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Topics - Dave Likeness

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Your Turn / Speckhard: FL June The Church After Covid-19
« on: June 12, 2020, 07:12:20 PM »
Pastor Speckhard wrote an interesting and thought provoking article in the June 2020 FL

He examines possible ramifications of the shutdown for the local church & the church at large.
One of the things he mentions is "Waning Big Box Envy" as he speculates about the mega-
non-denominational churches.  He says: 'The big boxes will remain, but big box envy will wane
among traditional denominational congregations, especially those with a high view of the

In my humble opinion, the mega non-denominational churches have never attracted Christians
who had a high view of the Sacraments.  The magnet for Big Box Churches is dynamic preaching.
People who are church shopping are attracted to good preaching which proclaims Jesus Christ
as the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Faithful Lutherans are convinced that we need both the Word
and the Sacrament each Sunday and they will not join a mega church.

Your Turn / The Lutheran Urge To Merge In The 1960's
« on: March 17, 2020, 03:48:14 PM »
American Lutheran Church organized on April 22, 1960

51% of membership came from American Lutheran Church of 1930 (German heritage)
46% of membership came from Evangelical Lutheran Church (Norwegian heritage)
 3%  of membership came from United Evangelical Lutheran Church (Danish heritage)

First President was Dr. Fredrick Schiotz.  There were 2,260,000 members
with 5,000 parishes and 4,500 pastors.

Lutheran Church in America organized on July 1, 1962

80% of membership came from United Lutheran Church in America (German heritage)
20% of membership came from Augustana Lutheran Church (Swedish heritage)

First President was Dr. Franklin Clark Fry.  There were 3,200,000 members
with 6,000 parishes and  7,000 pastors

Bottom Line:  In retrospect, it might have been better to halt the urge to merge
with these 2 new Lutheran Church bodies.   Hindsight tells us that the formation
of the Evangelical Lutheran Church In America in the 1980's was doomed to fail..

Your Turn / The Oath That Changed Dr. Martin Luther
« on: March 10, 2020, 07:39:05 PM »
On Oct. 18, 1512, at the age of 28, Martin Luther got a "Doctorate in the Bible"
Today, it might be called a Doctor of Theology. That day, Luther took a public oath
on the Bible to teach only true doctrine and identify those who taught falsehood.
He began teaching as a professor at Wittenberg University in Sept. of 1513.

Later, Luther said: "I had to accept the office of Doctor  and swear fealty to my
most beloved Holy Scripture to teach it faithfully and pure."   That oath would
sustain Luther when he faced tremendous opposition and was labeled a heretic.
That oath sustained Luther when he doubted he should be teaching the message
of law and gospel as it related to Christ.

Many of us on this forum have a Master of Divinity degree.  Yet how many of us
took our ordination vows seriously to the extent that we both teach only true

Obviously, none of us have received a death sentence from the Pope, yet it amazes
me that Luther had such zeal & commitment to Jesus Christ.  He was ready  to defend
the truth of the gospel message even if it meant his death.

Your Turn / Benefits Of Sports For High School Boys & Girls
« on: February 03, 2020, 09:33:05 PM »
As parish pastors many of us have high school athletes in our congregations.
Sports can teach some life lessons that remain with them the rest of their lives.
For boys it is soccer,  football, basketball, baseball, track that they participate in.
For girls, it might be volleyball, basketball, softball, soccer, track that they enjoy.

Sports can teach physical fitness or as the Greeks called it "a sound body".  To
be in good physical shape requires conditioning and a healthy diet.  Sports also
call for mental toughness which means we never give up trying to win until the
game is over. However, there is another life lesson in team sports:  Athletes can
learn to play as a team where everyone knows their role in helping to gain a win.
Team sports discourage the idea of being a one-man show and having a self-
centered attitude.

As a pastor I enjoyed watching the high school athletes in my parish play.
When possible I went to Friday night football games and Saturday night
basketball games and would squeeze in other sports when time permitted.
 Our parish had an All-State Football player, and an All-State Girls Soccer player.
Our congregation also had many All-Conference players in the various sports.

Your Turn / Sharp Decline In LCMS Members From 2010 to 2018
« on: November 23, 2019, 03:24:54 PM »
Sharp Decline In LCMS From 2010 to 2018 In Membership is demonstrated by these figures:

2010 Baptized membership was 2,310, 235 and in 2018 it was 1,911,187
This is an 8 year loss of 399,048 members.

1970 Baptized membership was 2,788,536 and in 2010 it was 2,310,235
This is a 40 year loss of 478,301 members.

My point is that a sharp decline has been observed in the past 8 years for the LCMS.
This cannot be completely attributed to a high death rate in our parishes or the low
birth rate in our parishes.  Perhaps the high rate of parishes with no full-time pastor
and those congregations who have no intention of calling a pastor........has encouraged
some of those LCMS members to go somewhere else.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Your Turn / 5 Characteristics Of A Christian Congregation
« on: October 07, 2019, 06:43:49 PM »
According to 1 Peter 3:8, there are five elements which should characterize a Christian parish.

1. Harmony......Live in harmony with one another and share common goals
2. Sympathy.....Be responsive to the needs of others, a time to weep and a time to rejoice
3. Love............Treat each other as brothers and sisters in Christ
4. Compassion..Have a tender heart which cares for others
5. Humility.......Put the interests of others  ahead of one's own interests.

Unity of heart and mind is critical for the Christian community. It comes from a common focus
on our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  The result is a vibrant relationship of church members
with one another.  These five elements provide the fellowship (koinonia) that is essential for a
healthy congregation. The desired outcome is not uniformity, but unanimity.

Can this become a reality in a  Christian congregation?   What are the obstacles that the Devil,
the World and our Flesh throw out to prevent a healthy parish?

Your Turn / Breakdown Of Marriage and Family in 21st Century
« on: August 30, 2019, 05:47:11 PM »
The bonds of marriage and the stability of the family are the foundations upon which
a healthy society is built. In the 21st century we have seen severe devastation to marriage
and family in America.

1. In 2000, the divorce rate was still at 50%.  The no-fault divorce law has made it easy
to break up a relationship intended to be permanent.

2. By 2012, there were 7.5 million unmarried couples (male and female) living together.
Co-habitation has become a popular way to avoid the vows of marriage.

3. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.  Marriage
has become a civil right rather than a relationship instituted by God between one man and
one woman

4. In 2017, it was noted that 50% of children  were born to unwed mothers.

These facts have an impact on the Christian community as we come together and  gather
around the Word and Sacraments.  Can Christianity help to reverse these trends listed above?


Your Turn / Presidents Of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
« on: June 28, 2019, 07:14:08 PM »
Ten men have served as President of Concordia Seminary, St Louis

Dr. C.F.W. Walther 1850-1887
Dr. Franz Pieper 1887-1931
Dr. Ludwig Fuerbringer 1931-1943
Dr. Louis Sieck 1943-1952
Dr. Alfred Fuerbringer 1953-1969
Dr. John Tietjen 1969-1974
Dr. Ralph Bohlmann 1975-1981
Dr. Karl Barth 1982-1990
Dr. John Johnson 1990-2004
Dr. Dale Meyer 2005-Present

Dr. Franz Pieper was the President when Concordia Seminary relocated to the Clayton campus in 1926.
Those 72 acres became the suburban home with excellent collegiate Gothic buildings for the seminarians.
In 1992 a free standing chapel was dedicated and became the focal point of the campus

Your Turn / Christians Still Need Both Law And Gospel
« on: May 28, 2019, 04:13:14 PM »
It is disheartening to see major church denominations approve of gay marriage.
God instituted marriage to be a union of one man and one woman.  The law of God
condemns homosexual activity such as sodomy.   Whether in the O.T. or the N.T.
sodomy is a sin.  Yet, today some denominations have even endorsed homosexual
marriage for pastors.

It is a cop-out to become antinomian and say God's grace allows homosexual marriage.
The law of God condemns all sin.  Only a repentant heart which trusts in God's grace
can be forgiven.  We as Christians still need both Law and Gospel to guide our lifestyle
and not live as though God's law is now obsolete in the 21st century.

Your Turn / Lutheran Levity Part 2
« on: May 24, 2019, 02:10:51 PM »
Adam was walking around the Garden of Eden and feeling extremely lonely.  So God asked Adam:
"Do you have a problem?"   Adam replied: "I do not have anyone to talk with."

Then, God told Adam that He was going to give him a companion and it would be a woman.
God said to Adam: "This woman will cook  for you, wash your laundry and keep you content.
She will agree with all your decisions and never argue with you.  She will bear your children
and never ask you to get up in the middle of the night to take care of them.  She will not nag
you or ever say that you made a mistake.  She will show you love and compassion at all times."

Adam asked God, "What would a woman like this cost me?"
God said, " An arm and a leg."
Adam said, "What can I get for just a rib?"

Of course the rest of the story is now history.

Your Turn / Sharp Numerical Decline In LCMS
« on: February 18, 2019, 07:04:12 PM »
It is sad to see a 544, 073 decline in LCMS baptized membership in the past 15 years
In 2002 we had 2,512,714 and in 2017 we were down to 1,968,641. In those 15 years
there has been relative tranquility in the LCMS.  No major doctrinal upheavals occurred.

How do you account for over one half million members no longer in the LCMS?

Your Turn / Jesus "I Came Not To Call The Righteous, But Sinners"
« on: January 26, 2019, 04:06:51 PM »
Congregations are declining in membership in 21st century America.  It may be in part because
they have grown too comfortable with a fellowship of "morally upright and like-minded people."
The local parish can become stagnant when they shun "the tax collectors and sinners".

In Matthew chapter nine, the Pharisees are upset that Jesus went to Matthew's home with
his disciples and ate with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus said, " It is not the healthy who need
a doctor, but the sick.......I came not to call the righteous, but sinners."

Today, Jesus wants us to share the gospel with the sinful and hurting, not just the pious who seem
to have their act together.  Someone has said that the church should be a hospital for the sick,
and not a museum for the saints.

Bottom Line:  How can a congregation lose its focus on reaching out to sinners?

Your Turn / Recent Lutheran Theologians Who Joined RCC or EO
« on: January 19, 2019, 06:56:42 PM »
Many people think that the exodus from Lutheranism began after the ELCA 2009 Churchwide Assembly

However, the following three Lutheran theologians left already in the 1990's.

Sept........  1990.......Richard John Neuhaus to Roman Catholic Church
July...........1994.......Robert Louis Wilken to Roman Catholic Church
March........1998.......Jaroslav Pelikan to Eastern Orthodox Church

Could  any of you add to this list? 
Thanks for your help. 

Your Turn / Reasons U.S. Adults Gave For Attending Worship
« on: November 28, 2018, 06:48:03 PM »
This year The Pew Research Center asked U.S.Adults for reasons they attended religious services
at least once or twice a month.  Here are the top 6 reasons given:

81%.....To become closer to God
69%.....So children will have a moral foundation
68%.....To make me a better person
65%.....For comfort in times of trouble or sorrow
59%.....I find the sermons valuable
57%.....To be part of a community of faith

What do find interesting about these reasons?

Your Turn / ELCA In "Full Communion" With 6 Denominations
« on: October 16, 2018, 05:14:48 PM »
The August issue of Living Lutheran had a feature article on this subject. 

The Following 6 Denominations are Full Communion partners with the ELCA:

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) since 1997
Reformed Church in America since 1997
United Church of Christ since 1997
The Episcopal Church since 1999
The Moravian Church Church since 1999
The United Methodist Church since 2009

This partnership includes "Mutual recognition of Baptism and a sharing of the Lord's Supper,
allowing for joint worship and an exchangeability of members"

Of course there is altar and pulpit fellowship among the clergy of the 6 denominations and the ELCA

Bottom Line:  Is the ELCA unable to dialogue with the LCMS and WELS with whom they share the Book of Concord?
Where are the theologians in the ELCA & LCMS who want to work on fellowship with other Lutherans?

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