Consider this three-part prayer Philip Melanchthon prayed with his colleagues:
“We shall commend our cause, therefore, to Christ, who some time will judge these controversies, and we beseech Him to look upon the afflicted and scattered churches, and to bring them back to godly and perpetual concord.” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Preface, paragraph 19)
Which parts do you consistently pray? Continue reading
In Romans 13:11, Paul reminds you, “The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” But how do we open our eyes from our sleep? What will secure us from our own nightmares of ignorance and sin? How do we prepare for our salvation?
This article by Pastor John A. Vieths from Forward in Christ (Volume 103, Number 7, July 2016), encourages you to find security in God’s promises and love.
Dear fellow servant of the Word,
Has the ministry of our called workers changed over the past few decades? Perhaps it has in some ways.
We certainly live in a broken world. That’s not new. It has been broken from the time Adam and Eve coveted the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, refusing to trust God. Abel’s blood, soaking into the earth, testified to just how broken the world was even then. To this broken world God promised a Savior. Throughout the centuries, his words of promise have provided the foundation upon which his church has been built and the glue that holds this broken world together.
Dear shepherds of God’s people,
How many of you remember what we were taught on the first day in Dogmatics class as Middlers at the seminary? We learned that theology is a “habitus practicus,” that all (scriptural) theology is practical—it is for people (Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:15,16). Perhaps at the time we did not always appreciate every fine dogmatical definition and distinction—in Latin terms and phrases—made by Quenstedt and Gerhard. Such was not the case, however, in our courses in pastoral theology. In “PT” it always seemed obvious that we were learning the very “practical” nuts-and-bolts aspects of the ministry—how to “be a pastor,” how to bring God’s Word of law and gospel, properly distinguished, to the hearts and minds and lives of God’s people. In our PT classes we became very familiar with the book The Shepherd Under Christ by A. Schuetze and I. Habeck. And I’m guessing that everyone reading this letter has a copy of that book on his library shelf.
Today I’d like to talk to you briefly about a new book on pastoral theology, authored by the senior Schuetze’s son, Professor John Schuetze. The book is Doctor of Souls: The Art of Pastoral Theology. I will let Professor Schuetze explain in his own words the reason and need for the new PT book:
Dear fellow servants of the Word,
Our pluralistic society insists on blurring the differences between denominations under the guise of being more loving and tolerant. After being bombarded with this message for many years, we may all have loosened our grip a bit on why we are Lutheran. Some of the folks on our membership rosters may mistakenly view our heritage as more of a cultural thing: “My family tends to be Lutheran.”
The celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation gives us a wonderful opportunity to teach that our heritage as Lutherans is not a matter of culture but of standing on the chief doctrine of Scripture: justification by grace through faith. It encourages us to restudy the Scriptures, to grow in our understanding of what Jesus has done to right our broken relationship with God—we are justified because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross—and to grow in understanding of how God brought his church back to focus on that chief doctrine.
Two Bible studies from NPH will help your members grow in their appreciation of their Lutheran heritage and in their understanding of core Biblical truths. Both use the Reformation as the context for teaching these truths. Both include a video segment for each lesson, which will appeal to those who learn best visually. Altogether, the two studies can be used in a variety of venues, bringing the foundational truths of Scripture before a broad spectrum of God’s people. Continue reading
“That was more meaningful than any baptism in a church that I’ve been to.”
“There’s a feeling I get [there] I never got at church.”
“It was those moments when she realized that she didn’t need religion to tap into that feeling.”
I finished reading a helpful book yesterday, written by an atheist mother of three. Continue reading
Haven’t read Part One yet? Find it here.
Emperors and Elephants
Someone once observed, “It only takes one person to produce speech, but it requires the cooperation of all to produce silence.”36 History has its share of corporate silences. The Holocaust, for example, will not be remembered so much for the extraordinary numbers of people murdered in gas chambers as it will be remembered for the silent conspiracy that permitted such an unthinkable thing to happen.
T. S. Eliot wrote, “Humankind cannot bear very much reality.” How true. When conflict threatens to destroy us, we do our best to find a solution. But we do not always deal with our conflicts in the same way or employ the same strategies for untangling our hate-filled messes. In his book The Peacemaker, author Ken Sande depicts a range of 12 conflict-resolution strategies as a “slippery slope.” (See Illustration 1.)27 This panoramic view shows that at least half of our conflict-resolution strategies are actually negative and destructive.