind. Religious believers bind themselves to a set of beliefs. They submit themselves to a community of faith with shared convictions and hopes. A community of believers has a common history. It also has a shared purpose and future that are much bigger than any political authority. And that has implications. Individuals pose no threat to any state. They can be lied to, bullied, arrested, or killed. But communities of faith do pose a threat. Religious witness does have power, and communities of faith are much harder to silence or kill. This is why active religious faith has always been so distrusted and feared by every one of the big modern ideologies whether it's Marxism, or fascism, or the cult of selfishness and comfortable atheism that we see in Europe and the United States today.

People who take the question of human truth, freedom and meaning seriously will never remain silent about it. They can't. They'll always act on what they believe, even at the cost of their reputations and lives. That's the way it should be. Religious faith is always personal, but it's never private. It always has social consequences, or it isn't real. And this is why any definition of "tolerance" that tries to turn religious faith into a private idiosyncrasy, or a set of personal opinions that we can have at home but that we need to be quiet about in public, is doomed to fail. The mentality of suspicion toward religion is becoming its own form of intolerance. I have seen a kind of secular intolerance develop in our own country over the past two decades. The modern secular view of the world assumes that religion is superstitious and false; that it creates division and conflict; and that real freedom can only be ensured by keeping God out of the public square. But if we remove God from public discourse, we also remove the only authority higher than political authority, and the only authority that guarantees the sanctity of the individual."

Archbishop Charles J Caput
Your Turn / Lutheran Authors and Books
July 27, 2023, 11:01:24 AM
Quote from: Jim Butler on July 27, 2023, 08:00:12 AM
Quote from: Mark Brown on July 26, 2023, 04:23:36 PM
Quote from: Jim Butler on July 26, 2023, 10:55:41 AM
...I think Ben overspoke when he said they if these men can't take communion with us, then they shouldn't have written in this volume. If that's true, then that also removes several volumes in the Concordia Commentary series and a several other books in the CPH catalog that were written by professors in the ELS, WELS, Lutheran Church of Australia, etc. who belong to Lutheran synods with whom we are not in fellowship, e.g. John Kleinig...

That misses the entire point. The Concordia Commentary series is scholarly commentary for a largely pastoral audience. What do you expect? Someone who is knowledgeable both about the dogmatic history of interpretation and recent scholarly speculation and discourse. The audience is also expected to be one that can make good judgements on what might help in the pulpit, what is something that you might include in the bible study and that which is just unhelpful.  The only thing that you might expect from the Concordia Commentary over say a Reformed house or something like the Yale Anchor series is a serious treatment of and general bias toward Confessional Lutheranism, instead of Calvin or whatever flavor of criticism is in vogue right now.

All the same things would apply if all you did was publish a festschrift or some other grouping of essays on a topic.  In such a book it might even be taken as a positive that occasionally you got a different voice.  And absolutely nobody would complain. Of course this is also why these volumes cost $70; they have a very small audience.

When you are publishing a Catechism, or something with the word Catechism on the front, first your audience is different. You can't assume the called and ordained and trained pastorate. In fact with a Catechism, if you aren't reaching regular interested laity you've probably failed. Second is the fact that anything you publish alongside of Confessional Material takes on a much different authoritative meaning.  No, the "Synodical Catechism" isn't binding confessionally, but good luck separating Luther's Catechism from the larger Q&A that most kids in the LCMS still go through. Publishing people you are not in communion with next to catechetical confessional material is neither understanding the purpose nor the audience. Or, my guess, is hijacking the audience for other purposes. Your choice, bumbling naive professor editor, or one with a different and unexamined purpose.  Examining that purpose one might reasonably conclude is to keep Paulson and Forde and the general strain going back to Elert as acceptable Lutheran systematics. And then you start to ask the questions why would one want this?

I think you missed my point: under what conditions is it allowable for essays and books for non-LCMS pastors and professors to be published by CPH?

Pastor Ball says if they cannot take communion with us, then they should not be allowed to publish. He is pretty categorical in his statement.

If I understand you correctly, it depends on the audience. If it's scholarly and aimed at pastors, OK. If it's popular and aimed at laity, then no. (Of course, that removes the entire People's Commentary series since that was written entirely by members of the WELS and ELS as well as books by Michael Lockwood and John Kleinig.) This also brings up the question of which books are more academic and which are more popular.

My view is simple: if a given author book (or essay contributed to a book) undergoes our process of doctrinal review, then we publish it, since that is the purpose of our doctrinal review process. That allows us to publish books and/or essays by non-LCMS people whether from the ELCA, WELS, ELS, Lutheran Church of Australia, etc.

I think this topic is quite the diversion from the LCMS 2023 Convention, but I also think it is a worthy topic on its own. Query:

The late Bishop Bo Giertz is a well-loved author and theologian in Lutheran circles. The sainted Dr Nagel suggested that The Hammer of God be read once-a-year, and it is one of my favorite novels. I have recommended it to several laypersons over the years.

My recollection, however, is that Bishop Giertz and the Church of Sweden were never in fellowship with the LCMS. Futhermore, my recollection is that, in that novel, he spoke highly of pietistic churchmen/authors in Sweden such as Rosenius. In fact, one commentator has stated, "[Giertz] worked hard to promote western Swedish Pietism, an outlook that strongly resembled Neo-Lutheranism. Mostly it was a piety that took Scripture seriously, though not in a fundamentalist, literalist sense, and that centered Christian life on sacraments and prayer. Giertz's combination of pietist pastoral care with High Church Lutheran theology, which can also be noticed in his novels, gained for him a wide readership and made his novels as well as non-fiction books about Christian faith popular in Scandinavia." The LCMS would not embrace and would object to much of Pietism. See "Liturgy and Pietism, Then and Now" by John T. Pless.

So, was I wrong to recommend The Hammer of God to laypersons? In turn, I received a Christmas gift from a friend and layman of Giertz' To Live with Christ: Devotions by Bo Giertz. In turn, I gifted him Giertz' With My Own Eyes.The first two books, by the way, are published by CPH.

Where's the line?
"Palliative care specialist Irene Tuffrey-Wijne — one of the lead authors of the Kingston University report — found Dutch doctors were legally killing patients who sought their own euthanasia because their intellectual disability or mental condition prevented them from leading a normal life, according to The Associated Press.

One record includes the case of a Dutch woman in her 30s with autism and borderline personality disorder. Doctors determined her afflictions prevented her from maintaining relationships and made forming connections with others 'too difficult.'

'There's no doubt in my mind these people were suffering,' Tuffrey-Wijne said. 'But is society really OK with sending this message, that there's no other way to help them, and it's just better to be dead?'

Dutch psychologist Dr. Bram Sizoo expressed horror at the trend of autistic youths seeking assisted suicide and euthanasia's expanding acceptance.

'Some of them are almost excited at the prospect of death,' Sizoo said. 'They think this will be the end of their problems and the end of their family's problems.'

The Royal Dutch Medical Association has left the decision of who qualifies for assisted suicide up to medical professionals with few hard guidelines or rules."
Your Turn / "We're having a fetus!"
June 25, 2023, 10:40:54 PM
Pro-life ad campaign challenges perception of unborn babies

Ever been to a fetus shower?  ::)
"On June 7, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Office of the President pledged its support for confessional Lutherans in Australia who, on April 18, signed a "Letter of Confession" holding to Holy Scripture as authoritative for all doctrine and life and rejecting women's ordination.

The letter follows a recent decision of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) to provide a "one doctrine, two practices" approach, whereby some districts would ordain men and women to the pastoral ministry, while other districts would ordain only men, as early as 2024. The Rev. Dr. Jonathan E. Shaw, director of LCMS Church Relations, was present for the decision and noted that the resolution "was based on a process of sensitivity and inclusion that dismissed Scripture as not authoritative for deciding the issue."

The LCMS is not in church fellowship with the LCA. The pledge of support from the LCMS "lauds the faithful witness of the Australian Lutheran signatories ... [and] pledges them our prayers, assistance and support to advance confessional Lutheranism in Australia."
Your Turn / CPH on The Holy Trinity
April 25, 2023, 05:59:59 PM
Over on a Lutheran FB site, someone started a discussion on how to explain The Trinity. One commenter responded:

"Use the illustration of an apple. Three parts to an apple, the seeds, the flesh and the peel. Three parts yet 1 apple. The Trinity-- The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. 3 persons yet one God!!! There is a book on the Concordia Publishing House website that beautifully illustrates this!!" I replied:

"That's a bad analogy. God is not made up of three parts. The Father is not part of God; As Augustine stated, the Father is God. And likewise the Son is not part of God; he is God. And likewise the Holy Spirit. Each one is a complete person, not just one part of a larger whole.

Augustine gives us the basic logic of the doctrine in a formulation that comes down to seven simple statements. That logic starts out with a trio of statements about who is God:

1. The Father is God.
2. The Son is God.
3. The Holy Spirit is God.

Then it proceeds to distinguish:

4. The Father is not the Son.
5. The Son is not the Holy Spirit.
6. The Holy Spirit is not the Father.

And finally, it adds monotheism:

7. There is only one God."

I ended my post with the comment: "I would be interested in seeing a CPH book that uses the apple analogy." The reply was: "Look it up on the CPH website." So, I did.

I was shocked. There it was! 3 in 1 - Revised Edition

The promotional information: "This book explains the Trinity to young children by using the analogy of an apple.

Just as an apple consists of three parts—the skin, the flesh, and the seeds—but it is one apple, God has three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—but He is one God.

This new hardback version includes the same wonderful text with refreshed artwork."

The first review at the site stated: "Using the three parts of an apple to teach about the trinity is modalism. It is not supported by Scripture and has no place in a children's book sold by the publishing arm of the LCMS church. The book ends with a healthy dose of the prosperity gospel. It's disappointing to see CPH promoting this." Another review wrote that it expresses partialism.

Yet, the book with its "wonderful text" remains on the CPH website. What's going on over there?


Here's something about which you can get legitimately angry.  >:(

"Our Saviour's Lutheran Church, located just south of Fruit and Clinton avenues in central Fresno, was vandalized Tuesday morning with several broken windows. The church's pastor said those responsible for the crime are members of the "Central Valley Proudboys," who the pastor said has threaten them many times for being LGBTQ friendly. The pastors said the Proud boys left a sticker with their logo on a church railing following the vandalism."

Read more at:

"[Pastor Bill Knezovich] believes the vandals were members of the extreme-right group The Proud Boys, because they protested at a family-friendly drag show the church hosted in December."

Their website:
Your Turn / Good Friday
April 07, 2023, 11:29:26 AM
Sorry. As some of you know, ALPB does not share the Greek words  very well!

Something that I wrote a few years ago. A blessed Triduum to all!

"It is finished," our Lord cried. A single word in the original Greek: ??????????, "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., ?????????, "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., ??????????, "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.
Your Turn / Ken Klaus, RIP
March 23, 2023, 05:12:27 PM
Robert E. Smith of CTSFW posted this on Facebook:

"It has pleased almighty God to call into his presence Rev. Dr. Kenneth Klaus, Speaker emeritus of the Lutheran Hour, who trusted in Christ, whose tears are gone and whose sorrows have been turned into joy. We pray that the Lord will comfort those who mourn his departure with the sure and certain hope of the resurrection of the dead! Christ is risen!"
"A Methodist Bible college in the U.K. fired a Christian theologian and threatened to report him as a terrorist because of his tweets in opposition to homosexuality, his attorneys claimed.

Dr. Aaron Edwards, who taught theology at Cliff College in Derbyshire, England, was dismissed from the school after being accused of "bringing the college into disrepute" on social media last month.

"Homosexuality is invading the church," Edwards tweeted on Feb. 19. "Evangelicals no longer see the severity of this [because] they're busy apologizing for their apparently barbaric homophobia, whether or not it's true."

"This *is* a 'Gospel issue,' by the way. If sin is no longer sin, we no longer need a Savior," Edwards added. [emphasis added. Sounds downright Lutheran!]

Edwards' tweet went viral and prompted blowback, to which Edwards responded: "That *is* the conservative view. The acceptance of homosexuality as 'not sinful' *is* an invasion upon the Church, doctrinally. This is not controversial. The acceptance is controversial. Most of the global Church would agree. It is not homophobic to declare homosexuality sinful."

"I expressed the conservative view as a doctrinal issue, re. the implications for sin/the Gospel. It was not an attack on individuals, it was addressed to evangelicals. It seems that holding the view that homosexuality is sinful is only welcome if it remains 'unexpressed,'" he added.

Edwards' tweets reportedly caused "distress" among members of the Methodist Church in Britain, with one senior staff member saying they "could be extremely damaging" and "impact the college's core work" and "business plan," according to Edwards' legal counsel at the London-based Christian Legal Centre.

Edwards was suspended from the school pending an investigation and the college revealed during a disciplinary hearing on March 8 that it was considering referring him to Prevent, which polices allegations of terrorism in the U.K."

"The Catholic Church began requiring celibacy in the 11th century because clergy with no children were more likely to leave their money to the church."

I didn't know that.
Your Turn / He Gets Us
February 13, 2023, 07:26:21 AM
Interesting and surprising ads. I liked the first one better.

Of course, AOC loudly objected. 🙄

"AOC criticizes Christian Super Bowl ads, says Jesus would not fund commercials to 'make fascism look benign'"
Your Turn / Luther Classical College
February 09, 2023, 08:34:57 PM
From their FB timeline:

Luther Classical College has now received support from 100 congregations. Praise the Lord! LCC is truly a movement by Lutherans and for Lutherans, and this is certainly a reminder of that wonderful reality. Thank you all so much for your incredible support! | Facebook
Your Turn / The Hateful March for Life
January 20, 2023, 01:22:39 PM
"Tony Dungy to attend [today's] March for Life, dubbed right-wing extremist"

Dave Zirin, sports editor for The Nation: "Like Dungy, neither NBC nor the NFL has commented about his latest eruption. But their silence speaks volumes. It's a silence that's almost as loud as Dungy's hateful blather, almost as loud as the thousands of people descending upon Washington—some mandatorily—to celebrate a fascistic, discredited Supreme Court and the loss of our rights. It's shameful. And we should not be afraid to say so."

I've admired Tony Dungy ever since he was a star as my alma mater's (Minnesota Gophers) quarterback, 1973-76.

t appears that pro sports has swallowed the woke agenda hook, line, and sinker!

"...Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov enraged leftists by refusing to wear Pride Night gear..."
Your Turn / Epiphany: the ‘Other’ Christmas
January 06, 2023, 07:40:47 AM
A nice lay LW article. A blessed Epiphany season.

"Epiphany: the 'Other' Christmas
January 5, 2022 by John Bombaro

Epiphany is Christmas 2.0. Its conspicuous place following the nativity narrative in Matthew's Gospel presents it as the "other Christmas," the "Christmas of the Gentiles." At the first Christmas we find a swaddled baby in a manger visited by shepherds from the fields summoned by angels. In the "other Christmas," we find a toddler at His mother's feet in a house visited by Magi, Wise Men from the East guided by a star. The first Christmas was announced to Israel, the fulfillment of God's promise to Abraham; the second Christmas was for the world, the nations, the Gentiles, the fulfillment of God's promise to Adam.

"Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising," God said (Isaiah 60:3).

An epiphany
The Greek word epiphany means "appearing," and in ancient times it was used usually about the appearing of a god or a great king. Some ancient kings thought they were gods. To underscore his divine prowess, Antiochus IV, an ancient Syrian king, took the name Epiphanes after he defeated the Egyptians. But the Maccabean Revolt in Jerusalem exposed his all-too-human vulnerabilities and mortality.

The Magi had come from the east to Jerusalem guided by a star. They were probably Persian court astrologers, stargazers, who looked to the stars for signs, portents and information. The Magi saw what appeared to be a star announcing the birth of a mighty king. While the shepherds of Bethlehem heard the birth announcement from an angel and a heavenly choir, the Persians were given the birth announcement in their own language, so to speak, and in this way anticipate Pentecost and the reversal of Babel's alienation.

The great reversal
There's an interesting reversal here. Centuries before, the Judeans had gone into exile in the East, into Babylon. And now the East comes to Judah — stargazers seeking the infant king whose birth star they had seen. They go to Herod's Jerusalem palace — obviously the right place to inquire about a royal birth in Judah. Herod was the king so the star probably signaled the birth of his son, right?

Wrong. The Wise Men encountered man's king; the star pointed to God's King. The kings of men live in palaces, in capital cities, in grandeur. God's King lives in a humble house, in an unremarkable village, in poverty and humility. Man's king believes he is a god. God's King becomes man. Man's king exercises his power to control those under him. God's King exercises His power in weakness to save those in His kingdom, a kingdom made up of believing hearts.

In the second Christmas — the Christmas of the Gentiles — we are reminded of God's not-our-thoughts, not-our-ways hidden way. His is not the way of power and might, not the way of politics and palaces, but the way of poverty, meekness, lowliness and strength exercised in weakness; the way where throne and cross merge into one.

The star brought the Magi to Jerusalem and Herod's court, but it was the prophetic Scriptures that got them to Bethlehem. "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?" (Matt. 2:2). Herod's councilors had to look that one up. Herod gathered all the priests and religious scholars and Torah lawyers together and asked them where the King was to be born. And they unrolled the scroll of the Book of the Twelve (Shorter) Prophets to find the answer. And there it was in the prophet Micah: In little Bethlehem, regarded as the "least of all the rulers of Judah" (see Micah 5:2).

Not our ways
Bethlehem. The name means "house of bread." It was King David's birthplace and mother Rachel's burial place. A little afterthought-of-a-town outside of Jerusalem where the real power was. But again, God chooses the lowly and the meek to shame the powerful and the wise; His ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts; His ways and thoughts subvert man's ways with an undertow that drags the high and mighty from their thrones and humbles the proud in their conceit. "O little town of Bethlehem." O little House of Bread. Bethlehem, Judah's breadbox where the living Bread from heaven came to be born of His Virgin Mother.

So, off the Magi go to Bethlehem, urged on by Herod who wants to kill this threat to his throne, and the star appears again in the sky — a heavenly GPS — giving them great joy because how else would they know where to go? And it guided them to the very house where the Child was. No more manger-crib for this little One; now He is staying with relatives (evidently) in a house. These Persians come up the drive and ring the doorbell — and you can just imagine the amazed look on Mary's face when she sees all their camels parked on the front lawn, even though Isaiah had spoken of it centuries before: "A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah; all those from Sheba shall come. They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the Lord" (Isaiah 60:6).

Worship and offering
Even more unusual, these strangers from the east immediately bow down with their foreheads pressed against the ground as soon as they see the Child. And they come with gifts. Gold and frankincense and myrrh. They are costly gifts; the finest things they had, and they offer them to this humble little Child; and they worship Him as God, for God He is.

Ancient kings thought they were gods. But this little King isGod in the flesh, the eternal Son, the Savior, the Son of David. What the Wise Men saw was a little Child, perhaps a year or so old, playing at His Virgin Mother's feet. But they believed the prophetic Word and the sign of the star, and through the eyes of faith they saw and worshiped the King of kings and offered Him their gifts.

So, the outsiders are now the insiders. Those who stood on the outside of Israel, are now in the presence of Israel's eternal and greatest King, the promised Son of David. This is that great mystery of which the apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians, how the Gentiles are now fellow heirs with Israel of the promise of salvation in Christ. The first Christmas was for the Jews, the circumcised, the Israelites, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But this "other" Christmas is for the Gentiles, those who were once not God's people, but who now, by the grace of God in Christ have become the people of God. Epiphany is Christmas for you and all who are afar off."
"The real architectural excitement, though, started outside the city center with an afternoon visit to Concordia Theological Seminary, a modernist Nordic village completed in 1958 by the coolest architect of his day, Eero Saarinen. It was Saarinen, architect of the St. Louis Arch and TWA Terminal, who originally brought me to Fort Wayne."
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