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Messages - exegete77

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We have been praying regularly for persecuted Christians since I arrived here three years ago. Philippines, North Korea, Syria, Ukraine, Iraq, Sudan, to mention a few places. We have a family in the area whose extended family (parents, etc.) still live in Syria.

Had the privilege of working on that float on Dec. 30, along with our youth group.

A person can only be in the church or in the mission field. So, if we follow Matthew 18, the goal of it is restoration (“win the person back”). But if the person refuses to hear as a member of the church, then the person will hear it as part of the mission field. Of which Matthew had been a part. I don’t think it accidental that this text and reference to “tax collector” only occurs in Matthew’s Gospel.

Your Turn / Re: Seminex at forty
« on: September 16, 2013, 02:21:20 PM »
I appreciate Marie’s last assessment.

I have read the books by Adams, Tietjen, Marquart, Danker, Zimmermann, and Burkee, all of them soon after they were published. I also had the opportunity to listen to several participants after the fact on both sides of the issue. Not one of the books gives the complete story, not one has all the “facts” and not one is unbiased. I have learned from each of the sources, written, oral, etc. But much remains to be done.

I also saw the effects that it had on one of my family members, who had nothing to do with the seminary or colleges. But the aftermath of what happened in the 1970’s still carries wounds to this day for this family member. That, too, is another side of the story that is often overlooked by people on both sides. I think, Marie, you bring some of this to the table.

I thank God that there is forgiveness, healing, and restoration for sinners all, and especially me.

Your Turn / Re: Seminex at forty
« on: September 14, 2013, 11:05:24 AM »
Although I was not involved in the events (I would have been on vicarage in 1973-74 had I been in seminary), I was was at CSL in the years 1982-86. One of the professors, August Sueflow, taught Lutheran history classes. He knew all the professors before and after the events of 1969-1974. He mentioned at one point that several of the faculty majority came to him privately between 1976-1983. Each of them said that they wished they had never walked out, that they were seeing only one side, that they did so only out of personal loyalty to the five professors. They realized the entire process could have been handled far differently by the faculty majority. Some wanted to come back to the LCMS in the years following 1974, but the lines had been hardened so much that they would never be allowed to return to LCMS.

I also had JAO Preus for an STM class in 1986. In after class discussions he made interesting comments about those events.

Your Turn / Re: All Eyes On WELS 2013 Convention
« on: July 10, 2013, 07:50:08 PM »
Would anyone here be interested in participating in the translation?
I am interested in helping. Back in 1987-1994 I served congregations that were test congregations for NET (Hoerber [LCMS] and Kuske [WELS] were editors). I also offered translation suggestions, several of which were accepted. I was extremely disappointed after using the NET 1992 edition and then finding out about the 1995 GW published work. Far different animal than we had used for seven years.

Your Turn / Re: Summer Reading Anyone?
« on: June 05, 2013, 12:10:15 PM »
Based on some of the many reviews on Amazon, I don’t think the book is worth the time. 1) The author’s theology is wrong 2) The writing is poor and repetitive.

Your Turn / Re: Summer Reading Anyone?
« on: June 01, 2013, 10:43:27 PM »
For those of you who have read (or are reading) "Reading Revelation Responsibly" by Michael Gorman, what do you think? I am currently teaching a class on Revelation and would love to find a good resource. I enjoyed reading Gorman's "Cruciformity: Paul's Narrative Spirituality of the Cross." I imagine his take on Revelation would be very good.

I have only started reading it (first three chapters), and find his approach refreshing. I will write a book review when I have finished. But so far I am impressed with it.

I taught Revelation long time ago using Peterson’s Reversed Thunder, which is good. Obviously Brighton’s commentary (I had him for three classes at the Sem 30 years ago) is excellent. And I have used Hendrickson’s More Than Conquerors. For congregational teaching, I have found Things to Come for Planet Earth by Aaron Luther Plueger (LCMS pastor many years ago), very helpful. Simple diagrams to help explain, etc.

This past year I taught Old Testament Survey (fall) and New Testament Survey (post Easter) using study guides I wrote. I planned to teach a couple of the New Testament letters this coming year. However, we live in a very high unchurched area (98%) and unfortunately most that anyone hears about the Bible here is premillennial dispensationalism. So I have decided this next year to teach “The End and Revelation,” expecting the course to take at least all year. It will be taught Wed night, Thurs night, and Saturday morning. I will probably begin with the approach of Gorman, then incorporate some of the others stuff for overview and then commentaries for specifics.

I taught Revelation in 1984-1985, and again in 1995. Looks like it’s time. ;D

Your Turn / Re: Summer Reading Anyone?
« on: May 31, 2013, 03:53:25 PM »
I have several that I would like to read, on my several travels this summer:

Gorman, Michael J. Reading Revelation Responsibly: Uncivil Worship and Witness: Following the Lamb Into the New Creation. Wipf & Stock, 2010.

Kilcrease, Jack D. The Self-Donation of God: A Contemporary Lutheran Approach to Christ and His Benefits. Wipf & Stock Pub, 2013.

Sailhamer, John H. The Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary. Zondervan, 1995.

Reeves, Rodney. Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ. IVP Academic, 2011.

And review The Comprehensive New Testament Cornerstone Publications, 2008.

Your Turn / Re: 2013 LCMS Convention: Church Fellowship
« on: May 22, 2013, 08:32:18 PM »

The Reformed have never denied the Real Presence.

The issue is not whether they deny the “real Presence” in a generic way (they have not denied that).

Rather, the issue is whether they have denied the “real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrqament,” which is the Lutheran confession—after all it wasn’t just Marburg that raised the red flags. Formula of Concord addressed it as well.

And the Reformed, from Zwingli, Calvin, into the present, have consisently denied this second statement— Christ’s body and blood are nowhere near the elements.

The resurrected Christ is certainly proclaimed as being present in the sacrament.
But again, Brian, that is not the issue.

Your Turn / Re: 2013 LCMS Convention: Church Fellowship
« on: May 22, 2013, 08:27:44 PM »

The Reformed have never denied the Real Presence.

The issue is not whether they deny the “real Presence” in a generic way (they have not denied that).

Rather, the issue is whether they have denied the “real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrqament,” which is the Lutheran confession—after all it wasn’t just Marburg that raised the red flags. Formula of Concord addressed it as well.

And the Reformed, from Zwingli, Calvin, into the present, have consisently denied this second statement— Christ’s body and blood are nowhere near the elements.

Your Turn / Re: Capital Punishment
« on: May 09, 2013, 03:47:15 PM »
This is too close to home (family member) but I will note one aspect of my change on this topic. Having a son in prison most of the last 25 years, I have seen and experienced life from an entirely different perspective. This change in my view of capital punishment is not related to my son and his specific punishment, though.

From the 1950’s to the early 1990’s I was firmly in the support of capital punishment. Even now I am not soft on criminals, but I have backed away from absolute support of capital punishment. In the poll “favor capital punishment” does not reflect where I am on the issue. Both my wife and I have served jury duty in the last 18 months, and we both pondered whether we could support a verdict of death penalty. Thankfully, neither of us was called to that kind of trial.

But I have the desire, hope, expectation(?) that even the most hardened criminals need to hear about salvation through Jesus. I preached at a Federal penitentiary three years ago. I saw up close and personal even greater hunger for something. In the church where I serve, we have two ex-cons whom I have confirmed in the last month. They found it rare to be in a church that would still speak openly and honestly to them let alone treat them as brothers in Christ.

As a Christian, maybe my heart has been hurt, softened, or wounded too many times. But I firmly believe that mercy wins out for me.

Those are excellent results. But what I asked was what you are doing to bring people in, not how many people are coming in. In particular, I'm curious about what you're doing to reach people who aren't lucky enough to have friends who are members of your church.
There are two parts to this discussion. It isn’t enough to just make contact, so those who are brought in have to be taught the Scriptures and continue in the fellowship of the Church. That takes time. But in every Basics class we have members who participate, and that becomes the first step in assimilation. We don’t want them as pew sitters and eventually “leavers”; we want them to grow to maturity in faith.

Thus, we cannot handle everyone at once. Thus, as a person comes into our fellowship, that person still has many friends and family who are unchurched. The circle of influence spreads. Eventually that will spread further. So, it is not that we open the flood gates and hundreds pour in. Rather, each person is extending the Gospel through their own network.

We are slowly extending into the community through three others activities. We have the only VBS on the mountain, so we attract quite a few. In late 2011 we hosted a Christmas Cantata (people from four Christian churches on the mountain). Although our sanctuary can only comfortably hold 100 people, we had about that many, and a few were unchurched. Last Sunday we hosted an Easter Cantata, with a slightly different focus. One of the two organizing it is from our congregation. Three guidelines were established: 1) all music and lyrics were to be written by people living on the mountain, 2) All had to focus on Good Friday to Easter Sunday, and 3) The goal was to have as many unchurched as possible. We had 150 attend, and 40-50 were unchurched. Most of the music was professional quality, lyrics were great, and I had ~10 minutes to speak about Jesus Christ and Him crucified and risen.

Is that what you were looking for?

A most remarkable and brutally honest pastor wrote this. It moved me to tears. 

I commend it to you all.
Thanks for that link, Will. I so identify with that post.

Yes, I was thinking about Rick and Kay Warren. We prayed for them this Sunday. At least once a month we pray for those struggling with depression, alcoholism, abuse, etc. It’s amazing how God is reaching people. We live in an area in which the unchurched population is 98%. Praising God because I had the privilege of confirmed 10 adults during Holy Week.

Praying for people is good. I'm curious about what your church is doing in addition to praying to convince some of those in the 98% to "come and see" what your church is doing on Sundays.
I just confirmed 10 adults during Holy Week. Most of them have unbelieving family members; they are talking to them. They are talking to their friends, many who are struggling with alcohol, drugs, broken families, abuse, etc. The new people ask each week for those prayers concerning opportunities to speak about Jesus.

One man stopped by last October and asked if he could worship with us... he went through the Basics Class (study of the Bible, with all references taken from Luther’s Catechism) and was one of those confirmed (26 weeks for 1 hour or 13 weeks for 2 hours each week). A couple came last October and wanted a church wedding. I baptized her a few weeks later, married them in December, and they took the Basics class and were confirmed Palm Sunday. A mother and daughter started attending a few weeks ago. After confirmation on Palm Sunday they wondered whether they should take the Basics class.

Tomorrow night I start teaching the intensive New Testament Survey class. 60% of our worshipers have signed up, some bringing unchurched friends.

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