A Sad Day As A Lutheran

December 4, 2009

A couple of months ago in a small meeting I asked Dr. Rod Rosenbladt, a highly respected Lutheran theologian, what do I say to my pastor who is in full support of the ELCA decision to allow openly homosexual clergy. His response, along with a deep sigh was… “I don’t know…I don’t know…” I didn’t know either. I prayed again, studied again, and looked for wise counsel again. This week I had a meeting with my pastor to tell him that I would be leaving the ELCA. It was a very surreal meeting. I was admonishing my pastor to return to the orthodoxy of the church and the teaching of Scripture. He stated that he believed the vote of the ELCA was led by the Holy Spirit and time will tell the story. I said that the Holy Spirit is not doing anything other then what He did on the day of pentecost and He has been doing the same thing for the last 2000 years. Saying that he was sorry that he could not change to see it the way I see it we part ways as fellow servants of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. He sent me an email later that afternoon thanking me for the work I have done in the church and expressed his sadness to see me and my family leave.

I replied to his email with this response…

Pastor —–,
 
After reflection on our meeting I wanted to leave you with a few thoughts. I do consider you a dear brother in Christ and I know that your desire is to serve our Lord with your whole heart. It’s not my place to turn you from your firm convictions. However, since you are taking a position that is contrary the historic position of the Christian church I encourage you to revisit this subject often and be open to change. If our dear brother Martin Luther had gone along with the church and not wrestled continually with the issues of his day we might not have the rich reformation heritage of justification by faith that we both hold as precious.
 
“Love the sinner but hate the sin.” This saying has many different meanings to many different people. This saying can be used as law or gospel. For me I do not hate the sin for the sin as an action. I hate the sin for the separation it creates between man and God. One of the most impacting portion of scripture in my life has always been St. Matthew’s narrative telling about Jesus looking over Jerusalem. Never has man been able to see so clearly into the heart of God. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem! The city who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing!” I find my peace in the shadow of His wing.
 
Grace and peace.
 
Your brother,
Byron


Law and Gospel Contrast

November 24, 2009

I have been thinking about the law and gospel contrast between John the Baptist’s charge to the Pharisees and Sadducees and blind Bartimaeus’ cry for mercy. In Matt 3:7 John the Baptist convicts all of us… “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? No doubt about it, there’s nowhere to run. The Pharisees and Sadducees wouldn’t admit it but they were stranded by the side of the road of life just like the blind beggar Bartimaius. All Bartimaius could do is call out to Jesus with a LOUD voice. All we can do is call out to Jesus with a loud voice. Mark 10:47 “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Being told to keep quiet he called out again but louder. “Son of David, have mercy on me!” When you are told to keep quiet do you call out all the louder? Jesus called Bartimaius to come to him. The God of mercy will never turn away from a cry for mercy. Jesus said… “Go your way. Your faith (which is also a gift from God) has made you well.”


Romans 4:25

November 22, 2009

God gave Jesus to die for our sins, and he raised him to life, so that we would be made acceptable to God.

Matthew Henry Commentary on Romans 4:25

“In Christ’s death He paid our debt; in His resurrection He took out our acquittance.”

Definitions of acquittance

  1. A legal document evidencing the discharge of a debt or obligation
  2. A writing which is evidence of a discharge; a receipt in full, which bars a further demand.
  3. A document freeing a person from liability

The Gospel According to Bob Dylan

November 20, 2009

I owned this record album by Bob Dylan way back in the day. It’s stored in my garage with a lot of old vintage Christian rock. I always thought the words were profound. As I listen to this song and think upon the lyrics I see more depth in them than the first time I listened to them. Whatever is going on in Bob Dylan’s life you can see that someone shared the Gospel with him as he expressed through these lyrics. 

Precious Angel – by Bob Dylan

Precious angel, under the sun,
How was I to know you’d be the one
To show me I was blinded, to show me I was gone
How weak was the foundation I was standing upon.

Now there’s spiritual warfare and flesh and blood breaking down.
You either got faith or you got unbelief and there ain’t no neutral ground.
The enemy is subtle, how be it we are deceived
When the truth’s in our hearts and we still don’t believe.

Shine your light, shine your light on me
Shine your light, shine your light on me
Shine your light, shine your light on me
You know I just couldn’t make it by myself.
I’m a little too blind to see.

My so-called friends have fallen under a spell.
They look me squarely in the eye and they say, “All is well.”
Can they imagine the darkness that will fall from on high
When men will beg God to kill them and they won’t be able to die.

Sister, let me tell you about a vision I saw.
You were drawing water for your husband, you were sufferin’ under the law.
You were telling him about Buddha, you were telling him about Mohammed
in the same breath.
You never mentioned one time the Man who came and died a criminal’s death.

Shine your light, shine your light on me
Shine your light, shine your light on me
Shine your light, shine your light on me
Ya know I just couldn’t make it by myself.
I’m a little too blind to see.

Precious angel, you believe me when I say
What God has given to us no man can take away.
We are covered in blood, girl, you know our forefathers were slaves.
Let us hope they’ve found mercy in their bone-filled graves.

You’re the queen of my flesh, girl, you’re my woman, you’re my delight,
You’re the lamp of my soul, girl, and you torch up the night.
But there’s violence in the eyes, girl, so let us not be enticed
On the way out of Egypt, through Ethiopia, to the judgment hall of Christ.

Shine your light, shine your light on me
Shine your light, shine your light on me
Shine your light, shine your light on me
Ya know I just couldn’t make it by myself.
I’m a little too blind to see.


Jesus Paid It All, All To Him I Owe;

November 13, 2009

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Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

From time to time the refrain of this hymn has played in my mind going on 35 years. I have sung it in many different denominational churches over the years. It is the theme music for Dr. J. Vernon McGee’s Thru The Bible radio broadcast. Yes. I have listened to Dr. McGee over the years. I have heard doctrine that I don’t agree with from time to time but Dr. McGee knew it is by grace only that we are saved and nothing we can do.

When I hear that hymn, I hear Jesus paid it ALL. I have nothing but sin. Jesus Christ gets all of the glory.


At some point I must leave the ELCA… sadly…

November 2, 2009

The decision of the ELCA to turn away from scripture and the tradition of the historic Christian church leaves me no choice but to follow the clear word of scripture. These are very harsh words and hard to say. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Gal 1:8) Paul had to say these words because he spoke the truth in love. Would some say that Paul did not love? If we love someone we will speak the truth so they can see who they really are before God and see the unmerited favor that god offers to all. I echo Paul’s words with much sadness, for as the Psalmist said, Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity. (Ps. 133) This is no longer that case. I love my brothers and sisters in the faith but we must follow God’s Word above anything else.

In an October 16, 2009 letter from Lutheran CORE, Kenneth H. Sauer and Paull E. Spring (both formers bishops in the ELCA) stated the following… “Obviously we in Lutheran CORE are in disagreement with the decisions of the 2009 churchwide assembly. We see those decisions as part of an ongoing failure, within the churchwide expression of the ELCA, to listen to the words of Holy Scripture and the witness of two thousand years of Christian reflection on the Word of God. For these reasons Lutheran CORE is in the process of discerning prayerfully how God wishes to use us in ministry, a ministry that sadly must take place apart from the ELCA.”

At some point I must leave the ELCA… sadly…


Reformation Day Prayer

October 29, 2009

Heavenly Father, thank you for the mighty work of grace you performed through your servant Martin, and for the many fruits of that work which we enjoy today. Grant us strength to stand firm in your truth, and proclaim your truth with a boldness and veracity sent from you. Send us forth in your strength to proclaim the Gospel, which is salvation to the world. Amen.


Closet Mormon?

October 27, 2009

 

Some people are closet Mormons and don’t realize it. The Book of Mormon in II Nephi 25:23… “. . . We know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

Ouch! If me doing something to be saved is in the mix I am in major trouble. Let’s let the Bible set the record straight… Ephesians 2:8-9… “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” Thanks be to God that He does it all. We would mess things up if we were part of the equation.

 


Romans 4:25 – One Verse Sermons

October 26, 2009

One Verse Sermons

Jesus, our Lord, was handed over to death because of our failures and was brought back to life so that we could receive God’s approval.

Romans 4:25
GOD’S WORD Translation


The Christian Life

October 21, 2009

The Christian life is not about moving from vice to virtue, but moving from virtue to Grace.

-Author Unknown