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Messages - Mike Bennett

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True, we as a corporate body did not conclude anything from scriptures. I have my conclusions from scriptures. You have your conclusions from scriptures.

Tim Christ writes: In May of 2009 I commented: The leisured wealth of the western world has succeeded primarily, it would seem to me, in throwing narcissitic gasoline on an already ego-centristic individualism run amok. Brians "individualistic" exegetical posture simply affirms same and I continue to stand by that observation.

And I argue that the "individualistic" exegetical posture comes from Luther. I'm not saying that it's good or bad, but Luther placed his own interpretation of scripture and tradition against the teaching of the Church in his day, he set in motion the individualism that we have today. The fact that the ELCA was unwilling to establish a ministerium or to give the Conference of Bishops any power and authority continues the practice of giving individuals power and authority.

Except that Luther's interpretion was grounded in Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux, and other leading theologians of the Church, and did not "do a new thing" as much as return to a very old thing and bring it to light in a new day.

Yes, that was the interpretation that Luther and his followers put on his "reforms". That isn't how their opponents looked at them.

So you admit that you and the other "new things" folks are actually opponents of Luther?  That's the coolest thing since the 2009 Social Statement admitted in writing that it contradicts 2000 years of Church teaching.

Mike Bennett

Pastor Hahn writes:
One must recognize that Pastor Stoffregen's references to "Luther" really have little to do with the 15th century Augustinian monk and Wittenberg professor who sought to address the abuses of the medieval church he witnessed in Saxony by an appeal to the authority of Holy Scripture.

I respond:
No, "one" need not recognize that at all. And once again we have a someone denouncing a comment simply because a certain person made it. Sad. And unfair.


Your Turn / Re: The Bible Summarized in Only a Few Words
« on: October 08, 2010, 04:26:49 PM »
I must admit I'm not too enchanted by this "Scripture proofs of Nicene Creed" kitsch.

Well la dee da!

Perhaps if you'd spent 9 months with a college roommate's Jehovah's Witnesses tutor visiting every Wednesday night with a passle of crap about how the Nicene Creed was just made up by the (shudder!) pope, and how we must go direct to scripture to learn how we're not allowed to vote or have blood transfusions, and never mind that popish creed, you be more enchanted.  Or not.

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: The Bible Summarized in Only a Few Words
« on: October 08, 2010, 12:38:34 PM »
"I've carried around an "annotated Nicene Creed" whose origen I don't remember. "

I always thought that Origen was ante-Nicene :)

Apropos of nothing perhaps:

At one of those overly-secure bank web sites where you get to pick a picture for your password screen to make you warm and comfy you're on the authentic site, I picked a nice picture of a pelican, because I was tired of always picking the picture of the dog.  But in the place where you type the description of the image, I entered "pelikan."  It was months later that I realized what I'd done.

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: The Bible Summarized in Only a Few Words
« on: October 08, 2010, 12:33:51 PM »
"I've carried around an "annotated Nicene Creed" whose origen I don't remember. "

I always thought that Origen was ante-Nicene :)

A nice thing about the "modify" button is that errors can be made deniable.    8)

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: The Bible Summarized in Only a Few Words
« on: October 08, 2010, 11:58:23 AM »

The Nicene Creed According to the Scriptures

I Believe
Rom. 10:9, Jas 2:19, John 14:1


I've carried around an "annotated Nicene Creed" whose origin I don't remember.  It shares some of the above Scripture references but many of the two don't overlap.  Here it is for anybody who wants to devote the labor to combining the two to produce a Nicene Creed with even more Scripture references.  I just might do it myself.

We believe (Rom 10:8-10; 1 Jn 4:15)
in one God, (Dt 6:4; Heb 11:6; 1 Co 8:4-6; Rom 3:29-31; Eph 4:6.)
the Father, (Mt 6:9; 1 Cor 8:6)
the Almighty, (Ex 6:3; Rev. 1:8 )
maker of heaven and earth, (Ex. 20:11; Gen 1; Gen. 2)
of all that is, seen and unseen. (Jer 32:17; Col 1:15-16)

We believe in one Lord, (Acts 10:36)
Jesus (Matt. 1:21)
Christ (Jn 4:25-26; Acts 11:17)
the only Son of God, (Mt 14:33; 16:16; John 1:14)
eternally begotten of the Father, (Jn 1:2; 1:18; 3:16; 1 Jn 4:9)
God from God, Light from Light, (Ps 27:1; Mat 17:2,5;  Jn 1:4; 8:12; Jn 12:35-37;1 Jn 1:5-7)
true God from true God, (Jn 5:18f; 17:1-5)
begotten, not made, (Jn 8:58)
of one Being with the Father. (Jn10:30)
Through him all things were made. (Jn 1:3; Heb 1:1-2)
For us and for our salvation, (Mt 1:21; 1Ti 2:4-5)
he came down from heaven: (Jn 3:31; 6:33,35)
by the power of the Holy Spirit (Lk 1:35)
he was born of the Virgin Mary, (Luke 2:6f)
and became man. (Jn 1:14; Phil 2:5-8)
For our sake he was crucified (Mk 15:25; 1 Cor 15:3)
under Pontius Pilate; (Mt 27:22-26; Jn 1:14)
he suffered died and was buried. (Mt 27:50-60; Mk 8:31; Lk 23:53; 1 Cor 15:4; Phil 2:5-8)
On the third day he rose again (Mt 28:6)
in accordance with the Scriptures; (Lk 24:1; 1 Cor 15:4)
he ascended into heaven (Lk 24:51; Ac 1:9-10)
and is seated at the right hand of the Father. (Mk 16:19; Ac 7:55)
He will come again in glory (Mt 24:27; 25:31)
to judge the living and the dead, (Ac 10:42; 1 Ti 4:1; 2 Ti 4:1)
and his kingdom will have no end. (Lk 1:33; 2Pet 1:11)

We believe in the Holy Spirit, (Jn 14:26)
the Lord, (Ac 5:3-4; 28:25; 2 Cor 3:17-18 cf Is. 6:8 )
the giver of life, (Gen 1:2; Rom 8:2; 2 Cor 3:6)
who proceeds from the Father (Jn 15:26)
and the Son. (Rom 8:9)
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified. (Mt 3:16-17; Rev. 4:8 )
He has spoken through the Prophets. (1 Sam 19:20; Ezek 11:5,13; 2 Peter 1:21)
We believe in one (Mt 16:18; Jn 10:16)
holy (Eph 5:26-27; 1 Pet 2:5,9)
catholic (Mk 16:15; Rom 10:18)
and apostolic Church. (Ac 2:42; Eph 2:19-22)
We acknowledge one baptism (Eph. 4:5)
for the forgiveness of sins. (Acts 2:38)
We look for the resurrection of the dead, (Jn 11:24; Rom 6:5; 1 Cor 15:12-49)
and the life of the world to come. (Mt 25:34; Mk 10: 29-30; Rev 21:1-7)

Amen. (Ps 106:48)

Mike Bennett

If the preacher does not get around to actually showing the congregation that they made it necessary for Christ to die on the cross so that assurance can be made that indeed he did it for them then the sermon has failed.

Are you saying that if a pastor preaches 52 Sunday morning sermons a year, they cannot be examined as a total whole but rather each and every Sunday sermon must be viewed as a totally standalone message, with no consideration for context over the course of the entire year?

I like Peter's answer, though I will answer somewhat differently. 

Yes.  Each sermon should be a standalone.  Why?  Mrs. Schmidt and her four kids may only be there once this month.  Mr. and Mrs. Jones will be there the 1st, 3rd, and 4th Sundays.  Everyman Johnson will only be there once every 6-8 weeks.  Ms. Williams will be there every Sunday.  They all need the Law and the Gospel, and if either Law or Gospel is absent (ehhh, I'll get 'em next Sunday) that week, I can't assume the person/family in question will be there next week.  This is not to say that a sermon series can't be done or that themes cannot connect from week to week, but that each sermon must be a standalone proclamation of Law and Gospel.

I'm not a pastor, so I don't have to preach.  But as I teach junior high Sunday School I try to be mindful that this Sunday might be the one Sunday that Susie attends this semester, or the only time Johnny actually pays attention.  So I try to be sure nobody leaves without hearing the Gospel.  Next Sunday God promises Abraham and Sarah a son and fulfils the promise.  The Sunday after God calls Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt.  I'm intending that the kids will hear the gospel  both weeks, along with Abraham and Moses.

Mike Bennett

I'm curious, Charles.

Which television character do you identify with more:

Jonathan Quayle Higgins III from Magnum P.I.


Charles Emerson Winchester III from M*A*S*H* ?

I keep switching back and forth between which voice to "hear" when I read your posts, and I can't decide.

Eddie Haskell from Leave it to Beaver?   ;D

Mike Bennett

No smugness at all, Mr. Gelhausen. I said that it is his journey. May very well be a valid journey. Good friend of mine is just ending her fourth marriage. It's her journey.

No smugness.  Right.  We don't need a poll to determine the truth of that.

And what on earth is a "valid journey?"  You been taking rhetoric lessons from Bishop Barbie?

Valid journey?

Mike (not Gelhausen now or earlier) Bennett

Valid journey?


So you no longer found that place (where the gospel is proclaimed faithfully) in the LCA, and left for the ALC in 1975. Then the ALC was no longer that "place" (where the gospel is proclaied faithfully)  and you left for the LC-MS in 1985. Then the LC-MS was no longer that "place" (where the gospel is proclaimed faithfully) and you left - a year or so ago, I think, because life in the LC-MS must have become "unbearable"  - for the AALC.
It's your journey, of course, but sounds like a movie-star's marriage track to me.

I'm not sure that simply being affiliated with the church to which his parents took him for baptism gives a person license to be smug ("God I thank you that I'm not a church hopper like that guy over there") but then your smugness has never required a license, has it?

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: Luke 14:27 NRSV
« on: September 08, 2010, 05:08:48 PM »
The Greek says very explicitly "his own cross" (heautou). So it isn't some generic or transcendental cross here, but one's own. I think that does make a difference, and I'm disappointed that the NRSV permits confusion.

What puzzles me about the verse is that the use of the word "cross" is pretty clearly metaphorical -- I assume to mean a burden or suffering of some sort, at least that's how it would be understood today. Clearly not everyone at the time was crucified or even martyred for their discipleship, so the meaning isn't literal. And while "crucifying" can be used metaphorically to mean put to death, it seems too early (to me) for the cross itself to have taken this kind of metaphorical meaning. I think it wasn't until much later that the cross was used as a symbol for the Christian faith. Wouldn't the hearers of this text have understood something like, "Everyone must sit in their own electric chair if they wish to become my disciple."?

Steve Helmreich
Las Cruces, NM

But we do literally bear our cross -- the cross we were marked with in Holy Baptism.  This cross makes us targets for persecution and difficulties in the world.  As Bonhoeffer put it (with apologies to those who need inclusive language), "When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die."  So yes, our cross-bearing is metaphorical in a sense, but also quite literal.

This sort of intentional mis-translation in the name of some sort of -ism (anti-sexism, I guess) is especially problematic when it's done to a passage such as this one, that demands we wrestle with it.  How am I to wrestle with the words of Christ when they're intentionally mis-translated?  Wrestling with what it might mean to bear "the cross" involves me in a different exercise than considering the implications of bearing "my" cross.  This is a reason I almost always avoid paraphrased editions of the Bible (except for occasional comparisons), because the paraphraser has made the passage clearly say one thing which it might or might not mean, and I'd never know it if I only read that edition of the Bible.  Yet we in ELCA are given the NRSV as a version that's presumed to be most appropriate for worship and study, and we naively think it's really a translation instead of an anti-sixism paraphrase.

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: Christianity Today on Lutheran CORE meeting
« on: September 08, 2010, 04:53:35 PM »
Christianity Today's editor in chief, David Neff, was at the Lutheran CORE meeting in Columbus. His report was posted to their website this morning.

Hope you enjoy reading it.

As I said in my cover e-mail to my pastor, a friend, my wife, and two brothers,  it's a much better summary than my poor notes, and quicker than listening to the audio files at the Lutheran CORE web site.

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: Mosque at Ground Zero?
« on: September 08, 2010, 04:32:04 PM »
The pastor in question is a nut job, through and through.

Unaccustomed as I am . . . . . Hear! Hear!

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: Which is more insensitive?
« on: September 08, 2010, 04:29:25 PM »
OK, which is more "insensitive" ... putting up a building near, not at, Ground Zero, or burning the Koran?

And regarding the question in the poll:

Burning the Koran obviously has no purpose but to be offensive, and those who are supposed to be offended are obviously Muslims.

Building a Mosque/Muslim community center two blocks from the World Trade Center site is intended to be . . . . . who knows? . . . . . the builders claim it's intended to provide a place for worship, education and gathering for Muslims.

A counter question for you:

Which is most offensive to the memory of those lost in the World Trade Center destruction: 

+ Building a house of worship/community center within two blocks?
+ Operating peep show parlors and off track gambling houses within two blocks? (about which I hear no bellyaching)

Mike Bennett

Your Turn / Re: Which is more insensitive?
« on: September 08, 2010, 04:22:30 PM »

Perhaps the US should place a cultural center near Hiroshima?


Good grief.

The U.S. nuked Hiroshima.

Islam did not destroy the World Trade Center.

Mike Bennett

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