Author Topic: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week  (Read 4021 times)

Weedon

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #15 on: January 19, 2021, 02:36:48 PM »
I just strongly disagree, Pr. Rahn. I think “we’re all sinners. Good thing Jesus fixed that.” Is neither Law nor Gospel; and does nothing for the hearers, aside from inducing some yawns. I think clear and incisive law is actually that which enables the Gospel to be heard and rejoiced in for the good news that it is.
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Tom Eckstein

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #16 on: January 19, 2021, 03:40:46 PM »
I just strongly disagree, Pr. Rahn. I think “we’re all sinners. Good thing Jesus fixed that.” Is neither Law nor Gospel; and does nothing for the hearers, aside from inducing some yawns. I think clear and incisive law is actually that which enables the Gospel to be heard and rejoiced in for the good news that it is.

Amen and Amen, Will!
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Tom Eckstein

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #17 on: January 19, 2021, 03:42:18 PM »
Some of you may be observing Life Sunday this weekend. I'm thinking about the sermon this weekend, which is based on Jonah 3:1--5, 10 with the topic of repentance. I wonder how others will work the matter of abortion and life into their preaching. I invite folks to share their thoughts and observations here. God bless your efforts.

One thought I've had is that we are mourning the deaths of nearly 400,000 people from Covid-19. Yet CDC Abortion Surveillance tells us that in 2018 (their latest figures) 619,591 abortions were reported in the United States that year. And the latter figure repeats year after year. Lord, have mercy.

Here is a link to the sermon I preached this past Sunday on the issue of abortion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmilsZYVRkg&t=5s
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George Rahn

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #18 on: January 19, 2021, 04:02:39 PM »
I just strongly disagree, Pr. Rahn. I think “we’re all sinners. Good thing Jesus fixed that.” Is neither Law nor Gospel; and does nothing for the hearers, aside from inducing some yawns. I think clear and incisive law is actually that which enables the Gospel to be heard and rejoiced in for the good news that it is.



Thanks, Pr. Weedon, but I am no longer a pastor. 

To the point, however:  Moralizing and using psychology are simply making symptoms out of the deeper problem in that all of us each and individually are directed to death at which time God's full measure of righteousness will be executed upon each and every one of us.  No one is going to escape that.  Even the complacent one(s).  In that case all have sinned and fallen.  Abortion, homosexuality, bearing false witness, murder are indeed issues to be dealt with and the church needs to call citizens to their rightful place and vote accordingly to their consciences on that.  However even that will not help with escaping death.  It helps to make society as peaceful and secure as possible and perhaps urge some folks to hold back sin as God gave command for Cain to do and to be.  The church can remind both the citizen and the civil government in general to do their job as they altogether and separately appear before God's righteous eye as well.

I realize that the sweet sound of the Gospel is only precious to a sinner who knows who he/she is in truth.  That Jesus is the only way out of an inescapable situation.  I get that.  But the church is simply commanded to preach the Gospel even if some of the hearers are complacent.  Their complacency is simply an indicator that they are missing something in their lives which causes God to grieve...secret sin, as Luther talks about in refernce to the Psalms.  However, there will be no escape for anyone.  The old person must and will die and God's righteousness under the law will have its rightful resolution.

The UAC (Unaltered Augsburg Confession) is correct in article 5 on ministry in that as St. Paul indicates in 2 Cor. 5, we are engaged in the ministry of reconciliation.  The true sinners (ie. those who are in the pew/audience) who know of their dire situation and are shaking in their shoes and are thirsting for the good word of forgiveness solely in Jesus' work on the cross and resurrection for them may not be loud enough above the roar of the ministry of the law. 

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #19 on: January 19, 2021, 05:16:09 PM »
Some of you may be observing Life Sunday this weekend. I'm thinking about the sermon this weekend, which is based on Jonah 3:1--5, 10 with the topic of repentance. I wonder how others will work the matter of abortion and life into their preaching. I invite folks to share their thoughts and observations here. God bless your efforts.

One thought I've had is that we are mourning the deaths of nearly 400,000 people from Covid-19. Yet CDC Abortion Surveillance tells us that in 2018 (their latest figures) 619,591 abortions were reported in the United States that year. And the latter figure repeats year after year. Lord, have mercy.

Here is a link to the sermon I preached this past Sunday on the issue of abortion:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmilsZYVRkg&t=5s

Thank you, Tom. Good to see you on action. God bless.
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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #20 on: January 19, 2021, 06:22:51 PM »
How do you bring God's forgiveness to a woman who had an abortion who might be in the congregation?

Good question.  How do you bring God's forgiveness to a man or woman who had committed murder, assault, arson, rape or any form of abuse who might be in your congregation?


Some things I did do.


I worked with recovering addicts through the steps of AA. Most importantly, as part of their treatment at the rehab hospital, they spent a week writing down character defects. They read them to me. I had them pray for forgiveness. I quoted 1 John 1:9 to them: "If we confess our sins to God, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." I asked if they believed this. They did. We burned the papers with all their defects on them. I assured them they were forgiven; and that they needed to forgive themselves. (That was often a harder step.)


I have used "Individual Confession and Forgiveness" with people who were especially troubled by particular sins.


From the pulpit I declare that all are sinners and all are forgiven by God's grace. At times I will mention sinners who have had abortions and sinners who strongly oppose abortions; sinners who are homosexual and sinners who oppose homosexual relationships; etc. I do not highlight a particular sin as worse than any others.





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Pr. Terry Culler

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #21 on: January 19, 2021, 06:46:12 PM »
After reading George Barna's reports on the absence of biblical worldviews among American Christians I have used my sermons to highlight what it means to have a biblical worldview and live accordingly.  Part of that demands that I not simply refer to generalized sinfulness but to actual and real sins.  If we preach nothing but gospel, assuming everyone in the pews really believes themselves to be sinners in need of grace, we are fostering a view of the Christian life which is not only false, but dangerous.  We live in a world where people, including Christians, no longer believe they sin, they just make mistakes.  Well, that ain't the way it works.  At least biblically speaking.

BTW, some of Barna's findings about biblical worldviews among American Christians: 21% of evangelical Protestants have such a view of the world, 16% of Pentecostals, 8% of mainline Christians and 1% of Roman Catholics.  To me this is just horrifying and as a pastor I'm willing to take on my share of the blame for the failure of the Church to preach truth to our people.
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RDPreus

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2021, 06:55:34 PM »
Years ago, during the week of Quasimodogeniti Sunday (the Gospel Lesson is from John 20 where Jesus gives the authority to forgive and retain sins to his church), a lady in the congregation came to visit me.  In the sermon I had talked about the great comfort personal absolution provides us.  She wanted to confess that she had had an abortion years earlier and that it weighed on her conscience and she wanted absolution for that sin.  She confessed and I absolved her.  Jesus forgave her the sin of abortion through his minister.  She knew that abortion was a sin.  She sought and received forgiveness.  What a joy absolution is!  To know that the word we hear from the minister (who is a sinner like us) actually conveys to us the forgiveness that Jesus won by his bitter suffering and death.  There is no greater knowledge in the world.  When we believe, teach, confess, and preach this, there is no sin that can destroy us.  We can preach against abortion, sodomy, adultery, theft, lying, cheating, stealing, dishonoring parents, despising God's word and misusing his name and worshipping false gods.  We can preach against these sins with specificity and the full authority of God's law that damns all sinners to hell.  We can preach this because we know that that's not God's final word to us!  He forgives sinners out of his boundless grace.  His grace is greater than any sin.  To preach and to hear the preaching of the blood and righteousness of Jesus is the greatest privilege on earth.  We go to church burdened by sin and guilt.  God gives us in the oral and sacramental word full forgiveness of all our sins.  We mustn't fear preaching the law.  But woe to the preacher who doesn't preach the gospel!

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2021, 06:56:14 PM »
We will not have a Life Sunday service where the whole is devoted to that topic. Instead, I'll plan to work that topic into the church year observance. I'm planning to mention the Roe v. Wade anniversary in the announcements and bring in an illustration for the sermon. Otherwise, the sermon will focus on the Law and Gospel of the text and the life of the congregation.

So for this kind of topic, I try not to predominate on "Here's what's wrong with X" but treat X as an example of sin that afflicts us all. Then apply the Gospel that is for us all.

Here is how I might handle that with the Jonah text for Sunday: The Assyrians that Jonah calls to repentance were known for violence and bloodshed. We may not see ourselves as such people, yet . . .
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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2021, 07:35:08 PM »
It seems to me that Jonah is more about God's messenger (Jonah) being judged by God for his judgmental attitude towards the sinful Ninevites than it was about God's judgment of those sinners. God cared for them. They repented of their sins. God did not destroy them as they deserved. Did Jonah repent?

This proves my point. Jonah preached the Law--God was going to destroy the city. (Law) In response to his preaching, the people repented.  Since they repented, the Lord did not destroy the city. (Gospel)


Jonah spoke five words in Hebrew. He didn't tell the people to repent. We know that he didn't want the people to repent. He resented God's grace towards those people. The book is more about the sins of Jonah than those of Ninevah. It is our tendency to point to other people's sins, rather than see our own prejudices.
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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2021, 07:38:12 PM »
After reading George Barna's reports on the absence of biblical worldviews among American Christians I have used my sermons to highlight what it means to have a biblical worldview and live accordingly.  Part of that demands that I not simply refer to generalized sinfulness but to actual and real sins.  If we preach nothing but gospel, assuming everyone in the pews really believes themselves to be sinners in need of grace, we are fostering a view of the Christian life which is not only false, but dangerous.  We live in a world where people, including Christians, no longer believe they sin, they just make mistakes.  Well, that ain't the way it works.  At least biblically speaking.

BTW, some of Barna's findings about biblical worldviews among American Christians: 21% of evangelical Protestants have such a view of the world, 16% of Pentecostals, 8% of mainline Christians and 1% of Roman Catholics.  To me this is just horrifying and as a pastor I'm willing to take on my share of the blame for the failure of the Church to preach truth to our people.


It was a debate at seminary whether one needed to preach Law to the people from the pulpit or if the world did a good job of pointing out their shortcomings. The professors did not agree about this. Some argued that the Law was necessary to give context to the Gospel. Others argued that the world had been preaching Law to the people all week, so they come hungry for the Good News that the world doesn't know and that only we can offer.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

pearson

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2021, 07:38:39 PM »

After reading George Barna's reports on the absence of biblical worldviews among American Christians I have used my sermons to highlight what it means to have a biblical worldview and live accordingly.


I realize that my question here sounds suspiciously like a put-up job, but I'm asking honestly:  what is a "biblical worldview"?  The term "worldview" is so conceptually overinflated as to be useless; and conjoining it to "biblical" seems like the creation of an oxymoron.  Is it intended to mean something like a "biblical perspective"?  If so, that doesn't help a great deal.  It doesn't tell me what is necessarily included in, and what is forced out of, that "perspective."  Some specifics would be useful.  Thanks.

Tom Pearson 

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2021, 07:41:34 PM »

After reading George Barna's reports on the absence of biblical worldviews among American Christians I have used my sermons to highlight what it means to have a biblical worldview and live accordingly.


I realize that my question here sounds suspiciously like a put-up job, but I'm asking honestly:  what is a "biblical worldview"?  The term "worldview" is so conceptually overinflated as to be useless; and conjoining it to "biblical" seems like the creation of an oxymoron.  Is it intended to mean something like a "biblical perspective"?  If so, that doesn't help a great deal.  It doesn't tell me what is necessarily included in, and what is forced out of, that "perspective."  Some specifics would be useful.  Thanks.


The reality is, every denomination has its own "biblical worldview." There isn't one.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Weedon

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2021, 07:46:31 PM »
Dr. Pearson,

I think at its most basic a Biblical worldview includes: 1. God has created this world; 2. Mankind is a special part of the creation intended to reflect God’s image; 3. The fall has damaged humanity in unspeakable ways; 4. God as the Creator would not let His creation disintegrate and so provided His Son, through the people of Israel, as the very Word through which all that is came to be, as our Redeemer who by His life, suffering, death, and resurrection frees those who trust in Him (by His Spirit’s power) from the curse that our sin brought upon us, and this salvation was accomplished for all people; 5. Our rescue from the curse includes above all forgiveness of sins and resurrection from the dead; 6. We are a people awaiting the glorious Appearing of the Son at the end of time, upon which all people will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ to render to Him an account of their lives.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 07:49:38 PM by Weedon »
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Rev. Edward Engelbrecht

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Re: Working the Topics of Abortion and Life into Sermons This Week
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2021, 08:06:07 PM »
It seems to me that Jonah is more about God's messenger (Jonah) being judged by God for his judgmental attitude towards the sinful Ninevites than it was about God's judgment of those sinners. God cared for them. They repented of their sins. God did not destroy them as they deserved. Did Jonah repent?

This proves my point. Jonah preached the Law--God was going to destroy the city. (Law) In response to his preaching, the people repented.  Since they repented, the Lord did not destroy the city. (Gospel)


Jonah spoke five words in Hebrew. He didn't tell the people to repent. We know that he didn't want the people to repent. He resented God's grace towards those people. The book is more about the sins of Jonah than those of Ninevah. It is our tendency to point to other people's sins, rather than see our own prejudices.

Key to the story is Hebrew shuv, describing Nineveh's repentance, God's "repentance." The book reveals God's character and leaves us to wonder what Jonah learned from that revelation.
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