I am an ordained minister in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod. I prefer not to get bogged down into too much soap-box-standing or dead-horse-flogging.
The vocations of husband, father, and pastor of my particular congregation are all much more important than my blog hobby. Yet I believe all of them must be undertaken responsibly. The Eighth Commandment seems to me one of the easiest to break, and I’ve noticed that blogs tend to facilitate this in extreme ways.
With this in mind, it is my intent to blog responsibly and to humbly submit my scribblings here to the authority of Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions.
About this blog’s header
The dominating graphics are of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther’s seal, often called the Luther Rose. The background is a detail of a woodcut of the Rose found in the library at Concordia Seminary. In a letter from the Koburg (read Grubok backward), Luther explained the seal to Lazarus Spengler:
Honorable, kind, dear Sir and Friend! Since you ask whether my seal has come out correctly, I shall answer most amiably and tell you of those thoughts which [now] come to my mind about my seal as a symbol of my theology.
There is first to be a cross, black [and placed] in a heart, which should be of its natural color, so that I myself would be reminded that faith in the Crucified saves us. For if one believes from the heart he will be justified. Even though it is a black cross, [which] mortifies and [which] also should hurt us, yet it leaves the heart in its [natural] color [and] does not ruin nature; that is, [the cross] does not kill but keeps [man] alive. For the just man lives by faith, but by faith in the Crucified One. Such a heart is to be in the midst of a white rose, to symbolize that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace; in a word it places the believer into a white joyful rose; for [this faith] does not give peace and joy as the world gives and, therefore, the rose is to be white and not red, for white is the color of the spirits and of all the angels. Such a rose is to be in a sky-blue field, [symbolizing] that such joy in the Spirit and in faith is a beginning of the future heavenly joy; it is already a part [of faith], and is grasped through hope, even though not yet manifest. And around this field is a golden ring, [symbolizing] that in heaven such blessedness lasts forever and has no end, and in addition is precious beyond all joy and goods, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.
May Christ, our dear Lord, be with your spirit until the life to come. Amen.
From the wilderness Grubok, July 8, 1530
As printed in Luther’s Works, Vol. 49 : Letters II, pp. 358-359.
To this I have added the Hebrew name YHWH, by which God caused himself to be known to our ancestors by faith: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all of Israel. As well, the name of the incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, appears, for it is only by his death on the cross and his resurrection that we may be saved from eternal punishment for sin.
The text toward the bottom comes from Matthew 2626. Christ spoke these words: “Take, eat; this is my body.” These words have become some of the most contentious words in Evangelical Christianity. They appear here because I am given to take the Lord at His Word. In the Sacrament Jesus Christ gives his physical body and physical blood that we might bodily eat and drink it. Christ’s body and blood are food and drink that strengthens and preserves us both spiritually and physically.
The Latin text of Titus 21 also appears: tu autem loquere quae decet sanam doctrinam; “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” I am bound by God’s Call to do this. As God enables me, I proclaim His Law and Gospel as He has revealed it in Scripture, and as confessed in the Lutheran Confessions.
Finally, a word on the subtitle: “An old school confessional Lutheran in a new school Lutheran church.” As Bob Dylan sang, “Times, they are a-changin’.” Perhaps. But as God has said, “I YHWH do not change!” (Mal. 36, my translation). James writes that in God “there is no variation or shadow of change” (James 117, my translation). And Christ Himself promises that “heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mat. 2435). Even as times may be a-changin’, the Lutheran Church must hold to her confession, because God has given it to be confessed regardless of where she finds herself. Subtle shifts in doctrine to facilitate a better fit within the milieu of society and religion are cowardly, unfaithful acts. God never promised it would be easy. In fact, Christ himself promised the exact opposite: “In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 1633, my translation). And again, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 510-12).
With God’s guiding, grace, and blessing, I will remain an Old School Confessional.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.